Saturday, March 7, 2015

Grindr During Sydney Mardi Gras Week Might Be the Funniest/Saddest Thing Ever!

Here's a question nobody in Sydney has bothered to ask me (and considering the rah-rah-up-with-Sydney attitude that prevails around here, nobody probably ever will): What's your least favorite thing about Sydney? least favorite thing about Sydney...Oh, that one's easy. I've been thinking for weeks now that it would have to be gay men on Grindr. No 2 on my most-hated-in-Sydney list: Gay men off Grindr. It's a jungle out here!

It would be easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than it is to have a normal conversation on Grindr in Sydney. I know. I've been trying for four months now with minimal success. (I recently had an enlightening chat with several straight female colleagues who revealed that the situation is similarly dire on hetero meet-market apps.)

Yeah yeah, I get it. Grindr is about hooking up. It sucks everywhere. True, but it's so much worse here than it is in any city I've been in since I first used it three years ago. There's something about Sydney that seems to bring out the horny unexpurgated beast in nearly everyone who logs on.

Though I've never used Grindr in New York City (or anywhere else in the U.S.), I've logged on in plenty of other major urban spreads -- Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Dubai, Berlin, Warsaw, Milan, Rome, Florence, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Aman, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi, and, of course, Melbourne -- so I can't blame it on the big city. Size matters...but then again, it doesn't.

The majority of guys I've encountered on Grindr outside of Sydney may have been after the very same thing as the ones here. Still, some of them were smart enough to avoid those Grindr cliches -- "Hung?", "Looking (for)?", "Horny?", "Into?", "Top?", "NSA", "Pics?" and "Fun?", the latter of which, curiously, doesn't seem to be so in here -- at least before asking my name, and they'd occasionally pretend to see me as a human being first and an appendage second...even after 3 am.

I don't think it has anything to do with the Aussie temperament. On Grindr in Sydney (and frequently off), visitors and expats are fairly interchangeable with guys who've lived here all their lives. There's something about this city that seems to turn perfectly lovely guys into douches, regardless of where they're from.

In Berlin I met an expat from Sydney on Grindr, and he took six hours to make a move. It was my favorite day of my entire month there, and I wonder if it ever would have happened had he found me on Grindr in his hometown. Another Grindr guy in Rome (a Roman) made his move after making me dinner. I couldn't imagine that ever happening in Sydney, a city where gay guys on and off Grindr seem to regard traditional dates as Hannah on Girls does:

"Who even goes on dates? It's like I'm fucking 45."

Well, I am, and I'd probably be more likely to make a human connection, or score a weekend date, in a sex club, or in a public park after midnight anywhere in the world, than I would on Grindr in Sydney. It's almost like there's an unspoken rule among gay Sydney-siders and Sydney visitors: Don't take names, and leave your decorum at the closet door.

I didn't think it could get any worse on Grindr until Mardi Gras week when horny tourists from all over the world descended upon Sydney and just let themselves go. A few of them offered me $$$ for the pleasure of my company (no response = no) and at least one requested a drug score, but I've built up enough of a tolerance for tackiness over the course of four months to LOL about it.

Even without those moneybag trolls, just scrolling a quarter of the way down my Grindr screen and reading the words beside some of the photos would have provided me with enough amusement to last all weekend. There were several times more profiles than usual with display text that included "bottom," "top," "hung," "XLG," "NSA," "wired", "fun," "sub," and some other words that I can't imagine anyone typing with a straight face.

I began to wonder if Grindr had morphed into Comedy Central. Surely these guys had to be kidding. It was like a parody of a tacky pick-up scene. Then something different caught my eye: One romantic fool looking "for LTR."

Poor guy. Guess who won't be getting lucky this weekend in Sydney.

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