Grindr is a popular gay men’s dating app… where dating is the last thing on anyone’s mind (In fact, as I was writing that opening sentence a combination of a mistype and predictive text corrected it to the far more accurate ‘the arse thing on anyone’s mind’. Maybe I have ‘prophetic text’ installed?).
Most conversations on Grindr go from ‘Hi’, or sometimes the awkwardly accurate typo of ‘Ho’, to an exchange of cock shots in under a dozen messages. Not that I’m complaining. I wholeheartedly believe that this is what Grindr is there for. I get a little irritated with pithy profiles that whine, ‘All anyone wants is sex on here!’ or ‘If you are only after hook-ups, don’t message me.’. If you ain’t after a shag, then don’t go on Grindr! It is like boiling a kettle then moaning that the water is too hot. That’s what it’s there for.
Despite the bracingly direct approach Grindr encourages, I do like it when someone manages to show a glimpse of their personality. My favourite profile admitted on behalf of us all that, ‘These are our best photos guys… it’s all downhill from here’.
My own profile reads something like: ‘I like guys that are darker than me, but as I am ginger that isn’t hard to do.’ If you spot me out there, say ‘hello’… and send pics.
I have one gambit that tends to wean the men from the boys. When asked for that ubiquitous cock shot, I sometimes send a photo of me stood next to a friend’s chicken coup proudly holding a feathery bundle of poultry (it is actually a hen and not a cock, but let’s not quibble). This can sometimes result in an instant block from the nonplussed recipient, but if they can’t take a joke, then it’s no great loss, but more times than not it results in a good bit of banter.
By the way, while on the subject of ‘cock shots’, I know a woman whose surname tragically is Cockshott. To make matters worse her first name is Gaynor. Gay Cockshott! GAY COCKSHOTT!!! The poor woman is named after those images that we bander about like bonbons. She must dread registering for anything, but on the plus side she has a readymade drag name. I know of another unfortunate whom, through marriage, is now Gaynor Hooker. Let that one sink in.
I really enjoy misappropriating Grindr on occasion. I have a gay neighbour with whom I would chat to on the app, long before we ever spoke in person. I would delight in sending him random neighbourly messages asking to borrow a cup of sugar or reminding him about recycling collections. The more banal the better. Thankfully, he found this nonsense mildly amusing too and played along, otherwise it could have resulted in an instant block, which could have made things awkward next time we were putting the bins out.
On one occasion, I managed to utilise his talents as a math teacher, when a ridiculously beautiful guy appeared on Grindr, showing up as only 20 meters from my house.
I sent his picture to the neighbour, IS HE AT YOURS?
NO, he replied. I WISH HE WAS!
I HAVE JUST STOOD ON MY BENCH, I confessed, BUT I CAN’T SEE HIM IN NEXT DOOR’S GARDEN.
WE CAN TRIANGULATE HIM, he suggested.
It would have been like a scene from Ridley Scott’s Alien movies, where the militia track down the creatures with thermal heat sensors.
“I’ve got a fix on one, Ripley! 20 meters… 18 meters… 10 meters… 1 meter! Bugger me backwards, he’s in the ducting!”
We never found him.
On one occasion, I was having a drink in a particularly empty Boltz Club, when I noticed the bored bar manager scrolling through Grindr on his phone, so I sent him a message.
CAN I HAVE ANOTHER PINT OF SAN MIGUEL… AND A BAG OF NUTS, PLEASE?
Moments later, I heard a bang on the bar, as the barman slapped down his palms. I looked up with a start to see him glowering at me with his typical Mancunian sassiness.
“What?” I asked, feigning ignorance.
“Seriously?! You couldn’t just ask for a drink like a normal person?”
“I could,” I admitted, “but where would be the fun in that?”
He shook his head with a smirk, “Un-be-lievable!”
Well, it made a change from, DO YOU HAVE A COCK SHOT? Next time someone asks me for one of those, I may forgo the photo of me beside the chicken coup and instead send a picture of the lovely Gaynor.