photos: Stella Manouseli
Location: Berlin. Display Name: … Remember to pick a super funny and witty name later. Edit Profile. About Me: …Uhm… Well, twenty-something, decent height, well proportioned, I’d say, comparably smart. Looking for… Mr. Right …or Mr. Right now (?). Relationship Status: Single.
That’s probably what I typed into some dating app 5 years ago after moving to Berlin. Things changed, but that one thing hasn’t: Relationship status: Single! Single, Single, SINGLE! Let’s be honest here, I want a boyfriend, no denying that. We all want a professional cuddling partner. So, no shade! People have said I’m “damn cute”, “oh so hilarious”, “definite bf material” and I have spent a whole lot of time on living up to my own visual expectations. Time that I could have easily used on pizza, beer, and Sex and the City binge watching. Still, I can tell many bed stories, but no love story. So, seriously guys, why the fuck am I single? But, as the hopeless, self-ironic optimist that I am. I see every awkward date and disturbing sexual encounter as a funny, absurd life lesson to learn from, laugh about and carry on. And, as I am such a talkative person I will let y’all participate now, life lesson by life lesson. And maybe by the end of it all I will write ‘Lesson #378: How I got my boyfriend’ … but first things first:
Lesson #1: THE GRIND
It’s a Tuesday night in Berlin, 3am and I’m in my bed, staring at my phone. Why? I don’t quite know. I am in some tunnel vision looking at a never-ending grid of eggplants. peaches and arrow signs going up and down. I grind, I grind, looking, looking, looking for what? It’s not like I’m actually gonna get up now, nor do I really want some random dude in my bed. But still… My apathetic stare is interrupted by a new message popping up. ThunderstormXXL sends a “Hi”, impromptu followed by a picture of his Penis. Mmhm, what an elaborate effort ThunderstormXXL. Thanks but no thanks. CHOP.
Just another Tuesday night – 3am – Berlin Friedrichshain.
Grindr, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is a dating application for gay men. But, as men generally like to put their genitals into…well, it’s less dating more sex app. Did I know this five years ago when my quest for Mr. Right in the big city began? Nope. So, you can imagine the traineeship in big city, gay (sex) life was quite a rapid one. Not that I complain. Given my tendency to socially awkward behavior when it comes to flirting my sexual encounters would have been extremely limited. – If it wasn’t for this lil’ yellow application.
As with any gay men, I’d say, Grindr is equally my best friend and archenemy. ‘Cause honestly, we all like to do the nasty, so it’s great, fast, uncomplicated. “Hi”, “Hi”, “More Pics?”, “Wanna meet?” BOOM. Done. On the other hand, it’s a pretty disturbing freak show. My friend Casper does not manically delete and re-download the app every other week without reason. For him, as a mid-twenties gay who tends to struggle with his own insecurities and body image a grid full of hyper-masculine dudes showing off their perfectly trained bodies, looking for nothing more but fast sex, can be quite, well,… let’s say counterproductive. But then, EVERYONE is on it, so I gotta be too, right?!
Yet, there comes a time when you want something more. And, I came to realize that getting someone to go on a proper Date on Grindr is like making a Berliner say: “I really like Brandenburg.”. Also, it’s never quite Disney-romantic anyways when his half-naked profile already suggests what sexual activities could follow, in what position and length and potential fetish preferences. Easy, you say. Just go out or switch to more modest dating apps, try Gay Parchip or so… Problem is: The mere existence of a grid out there filled with potent, willing males results in a general gay fear of commitment (Me included). I mean, you don’t tell a kid in a candy store: “You could eat everything. But, could you be a dear and only pick one thing?”… yeah right.
It is so easy, accessible, convenient, while totally confusing and traumatizing. Damn, the thought of comfortably finding Mr. Right from my couch seemed so appealing. Ah well, poor me. Gotta get up then. He is out there, but most likely not waiting on Grindr. At least I won’t expect it no more.
It’s still cute, late at night when you want nothing more but someone to tell you “You’re hot!” while looking at his private parts on your phone. Most basic satisfaction of needs. It’s very easy: “Hi”, “Hi”, “More Pics!” And thank you!