By AJ Cross
I am sure that you’ve heard the sound of the familiar click, boing or beep if you’ve participated in any of the several cellular chat sites such as the very popular “Grindr” app.
There is something addictive about being able to not only look at pictures of hot guys while at your local coffee shop, school, or even while waiting in traffic, but also to be able to see how close to you in proximity that sexy boy is.
Of course, there is always the possibility of instant gratification through the form of an anonymous hook up, but many guys use these sites for social networking, making new friends, or finding old ones.
I have imagined being pulled over by a State Trooper, and then having my phone “click,” “boing,” or “beep” to let me know that someone else using the app is just a few feet away. I think that I would definitely find a way out of that ticket!
But there is a flip side to all of this: the possibility of rejection. Believe me, rejection online is just as painful as it is in real life. You can be blocked, or receive messages that read “ewww,” “gross,” “no thanks,” etc. The three leading emphases–position preference, physical endowment, and age–may very well end a conversation before it begins.
I’m a novice to this and am still learning how to navigate some of the sites, but I was very interested in this form of socializing–not to mention the entertainment I got in doing the research for this column. For those of you willing to give it a try, here’s my advice. 1) Put up a face picture unless you are running for Congress, because you will not get anywhere fast without one. 2) Make sure your pictures are relevant and recent, especially if you intend to meet someone. (It will be hard to explain that your belly grew so big overnight, or that your hair fell out on the morning when you meet face to face, especially after you just sent a picture of you from 1980.)
People bend the truth. I know that I did. I decided that since I look around eight years younger than I really am, I would list the age that I appear. Why? Because when I listed my real age, people were quick to discount me before they even talked to me. Many profiles will read “under 30 ONLY,” as if there are no attractive men over the age of 30. A lot of black guys put “mixed” or “other” for race in their profiles so that when people filter out “black,” their profiles will still appear. According to a source at “Grindr,” the three most filtered criteria in order are “age,” “ethnicity,” and “weight.”
I have yet to determine whether or not these mobile sites are designed to bring people closer or to keep them further apart; to unite or to segregate. What I do know is that just as the secret behind Facebook was to ensure that the user becomes “addicted,” there is definitely something addicting about these types of social sites. My final word on all this is to take it for what it is. Be real, keep your expectations realistic, and just have fun.
Okay, I have to go: I just got a “boing.”
A.J. Cross is originally from Montreal and has written the “Cross-Eyed” column for seven years. He lives in Fort Lauderdale and serves as Budget Advisor to the City of Fort Lauderdale Commission.