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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why sex and GPS don't mix.

This is a a cautionary tale and a moral dilema, lets call it a "cautalema"... This story was told to me over the weekend by an old friend who I had not seen in 10 years. By the time he had finished I had gone through so many emotions I thought I'd started menopause. 

Before I begin I must explain to you that you will need to leave any sort of judgement, homophobia, shock and political correctness at the door. If you don't feel you can then best you stop now and come back next week. I need you all to look at this in terms of being HUMAN and nothing else. 

Also, the key player in this story is an iphone app called "Grindr". Wikipedia explains it as: 

"A geosocial networking application for the iPhoneiPod touch, and iPad. The app makes use of the device geolocation, which allows users to access other gay and bisexual men within close proximity. This is accomplished through a simple user interface that displays a grid of representative pictures of men, arranged from nearest to farthest away. Tapping on a picture will display a brief profile for that user, as well as the option to chat, send pictures, and share one's location."

Basically it's speed dating via GPS for gay men who are not looking for anything meaningful.
I have several friends who have become so addicted to this app they are incapable of holding a normal conversation anymore as they are constantly checking their Grindr profile for nearby sex options. The iphone beeps, a photo appears (I won't go into detail on the types of photos that get bandied around. Let's just say NONE of them would be on Mum's mantle) and they disappear to meet the headless torso they've just ogled.

It's crass, brash and frightens the hell out of me. I've ask them what if it's some freak posing as a gay man trying to lure them to his house with the intention of chopping them up into little pieces. They laugh at me and tell me to stop being such a "mother".

Here comes the the very true tale..

My friend Barry* is a lovely guy. He's handsome, reliable, punctual, family orientated and painfully shy. He moved to Sydney 9 years ago to pursue his now flourishing career and also thought that since he was fresh out of the closet his chances of meeting someone would be greater in Sydney. Grindr isn't for everyone, it's for brave, forward men who aren't afraid to throw cation to the wind. Grindr is Barry's worst nightmare, poor darling has only had 2 long term relationships and finds it very hard to meet men due to his crippling shyness. Against his better judgement, he decided to give Grindr a go. 

At first Barry would just chat with blokes and when the idea of a meeting was suggested he'd panic and swiftly block the man from his profile. However, one night after a few beers he decided he'd just bite the bullet and accept the next invitation extended to him....

He turned on his profile and had a look at the men who were within walking distance of him.. Being in Surrey Hills quite a few popped up. He saw a picture of one that he quite liked and was only 500m away so he clicked on the profile and had a look. The guy was olive skinned, muscular had long eyelashes and a kind face. The fact that he had his face in the photo was a relief for Barry as usually it's only "waist down" shots. They exchanged a few polite messages and finally it was decided Barry would go to this guys apartment.

He gave himself the pep talks to end all pep talks and walked the short distance to the man's apartment. He got in the lift and waited to be buzzed up. The man said he'd meet Barry in the hallway so as he arrived at the correct floor a rush of nervous excitement swept through his body. The doors to the lift opened and he looked expectantly to see his Greek adonis with the kind face......

He looked left, he looked right he walked out of the lift and fell over a small man in a wheel chair. 


I'll take a brief break from the story to tell you that as he was telling us this we were in a very crowded Sydney pub all gathered in to try and hear him over the din. When Barry dropped the wheelchair bombshell the gasp echoed around the room so loudly the DJ stopped playing.

So. He walked out of the lift and shin boned himself on the edge of a wheelchair.

"Barry?" the small man asked....
(At this point someone says - "Tell me you lied. Tell me you said no.")
"Err yes, yes I'm Barry" Barry answered.
"Great, that didn't take you long, come in. Can you try and be a bit quiet my Mother and Grandmother are asleep in the next room" 

Barry, being the polite person he his followed the man back into his apartment with the sleeping kin and didn't know what to do. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Yes of course disabled people deserve healthy sex lives. No it should not make a difference if someone is in a wheelchair but it does doesn't it? Especially if you're not been expecting it.

Various theories were being thrown around the pub at this point, one of my other boys said he would have been upfront immediately and said "you didn't mention this" (pointing in the general direction of the wheelchair) and would then have promptly left. 

Barry is not that guy. He's not one to assert himself and he's certainly not one to make someone else feel terrible. So, he went inside the man's apartment and did what was expected of him. The logistics of this hook up were a nightmare but that's not for this blog to dissect, however I will say the term "wheelchair mono" was used.  Barry said it was awkward, awful and humiliating for both of them. He could not believe after all the angst and worry about going on Grindr his first experience led him to a man who lived with his Mother and Grandmother and was wheelchair bound as well. He asked me what I would have done, I said the guilt and my innate need to make everything ok would have taken over and I probably would have gone through with it also.

Needless to say he's never been on Grindr again.

Word on the street is "straight" Grindr is in production as we speak.

E x

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