Advice columnist Dan Savage has defended his previous endorsement of a straight man toying with gay men on Grindr.
The controversy began last month when a man identifying himself as ALPHA wrote Savage to confess he loved engaging in sexually explicit chats with gay men on the app, then ghosting them. ALPHA refers to himself as straight, but says he loves demeaning and dominating men in conversation. Savage, deferring to advice from therapist Alexander Cheves, endorsed the practice as a healthy one.
“We all enter Grindr chats willingly, and we should do so knowing that anyone we talk to may have no plans of following through with their promises to meet,” Cheves wrote at the time. “Many queer men do the same—talk and tease with no intention of meeting—and for similar reasons. The guys he is messaging are chatting with him consensually, so I don’t see any consent violations.”
Now a reader has taken Savage to task over his advice.
“So long as ALPHA—the straight guy who likes to demean and degrade thicc gay boys he finds on Grindr—is upfront with these guys and tells them he’s straight and tells them he has no intention of ever hooking up with them IRL, then what he’s doing is okay, I guess,” a reader, calling himself “Too Pissed For Acronyms,” writes. “But if he’s not disclosing all those facts about himself, Dan, then he’s pretending to be something he’s not and that is not okay.”
“Straight guys leading gay guys on for attention is repulsive,” Too Pissed concludes. “We’ve got enough problems out there without you giving straight guys permission to fuck with our heads.”
Savage, however, doubles down on his earlier conclusions.
“Grindr and other hookup apps are full of guys leading each other on—sometimes intentionally (not interested in hooking up IRL), sometimes unintentionally (circumstances and/or guy trouble can derail a wanted hookup),” Savage says. “Everyone who gets on Grindr knows or soon realizes that not every chat or exchange of pics leads to sex. Like author and Grindr user Alexander Cheves said in that column: ‘We all enter Grindr chats willingly, and we should do so knowing that anyone we talk to may have no plans of following through with their promises to meet.'”
“And in ALPHA’s case, I don’t think he’s leading anyone on,” he continues. “He seeks out gay guys who fantasize about masculine, domineering, and unavailable straight jocks. He may be f*cking with some guys’ heads, TPFA, but he’s only f*cking with the heads of guys who get off on having their heads f*cked with in exactly this way and by exactly his type. I mean, who better to fulfill the hot, unavailable straight-jock fantasy than the hot, unavailable straight jock?”
We’re not so sure on this one. Is “f*cking” with anyone’s head–even someone who “likes” it–ever ok? Does that not just reinforce the mental self-harm and self-loathing, possibly resulting from previous abuse?
Weigh in in the comments. Is it healthy behavior?