The other day, I’m talking with a small group of people. There were two of us gays in the group and, as most conversations do, we found a way to throw in a joke about Grindr. One of the girls said she wanted to see what the app even looked like so I showed her. Apparently, someone had in their profile name “ParTy” which is actually quite common it seems.
“Do you like to party?” the other guy present asked me.
“Yes! I mean…just on the weekends.”
He gave me a quick, peculiar look and then dropped a bomb in my lap.
“You know the capital ‘T’ in ‘party’ is for Tina, right? Tina as in crystal meth?”
Nope, nope, nope. Don’t want it. Do not want it. Didn’t know. Not only will I be tardy for the parTy, I’m just not coming. I’m gonna watch Netflix and order takeout and live on the wild side by picking up a big bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos from the bodega.
He asked me if I really didn’t know that’s what it stood for and I had to admit that I guess did not. I’m innocent enough to think they were just talking about “tea” which means to share gossip or other super juicy information.
But, as a person who has used Grindr on-and-off for years, I had never really questioned what that capital ‘t’ actually meant. And I had seen it a lot. At least I thought I did. Maybe it was so top-of-mind because I had seen the annoyingly, randomly placed capital letter enough to remember it? It was like that one time I text a buddy “Hi bb!” thinking I was being fun with my youthful slang. He asked me why I was calling him “bareback” and I legit had no response.
Ugh! Was I really this naive? Were this many guys using a drug as hard as crystal meth? How and why had I never looked into this before? I’ve never been interested in drugs so I’ve never really felt the need to brush up on the street terminology, I suppose. Although, I did do a month of grand jury where I learned a lot but never that.
After we all parted ways, Tina stuck around. She was upset. Upset that she was always on the scene and upset that I didn’t care enough to know her. Sorry, guh! You can’t sit with me! But…now that I know you exist, let me see how popular you really are.
Later that day, I fired up Grindr and started clicking into every single profile. I was on the hunt to find parTiers. Would they outnumber those who did not label themselves that way? Would I break even with my research? Find myself disappointed because there were far fewer parTiers than expected? Elated that there were less? I hadn’t even started looking yet and already I needed a Xanax to curb the anxiety growing inside.
Over the weekend, I specifically kept an eye out. I had to! I was going to brunch on the Lower East Side and you just know shit gets real there. After the brunch, we walked to SoHo which was also a prime spot. All those tourists? I just knew that they all wanted Tina. When I got back home to Brooklyn, I checked again. Of course it would be right under my nose in my calm, quiet neighborhood!
Guys. It’s time for me to reveal the results of my very scientific research. Are you ready?
Like…totally ready? Okay. Here it goes.
I THINK IT’S ABOUT 50/50.
Here’s my methodology. Didn’t actually see an even split but for every proud parTier, there is at least 1.5 more just too afraid to be fingered (no pun intended).
I’m not trying to make light of the situation as it is something concerning that seems to be gaining traction amongst those in my community. I’m just floored is all. I know people who do drugs and I’m not around them that much because it’s just not my scene. Naive? Sure. Oddly enough, I’m okay with not knowing a laundry list of drug-related terminology no matter who is using it.