Grindrphiles: T

photo-112The following interview was conducted by pop-culture poster boy, freelance blogger, and executive editor of Gunpowder & Gold Alexander Mayfair. It originally appeared on Washington, D.C.-based online magazine Brightest Young Gays.

I knock of the door of suite 6100. Is that a child? It’s too late, though — my knuckles have already made the audible rasp against the door. I panic. What am I going to do?! The people in this room are clearly not who I thought they were. Trapped in this very awkward dilemma, we do the only thing two mature adults would do in this situation … we make a run for it and fly down the hallway as fast as our skinny jeans will take us.

We turn the corner and collapse on a low couch, trying to be as quiet as possible. I wait a couple seconds and then peer around the corner — no sign of life.

“They totally told us suite 6100!” I whisper-grunt. “Maybe there’s more than one 6100 in the hotel.” I’m about to give him the death look when it hits me: All I really know about the Washington Hilton is that Reagan and “Top Chef” were both shot here.

“Um … what are you guys doing?” Two of our friends are staring down at us slumped on the couch, their arms full from a liquor store run, standing in the open elevator doors. Turns out it was the right room, just with some unexpected — yet absolutely adorable –additions.

The afternoon fades, and as the group dwindles, the background music goes from new Disney to old-school Salt-n-Pepa. I’m looking out at the beautiful view of the sun setting and decide this is the perfect time to log on. Within two minutes flat, I’ve set up my next interview with a Mr. ‘T.’

We decide to meet up the next day at Dupont Circle and have the interview over Starbucks and Yogi Castle.

Alexander: With most of 2012 still ahead of us, what is your must-see concert of the year?

T: Ke$ha! She’s f**king fantastic! Every gay guy has his ‘diva vice,’ and I think Ke$ha is mine, especially since Lady Gaga and Katy Perry have gotten so political. They’re like, ‘Everybody is #1 and special,’ and that’s nice and all, but when I get to a club, I want something escapist. I don’t want to think about gay politics when I’m out drinking and dancing. Ke$ha doesn’t give a f**k. She just wants to be covered in glitter and get drunk, so she might be it.

Alexander: Straight out the gate with booze and glitter — I like it. What about dating, though? What would you say your best tip is?

T: It’s OK to ask someone what they do, but don’t judge them based on their answer. I feel like that’s what everyone does here [in D.C.]. People are kinda jerks. I mean, we all have jobs and careers, and it’s definitely part of our lives, but I feel like people miss out on very good, funny, decent people because they judge people too much from the start on perceived importance.

Alexander: I definitely think that’s good advice in this city. So advice aside, what about your most awkward first date?

T: This was on my first date ever, and you know when you go on a date with someone who just looks nothing like their picture? It’s them, but, like, some weird version of them. This was in Blacksburg, Va., where I went to school. He picks me up and takes me to see a movie, but the movie isn’t in Blacksburg. It’s in Roanoke [45 minutes away]. He takes me to go see “Phantom of the Opera,” which, if you know me, is the wrong choice. Long story short, I run into my ex-girlfriend’s best friend from high school in the theatre, going to see a musical with a dude. So naturally, I’m completely anxious the entire time. Not to mention this guy is totally not my type, so I already know it’s a lost cause.

Then, when we’re driving home, it starts snowing really hard. His car is overheating, and I’m sweating profusely as he’s telling me about his Kelly Clarkson blog as she’s blaring in the background. He then asks me to go home with him. I make some excuse about having to hang out with a friend, and he starts yelling, ‘What?! You told me you had the whole night set aside for our date! Stop being such a little b*tch!’ So he’s cussing me out, driving 90mph through the mountains in the snow with the car fishtailing, and I literally think I’m going to die. I’ve only recently gotten over feeling anxious when hearing Kelly Clarkson. I think I had Kelly Clarkson PTSD. I didn’t even go on another date for four months after that, I was so scarred.

Alexander: [dying laughing] Wow … that … um … is quite a story! Let’s say the date goes well, though, and you are interested. Where would you take a guy to impress him?

T: If I really like the person, my ideal first date would be a baseball game. I love baseball. You can go have dinner, it’s outside, you can have drinks, you can have a lot of conversation, and if it gets awkward, you can watch the game. I think it’s the perfect tempo for a date. You actually get to speak to the person, which is why I don’t really like movies or concerts. They’re terrible for first dates. Movies are for, like, a fourth date, on a Thursday, where you want to spend time with them but you don’t really want to put in the effort [laughs].

Alexander: Very true. What if we skip 20, 30 years ahead, and you’ve been elected president. What’s the first law you pass?

