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Grindr Forever: the Closest Thing We Have to Destiny

Photo via @Grindr

The notorious hook-up app taught me to live in the moment, and now it's become my forever. 

On our first Grindr date, Denys asked me what what my type was. Without hesitating, I said, "Taller than me, older than me, and with dark features." For the record, Denys is blond, younger than me and my height. Needless to say, it wasn't love at first sight. Hell, I wouldn't even call it lust.

But that's the greatest thing about Grindr: it nudges you to step outside your comfort zone and try everything at least once. In my case, it nudged me to go on a date with a blond.

Related | Fat, Femme & Flourishing on Grindr

At the time, that Grindr date seemed to have all the makings of an American Horror Story opening sequence. When I arrived to the restaurant on Church Street where we had agreed to meetup, I was talking to my friend Stephanie on the phone. This was apparently an immediately turn-off for Denys because he had assumed that I'd be so wrapped up with anticipation to meet him--so wrapped up, in fact--that it would somehow prevent me from being able to sustain a conversation with any other person.

After we sat down to eat, it became Denys's turn to make me question my life choices. The guy had the audacity to order chicken nuggets... from the kids' menu! And just to fuck with me even more, he also ordered a glass of chardonnay. I fantasized about running out of the restaurant, selling my iPhone and moving forever to China. But I stayed.

Related | Sexual & Racial Politics in the Age of Grindr

Then Denys asked about my type, and I was brutally honest. That's what I really thought I wanted in a boyfriend. As it turns out, I had no idea. Some people would say I was totally clueless. After dinner, we went to a karaoke bar. Which is the textbook definition of self-sabotage because if you've ever heard me sing, you know that singing should not be a part of my mating ritual.

To make matters even more cringe-worthy, at one point I left Denys alone at the karaoke bar so I could go get out cash from a nearby ATM. The ATM at the karaoke bar charged way too much, and at that time I was broke AF. I'm talking dry-cereal-without-milk-for-dinner broke. But, of course, Denys had his doubts and thought I had totally ditched him. I mean, could you blame him? But - even though I didn't give him any reason to--he stayed. Not only that. He walked me home and kissed me on my doorstep. And in that moment, our love didn't seem so unexpected.

How we connected on Grindr in the first place is equally bizarre. After several failed flings (a.k.a. the three-month hookups), I began only messaging or responding to people on Grindr who seemed to have the emotional maturity for a serious relationship.

"Your hottt," was the first thing Denys wrote, and I decided, screw it. What attracted me to his profile was not his straightforwardness or how he brazenly broke all grammatical rules. I liked that his profile picture was of him out with two girl friends. That one picture told an entire story. And I remember looking at it and thinking to myself, "That's the type of guy I should be with." I may not have known exactly what I wanted, but a part of me knew what I needed.

Related | For Better or For Worse, Grindr Keeps Us Together

So, I messaged him back. But I didn't hear back immediately. And when I did hear back, it felt different. Denys kept making plans and cancelling. Saying one thing and then back-tracking. It was as if I was chatting with two different people. And that's because I was.

Denys did not create his Grindr profile. It was created by his friend Katy. She was the one who chose the profile photo and pretended to be Denys. She was the one who messaged me, the one who couldn't tell the difference between "your" and "you're." It all made sense. Katy was the original Catfish. Looking back, it was a brilliant strategy. Friends tend to bring out the best in us.

Somehow we got past all the miscommunication and uncomfortable first impressions. That first date became our last. It'll be our six-year anniversary this summer. And we'll celebrate our cat's fourth birthday next month. Now I understand why we were so drawn to each other from the very beginning, and all the ways we're meant to be. The truly-modern romance of two app-crossed lovers.

A few nights ago, Denys told me that when he first moved to the city he used to go to this Castro bar every Monday night for dollar drinks. Back then, I used to work at the bookstore across the street. Oftentimes after my Monday shift, I'd end up there ordering well drinks and paying for them with quarters. Nights like that were how we could afford to live in San Francisco.

I often fantasize about us perhaps bumping into each other back then, without realizing it. Or more realistically, how on Earth could we have continued to barely miss each other Monday after Monday. It's impossible to fantasize about a world without Grindr because, at this point, it's the closest thing we have to destiny.

Oscar Raymundo is writing an erotic sci-fi novel based on his blog, Confessions of a Boy Toy.

This week, OUT will be looking back at Grindr's 8-year legacy since the gay hook-up app first launched on March 25, 2009. Through a series of stories and images, we'll investigate where we came from to know where we're going.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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