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Thank you for ignoring my message on Grindr — seriously

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After a lifetime of dating and hookup apps, at least for Gen Z and younger millennials, I’m consistently surprised by individuals who react to rejection as if it were a new concept created exclusively to offend them. 

I’m not here to police your feelings. Desiring someone only to find out they wouldn’t even touch you with a 10-foot dildo sucks. But the search for mutual attraction is the initial function of the apps! It’s the game you agree to upon uploading your first profile picture: others will judge your likeability based on pixelations, and there’s nothing more subjective than taste. 

In my opinion, what sets gay apps apart from hetero ones is that the feeling of rejection is more palpable. While developers at Tinder and Hinge focused on confirming mutual attraction before enabling interactions, Grindr’s goal was to maximize immediate encounters, aka hookups, in real time. 

As a result, Grindr shows you all the gay men within your vicinity without providing the slightest idea of physical compatibility. One has to message at will (sometimes faceless torsos at random) to find a match, essentially throwing your feelings to the wolves. 

Because of this, I passionately believe: No response is a response (including from yours truly if the torso connects to a less appealing head). 

However, rather than moving on, countless gay men continue to go up in arms about their messages being ignored. There have been think pieces promoting people treating each other with more respect, as if reading the words of rejection comes with more dignity than reading between the lines. 

There are countless Reddit threads with hundreds of gays and heteros alike arguing what should be the correct protocol. It appears the nuances of self-esteem and ego permeate sexuality. More specifically, the fragility of men and their boners. 

This modern etiquette tug-of-war is between politeness and efficiency – the comfort of closure and the burden of unnecessary exposure. 

Before I make my case to the jury, let me clarify that I come with over a decade of finding mates on Grindr (is that a humble brag or sad? You decide). Naturally, I’ve been stabbed by both ends of this double-edged sword exponentially more times than the number of people I’ve actually met from the app in real life. If you have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince, you must play a game of  whack-a-mole to sleep with them, putting yourself in the target zone. 

No criticism to the users who opt to answer every message as if they’re writing thank-you notes. But many of us don’t have the mental bandwidth or enough care to follow suit – and that’s okay. Apps are no longer the face of innovation – the opposite; they’ve become a permanent part of the status quo. An exhausting means to a horny end. 

An almost barrage of daily articles (fatigue that started in 2016) will quickly show you Americans are sick and tired of scrolling or swiping for intimacy. The time involved of then responding to every message only adds to the negative downsides of what are supposed to be pleasure-creating apps. I’ve dabbled with saying “Not a match” only to have men try to convince me otherwise (often with dick pics), demand a thesis why they weren’t my type, or counter my rejection by rejecting me – sometimes disparagingly. 

All this labor aside, I ignore messages I’m not interested in because I’m grateful for the men who’ve ignored me. Thank you for having the decency of trusting I’m intelligent enough to piece together the puzzle of your disinterest, or better said, the absence of any dots to connect. Maybe the gay men angered by being ignored actually just want a hug. And they’re barking at the wrong tree for it. 

It’s magical that we can make the first move and come out mostly unscathed. I avoid hitting on attractive strangers in person because I’m terrified of being turned down or them being straight. Grindr was a revolutionary platform not just in facilitating gay sex and relationships but empowering us to approach other gay men with minimal risk of humiliation. Being ignored feels less like a rejection and more like a step closer to the next. 

Thank you for ignoring me, and you’re welcome. 

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