Gay Politics

A lovely article on Gaydar…

There is a quite charming article on the Independent’s site today – Confessions of a Gaydar junkie – which is about one of the world’s most successful (and mostly unsung) pieces of social software: Gaydar. Like most truly dedicated social software enthusiasts, I have – of course – forced myself to investigate the service, although with a certain amount of disappointment and embarrassment I feel compelled to confess that I’ve never actually met anyone off it. I suppose that means that my dedication to the cause of computer-mediated social interaction has some limits. Either that or I’m too embarrassed.

Anyway, the article is particularly good value, which I suppose you might expect since Mark Simpson wrote it. Mark – you will recall – wrote the rather irritating/insightful book Anti-Gay. He writes of his experiences:

“Moralists who protest at gay e-promiscuity should be encouraging the Government to provide gays with grants for permanent broadband connections, since the internet not only keeps them off the streets and out of the parks, it turns all that messy sexual energy and appetite into … typing. Gays have become the unpaid secretaries of desire, filing and cataloguing human weakness. Promiscuity is now a form of bureaucracy. Tedious, eye-straining, number-crunching slave work. Don’t bother feeling jealous, all you sexually frustrated, non-online non-gays: internet cruising is its own form of punishment.”

Well obviously, I’m not really into a position to comment on all that stuff, being at least as inadequate at pulling on a site dedicated to the process as I appear to be in real-life (is it the beard, do you think?). But there are some other aspects to the piece which I think are interesting in terms of the relationship between the internet as a place for social interaction and as a means unto itself. I’ll give you an example to end with – which although perhaps presented in rather absolutist terms is certainly entertaining enough to be worth reporting as fact:

“You see, the real efficiency of online dating, just as with internet anything, is not the way it delivers you lots of pointless sex without leaving the house, but the way that it ensures that you will be spending more time on the internet.”

9 replies on “A lovely article on Gaydar…”

What is the beard about? You mean it isn’t just to make me go weak at the knees? Very nice Mr Coates 😉

Dunno really – just seemed like a good idea at the time. I think there’s a time in a man’s life when he either has to start going to the gym and fighting to retain his youthful looks OR he has to grow a beard and embrace middle age. I am testing out the latter route.

I don’t believe you’re no good at online pulling; you’re just oblivious. I’ve been stalking you online for months now, yet you take no notice…

Ahh, the Time of Beard Growing. I experimented with that phase myself a few years ago, but everybody I knew kept sort of pointing and giggling. It was just after Gladiator came out, and I thought Russell Crowe might have made beards “cool” again, but I suspect I miscalculated.

It depends on whether it’s an “Intended Beard” or an “Apathy Beard”. The former is created by a choice to embrace middle age (as you describe) and the latter is just lazy buggers who can’t be bothered to shave.

One of the unsung great things about Gaydar, though, is its radio station. Our DAB set alternates between that and R7. It’s particularly recommended on a Sunday morning, after ‘Brodcasting House’ on R4 finishes, as a way of filling in time during the omnibus edition of ‘The Archers’. Just lots of really great pop and dance, with a bit of camp and tongue-in-cheek thrown in.

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