[FoRK] iBone

geege schuman geege4 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 4 09:03:39 PDT 2011


Finally.

On Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 11:51 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:

>
>
> http://www.gq.com/news-politics/mens-lives/201110/blendr-straight-grindr-app-review?printable=true&currentPage=3
>
> iBone
>
> Are you feeling the urgent need to hump someone in the general vicinity in
> the next seventeen minutes? No problem! Thanks to an ingenious GPS-based
> app
> called Grindr, gay men have been hooking up with other guys by whipping out
> their phones when they're horny. Now the tech visionary who founded Grindr
> is
> launching a version for straight people. Will this change the world? Or
> totally fail for basic Mars-Venus reasons? In an effort to divine the
> answer,
> Marshall Sella wades into the new world of "location-based" love
>
> by Marshall Sella
>
> October 2011
>
> I was cruising for men on my iPhone. I'd been doing this for more weeks
> than
> I could count.
>
> The mechanics of it were simple. I'd be milling around a trendy Sunset
> Boulevard dive, or lounging in a French Roast restaurant about a block from
> where I live in Manhattan. I'd take out my device and tap on the
> black-and-yellow tribal-mask logo of Grindr, an app that lets guys use GPS
> to
> meet other guys who are ten steps away or a hundred. The screen would blink
> into a checkerboard of guys' pictures—whole armies of men who were within a
> mile of me, many right next door, and I could know those distances, for I
> was
> the Lord. Thirty-eight feet away. Ninety-six feet away. Four hundred
> forty-seven feet away. The photos came in a few varieties: guys trying hard
> to look really bored though super-cool; nude, hirsute torsos; guys doing
> that
> ridiculous bathroom-mirror self-portrait in which the subject always looks
> surprised even though he himself has just snapped the shot. Guys calling
> themselves "Hard" and "Hung 2 Hang" offered cheery requests pertaining to
> the
> act of love: "Top bunk, don't be a fuckin' girl, 420-friendly."
>
> The Chat, too, was of the highest quality. Someone would message "Sup."
> Without even missing a beat, I'd come back with "How are you?" (I spelled
> it
> all out, eschewing the "R U," because, you know, classy.) This spare,
> Pinteresque dialogue—it's all in what's not being said!—would often die in
> a
> quick and merciful way, but many Chats ended with an agreed-to meeting
> place,
> which was unusually convenient for both of us since, by the very nature of
> this whole game, we lived within a block of each other.
>
> Grindr would also let me stare at a tiny blue dot (which represented me)
> sliding here and there on a map of my neighborhood. When an interesting
> fellow was kind enough to send me his exact location, I could see him on a
> map, too, in the shape of a red pushpin. I knew to expect only one thing
> when
> our dot and pushpin met: that the guy wouldn't look much like his tiny
> picture. So a whole dumb show would ensue, in which we silently gestured at
> each other across the café or bar—first quizzically, then in some weird,
> fake
> recognition, as if, oh, how we went back, such memories, and things like
> that. Then I would get to the point and ask him what in the hell this app
> really was.
>
> Full disclosure: As it happens, I'm straight. No one's fault. That's just
> me.
> But the Grindr team, in September, was launching a new app, Blendr—which
> was
> not just for gay guys but for Everybody. It's a mad ambition, and I had no
> idea if Blendr would work. Is this the way straight men and
> women—especially
> straight women—want to meet and mate? The ladies certainly wouldn't treat
> Chat the same way; they'd be euphemistic and vaguely lyrical (I hoped)
> while
> the males were doing something close to grunting. But hooking up with
> strangers via GPS? From a female standpoint, that might be seen as one
> romantic step away from being spirited into a van. Less darkly, what
> happened
> to the good old dinner party, the comically bad set-up date, the meet-cute
> fender bender?