T: Well, I’m hoping the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will have been passed by this point, but if it hasn’t, that would be my first order of business. I had to deal with a bad experience when I first moved to the Washington area. I worked in Virginia at a law firm, and it was a very homophobic work environment. I complained to HR a couple times, and they didn’t care. Virginia doesn’t have protection laws for private employers. People were using ‘faggot’ and ‘gay’ on a daily basis — not towards me, necessarily, but someone did once ask me if I was ‘fruity.’ I complained about it, but it got nowhere, so I worked there for a year and left.

Alexander: Sorry to hear that, man. That’s rough. Now to lighten the mood, what does your obituary say?

T: ‘Woohoo!’ [laughs] No, hopefully that I accomplished something for human rights in general — not necessarily gay rights. I worked for a women’s rights organization before my current job, and I found it to be very rewarding. I would like to get back into activism once I get my degree. But also ‘Woohoo!’ — definitely.

Alexander: Who’s your greatest inspiration?

T: That’s tough. [Thinks about it.] My parents as a unit, actually, are a big inspiration for me. For them to be Baptist ministers and be so accepting, they really break the mold for a lot of stereotypes you would hold about people like that. I may not be very religious myself, but it’s just good to know that there are people that walk the walk and talk the talk. I love them both very much.

In terms of public figures, I feel like I’m waiting for my greatest inspiration, as terrible as that is to say. We need someone, especially in the gay community. There isn’t a central figure. I feel like in the ’90s, we lost an entire generation of activists and never quite got back to where we were.

Alexander: Interesting. So what makes your mouth water?

T: Eggs Chesapeake. It’s Eggs Benedict, but instead of Canadian bacon, it’s crab cakes. Wait … are we talking food?

Alexander: I haven’t specified.

T: I feel like all my friends make fun of me because all I do is eat. I just love eating! My friend always asks, ‘Which would you choose: true love or a personal chef with food for life?’ And I’ve got to say, it’s a really tough decision. Can you imagine? A personal chef for life, with the fixings?


A couple hours later, I met up with one of my girlfriends and her mother for a round of oysters and dirty martinis at Hank’s Oyster Bar. As I kicked back one shell after another, I just couldn’t shake what T had said earlier. You know, maybe oysters and martinis were my one true love after all.

Check out the latest installment of Grindrphiles over at Brightest Young Gays.

Tips for Meeting Guys on Grindr


Like all good things in life, communicating on a mobile app requires a bit of strategizing. And even if you’re the best chatter out there, it’s always good to reflect on how you can improve. Here are a handful of tips that may help you in your quest to meet guys on Grindr.

Keep your options open. It’s simple: The more guys you talk to, the more guys you’ll meet. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Use the “Favorite” feature to your advantage; keep a lot of guys at the top of your cascade. Head to another part of town and check out the Grindr scene there. Not everybody will reply to you, but keep in mind that there are enough guys on Grindr that you’ll definitely find somebody to talk to — and eventually hang out with. There’s strength in numbers!

Come out of the gate with something better than just “Hi” or “Sup.” When it comes to icebreaker lines, you usually have a much better shot at getting a response from a guy if you compliment his photo or say something insightful about something he wrote in his profile text or stats. Alternatively, you can ask a not-too-personal question as an introduction. Either way, be unique. Distinguish yourself from the masses. Remember, if you really want something, make yourself stand out.

Talk to people like they’re people. Be as conversational as possible while you’re chatting. Be nice and be yourself. And be sure to double check your spelling and grammar! Oh, and don’t forget to throw in the occasional smiley or other flirtatious emoticon. It keeps things light.

Put your best face forward. For better or worse, your profile photo is probably your most important asset on Grindr. We know that lots of you like to throw the classic torso shot up to represent yourself. That’s fine, but if you really want to use the app to find a cool, quality guy to kick it with, you’re probably better off with a picture that at least includes your face in addition to your rockin’ chest and abs. A wise man once said that the eyes are the window to the soul, and when you meet someone you’re really attracted to in person, the eyes are often the most mesmerizing feature. Why should it be any different on Grindr?

Take it at your own pace. It’s cool to ask to meet up right there and then, but that approach might not work with everyone simply because some people are more shy than others. Generally speaking, a conversation starts on Grindr and continues on until both parties are comfortable enough to meet up for coffee, a drink, a hike, or whatever.

… and don’t forget: Grindr is supposed to be fun! It’s kind of like that board game “Life,” but far gayer and way cooler. Sometimes it can be a bit challenging, but every time you meet up with a guy and have a good time, you win. And you can do that as many times as you like! So don’t take it too seriously, and remember that there are new guys joining Grindr every day, so the game always stays fresh.

