Tag Archives: Internet dating

The Guysexual’s Brutally Honest Review Of Jack’d

 

Jack'd

You’re probably tired by now.

We’ve gallivanted with Grindr, tangoed with Tinder, sneakily seduced Scruff, bumped awkwardly into Bro at the mall, and had an honest conversation with Hinge and Happn (but separately) about where this (relationship) is headed.

Thinking of giving up already?

Not so fast. Say hello to Jack’d.

What it is: Like Grindr, Jack’d shows users around 300 eligible guys on an interface that is geo-located by those closest to where you are. Unlike Grindr, Jack’d is tailored specifically for people of colour.

When you are already in a minority group, finding someone with interests or expectations that match your own can be difficult. It can seem that all the apps out there cater to only one type of man – the ‘straight-acting, fit-bodied sapiosexual’. Jack’d appears to have the most diverse community of users, broken down into what they refer to as ‘scenes’ – twinks, bears, big muscles, strictly friends, LTR (Long Term Relationships) and straight/bi-curious. By choosing which scene you identify with, you make it easier for other people who are attracted to your type to find you.

No more disappointments. No more d*****bags who don’t text back.

How it works: Jack’d requires users to rate each other, but moving away from the Tinder style of swiping, men tick either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’ box under a profile to suggest whether they’re into someone else or not. Which means, you won’t need a wingman when you’ve got Jack’d in your hands.

The app might look like it’s geared more towards NSA (No Strings Attached) meetups, but rather than encourage X-rated pictures, the tone on Jack’d is more sophisticated – more Aamir Khan, less Kamal R Khan. Users can create an album of grandma-friendly pictures, which are so PG-13, you can (accidentally) project them even at work.

Not that you should.

What I like about it: The parent company of the Jack’d app is a company called Online Buddies, who made the bold claim that the app is the ‘fastest-growing gay social app in the whole world’. Do I believe them?

Yes, because when an app says this (read: concluding line) in their brand motto, you know you’ve got yourselves a winner – ‘If you like him, tell him. If you don’t like how that feels, say so. Girl, if you like short shorts, wear them.’

Jack’d believes that the ability to ‘stand up and tell it like it is’ is what makes the LGBTQIA+ community stand out, and promote an inclusive and authentic community of users.

What I don’t like about it: I am just really tired of writing reviews for dating apps right now. That’s it.

Bonus feature: Of course, to keep in line with all the other apps, there is a premium service, which provides users with a more personalised experience. Jack’d Pro offers unlimited daily matches, more advanced filtering services, anonymous profile viewing, and ‘insight’ data on people you may like.

It’s the FBI agent of online dating.

Who is it for: If you still aren’t bogged down with the repository of gay online dating apps, jack up your chances of finding your potential soul mate with Jack’d.

There’s a high chance he’ll be as woke as the app.

Guysexual’s Grade-o-meter:

Hookability: 7/10

Compatibility: 6/10

Usability: 6/10

Downloadability: 6/10

The Guysexual’s Brutally Honest Review Of Hornet

hornet

 

How many online dating apps does it take to screw on a light bulb?

I wouldn’t know. But what I do know for a fact is that there’s no dearth of them when it comes to the queer community – from the morally ambiguous (Planet Romeo) to the sexually ambiguous (Bro), this giant pool is one that you can take multiple laps in. Ready for another round right to the fag end?

Oh hi there, Hornet.

What it is: Conventionally speaking, Hornet is an upgraded version of Grindr. Daunting name aside, the app lets you match with your future plus one, while letting you find him in a pretty grid of handsome men all by yourself – and usually from all over the world (separating it from the other apps by a wide margin). Gush over Hollywood with Ryan from Los Angeles, parley over Pisco Sours with Anthony from Peru, serenade Haruto from Japan with stories of your mild obsession with sushi, or ramble over world politics with Vladimir from Russia – you don’t need any flight tickets to get flirty on Hornet. Only visa on arrival.

