Compromise: draw a face on those very nice abs?
March 5, 2013 5:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm a boy who wants to make out with other boys. Problem is, I'm bothered by the culture of some of the more popular online options (e.g. Grindr). What are my options?

While admittedly I haven't tried out these apps and sites fully for myself yet, I'm not a fan of the impressions that I've had of them from my research and from anecdotes from friends. I'm not necessarily afraid of rejection, but I dislike actively taking the initiative to put myself in environments in which I feel uncomfortable and disadvantaged. There are behaviors that I hear that things like, for instance, Grindr, tends to promote that I feel that will make me feel this way.

It tends to be very racist, for one - I'm asian, and I would be very irritated to hear comments that rightfully belong in the last century. It's definitely sexist in how it wedges guys into a dichotomy of "masc" versus "fem" with the latter being weaker or wrong in some sense - my personality is not stereotypically either, but I feel like I'd be classified as the former and thus subject to abuse just because I'm not the type who likes sports and cars and working out and thus falls into the "weaker" category by default. It's very body-centric - I'm proud of my body, but it's by no means an "ideal" body type (I'm very thin). And most of all, I find that it encourages a great deal of objectivization, which really does not get me hot: I'm into people, not penises and stomachs.

Am I over-exaggerating these concerns? Is it right for me to consider these issues as valid for not using online hook-up services? Because it seems weird that I'm the only one who's not when every guy out there is tapping away at Grindr 24/7.

But either way - what are my alternatives for meeting boys who'd also mutually like to make out with me?
posted by Conspire to Human Relations (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a decent gay bar in your area? Because although online dating is often suggested to people who are looking for hookups, meeting a stranger in a bar and hanging out for a while is still a pretty good method of meeting someone new.
posted by decathecting at 6:06 PM on March 5, 2013

Never touched grindr or anything similar, myself. I'm just not wired to seek out or enjoy sex with numerous partners.

It can work surprisingly like straights, actually.

Okcupid, being introduced by friends, hanging out in bars, meeting via hobby or interest-related groups, etc.

If you do want to sleep with a lot of dudes, hell, grindr is probably a good way to do it. I totally agree that you'll encounter all sorts of shitty behavior there, but if you just want to get laid, then maybe it's a compromise you're willing to make.

Hard to find out if you'll be able to put up with the bullshit if you don't try it.
posted by kavasa at 6:21 PM on March 5, 2013

Try OkCupid, you should be able to weed out people who think like this from their profiles or initial messages.
posted by Autumn at 6:30 PM on March 5, 2013

I think Grindr takes all the worst things about going to a bar and amplifies them. There's no nuance, little sense of a person's personality, and even very little sense of a person's humanity on offer.

But that's the point. Grindr is for hooking up.

And because of that, I think you are absolutely right that it is not for you.

In terms of alternatives, I think the two best ways are, (1) to have a friend fix you up with someone s/he really likes and thinks you might like too, and (2) to get involved in activities in your local gay and lesbian community (or activities where you think lots of gay men are likely to attend).
posted by yellowcandy at 6:38 PM on March 5, 2013

A lot of the other answers in this thread assume you're looking for dates and not hook-ups. But your question is asking about hooking up, no?

From what I understand, Grindr is for hooking up. If you're just looking to get laid, I say hold your nose and dive in and if it sucks, delete your account. Look for guys who post photos other than torso+penis+bathroom mirror.

I think a lot of your insecurities - you're Asian, you're skinny, etc. - won't ultimately end up mattering on Grindr. If you're bothered by any shitty messages, online dating/hook-up sites are not for you. I'm a woman who used to use OkCupid, and I got weird shit in my inbox on the regular.

That having been said, a friend of mine who was all casual sex via Grindr or Manhunt ALL THE TIME went on a few dates and had some nice flings and relationships with nice boys via those sites. But it was mostly super casual sex. And he got a lot of dick pics. And he is not an Adonis or hyper-masculine. He's a cute, skinny, super nerdy white dude (who has slept with a lot of Asian dudes).

The alternatives are the "old fashioned" ways, but if you haven't tried, it's worth a shot. Take the initiative and contact guys that you are interested. Don't wait for them to come to you and then despair at all the sleazy guys out there.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 6:54 PM on March 5, 2013

OkCupid's "short-term dating" is a good compromise between relationshippy dating and Grindr-esque hookups.
posted by modernserf at 6:58 PM on March 5, 2013

Not every guy is tapping away at Grindr. It's great marketing for them that you think so!

You're in university, your profile says...are there GLBT groups there? Other types of clubs? Can you go out to a local bar, or a Meetup group in your area?

