My best friends: Tinder, Grindr, Tumblr

It’s not unknown that the internet has created unrealistic ideas of beauty. Especially for gay and bi men, there is a way we’re supposed to look that’s deemed attractive. So many of us are stuck chasing that twinklicious body that we only see online. There is this notion that youth equals beauty, when it really doesn’t. Everyone is truly beautiful in their own way, because there is more to a person than a profile picture.

The use of dating apps has made it hard to date in the real world. My friends enjoy complaining that there isn’t enough inventory out there. Like a broken record, all I hear is, ‘I can’t meet any good guys who want to be serious.’ After they say this, they proceed to launch their apps. Now I have no qualms about dating apps – they serve the purpose of connecting people. However, as they read blurbs of boys in a 10 mile radius, my friends are missing the boys right in front of their faces.

The previous LGBT+ generation mastered the art of flirting without technology. It was all about eye contact, connection, approach. The culture then required discretion. Our society has made so much progress since that time. I should be able to walk up to a guy, introduce myself, get a chuckle, and walk away with his number. The only problem is, I don’t know how to do that. I do not have the ability and skill to verbalise my attraction. I count all the marbles in my mouth as I miss opportunities to talk to boys.

Tumblr, Tinder and Grindr have made it harder for my generation to pursue a relationship in person. Not only do these apps fuel the unattainable beauty frenzy – where every pose is perfect and every filter just so – they also promote stereotypes, make us cynical and send a message that the only guys willing to date you just exist within your phone.

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As humans we need four things to meet our emotional needs: safety, love/belonging, esteem and self-actualisation. Face-to-face contact with people builds meaningful relationships and helps us meet these emotional needs. If these needs are filtered through a phone, we are left forever at a distance and therefore forever chasing them.

We need to start talking to the men we find attractive and not just staring. If he is straight he will be flattered and appreciate the ego boost. If he is interested in you, you have possibly started a beautiful relationship. You never know till you try. And we should never be afraid of trying.

There is growing acceptance for homosexuality in America. It’s not perfect, but the progress is there. We can keep it going by being who we are. Don’t let Tumblr, Tinder and Grindr be the way you love. Love differently. Let’s start conversations, and not ones that begin with ‘Sup?’, ‘How big?’, ‘You top?’.

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