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Here are the creeps you should be avoiding on sex and dating apps

Here are the creeps you should be avoiding on sex and dating apps

‘If I told you, I’d be kicked off Grindr.’

I recently asked a guy I was chatting to online to share his wildest fantasies. Or was it ‘most extreme’? Either way, this was his response.

Now, I asked the question. Mainly because I’m an inquisitive, sex-positive person who hates retreading time-worn conversations about sex with strangers. (After all, how unimaginative is ‘into?’).

I was prepared for almost any response. He could’ve liked X, Y or Z and I wouldn’t have been shocked, wouldn’t have judged or been rude. As such, I don’t consider such questions problematic. (Or, at least, I didn’t). But what he said threw me for a loop.

‘If I told you that, I’d be kicked off Grindr.’

What does that even mean?

For better of for worse, I’ll never know. My knee-jerk reaction was to block him. But ever since, questions have swirled in my head. Was he joking, or being serious? Was he overstating it, or was he referring to something dangerous/illegal? What might have happened if I’d met him?

‘”I’m not that Berlin in my tastes”‘

It got me thinking of other questionable men I’ve interacted with online in the past. Like the one who assured me he wouldn’t go ‘Jeffrey Dahmer’ on my ass. (‘I’m not that Berlin in my tastes,’ he said). Or the one who I chatted to for months, only to find him using my picture on his profile. I prefer not think about the older men I talked to after getting my first Gaydar account…at 14. In their defense, I didn’t disclose my age to many of them. But some, I did.

Like bacteria in a swamp, creepy people with insidious agendas lurk and thrive in anonymous, digital spaces.

On Twitter, in comment sections, on apps such as Grindr and Scruff, idiotic morons say what they want and pursue harmful, hateful agendas without fear of meaningful reprimand. Many live to provoke.

‘There’s nothing wrong with casual sex – but there has to be respect’

On apps, where those agendas are mixed up in sex, love and dating, with a view to meeting in the flesh, the stakes are higher. In my experience, the waters are murkiest where the context is purely physical, transactional. There’s nothing wrong with casual sex, of course – but there has to be a baseline of respect. We all deserve that, and so do our prospective sexual partners.

And yet, disrespectful behavior online is endemic. Since Grindr first came onto the scene in 2009, amassing 2.4 million daily users worldwide by 2016, conduct has degenerated. And what happens when that conduct is translated into the physical realm? I know the answer, but that’s another story for another time.

This is about poor digital conduct. And let’s be honest, it is evident via anonymous profiles. but I wouldn’t tar them all with the same brush. I’ve met many perfectly decent people who keep their online identities secret with good reason.

Besides, for me personally, the guys I’m most mindful of are the ones with the right ‘look’, the optimum set of vital stats. Some think they have a license to act reprehensibly. Or perhaps I give them a free pass to, because of how I perceive them. Either way, that license is imaginary. Guys don’t get a free pass to be racist, femme-shaming, body-shaming or generally a dick just because they’re hot.

So, I implore you: no matter how dateable and/or attractive you think he is, do not give a guy the time of day if he expresses any of the following attributes…

1 He’s prejudiced

This is never acceptable. We all have a responsibility to be on the right side of history with this one. ‘No femmes, no fats, no Asians’ – I would laugh at such a tired cliche if it wasn’t so clearly still a reality. I see people expressing such sickness so brazenly, so regularly, that once again, I’m almost deadened to it.

Stating a preference for certain body types and package sizes belongs to this realm. So he like big muscles and big dicks? Good for him. Who doesn’t? But to proudly, publicly disclose that as some sort of interesting character quirk, or an inadvertent preference isn’t acceptable. It’s bigoted. It’s abhorrent. If he doesn’t understand the concept of equality, why talk to him?

2 He doesn’t respect your policy on photos

My profiles contain a picture of my person, and an admittedly abrupt ‘Face only.’ And still, I get contacted by blank profiles every single day. Then there’s the choppy waters of nude photos. If he sends one, should you feel obliged to send one back? No, and especially not if it was unsolicited. Fuck his hurt feelings.

3 He never changes his picture

I have to raise my hand and admit I’ve been guilty of this one. Perhaps this shows just how desensitized to shitty behaviour I’d become.

I recently returned to the world of apps after 18 months away and didn’t think twice about using the same picture as before. It wasn’t until I started writing this feature that I realized I was being (somewhat subconsciously) deceptive. So I changed it, because I’ve changed.

But I’ve been living in the neighborhood for the past seven years, and some of my ‘neighbors’ haven’t changed their photo in that entire time. Hopefully that puts my dishonesty into perspective a bit. Some look amazing in their pictures; come across as nice, approachable people elsewhere in their profiles. But they’re not. They’re essentially liars.

4 He won’t take no for an answer

Yes, it sucks when people ghost you. It sucks when people are direct with you. It sucks when they block you. But you’ve probably done most of these things yourself; thus, you have to accept it when people do it to you. Rejection is part and parcel of life; it’s inevitable, and integral we try and take it on the chin when it happens to us.

But some guys can’t do that. They message over and over again, often getting increasingly abusive. This is why it infuriates me that some services only give you a limited amount of blocks per day unless you sign up for a premium service. Even then, I’ve had guys create new profiles and target me afresh.

‘Don’t become immune’

To be clear, I’m not suggesting every guy who acts like a dick, or sets off alarm bells, is potentially dangerous.

But when we fail to call out or act on casually contemptible behaviour, we become immune to it, and what it potentially leads to.