I spent half of high school on the liberal enough side of Nashville, Tennessee with a number of gay, male friends who, at that age and in that location, were at a more modest stage of outness. At the time only one of them was meeting other men/boys on the Internet, always on a very particular, semi-secret search for some sensitive, Pitchfork-reading soul, preferably with a beard and blue eyes.
A week ago, about six years after my Nashville friend started looking for someone who'd take to his 17-year-old Internet persona, I had brunch with a few of my gay, male and female, friends in San Francisco, obviously a far more open playground where one probably has at least an 80 percent greater likelihood of meeting people of his or her preferred sexual orientation than in Nashville. Despite this, or because of it, all three males at the table spent the majority of the meal on their phones locked into, and openly discussing, Grindr — basically real-life Gaydar (Meet the men nearest you with this free, GPS location-based smartphone app!) — in case you haven't yet had the pleasure of scrolling through the rolodex of faceless 12-packs. By the time we'd gotten through a few mimosas and benedicts, the females at the table had been largely ignored save for some input on the cleverest sexual innuendo about syrup, one guy had spent a little extra time in the restroom, admittedly attempting to capture his groin at the right angle for a gentleman on the other side of the restaurant, and the resident couple amongst us was demanding our bill as they'd arranged a quickie threesome in the neighborhood within the hour. This was sort of like that moment in that one Sex and the City episode where Carrie goes “Are we sluts?” except I seemed to be the only one around not savvy enough to use my smartphone to get laid.