What Does Your Favourite Dating App Say About You?

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Like a man’s scent and his shoes, his preferred dating app can speak volumes about his personality (and his data usage). Does he like to swipe right or send a spark? Does he send texts or thirst traps? Are his location settings enabled? What about his notifications? Or even better, his guards?

While you don’t have an option of playing favourites with children, pets or cast members from Brooklyn Nine Nine, you do get to be biased when it comes to online dating apps. The truth is every gay man has a go-to dating app, one that he likes cuddling up to (or find men on which he can cuddle with) after a day that’s wrapped in loneliness and long-forgotten email threads. It’s the app that he gets a drink with. The app that he gushes to his friends about. The one that he takes back home, safely in the confines of his smartphone.

You may have swiped through my very detailed reviews for each of these apps mentioned below, but how well do you know them? Have you ever wondered what the dating app you’re on says about you, or the people you meet on them? Swipe right through this list:

Tinder

Who is it for: Men who can’t afford a Fairy Godmother to find the One™.

What does it say about you: “If I have to kiss a few frogs to find my Prince Charming, so be it. I really wish I could send dick pics though…”

Grindr

Who is it for: Men looking for something beyond companionship and compatibility, unless it’s the sort of compatibility you seek in bed.

What does it say about you: ‘What? Of course, I don’t take this seriously. Do you stay alone, btw?’

Scruff

Who is it for: Men looking for men with some hair on their chest and dirt on their nails.

What does it say about you: “Not that I have a problem with the spectrum, but why can’t all gay men be more straight-acting?’

Planet Romeo

Who is it for: Men looking for pure, uninhibited, unadulterated sex. Carry a condom.

What does it say about you: ‘I like to believe I am sex positive.’

Hinge

Who is it for: Disney princes looking for friends of friends who are Disney princes.

What does it say about you: “I have so many friends, why can’t they set me up with someone they know?’

Happn

Who is it for: Men who believe in second chances. Just make sure you have a friend on SOS, and the neighborhood’s criminal offender’s list on standby.

What does it say about you: “Maybe I should go out more…”

Hornet

Who is it for: Men who like it easy, but don’t want to seem easy.

What does it say about you: “I want to have sex, but I want my friends to have sex too.”

Jack’d

Who is it for: Same as Hornet, but they also prefer being called sapiosexuals.

What does it say about you: “Don’t even get me started on what I think about the current government’s administration…”

Bro

Who is it for: Men who don’t want to commit – to labels, relationships, or even sexual orientations.

What does it say about you: “So buddy, I am really not gay… but you want to get a beer or two and give me a blowjob later?”

Delta

Who is it for: Men who’ve tried every dating app there is, and are tired of the same.

What does it say about you: “…but what about #MakeInIndia?”

We’re Queer, We’re Here: Beyond Serving As Clickbait And Buzzwords, Our Voices Must Be Heard

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A popular women’s fashion magazine recently celebrated ‘voices’ — trendsetters and change makers — with a star-studded award ceremony earlier this month. Did they deliver?

You bet they did. When a fashion magazine recognises and respects diverse voices, including ones that propagate feminism and body-positivity, they need to be congratulated. In fact, said fashion magazine even commended voices in the tech space.

Now this is where it gets strange. When a magazine awards every kind of voice there is, how do they applaud the country’s queerscape?

With complete radio silence. And it’s the same everywhere. Over the weekend, the country’s leading men’s magazine lauded content creators in the fields of style and culture. And yet again, they forgot to send queer voices a memo.

Why is this even more disheartening than it should be? Because over the same weekend, many a thousand miles away, the GLAAD Media Awards honoured various branches of the media for their outstanding representations of the LGBT community.

This side of the Indian Ocean, the problem lies in the complete indifference with which the media deals with homosexuality in general. Like the (now disgraced) king of Pop once sang, they really don’t care about us.

How do I know?

After a three-month-long email exchange with the (then) lifestyle editor at the aforementioned men’s magazine, she wrote back saying that the magazine (digital or print) didn’t have space for queer content. ‘Activism isn’t the scope of the brand,’ she drawled. ‘We aren’t sure how our audiences would react to something as sensitive as queer pieces.’

This was in 2017. For a magazine that regularly objectifies adrenaline-pumping men on its cover, doles out fashion and beauty advice, has an audience that consumes queer culture, and a taskforce of gay men that’s larger than my list of starred favourites on Grindr, what really counts as hetero-sensitive? What counts as important? What counts as a voice that needs to be seen, but not heard?

