Sam Smith Facing Backlash Over His Dismissal of Grindr, Tinder


Since coming out as gay earlier this year Sam Smith has stepped into the cultural spotlight for reasons other than his singing voice. Smith, 22, made a name for himself channeling memories of unrequited loved into his debut album In The Lonely Hour, describing the record as “a diary from a lonely 21-year-old.”

“It was my way of talking about the only real issue in my life.” Smith explained to Digital Spy. “I fell in love with someone who didn't love me back, and it made me get into this head space of Will I find love?”

Since May, and the meteoric rise of his album, Smith has reportedly continued his search for true love as young artists are wont to do. A traditionalist at heart, however, Smith has made a point of condemning the use matchmaking and hook up apps to find a lasting connection. Smith, who is now dating, describes having met his new beau the “proper way,” a sentiment that has left some of his mans a bit miffed. Given Smith’s status as a freshly minted icon, Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak and The Wire’s Kevin O’Keefe took the singer to task for his dismissal of what they consider to be a rather substantial aspect of modern gay culture.

More than just preferring traditional face to face interaction, O’Keefe argues, Smith is making an implicit condemnation of forms of gay culture that might not necessarily be considered as “normal.”

“As a gay singer, it's not a stretch to imagine much of Smith's potential fanbase does use Grindr, Tinder, etc.” O’Keefe lays out in a lengthy essay. “Sure, he shouldn't pander to them if he doesn't agree with what they're doing, but to essentially wag his finger and say "naughty, naughty" seems like bad PR.”

In Juzwiak’s opinion, Smith’s posturing of himself in opposition to men interested in exploring newer ways to connect with one another smacks both of mild technophobia and cliched gay respectability politics:

"[T]here is a different experience to be had, one that is just as real as the painful one Smith implies, one without pathology or grief. Apps don't necessarily ruin communication; they fix it for people who are too nervous to approach people in public. Or they just make it easier to get sex when you want sex.”

Smith’s words, given that he’s a young, rising star openly identifying himself as gay, carry an added layer of significance not just for his fans, but also to the industry mechanics that ultimately decide what kind of artist’s projects get greenlit. Smith incorporates the very real themes of gay love, loss, and longing into his music and videos, which is an undeniable sign of progress. That progress is undercut, however, when those themes are come along with caveats that devalue certain forms of intimate connection in favor of others.

Watch Sam Smith's interview with Fresh 102.7 discuss his coming out AFTER THE JUMP



  1. says

    Let’s be real here folks: Grindr and Tinder are not places you go to meet a guy and fall in love. They are booty call services. We all know this. Do you look at Grindr and seriously believe you’re going to find the man you’re going to marry? Not unless you live in a dream world. You look at the guys on Grindr because you want sex and you want it now.

    I’ve never used Grindr or Tinder but I know what they are and really have no desire to hook up with anyone there. To me it is just as stupid as trolling a public park at 2 a.m.. A place where you are certainly not there to bring home “Mr. Right”.

    We are all different and we have our own ways of looking for someone to fall in love with. If Grindr floats your boat it only does so for the short term. Would you actually marry and seek a future with anyone who is on Grindr? God, I hope not.

  2. Nate W. says

    “That progress is undercut, however, when those themes are come along with caveats that devalue certain forms of intimate connection in favor of others.”

    First of all, what? Get the sentence structure correct before making your point. Secondly, his progress, as it were, is not undercut because some people are offended by his commentary. And lastly, how exactly is grindr and its ilk a form of intimate connection? There is no intimacy, it’s all out there in the digital world, saved on servers for as long as those servers run.

    I personally applaud Mr. Smith for such a statement. I had no idea who or what he was, nor a desire to find out. And now my curiosity is piqued by this statement which has this particular writer/blogger/poster and others (who are so easily offended) up in arms over a personal statement.

    Get over yourself, Bridget, er, I mean Chuck.

  3. says

    as rather-intense as Juzwiak’s dissection of it was – it wasn’t that far off the mark. “the proper” way to meet a guy? what’s that? get super-famous and THEN land a man? uh…no.

    mike ryan – “I’ve never used Grindr or Tinder but I know what they are and really have no desire to hook up with anyone there.”

    Then you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve met, and made, great platonic friends off of Grindr, and other gay-sites. Platonic friends. And some not-so-platonic friends. Long-term lovers, boyfriends, etc. Connections and relationships that continue on to this day.

    I’ve also had boring go-nowhere dates I got the “old fashioned” way. I’ve also met guys from Facebook.

    “If Grindr floats your boat it only does so for the short term. Would you actually marry and seek a future with anyone who is on Grindr? God, I hope not.”

    Why? because they’d be proving you wrong? that’s rather stupid of you, Mike Ryan. Why be upset that two people had success with something that you’ve never tried?

    ironically, Mike Ryan, you prove Juzwiak’s point entirely – this pathetic neutered ideology. “oh, i’m not like THOSE GAYS who HOOKUP” ok. and maybe you’re also possible someone that couldn’t even if he wanted to with all his might, know what i mean?

    you can meet Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong in the most unexpected of places and venues and circumstances.

    it’s justfunny, Mike Ryan, that you’re adamantly ranting against something that you then confess you’ve never used.

    i’ve used Grindr and been rather thrilled with it. it’s what you make of it, and bring to it.

    why be embarrassed about where or how you met a great guy, whether it’s a friend a lover or the man you end up with? Only insecure gays with insecure gay-shame would float some “let’s not tell people it was on Grindr” bulls**t. why not be honest about it? if it worked, then IT WORKED.

    but, Mike Ryan, since you yourself admit to having never used it, you cannot make any of the statements you hoped to make. after all, you have no idea what you’re talking about . you have an idea in your head , that you fabictrated, then railed against. congrats. that’s stupid.

