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Both these men have become, for me, part of my community — friends with whom I share a bit of my life.What began on Grindr and Tinder as only slightly erotic searches turned into friendship and community.As Monday evening passed by, and I sat in the apartment unsure of myself and my complete lack of of ability to speak anything resembling Portuguese, I shifted through my dating apps looking for a potential other (cute) boy for my time in the city.Tinder, and not my usual go-to app, Grindr, flashed up as I began matching with a litany of mysteriously melancholic Portuguese men.
In agreement that we needed to stay in touch, we added each other on the variety of social media platforms in hopes of further connections.
Dating apps — and so-called hook up apps — certainly have their problems, problems that can be critiqued from multiple angles, but perhaps dating apps also provide us with a new way of embracing something we all desperately need and crave: community.
When it comes to those of us who have a more marginalized social identity (be it sexual orientation, gender identity, or anything else) who might not so easily enjoy the comfortability of existing and interacting with new people in typical in-person social situations, these apps can provide us with real community building opportunities.
We traveled around the city, and because he had a background in architecture (and an Instagram filled with architectural commentary), I learned everything one ought to know about the clay-red rooftops and the golden gilded cathedrals that make up Lisbon’s hilly skyline.
We eventually said goodbye after a day spent discussing and exploring and eating delicious basil gelato.