Sadly, things haven’t changed much in the last decade.

Half a decade ago, I got a call asking me whether I wanted to be part of a ‘label-breaking’ advertisement. Conceptualised by an award-winning director known for his indie work and independent voice, it was a #TimeToBreakStereotypes video campaign for a high-end luxury brand.

They needed an openly gay man for a bit role, and here I was, fresh out of the closet. It was Pride Month, and I was bursting to do my bit for the community (and more importantly, my 15 seconds of fame).

On the day of my shoot, I rushed over to the set with a fresh haircut and fresher hopes. Between a hurried costume change and makeup session, I excitedly peeped over the AD’s shoulder to read my character’s description on the call sheet; there were only two words:

Gay Two.

The fact that I wasn’t important enough to be ‘Gay One’ aside (in my defense, it was an androgynous supermodel), was this really what we had come down to?

Because if the urban intellectual can be so unsympathetic to an entire sexual minority’s problems, what can we really expect from the rest of the country?

See, because the Urban Intellectual™ is supposed to be smart and opinionated (but obviously not in a weary sort of way). The Urban Intellectual™ gives regular discourses on toxic patriarchy through their Instagram stories. The Urban Intellectual™ has lot of gay friends accessories.  The Urban Intellectual™ supports the #MeToo movement (until one of their own is called out). The Urban Intellectual™ posts memes about misogyny. (S)he is your online best friend. Your voice of reason. Your ally.

And they are everywhere.

At a meeting with one of India’s top internet media companies, I had the pleasure of being offered a freelance gig by the (then) editor. They needed new voices, she said to me — more inclusion leads to more introspection for the audience. I tittered. Was this finally our day of reckoning — when queer voices weren’t just typecast, but cast as frontrunners instead?

‘And you know, we could really use you at the office,’ she giggled, ‘Our office is so heteronormative, it gets really boring with all these straight boys,’ she laughed.

I blinked. I thought she was joking — solely because one of the main reasons I wanted in was ‘cause all the straight boys seemed so much fun.

She wasn’t. And that’s when I felt like the joke. Because it doesn’t just stop at intellectuals and (the occasional) Instagram influencers.

See, queer men and women have forever been paraded in campaigns and draped in click bait. I’ve personally been asked to ‘be gay’ (for the camera) and ‘write gay’ more times than I can count. Can you write something bitchy? Can you write something scandalous? Can you ruffle some feathers? Can you shock our audiences? Can you be the person we want you to be?

I’m not denying that being fabulous is fun; I am just saying there’s more to queer culture than our sartorial choices and sass.

The truth is that people really aren’t looking for queer voices; they are looking for queer click bait. Gay culture will always be trivialised and tokenised, treated as a SEO trend right around the time of Pride Month (and marches) or worse, Valentine’s week. Which means that as you read this sentence, thousands of companies have taken down their rainbow flags and pushed their glitter glue supplies back into their office back rooms. Queer campaigns have been dismissed (much like queer folk), or pushed to June when LGBTQIA+ rights suddenly gain traction with International Month of Pride.

Two years ago, a popular bar franchise turned my date and I down at the door, because ‘only couples were allowed, and no stag entries were accepted’. Well, that seemed like it. I meekly shrugged and told my out-of-town date that we’d have to find another bar that sold alcohol at fluctuating low prices. But he wouldn’t have it.

Drawing himself upright, he stared the testosterone-pumped bouncer (who was twice his size) down and told him that we were ‘two boys on a date’. The man sneered at us, saying ‘rules were rules, and unless we found a girl, they wouldn’t let us in’. I hastily muttered an apology, and pulled my friend to a friendlier bar; the drinks weren’t cheap, but neither was the staff.

This is ironic, because a year-and-a-half later, they celebrated the Section 377 verdict with a #LoveIsLove offer on the day of. Touché, right?

I’ll tell you a secret.

Queer voices don’t necessarily need appreciation, they need to be acknowledged. We don’t necessarily need a provision for an ‘inclusion rider’, we just need more inclusion (that goes beyond the norm of introducing one queer archetype in your videos for the sake of checking the diversity quota). See, we aren’t asking for a spotlight, we are just asking for a platform. There’s a whole world of queer content out there that goes beyond the story of how we came out (side note: I’ve come out so many times for the media, my coming out story has a coming out story). It’s going to be a long, arduous journey, I know it. But the least we can do is hope.

Until then, you can just hand us the microphone.

I promise we won’t drop it.