Grindr Groundrules for the Road

It’s no secret that I use online dating to get to know people while on the road, and location-based apps like Grindr are great in that you can easily get in touch with someone nearby – maybe in the same coffee shop or hotel for example. Nevertheless, I’ve discovered – often the hard way – that Grindr, Scruff, Tinder, or whatever app you like to use, can snowball into a monster that threatens to devour your every waking moment, regardless of whether you are using them to make friends or more-than-friends. That’s definitely not something you want to happen when you are fortunate enough to find yourself in an exotic location you may never visit again.

The truth is, Grindr is a comfort zone – that’s the reason why it was invented after all; to make the terrible task of striking up a conversation with a stranger in a bar or wherever more bearable – so the temptation is to stay in your comfort zone. When I realised I kept falling into the same rut, I decided to lay some ground rules…

Limit the Number of Apps

At one point I must have had 6 apps on my iPad. SIX! Any time I connected to WiFi I had a constant bombardment of messages (Kuala Lumpur was the worst – I was nearly reduced to tears); simply because of the number of apps I had running, and also the novelty of being very fair-skinned with green eyes. I found myself constantly switching in between apps, and convulsing at the percussive alert tones while I wrestled my way through the cumbersome amount of messages. Since my time in Asia last year I’ve cut the number of apps right back. What’s the point in having too many apps since 95% of users on one are on another?  It’s simply a case of efficiency; all that time spent on reading messages is time that could be better spent doing… other things.

Never Have a Blank Profile

cute guy Grindr

My current Grindr profile

(Unless of course you are in a particularly sketchy country, in which case maybe it might be a good idea to take a break from Grindr) Why waste time communicating the same basic information? Seriously, there’s only so many times in 10 minutes I can deal with being asked “Wer u frm?” The essential basic information is on my profile (refer to photo), to show I’m a real person. I link to my blog, Instagram (because I’m not sending more pictures en masse over private messages), Twitter and blog Facebook page (definitely NOT my personal page) – the information is there and if people want to know more they can ask me. This definitely helps filter down to the people who are interested in you as a person, and not just your profile picture (which I would keep clean if you want to find some new friends). If you’re just passing through and don’t want to meet, say so. What if they don’t have/won’t share a face pic? It’s probably not a friendly, innocent drink they want to be discrete about.

Only Engage in Quality Conversation

I get that some people are shy, but on the whole I don’t usually reply to messages that consist of only “Hi.” Some would argue that it’s polite to reply, but how am I supposed to reply to that? If I replied to every “Hi” message I received, especially in places like KL, Singapore or London where there are thousands of users, I’d spend tedious hours just replying to those messages when I could be out having a proper face-to-face chat with someone over coffee. Even if I was to reply, how would I decide who to reply to? A message of no substance barely merits a reply of substance; unless someone looks particularly interesting/is a veritable DILF I’m not replying. This goes back to my previous rule. Likewise, if the conversation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere I tend to leave it; it doesn’t bode well for meeting in person. The best way to avoid this is to be upfront about what you are looking for (even if that is just seeing who is online), and then arranging to meet in an appropriate (SAFE) place if that is what you want to do.

Never Send Explicit Pictures

Because there are some body parts not meant to be Instagrammed…

Don’t Be Afraid to Block

This comes easier to some people than it does to me (I’m clearly just too nice). Whether it’s someone being overly persistent, not taking the hint, being rude, turning out to be a bit of a creep or just wasting your time, I think it’s safe to say you can legitimately make use of the block button. As they say: A block a day keeps the psychos away.

Minimise Useage in Remote Areas

Grindr India

I’ve given up on using Grindr in India

Right now I’m in a pretty out-of-the-way part of India. Smart phone usage is only just picking up, LGBT individuals are not so visible and so awareness and use of online dating apps is not widely used. Even if I wanted to meet up for a cup of tea and some samosas, I don’t have much free time or a means of transportation to travel the 30-300 km I’d need to meet any of the users that show up nearby. That said, if I’m not going to meet anyone, I don’t need to turn on Grindr, so I don’t. Simple as that.

Turn off Push Notifications

Do you own your phone or does your phone own you? I guarantee you’ll spend less time on dating apps (or any other apps for that matter) if you turn of push notifications. Your battery life will thank you too.

