[FoRK] iBone

Lucas Gonze lucas.gonze at gmail.com
Tue Oct 4 12:52:08 PDT 2011


There is an actual iBone app. It is a trombone simulator.


On Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 9:03 AM, geege schuman <geege4 at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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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