  4. Chris says

    Sorry, but I’ve got to agree with the singer. The apps are primarily, from what I’ve seen, for random sex. Trying to connect on them for anything more meaningful seems like a waste of time. Even when you post a profile saying you don’t do nsa sex you still get guys pming you asking if you’re looking for a hookup. I think a lot of guys using the apps can’t actually read.

  5. says

    and Mike Ryan, i’m not sure why you post your Facebook account, if it is indeed weird. it’s a strange one, to be sure. your “photos” are collections of boys that are NOT YOU and you don’t even have any friends. at all.

    so…um…yeah. i’m not surprised you wrote what you wrote. it’s pretty much to be expected.

  6. says

    …..again , everyone saying “oh, Smith is right! i’ve never used grindr but it’s a sleazy app for THOSE GAYS who hook up and can’t be intimate and have SEX and are all THAT KIND OF GAY and they’re not capable of love and RELATIONSHIPS…” calm down, Blanches. all y’all blanches.

    if you don’t use it, why are you so confused by the reality: that many people do exactly what you claim one cannot do on Grindr, all the time. ALL THE TIME. i don’t get why some of you are adamantly defending your “opinion”, when your opinion isn’t even AN INFORMED ONE.

    but what’s the root of your choice of opinion? what about the idea of guys connection via grindr or other apps and sites, and having meaningful encounters that lead to more is so upsetting to you?

    does your life suddenly become less enjoyable if you accept the reality that a great many men use grind and end up meeting other gay men and forming rather strong and connected bonds with them, sexual or otherwise?

    its like a bunch of guys standing outside a house party, not going in, barely even being able to see inside the windows, standing outside demanding to anyone who will listen about the activities you insist are, and are not, going on inside the party.

    but you don’t know. because you’ve not stepped inside.

  7. oncemorewithfeeling says

    So a globally-popular gay male artist at the very beginning of his career and in the full blush of youth and love says that he means no offense to anyone, but he thinks that impersonal, superficial technology meant to quickly put you together with people who physically attract you is killing romance.

    And of course he’s not wrong.

    And of course the gay male media whore idiots who want to be the next number one gay male media whore idiot race to get their newest 15 seconds of fame by tearing into someone who is more intelligent, more talented, more empathic, more rich and much, much, much more popular then they will ever be — because it’s so important to tear down any successful gay men over whatever you can make up to tear them down with, if those successful gay men just won’t cooperate by giving the idiots something they said or did that was actually wrong.

    I don’t care about the newest crop of gay male media whore idiots.

    Full disclosure: I don’t care about the oldest gay male media whore idiots, either.

    None of them are ever going to get in the news by saying something as smart and kind as Smith did, they’re only going to get in the news by pretending that he said something else and that they disagree with the popular, powerful person.

    What a smarmy way to make a living, but it’s only one step below reporting what they said about what the better person said and pretending it’s newsworthy.

  8. Tarc says

    Smith’s in the truth telling business, and as much as some people don’t like him *saying* it, he’s telling the truth. Not that I care what individuals decide to do, but humans love to delude themselves.

  9. says

    so, in conclusion: you’re all proving Juzwiak right. awesome.

    now feel free to post more “here’s my rant against something i’ve never used” comments which, like i said, utterly prove juzwiak’s point.

  10. Cody says

    He’s allowed to have his opinions of Grindr, Scruff, Tinder, whatever, but it must be easy to dismiss them when he’s able to have his “pick of the litter” dating-wise. If I were an out gay talented superstar I wouldn’t be on dating sites either. But I’m not, so there I am. It all depends how you use the apps

  11. jjose712 says

    He is facing backlash in some gay websites, frankly, nothing important.

    What he said is totally correct, grindr is basically an app to find a sex partner (i don’t doubt that some people found friends in grindr, but that’s not the use most people do of the app).

    He is talking about communication and finding love. He simply said that he wants to meet a guy in an old fashioned way, wich is perfectly ok (facebook friend is not the same that a real friend).

    And frankly, i doubt this affect in any way to his fanbase. One of the things that made him so popular is that it’s really easy to connect with the lyrics of the album for everyone.
    He has mainstream success because the message of the album is universal. Yes, it’s about a guy, but everybody could feel that way.
    And by the way, he has a big straight fanbase, specially female

  12. Dalen says

    Backlash? Two people didn’t agree. Oh my!

    Good for him. He is right and he should never, ever allow himself to be bullied by a couple of angry guys who think they are the arbiters of gay culture.

  13. says

    Chris, it’s just one of those things: the only opinion anyone is entitled to is an INFORMED ONE. and what have we seen on here? a bunch of guys railing against something….they don’t use. and have no idea of. therefore, their chosen opinions are worth less than nothing.

