Thursday, February 1, 2018
Finding Small Town Gay Men on Grindr
In the book Familiar Faces, Hidden Lives: The Story of Homosexual Men in America Today (1976), Howard Brown expresses horror over a gay friend's decision to move away from Baltimore to a small town: "How could a 35 year old, well-educated [gay man] put himself in such a position? Didn't he know that he was choosing a life that would afford no chance of love?"
In the 1980s and 1990s, the moment you figured out that you were gay, you made plans to move to a big city. Small towns and even medium-sized cities were sites of lies, secrets, and silence, where gay people were assumed not to exist, and probably didn't.
There might be one or two gay people left in Crawfordsville, Indiana, or Danville, Illinois. They were deeply closeted, living in constant fear, isolated, lonely, desperate.
Yesterday I was traveling with my brother and sister-in-law on I-74 through the desolate nowheres of Indiana and Illinois, past Crawfordsville and Danville, Veedersburg and Westville, Mahomet and Farmer City and Leroy. I turned on Grindr, and watched the names and faces come and go, and listened the voices of gay men. Were they still isolated, lonely, desperate?
Here are 14 of their profiles, edited slightly for narrative flow. Decide for yourself.
[The photos are not from Grindr, which doesn't allow nudity]
2. Mystic. Running, animals, anime, gaming, having fun, stargazing. Passing time on Earth, making friends along the way. I'm an old soul in a modern age, dreaming of things that might never be. 8 inches. Hookups ok.
4. Funfun. Living life at level 10. Hit me up for a night of Netflix and pizza. If you have holes in your ears big enough to see through, no thanks. No one over 26.
5. Another Reject. Bottom if you want to know. High school senior, as lonely as all of you here. I'm awkward, so good luck. No, the girl I'm with is not my girlfriend, and it's not my prom. Looking for a boyfriend. Let's get coffee and see where it goes.
6. Speed Racer.. I work for a company that sanctions races all over the country. I also announce races all over the Midwest. Masculine, laid back, looking for younger, well hung a plus. Blonds go to the front of the line.
7. Potato Pancakes. Virgin, never did this before. I may not be gorgeous, but I'm still a catch. I cook, sew, sing, garden, can my own spaghetti sauce. Oral and anal bottom.
8. Jelly. Age 21. We all have the time. Reading, jazz, retro porn, Pokemon Go. I am a summer looking for a winter.
9. Paratrooper Comedian. Uptight high strung goofy 420 friendly with a glock. My Mamma left me, my Daddy left me, I'm lazy and not goodlooking but I'm full of laughter and heart. Baby, ring my bell.
10. Dick Wolf. Sup, Boners? I call my bedroom Margaritaville because I'm wasting away in it. Come and see my band and punch me in the throat and make out with me on stage. We can go on a cuddling date later.
11. Zoom Zoom. I'm me. Sarcasm, art, music, motorcycles, cooking, sake with Red Bull. Nothing upsets me. Black Buddhist bottom. The bigger you are, the better. Want a blow job?
12. Open Minded. Up for anything -- you tell me. No bi, married, trans, closeted, femmes, fats, Blacks, piercings, druggies, losers, weirdos, gang bangers, unemployed, or old dudes. Sorry, no offense, it's just not my thing.
13. Nerd. Loves books,movies, video games, all physical activity. Quirkily cute. Fuzzy bottom. Cannibal chaser. Poet and philosopher. If you're closeted, I'm not interested. Please don't contact me if you don't want to hang out and get to know me.
14. Enigma. Adult male primate. Intellectual gym rat nudist with a screw loose and a campy sense of humor. Also a cock as big as Mount Everest. Why can't orphans play baseball? Because they have no home. I have a home. It could be yours, too, if you play your cards right.