The Guysexual’s Brutally Honest Review Of Tinder

Tinder_Guysexual_amraidua

 

Online dating will always be shunned and sniggered at, like the fat kid from school that no one spoke to. Dating apps are usually hidden, stacked between photo-editing apps and to-do lists, away from prying eyes, pudgy fingers and awkward questions.

Why so?

It’s simple. It’s completely against the idea of a textbook romance — meeting someone at a party or at the local bookshop, bumping into each other, and falling head-over-heels in love with each other at first sight.

But that’s where you are wrong.

If you think your next big love isn’t hidden behind a mesh of profiles on the dating app of your choice, there’s a very big chance he’s not waiting for you at the bar with free drinks (and if he is, there’s a chance he might give you chlamydia). Conventional ways of finding love are dying out and for good reason, because we just don’t have the time (or the hope to leave things to chance).

So as we traverse through the desert of online dating with pit stops over at GrindrScruff and Hinge, here’s presenting the oasis at the end of many (many) dating dust storms.

Say hi to Tinder. She’s swiping right on you already.

What it is: Tinder is the It-girl of dating apps, the one that all the others want to be like, and secretly hate. Like the nagging aunt, it shows you picture after picture of suitable men (and women) – because perfection doesn’t come easy, and here, it can come more than once. But what sets it apart from the nagging aunt in question?

Tinder has a strict ‘no-judgments-passed’ policy, which comes to play as you test-drive your way through the sea of suitable men. Well, no one said that finding a potential mate was easy. They aren’t all Planet Romeo.

How it works: You can swipe right to ‘Like’, or turn left to ‘Oh-I-don’t-think-so’. Tinder is a clearance sale of Facebook profile pictures. You collect the ones you love, and ignore the ones you don’t. But then, the pile keeps on growing, and you don’t know what to do. Unless someone collects you too.

Intellectually, can Tinder be considered as the online dating app for the people who have given up on online dating?

Truly so. Unless you are my friend, Kartik.

Last month, the 29-year-old copywriter came across Rajeev — he was handsome, gay (and not sexually fluid like the boys on Bro), ran his own start-up, and at 6’ 2” (Rajeev’s profile told him), he was a lot taller than Kartik was. Was he the light at the end of a tunnel of d*****bags and dimwits? More importantly, could their mutual love for Rihanna, Banksy and Humans Of New York account for total compatibility in the romance department? Probably not, but maybe Tinder could help them meet halfway there (not literally, like in the case of Happn).

Kartik (super) liked right and waited.

And waited. And waited. He waited for all of 23 days, seven hours and 42 minutes. Rajeev never matched back. Obsessing over a text message is a little crazy, but when you’re in an online relationship (or not), that’s really all you have. Are you allowed to feel heartbroken if you’ve never met someone in person?

If real-life relationships are taxing and nerve-wracking, the ones you find here are only better – every curve ball that life throws at you, Tinder throws two. The biggest of them all: How do you answer the classic – ‘How did you two meet?’ – milestone that every couple that meets through Tinder dreads.

It’s simple. You tell them you met each other at Starbucks.

What I like about it: Unlike most dating apps for queer men (and women), Tinder doesn’t allow immediate, unfiltered communication. No more message requests. No more unsolicited dick pics. No more ‘I-see-that-you-are-50-metres-away-wanna-hook-up?’

Chat (and ultimately cuddle up) with only people you match with – not that there’s a guarantee a man won’t turn out to be a d*****bag after 50 texts full of witty prose.

What I don’t like about it: Like most good things in life, finding true love on Tinder doesn’t come free. See, Tinder might be your best bet to meet your future plus one, But Tinder Plus (or Gold for the select few who can afford it) is where you strike gold, no puns intended.

Unlimited right swipes? Hell yes. Rewind the accidental ones? Obviously. That one-off (brilliant) chance to skip the queue? Definitely. 3X chances of finding a soul mate? That’s a third of the catfishes you have to wade through before you find your Prince Charming.

Now I was always good at math, but these numbers don’t make any sense at all.

Bonus feature: They say a picture speaks a thousand words, but Tinder’s extensive library of GIFs and customised emojis can write a book. Cat got your tongue as you flirt your way with the hot travel photojournalist who you (super) liked? There’s an appropriate ‘wanderlust’ GIF in there somewhere.

Tips to follow: As a single gay man, do you still think that the quintessential dating app is the only speed bump on your journey towards finding a fulfilling NSA (no-stress at all) relationship?

Make an effort with your profile. Your vital stats and sexual preferences might get you sex in 30 minutes or less, but a soul mate? Not so much.

Stop using the app only after midnight – you are not fooling anyone when you want to meet for a date in the middle of the night. In your bedroom.

Stop tlking lyk dis 2 ppl online.

Be nice, be charming, be yourself – but most importantly, be kind, rewind.

Who is it for: Because the worst of us need a fairy tale to believe in.

For all the times you don’t find a Fairy Godmother to help you on your quest to seek true love, Tinder swipes right in and saves the day. She’d even give you a makeover if you have Tinder Gold.

But that’s another story.

Guysexual’s Grade-o-meter

Hookability: 8/10

Compatibility: 9/10

Usability: 8/10

Downloadability: 9/10

The Guysexual’s Brutally Honest Review Of Bro

 

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Men have always had it easy.

