Throughout my life, I’ve been frustrated and disappointed by men more times than I can count.
EXAMPLE: It was 6:30am and I was standing at my register at work. A guy walked up and bought eight dollars worth of groceries. He was in jogging gear, and was covered in sweat. He was wearing really tight shorts and a Nike bum-bag. I couldn’t stop staring at the bulge in his pants. It was huge and gnarled and lumpy and uneven, like he was shoplifting an artichoke and it was either this or shoving it up his ass… maybe he was part tree?
He wasn’t part tree.
‘That’ll be eight dollars’ I said, and he smiled and nodded and reached down the front of his pants, into his crotch/artichoke pouch and pulled out a handful of coins. He dumped them into my hand. I was paid in three gold coins, four fifty-cent pieces and six pubes. I stared at my hand, ‘would you like a recei-’.
He held up his hand, ‘sorry, I’m in a rush’. He gathered up his groceries and jogged out of the store, like he was more important than me… like I had time to count his ball-money. In the porn version of my life, I’d like to think the scene would have been a bit more playful, and I’d be like, ‘is that a banana in your pants or are you just happy to see me?’ and then he’d pull out his massive boner and we’d go to town. Or maybe in the rom-com version of my life he’d pull out an actual banana and I’d fall in love with a hapless felon. But in the real-life tragedy that I was (am) living, I stood alone in a supermarket with a stranger’s pubes and ball-sweat drying on my hand wondering, but what was in his bum-bag, though?
But as disgusting and (genuinely) confusing men are IRL, they reach a new low online. In the last few months, I got the app Grindr to see what it was like. It made me look at all of the men I’ve dealt with in various online spaces in a whole new way. Here are some of the guys that I met on the Internet:
1. The No-Game Player
A ‘player’ is a person (usually male) who dates or sleeps with a lot of people at once. It requires game, which is a combination of looks, charisma, charm and (probably) immense sexual prowess (or, failing that, money). But the internet has allowed for people with no game to have a crack at playing.
I went on a few dates with a guy who was incredibly good at social media… it’s where he first spoke to me, and his personality on there formed a big part of why I liked him. He was funny, quick and smart about things… we agreed on a lot of stuff. But I noticed he never really logged off. As our final date progressed, he didn’t touch me once; he barely talked to me and when I did try and talk to him, he acted as if I was interrupting him. As I walked to my car, I checked my feed and I saw that he’d spent the night talking and flirting with a bunch of people on there, while ignoring me. He was on about four dates online.
As much as we like to trick ourselves into thinking that we find ourselves or form our identities online, a star-point on twitter can’t get you off. It didn’t get me off. It gave me nothing. I’m not Jaoquin Phoenix, this isn’t Her, I’m not about to fuck a computer. I watched that movie with my mum and it sucked.
I don’t need to live through that again.
2. The Kim Kardashian
There was an older guy who messaged me on Grindr. He said, ‘hi’ and I replied with, ‘hi, how are you?’
His response was to send me in excess of twenty assorted pictures of himself (naked and otherwise) to the point where my internet couldn’t deal with the pressure and the app crashed.
He broke the internet. My internet. And for that I blocked him.
3. The IRL Anthony
I got lost on the way to get my blowjob from ‘SuckU’.
My Grindr name was ‘No Thanks’. No Thanks was a lot like me I guess, but he wasn’t… he didn’t mind when Suck sent dick pics. He lied and said that he liked it, that it was hot. It wasn’t though… without context dicks always look so foreign to me. Animal. I remember one night where I couldn’t sleep getting lost down an Internet hole and ending up watching videos of giant squid attacking people. I remember their tentacles and how they were long and powerful and really alive but off-putting. They seemed so aggressive, even when they were still. They seemed oddly connected to the squid’s eyes, like they were always looking at you. It may also have had something to do with the fact that they had a knack for exploding unexpectedly and latching onto you face in an attempt to suffocate you.
He lived in an area with a lot of winding streets and roundabouts… he messaged and I pulled over, ‘running a little late?’
‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘I think I took a couple of wrong turns’
‘Easy to do around here. Need help finding your way?’
‘Nah,’ I wrote back, ‘I’ve got it worked out.’
He didn’t give me his exact address, just his street with further instructions to come: ‘when you’re halfway down the street, stop right before the roundabout and get out of your car. I’ll direct you from there’. I went to reply ‘lol, okay’, but as I wrote it, the autocorrect caught it and tried to correct it to something I hashtagged on a photo of myself the other day:
I got to the roundabout and slowed to a halt. The street was empty, and I just sat there for a while in the middle of the road until I saw a car pull out of a driveway behind me. It crawled up the street, it’s lights flicked on and I felt like it was coming just for me, Anthony. I drove through the roundabout and I kept driving until I couldn’t see the roundabout anymore. Once I was off his street, I pulled over and text him back and said ‘sorry, I don’t think I can do this’.
He messaged me back and said, ‘HUH? Why?’
I replied, ‘it’s not you, don’t worry’.
I was midway through writing an apology when he responded, ‘Just walk in, I’ll blow you. You leave. You don’t even have to talk.’
‘I’m sorry’, I replied.
‘Just do it, it’ll be good. I’m good’ I hesitated over my keypad for a second, catching my reflection in the screen. ‘Come on, mate!’
I drove home and when I got there I checked my messages. He’d sent, ‘:( see you round’. I wrote back, ‘No Thanks’.
Meeting men online, now that I think about it, is a lot like getting paid with money from someone’s groin. It’s disgusting, it’ll make your hand sticky and you’ll probably feel a little gross, a little used and not like yourself for a bit. I’ve deleted Grindr now, but I may get it again… I’m sure if you pick out the pubes you’ll be left with something valuable and important. But for now, I’m not connecting with anyone, and I feel like that’s probably a good thing.