There was one point in my existence where I was on nearly every gay dating and hookup app that existed for the iPhone. Some I liked, some I disliked, and some I used for longer than others despite the latter. So I know a thing or two about the world of gay online dating and mobile apps.
I can tell you right off that the bat that there are plenty of folks who have found satisfaction and success in these apps and I that I am not one of those people. I can say though that my unique case should not be something to discourage you from exploring these apps. Whether you’re looking for a quick hook up, a date, or a long term relationship there is bound to be an app to suit your needs.
So let’s do it like the boys do it and jump right in.
Grindr is in many ways the progenitor of all gay mobile dating apps that exist today. It was the first location based gay social networking app to hit the Apple App Store and many of the features included in the app can be found in the apps that followed its success.
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I’m not gonna sugar coat it. If you’re looking to get laid this is the app to go with. On it you’ll find a plethora of men looking for a hook up in a wide variety of body types, ages and ethnicities. If you are looking for a more serious type of predicament to get yourself into you, then you should consider doing yourself a favor and trying out another app. Just becauce Grindr was the first, in no way means it's the best.
When this old man (24-years-old) first started using these apps, Scruff came off as being for bears, jocks and other burly, barrelish, Gaston-like men. Now Scruff has largely become one of the more widespread apps used by gay men today. I personally found it to be not very user friendly when I first discovered it, but did admire the amount of detail users were allowed to go into on their profiles. The app has gone through redesigns and is much more user friendly. Scruff though, much like Grindr, is still mostly popular for getting a good old fashioned hookup.
Tinder is probably the most vapid dating app I’ve ever used, and it’s because of this that it is so much fun to use. Tinder is essentially just a hot or not app in which you swipe left on humans you’re repulsed by, and swipe right on those you’d bang. Tinder was how I slaughtered time. Waiting for the bus? Swiping. Waiting in line for an hour at Trader Joes? Swiping. On a date with a guy from Tinder? Swiping.
Although Tinder isn’t an exclusively gay app, there is a pretty sizeable number of gay men on it, all of whom are ready to toss you to side with the swipe of their finger. Fun.
OkCupid started out primarily as dating Web site that developed an excellent app version of its services. OkCupid has all the thinly veiled illusions of dignity that comes with legit dating websites, but with some of the same results of Grindr.
What I enjoyed about OkCupid was how it felt more like a social media scene then it did some bathhouse in Hell’s Kitchen. Another perk of OkCupid’s app is that it has Tinder’s swiping capabilities, as well as Grindr and Scruff’s grid display. Truly, a meeting of the best of both worlds.
Coffee Meets Bagel
You may have most recently heard about Coffee Meets Bagel because of their appearance on Shark Tank where the app’s founders turned down a $30 million offer. Coffee Meets Bagel is essentially a far more slowed down version of Tinder with a couple of other features that set it apart. Everyday you are provided a match by the app and you either like them or pass on them. If you pass you are given the chance to buy another match. If you like your match and they like you back as well, then a private chat line is opened in the app for you to talk to eachother.
Coffee Meets Bagel is another app that isn’t exclusively for gay dating, but I have found the most success on this app in terms of meeting guys who were looking for more than just a hookup. Somehow the slowed down nature of the app makes it a more serious environment and thus leads to more serious people.
Hornet never stood out to me as being either an exceptionally well made app, or an exceptionally popular one a that when I first downloaded it about two years ago. However I can say that the creators have put a lot of effort into revamping the app to make it far more user friendly and thus far more popular. The layout is the standard Grindr grid and is essentially the same app but with the exception that users are allowed to have more than one photo on their profile.
Mister, as I later came to find out, is for an older crowd. I guess what clued me in was the plethora of older men on the app. As far as gay dating and hookup apps go this one was pretty functional and simple to understand. I should tell you though, that due to the select nature of the crowd that uses Mister, you will find a very select pool of available men. For some guys this is great, and for others, they might be more satisfied with a larger buffet on other apps. Mister is organized in your pretty standard grid layout but felt like it showed less men than Grindr or any of the other apps did.
Jack’d, which has one of the most provocative names of all the apps I’ve ever had on my phone, was one that I found mixed success with. Although the pool of men was pretty large there wasn’t much variety, and from what I perceived, seemed to cater to gay Asian men more than any other population. This though is purely speculation.
Jack’d was the second app I downloaded after Grindr, and I recall feeling like it was a gap filler. The men who didn’t appear on Grindr were likely to appear on Jack’d (and vice-a-versa).
Hinge works a lot like Coffee Meets Bagel, in that it provides you with matches that you can pass or like, and that it connects through your Facebook. Hinge is different in that it connects you to people who are related to you through your extended social network on Facebook. Much like Coffee Meets Bagel, there is a much more serious vibe on this app. I found it to be a lot more enjoyable than Coffee Meets Bagel in that I didn’t have to wait an entire day for a new match.
(A note on my rating system: There is no rating sysyem. 5/5 is the best you can get and 0/5 is the worst. Plain and simple.)