When I first heard about Grindr, the geolocating App for single, gay men, I had several reactions:
2.) It does WHAT? It’s for men who want to have sex and can find someone within the same 10 blocks?
3.) Why isn’t there one for straight people??!
I’m sure most people had the same reaction, and developers caught on to that and took not that long to create the straight version of Grindr. The interesting thing about creating a straight Grindr is that these developers seemed to understand that making an App with the exact same pretense would creep people out. For some reason, even if it’s a lie, straight interactions cannot be that blunt.
Blendr has to pretend to be about meeting people in the general sense. Otherwise it seems super creepy.
I heard about Blendr for the first time on Monday, and immediately signed up. I then forgot about it, until the next night when I was at Angela’s, drinking and trying to forget about the terrible day I’d had. At that point, getting back on Blendr seemed like a great idea. I got online and responded to someone who’d sent me the following:
Him: “Ho”…. “*Hi”
I responded: “Lol”
From that super-romantic starting point, we talked back and forth for about twenty minutes before exchanging numbers. If I were to describe this experience, I’d call it Match.com on crack. It took 30-40 minutes of me talking to/ texting this person to make a date when it can take weeks on Match.
Interestingly enough, the same conventions apply. Something I’ve noticed about online dating is the perpetual need to qualify why you’re on an online dating site. When I talked to Ryan on the phone, he asked me how many dates I’d been on, after immediately clarifying that he’d only been on a few. I knew from the way he phrased it that the only answer I could give was, “Oh, you know, just a few. My friends have done this, so I’d figure I’d try it out.”
My experience on Blendr was no different. My potential match asked me right away; “What’s a pretty girl like you doing on this site?” It sort of reminded me of the movies: a scene where a lonely woman sits at a bar, drinking by herself, and gets asked by men why she’s there. We have a fixation on not seeming desperate when, in reality, we are all so very desperate. If I were to answer any of the questions I’ve been asked by men in bars, on match, on okcupid, or on blendr in honesty, my answers would be unflattering. They’d be something along the lines of:
“Well, I got my heart broken and I can’t personally afford to purchase as much alcohol as I’d like to to numb the pain.”
“I’ve decided to write a blog about my various online dates. Wanna be featured on my blog?”
Instead I responded something like, “hehe. My friend told me about it, so I figured I’d check it out.”
So tonight I met Joe. I didn’t expect someone on Blendr to have an attention span long enough to wait two days to meet me, but he did. We talked about family, work, drinks and rap; and overall it was a better interaction than I’ve had with several of the guys I’ve spent weeks talking to. Along with that, Joe was much more of a gentleman. He refused to let me pay for drinks, repeatedly asked me if I was having a good time, and forced a $20 bill into my hand as I grabbed a cab.
For these reasons I feel much more guilty writing about the experience than I usually would…. I’m going to take that as a sign that I should. Online dating is not all bad. I say this on my blog after only having documented one date, but from my past experiences, you meet some great people. Joe is one of those great people. I’ll definitely go out with him again.
Tonight, Joe and I talked a lot about New York. He’s a native New Yorker and for me it’s rare that I meet people who grew up here. I live under the assumption that those raised here aren’t walking around in constant awe of the city, so I was surprised by his fascination with the randomness of our meeting. It hit me that years here don’t change the feeling that you can always change, and you can always embark on a new adventure. Joe spent a lot of tonight telling me that he was still shell-shocked by the fact that he was meeting someone he met through an iPhone App. To think that even a native New Yorker can feel that excitement is reaffirming. It makes me want to live here for many, many more years.