Look, it’s 2019. I know that 95% of you reading this have at least one dating or hookup app on your phone, and if you don’t, it’s probably because you’re already in a relationship. Most of us aren’t rookies in the dating app game, but it can still be a pain to navigate. Regular dating apps have plenty of struggles already, but the gay culture of hookup apps (Grindr, Scruff, etc.) takes things to another level. No matter what you’re looking for on these apps, it’s important to use your best detective skills to weed out the murderers and stalkers. Isn’t this fun?! Here are the biggest dating app red flags to look out, especially on the gay-focused apps.
Of course, everyone should come out when they’re ready, and it’s fine that not everyone wants their identity widely known. That being said, if you’re searching for a boyfriend you can post on your Instagram stories 17 times a day, first of all, reevaluate your social media usage, but you probably also shouldn’t be talking to guys who won’t even send you a face picture. Everyone is on their own journey, and this is not the guy who will go to Disney World and wear rainbow Mickey ears with you, sorry.
When it comes to discreet guys, there are levels on all of these apps. If someone is a little shy, or has a sensitive job, it’s understandable that they might not want a face picture on their public profile. Whatever makes you comfortable. But if you message me and we’re 30 minutes into a conversation, I’m going to need to see your face. Especially if the other person messages first, there’s nothing wrong with requesting a few clear face pictures. Whether you’re looking for dates or sex, pictures are an absolute must.
Like it or not, there are a lot of drugs in the gay community. I’m not here to be a narc or anything, but you should always know what you’re getting yourself into. If a guy has random references to partying in his profile, capitalizes the letter “T” randomly, or uses the term “chemsex,” it’s very likely that he does meth, or other hard drugs that would deeply disappoint your fifth grade DARE counselor. No matter how cute he is, if that’s not your scene, you should probably cut your losses.
One of the biggest issues facing the gay community in 2019: who can host?? I’m sort of joking, but it can be tricky arranging a hookup. People can’t host for all sorts of reasons, but if a guy seems shady about his living situation, you might need to consider the possibility that he could be married. Like, to a woman, or at least to a partner who doesn’t know that he’s looking for dick on Grindr. Open relationships are cool (more on that in a minute), but I’m usually not in the mood to be a home wrecker.
Like I said, open relationships are great, and they’re more common than ever, especially in the queer community. I’ve had great experiences (both sexual and social) with couples, and getting in the middle can be a really fun chance to try some new things. But if that’s not what you’re looking for, try to recognize that before you get involved. Whether it’s just casual fun or there’s potential for something more to develop, everyone should be on the same page.
If I’m just meeting a guy for coffee, I don’t need to know his entire sexual history. But if I’m coming to your apartment for a dick appointment, you should be at least somewhat open about your sexual habits. If a guy isn’t willing to tell you when he last got tested, or if he usually uses protection, be wary. Sometimes people are just weird when talking about sex, but do what you need to feel safe and comfortable.
For reasons I will never understand, Grindr is littered with fake profiles. Some of them are just annoying spam, but there are also bots out there that will try to steal your identity or hack your phone. If someone who looks like an underwear model suddenly starts bombarding you with messages saying how beautiful you are, it might be too good to be true. If you suspect that a profile might be fake, try asking specific questions that won’t work with generic, auto-generated responses. Or just block and move on.
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When it comes to being gay, we’re living in a pretty confusing time. We constantly hear about how far we’ve come, and how people are more accepting than ever, but we’re stuck with a government that’s unwilling to stand up for our rights, and depending where we live, many of us still experience homophobia on a regular basis. As straight people flood your timeline with engagements and baby announcements, it can feel like your space to express yourself is as small as ever.
So it might not always be easy, but I’ve got a challenge for you in 2019: make this your gayest year yet. Whether this means coming out for the first time, or buying yet another piece of RuPaul’s Drag Race merchandise, it’s time to work on living your queer identity to the fullest, in every part of your life. Think of these as your gay resolutions for the new year, except I’m not going to tell you to go to the gym.
I’m not saying you should show up to your Grandma’s Easter brunch in a leather harness, but there are lots of steps you can take to be your authentic self with your family this year. Of course, the biggest challenge in this process is coming out. Many of us are fortunate enough to have positive coming out experiences, but no matter the circumstances, coming out is still a stressful personal journey. Of course, you should never do anything that makes you feel unsafe, but if you’re still weighing when and how to come out to your family, I encourage you to do it sooner rather than later. Even if you face criticism from some, there are millions of us waiting to welcome you into the LGBTQ family.
If you’ve already navigated the waters of coming out, good for you! But that doesn’t mean your work with your family is done. Lots of us have family members that are supposedly supportive, but would obviously rather not discuss the fact that you’re never going to bring home a partner of the opposite sex. This year, it’s time that you push those boundaries of comfort, and have real discussions with your loved ones. It’s 20-f*cking-19, and Aunt Trish should really be able to understand that being gay isn’t a “lifestyle choice.”
Friendships in the gay community are tough. There’s no other way to say it: it can be really difficult to meet new people without immediately being judged as a potential sexual partner. Girlfriends are great, but sometimes you just want to spend quality time with some good old-fashioned queens. If you’re struggling to find your gay group, try getting a little creative this year. Step out of your comfort zone, and you might just find your people. If there’s someone you were sort of friends with in college, but haven’t talked to in a while, reach out and suggest platonic plans. Most people are more open to new friends than you think, so getting drinks once could turn into a great friendship, and they probably have other friends that you’d like too.
One thing that I did for the first time in 2018 was going out solo. Showing up to a gay bar with no squad or date in tow can be very daunting, but what’s the worst that could happen? If there’s nothing interesting going on, just have a couple drinks at the bar and call it a night. But if you find a place with a great drag show or fun dancing, it’s a great chance to meet new people! You might not find a best friend this way, but it’s still a great way to get out of the house and have a little fun.
So full disclosure, I’m very single right now. Therefore, I won’t pretend to preach like I’m some sort of relationship guru. But I do have three different dates already lined up in 2019, so I’m doing just fine for myself. I feel like we talk all the time about how gay guys just want to have random sex, or how it’s so hard to find a boyfriend, or other major generalizations like that, but it’s not so simple. Everyone is looking for something different, and it’s just a matter of finding the right match. In 2019, try focusing on putting your personal wants and needs above any preconceived notions about what you should want. Listen to your instincts, and don’t be afraid to switch up what you’re looking for. If you’re in the middle of a slutty phase, enjoy it! (Also, here are some gay sex terms that you might find useful.)
But if you’re at a point where you’re really craving a deep connection, you shouldn’t feel bad about it. If you tell a guy that you’re looking for a relationship and he doesn’t respond well, then just cut your losses and move on! There are plenty of people out there, and you shouldn’t be wasting your time with someone who has different needs than you. If you can’t wait for someone who will go on gay trips to Disney World with you, then go out there and find them!
So whether you have some major life decisions ahead, or you just want to try something different and meet some new people, there’s never been a better time to get out there and be gay. If you need any guidance, feel free to DM me @dylanhafer on Instagram, and I’ll happily provide advice and pretend my own life isn’t a mess. Above all, let’s all love each other, and have a great, gay 2019.
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