Here’s the tea. In Amsterdam, two local politicians recently created Grindr profiles to attract voters. “We are very fond of new technology and new media,” Jan-Bert Vroege, an openly gay candidate for the D66 party, told Reuters on Wednesday. Vroege and his fellow candidate Pieter Rietman (who is openly bisexual) have both created profiles.
“We are also into making Amsterdam a lively gay destination, and using Grindr we can get that message to all the gay people of Amsterdam,” Vroege said.
This is just another example of how The Netherlands is awesome. The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2000. That action started a chain of similar passings in other countries. Belgium, Canada, and South Africa followed before the fight wound up on our doorstep one day in Massachusetts.
The D66 party is described as “a progressive opposition party which was an early proponent of liberal policies in the Netherlands, including gay marriage, euthanasia, and drug tolerance. It ranked third in the most recent national opinion polls.”
In case you’ve been living under a rock: Grindr is a gay dating and hookup app for smartphone users. You customize a profile, upload photos, and chat with guys nearby. It uses the geolocation services in your phone to locate other Grindr users around you. It even gives you a distance meter: the nearest guy may be 4329 feet away. Or 12 feet away. It’s pretty accurate.
There are a small number of similar apps like this, and there are many dating and hookup websites, so regardless of which one you prefer, there are so many guys with a digital dating or hookup profile somewhere that it’s ridiculous to think there would still be a stigma against these. But there is.
I have been blasted for using Grindr by people who tell me that it looks bad for my reputation — that being on Grindr is sleazy and “presents the wrong image.” But I am sleazy, and I don’t think liking sex makes me an untrustworthy or undesirable person. Maybe I should be a politician in the Netherlands.
Grindr may not be the best one, but it’s not terrible. Sure, bad things happen on there sometimes, just as they do on Facebook, OkCupid, and eHarmony. People will lie, take advantage of you, insult you, steal your pictures, share your pictures, and potentially hurt you, especially if you’re the sort of person who meets someone at their house and not in a well-lit public place where you can call for help.
Looking to the Netherlands, a land of social liberalism, relaxed gender roles, and lower degrees of masculinity (according to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions) I’m tempted to say that Grindr stigma is worse here in the United States, and certainly worse in the South, where I currently live.
Grindr naysayers are generally naysayers of all hookup apps. They believe apps like Grindr exist solely for sex, and that hooking up for sex — online or otherwise — is generally a shameful, irresponsible, risky thing to do. I have hooked up more times via Grindr than I can physically count and have made wonderful friends along the way. Some of my best friendships started as one-time fucks.
I have no patience for tech-phobia, especially when it’s masqueraded as thinly-veiled slut-shaming. You shouldn’t either. Grindr is the new gay club with global attendance and no cover charge. If politicians in the Netherlands can use it to reach people, so can you.