    “well, i’ve never used it but i hear it’s all about sex! so i hate it! and nobody would ever find a man to marry from it!”

    why would someone tell themselves that, let alone tell others? what, in your lives, is so empty that you need to consciously choose to believe that nobody ever gets something they want out of Grindr?

    it makes no sense.

    how to use grindr – post your photo. use what text-space you have to say as much about you as you can. then ignore any messages from guys who aren’t on the sam page, and contact those who are. then chat. then meet up. i’ve met great buds to watch my art-house films with, smoke a bowl and jam to classic rock with, and more.

    thus – my experience negates the claims y’all are making from a place of NO EXPERIENCE.

    two guys meet of grindr and fall in love. and what happens? this site’s dolts scream “No you didn’t!” or “you should be ashamed!”

    no. and no. and no.

  14. Siempre says

    It’s funny how people try to justify these apps by claiming that on occasion they are used for non-hookup purposes. So what? That isn’t why they were created and Smith obviously wasn’t talking about these alternate uses.

    The truth is that these apps are not good for gay people, for any people. They dehumanize the users, cheapen gay sexuality and enrich the VC investors who own and distribute the apps. It is amazing that anyone would consider this to be “culture” or a source of pride.

  15. says

    how does an app specifically, and inherently, cheapen gay sexuality and dehumanize users when, as i stated, it’s all about how each person uses the app?

    How is my having made connections with guys, whom i continue to have ongoing relationships of many sorts with, in any way a harmful cheapening of anything?

    we met. we connected. we bonded. we continued that bonded connection.

    what’s been cheapened? what’s been harmed?

    who cares what it was originally intended for? the beauty is one can subvert anything!

    is it because some of you are angry that other guys are hooking up and you aren’t/CAN’T? is it that you feel that if someone finds Love on grindr, it makes your life worse because you didn’t use grindr and still didn’t find love?

    again – IRONY – you’re all proving Juzwiak right.

  16. says

    one of my best friends just got engaged to a wonderful man. they’ve been together for 5 years. they met on manhunt.

    does that upset some of you? if so – congrats. you’re a bitterly insecure moron.

  17. Rowan says

    Um, Charles Pulliam-Moore, where’s the backlash? Is there a boycott? No. An online petition? No. Decline in record sales? No. Public protest? No. Swarm of angry tweets? No.

    So basically it is just 2 wankers griping. And if you look at the comments on those pieces, they don’t get a lot of support. I suppose Pulliam-Moore agrees with them and wants to make it appear as if there is some sort of mass outrage, when in reality it is just the sad bleatings of 2 aging “queers” and one $8/article Towleroad scrivener, who need the next generation to make the same mistakes that they did so that they won’t feel so alone.

    BTW, Pulliam-Moore, the word “fans” is not spelled with an “m.” Proofreading is your friend.

  18. MrRoboto says

    I read Juzwiak’s piece and was about to come here to comment on how nearly hysterical it seemed, then I read LITTLE KIWI’s comments, which seem veritably operatic in comparison. And, before you put me on your “forever hate” list, LITTLE KIWI, in general, I really like reading your comments and agree with you often. But the drama over Sam Smith’s rather benign dismissal of Grindr and Tinder strikes me as quite an overreaction. Grindr is a sexual hook-up app, plain and simple. Yes, some may have successfully found romance through it. Some also use vibrators as a neck massager, but most don’t. Hysterically dismissing or criticizing those who admit such truths and say X just isn’t for them feels a bit extreme. I don’t quite understand the level of dramatic handwringing and overwrought analysis Sam’s rather quaint comments have engendered.

  19. says

    TBH, if that’s how Smith feels, that’s his opinion. I don’t use Grindr or Tinder either, but It doesn’t bother or affect me if other people like to use them. There is no “one true, proper” way to meet Mr. Right (or Mr. Right Now)

  20. says

    MrRoboto – i’d agree. i think Juzwiak’s piece was an overreaction, of sorts, to Smith’s comments.

    YET – they’re a PERFECT reaction and are the utter EMBODIMENT OF the comments IN HERE.

    Roboto – the only “truth” anyone in here has stated is that the app was designed as, essentially, “Manhunt with GPS” – that’s it .

    all the other “truths” are not truths – they’re projections made by guys who have no idea what they’er talking about.

    seriously, Roboto – read them all in here. there’s no “truths” in here to criticize – just nonsense being spouted, which Juzwiak’s piece truthfully calls out.

    the app is, inherently, nothing. it’s an app. it is what you make of it.

    as as the commenters in here have revealed – they hate the app, they have an idea of what it’s about, yet NONE HAVE USED IT.

    I R O N Y

    juzwiak’s piece works perfectly as a summation of the nonsensical insecure neutering of sexuality going on in the comments in this thread.

  21. JeffNYC says

    People used to say you can’t find love in a sleazy gay bar, yet people did. People used to say guys only went to bars to find pickups. Yet people met in bars and found friendships.

    People still do.

    Grindr and Scruff and Tindr are nothing more than more efficient electronic gay bars. Some people hook up. Some people socialize. Some people feel even more lonely.

    Let the singer say what he wants and let him change his mind in a year or two if he does.