>
> And so I stepped into the long night of the soul that was Grindr. I wanted
> to
> see what the rest of us could expect—hope for— from Blendr. I'd soon learn
> that grinders weren't always bathroom-trysting and Rusty Tromboning and
> doing
> Japanese nose-torture on each other. Some grinders were as genteel as the
> ladies at a book club; some wanted true love, others new friendship. This
> subculture was populated with all sorts of people—like any community.
> Together the sex-crazed and lonely hearts and the rest were building a
> digital neighborhood on top of their physical one. Maybe, with Blendr, it
> really could grow to include Everybody.
>
> ···
>
> To be a grinder, unlike with Match.com or eHarmony or OkCupid or any of the
> other doddering old iDate sites, you need register no name, no password—not
> even a screen name. Those other sites are proud of asking for massive
> detail.
> They actually market themselves on the thoroughness of their
> interrogations:
> What are your favorite sports, your taste in movies, your eye color? They
> have it all down to a science, selling their sites on that old adage,
> "Similars attract." On Grindr, you are permitted to write a 120-character
> profile and upload a photo, and that's pretty much all you get to spark
> that
> digital First Look Across the Room. To ensure that no user of Grindr ever
> felt hoodwinked, I took the name "GQ Magazine" and used as my icon a
> collage
> of covers, though I was slightly worried that grinders would think I was
> hawking subscriptions in some kind of seedy jailhouse telemarketing scheme.
>
> But guys did drop me a line, at all hours and in great numbers.
>
> Chat is the gateway drug on Grindr. Though it is 96 percent inane, it's not
> all sexting and Weinering pics to people. Many guys started a conversation
> with the aforementioned "Sup?" or the even more unforgivable "Wassup?" I
> admit, I looked down on them, as one would on "mole people" or Michael "The
> Situation" Sorrentino. My deep misunderstanding of Chat was that it was
> meant
> to be witty, an actual conversation. But eventually I realized that the
> "Sup"
> people were not cavemen. They were efficient. They were men in a rush to
> achieve, and that's what men like to think they do.
>
> Grinding is less a pastime than a palm-sized addiction. It is iHeroin.
> Grinders spend an average of ninety minutes on the app every day—and not
> just
> in one session. They're online eight or nine times. In my experience,
> that's
> an unrealistic number. It should be ten times that. I never wanted to get
> to
> the neurotic stage where I logged on while walking around, so I made a
> point
> of doing less walking around. And I checked in on my boys several times an
> hour. What were they up to, or at least where? The iPhone simply had to be
> checked.
>
> Over the months, I learned the mysteries of this strange realm: its
> customs,
> its argot, and its social hierarchies. For instance, in my countless
> conversations with countless guys, only one man who ever identified himself
> on his page as a Bottom ever responded to me; Tops almost always did. My
> theory was that Tops took it as a challenge, whereas Bottoms seemed to feel
> they'd already come up short in our imagined duel of wits, and that was
> good
> enough for them.
>
> It is also standard practice among grinders to steer clear of certain red
> flags. As any grinder knows, someone who doesn't supply even a fake or a
> ridiculously old pic is to be shunned at all costs. And whoever hooks up
> with
> a guy who spends his 120 profile characters praising his own hunky looks or
> demanding "Whites only" gets what he deserves.
>
> The Grindr users I knew and know had impeccable straight-dar. Even in
> Chats,
> almost everyone eventually asked me if I was gay. I was honest, yet some
> men
> still treated me like a trespasser. One guy spent a pleasant half hour at a
> restaurant regaling me with stories—then, learning I wasn't gay, very
> politely stood, silently folded his cloth napkin, and exited the building.
> Another took the time to text just one remark: "My bf will beat the shit
> out
> of me if he knows I'm talking to you." Which I found refreshingly concise,
> if
> vaguely unnecessary. Others offered interviews in exchange for a quaint
> variety of carnal favors, which I graciously declined, as far as you know.
