Gays and Grindr - Please Put Your iPhone Away, Thanks

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Let me start off by saying that I'm aware it's not really the iPhones that are bad, it's the behavior of the device's users. It's clear that the iPhone is a very useful device in many ways, but the users' bad behavior overshadows any benefit from the technology at this time. That will change some day when people discover their boundaries when using the device in social settings. Every new innovation or technology brings with it the need for new social structures and etiquette. For example, we've learned over time to make sure toilet seats are down in a home with females. Don't drive drunk. Don't forward every e-mail joke you receive. Stuff like that. It seems like most owners of handheld devices think they're exempt from the need to be polite in social settings, particularly gay iPhone owners who have the Grindr application.

OMG he's 200 feet away...Grindr is a program you can put on your iPhone that detects every other person with Grindr on their iPhone. Sort of like a locator beacon that gays can use to hook up. I would contend this application is a major force driving iPhone purchases in the gay male community. Some of you may be horrified at the idea of broadcasting your location to everyone nearby, but believe me it's extremely popular with the gays, particularly with the attention-deficit disordered and sexually compulsive.

Recently I was at a five-star restaurant with great food, fantastic service and lovely atmosphere with a group of four. The place was a bit pricey and I don't go to such places very often, and such an event is certainly not the kind of place where I would want to squander the experience. Three of of the gays at the table had iPhones, two of them with the Grindr application. During cocktails before the dinner the two with Grindr had located a hatchet-faced truck driver 19 miles away, and were competing for the truck driver's attention. I guess that's fine during cocktails but after a while conversations centered around your handheld device or a stranger none of us has met gets kind of old. Discussion about your handheld device certainly shouldn't dominate any conversation. But I let it pass.

But when we were seated at the restaurant the devices came out again not long after the entrees were ordered. Again they hungrily tapped on their devices to see who could get the hottest response from the truck driver. I looked around the restaurant and noticed no one else was holding a handheld device. It was a nice restaurant and most level-headed adults knew you shouldn't do that sort of thing at the dinner table. The two at my table were the exception. Or they thought the other people at the table would make an exception for them.

At one point I had to relieve myself and was told by the other odd man sans Grindr that there was complete silence while I was away, because the two wooing the truck driver were so intent on chatting with someone somewhere else.

look at my new app!The entree arrived and was delicious and they stopped tapping for a while but still addictively glanced at the screens tucked in their laps like strung out coke fiends looking for a fix. And before the dessert menu arrived the devices were pulled out again so we could all learn about what the truck driver from 19 miles away was thinking. One of the two finally realized he was being rude, but the other one would not stop. Finally I had to say, "Listen: if the company at this table is so boring to you, clear your check and get out of here." If it was so important that he hook up with the hatchet-faced truck driver, then let him go hook up as far as I cared. Dinner conversation had been squashed an hour ago by attention to the devices, rather than to the actual, real, physical people at the table. Yet another tragic casualty to socialization and person-to-person communication due to improper use of a handheld device.

I would wager that none of these rude iPhone users would do such a thing among straight company, or at a work function. Ignoring the people at present company in lieu of someone 19 miles away is not only rude, but inherently homophobic as well. Why? Because some gays think they can be rude to fellow gays but we wouldn't be as rude to heterosexuals. Straight people wouldn't put up with it and you'd look pretty addicted to the device and appear sexually compulsive from their perspective. Feel free to challenge me on this but I've noticed gays are more apt to be rude [while fondling handheld devices] to fellow gays than they would to heterosexuals. It's a channel of homophobia as far as I'm concerned. Anyhow, I hope such an experience doesn't happen to me again, but I'll try to avoid such situations in the future by being more selective with whom I dine. If they're known compulsive handheld device abusers they won't be invited out to eat because it's usually very clear they've lost the ability to socialize.

Other things I don't want to hear:

  • Your iPhone bleeping every time you receive an e-mail or text message.
  • "OMG Grindr burns so much battery power." I've heard that 50 times already. Boring.
  • "OMG this hot guy is only 50' away in the next building." Again, I don't care, and you're probably not actually interested in hooking up with him anyway. You're just looking for validation.

Some suggestions:

  • Leave it at home, turn it off. You don't need to be connected 24/7.
  • Don't assume everyone wants to talk about your iPhone or your latest application.
  • I don't care if your iPhone broke or ran out of power, so don't mention it on Facebook or Twitter.

In fact, the rest of us are really tired of hearing about your iPhone, so put it away, thanks.

