Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul comes clean about his latest sex-tech obsession, and reveals how he met Juan Pablo. Viewer Discretion Advised.
While on jury duty recently, I discovered a complication with my latest sex/tech-obsession. To pass the time, I logged onto one of my favorite iPhone apps—Grindr, a GPS based service that locates other guys nearby who are ready and willing, and serves up their pictures with a note indicating their distance from you. With Grindr, you cannot only find Mr. Right Now, but Mr. Right Next Door. And chat with him real time! The problem for me that day was that as I logged on, up popped Juror #17, who on my little screen was displaying his well-defined pecs and this description: “29, Latino, Lookin’ for NSA fun, 0 feet away.” Literally. He was sitting directly behind me. Yikes. What if we ended up on a jury together? Was that hot? Or awkward?
Since I met my partner Chef Juan Pablo on Gay.com over nine years ago, I’m generally a forceful advocate for technology’s power as a matchmaker. And as much as I marvel at Grindr’s name and niche—connecting horny boys with nearby potentials—I wonder if I would have ever met my boyfriend using it. On Grindr, he would have never been offered to me as a potential. Only after I agreed to go out with Juan Pablo (mostly because we had the same name), did I find out he lived down on Wall Street, a wasteland located across my personal DMZ of Canal Street. Boy, I’m glad I overcame my geographic snobbery. (CLICK HERE TO READ EXCERPT ABOUT OUR MEETING FROM ALPHABET CITY).
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy Grindr’s potential enormously, and it has become my go-to “conversation starter” app. I love to share the overt silly/sexiness of the program. When I pulled it out and passed it around at a party recently in Alphabet City, someone identified one of the hot guys as the owner of the nearby Eastern Bloc bar. We went on a field trip so that I could salivate in person. Later, PageSix reported the bar owner’s been cavorting around India with Anderson Cooper. Thanks to Grindr, I saw the hottie in person and am fitfully jealous of Anderson!
Sometimes I Grindr with my friend Susan. She gets a kick out of seeing what horny travelers (or workers) are logged in when we pass through Newark Airport. Often I challenge Juan Pablo to a Grindr duel—we sit across from each other and see who has hotter guys located closer (there’s some weird quirk in the GPS that doesn’t duplicate the same guys).
Because I grind so much, I’ve learned some important lessons. It doesn’t make sense to Grindr in cruisy bars like The Eagle—everyone’s there to hook-up anyway; it’s like a live-action Grindr video game. “Didn’t I see you on Grindr?” is a perfectly acceptable opening line at Washington Heights’ gay bar No Parking. Neighborhood with most options? Chelsea, no surprise. Log on location for fastest hook-up? Hotel lobby bars. Favorite non-NYC Grindr city? Montreal, where I became a “Grindr-Stalkr” blurting out “oh my god, hi!” to a hot guy from South Africa I’d been cruising onscreen and ran into at a club.
Grinding so frequently does have a downside. You smile at people you have a vague recollection of, but can’t quite place. That guy at the gym who keeps looking at me—do I know him? Oh, right, we’re both on Grindr.
At jury duty, I quickly shut off my phone and stashed it into my backpack, but not before I stole a glance at Juror #17. He was even cuter in person than onscreen, looked up from his iPhone and smiled.
“Crazy app, right?” he said.
Turns out, I got picked for the jury and he didn’t. On my way out of the building after opening arguments of my trial, I passed an attorney leaving another courtroom. Gee, he looked familiar. I smiled, but he didn’t notice. He was too busy looking at his iPhone.