>
> I met my fellow grinders in restaurants, in bars, in coffee shops, and on
> park benches; we had drinks in sunshine, tea at night. There were the bland
> guys; the guys who made endless plans, then stood me up; the guys who met
> up
> with me just to see if I really was a reporter, then stared as if I were a
> penguin at the Central Park Zoo. (You know who you are.) The whole thing
> was
> confusing, mainly because one's brain isn't built to process hundreds of
> stories in a few months. I have to say, it is genuinely unnerving to wake
> up
> in a Los Angeles hotel room at 3 A.M. and read that a man calling himself
> "Bear 4 U" is eleven feet away from you right now, when even the walls
> aren't
> eleven feet away.
>
> ···
>
> The first time I met Joel Simkhai, the 35-year-old founder of Grindr and
> Blendr, he had kindly offered to pick me up at my L.A. hotel, take me to
> breakfast somewhere. He strolled into the lobby and swiveled his head twice
> quickly. This place had a perfectly fine restaurant—why move?—so we walked
> a
> few steps to a table. "I like things that are close," he explained to me,
> pointedly. "Why do we drive ourselves crazy, getting in a car, doing all
> this
> travel? There are so many good things near us. Better things. We just don't
> know about them."
>
> Get this image out of your head: that Simkhai is some kind of tech-geek
> recluse, spurred to create software in order to find make-believe friends
> who
> loved Star Trek as much as he did. He is not any of those things. He's
> sleek
> and sociable. In the realm of iDating, he's a bit of a rock star. At the
> NYC
> Pride pier dance, everyone seemed to know him, and he strode through the
> crowd turning heads; Grindr T-shirts, in their instantly recognizable
> taxicab
> yellow, mingled all around him.
>
> Life wasn't always so sunny. Simkhai was an isolated boy in Mamaroneck, New
> York, still halfheartedly dating girls when he started using CompuServe's
> lone gay channel. It was a revelation: "I could type that I was gay! And
> that
> was part of my acceptance."
>
> In June 2008, when Apple unveiled the iPhone 3G, it blew the mind of every
> techie in this country. The app store meant that there was suddenly a new
> industry out there—a thousand new industries. Simkhai, then selling online
> magazine subscriptions, had long thought there had to be a way to use GPS
> to
> help people meet each other. "Maybe I was just selfish,"he says. "Maybe I
> just wanted to meet guys this way."
>
> Grindr launched in March 2009, with an initial investment of $5,000. At any
> given moment, there are now an average of 52,000 guys grinding in every
> country on earth except for the island nations of Nauru and Tuvalu. ("We
> have
> at least one user in North Korea," Simkhai notes.) The app racked up its
> 2-millionth user in early June.
>
> ···
>
> My iPhone, that neat little divining rod, led me to all sorts of guys, a
> whole spectrum, from the casual users to those as compulsive as I was fast
> becoming. One day I met Patrick, a saxophonist in Manhattan. His profile
> pic
> showed him in a tuxedo, brilliant, standing on a New York street. He had
> the
> rare distinction of being better looking than his photo. Patrick loved to
> flirt online—that was his hobby. "When this came out, it was the greatest
> revolution in gay sites," he recalled, "and you could hold it in your
> hand."
> Patrick started spending more time on Grindr than was prudent. But you
> know,
> he could quit anytime. I pictured him huddled over an iPad late some night,
> jonesing for a log-in, his hands shivering as he fumbled for his grind fix.
> It got so bad he forced himself to stay off Grindr for an entire year. But
> he
> came back. They all come back.
>
> On a splinteringly sunny day, at the Pride dance in Manhattan, I met Tim
> and
> Steve. Coincidentally, the dance was held two days after the New York State
> legislature had approved same-sex marriage, and the whole pier was mad with
> joy, pure joy. Tim and Steve occupied a place of honor, on a platform
> overlooking most of the pier, and in their modest way, they held court. For
> they are Grindr's star marriage. They'd gotten together one night on the
> app
> when Steve was vacationing in Sydney from the UK. One thing led to et
> cetera.
