The Guysexual’s Brutally Honest Review Of Happn

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Love can be found in the most unexpected places.

If you are the smart, suave Jane Austen novel-inspired hero, you can find love as you rummage through old classics at the bookstore. You can lock eyes with your future soul mate as you order an Old Fashioned at the bar. You can even fall hopelessly head-over-heels in love with a fellow patient in your doctor’s waiting room (just make sure it’s not your therapist). The train station? Obviously. The supermarket? Hell yes. Your nephew’s PTA meet at school – why not? The world is your oyster to shuck. But what happens when you are shy and mild-mannered, and have the self-confidence of a prepubescent teenage boy?

This is when Happn happens.

What it is: Happn is an app for your missed connections. Whether it’s the cute writer whose number you forgot to ask or the attractive waiter at the coffee shop who slipped you an extra cookie, the app lets you reconnect with people when you didn’t get an opportunity to do so. It’s your boost of confidence. Your (slightly creepy) wingman. Your second chance. Your ‘other door’ when the first one slams shut in your face.

Like they say, Happn is a real time playground for love. Now get down and dirty, but beware of the jungle gym of romantic entanglements that never work.

How it works: Happn picks up everyone within a 250-metre radius and presents them to you like an open buffet of opportunities. It’s every stalker’s dream-come-true. Which brings me to June 2017.

I saw him pull over at the signal, as I was halfway through a chicken sandwich. He was inconspicuously tall and conventionally good-looking – and I was mere meters away from staging a meet-cute. He looked at me through his window just as the traffic lights switched from red to green, and my face switched from green to red. Tossing his floppy black hair out of his eyes, he smiled and drove by. I felt my heart race along, but it couldn’t keep up – he’d already zoomed away into oblivion. Was this a burning heart, or heartburn? I threw the last bits of the sandwich away, just in case.

This is where Happn comes in.

Open the app, and watch as it loads up everyone who you’ve potentially crossed paths with in your life (although they need to have downloaded the app and have similar sexual preferences). Recognise someone you might have seen pass by and want to show him that you are interested?

Just send him a heart on Happn, and hope that he sends one back – that’s the secret way of letting a match know that you ‘like’ them secretly, so they won’t know you are interested in them unless they’re interested in you too. If you want to be more persuasive (as I am wont to be), you can even send a ‘charm’, sliding your way into their DMs, or in this case, their match lists with the flair of a self-proclaimed dating coach.

But do remember, Happn has as much probability of connecting you to the hunky model you saw at the bar last night, as it does of setting you up with the creepy neighbour from across the street – the same one who’s always looking at you through his plastic drapes. Stay cautious, stay safe.

What I like about it: On Happn, matches include the company and job title of each user, which makes it easy to do your research if a potential paramour seems particularly dodgy (not that anyone’s career choices are a measure of their shadiness).

What I don’t like about it: Because Happn matches its users with people they’ve physically passed during the day, if the match ends in an uncomfortable conversation, it can feel uncomfortable – and depending on the situation – unsafe for one or both parties if they’re habitually crossing each other commuting to work or otherwise.

Happn also works better in big cities than in small towns. The more people you pass during the run of your day, the higher the chances of meeting the one true love of your life – which means it also automatically increases your chances of being pestered by creeps, douchebags and potential serial killers that you might have passed (without giving a second eye) on the road. Keep your hearts open, but make sure that your eyes are even more so.

Who is it for: For those who believe in second chances.

Just make sure you have a friend on SOS, and the neighbourhood’s ‘sex offender’s list’ downloaded for perusal on your smartphone.

Guysexual’s Grade-o-meter:

Hookability: 6/10

Compatibility: 1/10

Usability: 4/10

Downloadability: 4/10

The Guysexual’s Brutally Honest Review Of Planet Romeo

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We’ve grinded at clubs with Grindr, scratched away at Scruff’s rough surface and had a tryst with ’90s style dating with Hinge. But what do you do when your needs are more carnal and less ‘Can-we-have-another-spectacular-date-again?’

Look at that app skulking away in the corner? It’s Planet Romeo.

