I've used the Internet for a long time. As early as 1989 I was sending e-mails, using Gopher, FTP, Usenet, IRC and Viewdata based services. Of course, that was before the world wide web became popular, fuelled by the explosion of graphical based operating systems like GEM, OS/2 and later Windows and X-Windows. Whilst there were still places it was great to be 'out', a lot of gay people were still persecuted and locked well and truly in the closet.
Where did we go to meet other gay people then? While gay bars were gaining in popularity, people 'cottaged', or used underground Bulletin Boards with our dial up modems, or hand wrote letters to 'Box numbers' and called premium rate landline numbers and left voice messages to each other. Another technology was in its infancy, but was about to take over - mobile phones.
Now everyone has one, sometimes more. People have unlimited texts, calling, data allowances - and we're all living in the social media generation (whether we like it or not).
In the last few years - enter the scene - dating apps - and specialist dating apps. Grindr, Tinder, Growlr, Scruff, U4Bear, and to a lesser extent, sites like Recon and Gaydar have also jumped on the bandwagon.
But how easy is it for people to lie on these apps, and have they increased the number of time wasters out there??
Does it reduce people's confidence in themselves?
Does our attention span reduce to finding Mr Right - or even Mr Right now with these apps?
I've been travelling extensively with my job over the last month, literally from one end of the UK to the other. During travel, there have been bored evenings in many hotels, and even after a gym visit, lots of free time. So a bit of company or Mr Right Now is always a good thing, and I've been using these apps a great deal.
I've encountered pushy bottoms who (whilst travelling) ask if I've brought all my kit with me, yet have none of their own.
I've encountered pushy bottoms who are all about them them them....
I've encountered stalkers who won't take no for an answer....
I've encountered guys who don't even bother to read profiles which say 30+ only...
I've encountered lots of liars...
The culmination of this was last week in central London, whereby I chatted to a guy on Grindr who appeared attractive and entertaining enough, so I agreed to meet him in a local bar. Whilst he was a nice guy and it killed a few hours chatting - there was one big problem for me - his Grindr picture showed him as an attractive masculine looking guy - oh - and white, and when he actually turned up, he was Black/Indian and not the 6' he reported to be. Lies lies lies. There was no possibility of playing with the reality.
I guess what I'm saying is - take everything said on dating apps with a pinch of salt - and trust no-one initially. If you can't be honest with yourself on apps like that - what chance have any of us got in forming relationships or even encounters...
Have you got a positive experience of such apps? If so, tell me, I'd love to be proved wrong on this!