It’s no secret that Grindr is on a one-app mission to be the centre of the gay universe — especially with its online magazine, a new tapping feature and the rather special gaymoji keyboard. Grindr is thus, the rightful king of all queens.
But what happens when you want your men to have more character (and more importantly, more hair)?
Say hello to Scruff.
What it is: Like Grindr, Scruff is a grid of available, attractive gay men with pictures in various stages of undress. It’s infested with bears, otters, wolves and cubs. Is this an app or a zoo?
It’s a mating ground, but more on that later. Scruff follows Grindr’s tried-and-tested formula: scroll through a near-endless grid of thumb-sized profiles of men with not-so-thumb-sized d*cks.
Only this one comes with a few twists and knots on the way, no puns intended. See, Scruff’s all black, faux-tough guy motif isn’t all that memorable, but every gay man’s second favourite dating app comes with its own set of redeeming qualities — namely a narrowed down user base with millions of guys on the hairier side. And they are all looking for the same thing.
How it works: Being slightly more niche than Grindr, Scruff doesn’t have the same critical mass of users, nor the cultural clout. But Scruff is no nonsense that way. It comes with a purpose — letting scruffy men find their hairier halves. You woof at people you like, leaving them little red notifications of love that they can sniff back to your account. However, Scruff’s standard layout allows four profiles in a row (as opposed to Grindr’s three) — so a guy who looks cute in a tiny, thumbnail picture might not look the same blown up — after all, you don’t want your thumbnail Akshay Kumar to look like Akshaye Khanna when you zoom in. The only silver lining on the scruffy cloud, though?
It allows you to search for like-minded men in other cities (and offer airBnB style travel accommodation for the same), making it ideal for that vacation fling that is hairier and smarter than your average bear.
My own phone screen lights up with a message from one such hirsute hottie. It’s a 32-year-old man from 3,000 miles away. He calls himself Entreflaneur. His interests include art, design, film, aimless wandering and compulsive list making. His photos include well-defined pecs. Have we got ourselves a winner?
I send out a woof before I can even open the message. ‘Can I see how hairy you are?’ asks the Amazonian demi-god. He unlocks his highly NSFW album, where each picture is an advanced Biology lesson.
I blink at my phone — is that the new ‘Hello! Nice to meet you?’
‘I don’t have any pictures,’ I ping back — the woof that I sent him two minutes ago, has probably strangled itself in embarrassment. He never texts back, leaving me to aimlessly wander by myself.
Which I do; out of the app, never to come back again.
When do you use it: Like I’ve said before, Scruff is the hairier, bearier alternative to Grindr, which means that the target audience is here for exactly the same reasons — pure uninhibited sex, 24/7 (so think of it as a convenience store for carnal pleasures, only here they don’t accept cash).
What I like about it: Are you a self-proclaimed pogonophile? Scruff takes the basic dating experience and tailors it to men of the older (and muscular) persuasion. So many sets of abs, so little time. Just make sure you hit them up before they hit someone else.
What I don’t like about it: Since everyone on Scruff has already crossed paths with you on Grindr, there’s a high chance you’ll be someone’s sloppy seconds.
And I don’t mean it in the good way.
Bonus feature: Scruff also offers an exclusive Match feature, which serves up, well, matches. But it only seems to pair people based on what they’re looking for — dates, relationships, fun — not deeper criteria, such as common interests or your (often conflicting) views on Donald Trump’s latest shenanigans.
Who is it for: If you are looking for a quick nookie with men who have some hair on their chest and dirt on their nails, Scruff (as the name rightly suggests) is perfect for you.