Like Grindr, Hornet targets pretty much all kinds of men (who are into dating other men), rather than having a niche audience like Scruff, which is for older men or Happn, which is for roadside creeps. Unlike Grindr, you can also ‘follow’ other users, search for men using hashtags, and have multiple pictures up on your profile. So does that make Hornet the ‘Instagram’ of the gay dating world?

Maybe so, but you don’t need any filters here. What gives Hornet its extra sting is the fact that it’s so simple to use, your grandmother could use it.

Not that she should.

How it works: Hornet borrows its features from all over the Internet, trying to make itself ‘the perfect app for gay singles’. In fact, it even uses the same template that Scruff does – grids of four, stacked up to create a jigsaw puzzle of all the gay men using the app in your neighborhood (and beyond). The app targets a diverse range of gay, bisexual and curious men.

However, Hornet’s editorial content appeals to a wider LGBT+ community, so it could also interest women and non-binary people who are interested in reading about queer issues.

What I like about it: While Hornet might seem like your typical gay dating app that will soon find its way into your trash folder (because you are just so used to Grindr), it does what no other queer-exclusive app can do – it lets you play matchmaker and forward a profile to a friend. You might not earn a boyfriend this way, but you’d win over bottles full of karma. And last I checked, that’s always a good thing.

UPDATE: Tinder has a similar feature, but when has Tinder ever been the representation of a queer dating app?

What I don’t like about it: Although it’s highly travel-friendly, if you strip Hornet down to its core, it’s just a paella of all the pros (and cons) of other dating apps from the App store. Sure, the ads are less intrusive and you can have more than one picture up on your profile, but at the end of the day, it’s all old (and some new) features in new packaging. So what do you do?

Just shunt it off as a Christmas present to your (less fortunate) gay friends.

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

Hornet is for guys who want that extra push when they are looking for a fling (or a ring) – something that shunts them all across the world. No travel stamps necessary.

Guysexual’s Grade-o-meter:

Hookability: 7/10

Compatibility: 6/10

Usability: 8/10

Downloadability: 7/10

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

 

bro_review

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.

***

Guysexual’s Grade-o-meter:

Hookability: 3/10

Compatibility: 4/10

Usability: 5/10

Downloadability: 6/10

The Guysexual’s Brutally Honest Review Of Happn

Happn_guysexual (1)

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

planet_Romeo copy

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

The Guysexual’s Brutally Honest Review Of Hinge

 

hinge_guysexual (1)

Remember the ’90s — when internet trolls, post-millennials and online dating didn’t exist? Back when people would set each other up with their friends and ultimately get blamed for heartbreak (or worse, Herpes)?

Well, now there’s an app for that.

Oh hi there, Hinge. When a dating app promises that ‘75 percent of their first dates turn into second dates,’ you know they’ve got their hinges sealed shut.

No puns intended.

What it is: Hinge calls itself the ‘Relationship App’, and it leaves no stones unturned while trying to set you up with your soul mate. It’s like the nerdier (and also less attractive) second cousin of Tinder. And that explains why hardly anyone (read: any gay man) uses it.

How it works: Hinge pools all the singles in your extended friend circles (using Facebook as it’s underlying base) and matches you with the most likely of them, based on a serious of questions and common interests — which you have to ‘like’ to initiate an interaction — reducing the chance to run into a hopeless string of men who are just looking for ‘No-strings-attached’ sex. Hinge believes that swiping keeps you single, and focuses on creating more engaging profiles that reduce users from treating other members like ‘a playing card they’d flick to the left or right’.

Instead, it’ll ask you a set of questions, props you for your interests, and it even bugs you till you upload a picture. Some call it cute; some call it ‘too-much-work-to-get-into-someone’s-pants’ (side note: and yet others call it your mum’s second cousin who drinks too much vodka too early in the evenings).

Do you both love dogs? Lovely.

Is your idea of the perfect date a walk on the beach? Bring it on.