Guys meet other guys for kissing all over the place. The hookup culture is only one group among many, many others.
posted by xingcat at 7:00 PM on March 5, 2013

Response by poster: There is one major gay bar in my university town, but it's the club type of bar, which isn't my thing especially since I'm deaf and rely on lip-reading, which isn't really that possible with strobe-lights going on. Generally speaking, I'm more into the old-fashioned type of sit-down martini bars.

In terms of activities/clubs, the university town I'm in is very conservative and old-fashioned. Thus, the majority of LGBT activism and spaces orient around the organizations at the university. Good thing and bad thing about my school's particular model - the Pride organization is very closely integrated with other peer/social support groups such as women's issues and ethnocultural services. Whereas this was a convenient arrangement for me since it fell very much in line with my interests, it means that the type of guy who's just there to meet guys tend to be a little less frequent in visibility.

As for what I'm looking for, I intentionally left it a little vague such that I could hear a variety of perspectives. I'm not opposed to casual hook-ups, but like I said, I'm the type who's turned on by people. Which isn't to say that looks don't appeal to me, but it alone doesn't get me across the "I could see myself sleeping with you" to "OH MY GOD TAKE OFF MY CLOTHES" line. I suppose in that case, I'm not looking for hook-ups in the traditional sense, but not necessarily anything that's with a weight of expectation that it'll will develop into a long-term relationship (I mean, if it happens, great)?
posted by Conspire at 7:19 PM on March 5, 2013

OK, since no one else here claims to have actually used Grindr: I have. I don't now. Yes, a lot of people use it exclusively for hookups, but when I was on it I also used it to just chat, and even went on a few friendly dates through it. You really just have to be clear about how you want to use it, and go for it.

As far as other options: a lot of people I know enjoy Scruff, since it seems to attract more sociable rather than judgmental people. Despite the name, it's not entirely dedicated to furry types and all are welcome. (I haven't actually used it myself...I kind of moved away from trying to meet people online.)

And since I'm in DC, which has a pretty sizable deaf queer population, I would be remiss not to suggest looking into whatever resources Gallaudet University may offer.
posted by psoas at 9:12 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't like Grindr/related apps because I'm simply not into body-based hookup culture (like you, someone's personality is likely to push me over the interest -> yes please line). I have heard that Scruff is less twink focused but still pretty objectifying/hookup oriented in my area. OKCupid has been a bust (no one I find interesting and/or hot) and Plentyoffish, though popular, has such an awful UI that I just don't bother. A lot of this area-specific, for all that it's technically online.

I've focused on organizations (and their events! this is where a lot of different people come out of the woodwork!), and friend networks... with dubious success but hey I'm picky and shy. Honestly, if you're in a small/conservative town, it doesn't matter what medium you use, you're likely going to have way less options than you would like/your straight friends have - and that's not your fault, but it can get really discouraging.
posted by buteo at 10:32 PM on March 5, 2013

I've used Grindr. If you put a face picture and make it clear what you're looking for, the messages you'll get will skew away from purely physical hookups. The app will be what you make of it. That being said, Scruff or Jack'd or OKCupid might be more for you.

On any of the apps (OKCupid less so), you'll still be scrolling past countless torso pics. Plus, it's a big time suck. I get tired of them after using them for a while.

Really, I think you just need to meet people in person. Activist groups could be good, but you said you're not having much luck. Same with the bar. How about a gay sports league? (Trust me, you don't have to be too sporty for those. And it's just good to be active and outside and interacting.) Or for more of a nerdier vibe, can you find someone who holds a regular game nights? There's a particular (and very large) class of gays that get into board and other games like no one's business.
posted by lewedswiver at 12:01 AM on March 6, 2013

Here's a few observations in response to your specific concerns.

• Racism? Unfortunately not uncommon. On Grindr more so than Scruff, which skews more alternative/queer/bear-ish.
• Masc/femme hierarchy is widely valorized? Yes. "Masc for masc" is a common self-description.
• Stereotypes of masculinity include sport/cars/working out? Not really. Masculinity is framed more in terms of personal demeanor (do you "look/sound camp").
• Body-centric, objectification? Often, but plenty of guys looking to simply strike up a conversation.

What I think what you might be missing is the fact that these communities are just so absolutely enormous (~3.5 million users) that even if decent, interesting, like-minded guys are in the minority, that minority is still pretty huge. This is particularly the case if you use Scruff, where you can chat to those not just in your local area but in your region and around the world. As lewedswiver says, you can create a terse self-description spelling out what you're looking for -- here to chat, no cock photos, etc -- that will hugely narrow down the sort of people who contact you. Leaving aside hooking up entirely, these apps are invaluable for simply chatting and getting to know other gay folks as friends. And friends is often where relationships come from.

Keep in mind that whatever you do, the number of cock shots you receive will approach zero asymptotically, never actually reaching it.
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:09 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

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