Love & sex

The Gay Berliner: A question of context

Walter Crasshole on politics and dating apps.

Article image for The Gay Berliner: A question of context

Walter Crasshole on politics and dating apps.

Illustration by Agata Sasiuk

“‘Feminist as fuck’ makes my pussy fall asleep,” my friend Clara told me on one of our regular evenings where we’d watch films in which human beings did incredibly cruel things to each other, and then talk about our sex lives. She was complaining about Tinder, the dating app that seemingly works better for lesbians than gays and introduced straight people to the concept of hook-up apps. “Also, ‘No racism, no sexism, no homophobia’ basically says you have no personality. Hard swipe left.” I had to laugh.

It’s not that Clara’s not politically conscious, or even a feminist. She runs her own feminist Heimatfi lm festival and stands up when she feels something’s not right, like when she openly questioned the curation of a queer film festival where the closing programme had no women in it. It’s all about context. But in the context of hook-up apps, when we’ve put in all stats down to our choice of Müsli, why lead off with things that should be a given? Do we always have to wear our political affiliations on our sleeve?

And is that kind of sloganism like “No racism, no sexism, no homophobia” really sexy? This kind of blanket, placid PC statement? If you have to sloganise, why not make up something more exciting à la Bruce LaBruce: “Heterosexuality is the opiate of the masses” or “Breed the Breeder” or anything with a little more sting than a bunch of “No’s”.

In the world of gay hook-up platforms like Grindr and Planet- Romeo this seems to happen much less often. You’ve got much more room to explain yourself, your inclinations, your kinks and even your movie tastes there than in the quick swipe world of Tinder. Good for me. I’m much more interested in whether you’re into giraffe-play or whatever than whether you’re considering voting AfD – I’ve probably already figured that out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bothered if you must mention it somewhere: Throwing in “Oh, and Nazis fuck off !” at the end is much less obnoxious if there’s plenty to go on already. It’s just not the sexiest thing about your profile. And doesn’t much matter to me at that point anyways.

And I come from a punk background. I totally get the need to say these things from time to time. Back where I lived before Berlin, the San Francisco Bay Area, Berkeley’s iconic all-ages punk club 924 Gilman Street made an impact by painting the “No isms” message on its entrance. And it was new at one point, but more important still, just about anyone can walk through that door. It’s not to say we shouldn’t stop being vocal about the bullshit in this world. But for your dating profile? Maybe Tinder should take up the job of weeding out racist assholes and you can use that space for something more interesting.

But if that’s all you’ve got – “I’m not into anyone right-wing” – you’ve got to wonder if the person truly understands that or is just spitting out the maxims of the day. You can even make the act of your fucking political, but don’t spit it out to me beforehand.