The Cinderella Rule

Once in Singapore I stayed up to 3 am, juggling multiple conversations and in the end I gave up, going to bed over-tired and feeling very alone. After this I decided I’d never stay up till stupid o’clock again and implemented “the Cinderella Rule” where I would shut down Grindr, turn off all push notifications and go to bed when the clock struck midnight. I can safely say having a Grindr curfew has worked very well so far. It doesn’t have to apply to just bedtimes; why waste valuable sightseeing time looking for someone to online, when perhaps you might do a lot better just putting down the phone, grabbing your bag and going out to do something. I decided to do this in Hong Kong, turned off the apps at 9:30 am, headed out, made a friend in the queue for the tram to the peak, and ended up showing them round some of my favorite spots on Hong Kong island and having a good day overall. Sometimes you just need to know when it’s time do things the old fashioned way and limit your use of online dating apps, in order to find your prince.

So those are my ground rules to stop Grindr from taking over your travels. Perhaps you disagree with some of these rules. Perhaps you have some more of your own to add. My friend Tom (from Waegook Tom) suggested; “If everything is looking hopeless, just ‘take matters into your own hands’, then get on with your day”. It would be great to hear your thoughts, advice and ground rules too!


14 responses to “Grindr Groundrules for the Road

      • If you arrange to meet up with someone in person, actually do it, or provide a timely excuse as to why you can’t (if you’ve already agreed to meet, that is).

        On the other hand, if you can’t meet up in person, be up front about it. I noticed you had that base covered in your profile.

      • Ohhhhhhhhh! Yeah that’s also to to make the point to the locals in India who are 30 miles away (minimum) that I am not meeting them, no matter how much they plead. It doesn’t make much difference to be honest!

  1. Sup?

    Kidding! You do have the fanciest grindr profile I’ve ever seen though, well played. You also forgot if you’re in a populated enough area with a hunch of nearby guys you can play a human game of where’s Waldo if you’re bored.

    • Yeah… I was recognised once when I was back in Glasgow but the guy was too shy to talk to me, so didn’t message me until hours later.

      • Hahah that’s happened to me before as well where someone messaged me hours later to say they saw me at an event.

  2. I’m also way too nice to block people, but I’ve found it necessary lately. Now that I’m in China, I’ve noticed they are the the pushiest and sleaziest users I’ve come across in a gooood while.

    Oh, I have a clear picture of me, and sometimes it creeps me out when some random person sees me on the street and comes to me, “I saw you on grindr, why didn’t you reply?” Who are you?! Is there a real life block button?!

    • My oh my!!! That is REALLY creepy! Yeah in India they are pushy too, it feels like “Why won’t you be my boyfriend?!” not just “Why aren’t you replying?!” What’s the point in saying you are not interested if they are going to just start interrogating you, asking you why not and pleading for you to drive 50 miles to go meet up with someone you have no interest in building anything (let alone a life) with?

      • Yeah, here they are not too far from wanting to “marry” you from the get go. I’ve noticed that there is a completely different mentality in this side of the world when it comes to meeting people through these apps. Or maybe is just me?! Ha!

  3. HAHAHA “wer u frm?” Oh god. I LOVED the bombardment of messages when I arrived in Taipei. Seriously I’d be getting 30-40 every time I logged on. Then after a week….the novelty wore off. I was tired of constantly having to type the same things over and over and over. Now, I rarely reply if a message just says, “hi” – unless the dude is seriously hot. Shallow but true.

    I’ve had to block people before. There are some tossers out there. And some creepy people. And people in the Philippines who use an app to disguise their location and then get all upset when I tell them there’s no point in chatting as we’ll never meet.

    An app curfew sounds like a great idea. You’re right, it is a comfort zone, and I can end up spending an awful lot of time (and data) on the apps, when I could be doing something infinitely more interesting.

    Oh, and you’re welcome for the quote at the end. If I have time to kill on a day off and I’m looking to hook up and haven’t gotten any leads in within around 60 mins, well, I just sort myself out and that’s that. No point wasting an entire day, and it lets me keep a smidgen of self-respect.

  4. Pingback: iOS Apps for the Traveling Engineer | Engineer on the Road·

  5. its super interesting,Grindr etiquette is more or less similar everywhere in the world. In South America, esp in brazil and peru they do want to know withing 3-4 conversation if I want too hookup.In peru very surprisingly gay guys were definitely not shy of proposing me for green card to states 😉

  6. Good rules. I guess I should remember them when I travel. Unfortunately, it’s also terribly flattering to get all this attention. Since I find not responding at all too impolite, I’ve prepared a standard message I copy and paste: “sorry, very busy and not looking for anything. “

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