What's REALLY killing dating? Or, taking a more playful approach to Grindr.
Those of you who know me probably won’t be completely shocked to learn that I use apps to meet guys occasionally.
In fact, so many people use them for so many different variations on ‘meeting’, that it really shouldn’t surprise anyone.
There is still, however, this idea that if you develop a relationship with someone, admitting you met through an app somehow cheapens the whole affair, which is crazy. Who cares how you met? If you’re into each other and things are going well, then that’s good, right?
I personally once met a guy through a friend. By which I mean we met during a threesome. Literally one-on-each-end through a mutual friend. That didn’t mean our dating was cheap or wrong or tawdry - he was very sweet and I really enjoyed our time together.
Until he turned out to be a bit weird and broke up with me because I was ‘too healthy’ for him. BUT STILL.
And I’m not having any more of this ‘Ooooh, anyone from an app could be a psycho murderer! I could never meet anyone from there, you never know what they might be into!’ because the same it true of anyone you could meet anywhere.
All you need to do is take a few precautions, like making sure you get a few pics of the guy, and chatting for a while so you get to know him, stuff like that.
And if you’re not sure about a guy, meet in a public place where you can leave politely if things aren’t going well.
You don’t owe anyone anything, and “well, I guess, since I’m here…” isn’t a good enough reason to do anything you don’t want to.
It’s worth noting at this point that Boy George once handcuffed a rent boy to a radiator and abused him, and when he was found out, he avoided any punishment for these crimes, just because he was a celebrity. That’s not relevant to anything else in this podcast, I just think it’s important that we remember that that was a thing that happened. Anyway.
My personal app of choice is Grindr, mainly because it’s the most popular. I even paid for Grindr Xtra for a while, although I can’t say that I got a better class of shag out of it. I was hoping that with the monthly fee came a ton of hotter guys for me to be disappointed by. Apparently not.
Although I recently met the team working on Blued, which is a sort of Instagram crossed with Facebook for gays, but the whole office was staffed with stunningly handsome men, some of them actual models. I was there for an interview, but had to keep reminding myself not to flirt. I don’t think I tried it on with the beautiful French man I was talking to, but he laughed at one of my jokes and everything went a bit hazy for a while. I didn’t get the job, or his number, so… Anyway.
You’d think with so many apps and so many people using them, that we’d have somehow worked out a basic set of rules and manners for talking to others, but apparently not.
So, here we are, with me presenting my handy guide to using dating apps like an actual grown-up who is worthy of human company, a relationship and even the possibility of ‘networking’, whatever that is. Sounds disgusting, anyway.
First up, READ. THE. PROFILE. All of the profile. If that person is not for you, don’t message them. And don’t ask a question unless you’ve checked that the answer you’re looking for isn’t already in their profile. Having a guy ask “So, what’re you into?” when my profile tells you exactly what I’m into is like when a recruitment website has you upload a CV, and then makes you type the whole thing in again anyway. It automatically makes me hate you and kills any interest I might have had in filling the position you were offering. As it were. And for the record, my profile says that I’m looking for adventure, excitement and really cool things.
Second thing, and in much the same vein as a job application, don't send dick pics. Ever. It's a dick. We all know what a dick looks like. And, however much you love your one dick in particular, I'm going to think it looks like a dick.
I’m not saying don’t send sexy pics - I’m all for those, as many as possible, in fact. And that’s the thing - a disembodied dick is not sexy. A nude photo where I can see plenty of skin but not everything is MUCH sexier than a closeup of your disembodied wang. Get creative with your photos - a well-placed teacup or an inventively framed mirror shot is much sexier, because it looks like you’ve put a little effort into it. Tease me a little with almost showing me everything, but keep a little something back for when (if?) we meet up. It’s much sexier, and it keeps me interested, whereas actually just whapping it out in the middle of a conversation is a bit of a mood killer. If I’m flirting with you, it’s because I’m attracted to you, as a person, not just whatever you have lurking in your pants.
Which brings me to the third thing - flirt! Be chatty. Be fun, lively, interested in what the other person is saying. Ask questions, actually have a conversation. Starting a conversation with “You’re close” isn’t good idea. No-one gets turned on by thinking that the call is coming from inside the house. And if the most complimentary thing you can think of if to do with someone’s location, then you either aren’t trying hard enough, or you don’t know how to talk to people.
Speaking of talking to people, don’t give out one-word, closed answers and expect the other guy to continue to be interested. You’re not that hot. And if you’re not interested, say so. Do it politely, obviously, but there’s nothing wrong with saying “You’re not my type. Good luck, though.” instead of just ignoring messages or giving grunts instead of replying properly.
If you’re not up for meeting someone, say so. Don’t keep them hanging for a whole afternoon when I could have just had a wank and then got on with my day. For example.
I suppose the main thing I’m trying to get across here is that everyone using the apps is a person, just like you. Well, not exactly like you. Some of them are psycho murderers.
Apps aren’t killing the dating scene - lazy people are killing dating, just like always. Some people are just going to want to bang, others are going to want to meet a soulmate. There’s plenty of both and everything in between.
Recently, the hashtag ‘Dating is hard because’ was trending and that’s bollocks. Dating isn’t hard, it’s fun. All you have to do is calm the fuck down a little bit - maybe rein in those expectations a bit. No-one is perfect, and it’s unlikely to be love at first sight, but you might meet someone you actually quite like.
Much like anything else, you get out what you put in - if you approach it with the intention of chatting with some people and possibly hitting it off with one or more of them, then it’s probably going to go a lot better than if you just charge up to someone you fancy and drop your pants, in the hope that they’ll take one look at you and be so overcome with lust that they must have you, there and then.
A good guide for the whole thing is not to think of it as some kind of robotic transaction - use grindr, meet someone, have sex, never speak again, repeat with new guy, etc.
I know guys like that, who just want to get their end away and as soon as they’re done are pulling their clothes on and heading for the door. There’s one in particular, a charming Scotsman with a handsome face and a fantastic body, but I can’t enjoy spending time with him because he’s only after one thing, and as soon as he’s got it, he leaves...
The whole thing should be more playful, more fun from the flirting to the meeting up to the shagging, if you get around to it - it’s all a lot more fun if you stop trying to get to the end point and just enjoy whatever’s happening at the time.
Playful chat, playful sex, an actual, meaningful interaction with another human being doesn't have to mean a long-term commitment, it just has to mean being a little honest and a little bit yourself with people. It actually makes things a lot more fun.
Even my mother is getting in on it. Although, thankfully, with different objectives. The other day she called me and said “I had a go on that Kinder the other day. Wasn’t impressed. It’s nothing but a bonking app! I don’t want all that. Can’t be bothered. I’m going to have a go on that Plenty of Fish next. There’s less bonking on that one because you have to pay and that gets rid of all the bonkers. You do writing, so you’ll have to do my profile for me. Make sure there’s no bonking, though.”
So now there’s a very real possibility that my mum gets more attention on dating apps than I do. Although I imagine she’d have something to say if anyone sent her dick pics. Oh, christ. Please don’t send my mum dick pics.