When Joel Simkhai's female friends spoke jealously of Grindr, a popular GPS-based casual-sex hookup service for gay men, and said they wanted a similar smartphone app for straight people, Simkhai complied, says Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon. But the result, Blendr, isn't exactly "the tool for horny heteros that it was built up to be." That's partly by design — Simkhai is pitching Blendr as an app to "make friends, and build connections, and explore your surroundings" — and partly because, whatever Simkhai's female friends told him, there aren't enough women users who actually want sex relative to the number of male users seeking it out. "Are straight people really this boring?" Here, an excerpt:
No number of bug-squashing programmers will convince straight women to use a service associated with an app for no-strings sex with strangers. After several days testing it out, I instant-messaged a gay friend who has used the original app: "Grindr for straights is SO BORING," I complained. His response: "You're blaming the software?"
OK, fair enough....
The question remains how many hetero women would actually use a bona fide boning app. Clearly Simkhai didn't perceive a large enough audience to make it worth his while, and the gender imbalance on Craigslist casual encounters would certainly back that up. It strikes me that much of the interest straight women express in Grindr is vicarious. Maybe it represents the fantasy of a hookup environment with fewer one-sided repercussions (being called a slut, getting pregnant, etc.).
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