Grindra’s New Gaimoji Offers a Whole Vocabulary Beyond Eggplant and Peach
Gay emojis are here. Smiling face!
Grindr , the gay dating app, this week released a new emoji library, or “Gaymoji,” which includes a fresh take on the symbols we’ve been using for nearly three years. Instead of your regular eggplant (penis) or peach (butt), you can opt for mashed eggplant and peach on your dinner plate! Fun!
There were no emojis for even a week, and Grindr had already removed some of them, such as the giant golden “T,” which many assumed was “tina,” the code for crystalline methamphetamine. It was unwise to condone drug use. Others are not well thought out, such as the blonde emoji accompanying “Bye Felicia” #emojisowhite!
The media have already made some criticism (sorry for the pun) about all of this. We gays are often accused of moral decline and destruction of civilization. But in truth, we are often the first to create culture. Disco, beards, fashion, internet dating – we were the first! Time will tell if the Gaimoji will remain and whether they will go to the general public. Who knows, by next month your heterosexual husband may be texting you a blindfold and gagged emoji.
However, language shapes the imagination, and emoji language is no exception. It worries me that by making our desires cartoonish we will all confuse ourselves and actually look for eggplant-shaped genitals and only want to sleep with someone on a bunk bed.
If Gaymoji are going to go global and become a whole new way of expressing our sexuality for all of us, then it would be wise to let us gay people experience them during their awkward infancy, and we’ll tell you how that happens in a few days. New languages are hard to master. Even talking with emoticons takes time. It took me months to understand the rude arrows that men used in their profiles to mean “up” (up arrow) or “down” (down arrow).
In many ways, nothing has changed. In the 1970s, gays used the code on the headscarf to signal their sexual appetites by placing them in the right or left back pocket to indicate top or bottom. (Dark blue for anal sex, blue for oral sex, turquoise blue for genitals! Oops!)
But there was a time, at least from 1987 to 2003, when gay people had to use old-fashioned words and speech to convey what we feel or want. I remember how long ago, in the Age of Analogs, I met in the physical meat space and I had to explain who I was, with words, gestures and the choice of clothes. The hardest part was dialing a real number and then leaving a message on what they called voicemail. “Hey this is Mike, just wondering if you’re free this week to chat?”
I would never say what I want sexually, or list my desires. But I don’t remember having specific desires. I just wanted to kiss someone I thought was sexy and hopefully not a sociopath. Although I could say “no sociopaths!” emoticons at the time. Well, come to think of it, I could use it now.