Scott De Buitléir writes about ditching his Grindr profile, realising that he was not meeting anyone he had anything in common with.
Technically, it wasn’t a break-up. It was making sure I didn’t have to go through another date, where I had to wrack my brain to come up with conversation fillers. He was nice, polite, tall, handsome and friendly. On paper, he ticked the right boxes… but I felt nothing.
He was the final breath of my Grindr days. Just before I decided to delete my presence, not only that infamous app but all of them, I gave him my number. Going by his profile and messages, he seemed like boyfriend material. Tall, just a bit older -two years, just right – and with a good job; sporty, chatty and able to strike up banter – something I can be very hot-and-cold about. When I met him first, it went pretty well; a bit of a walk, a coffee and an unplanned dinner. Still, the rest was not meant to be.
Once I knew that I wasn’t able to ask people to buy us wedding gifts from IKEA I asked two different friends about how to cool things down. I was that out of practise, which I couldn’t tell whether or not was a good thing. One of them talked sense though, despite the odd joke about my predicament.
“You can’t just text him, that’s not fair. He’s not your boyfriend and you haven’t been seeing him for years, but he deserves a call. Maybe not a sit-down, ‘we need to talk’ talk, but a call at least.”
My heart sank as I realised my friend was right. I hated disappointing people. Some are able to brush that off their shoulders, but I’m too emotional for it. Still, I knew it had to be done. He sent me a text a couple of days before I was supposed to see him again, and I didn’t even wait. It was like I was in battle mode. This isn’t gonna be nice, or pretty, I thought, so do it like a plaster … just with more tact. I asked if we could chat on the phone, but of course, that’s when the plan falls apart.
“I can barely hear you,” he says. “It’s like there’s an awful echo – I can only hear myself!”
“Okay, no bother! I’ll just text you!” I barely gave him enough time to react – if he could even hear me – before I put down the phone to start texting. For his sake, I won’t go into what was said, but it went as well as it could. If I see him again as friends, I’d count myself lucky, because he’s genuinely such a nice guy.
My advisor friend looked at me with a smile that was half curious, half cheeky. “What exactly was the problem, though?”
“We had nothing in common! But that’s what I was talking about the other week, that’s the problem with dating apps!”
My friend raised an eyebrow as he drank his coffee, silently demanding an explanation.
“Right – if you meet someone you like through friends, you’re likely to have a similar sense of humour. If you meet a guy in work or college, you’ll probably have similar interests. Online, the only thing you’re guaranteed to have in common is that you’re both gay. That’s it. That’s why I got rid of the apps. There’s no hope.”
It could’ve been a self-fulfilling prophecy, but either way, the dying breath of my Grindr days proved my point. Internally, though, I questioned my own dating skills as well. I wondered if I needed to lower my expectations, or if there was any sense to following my instincts. Maybe it really was a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’