Clifton: Grindr lacks class but gets you a**

Derrick Clifton

Most folks find hook-ups at a party or at a bar : unless you’re one of the 3 million that uses a certain all-male social smartphone app filled with headless torsos and arrogant jerks.

Of all things to name it, they call it Grindr.

The app has gone global now that users in 192 countries are meeting “Mr. Right Now” on it daily. Finding a convenient hookup is now as easy as loading up a smartphone app powered with GPS.

Friends of mine and others have marveled at its wonders. So, clearly, the app is a crowd pleaser. Me, on the other hand, I’m fairly skeptical when it comes to trendy stuff – especially of the gay variety.

I didn’t want to conclude too much without trying the app. So, like any smart columnist, I went in head first. And, trust me, there were more “uh ohs” in my head than in Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.”

I uploaded a picture, threw in my demographic info and a nice little description. You can list things like your name – or, as most do, initials or a clever nickname – age, height, weight, relationship status and what you’re looking for.

Interestingly enough, the options for the latter are ‘friends, chat, dating, a relationship,’ which I thought must be a joke since it’s a hookup app.

For the most part, you see guys posting shirtless (or clothed) photos of their torso, or just a simple face picture. The app moderates any nude photos or anything suggestive in the description. I tested them by putting something cheeky, which I won’t mention here. . To my surprise, I got a notice that it was moderated – well, deleted – from my profile and a reminder on their policies.

So then I thought “hmm, so they want to keep this a classy hookup app…”

That was until I started getting messages from guys that showed exactly the opposite.

Within an hour of turning the app on last August, I got an innocent message from a 32-year-old guy saying ‘hey.’ The next message was a twenty-something white guy who asked “Is it true what they say about black men ‘down there’?” He came up empty, of course.

Around a month ago, I logged on and immediately got two messages from a guy who was fairly easy on the eyes. The first one was “hey,” the second photo…well… I saw what I saw. Astonished, I just exited out of the chat without replying.

After a few months of sporadic usage just for kicks, I saw all I needed to see and deleted the app.

My friends, on the other hand, are a different story. Some of them are nearly addicted to the app. Go to dinner with them to catch up? They’re hunting on Grindr. Go see a flick at Century? They’re hunting on Grindr. Walking with them to a class? Hunting on Grindr. I had to take the phone from one of them once when it got really annoying.

I know no one that has actually made a friend or dated from the app, though I see the potential for that especially in rural areas where there aren’t many gay men, no social hubs and a non-supportive community. That, I think, makes the app truly innovative and wonderful.

On the whole, however, the thing is full of superficial, brainless jerks.

No one lists their weight more than 200 pounds (even the super tall and muscled-up ones) cause people will think they’re fat and not show interest. I’m sure more than a few of the fittest NU athletes easily weigh more than that.

People’s prejudices come out in their descriptions. Just take a look at the blog “D**ch*b*gs of Grindr”, a whole site depicting Grindr’s worst of the worst. One man’s request: no chocolate/rice. We get it, no blacks, no asians. Or an interesting one I saw while using the app: “if you came here on a boat or across a fence then you’re not my type.”

Men of a certain age list themselves as 30 ‘cause God knows some of the guys think anyone beyond that wears Depends and plays shuffleboard all day.

I’m more so the traditional dating type, though that doesn’t mean people who prefer hookups are any better or worse. I’d lie if I said I don’t succumb to my “inner Tarzan” sometimes.

And if I do, I’d rather go out to a bar or just allow things to grow through dating rather than use this joke of a social app.

Sure, Grindr cuts out the ‘blah, blah, blah’ when you’re in the mood to romp or date. But I think some good self-talk would allow most of its users to figure out what they really want in their dating and sex lives rather than allow GPS and headless torsos to decide it for them.

Derrick Clifton is a Communications senior. He can be reached at [email protected].