    Stop being part of “backlashes.” They are vastly overrated.

  22. Not that Rob says

    I think we can all agree that if someone puts forth their opinion then others can add their own opinion to the conversation. By definition there are no right or wrong opinions – only facts can be right or wrong.

    As far as my opinion: if you think there is something wrong with using social apps like Grindr or tindr, then you are judgmental and insecure. But don’t worry it’s just an opinion.

  23. Pandion says

    Perhaps the gay community could use some “naughty, naughty” value judgement every here and there. Sometimes behaviors are indeed “not normal”, meaning they’re bad for your mental and/or physical health in the long run.
    And gay men especially need to be reminded of this more often than they’d like. It’s part of growing up and becoming a responsible adult.

  24. says

    Leave Sam Smith the f*ck alone! Dude has a right to express his opinion. To me, this elitist condemnation smacks of a fascistic clique mindset, and what’s more, I do not consider hook-up apps an inherent part of “Gay culture”. That’s a term I find highly suspect anyway, as it’s ripe for all manner of hipster requirements to be imposed on it. News flash: All Gay men, Lesbians, Bisexual folk, etcetera, do not identify with the same culture!

  25. Markt says

    The last time i went looking for new one-on-one companionship was decades ago. Ergo I have never used Grindr etc. Still, even then, after a short conversation in a bar i was often disappointed with the connection I had made. I find it debilitating to be intimate with someone for whom I could never have a certain level of respect. Sex only makes sense to me when it’s part of a relationship that is more than an acquaintance. Socrates said the same thing thousands of years ago when Aristophanes put forward much the same arguments that Little Kiwi did here. Maybe the debate will go on forever.

  26. says

    here’s something: not into using apps? don’t use them. but the moment you say “because i’m not one of those slutty filthy promiscuous gays!” you instantly prove yourself to be an insecure wimpy lil’coward.

  27. ThereIsSmoke says

    @LITTLE KIWI just some snippets of your REPULSIVE arguing style:

    “uh…no” “so…um…yeah” – Was the snarky ‘uh’ and ‘um’ necessary?
    “you don’t know what you’re talking about.” X3
    “that’s rather stupid of you [full name]”
    “…pathetic neutered ideology.” “…nonsensical insecure neutering…”
    “someone that couldn’t even if he wanted to with all his might…”
    “Only insecure gays with insecure gay-shame…”
    “your Facebook account… is indeed weird…”
    “you don’t even have any friends. at all.”
    “Blanches. all y’all blanches.”
    “what, in your lives, is so empty that…”
    “other guys are hooking up and you aren’t/CAN’T”
    “does that upset some of you? if so – congrats. you’re a bitterly insecure moron.”
    “…just nonsense being spouted…”
    “…insecure wimpy lil’coward.”

    You know Little Kiwi, you’ve negated anything productive you could have accomplished in this thread.
    You used illegitimate arguing; one of the things you did here was create straw-mans out of others’ arguments; however it is up to them to defend themselves and their points as I’m not going to do that for them.

    Beside the discussion here, I want to point out that I for one don’t appreciate your “I’M A SMARTER, BETTER GAY THAN ALL OF YOU AND I HAVE MORE FRIENDS AND F*** MORE AND HAVE MORE RELATIONSHIPS THAN YOU HAHAHAHA”.

    You’re downright nasty and abusive, and just because you’re pro-gay on a gay site doesn’t mean you can’t be a troll here. Today, on this thread, you’re a f***ing troll. Congrats.

  28. Jeremy says

    Ok Little Kiwi, calm down now.

    I’ve used grindr in the past for about 4 years, and my experience has been that by and large people only use it for sex. I tried using it to make friends and it simply did not work out well. I had much better luck just making friends in gay bars. I met my husband at a gay bar, and he was a grindr user too, but we didn’t use grindr to meet each other.

    I definitely think you CAN meet the love of your life on grindr, but I’d say the ODDS of it happening are slim. Most long term gay couples I know met through friends or in public somewhere or on a site specifically meant for dating (okcupid, etc.).

  29. says


    ok. i apologize for having sex, and friends, and lovers. i apologize for having met a lot of them on apps and gay sites. clearly our bonds have made you feel awful about yourselves. i’m sorry our happiness is a constant thorn in your side.

  30. odee says

    Gay men will never obtain the respect some of us claim to want from the rest of society until we grow up and stop behaving like horny, oversexed teenaged boys.

    Grindr is for whores.

  31. Anon says

    Little Kiwi
    You don’t know what you’re talking about. Nonsense. You’re too mentally weak to comprehend what is being articulated to you. Nobody gives a f#$& about your pathetic little life. uh, the comments here were about Smith and and the critique in-the-article; you’re the blind egoist that inserted yourself into the middle of it.
    Nobody gives a s#!% about your bonds; just when you lord them over others. Get it? Doubt it… *yawn*

  32. says

    Re: Odee – odd, as i command the respect of people, daily. the straight folks in my life are visible and vocal champions and allies for the LGBTQ communities – this with my being a happy polyamosour grindr-user.

    so….what? what “respect” are you talking about? and from whom?

    sounds more like you’re from the “if we behave the way people, who are still bigoted in North America in 2014, want, then we’ll be respected!”

    i call your bluff. i don’t need nor want the respect of anyone who is still an anti-gay bigot in 2014. why not? because those people are clearly mentally-deficient idiot and @ssholes.

    what specific respect are you not being afforded by the straight folks in your own life, and how is my using Grindr to blame for that?

    if my parents can embrace my lovers, and feel no embarrassment over knowing how we met, then why are you blaming your own inability to be respected on the so-called morality of others?

    i don’t want the “respect” of anyone who is still bigoted in 2014 – nor do i want to cut off my testicles in order to attain it.

