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Love NOLA: Welcome to the gay man's world...the online version

Brett Will Taylor

Brett Will Taylor

A few weeks ago, NolaVie columnist Ms. Match wrote about online dating.  It was a cute piece.  Sweet. Funny.  And I am sure it represents what the search for a perfect mate (or, perhaps, just a playmate) is like for many people. But not all.

Allow me to introduce you to the “social networking” world of gay men. Please keep your hands inside at all times.

It’s a surreal world, a mash-up of Desperate Housewives, Studio 54 (the Liza years), Dante’s 2nd level of Hell … and American Horror Story (where everyone is really pretty … and mostly crazy).

People love this world, fed by apps with names like Scruff, MISTER, and Grindr. Actually, a lot of people love this world.  Grindr has 6 million users, with 3,000 new ones joining each day. That’s a lot of gay. No wonder the Pope is making overtures.

I love this world, too. What’s not to love? It offers everything you could ever want as a gay man. You can make friends on these apps. You can chat on them while your coffee’s brewing. You can network (I skip that one; “networking” is just way too Pete Campbell for me). And you can hook-up (because, let’s face it, sometimes it’s just easier to order in).

You also can encounter a cast of characters that could have stepped right out of a John Waters movie. Not 21st-century, mainstream John Waters.  No 1970’s “holy sh^t this mo’fo is crazy” John Waters.

On any given day at any given hour, you will encounter the following 10 types of gay men online:

  1. The Protestors. These are the gays who tsk-tsk the whole trashy idea of gay apps. It’s beneath them. A friend of mine once told me in a most superior tone how horrified he was that his ex was on Grindr, shirtless!  “How do you know?” I asked. “Oh, I saw his profile when I was checking messages,” he replied, before sputtering “I mean I was just there to see if he was pathetic enough to have a profile.” Hello, Pot? It’s Kettle calling.
  2. The Moles.  A sizable block, these guys have zero intention of actually meeting anyone. Ever. To them virtual reality is reality. I imagine they live in caves. Bat caves. With action figures.
  3. The Sups. These verbally challenged guys are the cavemen of gay apps, only slightly less developed. “Sup? Looking?  Into?” goes their normal greeting. I like to throw them by responding with “Wow! How about that nuclear bomb going off in South Dakota this morning?” To which they inevitably reply, “Pix?”
  4. The Hide Yet Seeks. The guys with the profile pic that is a black box. They’re “discrete” gays whose mothers apparently don’t know they have libidos. But that’s OK, because, apparently, they all are “easy on the eyes.” If you’re in total darkness.
  5. The Obsessives. Gay apps can be like crack … and some guys can be like Whitney. I recently was at a dinner where one of the guests had his phone propped up against a bottle of wine the entire time. He was trying to arrange a hook-up and didn’t want to miss any messages. When he hit paydirt and went to leave, he sighed and said, “You know, really I just want to meet someone who will make me delete this app.” Good luck with ‘dat.
  6. The Frankengays. These boys know just what they want … and they have the list to prove it. You must be X height, have Y hair, with Z interests (please pick at least 3 of the following 5). Oh, and if you’re in New Orleans, you also must provide proof that you have a job … and, for reasons I have never understood, a car (is this why so many people take selfies in their cars?). Interestingly, none of the Frankengays have actually been in a relationship.
  7. The NOTS. The evil twins of the Frankengays, the NOTS want you to know what they are NOT looking for. They always speak in CAPS lest you not understand their rules. If you have a NOT trait and contact them, they WILL BLOCK YOU FOR LIFE (and make a really mean scrunchy face).
  8. The Confused. As I mentioned, these apps aren’t just for hooking-up. Some people come there to make friends.  Often, their profile pix are of their ripped abs. Or sculpted butts. Accompanied by a profile that borrows from the NOTS and says “FRIENDS ONLY, seeking deeper connection than sex.” I know just how they feel. My abs long to be respected for who they are. When I can actually find my abs.
  9. The Dicks.  The gays who won’t meet … for any reason … without seeing a picture of your Anthony Weiner.  I often reply with, “If you met me in a bar and wanted to come home with me, would you ask me to drop trou first?” More than one has said, “Yes, I would.”
  10. The Regulars.  Not everyone is crazy on these sites. There’s the rest of us.  We number about 4-6. Of course that’s you. And, most assuredly, that’s me. Unless I’m being obsessive. Or a dick. In which case, the number dwindles down to 3-5.

Brett Will Taylor is a southern storyteller whose previous column, Love NOLA, appeared weekly on NolaVie.  He now shares his stories at Brett Will Taylor: A Storyteller and his Stories. Follow him @bwtshaman.