The Grindr logo is a skull. The skull is a symbol of death. Is Grindr the death of romance? Can relationships blossom in the modern age? Personally, I quite like Grindr. You can see all the local gays in your area, and it kind of – I dunno – feels like a community. Even if I’ve never actually met most of them.

I live in a block of flats in central Manchester. Usually, the top two rows of gay men closest to me remains unchanged. They either live in another block, or a few floors below me.

When there’s a flood in the basement and the water stops running, I message them asking if they’re having the same problem, and we work together to come up with a plan of attack on our somewhat lazy caretaker.

But how does it work with romance? A lot of couples I know keep their Grindr profiles for the duration of the relationship.

For some, it allows them to connect with other like-minded men; friends for a night out. For others, they download it in secret when visiting other cities and delete it as soon as they return home.

Are these friends meeting other men in secret in other cities? Of course not. They just want to see what’s out there. They’re curious. But then that opens the floodgates.

New men, new conversations to be had. Perhaps the honeymoon period in their relationship is over, and the glitter of what’s out there slowly turns into temptation.

But they put it to the back of their minds. They go back to their boyfriend, reality. 

But then their boyfriend says the wrong thing. A small row turns into something huge. The memory of the other men they glimpsed at on Grindr rears its ugly head. The other options. It makes the break up easier, because the next man is just a click away.

Perhaps our perfect partner, our soul mate, has sent us a message. “Hi. How are you?” But because the one photo they are allowed to represent themselves with isn’t good enough, we reject them.

Sometimes, just sometimes, a one night stand, a random hook up that would never have existed without Grindr, might be the beginning of a beautiful romance. Sometimes, in between the top two rows of gay neighbours, a new face – a new profile – will appear. A guest star, for one night only. If I’m having a quiet Saturday night in, I sometimes like to create scenarios in my head. “Oh, he’s getting lucky!”

So is the skull representative of the death of romance? It can be. But it can also be a signal of hope. The symbol of a new everlasting love affair, the symbol of a one night love affair. A business
opportunity (rent boys use it to promote their services – much safer than standing on a street corner!) The skull means different things to different people. A way to connect with the gay world.


Tom Cowell was longlisted for The IdeasTap Columnist competition and has kindly given us permission to publish his entry. Thank you for sharing!


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