>
> Many grinders speak of them as nameless ideals, and in one Chat I heard
> that
> Tim and Steve had somehow "gotten married on Grindr." Perhaps they'd stood
> side by side, dressed to the nines, with formal-black phones in hand, and
> slowly, solemnly tapped out their vows. This sounded doubtful, but I didn't
> correct anyone. Every community needs its lore.
>
> Finally I met the King of His Kind, a 27-year-old waiter named Jon. We
> linked
> up in my French Roast. I was taking lots of guys there suddenly—more than
> one, many nights—and the staff, who'd been seeing me there for years, were
> baffled by this sudden turn of events.
>
> Sporting sandals and a shaved head, Jon is the Johnny Appleseed of
> reckless,
> anonymous sex. He was born in Missouri but, as soon as he hit 18, had the
> sense to step lively out of that backwater and eventually make his way to
> New
> York for what he called "the fun." He is conservative America's ultimate
> nightmare of what a grinder does, because if you can worry about it, he's
> done it.
>
> Jon guessed he's had about one hundred sexual encounters off Grindr and
> other
> hookup apps in the past year and a half. "The thing about Grindr is, you
> hardly ever know the guy's name!" he said, elated. "Yesterday I was
> Chatting
> to this guy a few blocks away. I had to be at work in Times Square in
> twenty-five minutes, but he wanted to give head. I got there, but when he
> came to the door, he looked nothing like his pic. I've probably walked away
> because of something like that three or four times out of a hundred. So I
> went ahead and did it with him anyway. For three or four minutes, I guess."
>
> Such stories, to Jon, are mundane. He prided himself that, in a dazzling
> understatement, he is "not very shy about sex." Besides, he said, "people I
> know in Missouri don't read GQ." (Jon's mom, please put down the magazine
> now.)
>
> On Grindr, nothing seemed to put him off. "This guy and I talked for five
> minutes, and we agreed he was only gonna suck me off," Jon told me. "It
> turned out he was way older than his picture—not even close—and I said, 'I
> can't do this.' It was the principle of the thing. Well, also, I knew I had
> more time later in the day and could take care of things then.
>
> "Another time, I was in the East Village," he added, just skipping along.
> "I
> met this kid, but I had to pee. Suddenly he sticks his face right in the
> stream of my pee and starts drinking. Pretty bold! I thought that took a
> lot
> of guts. He picked the right guy. I blew him in his building's lobby and
> went
> home." "Adorable," I replied flatly.
>
> Grindr, Jon said, is in the moment. "It cuts through a lot of the
> small-talk
> bullshit," he said. "I want quick, mechanical sex, to get sucked off, and
> there are a lot of guys who'll do it."
>
> Jon is a pure unadulterated crazy kid. He wants what he wants this instant.
> That's the thing of it, the madness and the danger of it—that first step
> into
> a dark bedroom or, possibly, into a hallway or waiting automobile. I found
> myself wondering if, in the evolution of things, we might one day all
> become
> the kid named Jonny, craving the rush of staring into a dark room and not
> even knowing what sort of room it was. Jon himself was certainly hooked. "I
> find God, and I find Him four or five times a week," he said, laughing.
> "Think of the anonymity—the now-ness. It's very exciting! You have no clue
> what the situation will be. And it's a thousand feet away."
>
> ···
>
> As the doting godchildren of Apple, the Blendr team fetishized
> confidentiality. Joel Simkhai was so consumed by secrecy that he'd never
> have
> told any outsider that name before the grand unveiling. He wouldn't have
> whispered it to a grandparent's grave. Instead, everyone called it by its
> top-secret code name, Project Amicus.
