I spent one Saturday morning late last year on my couch toggling back from Grindr to Scruff to Grindr to Scruff. I don’t remember what I was looking for; all I remember is that I was looking. At some point, I realized three hours had passed, and I still hadn’t moved from my couch or started my day. Even if I had, it undoubtedly would have been interrupted by a hook-up app, and/or a hook-up, though the latter was far less likely.
In front of my face and all around me in my neighborhood, according to the apps, were signs of struggle and discontent. “Grindr: come for the waste of time, stay for the constant rejection,” read the profile of one guy who seemed, based on his pic, to be handsome. Other users, signaling their desire to find something more substantial than quick sex, stated they were looking for someone to give them a reason to delete the app. “Ugh, back here,” read the headline of one guy’s Scruff profile. I saw another with a profile containing the Grindr-common phrase, “Sorry lost all my chats,” to inform those with whom he’d communicated previously that he wouldn’t be able to refer to his past conversations with them.