  33. MickyFlip says

    Believe it or not… Every single one of you has commented on this has a valid point. Regardless of sides. You are ALL correct in what you say. Personally, I have my own personal reservations regarding the apps. But I still use them till now uncertain of why I still use them. And, as of now, I’d like to think there’s a possibility that I may have found someone. But still too soon to tell. And I don’t want to keep my hopes up except just take it day by day. So I feel you all are correct. Including Sam Smith.

  34. odee says

    I don’t know how it’s apparent to you that I’m trembling.

    I do, however, firmly believe in not giving the anti-gays more tar and feather for their already full barrels of prejudice and bags of hate.

  35. odeeProxy says

    “…who still manages to command more respect from the Straight Folks you’re still apparently trembling before…” – Is that a fact? Do you have special psychic or patterning powers that we all should know about?! Can you see through the screen into other people’s lives?
    Or are you just stabbing in the dark here by this point?
    Go ahead and keep telling yourself that you command more respect than other people who you have never met and never seen interact with others. That make a lot of sense…

    By the way, judging by your behavior here, you don’t seem the type who ‘commands’ respect. The way you act offline should have some bearing on the way you act online… You’re like a loud small stupid aggressive yappy dog who everyone within earshot wants to kick and stomp if only their owner weren’t present. Maybe your pseudonym should be Sparkles or Sprinkles or something…

  36. Mikey says

    Wow, it’s remarkable how defensive people get over an app. So Smith doesn’t validate your use of the app? So what? Why attack his character?

    Juzwiak and – I’m sorry to see, our own Kiwi – seem far too ready to attack Smith over this.

  37. Rowan says

    Well done for realizing just how mean and horrible Kiwi is, yet you all insult Rick because he goes on about effeminate men??

    I’m glad Kiwi is now aiming his vile at you!

    You bully Rick relentlessly but he is just as singular and one dimensional in his relentless opinion-just like Kiwi. But because you all agree with Kiwi about Rick, you kept quite.

    Now he has turned on you guys. This is too much. LMAO.

  38. Rowan says

    Also, I have to say that Rick is straight forward; he NEVER insults other commenters, he just goes on about his opinion on effeminate men but Kiwi….lol…people like that are poisonous but they always full you guys because they are always ‘liberals’.

    If Kiwi wasn’t gay…would he be this ‘caring’ about ‘outsiders’? The lgbt community?

    Yeah right.

  39. Anony6 says

    I disagree with Sam Smith. There is no “proper” way of falling in love or entering a relationship. To say so suggest that there is a wrong way of doing it. For so long, and still today, being with a man isn’t “proper”. Sams comment, and the viewpoint of many of the commentators here wreak of the sl&T shaming still lingering in our culture from our (western society, though not exclusive) puritanical and misogynistic past.

    People don’t need grinder to be assholes or “slu&s”, they do as well of a job in real life. Grinder just may alter perception though because its use usually allows people to interact with a much higher volume of people than if everything was face to face. So instead of experiencing 1 incompatible connection per week in “real” life, on a app we could meet 5+ in a single week. Next thing you know, people start saying those apps aren’t proper ways to meet people, only “slu&s” use them, etc

  40. Marcus says

    Gosh, if only we lived in a world where people could live their lives how they see fit and be open about it without fear of judgment. That would be swell.

  41. EchtKultig says

    Wow. I expected a bit of a sh-tstorm on here, and I’m certainly not disappointed.

    I’m debating whether there’s any deeper meaning here than ‘minority dares to challenge minority group think.’ That often carries more sting with said minority group than an outsider’s criticisms. OTOH, a case can also be made that LGBs are a unique minority, who are furthermore at a unique turing point, and this controversy is related to that. At the end of the day, Grindr is still a reflection of a sociocultural ghetto. The straight community can be as “slutty” as they need to be without resorting to technological assistance…so in fact the technology of Grindr ironically limns the invisibility and otherness of gay identity. In a truly gay-accepting world, you could just flirt with other men and not worry about whether they might beat the cr-p out of you. (Of course that isn’t why Sam thinks he criticized Grindr, but we needn’t get too bogged down in authorial intent)

  42. EchtKultig says

    Anon6, I disagree. Puritanism and sexism would demand he (and we) just stay in the closet. And obviously that isn’t what Sam is suggesting. Maybe he thinks meeting someone other than on grindr is “proper” in the British sense of “better”. Maybe he just thinks that sex as an outcome of a romance is more satisfying that sex as an outcome of your cell starting to vibrate.

  43. SeanR says

    He came out last year, and seems to be an “icon”… wtf? Sorry, but I don’t need advice from a 22 year old that are platitudes dressed in drag.