>
> When I went out to see the company, the office was Simkhai's old,
> well-appointed house in the Hollywood Hills. It was a very small space for
> eight or nine people to work in—1,500 square feet on a good day. There was
> a
> tall, ancient bougainvillea clinging to the dark wood of the house, and a
> postage-stamp lawn that nevertheless brought a gardener once a week. In the
> hazy distance, you could just make out the first half of the famous sign:
> HOLLY
>
> Inside, most everyone was online and wearing headphones, so all you heard
> was
> the sound of typing and the relentless jangle of ringtones. When they spoke
> to one another, whether it was because there was an outsider here or
> because
> they're just bewilderingly technical people, they spoke in cryptic
> combinations of abbreviations and numbers; for all I knew, they were
> communicating in binary. Simkhai himself prefers to work outside on a huge
> Mac, where he can keep an eye on his Yorkshire terrier, Coco—"the boy dog
> with the girl's name," he wryly said. He sometimes likes to set the tiny
> Coco
> in his lap and pet him as he theorizes, which makes him look like the polar
> opposite of a James Bond villain.
>
> In the office, I kept calling the new app "Grindr for straights" but was
> unfailingly corrected: "Amicus," a team member would sternly remind me, "is
> for Everybody!" Simkhai's ambitions were no less grandiose than those of
> Apple. He viewed Blendr not as a seamy hookup app or even a dating service
> but as something vast—a new century's gathering place. "Amicus will change
> the way people meet people," he often says. "It can change the world."
>
> But amid all the laid-back bustle and the hope for glorious innovation that
> filled the office, there was always one question looming. Would Blendr
> truly
> appeal to Everybody—or more precisely, would Blendr truly appeal to
> straight
> women? Actually, such questions only seemed to loom when I was on the
> premises. The Blendr team treated this as a settled matter. "We talked to
> lots of people, all kinds of people," Simkhai said. "Besides—" here he
> tapped
> his heart—"I have instinct." Scott Lewallen, a former creative director at
> a
> gay-cruise line and the app's co-founder and senior vice-president, said
> he'd
> immersed himself in the opinions of friends and of his sisters, who
> declared
> the idea "cool." I pointed out that Grindr serves a cohesive niche market,
> but Lewallen invoked a greater humanity. "People are social creatures," he
> said. "They want to interact and meet new people. We're hoping we'll find
> the
> same traction when Sally and her friends want to go to a bar and meet
> others
> there—girlfriends or guys or whoever." He envisions the app—which the team
> refers to as "location-based," though more lyrical types on the Net are
> pleased to use the term geosocial—as a social network where suburban soccer
> moms learn the kids' coach is also into crochet, and where their husbands
> discover that the new guy on the block could help fill the evening's poker
> game.
>
> Compared with other dating sites and apps, Grindr is like something out of
> 1950s Disney. The most risqué word on your "Looking For" list is "Dates."
> (The other four are Chat, Friends, Networking, and Relationship.) I asked
> Lewallen for an example of language used on Blendr that would not have been
> used on Grindr—in the main, what differences they perceive in the lingoes
> of
> gay men and of Everybody. He paused. "Well," he said brightly, "instead of
> saying 'guys,' we say 'people'! But we don't want to get caught up in the
> guys-versus-girls question."
>
> Actually, I did want to get caught up in that question, loudly and with
> great
> enthusiasm. For one thing, most of the women I asked (in an unscientific
> way)
> about the broad concept of Blendr seemed appalled. My sisters, evidently,
> hadn't been hanging out much with Scott Lewallen's sisters. To them, this
> all
> sounded like the opening scene of a Law & Order: SVU. (On-app women will be
> able to obscure their location if they so choose. But if you're not being
> geosociable, what's the point?) I harangued Joel Simkhai without mercy
> about
> this important issue, which led to conversations in restaurants that left
> our
> fellow patrons frightened and confused.
>
> "As a gay man, I probably understand straight women more than straight guys
> do," Simkhai said. "I'm halfway between... Well, maybe not halfway. But
> look—I'm somewhere in between."
>
> "So you can also think like a straight man?" I asked, a little too curtly.
>
> "I am a man," he said. "This goes beyond gender and sexuality—it is more
> basic. I know sex is sexy, but this isn't about that. I can tell you with a
> straight face, I want my mom on this app! I want my dad on it. Amicus is
> about when two people meet. I can't help what happens next."
