Free shipping over $99 | Interest Free *no credit check* financing is available!

Nostalgic For Life Before Grindr? Try Havana.

by Rob Smith June 20, 2016


Gay culture in Havana, Cuba is a respite from the app-obsessed culture of the rest of the world since they’re not really up to the technology, and the gays seem to be more than OK with it.

The New York Times has a fascinating piece on the throwback gay culture of Havana, which seems like something out of NYC circa 1978 – in a good way:

Cuba has up to 4,000 active daily Grindr users, said Jennifer Foley Shields, a publicist for the app. But a recent series of Grindr check-ins here by this reporter revealed, on average, 11 online users in this city of two million (a population roughly equivalent to Houston’s).

Even in a five-star hotel along the Malecón with four-bar Wi-Fi reception, one typical check-in, after several false starts, required 14 minutes to open the app.

The experience is even more uphill for locals, who pay 2 Cuban convertible pesos per hour for internet use. (Cuban salaries, on average, 20 Cuban convertible pesos a month.) Apple users additionally, once their iPhone is unlocked, must pay middlemen to install apps, with several gay Cubans saying they were either too poor or too embarrassed to request an installation of Grindr or its ilk.

Though Grindr founder Joel Simkhai calls Cuba “a growth opportunity in a market dying for Grindr,” the locals don’t seem to be all that enthused about the possibility.

One bi guy has accounts on all the apps, but he seems pretty much over it:

“I’m bisexual, because I prefer the unlimited. Why would anyone — bisexual, gay, whatever — want to be trapped as a photo, as an internet profile in an app? That’s a different kind of closet, a box. So boring.”

His friend Juan Carlos Godoy Torres agrees. He says that he didn’t fight for progress for gay rights in Cuba to be boxed in:

“I prefer the magic of the streets, someone who can trap me with his eyes, who can dance with me, who can touch my face. I want more than sex.”

It seems like the culture in more technologically advanced places is forever changed, but Havana is keeping it old school. Perhaps Havana will become the next great gay tourist destination – as long as the gays keep their iPhones in their hotel rooms.

Rob Smith
Rob Smith


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Think

State Senate Candidate Calls Gay Teen Who Committed Suicide A Murderer, Internet Comes For Him

by Derek de Koff September 29, 2016

The below comment was written by Jason Christensen, a man currently running for Utah State Senate, in regards to a teenager who committed suicide last week over his sexuality: Since being posted on Reddit earlier today, it’s drummed up considerable outrage, with hundreds of people demanding that Christensen’s political career come to an abrupt and inauspicious end. Related: Andrew Christian Model [...]

Continue Reading →

You Can’t Unsee The Hillary “Shimmy Song”

by Jeff Taylor September 29, 2016

Earworm warning: this one will burrow its way into your brain. You’ve seen the shimmy GIFs and memes, now this growing phenomenon has its own song, and it’s…well, kind of annoying actually, but still somewhat amusing. Related: Randy Rainbow Moderates The First Debate; It’s Super The lyrics center around how Hillary Clinton won the first debate [...]

Continue Reading →

Justin Theroux Reflects On Those Infamous ‘Leftovers’ Sweatpants Photos

by Graham Gremore September 29, 2016

It was August 2014. The Leftovers was wrapping up its first season on HBO and the entire Internet was in a tizzy over Justin Theroux’s sweatpants. More specifically, what was flopping around underneath the sweatpants he was wearing in the opening scene of an episode. In case you need a refresher, here you go: After making national headlines, [...]

Continue Reading →