He picked me up in a giant, gas-guzzling black Suburban with tinted windows. I’ve been conditioned to believe that all guys with big trucks are trying to compensate for something, so naturally I gave a bit of side eye to the whole situation. I didn’t ask a lot of questions and let him do all the talking. He was cute and even looked like Jesse Pinkman.
We went to a gas station first. He asked me if I wanted something to drink—at least he was polite, I thought. Then we continued to drive uptown. A few minutes later I heard a loud beep coming from the dash. There was a breathalyzer in his car and it was time to blow. But I really couldn’t judge because I'd gotten a DUI a couple of years ago and almost everyone I know has a related offense on their record. I sort of admired his nonchalant attitude about it, too. He was so confident that he was going to get all of this regardless of the way he was coming off.
That's when things got a little weird. He took me to a tanning salon around 9 PM on a weekend night—also, I’m naturally tan. The parlor was already closed, but I guess he knew the guy working there because we walked right in like we owned the place. The foyer lights were off, but the hallway that leads to all the tanning beds was still lit. A slim latino guy came out from the back room and greeted my date. He was like, “I got so much new porn. Did you bring the hard drive?” And then they proceeded to download thousands of minutes of porn onto a tiny USB drive from what seemed to be the work computer. “Do you want to tan while we wait?” the salon boy asked me. I had never used a tanning bed before for obvious reasons, but I figured that would be a good time for me to get some privacy and cry out for help.
I heard them talking about going to the spa through the paper thin walls of my cubicle. I never actually got in the bed, so I pretty much eavesdropped throughout the entire conversation. I heard something about picking up some girl named Tina, and then something about a threesome. I wondered at what point my date would explain to me that some random girl named Tina was going to join us. Also I did not want to go to the spa in the slightest, but my phone didn’t have any service through all those walls and I couldn’t reach out to anyone. I came out when my "time was up" and decided to finish the date early and ask to get dropped off immediately. I couldn’t have guessed this is what he meant by movie night.
Him: “I just need to meet someone at the spa real quick, then we can go back to my place.”
Me: “So I guess we’re skipping dinner?”
Him: “Do you mind?”
There is always a 50/50 chance I won’t mind a plot twist like that on a date, but there was just something weird about this guy and the series of events that led me to that particular moment—like how could all of that be real? So we went to the spa and some other dude emerged from the back and walked up to the driver’s window and handed my date a little bag full of white rocks. I’ve seen coke by the rock before and that was definitely not it.
By the time we got to his apartment, the latino guy from the tanning salon was already there and waiting for us at the door. As soon as we walked through the door, he pulled down his pants and sat on the couch with his gigantic penis hanging out. “Did you get Tina?” he asked. My date joined him on the couch, also pantless, and handed him the little white bag. I learned two things that night. Number one: Tina is not just the name of my favorite TV character, it’s also a common way to refer to crystal meth. Number two: When someone asks you if you "like to parTy" and the "T" is capiTalized like ThaT iT usually means they enjoy having wild unprotected sex while high AF. But don’t judge them, they’re sensitive to that.
I took a $23 cab home…
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.