Does hiking on a Sunday morning seem viable to you too? Let’s get the wedding rings ready.

On paper, Hinge is like the Instagram of online dating. Profiles are peppered with gorgeous pictures, tongue-in-cheek answers you would want to tongue-wrestle with and captions that are so witty they could star in an AIB video.

Too bad you can’t ask someone to #FollowForFollow.

When do you use it: If you are really ready to commit, Hinge is the app to commit to — it takes long-term relationships so seriously, it could be your mother.

What I like about it: Unlike traditional dating apps, Hinge sets you up with people in your social circle — making sure that you have common interests  (or friends) that you can talk about over a quick beer (or five, if the friend in question is interesting).

Also it offers great prompts for adding personality to your profile, paving the way with ice-breakers like “We’ll get along if…” and “I did this before it was cool…” making our low-pressure dating app a lot like that always-eager-to-set-you-up friend you wished you had. The only difference?

You don’t even need to buy the app a beer if things work out between you and your date.

What I don’t like about it: Since all your matches are pulled from your friend’s Facebook accounts (while obviously avoiding awkward ex and family ties), any match you encounter will already have someone in common with you — which can either be a great conversation starter, or a deal breaker (because you really don’t want this Facebook friend to be the annoying HR department head from work). But that’s not the only problem.

Hinge, like your friendly, local Aadhar card also shares all your Facebook information. Your age? Sure. Your unsavory political views? Definitely. Your embarrassing religious beliefs? Good lord. And that drunken video of you dancing on the bar in your sophomore year of college?

It’s out there for all your soul mates to see.

Every single one of them.

Bonus feature: Hinge has this gift that just keeps giving. The more you use it, the better it gets to know you — it’s like your best friend sans the unsolicited advice — finding you matches based on people you’ve previously liked (and matched with) before. Goodbye catfishers. Goodbye internet creeps. Goodbye boys-who-slide-into-your-DMs-with-unsolicited-dick-pics.

Who is it for: Disney princes looking for their Disney princes.

Guysexual’s Grade-o-meter:

Hookability: 4/10

Compatibility: 8/10

Usability: 6/10

Downloadability: 7/10

The Guysexual’s Brutally Honest Review Of Scruff

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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.

You.

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.

 

Guysexual’s Grade-o-meter:

Hookability: 7/10

Compatibility: 7/10

Usability: 8/10

Downloadability: 8/10

April Fool’s Day: Stay Away From These Six Online Dating Liars!

 

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It’s April Fool’s Day.

Which means people all over the world are fooling their friends and family with standard pranks and jokes you could probably buy in a DIY kit. While it’s one thing to get fooled by the usual ‘replace-toothpaste-with-antiseptic-cream’ trick, it’s a whole new world of pain when you get catfished by someone on the dating app of your choice.

Want to know how to sort out the prankster from a potential romance? Well, here are six men that you can swerve around and ignore this April Fool’s Day:

The Busybody

The busybody is perfect on paper. He’s ambitious, passionate about work and so disciplined, he could be the vice principal at your school.

But that’s where the perfection ends. You might think the Busybody is a Post-It pumping man of God, but he’s really not. One second he’s feeding you strawberry tarts, and the very next, he’s so busy he needs a clone just to reply to your texts. The busybody is a man of multiple engagements, only because he’s engaged with multiple men at the same time.

He’s always occupied with something slightly more important – a friend’s birthday. An office conference. His sister’s giving birth. His dog is sick. His sister’s giving birth again. But at the end of the day, when you check his daily planner (and don’t even deny that you will), you’ll see that it’s emptier than his soul.

The Celebrity

With his movie star looks, manicured beard and twinkling eyes that deserve their own spot in Hollywood’s Walk Of Fame, the Celebrity looks like Fawad Khan. In fact, if his profile picture is to believed, it could be Fawad Khan.

