What the culture gains and loses from gay dating apps

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com


My biggest concern about my use of Grindr is that it will inflate my ego—and that I’ll furthermore get used to that inflation so that the day it pops, and I realize I’m too old to be considered desirable by any but a small niche, will fling me into a free fall. But for men whose egos have been already deflated by cultural stereotypes—as is the case for a gay Filipino-American academic I talked to for this piece, Anthony Ocampo, who feels that American sex culture is hostile to him as an Asian man—hook-up apps can be a necessary and positive corrective.

“As someone who grew up as a gay man of color with my entree being West Hollywood—I wasn’t skinny or lean when I started going out—I developed deep-seated notions that I wasn’t physically attractive,” said Ocampo, assistant professor in the department of psychology and sociology at Cal Poly Pomona, and someone who’s studied the sociology of Grindr. “That took a really long time for me to admit out loud. I think the plus side of Grindr and leaving it on when you’re just chilling is that you get to accumulate empirical evidence that my negative self-image was untrue. If 30 people in the course of 24-48 hours were saying, ‘Hey cutie,’ there’s something about that that counteracts the negative self-image that I had developed over the years of feeling marginalized as a gay man, as a not necessarily fit or buff gay guy.”