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.