Grindr, not just for grindn’

Words by Monisha Iswaran
Art by Ruby Smart

He was surprised that his stint on Grindr led to anything beyond a brief sexual encounter.

While the world of online dating is becoming the norm, there is a still a lingering stigma around the app ‘Grindr,’ which many still believe is solely for hookups.

Despite this reputation, there are a number of happy couples who met and found happiness through the app, one of which is Jacob* and his partner, who have recently hit the six month mark in their relationship.

After meeting at a mutually convenient Starbucks, Jacob shared with me the story of how his relationship blossomed, in a bubbly and excited manner. It is clear that he was surprised that his stint on Grindr led to anything beyond a brief sexual encounter. In fact, he had no qualms mentioning that prior to this experience, he fully classified the app as a means for singles to hook up casually, with no strings attached.

Grindr has been around since 2009, and is a mobile dating app geared primarily towards gay and bisexual men. Users of the app can log on and immediately scroll through the profiles of other members in their vicinity. Although many people believe that Grindr is simply another version of Tinder, the latter was in fact launched three years later, before going on to be wildly successful.

In Jacob’s experience meeting his boyfriend, Dave, there were only a few days of texting back and forth before they agreed to meet. Both with the mindset that their relationship would be of a friends-with-benefits nature. However, they were surprised when they felt an immediate connection after one night together.

“If people know you have Grindr they immediately assume you’re a very sexual person,” he said. “To be honest, besides us, I’m not aware of any other lasting relationships that started there.”

On their first official date, a week after their initial hookup, Jacob and his partner met at the cinemas. By the end of the night, they were both convinced that they were interested in a monogamous relationship with each other. Although neither started out looking for this end result, they were more than happy to realise what they had found.

“I would advise people, who want to use the app to start a proper relationship, to mention it in their profile,” he said. “Have it in your description that you are not looking for a hookup, or that your goal is to find someone that you can bond with.”

Although Jacob notes that few people are open to admitting they use the app, he believes there are a great number of single men who identify as gay or bisexual either currently using the app, or having used it in the past. In fact, 3 million people across 234 countries use the app daily, each for an average of 54 minutes per day.

In a world where apps such as Tinder and Bumble have become part and parcel of life, it’s surprising that many are still so secretive when it comes to Grindr. In Jacob’s case, only a handful of close friends are aware, and although his family know about and accept his boyfriend, none of them know the true means through which they met.

“I’m not going to lie, I still don’t really like telling people that we met on Grindr because I feel as though they will roll their eyes and assume it’s not something that will last,” he said.
“I’m not really sure what we can do to reduce the stigma, but the app itself could tone it down a little. The ads it features and the way it is marketed seems more like a casual hook-up app from my perspective.”

As more and more couples meet each other through dating apps and online sites, it seems as though both the company itself, and us as a community should become more conscious of promoting positive reception of dating in all forms. While we are all entitled to privacy surrounding our personal lives, no one should feel as though they have to shield the way they found love and companionship from the world.

*Name has been changed for privacy reasons.

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