I know I sometimes been a late adoperter yet I want to share this little experience with you.
For those who don’t know Grindr: It is a smartphone app that lets you find gay and bisexual men in your vicinity based on your current location data. I downloaded the app several times over the course of the last few years but never really used and thus quickly deleted it again. Last weekend there was an annual pop music festival in front of my dorm that attracts a four figure crowed and I thought “Maybe some cute boys make their way out to Lüneburg. So why not give Grindr a decent try?” So I downloaded the app on Friday morning and was excited to see what the weekend would bring.
The major gay dating and actually social media platform I am using is PlanetRomeo. It is the major gay dating website in Germany. All my friends are on there, it is our main communication platform. There profile data you can enter is very detailed (though I would like to have more detailed kinky sex options), you can write a novel as a profile text and as a plus user you can upload as many pictures as you want to. So to a certain degree I feel I can create a to a degree authentic and deep picture of me. So creating a Grindr profile was a bit difficult. You can enter a nick name that most user don’t bother doing, the stats hardly go beyond rough physical data, there is a small headline that can easily be overlook and you can write three lines as a profile text. The major selection criterion to click on a profile is the picture. So I put a lot of thought into choosing the right one (and replacing it quite frequently). The picture should at best represent me, my interests and what I am looking for on the platform. So I chose this because it has rubber, a little bit of red (I honestly didn’t think I would find BDSM dates there yet a fisting scene is quickly negotiated) and was very popular on PlanetRomeo. Once I uploaded it, I thought about replacing it. Since it is the only picture out there potential dates see I wanted them to see my full face and especially my glasses because that is the thing that for some weird reasons put the most people off online.
Grindr doesn’t have a website where you can alter the profile (or I haven’t found it yet). So I have to transfer pictures to my tablet and upload it from there onto the app. Because I was lazy and lay in bed I chose to take another picture out of my PlanetRomeo profile. Well… You don’ t have to tell me that I need new and better soccer gear pics. So that picture was on briefly on Grindr.
Next attempt: A picture from my more “civilian” PlanetRomeo profile (yes, I have more than one) taken the Sunday after Munich Pride 2015 relaxing next to the pool of a friend. A good picture of me, I like it a lot BUT: Again, you can’t tell from the picture that the sunglasses are correctional ones, I appear way slimmer than I actually am and I don’t have a Mohawk anymore.
Last profile picture change for now: In leather but rubber, too much top appearance but up to date and a better picture of me. So I stuck with it.
The first impression of the users: Everybody has a sixpack. Seriously: Everybody looked like a model on there, had sexy smiles, a bit of scruff. That was intimidating since I would have to “compete” with this gorgeous men for dates. At least theoretically because the majority of them lived in Hamburg or Hannover. Almost nobody lived close by and despite my expectations there was not rush of Grindr users coming to the music festival.
It took me some time to figure out that you can filter the users displayed by different criteria also so called “Tribes” which are scenes you can associate yourself with. I choose “Leather” as a filter assuming that this would be the most likely group I find interesting guys in. That made the distance problem even worse! Apparently there are nearly no “leather” guys in Hamburg and even Berlin fell short. The next large number of leather guys was in London. Also: I now learned that I was completely overdressed in my profile picture. Almost nobody wore gear. Again: Six packs and scruffy smiles with perfect teeth everywhere. I would have at least expected some bears or leather daddys yes nothing.
The Sales Pitch
I didn’t contact anybody I saw there. They were all out of my league and I was way too intimidated and afraid to get the usual “How does a guy like you think a guy like me would be interested in someone like you?!” So I simply waited. Five people actually messaged me. One was a bot. I was genuinely surprised that from being online for a weekend that only one bot messaged me. From what I have heard about Grindr I was ready to block user by the hour. So they finally got that sorted out which is a plus.
The other four messages were on one side expected: They were subs looking for a top, too horned up to read my profile text. What did surprise me was the distance: People were writing to me from Switzerland, Scotland and the south of France. So much for a location based, vicinity oriented app. But these chats quickly died after the realized they were not getting what they were looking for.
Honestly I was a bit disappointed at the end of the weekend. My image of Grindr was largely shaped by Grindr Fails posted by friends and corresponding accounts on Twitter. But nothing. No hilarity or anecdote happened. Maybe I am not good-looking enough to attract a… colorful crowd.
So what is the conclusion after a weekend on Grindr? An unspectacular one. I get more new contacts on Recon which is not that big in Germany and the contact quality even on Tumblr is higher. Maybe people with the body of an Adonis who live in really big gay centers like Berlin or large cities in the USA actually get laid using Grindr. I might give it another shot at a big kinky event like Folsom Europe but for now I can very live without it. If you want to get in touch with me hit me up on Recon, PlanetRomeo, Twitter or Tumblr.