  44. Sergio says

    Wow, the debate has really picked up since I last posted! Can we all agree, though, that Rich Juzwiak is just horrible? I’d love to have a Towleroad piece dedicated just to his self-absorbed jeremiads – it would be great to sound off on him without the circling of the Gawker wagons.

  45. Beef Jerky says

    I don’t care what Sam Smith says. But every time I hear or read about Grindr, I am reminded of that web site Douchebags Of Grindr, highlighting all the No Fats/Fems/Blacks/Asians/Olds/Etc. the app has to offer.

    No thanks.

  46. Anony6 says

    @ Echtkultig

    Yes I think it might call for a less critical view of Sam’s statements in light of the British proper= american better. Even still though, there is something troubling about suggesting a hierarchy.

    With that being said though, we know coming out the closet is not the end of gay liberation. Even after coming out, so much work needs to still be done to reject previously imbedded homophobic and sexist notions. While Sam and some of us might be out the closet, it doesn’t mean ties to our sexist/homophobic/puritanical influences have been completely severed. IMO I don’t think Sam has severed these ties yet.

    This is not specifically about attacking Sam as an individual or a celebrity. This is about attacking the ideas that he and a sizable portion of gay men hold on to.

  47. KC says

    Just because a person says he never used Grindr, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I have never used Scruff, but I know it’s the same darn thing. A4A, Grindr, Manhunt, etc..they’re all pretty much one and the same. Just different interfaces. I’ve used them all, and I know what their primary purpose is, although I’ve met cool people from them that had nothing to with hooking up. I just find meeting people face to face to be a more enriching, even more organic experience,better for me than going through the same tired, boring, cliched and generic conversations that happen on hookup sites.

  48. says

    “Given Smith’s status as a freshly minted icon, Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak and The Wire’s Kevin O’Keefe took the singer to task for his dismissal of what they consider to be a rather substantial aspect of modern gay culture.”

    Sounds to me like everybody involved has an opinion, but only two people involved were paid to put pen to paper (or, OK, type) theirs, especially since they stand in opposition of Sam Smith’s.

  49. zeddy says

    So funny the difference in comments here. Yeah, I met a bf of 3 years at a bath house. But I’m not going to search a bathhouse for a husband. That’s petty much the same logic with grinder, scruff and even tinder. I met someone on okc and deleted my okc profile, scruff and grindr app.

  50. HIS says

    ” a rather substantial aspect of modern gay culture.”


    Grinder has 6 million users world wide , out of 7.2 billion people on earth and the most conservative estimate of gays being 2% of the population

    That is 144,000,000 gays around the world yet grinder only has 6 million users which is only 4.17% of the gay population . In otherwords only 4sh people out of every 100 gay people use grinder

    Tinder has not released its numbers but a Pew research paper says only 1% of the US population uses cell phone dating apps

    that is plural apps so not all that 1% is using tinder though there most likely is overlap of some users using multiple cruising / dating apps. Remember tinder is not gay centric so gays are the minority using it

    The facts state otherwise to the claim ” a rather substantial aspect of modern gay culture.”

    A very small minority of gay people use grinder and tinder

  51. ricky says

    oh please, get a grip everyone. it’s true, anyway. and he’s entitled to say what he wants. it’s not as if he’s stopping you from using grindr. again, he doesn’t see it as a place for real connection. god, you guys are exasperating.

  52. Alan says

    The fact that people are saying they’ve made “platonic friendships” etc, etc, is ridiculous. You’re all using these apps for hook ups! Congrats on being friends after you’ve f*****! So glad so glad.

  53. prak says

    I use scruff. And I use other sites to hook up with guys. And I completely agree with the singer.

    By it’s very nature, going through apps to meet a guy is a very dehumanizing process. Don’t like the look of a guy, just swipe to the left.

    People have found friends and partners through internet dating, but I think they are the exception. I am not dismissing hooking up. I enjoy it, I am quite pro sex. What I am talking about is making a long term connection.

    Sam Smith is not the only person out there who thinks app (and more general internet) dating is not without it’s flaws.

  54. Dan says

    Anony6 – To affirm love and connection over loveless hookups with strangers on a commercial app is neither puritanical nor sexist. You don’t understand what those terms mean, nor do you understand much about the roots of homophobia.

    You are like an ignorant priest presiding over a dying religion, desperately trying to suppress dissent by shouting “Heretic!” But this ain’t a church and we don’t care about your addled moral judgments. Let the convo continue and if a life of loveless promiscuity is so great, then it will win the day. Somehow, I’m not worried that will happen. :-)

  55. Dan says

    Prak –

    Brother, you are a person who has worth. You have the power and ability to bring real happiness to someone, and you have every right to look forward to having that person love and care for you as you move along in this life. You are not a torso on a digital menu. You are not a commodity to be acquired by smartphone and then discarded after you serve your purpose – with a venture capital firm getting rich off the entire degrading process.

    I am not gonna say that the world will end if you use Scruff for a little while. But the longer it goes, the greater the danger. You make it a long term thing, and I promise you that it will change you. It will get inside you, make you cynical about people, more selfish and exploitative, make you more like it. And it will be ever more difficult to get out. Don’t let that happen, Prak.

