We gays tend to be a wily bunch. Throughout the years, we've demonstrated incredible resilience conjuring up innovative ways to identify and contact each other: handkerchief signals, telephone dating services, AOL chat rooms (a/s/l, anyone?), even right- vs. left-ear piercings. These all paved the way for the modern-day marvel: geolocation-based mobile applications like Grindr, Scruff, Manhunt, BoyAhoy, Jack'd and Locate-a-Gay (I made the last one up, but I'm sure it's in development by now).
For better or worse, these applications have plowed through and parked themselves as mainstays in our culture, allowing us to be even more (anti-) social. We now have the ability to take a real-time sample of who's around us and chat with complete strangers nearby or even miles away. Our options were once limited. Now, with the advent of these applications, we're suddenly getting picky and filtering by eyebrow color and arm hair density.
As we delve into this new era, I'd like to propose a few ground rules for getting your grind on -- some Grindr guidelines, if you will.
(Side note: Did spelling out "applications" make this article seem more high-brow? I hope so, because it's all about to go downhill very quickly.)
- When in a social setting with more than two people, it's impolite to openly grind (the proper verb form). Pocket grinding, however, is fair game. You know: signing onto Grindr on your phone then tucking it back into your pocket or murse so that you can flaunt your goodies to everyone in the neighborhood.
- It's no longer funny, playful or original to say, "I don't bite [hard/unless you want me to]" or anything else equally trite. Using this phrase screams, "I am so utterly boring in bed!" Avoid it.
- Resist the urge to contact co-workers. That's creepy. In that instance, just use the good ol'-fashioned foot-tap-under-the-stall technique.
- Couples are required to send twice as many pics. It's simple math and only fair.
- Stop using sunsets, mountains and other scenic landscapes as your default picture. At least use a picture of your ear. Gays love canals, after all.
- On that note, as wonderfully compelling as "hey," "yo" and "sup" are, I probably won't respond if you don't have an age, picture or anything else on display that proves you're not a cyborg. Cyborgs are the worst.
- There's beauty in screen name subtlety. Ponder that one, Mr. DudeManJockBroMascLumberjackMuscStud4U_9.
- I have the right to block you if you're my friend in real life. Sorry, but I don't want you to see how much time I spend on there -- nor do I want you to catch me online when I told you I'm working on my novel.
- Also, sorry, but I'm not into guys who aren't into Asian guys so take that!
- What's with the little Emoji icons? Cut them down to three or four max. Any more than that and it just reads, "I have a collection of Hello Kitty dolls in my room! Do you want to see them?" (No offense, Hello Kitty.)
- Just because I'm your neighbor does not mean I want to lend you some proverbial sugar.
- Stop making photo collages of yourself. Really. Please stop.
- Quoting Britney Spears lyrics does not make you a poet or a philosopher. I understand that you, you, you wanna go, go, go all the way-ay-ay, but this only makes me question your role as a functioning, contributing member of society.
- If I'm 0 feet away, either the Grindr servers are down or I'm on top of you.
- I like it when you call me Big Poppa. Oops, wrong list.
- Despite their unpopularity, I actually quite like headless torsos. They add a gritty mysteriousness to my Grindr grid. I also happen to have a Sleepy Hollow fetish.
- Here's a tip for getting more messages: try adding a conversation starter to your photo -- something that allows you to stand out and break the ice a bit (something other than your pectorals, preferably). A silly hat. A strategically placed puppy. For me, adding an extra bit of flair to my profile has prompted such responses as, "Is that chocolate?" "I hope that's a wig...," "I like your boobs" and "I can't believe you would dress up as zombie Bea Arthur for Halloween."
- Lastly, don't put all your eggs in the Grindr basket. Yes, I still hold on to the hope that it can happen. But sometimes I feel as though looking for friends or a relationship on Grindr is a bit like going to a whorehouse and looking for a hug. Or going to McDonald's for a salad.
So there you have it. The unofficial set of Grindr rules we all should abide by. Perhaps to make it official, we'll have a symbolic signing in the near future, much like the Founding Fathers signed the Constitution. I'm really just looking for any excuse to wear a powdered wig.
Have your own rules to propose? Share them in the comments section.
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