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Wyld about sex: Looking for love? There’s an app for that

Liz Wyld, ‘Doah Staff Writer
January 23, 2013

LizWyldIf you’re part of the iPhone team, you’re probably familiar with all of the wonderfully addicting apps that Apple has to offer. There are the practical ones, like Yelp, which helps one find local businesses. There are also the more entertaining apps, like Angry Birds and SnapChat. But what about when you are looking to get your rocks off? Well, there’s an app for that too. If you’ve never heard of Grindr, it is the relatively new and highly popular social networking application that is making its way onto the iPhones of gay guys all over the nation. And it was created solely for meeting guys and hooking up.

Grindr is not the only application of its kind. Blendr, the Grindr for heterosexuals, was created in 2011 and its creator claimed that it was meant for making new friends. But, an article on gawker.com explained how “the new Grindr for straight people will never work.” Adrian Chen writes, “How do you make new friendships? I don’t know, through work? . . . gradual accretion through natural social interaction? Certainly not through an iPhone app!”

So what makes Grindr work so well? Chen explains that it is a “sex buffet.” It is nothing but countless profiles and pictures of horny men, who are sometimes just minutes away — yes, they are even in Winchester!

I can probably rattle off about 20 personal friends who have dabbled with Grindr. But one friend had a particularly interesting experience with the app — and that’s an understatement.

“This guy messaged me and said he had a surgeon fetish and he was going to pay me a thousand dollars to [dress up like a surgeon] and give him a handjob,” the friend said. “I’m not stupid,” he continues, “So I asked him to send me a picture holding the money in his hands and giving a peace sign. And he did.” What could possibly go wrong?

I’ll skip all the bawdy details. In short, my friend drove two hours, did the dirty deed and his perverted companion proceeded to lock him out of his house without the money. “In hindsight it was a stupid idea.”

My friend’s story was so fascinating that I decided to go undercover and see the crazy goings-on of Grindr for myself. And that’s where Liam comes in: my 18-year-old drag alter ego with “a baby-face and a big heart.” As Liam, I encountered my fair share of creeps. There was a man who sent messages to me constantly but who was old enough to be my father. I also got my fair share of scandalous pictures. But one thing resonated with me that my aforementioned friend remarked on. “I got a Grindr because I’m ultimately lonely. When I’m alone at night I think . . . why don’t I just talk to all these guys that are so willing to talk to me and they’re all at my finger-tips?” In a world where many gay people aren’t out and open, one can’t walk down the street and expect to meet someone who shares his or her orientation. For many guys, Grindr helps them know that they’re not alone.

I don’t really blame anyone for using apps like Grindr and Blendr. Everyone is lonely sometimes and apps like this give people a way to connect and to feel wanted. Though you probably shouldn’t expect to find the love of your life on a hook-up app, it’s highly entertaining in the meantime.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email me at liz.wyld@thedoah.com.

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