Unfortunately, it isn’t and this is not your personal rom-com. For every five genuine profiles on Tinder, the celebrity rears his (very pretty, but obviously fake) head with a billboard-worthy face and a sparkling set of teeth that unfortunately don’t belong to him. How do you spot him? The Celebrity hides behind film star silhouettes, stock photos, or the Google search result for ‘Hot Men, Indian’. Three lines into a conversation, the curtain calls and your blockbuster movie fades to black.

You never see him again, because he’s out of the theatres (and your thoughts).

The Nun

The Nun will tell you that he doesn’t want to have sex with you, because he wants to connect ‘emotionally’ – that’s short for ‘he wants to get to know you before he gets to know the colour of your underwear’. You believe him, and sip freely on your fourth glass of wine.

The Nun is beautiful, and in a grid of half-naked torsos and unsolicited dick pics, he helps you see the light. You gush at his stories, laugh at his jokes and get turned on by his endearing sense of humour – before you know it, you are hopelessly falling in love (and into his bed).

Time for a quick news flash about Nuns. Chances are, if ‘I don’t want to have sex on the first date’ ever comes up in conversation, they’ve already plotted how to get you back to theirs, what they’ll do to you (or have you do to them), and how long they’ll give it before they very politely ask you to book your Uber ride back home.

And those scabby knees?

He’s been on the confession stand.

At the doctor’s clinic.

The Grown Up

The Grown Up chugs out inspirational quotes like a Pinterest board. He says he’s tired of being up on the ferris wheel of fuckboys, and is now looking for something ‘real and mature’. He makes the Sapiosexual look like a child. You giggle, and ask him what he’s looking for?

He’s done playing the game, he tells you, because he’s now looking for the ‘One’ (which is convenient, because ‘you just waltzed into his life as if it were a Christmas miracle’). He’s attentive, always puts you first and is great with comforting hugs (and more) when you need one. He’s everything you could ever want in a man.

Until that moment when you end things with him, and he sends you thirty-three vicious (and obviously alcohol-induced) text messages in a row.

More than half of them have typos.

The Supermodel

The Supermodel muddles up his vital stats like I muddle up my Income Tax returns (but only one of us is successful). On his profile, the Supermodel has it all. Washboard abs that you can iron your clothes on. A jawline that you can cut toast with. Cheekbones that are so high, they could have snorted five lines of cocaine. He walks the runway for breakfast.

But I’ll tell you something. He’s the one who adds a couple of inches to his height, knocks off a couple of pounds from his weight, and multiples your body issues overnight. Whether he’s used a picture that was taken back when Orkut was still relevant, or added an assortment of filters that rakes up Instagram hearts by the dozen, the Supermodel’s body type will always be the biggest lie in the online dating world.

It’s high time we accept the harsh truth, and move on to the next profile.

The Hustler

The Hustler is the Ari Gold of the online dating world. With his slick hair and slicker attitude, the Hustler is someone who knows everybody who is an anybody. He regales you with anecdotes he shared with a top musician, casually references having brunch with a rich socialite wife, posts regular Instagram photos with nubile models, and jokes about that ‘one time’ he made an A-lister snort with his sense of humour.

But remember one thing: a date who tries to impress you with all his influential friends (and their gossip) is full of shit – people who hang out with stars never talk about it until they know you or trust you enough. Chances are he’s only telling you about exclusive tables and VIP tickets because he wants a backstage pass to your bedroom. You should tell him that his all-access pass isn’t valid, and that the velvet rope is staying exactly where it is.

Tightly bound by your chastity belt.

 

The Return of Fantastic Men and Where (Not) to Find Them

 

Return of Fantastic Men

 

Everyone knows that there’s no dearth of wrong men in the world.

You’d (chest) bump into him at the gym, lock shopping carts (and eyes) at the gourmet supermarket, or parallel park on a bench at the neighborhood park — he’s everywhere. And yet, the only place he shouldn’t be?

Your life.

Thankfully, while you already know of a few places to skip, here are a few others that you need to avoid if you want to avoid meeting the biggest regret of your life:

1. Your local gay pub

Your local Friday night pad might seem like the ideal place to pick up some loving, but it’s probably a good idea to pick up the cheque instead.