Have fun out there!

Grindrphiles: Albie


The following interview was conducted by pop-culture poster boy, freelance blogger, and executive editor of Gunpowder & Gold Alexander Mayfair. It originally appeared on Washington, D.C.-based online magazine Brightest Young Gays.

As usual, I’m running extremely late. This time, it’s to brunch at Vinoteca with the boys. I make it to the outside patio just in time to see the waitress serving them their food as they’re sucking down their Bellinis. Oh, well. I grab the empty chair and order a bacon-and-habanero Bloody Mary before the waitress has a chance to escape.

Over brunch, I realize I’m rarely ever in this part of town. I usually stop at U Street Music Hall, or walk down to Nellie’s/District 9/Town, but these blocks in between are a total dead zone on my radar. I fake receiving a text message and log on to Grindr. Because of its proximity to both Logan Circle and Nellie’s, this area is unsurprisingly a hot zone. I start chatting people up, but most conversations end abruptly once I reveal my true intent … except for one guy, Albie. A recent transplant back to the East Coast after 12 years in West Hollywood, he initially seems somewhat reluctant, but he eventually agrees.

Albie meets me promptly at 4 p.m. in front of Busboys and Poets on Monday afternoon. We grab two chai lattes and set up shop on one of the empty couches.

Alexander: Now, if you were stuck on a desert island and could only have one cocktail for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Albie: Well, I call it the Lindsay Lohan — it’s a redheaded slut with a splash of Coke. It keeps me crazy, but not out-of-control retarded. I’d be by myself, so I don’t think it would be too much fun to be completely wasted alone, so I would have to go for the Lindsay Lohan.

Alexander: So you’re definitely a West Coast guy. Now, tell me, what does your ideal Saturday night look like?

Albie: Meeting with friends, grabbing a bite to eat, then starting off at a bar and going out dancing from there. I love dancing. It’s my thing. I don’t even have to go drinking. I can just go and dance until the wee hours. I just love it, so an ideal night would be a full night of hardcore dancing, all kinds of music, and just having fun with friends. Not getting too crazy, but to the point where my feet will hurt the next day from dancing too much. Basically, as long as I’m dancing …

Alexander: You are preaching to the choir — trust. What about music? What is your must-see concert of 2012?

Albie: I have sooo many people coming into my head right now. I’d probably — just because I’m into her right now — go see Lana Del Ray. I was at Mixtape last month and they played her song “Video Games.” My friend Shazammed it, and I just became obsessed with her. I had never even heard about her, and when I mentioned her name to a friend, she said, “Oh yeah, she bombed on ‘SNL.’” Then I checked it out and didn’t think it was bad at all. So I’d probably say her. I like more intimate performances. I don’t think you need major production to put on a good show. I just think you need quality.

Alexander: Lana, huh? She’s not exactly what I would call “dancey.” Who’s your dance icon?

Albie: It’s gonna have to be Shakira. The way she moves, I mean, her hips — they don’t lie. She has moves where people are like, “How does she do that?” She has an amazing body. You know, just like Beyonce has booty, she’s got hips. Seriously, whenever I see her videos, I’m like, “Is it wrong that I want to have that body?” I mean, it would probably look really weird on me, but she has an amazing body, and she looks sick!

Alexander: What about men? What’s the first thing that attracts you to someone?

Albie: I love tall men. Tall men are my thing. Because I’m 5’7, I find height very attractive. I have so many friends that are tall. I just wish I was tall. I’m also attracted to eyes though; I like light eyes. Everyone I’ve liked has been taller than me and they always have the pretty-boy look, or the muscly look, or just that manly look. They can just wrap their arms around you, and you feel safe. Even if you are having the shittiest day, they can just give you the biggest hug and you’re like, “I just needed that.”

Alexander: What if you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you’d buy?

Albie: I would build my parents a house. A nice house, anywhere they would want it. I would make sure to ask them every specific detail about how they would want it built. I just want to make sure they are taken care of. If it took up all my money to build that house, and I had nothing left over, that would be OK. I would be fine with them being secure wherever they wanted to be. I’ve always wanted them to have a house just for them.

Alexander: It sounds like you’re close to your parents. Who is your greatest inspiration?

Albie: My greatest inspiration? I’d have to say my parents. I know it’s two people, but with everything I’ve gone through within the last year, and now being closer to them, they’ve made me want to be a better person. Both my parents came from Peru to do what they really wanted to. My dad loves cars, so he’s a mechanic, and he loves soccer, so he’s a coach. My mom was teaching at a beauty school in Peru. She now has her own salon out here. They made their dreams come true, and so I think they are my two biggest inspirations.

