Conversations with my single gay friends inevitably involve the handing over of the phone to check out a cute guy on a dating app - or, later in the evening after we've had some vodka waters - that same guy's junk. Dating apps permeate gay culture, and while even a couple of years ago a happily-ever-after that started with an app was frowned upon, now Grindr, Tinder, Scruff, and the like are the dating norm for many gay men.
As a married thirty-one-year-old, I just missed the app craze. But considering that I've met my friends' hookups, boyfriends, and just plain friends that they met through apps, I feel that swiping is tangentially a significant part of my social life. However, I've never had the thrill of having my own accounts - knowing that my one true love or an evening of hanging from the rafters with half of a gay soccer league could be just one swipe away.
In comparison to the dating lives of my friends that would be unrealistic for even an episode of Jersey Shore, mine was Little House on the Prairie. I met my husband in grad school at Wash U. We were in the same class of twenty-five. We had a mutual friend that steered us towards each other. We began going on bike rides together and eventually dated. We moved to Cleveland and then Chicago - where he proposed to me on the swings at Navy Pier - and we now have a dog. Try making that into a reality show. It will be called Bottle of Ambien.
The excitement I get when my besties let me swipe for them is unnerving. I feel like I really would have rocked this dating app thing. While I wasn't interested in pre-app hookup Internet hot spots such as MySpace or Craigslist, apps are something that I can't deny I wish I had the chance to try out. So here are my brutally honest questions for those who have.
1) Do you have more sex than if you didn't use dating apps?
2) Do you think people like me who never experienced swiping are tragic?
3) Is the "paradox of choice" real, AKA do you find that having too many choices makes choosing more difficult?
4) Or does casting a wide net simply increase the likelihood of meeting "the one?"
5) Is every morning like Christmas morning, but with men instead of presents?
6) Or is using a dating app more like going on a free Amazon shopping spree any time you want? (But with men instead of presents.)
7) What's the farthest you've traveled to meet someone you matched with?
8) Have you become close friends with any of your dates?
9) How important are dating apps to gay social life?
10) If I'm at a gay bar, what percentage of couples around me met through Grindr? 10%? 20%? 50%?
11) Would you feel like you missed out if you stopped dating pre-Grindr?
12) If you were dating pre-apps, would you have used available online options, like Craigslist?
13) Do dating apps make you happier?
14) Or would you prefer to live in the Land Before Grindr?
15) Do you get annoyed when I want to see all the guys in your iPhone?
16) Do you require a peen pic before meeting a guy?
17) Do apps make dating safer, because you can vet someone before meeting them in person?
18) Can a quiet night in really turn into an Eyes Wide Shut party in the blink of an eye?
19) Which is the best dating app?
20) And finally, can I have your life?