What it is: Planet Romeo is the bane of homosexual existence, but such a necessary evil. A German-based networking portal for LGBT ‘singles who are looking to mingle’, Romeo can rightly be called the deeper end of the online dating pool — don’t get me wrong, I’ve found a handful of interesting people there, but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. For every interesting person you connect with, you have to sieve through a hundred hopefuls of ‘Hi’s’ and ‘Hello’s’, all with ‘a place’, or worse, a bed. It’s the Yahoo chat room of the new millennium.

Only this isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

How it works: Frankly, Planet Romeo is an online directory of men to sleep with — page after page full of profiles of horny men, looking for everything from ‘Now’ to ‘Why not now?’

As a veteran, you feel an odd adrenaline rush every time you log in: the ta-da-ding message alert syncs with your heartbeat (or your libido) and urges you to open the app every 30 minutes (which you will).

Then, as you browse the lists for men you might be sexually interested in, you can decide whether you want to send them a ‘footprint’ (great butt, hot c*ck, fun guy, handsome face, you get the gist), and leave them as souvenirs for the boys you want to keep as souvenirs. Once thoughts (and sexual preferences) match, people exchange numbers, and bodily fluids. Sex has never been so simple.

Since Planet Romeo can get so addictive, most gay men spend a major part of their formative years on it. An anonymous friend has multiple profiles up — one is faceless, asking for ‘discreet M2M fun’, another hides behind a tantalising picture of Ranbir Kapoor. A third, a close up of his excruciatingly well-defined torso seeks immediate sexual gratification, while the fourth shows his face in all its glory, dimples et al — that’s when he’s looking for something serious, but he’s never had to use it yet.

‘I needed to find myself,’ he says to me — and on his way, he found Rajiv, Faiz, Rishi, Kabir and half a dozen other gay men. He likes the variety, he tells me later, as he meets me for a coffee between two dates. ‘Sometimes, if you are lucky, you even get a callback for a threesome’. That’s what he hopes the second one would be, as he gulps down his coffee to boost his sex drive all over again. He’s got the first boy waiting on speed dial.

I have nothing to say, so I simply sip at my iced tea. Rampant sex aside, what’s the plus point of Planet Romeo?

You don’t have to audition to get into anyone’s bed. Unless you want to role-play.

When do you use it: to feed your weekly (or daily, no judging) case of post-midnight blues (or blue balls).

What I like about it: flapping d*cks and a patchwork quilt of sculpted abs aside; Planet Romeo really is very nonchalant about its chief purpose. In so many ways, it’s like your cool aunt who knows about your sexual history, but makes sure she buys you a pack of condoms before you step out for your hot date — Planet Romeo’s info zone shares free (and reliable, unlike WebMD) information about STDs — emphasising the importance of safe sex and condoms.

The fact that it has the largest user base makes this that much more important.

What I don’t like about it: Cluttered with virtual ads, pop up windows and profiles of boys-who’d-rather-pick-your-bodies-than-your-brains, Planet Romeo is as confusing to navigate as your quarterly Zara Sale (sans the clothes, obviously).

But that’s not all. One of the other downsides of Planet Romeo is how NSFW it is for any place apart from the dark confines of your bedroom. Work? Definitely not. Gym? If you don’t want to be deadlifted.  Your daily train rides? Unless embarrassment is the last stop.

 Bonus feature: The upgraded 2018 version of Planet Romeo is full of bonus features (and hopefully, no STDs):

  • Ask Mother: Just like how mothers help nurture a baby, this section offers relationship tips and advice for gay men to nurture their relationships. Unlike your mother, it also tells you to use the app.
  • “G-rated” Version: PlanetRomeo allows nude photos and adult content on their website. However, members who wish to screen out sexual content can choose this option. Think of this like ‘Netflix for Kids’, but secretly hope there aren’t any underage-children here.
  • Automatic Logout: If you are inactive for a period of 10 minutes, you will be automatically logged out of PlanetRomeo. No more catfishing by your colleagues (or your slightly devious friends).
  • Happy Friday: Most of the PlanetRomeoplus features are available for free on Fridays to all its members — Happy Hours for everyone!
  • Planet Radio: When you are browsing through thousands of profiles on PlanetRomeo you can choose to play your favorite internet radio station. Why should musicians have all the fun?

Who is it for: Anyone who’s looking for pure, uninhibited, unadulterated sex. Carry a condom.

Guysexual’s Grade-o-meter:

Hookability: 10/10

Compatibility: 4/10

Usability: 5/10

Downloadability: 9/10