Alexander: Talk about the American Dream! What would you say is your ideal vacation destination?

Albie: I would want to go to back to Peru. I haven’t been there in 17 years, and everyone says how beautiful it is and how much it has changed. Last time I went, the streets were rocky, and cars were serving and didn’t know which lanes were which, but that was such a long time ago. Now everyone says it’s beautiful. A lot of my family goes there now, and one of my cousins just went to Machu Picchu. I want to go there and see my heritage, where my ancestors are from. With how old I am now, and everything I know about myself now, I think I would appreciate it more. To go get in touch with my roots, Peru would be ideal.

Alexander: What makes your mouth water?

Ablie: [Without hesitation] Chocolate! I have a sweet tooth for chocolate. Not just any chocolate, the Cadbury Fruit & Nut chocolate. You put that in front of my face, and I will rip your limbs off just to … I mean, it’s my favorite chocolate. “Fruity nut kills for Cadberry’s Fruit & Nut” … Now that would be a headline!

Alexander: No kidding! You’re damn serious about your chocolate. Sweets aside, what was your last good read?

Albie: A book that I can pick up and read at any time is ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” It’s my favorite book ever. I actually carry it with me when I travel. It’s just always new to me when I read it. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the book, but it’s a really good book and it’s well-written. My friend wrote the book, and it just helped me during a really dark time in my life. I know other people who have had dark periods as well, and that book has really been a sanctuary for them.

I leave the interview feeling surprisingly patriotic. Here I am on President’s Day, an American raised abroad, interviewing someone whose family had moved to this country to pursue the American Dream. After all, how much more American can you get?

Check out the latest installment of Grindrphiles over at Brightest Young Gays.

Friday Press Roundup

Can Meaningful Relationships Result from Grindr?

In a blog post last week, YouTube personality and expert in all things gay Davey Wavey provided a much-needed dose of reality to an annoying untruth that we’ve all heard before: that meaningful relationships don’t start on Grindr. Everything we hear from users here at Grindr HQ points to the contrary. Just see our user-submitted Grindr Stories for proof of countless meaningful relationships forged when two Grindr users met up. So thanks, Davey, for helping to break the illusion.
Click here to read.

Grindr Travel Awards Go To…

The Logo TV-affiliated NowNowNext gave us a cheeky shout-out in the form of a blog post about our first annual Gay Travel Awards. According to NNN, Grindr has “arguably … put the hottest men in the world at all of our collective fingertips.” Well, to that we can say only that we’re glad to be of service.
Click here to read.

Travel Like a Local: The Other Side of Grindr

Gay travel blogger Carlos Melia also wrote about our Gay Travel Awards 2012, pointing out that Grindr has become an immensely popular and effective travel tool. The app allows those who have set out abroad to connect with locals and get insider tips from the likeminded inhabitants of the places they’re visiting. Says Melia: “I travel around the world trying to discover what is new and hot at each destination I go, and I have found Grindr to be … one of the most reliable sources of information when traveling to new, unexplored destinations worldwide …” Travel on, Grindr guys!
Click here to read.

Grindrphiles: Kevin


The following interview was conducted by pop-culture poster boy, freelance blogger, and executive editor of Gunpowder & Gold Alexander Mayfair. It originally appeared on Washington, D.C.-based online magazine Brightest Young Gays.

It’s 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, and while the world seems to be buzzing along loudly outside, I am still in bed, buried face-down in a pile of pillows. Thanks to the World Bank and IMF gays’ “Masquerade: Masks, Music, and Magic” event — and more specifically, the subsidized cocktails — I am literally unable to lift my head or open my eyes. I’ve spent the last hour internally yelling at myself and trying to motivate myself to get up and be productive — to no avail. I’ve got work to do, and being on death’s door was totally not part of my plans for the day.

I finally manage to roll over and grab my phone. After all, one of the perks about this is that I can log on anywhere — even the dark den of gloom that currently is my bedroom. Within minutes, I’ve struck up conversation with someone named Kevin, according to his Grindr profile. Unsurprisingly, he’s hesitant. After I spill the deets, he initially disappears for several minutes. (I later learn he goes straight to BYT to read the first Grindrphiles post.) Just when I think it’s a lost cause, he hits me up, and we agree to meet at Kramers at 4 p.m.

I show up dressed up head-to-toe in black, rocking a cross — ‘nun style,’ as I like to call it — the perfect hangover disguise. I wander over to the Chuck Palahniuk section and browse for a couple of minutes before my phone goes off. We sit down, and after some casual conversation, we delve into the interview, along with a couple of hot toddies.

Alexander: So tell me, what does your ideal Saturday night look like?

