Tinder is not the straight Grindr and never will be — so why are there not more venues for straight people to arrange casual sex? Moira Weigel investigates.
An honest review of gay dating apps
M y friend — call him Henry — thinks that we should start at the Equinox gym. But the place is crowded. The checkout line snakes around the stacked packs of organic beer almost to the door. By playing, I do mean playing: I have been happily married for a year and a half, and am not looking for dates, just subjects to chat with.
Most of them seem to boil down to stereotypes. They go something like: gay men are promiscuous. Straight women are frigid. Heterosexuality always has been, and always will be, a sad compromise between men who want to get as much sex for as little affection as women can wheedle out of them, etc.
I think these stereotypes are both unkind and untrue. I wanted to see whether I could come up with something better. I reactivate my Tinder. He gets on Grindr. We spend a night hopping from bar to bar together and see what kinds of romantic or sexual prospects each of these apps presents us. But I still fret about the ethics of it. Because Tinder simply draws photos from Facebook, my husband is in most of mine.
That your cat? I joke about the caged tiger he is crouching over in one of his. Radio silence. M y initial hypothesis is that Tinder is the Grindr for straight people. Of the different apps that tried to corner the market circaTinder certainly seems to have been the most successful. However, Henry — who uses both — is skeptical of the idea that the two apps are comparable. That immediacy makes hookups much more possible than I think Tinder does.
Both Grindr and Tinder are mobile dating apps that rely on geolocation technology: they propose prospective partners in some proximity to your physical location. Grindr, which is geared toward gay and bisexual men, came first; it launched in Tinder followed in They are similar in purpose but their des are different.
Why isn't there a grindr for straight people?
Tinder displays just one person at a time, while Grindr presents a grid of active users, listed in order of how close they are to you in space. By the time Henry and I settle in a bar, the app shows active users who are less than 10 minutes away on foot. One especially cute one appears to be within 20 feet but Henry shakes his head.
He could be anywhere. He could live in one of the apartments upstairs. He could be walking by on the street. Henry seems to be right about immediacy: my half-hearted Tinder efforts do not generate much data. So I let my app idle and start up Facebook chats with a dozen friends and friends of friends who have agreed to speak with me about the subject of apps that let men look for men. As I do, I start to understand the problem with the de of our little experiment.
A friend, in his mids, who currently works at the University of Michigan, put it this way in a Facebook message:. For the first-time Grindr user, browsing through other users — whose profile photos are arranged, like tiles, in a grid according to proximity with filters by eg, age, if you likeand can be tapped to reveal a short profile — there is an entire lexicon to learn. Why is there no quorum of heteros who want truly casual, convenient sex?
Gaydar the research that I conducted for my book Labor of LoveI found that there were countless varieties not only of apps but of ways of using apps, of mobile phone enabled sexual communities and cultures. For instance, last November, I interviewed a group of trans women. They talked about using Facebook to meet and screen dates, for who might be dangerous — or simply promiscuous, serial daters in their community, fetishists, fantasists.
This guy is holding his head up high, walking with me, walking his truth. You have a hundred dating friends and every single one is a member of the community. I n casual conversations about dating apps, I have often heard friends Texas to how men are or women are.
How gays are or straights are. Specifically, they often rely on stereotypes — for instance, that gay men are universally promiscuous or that women, gay or straight, do not really like sex. We are accustomed to think of sex and love as eternal and unchanging. Tech entrepreneurs are therefore inclined to believe that if they could simply create the right widget to plug into eternal human desires and behaviors they could make untold fortunes.
However, these are fantasies. The history of love, sex and dating show that our beliefs about romance and its rituals change much more dramatically over time than we tend to remember.
As recently asadvice columnists told straight young men and women that romantic interest ALWAYS had to be initiated by the female party — and her parents. More recently than that, LGBT folks were told that their desires were dangerous, deviant and would make them sick. There is no one way all men or women desire; every person has his or her own sexuality.
All successful dating apps succeed because they recreate versions of older dating institutions and experiences in a new, digitally networked form. And what Grindr seeks to approximate are specifically sites of LGBT liberation and community: gay bars, bathhouses, gyms and so on.
You dating see it in the way they emphasize strangers mingling in space. You can see it in how many of the profile pictures literally depict muscled bodies with lockers in the background. Some friends I chat with lament the fact that these apps have replaced the ificance of the brick and mortar bar, which was such an important institution of the gay liberation actions of the s and s. Henry emphasizes that today, in gay bars, the app lays a new kind of social network onto an old one; gaydar and real space interact.
He demurs as to whether this is good Texas bad. There is no such thing. Those places had particular protocols, and they were different from the protocols of the straight singles bar. His gay bar for straight people made a splash for a while before being franchised into the internationally ubiquitous chain restaurant that has to be the least sexy place on earth.
This is why I was wrong: Tinder is not the straight Grindr and never will be.
It more closely approximates the institution that its founders came out of, and the kinds of behaviors associated with it: not the bathhouse but the frat house, not political liberation but the college campus free-for-all. Online dating. Why isn't there a Grindr for straight people?
Moira Weigel. Sun 22 May Topics Online dating Dating Tinder Grindr features. Reuse this content.