Jerame Davis

Grindr: Lowering the barriers to casual sex

Filed By Jerame Davis | June 02, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Gay Geeks
Tags: gay men, Grindr, hooking up, iPhone

Have you heard of Grindr yet? Seems like just about every queer person I know has at least heard if it by now.

Every time I am in a group of LGBT folks and I pull out my iPhone, the conversation almost inevitably turn discussing the gay male dating hookup app. Lesbians, in particular, seem genuinely fascinated by the whole concept, some out the sheer brilliance while others seem to be passing judgment about the lengths gay men will go to get laid.

Since the idea that hooking up can be so technologically advanced (and so easy) really seems to intrigue folks, I thought I'd write up a bit about the app, how it works and share some screenshots.

The home screen opens to a panoply of pictures of the men in your area recently using the service - and since the iPhone is location aware, it ranks these potential suitors by proximity to your current location. (It's particularly fun to open the app in a gay bar, where you can have a whole screen of guys who are "0" feet away.)grindr.png

Clicking on one of the small icons takes you to a guy's profile, which lists his name, age, online status, distance, and a 1-2 sentence "message". You can chat, send more pics and - if you find your Mr. Right Now - he can send you a map to his location (or vice versa.) If you happen to find Mr. Every Now and Again, you can mark a him as a "favorite" and he'll always appear at the top of your list making him easier to find.

There is also a paid version, Grindr X ($2.99) which purports to load "more guys" than the unpaid version; but it's most important feature is push notifications. Push notifications let you receive messages without having to leave the app open. (One way to think of it is that it makes it function more like text messaging than a chat program.)

The only problem with Grindr X is that after a month, you have to pay that $2.99 fee again or they disable your push notifications. I think $0.99 would be more reasonable.

It's a very simple, but well put together app. It works well as long as you can get a decent signal on AT&T's crappy network. I've tested *cough cough* the app in several cities we've visited over the past few months and even in somewhat remote places, I found guys online and feeling frisky.

You never know what kind of guys you'll find on Grindr. It always depends on where you are and when you log on. There is no "typical" guy beyond his owning an iPhone, iPad or iTouch. I've even run into several "well-known" gay men in my travails.

In general, larger cities have lots of chatty guys no matter when you log on, day or night. In most cities, it was generally less than 5 minutes from the time I first logged on before I got my first chat message. Sometimes it would be a deluge, while at other times, even trying to chat up a guy wasn't worth the effort.

Guys, if you have an iPhone (or iPad/iTouch) and you find yourself looking for a Mr. Right Now - whether traveling or at home - then Grindr can be a really fun way to aid your quest.

Ladies and non-iPhone users needn't fret - the company says they will release versions for lesbians and even straight folks and that they are working on apps for Android, Palm and Blackberry. Soon you too will be able to get your Grindr groove on.

Get Grindr at the App Store (Free, Opens iTunes): Grindr-Gay, bi, & curious guy finder of the same sex.

Get GrindrX at the App Store ($2.99, Opens iTunes): Grindr X(tra)

Visit Grindr's website at: http://www.grindr.com/


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It'll be nice to have a lesbian version and interesting to see how much it gets used. But I'd really love to see a queer version that is gender neutral, perhaps with an option to sort by genders. The problem I've always had with dating/hookup sites is that my dating pool is so relatively small that a tight search will leave me with 0 ads and a broad search will leave me being rejected the second I say "trans" at a high enough ratio that it's depressing. I might want to try out Grindr for lesbians, but don't hold too much hope for it being any different.

In total agreement.

I think technology like this, blending the divide between online and offline, also has amazing possibilities beyond Mr. Right Now.

A. J. Lopp | June 3, 2010 9:52 AM
There is also a paid version, Grindr X ($2.99) which purports to load "more guys" than the unpaid version ...

Any chance they meant to say the paid version purports to unload more guys?

The only problem with Grindr X is that after a month, you have to pay that $2.99 fee again or they disable your push notifications. I think $0.99 would be more reasonable. ...

Careful here, Jerame! ... The whole idea of $2.99/month is to separate the A-list prime beef from the unemployed, unwashed, cheap fucks. (With this marketing approach in play, be prepared for the Perez Hilton-endorsed $24.99/month version. If I know gay men well, the next-best thing to finding a good fuck is to have ammunition for making tacky condescending insults about someone else's last night's fuck.)

The whole idea of $2.99/month is to separate the A-list prime beef from the unemployed, unwashed, cheap fucks.

LOL. AJ FTW.

So are we actually trading notes on the affordability of Grinder, rather than debating the overall concept? Once again, gay men have reduced sex to a digital drive-through window. And you guys are wondering if you can get fries with that.

OK, so I ran a phone sex company once upon a time and have little room to judge. But I shrewdly exploited true loneliness. This is male piggishness run amok.

I hosted a dinner party this week for vacationing acquaintances and wish I had kept a sledgehammer under the table, to smash the iPhones to bits. No one looked up much when not engaged in eating, except to compare Grinder pics or Facebook messages.

And I won't even begin to address how this further reduces our identities to dick size and how fast you can get here.

Peter Pan Syndrome? I call it Porky Pig.

I think if your dinner guests were using their phones at the table their problems are much deeper than wanting easy sex.

I agree with Alex - these people are fucking rude.

We have a rule in our house - no phones during dinner. (Exceptions are emergency calls or calls that are expected.) That means no answering the phone, no texts, no Twitter, no Facebook. It's less than an hour per meal with no external interaction - it's just not that much to ask.

We enforce it with guests as well. Not all of them like it, but we're dickish about it and it is our house. Even when we're out in restaurants, we'll make comments if someone is on the phone during dinner.

That's just a common courtesy - eating is communal with the people you're with, not the people down the street.

Yes, Grindr itself is not the issue, but the utter rudeness of ignoring "in the flesh" guests (or worse, HOSTS) for a little machine that lights up.

Being mid-40s, my circle of acquaintances is generally older, so typically I don't have to suffer this kind of thing THAT much, but I was recently involved in a community theatre production where there were many young (str8) folks, and honestly, every moment they weren't actually on stage, they were punching into that damn phone/text messager, including backstage while the show was playing for an audience. I'm an introvert, but to so blatantly ignore someone by saying, essentially "I prefer the company of this electronic gadget to you" is horrifying. Maybe it's a good thing I don't have so many younger friends, since I still consider it rude to answer a cell phone when someone is talking to you.

A. J. Lopp | June 3, 2010 1:34 PM

Mark, if you didn't pick up on my sarcasm, let me state explicitly that I agree with you completely, thoroughly, and enthusiastically; and that the sheer superficiality and Porky-Pig-ishness of this app is exactly why I was dissing it.

Hint: I mentioned Perez Hilton, you mentioned Porky Pig. They are synonyms, if you look closely.

@Jerame: Good for you and Bil for imposing no-phone dinner rules. I am on the verge of imposing the same rule when people ride in my car. The nerve of people to ask me to give them a ride, and then they are too busy on the phone to give me decent driving directions!

If you follow Grindr on Facebook you would see that they are NOT working on an Android app, they have only expressed an interest! Grindrs replies to Android users can be clearly understood..."Thank you, but we are doing just fine without you!"