  56. StyleIsStylish says

    loool! What is this sh#t i am reading here that some person met a husband or a good friend on grindr? Who the f cares? you also can meet a husband or a friend in prison, in a hospital emergency room, or in court.

    that doesn’t mean that you should try to go to prison, land in the hospital or get sued. because those places werent created or designed to find you a relationship and anything good that happens in those places relationship-wise will be the result of good luck. ditto for grindr, whose purpose you can figure out from its NAME.

  57. Javier says

    There is no right for people to approve of your promiscuous sex life or dating platform of choice. Sam Smith has a right to have particular sexual ethics and values that exalt traditional monogamy and fidelity. You don’t have to agree or like that fact, but don’t act like he is oppressing you.

  58. Javier says

    There is no right for people to approve of your promiscuous sex life or dating platform of choice. Sam Smith has a right to have particular sexual ethics and values that exalt traditional monogamy and fidelity. You don’t have to agree or like that fact, but don’t act like he is oppressing you.

  59. Troye says


    You must be new here. Little Kiwi is a toxic, deranged person. He spends his days posting comments on blogs under multiple online identities. That’s basically what he does all day. Virtually every comment is mean and insulting and abusive. And in virtually every comment, he hurls some allegation at someone he has never met and about whom he knows nothing. (Ex. “Your parents never loved you!” “You are closeted!” “You never have sex!”)

    He also urges gays and lesbians to kill themselves, giving graphic descriptions of how they should do it. He is deranged.

    But don’t get upset or angry with him. He is only hurting himself. Obviously, his rants and promotion of suicide turn everyone off and persuade no one to accept whatever point he is making.

    Worse, his chronic anger is eating him alive. I have seen on his blog various pics from different times in his life. You can see how he has devolved from an adorable, happy boy to a good-looking teen to a weird and perturbed 20-something to a dramatically decayed and creepy man entering middle age. He looks to have aged 25 years in the last 10. If he continues on this path, he will look like an old man by 2020. Hate always kills the one who feels it.

  60. says

    Of all the things to arouse Little Kiwi’s ire — Sam Smith dissing Grindr?

    This is grotesque. We face all sorts of problems. In 3/4 of the country we have o job or housing protection. AIDS continues to rage on (the “cocktail” is NOT the cure, and neither is Truvada) And THIS is what we’re all supposed to be upset about?

    Oh Prunella!

  61. Chuck says

    So what? If Mr. Smith doesn’t want to seek “love” via an online app, choosing instead for something more meaningful, fulfilling, and REAL, why is that a problem? Grindr, are for “hooking up,” and everyone (should) know that. This may come as a huge surprise, particularly to young gay men, but not all of us care to see “selfies” posing nude or near-nude in a dirty bathroom mirror. Some of us are much more interested in what a person thinks, what they’re reading, what are they’re dreams, what have they accomplished… Leave this talented singer alone, and let him find love any way he wants. NOT wanting to “connect” through all of the gay PHONE site/apps is NOT a gay crime!! In fact, it’s rather refreshing to hear about someone who ISN’T interested in them!

  62. BrianB says

    I don’t know what he considers the “proper” way to meet someone. I feel the same about the apps though. They were a fun novelty when they first came out, and while you may make friends there, most people are only looking for one thing. Mostly you’re going to run into a bunch of people with poor social skills who let their genitals run their life.

  63. Tarc says

    Little Kiwi – so, in short, you’re talking crap about people you don’t know because you feel the need to justify yourself despite the fact that you know Smith’s comment is basically correct. Just like I said in the first place. Not that I care, but get real.

  64. GregV says

    I’ve been on Grindr for several weeks, and it is what you make of it. I started out finding a huge proportion of profiles and of messages sent to me to be flaky, uninteresting, incompatible with me, etc. I have used the BLOCK function liberally (thousands of times), and the proportion of messages that are appropriate to what I am looking for is getting higher and higher every day.
    I had three different Grindr dates this weekend (my first meeting users in person). All three were nice people I would not have met otherwise.
    I just sent a message a few minutes ago saying “Thanks for saying hi. I had a busy weekend with friends. You’re a great-looking guy but from looking at your profile, we’re looking for different things. How are you doing?”
    In a typical day in person, I’m unlikely to really learn anything about any new people in person. On line, I can learn sometimes in two seconds that an otherwise-handsome guy is not my type. I am being approached by exponentially more people than usual. I am not very interested in most of them. I am very interested in a small number of them.
    Weeding through to find compatible people (even if they might be 1 in 100) is really not all that complicated. It takes only seconds out of my day to press BLOCK or send a “no thanks” message.
    I know people on there who say they are ultimately looking for a LTR “but I’m not going to find it here.” And you know what? They WON’T.
    I know other guys who went on Grindr looking for platonic friends and/or and/or long term relationships, and guess what? They found what they looked for.
    But don’t go on Grindr approaching guys with screen names and profiles that are opposite to your needs and then complain that that’s who you’re meeting.
    With 7 million users, even if 1% are compatible with me as friends or dates or relationships, that’s still 70,000 potentially wonderful and compatible people for me, most of whom I would never otherwise run into.