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HSimpson said:

Good for you! I'm glad you told your dinner companion what you were thinking. Too often people get by with things simply because no one will call them on it!

BTW, what did you have for dinner?

brettcajun said:

Point well taken Jimbo. While I was in Las Vegas, my friend Chris got irritated from time to time whenever I checked out Grindr. While I believed I was being thoughtful by only checking it going down escalators or walking, I was still being a douche. Grindr is just like anything else... seldom a hookup... often a time waster.

Dax said:

I dont think its just a gay thing, I think its the end result of the "Me Me Me" culture that has become to common here in the US and in other countries.

When I go out with my friends, those with I-phones never are rude enough to use them while in mid conversation. If they get a call, or a message and it is not urgent (such as a family matter or house matter) they ignore it until the right time to answer it, or they excuse themselves and return when tey are done.

Most of my friends dont have I=phones. We got better things to do with our money like pay the mortgage and eat. Author Profile Page said:

But obviously you do care, or you wouldn't make such a fuss. A truly detached person wouldn't bat an eyelid.

Trotting out the ism/phobia cart when it's not that serious is histrionic, and quite frankly just as annoying as your dinner companions. Either get new dinner companions or deal.

Jim (The Canuck One) said:

It happens all the time - and not just with iPhone junkies looking to score a trick. I was once in a business meeting: myself, one my clients and three system architects (NERD-LEVEL + 50). When the meeting started, the arch's took out their laptops and proceeded to type continuously and, well, speak into their keyboards.

I could tell the client was doing a slow burn and after 10 minutes I signaled the client we should leave. I told the techs "We came here to meet with you, and discuss budget YOU want, not to talk to the tops of your heads. When you can meet like civilized people, give me a call and I'll arrange something. Oh, by the way, two of you are going bald BIG TIME. I'll let you figure out which ones, you're clever boys."

I don't think it's a gay thing, either, but I think that a larger percentage of iPhone users (vs other cell phone users) act just like you described. I agree that it's part of the "Me Me Me" culture. I was recently at a dinner party (of 8) where six of the guys spent the entire time pecking at their iPhone while I chatted with the other person there. Frankly I enjoyed the conversation because I figured the other six wouldn't have had anything to contribute anyway. I have a dinner date planned with the other non-iPhone user.

Jon Mitchell said:

It's not iPhone's your friends. Why are you hanging out with people so intent on ignoring you?

Mark said:

Good for you!!

I guess I really don't understand the need for a hand-held device that tells me when a homosexual is 19 miles or 50' away.

I've never had trouble finding them...homosexuals, that is...all by my lonesome.

This just seems plain lazy.

jimbo Author Profile Page said:

Carl: I said I don't care if your iPhone is running out of juice or is broken. I do care that people are being rude, that's why I'm making a fuss. Perhaps some people don't even know they're being rude. It's my job to correct that.

Jon said:
>>>>It's not iPhone's your friends. Why are you hanging out with people so intent on ignoring you?

Oooh, that's a good point. I never thought of it that way. Maybe it's the nerd factor that's high in my posse, or maybe they _are_ intent on ignoring me. It may also be a DC thing - in New York City, when those boys go out on the town they're serious about it and don't have their handheld devices out all the time. In other words they're not intent on focusing on someone somewhere else through a digital medium.

kiri said:

woah. i'd never heard of grindr. first off, ummmmmm creepy! second off, fucking rude behavior. gross gross gross. time to find some new dining companions! i'm a firm believer in leaving the cell phone at home when dining out with friends. engage. it's just more fun.

Scott said:

A gay thing? I'm not so sure about that. What was the average age of the dinner party? I'm not an old fogey but I find it to happen, just like loud and rude phone-talkers on the bus, to be mostly (but not always) people under 35. And what was the reaction from the "friend" who kept on Grinding after your comment? What a shame people aren't taught manners/social behavior in school or home anymore. I've always felt that cell phones should be sold with a small wallet-sized card with Do's and Don'ts of polite usage.

"A truly detached person wouldn't bat an eyelid." ??? Why would you want to be detached?
" Either get new dinner companions or deal." A comment just as rude as the friends at the dinner table.

Chris said:

I would never ignore you during dinner, in fact I would stare and hang on your every word. . .but think you know that already :-)

John said:

well, I see similar behavior all the time here in Houston, so I don't think it's just a DC thing.

