“So, you’re gonna have to leave the room in like 20 minutes,” I told Mr. Brooks.
“What?” he said indignantly.
“Yeah,” I said, eyes back on my iPhone. “And not come back for like two hours. Or until I text you the all-clear.”
Vacationing is a whole new experience now that we’re in the Grindr era.
For the uninitiated: The Grindr app uses GPS, so users can see their proximity to other users. Which is a nice way of saying: You use it to hook up with other nearby guys. (There appears to be a not-just-for-gay-dudes version in the works, too, called Project Amicus.) So you log on, see who’s nearby — within a matter of feet! — and decide whether or not to say hi to any of them.
Since it’s available on the iTunes store, everything upfront has to be rated G; some photos that I’ve seen on Facebook wouldn’t even make the profile guidelines. (“No underwear can be visible including the underwear waistband showing above pants.”) Once you hit the IM stage, sending other photos to the user becomes an option.
It’s pretty genius, and I’m not going to lie — it’s part of the reason I broke down and got an iPhone. (The company later added an Android version, too.) People who aren’t big on the screening process probably get better use out of it, whereas the same hangups that bug me in person still plague me online, too:
- Here’s a good phrase to initiate contact (with me, anyway): “Hey, what’s up?” Here’s not a good phrase to initiate contact (with me, anyway): “Wanna DP my boyfriend”?
- Being greeted with a message that says just “Looking?” bugs me, too. I always want to make sure someone’s a good match before there’s a hookup, but someone who says “looking?” is going to settle for any live body that’ll have him. Dude, show some self-respect, even for a hookup. You don’t need it that bad.
- I don’t mind when people are just there for the lurk factor — in fact, one of my good friends who’s in a committed relationship has a profile that says: “I like looking at the menu but I hate it when the waiter keeps bugging me to order.” (Translated: No hookups, please.) But ones who are like, “I never hook up! Just looking for friends!” but have a shirtless chest/abs pic are either lying or just desperate for attention. You’re on Grindr, not Find-a-Friend.
This morning I got a message from someone who was supposedly 300 feet away from me — while I was in the house. Of course I got up and looked outside: “Is someone on my patio? Is this the opening scene of the next ‘Scream’ flick? Am I going to be gutted like Drew Barrymore?” (Then I started doing roll call of all my neighbors: I know who lives in that house, but who lives next door to them?)
Using it in your hometown is kind of a letdown: Most of the guys are people you’ve already seen (and probably discounted) sometime before, and the two-degrees-of-separation thing is pronounced enough here without layering on an app tier. (That chart that Alice kept on “The L Word” is real!) So I usually reserve it for when I’m out of town — just like gin, and flip-flop sandals.
And even out of town in New York, most of the time we’d just crank it up for the look-see entertainment factor. “Who’s on Grindr?” Mr. Brooks would say when it was slow at the bar, and we’d gather around the screen to peruse our newest gaybors. I like to think that browsing-by-proxy like that made the sting of getting kicked out of the room a little more bearable for him. Well, that and knowing that right before he left, I’d have to hand him the phone for a second and say, “So, just in case I’m killed or something while you’re out, this is the guy to look for.” You know, just in case.
|WHAT SAM WORE: 5-15-11|
|The shirt: Ouija board T-shirt, from Urban Outfitters at Cherry Creek Mall in Denver.|
|The shorts: Camouflage-print shorts by Mossimo, from Target.|
|The shoes: Sandals by Miu Miu, from Saks Off 5th, Tempe Marketplace.|