  65. says

    there is no “proper” nor “improper” way for gay men to meet, connect and bond. this whole thread reads like a bunch of ninnies who are just so terribly upset about the sex lives that other people are having.

  66. says

    and “PETER” the link? the guy didn’t reject me for being too fem. he hit on me. and i rejected HIM for being a self-hating grown adult coward. are you really that dense?

    i mean, jeez. the link you provided didn’t even prove your own point, it negated it!

  67. darryl says

    Backlash from who? Two “journalists”. Puhleez, I think Mr Smith will survive. As a person who uses A4A, Grindr, Scruff and others he is on the mark. Sure you can make friends on these apps, but bottom line it’s basically for ordering sex like a pizza. For myself most of the people I get messages from don’t even say hello, it’s either “Looking?” “how big”, “Horny?” or a number of other things they wouldn’t dare say if they walked up to you in a public place. So they need to get over themselves and bravo to Sam!

  68. NOTICE says

    The tone of this article seems a little “excited” given the actual reaction from most people commenting here about Sam Smith’s comments.

    The original 2 writers who were upset about his comments seem super defensive. Sam has every right to think and say whatever he wants, and it’s not his fault if someone decides that his comments are political.

    I’m really tired of this prevailing idea that it is mandatory for every visible, out, gay person to be representing the entire gay community politically. Let’s give everyone a break and let them have some individual expression and ideas.

  69. Thomas says

    The troll Little Kiwi, aka Raymond Miller wrote that “there is no “proper” nor “improper” way for gay men to meet, connect and bond.”

    Oh, OK Rev. Miller. Thanks for teaching us all about right and wrong. I always take morality lessons from a dissolute psychopath.

    Note how Kiwi tries to make it seem like a Grindr hookup has depth and substance. In fact, there is no human connection or bond in an anonymous hookup. It is an act of consumption. The process is: identify slab of meat in pic, arrange logistics, meet and engage in sex with slab of meat, depart.

    Do this for long enough and you will become a mental and emotional basket case, less happy and less healthy based on every measurable parameter. Gay boys and young gay men deserve a better way and a better life. Grindr is just a high-tech recapitulation of a terrible way of living that was foisted on us in the past, but which is kept going through marketing and internalization. May it soon die out.

  70. says

    Just because nobody stuck around after sleeping with you doesn’t mean that that’s what happens to everyone else, you know. I’ve had hookups that have become friends i cherish. Friends and lovers, and that mix of both, that i otherwise initially met under “sexualized” circumstances. Grindr is merely one outlet, of many, that a lot of us choose to use to connect with other gay men. Its use does not mean interactions will be devoid of depth, substance, connection and a bond. “Thomas” (that’s today’s name? it’s not like you’re fooling anyone…) you basically just told everyone nobody ever wanted to stay in your life after they slept with you. for that, you have my pity. my experience has been the total opposite.

  71. JMC says

    people who think there’s a “proper” way to approach love and sex are always so terrible. sam smith seems like a really stuffy guy in general though so i’m not surprised he said this.

    there are plenty of cool people on these apps looking for friends, friends with benefits and boyfriends. there are plenty more cool people who just want sex. and even more than that are the creeps who just want sex.. but they’re very easy to spot lol.

    the apps are really what you make of them..

  72. JMC says

    people who think there’s a “proper” way to approach love and sex are always so terrible. sam smith seems like a really stuffy guy in general though so i’m not surprised he said this.

    there are plenty of cool people on these apps looking for friends, friends with benefits and boyfriends. there are plenty more cool people who just want sex. and even more than that are the creeps who just want sex.. but they’re very easy to spot lol.

    the apps are really what you make of them..

  73. JMC says

    people who think there’s a “proper” way to approach love and sex are always so terrible. sam smith seems like a really stuffy guy in general though so i’m not surprised he said this.

    there are plenty of cool people on these apps looking for friends, friends with benefits and boyfriends. there are plenty more cool people who just want sex. and even more than that are the creeps who just want sex.. but they’re very easy to spot lol.

    the apps are really what you make of them..

  74. lvnvrcd says

    Sam Smith certainly is entitled to his opinion. Those sites ARE hookups sites, not “find the love of your life’ sites. If he chooses not to use them, more power to him. He was just stating what he thinks about them. That’s all.

  75. says

    And yet, Facebook isn’t a “hookup site” – yet it can be used as one. And bars are not “hook up things”, but can be used as such.

    my point – these things are what you make of them, and bring to them.


  76. GregV says

    “By it’s very nature, going through apps to meet a guy is a very dehumanizing process. Don’t like the look of a guy, just swipe to the left.”

    @Prak: You choose how you use the app, and your choice is to use it in a way that you find dehumanizing.

    Personally, I find it has consciously brought to my attention the types of criteria that draw me to people.
    In regular life out on the street, we metaphorically “swipe to the left” all the time. Walk through a crowd and your eyes will ignore others to land on someone who piques your interest.
    The thing I like about these apps is the sheer volume of people available to sort through, and the fact I can know enough (sometimes just from a screen name if not a brief description) to “swipe to the left” someone who might otherwise be physically attractive to me, or click the star to “favorite” someone I would not on the street have known would be into me/ interesting to me.
    If you find the way you are using the app to be “dehumanizing,” I’d suggest you find a different way to use it.

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