Recently there has been a upward trend in my friends telling me the below
These are mostly heterosexual women who whisper the secret in hushed tones as though they were telling me about a third nipple. While the idea of internet dating is still a line of stigma treaded by breeders in the gay community internet dating is quite rampant. I use the term ‘dating’ loosely however. I don’t think you can strictly call iOS apps with names like Grindr, Jack’d or Hornet (which I’m sure is meant to be said with a French inflection) for clean internet dating, but the fact of the matter is we are completely willing and able to meet ~internet strangers~ for the purposes of “getting to know them”.
As Gabe Liedman says in his stand-up routine, “Internet dating is safe… insofar as you aren’t going to go on a date with someone who like cuts your penis off, and then that’s what is for dinner”. My lady friends have been on a few dates with little success each tale anointed with the awkwardness of meeting someone under the pretence of having met online. I can certainly understand this awkwardness, particularly so when the person has been sending you wink emojis for WEEKS before the fact, it becomes abundantly clear that rarely do the expectations and wants of two parties ever physically match up. Even if they do, there’s still reservations from both sides. They almost expect the connection to fail because of the contrived nature of it’s set up.
I was chatting to a friend who has recently jumped back into the man-pool of dating and he was setting up dates all over town with guys he had met off Grindr which were going fine. Usually he would meet them have a chat and perhaps hook up with them, but none of them were boyfriend material. He then went on to talk about Watson, a guy he was really keen on, who he had met offline, who I thought, was perhaps not worthy of such adoration. He said that he was the most serious with Watson, and I asked was it because he met him ‘not on Grindr’ and he chuckled ‘yeah, probably’.
I had a little think back to my romantic history. Any guy that I had been truly into, or obsessed over, was someone that I had met offline. I thought about my friends, and anyone that they had decided to date or take seriously were again, not from Grindr. Recently I’ve been having some ‘success’ seeing a guy that I met off one of these applications. He was cute, a little bit shorter than me, good job and nice accent – pretty much ticking most of the boxes that could be ticked in terms of a datable individual. Yet, I was finding myself completely unfazed about whether I would see him again after hanging out a few times. By all accounts I really should have been more into this guy than I was.
It might be pathetic, but I deduced a potential reason was because I wasn’t ready to get into something serious with someone only to have to explain a few months down the track to people that ‘We met on Grindr’. It was to embarrassingly paralysing to me. Although people have and will continue to find happiness and love through online means, I think a majority of people still put value on the serendipitous experience of ‘finding love’ through a more organic means and not forcing it’s hand through the use of technology.
I talked with Alice about it and she was saying there’s no reason why it should be that way. The way the gay community has to operate as a subculture it’s almost expected that we will talk and meet people through these applications. I then asked her if she saw someone online who she knew there was a chance she would meet through a friend outside of Grindr would she talk to them? She said probably not and conceded maybe it was a little bit more complex than first thought.
At the same time, Alice was probably correct in her thinking. Maybe it’s all just psychological stigma that at the end of the day means nothing. If you’re happy, you’re happy, however you met. Besides, if you consider yourself so dateable, and are judging others for having met them on the app, what the hell are you doing on it?