The internet has revolutionised the way we communicate. From Facebook to Twitter, we’ve never been more connected to the world around us. Early in the revolution, some genius realised that we human beings crave interaction of a more physical kind and the internet could be used as an initiator for offline relationships – and so the online dating website was born.
The advantages of doing your dating online are multiple. You can chat to guys from all over the world, all over the country, or even just down the street, all from the comfort of your own room. You can be slogging away on that work project that’s due in on Monday and still be looking for a partner. You can see someone’s picture and profile before you commit to any interaction and decide there and then if they’re for you or not. It makes things so much easier than they were before.
Not long after I broke up with my first serious boyfriend, many moons ago, I joined Gaydar – the ultimate online dating site for gay guys in the UK. I call it a “dating site” but really it’s an amalgamation of a social network/hookup site with dating as a by-product if you’re lucky. You can allegedly find anything you want on Gaydar, so much so that the site’s tag line is “What you want, when you want it” (though in my experience finding what I want, when I want it has been bloody difficult).
There are multiple chatrooms, themed by geographical location (e.g. UK – London – North West, UK – Glasgow, UK – Surrey) or fetish (Bears, Cybersex, Man Smells (yes really!), Watersports, etc). Finding anything remotely resembling chat in some of these rooms isn’t easy. My local chatroom, UK-London-North, is basically a bulletin board for hookups: people copying and pasting the same message over and over again in the hope that someone will notice their profile and contact them.
The profiles themselves can be difficult to navigate too. Here’s some of the
bullshit things I’ve read on them, with my translations underneath:
“Been told I’m good looking”
“My mother/fag hag tells me I’m good looking”
“Not looking for one night stands”
“Take me for dinner before we go to bed”
“Looking for a boyfriend but won’t rule out some fun on the way”
“I’ll take what I can get”
“Looking for mates, dates and something more with the right guy”
“I’ll take what I can get”
“Happily coupled but we play together”
“Gangbang at our house tonight at 7″
And then there’s the pictures. Some guys display their full face, some their face and ripped torso. Some even go as far to display their meat and two veg or their male equivalent of the C-U-Next-Tuesday (clean, hopefully). Others are a bit less forthcoming and hide under a cap or behind sunglasses, or forget to tell their friends to use the zoom lens when that holiday picture is taken. Others choose not to display a picture at all, because they’re “not out” or because they feel it hampers their chances of a hookup.
One of the major drawbacks with Gaydar, and online dating in general, is that it’s easy to forget there’s a real person with real feelings behind the words appearing on your computer screen. This website that’s promoting personal interaction can be very impersonal at times. It’s also just too easy in general. Many guys don’t mind if they screw up a relationship, or screw someone over, because someone new can be found in a few clicks.
It’s not all bad though. Gaydar has it’s success stories: strong friendships, lasting relationships, explosive sex partners have all been born out of this website. I myself have found a number of relationships through Gaydar and I wouldn’t have learned what I know about gay men without it. It’s just a case of finding what you want by wading through the bullshit.