Gay or straight, the laws of online dating have always been balanced. Gay men have Grindr. Straight men have Hinge. But what about straight men looking to woo (or wingman with) other men, you ask?

Say hello to Bro, the app that everyone is talking about.

What it is: Launched in early 2016, Bro promises that it ‘goes beyond using labels, and is for men that are interested in meeting other guys — it’s as simple as that.’ It doesn’t say it’s a sex app (in those many words) — it’s for men seeking friendships, men who want to date, men who want casual hookups and all the permutations and combinations in between — without the baggage of old labels and questions by older relatives.

How it works:  Straight, gay or bisexual — Bro is an all-accepting sausage fest, and has no qualms about it. It’s online dating without typecasting itself as online dating. In fact, Bro advertises itself as the app that welcomes men who don’t feel welcome in the gay community. It finally lets people be what they shouldn’t be embarrassed of being — sexually fluid.  Sexuality is a continuum and not a binary, and bro recognises that. But beneath the blue and white, straight man-friendly exterior, does it really offer anything that Grindr doesn’t?

Yes, and no. There are less faceless torsos, more happy faces of people doing happy things. There’s always been a grey area between the boundaries of sex, relationships and friendship, and when an app asks you whether you are looking to find friendship, fun or ‘whatever’, Bro wins hands down in the grey department, all 50 shades of it.

I am neither a bro, nor am I straight — so I break both the cardinal rules when I decide to try it out — I am not one to shy away from finding true love, even if it’s with a potentially straight man. How do I do as a bro?

Not so well, but I’d let you be the judge of that with my five-day gaycation on the app:

Day 1:

I download the app with the vigour and hope that I usually reserve for the first day of a clearance sale. The app’s interface is bright, multi-racial and eye-catching, which is great — because that’s how I like my boys. After a quick sign up where it chides me for my stats, preferences and HIV status, Bro does what no other dating app does.

It asks me to sort myself.

Am I the beefy Jock Bro? A nerdy Brogrammer?  A muscular GI Bro? A preppy Bro? Casual Bro? Suited Bro? Lumber Bro, Hipster Bro or the ‘surprised-to-see-you-here’ fabulous Bro?

I choose the casual Bro because no hipster would ever admit to being one.

Once I am set, a grid of hopefuls show up — I am slightly disappointed. It’s a sea of men I’ve blocked on Grindr, long forgotten exes, a few friends, and men I’ve always seen around but never spoken to.

I dive in.

Day 2:

I start my second day with a fresh fist bump. It’s Gautam, a video editor who I went on a date with a few months ago. I’ve swiped right on Gautam on Tinder; Woof’d at him on Scruff, and starred him as a favourite on Grindr. I do the only sensible thing left to be done. I send a fist bump back at him, in the awkward way I would in middle school. (Side note: I’ve never really been great at fist bumping — the last person I fist bumped was my three-year-old nephew.)

‘What are you doing here?’ he texts me.

‘I was going to ask you the same question,’ I text him back.

‘Just checking out the scene on the other side of the tracks, bro,’ he pings back. We both have a laugh over it, ending our abrupt conversation with a crisp LOL from each side. We make plans to meet soon, but we both know that we won’t.

That’s the last I hear from him.

Day 3:

I strike up a conversation with a new face: 27-year-old Ankit’s profile says that he’s spontaneous, funny and charming, with a hairy chest. He’s also straight, and inconspicuously (but not surprisingly) from New York.

I say hello with a non-committal ‘Ssup?’ — could this be the start of a sitcom-level bromance (with six season and a movie) where we wingman each other at bars?

I wait for 10 minutes. I wait for an hour. I wait for a whole day.

He never replies, killing my sitcom dreams even before we can shoot a pilot.

Day 4:

Still reeling from the rejection, I open my bro with no new expectations. The app doesn’t disappoint — apart from two requests for my sexual preference, my message inbox is emptier than my heart. I switch off, vowing to never come back again.

I go back the next day.

Day 5:

I get fist bumped by a girl.

She tells me she’s bisexual; I tell her I am surprised. The awkward silence resonates forever, but my relationship with Bro doesn’t.

What I like about it: Like I said, it’s online dating without typecasting itself as online dating. In fact, Bro advertises itself as the app that welcomes men who don’t feel welcome in the gay community. It finally lets people be what they shouldn’t be embarrassed of being — sexually fluid.

But sexually lucid? Not so much.

What I don’t like about it: ‘Bro’ is for men who don’t want to commit — to labels, or a relationship. In fact, men can even ‘fist bump’ each other to show their sign of approval, so that they can be comfortable in their skin when they ultimately do ask each other for a blowjob (they are just one football jersey short of not really questioning their sexuality after using it.) This is my one grouse with the app; it puts heteronormativity on a pedestal.

And that’s the last thing that needs a throne in 2018.

Who is it for: Breaking norms and reestablishing sexual fluidity aside, I realise I wouldn’t want to go find bros before my hos. It’s simply not my cup of tea. Instead, I’d pass it over for a keg of beer and a beautiful boy who wants me for a little more than ‘whatever, bro’.

And for that, I’ve got Grindr and my wine shop on speed dial.

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Guysexual’s Grade-o-meter:

Hookability: 3/10

Compatibility: 4/10

Usability: 5/10

Downloadability: 6/10