Carl, I see the kind of thing Jimbo is talking about all the time, so I don't think it's just his friends. And yes, he should get some new ones. But it seems pretty clear - given what I can observe on the street any day of the week, given statistics on use of phones and text messaging while driving, given that I cannot go to the grocery store without finding myself saying "excuse me... excuse me..." while trying to get past someone talking on the phone completely oblivious to reality, given that I recently stood in line at a deli while the woman next to me shrieked into the phone about her yeast infection so that everyone having lunch could hear it - that there is some link between the availability of mobile devices and the resulting antisocial behavior.

My response with friends is to ask, in a concerned tone, "Hey, is everything OK?" (Message: this MUST be an emergency call, right? Right?) and if the behavior continues, stop socializing with them.

Because if someone is willing to make plans for a social engagement with me, and then tunes me out during it, I have to conclude that they are not that interested in socializing. And I think it's reasonable to be irritated that they wasted my time by making those plans, having me there with them, and then - in a very real way - ditched me in the middle of it. Unspeakably rude.

homer said:

The only person I would answer a call from while at dinner would be from my mother, who only calls for a good reason. Otherwise, they can talk to my voice mail and tell me how annoyed they are that I didn't pick up.

grindrblog said:

We wish you had a screen shot of the hatchet-faced truck driver! LOLOLz


Kevin M said:

I dunno, maybe I have less tolerance than some people (or even you, Jimbo)... if someone had done that to me during cocktails, I would have gotten up, announced my apologies for having gotten the invitation wrong (I must have gotten the wrong date, or misunderstood what we were doing, because I thought we were getting together as friends, not sharing a table while you try to pick up a trick).

If that didn't result in a swift, abject apology, I'd have said my goodbyes and walked out - leaving them to deal, or more likely, chase their truck driver. But it would be a cold day on the Equator before I'd make plans with them again.

Life's too short to live in a moldy apartment, or to hang out with moldy people.

Alan said:

All true, but it's not homophobia. Grindr attracts shallow, over-sexed men. To them all gay men are just like them, want the same things they do, and exist almost entirely for sex. They just didn't want to fuck anyone at the table and didn't see any value in talk. Since you're just like them you not only understood but felt the same way and were just as interested in the trucker as they were. Your anger probably mystified them for all of three seconds, until something more interesting caught their attention. A cute waiter or a shiny object.

It's harsh and ugly but these aren't refined people. It's narcissism and old-fashioned shallowness with a dash of sexual objectification, none of which are anything new. Mobile devices just make it easier for them to annoy the living hell out of everyone else. They'll stop when it finally sinks in their behavior is limiting their rewards.

Get better friends; you deserve it.

jrod916 said:

I have an iPhone, but right on Jimbo!!!!! I think everyone, gays and straights alike, need to rediscover socialization and appreciate the people that we have right before us; those that we are lucky enough to call our friends!

Luther said:

The beginning of the Eloi culture!

John said:

I follow Homer's sensible policy. My parents are elderly and they rarely call me (I call them) so if I see their number on caller ID, I will answer in almost any situation, pull over in the car to take the call, etc. Everybody else can wait.

When I moved I made a point of giving out my new home number. (I wasn't going to bother to get one, but it was only about an extra $10 on top of the TV/internet fee with AT&T's U-Verse service.) It is very old fashioned and very wonderful. If I am home, I probably have time to chat, which is very nice. If I'm not home, I don't, so better that people just leave me a message to hear when I get home.

Very 20th century. I'm thinking I should get a wired phone, set it up next to the "phone chair," and sit there and just pay attention to conversations instead of wandering around the house doing things while I talk to people. Undivided attention - it's the new black.

Mark said:

Sadly, Jim, it's a New York thing as well.

There are rude, ill mannered people everywhere.

Scott said:

I think it's part of larger society as noted by an 8x11 24 point bold face sign my sister has at her pharmacy in NC. "We will gladly wait for you to complete your cell phone conversation before providing more than adequate service."

They refuse to dispense any medications if someone is on their phone simply to avoid lawsuits. If there are special instructions for a medication etc, the recipient needs to know.