>
> I had mixed feelings about what would happen next. I certainly wanted my
> phone to introduce me to girls who were pretty and in proximity and who
> would
> kiss me and let me kiss them. But there was no way to know whether, in the
> wild, Blendr would become as banal and domesticated as Facebook, which is a
> tame enough party to include that elderly aunt from Ireland and most of
> your
> ex-girlfriends in your News Feed. Or it could devolve into the
> multiple-crime
> scene that is Craigslist. Grinders themselves were divided, too. Half of my
> cohorts thought Blendr could be "the greatest dating platform in history."
> The other half bluntly said that "women don't fuck like this." "Men get
> stupider as they approach orgasms," said Patrick, the sax player. "Women
> take
> a slower process toward sex. Men want to stick it in."
>
> ···
>
> After using Grindr for months, it was starting to get on my nerves. The
> battering monotony, the guys who told their event-free stories in Proustian
> detail, the constant misunderstandings in Chat. I gave up on semicolons
> entirely, since no matter what the topic—famine, murdered children—the
> reader
> thought I was winking about something.
>
> But there are things in life—moments, people—that truly do restore your
> faith
> in the stuff that you've lost faith in. In my case, it was a photographer
> I'll call Peter, who made me remember why I'd liked Grindr in the first
> place
> (as a junkie "likes" meth). Peter had a mild, faraway quality and a shaved,
> perfectly shaped head. Within minutes of meeting me, he did something I'd
> never seen: With a slight lean forward, he quietly admitted, "My profile
> says
> I'm 41. But actually I'm 44!" It was the Grindr equivalent of seeing
> Bigfoot;
> I had believed that that sort of truthfulness simply didn't exist. And from
> everything I saw and heard, his honesty never wavered. "I've had six months
> of back-and-forths for two quick bang-'em-ups," he said in an abruptly
> Raymond Chandler way, before adding, with a distant and wistful look, "It
> was
> probably only oral sex.
>
> "Even so," he added, "Grindr reminds me of Facebook. It was a way of just
> not
> feeling so...so isolated. I still use it to talk to someone in my building.
> He'll be at our neighborhood bar, and I can tell where he is, then lovingly
> say, 'Come home!' "
>
> Then Peter told me about a GPS-perfect meeting on Grindr. Most days it's
> easier to just type "French Roast in 20?" But this time, after Chatting
> with
> some guy in Central Park, Peter switched on the map; and as he walked, the
> blue dot (Peter) fluttered, as balletically as little dots can, until it
> touched the red pushpin (Some Guy). I liked that story. Because the coolest
> part of Grindr, everyone knows, isn't anonymous sex or that Simkhaian dream
> of a fine friendship. It's that locator. Maybe someday you'll be able to
> watch your friends' little blue dots loping around a map of your city,
> town,
> or borough with almost no margin of error. No one has figured out quite yet
> if that would be fun or creepy, but everyone wants to see it. And in that
> community of familiar moving dots, Everybody might feel a lot
> less...isolated.
>
> ···
>
> It was always the promise of technology, especially of the Net, to make the
> world more controllable even while exposing us to more of it—Son, this big
> ol' world is now a small town. The Internet has achieved a funhouse-mirror
> version of that goal, but it does quite the opposite, too.
>
> Contrary to the plan, technology has limited our choices. When you check
> boxes that define your preference in a date—say, Latina, between 24 and 27,
> loves birds, is a Unitarian, oh, and also should have hazel eyes—you're
> narrowing your world quite a bit there. We no longer "happen across"
> anything; we Google. We don't flip through TV channels; we look at the
> cable
> menu and choose by title—or watch things you've chosen in advance, then
> recorded. Don't answer the phone without that caller ID. Don't bother
> listening to that whole CD—you want to hear that one song you already like.