Kevin: My ideal Saturday night would probably be the ones where I end up playing board games with my friends, drinking wine, and then we end up going out and singing karaoke at DIK Bar. We usually turn it into this ridiculous thing where we end up wearing costumes and wigs … even if it’s not Halloween.

Alexander: I mean, why wait, right? Now if you were a music genre, what would you be?

Kevin: I would say classic rock because I’ve always had an appreciation for that time period — the late ’60s, early ’70s — ever since I was a teenager. Stevie Nicks, Grace Slick, Marianne Faithfull, the whole ‘sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll’ was kinda glamorous to me. It seemed like an exciting time in music, so I’ll have to go with classic rock.

Alexander: Wow, I totally wouldn’t have pinned you as the ‘sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll’ type. So this’ll be interesting … who’s your dance icon?

Kevin: [Takes some time to think about it] Oh, I know! I would go with Liza Minnelli because I loved all her stuff from ‘Liza with a Z’ from the ’70s. I thought it was really cool and really fun, and her choreography was amazing. Not anymore, though. She’s had hip replacement and knee replacement surgery and is kind of a broke-down mess at the moment, but back in the day, she was a force to be reckoned with.

Alexander: Grace Slick and Liza — man, you’re full of surprises! Now, when it comes to men, where do you take a guy when you want to impress him?

Kevin: I don’t take him anywhere, actually. I invite him over, and I make him dinner. I do a lot of cooking and baking, so I would typically try to find out what his likes and dislikes are and tailor a meal to that. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so I try that approach.

Alexander: Tell me, who has been your greatest inspiration?

Kevin: There have been a few figures in my life that have been influential — outside of my parents. I had a tennis coach in high school that was very good at guiding me and helped spark a passion for sports. I’ve always appreciated that, and in fact, to this day, I still keep in touch with her. I used to work at the Human Rights Campaign, and I had a boss there that I learned a lot from as well. She helped me strive to be the best that I could be, without doing anything half-assed, and I’ve taken that all along throughout my career. Outside of my own life, I’ve appreciated Martha Stewart because I love baking and cooking. Although she’s a little notorious, I’ve always appreciated her approach towards cooking, baking, and entertaining. She’s been a fun person to look up to from afar.
So, lots of women, I guess …

Alexander: Sounds like it. When you have those moments that so much is being thrown at you, where is your sanctuary?

Kevin: Honestly, my sanctuary is always my kitchen. I don’t consider myself to be much of a creative person, but when I get in the kitchen, it’s the only time I feel like I can create and invent things. I feel very at ease, very peaceful, very at-home when I’m slicing and dicing, and crying and baking. My friends and I do a monthly supper club that we’ve been doing for the last three years. We choose a different theme that forces us to think outside of the box and cook dishes that we otherwise wouldn’t make. It’s really been my one sanctuary. I feel very relaxed there.

Alexander: What if you won the lottery? What’s the first thing you would buy?

Kevin: One of my dreams is to have a cabin in the mountains. I would find a spot that would be really cozy and a wonderful weekend escape from the city. My grandparents used to have a farm up in the mountains in West Virginia, and it was my happy spot when I was a kid. I used to go there during the summer. I share those memories with my brothers and my cousins, and it would be a nice way to keep that part of my childhood memories alive.

Alexander: The mountains in West Virginia, huh? That sounds incredibly peaceful. What would your ideal vacation spot be?

Kevin: Well, I’ve had some great vacations over the years — not going to lie. One of my favorite spots has been when my friends and I get a beach house together. We’ve done it in Sandbridge, Va. There’s not much there apart from sand and beach houses. We’ve done it multiple times over the years, and it’s just a great way to spend quality time with my friends. It’s not a big, wild scene — it’s really just us. We all just take turns cooking meals, we all go to the beach during the day, and we play games at night. It’s a relaxing way to spend the week with your friends.

Alexander: Finish this sentence for me. In 2012 I’d like to see …

Kevin: I’d like to see continued progress within the gay rights movement. I would like to see rights being given and less hatred being spewed towards the community. I don’t know exactly what that would look like, but it would be nice to see. I would like to see a more peaceful, accepting society. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s happening slowly.


We finished our hot drinks and headed out into the freshly fallen snow. On the way home, I thought about this whole project again. So far, I had had two very different interviews. Both interesting, but incredibly different. Then again, wasn’t that the whole point of this? To showcase different men in the community? So to all of you otters, bears, femmes, butches, jocks, daddies, twinks, queens, and everyone somewhere in between, put on your Sunday best and let’s hear what you have to say.

Check out the latest installment of Grindrphiles over at Brightest Young Gays.