Think about it. This is the same place where you played tonsil hockey with the bartender. Dirty-danced with the Spanish expat who never called back. Did seven shots at the bar before ultimately passing out on the manager’s chair. Cried into a stranger’s breast pocket over a bad breakup (before ultimately going back home with him.)

To look for your future plus one at the same place where you vaguely recall puking the contents of your vodka-lined stomach (in the ladies bathroom, nonetheless) can leave a bad taste (pun intended) in your mouth. But how do you pass the chance for a do-over, when you are packed like testosterone-filled sardines in such a tight space (with men in even tighter clothes)?

Chances are the suburban Greek God you are locking eyes with at the bar, has already locked eyes (and more) with half the crowd on the dance floor — and while he might grind with you for two whole dance numbers (including a slow Beyoncé track), there’s something you should know.

Do you see that meandering line of men that you assumed was the queue for the men’s washroom? That’s actually a string of hopefuls just waiting for you to be done (and done with) so that they get their chance with Prince Charming-me-out-of-my-pants-already.

That is why it’s better not to catch feelings; because there’s a high chance you might catch syphilis instead. Now down your martini, and down your hopes of finding love here.

Let’s just go back home.

2. The therapist

You are here for your 4 pm appointment.

There, as you flip through trashy magazine after trashy magazine, (Is Beyoncé pregnant with twins? Who is Selena Gomez dating NOW? Justin Beiber leaves Instagram! SENSATIONAL!) He walks in, a five o’ clock stubble and piercing brown eyes that have dark stories to tell — just as he will, on the couch in 20 minutes.

Finding a date at the therapist’s seems like a fair deal – why not heal your heart while you heal yourself? But remember, the waiting room is a lot of things, but it is not a place to flirt. It’s the airlock between the chaotic outside world and the sanctuary of your therapist’s office — you come here to solve your problems, not create potentially new ones.

And while the tall dark stranger across the Marie Claire’s and Cosmopolitans looks like a great catch, the only chance you have of working things out with him is if the two of you go on a double date with your inner demons.

Well, he might look like a troubled soul, and you’ve always had a prepubescent fantasy of making over (or making out with) a bad boy — so why let your pimply 15-year-old self’s dreams go waste? Maybe you can befriend him over therapeutic tea and ‘let’s-just-settle’ scones?

Unfortunately you can’t bond over Rorschach diagrams — what if he sees a skull in the inkblots that you see a butterfly in? It’s sad, but his ENTP is no match for your INFJ.

Unless you want the premise of your love story to be the poignant tale of how you mixed up your antidepressants with his, no story that begins at the therapist’s office has a happy ending. You should probably give the Fawad Khan-lookalike a pass, because if you don’t, you are just going to spend more hours (and more of your heard-earned cash) on the therapist’s couch wondering where it all went wrong. Why don’t you just head online?

3. Your ex’s home.

 Stop.

Don’t do it.

Trying to find love back in the arms of the (mostly toxic) ex is like trying to find a clean restroom on the highway — there’s a very, very low chance you’ll be happy with what you find, and a very, very high chance you might end up with a bad case of chlamydia.

Sure, you might find yourself at his doorstep with a tub of his favourite ice-cream or a bottle of expensive wine as a peace offering, but don’t forget that the last time this happened, the only thing that got served was you.

See, there’s no magical end to this story wherein, after 15 break-up-to-make-ups, you go over to your ex’s apartment (in the rain, of course) and suddenly have a Nicholas Sparks-esque reuniting moment in their lobby while you tell each other all of the things you did wrong and lick tears off each other’s faces. No. You’re just going to break up again. We like going back to the ex, because it’s familiar and easy. But you cannot get swayed by these cheap ideals because it is ultimately unfulfilling, and if it didn’t work the first ten times, it won’t work now.

Instead, why don’t you go have a look here?