Hook up apps like Jack’d and Grindr are an acquired taste.For the longest time, I didn’t like anything about them.You’re an openly gay journalist who writes everything, everywhere.All these Negroes aren’t illiterate, ignorant bottoms.” Fair enough.I remember one person in particular advising to “be a better gay,” and get laid without the getting-to-know-you process.What followed was the suggestion to try “the apps,” which I admittedly rolled my eyes at.Sometimes I just want to use technology for the sole sake of securing sloppy head from a stranger I don’t have to be bothered with ever again.
I never dawned on me that to some — namely those younger or around the same age as me — I am one of the few working gay black male writers they know.
It seems seedy, desperate, lazy, or some other adjective that describes behavior one should be “above.” So while I could talk about my sex life, or lack thereof, on an NPR program as I did last summer with Michele Martin, I was embarrassed when confronted about Jack’d. I remember a lot of gay men dissecting the Huffington Post essay “Why I’ve Given Up on Hooking Up,” in which writer Lester Brathwaite laments about how the apps invoke his insecurities about masculinity, femininity, body image, and a desire to “make real connections in the real world.” Brathwaite’s truth is his, but my takeaway was that he’d come across those same issues on any social media platform and in the real time in “the real world.” I’m not sure if the intent was to dissuade everyone else from hookup culture, but it was cited plenty by peers to make such a case.
Likewise, in an interview with Metro, Sam Smith argued that apps like Tinder and Grindr are “ruining romance,” explaining, “We’re losing the art of conversation and being able to go and speak to people.” This is British bullshit. I know how to have a conversation and I know how to walk up to someone.
Two months later, I was told that someone screen capped a conversation I had on Jack’d with some other stranger that ended up in some Facebook group. A month later I reinstalled it, then days later deleted it again.
I don’t know what the group is for; one presumes it’s for bitches that don’t know how to mind their own business. It’s been an on again, off again process ever since. Others have told me that they wouldn’t dare use something like Jack’d.