About six years ago, Jordan arrived early for his date with Michael at a little dive bar on Chicago’s north side. The two had exchanged a few messages through Grindr, and Jordan, 24 at the time, didn’t expect much.
In the bar, they chatted about life; Michael talked about his grandma and his time as a graduate student in Women’s and Gender Studies. About 15 minutes into the date, Jordan said he sent his friend a simple text: “husband.”
“I was very into him,” said Jordan, “and three and a half years later we got married.”
Big cities like Chicago are densely populated with gay men and queer people in general. This hadn’t been the case for Jordan, who grew up in a smaller city where guys would show up 30 or 40 miles away from him. That’s just not the way it is in Chicago — it gets maxed out at about a mile.
“A lot of people know each other,” he said, “and that’s because they use those location apps to find friends, dates, hookups, or whatever they’re looking for.”
Jordan said he and Michael moved in together “pretty much right away,” and started to plan their wedding about two years later. They set the date for 2014, the year Illinois passed marriage equality. Then, a couple of months before their wedding, the Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality for the whole country.
Both of their families were excited and wanted to participate. They ended up having, Jordan said, about 163 wedding guests, which included Jordan’s young nieces and nephews. He said it was important for him to have the kids there because he didn’t necessarily know any queer men when he was their age.
“Only a handful of people there had been to a gay or queer wedding before,” Jordan said. “I think there’s something special about queer love, and there was a lot of emotion in the room.”
Jordan said he initially felt weird that his family might find out he met Michael on a location-based hookup app. It wasn’t the romantic, meet-cute he’d imagined.
But now, as online dating has become more accepted, and Tinder is a thing for straight people, Jordan said, “it should be more normalized because it is normal.”
“Realistically, that’s how most people meet these days,” he said, “and you still have to meet up with them in real life.”
In the nearly three years he’s been married, Jordan said he has felt a greater sense of security. He doesn’t have to wonder where things are going in his relationship. Jordan explains that he and Michael continue to negotiate their relationship, but in a much different way.
Jordan argued that apps get a lot of flak for being used for hookups, but they also provide opportunities to connect with people.
“I can’t imagine having missed out on the opportunity of having met Michael,” Jordan said.
Grindr Life is a series highlighting the weird, wild, or simply sweet experiences users around the world have from getting on the grid. Got a story you want to tell us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.