It does amaze me though, how long the techs have to wait for people to finally read the sign.

swtcurran said:

i went out after work for dinner with a group of co-workers for one person's birthday many months ago. i think there was about 14 of us. all throughout dinner 80% of the people at any given time had their cell phone out and were talking and fidgeting with it. i was feeling sorry for the waiter who couldn't even get their attention to take their orders. i kept trying to start a conversation but each question, statement, comment dissolved into the air unheard. it's sort of hard to have a conversation when the two people beside you and across from you are on the phone. eventually i said if people don't put their phones away and have a face to face conversation i'm leaving. no reaction. i repeated myself. no reaction. i got up and left. (and apologized to the waiter for the table's boorishness on my way out.)

the next day back at work i told them why i left and how unbelievably rude they all where. i asked point blank why did they even go out for dinner together if they're not going to interact with the people they're with? no one apologized or seemed to understand the question.

i'll never go out after work with them again.

so it's not a gay thing as i was the only gay at the table. i think it might be more of an age thing as i'm probably 20 years older than everyone else at my job. when i'm out with friends my age this situation doesn't happen.

by the way, i don't one a cell phone and my home phone is a rotary dial.

For my .02, I think it was just rude. The focal point is irrelivent. I know many who do the same but with work.

Being who I am, I love technology, my PDA included. I spend a lot of time communicating with friends all over the nation. That said, if I join my friends for a social gathering, they get my undivided attention. If there are moments where I feel compelled to check, I ask in advance or excuse myself so as not to be disruptive.

I also don't think getting pissy or throwing a fit is productive. Sometimes, people honestly don't realize they're being rude. A simple and polite admonishment or request works far better IMHO.

Brian said:

I saw this app for the first time last night as my gay friend was so excited to explain it to me. "Look!, it shows you who's in the bar." Yes I said, I can look around and do the same thing. "But you can say HI! to them!" Yes I said, I can walk up to them and do the same thing. He failed to catch the sarcasm.

Gabe said:

Homophobia? That's kinda dramatic. They're just comfortable being themselves around you, and if it's offensive I agree with the others that said to get new friends. I work in software, so a lot of my friends are techno-geeks and I don't have this problem. If your friends didn't have iPhones, you know as well as anyone that they'd be gawking at every waiter in the restaurant. Next time, either join the fun or engage them in another conversation rather than stamping your feet that they're not paying attention to you. Jeez.

anonymous said:

It separates the men from the boys. Grown-ups don't use Grindr.

Michael | Chicago said:

I'm assuming that "the gays" you dined with are close friends because why would anyone, outside of business, spend an evening at a great restaurant with anyone else. That said, it sounds like your friends are attention-deficit disordered, sexually compulsive and above all, completely shallow. It's seems like you're applying the behavior of your shallow friends to the entirety of gaydom and there's one problem with your method; WE are not as shallow as YOU and your friends. Take a look outside that tiny world of yours and think, am I really so much more sophisticated, polite and well-mannered than those who are seated at my table? If you can't figure it out, ask the people at the next table as I am sure you offended them within the first five minutes of your arrival.

Random Gay iPhone/Grindr User said:

Eh yeah sounds like you have shitty friends. Most of my friends and I have iPhones but it doesn't inhibit our ability to hang out. And I've had a reverse experience with non-iPhone users and Grindr... my friends with Blackberrys and Android phones are always telling me to turn Grindr on especially when we're out of town. It's an okay App, fun time waster. But yeah blame your lame friends not Gay iPhone/Grindr users as a whole. You just sound like a Bitter Betty, and no one likes those.

Jake said:

It sounds more like internalised homophobia. Your friends didn't behave that way simply because you're gay and not everything bad in your life happens because you're gay.

Don't just let these situations pass. If you were getting annoyed by their behaviour during cocktails, tell them. Don't leave it until dessert (after they've ruined your entire meal).

Your response to their behaviour was equally as rude. You could have, "Look guys, let's just enjoy without the truck driver. After dessert, if you really need to, you can use Grindr to track him down."

Different things are appropriate for different people. You need to let people know when you think something is inappropriate. At least they'll have an opportunity to change their behaviour.

Terry said:

As an iPhone (and Grindr) user, I'm on your side on this one. I'll often go to dinners or arrive to find my friends sitting together at a table of 6 to 8, ALL of them on their iPhones/Blackberries... Leaving me wondering- who are you talking to, we're all HERE! Phoning at dinner is a huge pet peeve of mine. Grindr and smartphones have their place, but we need to learn how to talk to one another again. In person.

Kris said:

This application may be FUN, but I think it isn't useful for lasting connections and not a good representation of the gay community at large. "The Craigslist for the iPhone?!!!??" The LGBT community deserves better. I think It's become an application simply for hooking up...nothing more. Hopefully, there will be other GPS enabled apps for the gay community that don't cater to the demographic that Grindr does. I know my friends have never actually met someone off Grindr...they just use it for shock entertainment.

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