Ah, the unstoppable force of Grindr, an app so powerful its spawn are even spawning. The location-based app has led to fellow spinoffs for gay men (Manhunt Mobile, Scruff), a version for straight people (the equally shoddily-named Blendr) and even a Jewish version (Yenta, which sadly is nothing like this ad). But one unintended—but somewhat expected but still kinda gross—consequence of Grindr’s popularity has been the new trend of straight women using the service to find new Gay BFFs.
Down on the Buzzfeed farm, there’s a post featuring a number of women who are on Grindr looking for gay pals to do shopping and brunch and checking out guys together type things. The posters self-describe as “the ultimate hag” and fruit fly, and their requests aren’t much better—one user, Courtney, seeks “fun gay shopping partners! Let’s check out guys while we shop for shoes! J” Ashley’s tagline says she’s “Now accepting GBFF apps!” and that she’s “ready to talk about fashion, lady gaga, Tina turner and Zac Efron.” At least two use an outdated and hurtful term for transgender people that they probably thought was okay to use because Christian Siriano said it all the time on Project Runway that one season. So, that’s a great way to endear yourself.
As a disclaimer, the gay male population isn’t a monolith, and I don’t mean to speak for any one particular group or be offended for anybody, but I can safely say the gay men I know would probably find this pretty offensive. Having an open mind and wanting to meet new people is great and all, and it can’t be hard to find people, gay or not, who enjoy things like shopping and brunch and Tina Turner. Pretty much all people like brunch, and literally everyone loves Tina Turner. And there’s nothing wrong with looking for friends on the Internet—lots of people do that now.
But defining someone solely by their sexual orientation and choosing a friend solely based on that criteria and its stereotypical trappings, as opposed to seeing, you know, a person with goals and interests and fears and loves doesn’t make you more progressive or likable or whatever, it makes you, first and foremost, a shitty friend. And granted, certain friends do serve certain purposes, but that doesn’t mean you get to treat them like accessories. And if your perception of gay men is still the result of Sex and the City and Ryan Murphy-fronted sitcoms, then you actually legitimately do need to go out and meet actual gay people.