> In every corner of this newest of new worlds, very little happens that
> isn't
> planned out. Technology has trumped serendipity.
>
> Think of the loves and lusts of your life. Did they satisfy your little
> checklist? Or is the person you're most attracted to the one who at first
> seems all wrong? Or maybe you were at a real-life party that bored you and
> you saw someone tilt their head back and laugh in a way that just killed
> you,
> and then that was that. In large part, human interaction is irrational or
> it
> is nothing. This is especially true with dumb sex. Dumb sex makes a fool of
> logic. If you're the man who has a "type" in romance, you probably also
> have
> a "system" at cards. Blendr is built on these insights into our silliness
> and
> our strangeness, and instead of finding you the person you think you're
> looking for, the software opens your eyes to the people around you.
>
> Unlike Grindr, Blendr will be available as a Facebook app. But to fulfill
> Simkhai's vision, Blendr will have to invert the Facebook model, which is a
> bridge to all those you already know and already like (though if anyone
> actively likes his or her 592 "friends," something is really wrong). People
> who know each other need to share whole garbage skiffs of information—how
> Frank is now an assistant manager, and how Todd, if you can believe it,
> just
> turned 3! Blendr does offer the option of including more personal data than
> Grindr—hometowns, say, or tastes. But it is still careful not to offer so
> much, Simkhai maintained, to cause the whole thing to become a jumble. Or
> to
> get in the way of your meeting that gorgeous creature, who maybe you'll
> love
> or screw or go bowling with, standing just a few feet away.
>
> That's the lure of it. That a lack of too much information, of too much
> complication, can create a social network that is as simple as real life:
> When you meet someone, you needn't already know that, the daughter of
> carnies, she graduated from Virginia Tech. So Grindr and Blendr share a
> restraint, a deliberate act of withholding, all of which builds in the
> possibilities that are born of accident. They want to give you just enough
> to
> make that Look Across the Room mean something without swiping away the
> mystery.
>
> ···
>
> Long after I was finished with interviews, I still looked at Grindr all the
> time. I still look at it all the time. These are my neighborhood guys. I'll
> see a pic and think, "Oh, that's the guy who did the crazy Elizabeth Banks
> laugh." Or I'll notice that Jonny evidently hooked up last night and is now
> making a tiny digitized walk of shame back home at 6 A.M. here on my
> iPhone.
> Or I'll just think, "Chad, you prick."
>
> Even people I don't know—the Sup guys—have become recognizable characters
> in
> my little phone pageant: "Tex"! Why would you change your profile
> description
> to that? Now you sound like a whore. Oh, "G"! Another torso picture?
> Seriously?
>
> Certainly there is no unsubscribing from it. A smartphone is everywhere, in
> reach, right now. You become that goldfish who, every lap around the glass
> bowl, thinks, "Hey! A little castle!" Surely, you think, something has
> happened on my app in the past six minutes. So you end up thinking, "Hey! I
> should check Grindr! Hey! I should check Grindr!" And you do have to. I do
> have to.
>
> Very late one night, the reality of Blendr, of blending, at long last hit
> me.
> Suddenly I wouldn't be a journalist above the fray. Blendr might lead to
> real
> lust, real pain. I used to be above all that. This is the chaos and the
> "accident" that was supposed to be so fucking poetic. Would I again confuse
> the French Roast waitstaff by now showing up at all hours with different
> women? Would there be good dumb sex in every bathroom stall and office
> stairwell—sex involving me? Would I hit it off with some girl whose
> politics
> I hate and who owns a cat but who, one fateful day, happened to be only
> twelve feet away? Would I fall in love with that idiot-voting, cat-loving
> girl, and would my dot forever overlap her pushpin? What were we getting
> ourselves into?
>
> Still, as I fretted over all this, I realized it had been half an hour, so
> I
> logged on to see what was up with everybody.
>
> Marshall Sella writes regularly for GQ.
>
> Tags News, Men's Lives, Blendr, Grindr
>
>
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