We’ve all seen them: Grindr, Jack’d, A4A Mobile, M4N, MiuMeet, etc. In the digital and smart phone age, meeting someone new is as simple as a tap on your touch screen. I’m rather new to them, but here is how I understand they work: you log in, scroll through all the profiles until you happen upon someone that appeals to you- sometimes you read the profile, sometimes you are just interested in the physical characteristics in the picture in front of you. Finally, you tap again and you send a message. Most of the time it starts off with a simple “Wassup?” You exchange niceties (if you get a response back from your initial message) and then you get to the inevitable question: “What are you on here looking for?” or some variation thereof. Sometimes you get very honest and candid responses- I won’t list them here (we are going to keep this RATED PG) and frankly, this article isn’t about those responses- but most of the time you get “I’m just looking for friends”. #PAUSE! You go back to the profile… and here’s what you find:
- A picture of a man (presumably the one you are talking to- but apparently pictures are “borrowed” also) half-naked (meaning torso exposed, and his choice of underwear is the only clothing you see) and/or
- A statement regarding interest in masculine men only and/or
- A reference to currently being in a relationship
There is a striking dichotomy in the representation given by their profile and pictures, and what words they use to describe their intentions. If you are finding it difficult to wrap your mind around bringing the disparate parts together, you are not alone.
There are layers of problems here that we have to unpack:
- If you hit the man up based on the picture of his washboard abs and boxer briefs – you ain’t looking for a friend, and that picture tells you (and me) he ain’t either. Be real with yourself and each other.
- Friendships can occur regardless of the levels of effeminacy. So if the profile references an interest in any specific kind of man – be it “masc,” “musc,” “slim,” “fat,” or “fem,” friendship probably isn’t their first concern when it comes to the app. Their desire is something immediate and non-negotiable.
- People who turn to apps like those referenced above, while involved in relationships are BEGGING for drama. Sure, it is possible to meet someone and become good friends, but if item three is included with either one or two (or both) from above: you don’t want to be caught up in that. Steer clear and save everyone the headache.
It all comes down to the sentiment expressed by Princess Ri-Rih in “Talk that Talk” – mean what you say and your actions/representation of yourself should all be congruent.
There is a way to meet friends via these social networking applications. However, if you are truly genuine about making lasting friendships, be honest with yourself and get your mind out of the gutter. Focus on getting to know someone as a person, without sexualizing them first.
D. Cornell Butler, Jr. is a native Marylander who is a self-described music lover and hopeless romantic. His first novel “Songs in the Key of Heartbreak” (Release Date: September 4, 2012) is the first part of what is intended to be a three-part series chronicling one man’s journey to truth, life and love. Connect with him on Facebook, his website or follow him on Twitter @TheRealDCBJ.