Welcome to the 69th annual Hunger Gaymes! Here you will face many unsolicited dick pics, masc 4 masc fuccbois and blatant racists along your online dating journey. But should you prevail, you just MIGHT find love (or settle for a mediocre hookup, honestly).
May the nudes be ever in your inbox! Cue the conspicuous Grindr notification noise.
At the resounding message alert, my Katniss-esque instincts prompt me to hastily climb the nearest tree like a ravenous Sproul squirrel, beginning my perilous hunt for dick. At one point, I see a potential fuck loitering just below the protective foliage. Drawing my bow and arrow, I take careful aim to not scare off my sexual prospect. If I don’t hit my mark, I will face another long night of severe thirst and hunger. Not to mention lose the potential opportunity to appear in the upcumming blockbuster sequel: “Catching Feelings” (hopefully) in theaters near you!
I know what you’re thinking: This plotline really deserves to air on the big screen. Unfortunately for now, it runs exclusively on the scratched-up surfaces of queer smartphones. IMAX and Google Cardboard be damned, this virtual reality experience has real life implications: Can the gays survive Grindr’s harrowing Hunger Gaymes?
In short, Grindr is home to the digital gay ecosystem, filled with Otters, twinks and bears — oh my! While the app has definitely provided some members of the queer community with an extremely efficient sexual habitat, the gay biosphere has simultaneously proved to be a competitive survival of the fittest.
On the plus side, the dating app produces instant results. During one of my best Katniss sexcapades, I went from writing a research paper in FSM to getting a good ol’ VLSB bathroom blowjob in a matter of seconds. My momentary partner went at my meat like a merciless carnivore — the fake T-Rex collecting dust downstairs had absolutely nothing on him.
But on a bad day spent in the Grindr wild, which I will admit is most of them, I frequently encounter a slew of nude requests, kinky sex propositions from the wooly headless torsos of 50-year-old “daddies” — no you cannot fist me in your jacuzzi, sir — and witness multiple instances of what I call bedside racism.
Bedside racism is the discrimination that exists within online dating platforms and is the sadistic bedfellow of internalized homophobia. This prejudiced force marginalizes people of color on digital dating spheres, as perpetrators are protected from any real consequences by hiding behind the shield of modern technology.
During my mindless scrolling, I bump into faceless profiles with the description “no blacks no fems” charmingly plastered in their bios. These discreet deplorables institute a sexual Jim Crow that segregates who can climb into their exclusive beds. People frequently get away with this type of hate under the “oh-it’s-just-my-type” excuse, which justifies their lack of attraction to different minorities under the harmful guise of personal preference.
These are the sad individuals who happened to slip through the cracks of Grindr’s ineffective natural selection force.
The profile system does not help the systemic problem. Grindr’s interface makes it extremely easy to categorize and pick people apart. The app has spaces for an individual’s race, current distance away, weight, height, “tribe” and, now, preferred sexual position. What’s next? Whether I’m cut or uncut?
For just a small fee, you can even filter through people by the attributes they list. Don’t want to see anyone over 150 pounds? Well, you’ve got it, dude. No Latinx people? No problem. Bippity boppity blocked: Now you’ve got the closest white twinks in your area, have at it you fucking bedside racist.
But no one’s going to call you out, because it’s just your “type,” right?
Despite constantly complaining about the whole damn thing, I hypocritically use the app, because sadly, it’s one of the few solely queer spaces in existence. Queer interaction can be so scattered and difficult, especially when our designated campus space is tucked away where the sun don’t shine: in the basement of Eshleman Hall. Straight people have it so easy — almost every bar, fraternity party, classroom, patch of grass, molecule is a straight space. Connections, friendships and romances can be made within their wider pool at a much faster rate.
Grindr may be wild, ferocious and fierce, but it has proved to be essential for streamlining what would have otherwise been a painfully slow dating process. It has jump started nearly every sexual interaction I’ve ever had. I mean, where else would I have found someone willing to suck my dick in a campus bathroom at 7:43 p.m. on a Sunday?
So it’s become apparent that if I don’t join the problematic cyber hunt, I’ll probably starve to death. Catch me posted up in my friendly neighborhood tree; I really don’t think the #HungerGaymes are going to end anytime soon.
But who knows, I may have to delete my Grindr after this publishes.
Chris Cox writes the Tuesday column on sex. Contact him at [email protected].