Recently, I made a short-lived decision to give the dating apps another go. I’d forgotten about one of the big things that drove me away last time: dick pics as a greeting. I’d like to say this is a “gay guy thing,” except I hear from friends on other apps that it’s not an exclusive phenomenon. When did it become OK to show your penis as a greeting on dating apps, with no warning?
I’m a gay man in university, I am sexually active, and I feel very little shame. Nonetheless, sending me a shot of your Mr. Willie is not going to get you anything but blocked.
I know male queer culture is known and commented on for its promiscuity. There are many factors that may tie into that: the fact that many still have to be closeted, which makes coming out akin to being a kid in a candy store; the relative anonymity of the Internet which lets people say things without fear of consequence; or the fact that sex has played a big part in the gay and civil rights movements.
But that doesn’t have to translate into a dick pic for a hello. Apps like Grindr, the biggest culprit, have a certain element of “this is what it is; people are on here to hook up” to it. Maybe how I use the app challenges the status quo a bit, but still, I question why it’s OK on these apps.
Jack’d did a great example almost two years ago about what it would look like if behaviour on gay dating apps were taken to real life. Grindr and apps like it are like modern-day versions of bathrooms from the early days of hiding your sexuality in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. Guys would go in knowing they would find a hookup or glory hole. You don’t really go in blind or ignorant.
I’m no angel, so I’m sure there’s an NSA file somewhere with my pics in it too. I also appreciate that dating apps are like TV, in that if I don’t like what I’m seeing, I can always change the channel — or in this case, delete the app.
Nor am I coming from some moral high ground saying I don’t agree with hookups or being overtly physical. It may not be for me, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for others. Yet that also doesn’t excuse the pic as a greeting, or without request.
Feel free to send and share sexual pics — there are some relationships where that’s acceptable for everyone involved, and even some fetishes and kinks that rely on it, and that’s OK. What isn’t appropriate is using a dick to start a conversation with a stranger, no matter how “horned up” you may be. Instead, say “Hi,” comment on my profile, and above all, ask me before you send one.
In the end, my foray into the apps only lasted a couple weeks. Jack’d said, “Don’t be an #apphole” — unfortunately, there were still too many of those to avoid.