Just imagine: you walk into a bar. The place is full with guys. Some single, some in couple. Some young and some older. And from every nationality. You work your way through the space greeting people left and right, exploring what the night has to offer. You see a nice guy and approach him. He doesn't reply. You shrug. It happens. You continue your tour through the bar and see another guy that interests you. Again you say hi. He looks you in the face and turns his head without saying a word. Kind of rude. Once again you look around and after a while someone comes to talk to you. You like what you see and respond happily. The conversation that follows is nice and entertaining. You talk about what you've done that evening and mutual interests and rapidly the talk gets more personal. He asks your age and you answer. At the same time some other guy says hello so for a split second you respond to him. When you turn your focus back to your first conversation partner, he's nowhere to be seen. Gone. Vanished without a word. You keep going and you keep trying but for some reason they all either ignore you or disappear after a few first words. It seems pretty unreal, doesn't it. Yet this is exactly what we are all guilty off.
With Internet came social networking and with that came targetted social networking. Especially for gay men there are many apps, most free of charge, that you can install and that give you free access to a digital meeting place with as primary goal finding a sex date. Grindr, Bender, Scruff, Jack'd, Growlr... It seems like there are as many apps as there are participants. But let's face it. Online cruising is fun and exciting but no matter how userfriendly those sites are, it is far from easy. Becasue besides the fact it keeps people away from the more conventional meeting places like bars - or worse, everyone in a bar is bend over his smartphone - it also dramatically changed our social behaviour. There is no place for conversation anymore. Kindness and wickedness has made place for rudeness. Admit, how many times have you tried to talk to someone and after sharing your photo he simply never answered back? Not even with his picture. And admit, how many times have you done that yourself? Have we really become that shallow that we are only looking at physical appearance (hoping of course his picture is really him) with the sole objective of getting laid? Have we really become so social network addicted that all we can think of to meet someone is shopping in a virtual meat market where what you see isn't always what you get? What happened to the excitement of the real time encounters? The flirting? Though I do admit that sometimes it is an easy solution to deal with that extra energy or horniness, it seems gay dating apps are nothing more than a digital masturbation tool. How sad that where we are growing and maturing in other things, we seem to be loosing that one ability that seperates humans from other life forms: social contact. -BM-
Cover photography by Dean Jackson. Featuring DW Chase.
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