Whether you live in a sprawling metropolis like New York City or a rural town in Minnesota, dating is hard.  For the 2.4 million men who log onto Grindr every day, they’re inundated with rows of headless torsos and dozens of indecent proposals.  Other dating apps like Scruff and Jack’d offer similar results.  According to a 2014 Match.com study, 70% of gay men have dated someone they met through an app or website.  It seems that digital is the way to go.  But what if scrolling through shirtless thumbnails to choose Mr. Right (or Mr. Right Now) doesn’t work for you?  What if you want a more organic experience?  The following 5 Grindr alternatives offer you a shot at love without having to swipe right.

Speed Dating

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Speed dating gets a bad rap.  Perhaps we have Steve Carrell to thank for that.  Who can forget the Date-a-palooza scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin? Speed dating offers an economical approach to finding love.  In the space of an hour, you spend anywhere from 5-10 minutes getting to know complete strangers.  It’s the ultimate test of chemistry, and you can figure out if you like a guy without spending a wad of cash on dinner.  You keep notes about the guys you like and, if there’s a match, you receive their contact info to keep the conversation going.  Why schedule a separate date every night when you can have 10 in an hour?  Check your local listings for gay speed dating events in your area. If you’re in NYC, check out The Men Event’s Gay Speed Dating.

Gay Sports League

gay sports

Gay sports leagues have become the analog dating method of choice for active guys.  In fact, they’ve gained so much ground that the Los Angeles Times published an in-depth profile back in 2013.  NYC has enough leagues to fill an entire directory.  Whether it’s volleyball, soccer, kickball, softball, or swimming, there’s probably a league near you.  These organizations offer a great opportunity to see how a potential love interest functions on a team.  His interactions with others can offer powerful insight into how he’ll treat you.  Not to mention, it never hurts to watch athletic guys work up a sweat.

Gay Meetups

gay hiking
Wellfellow NYC Meetup

If the thought of meeting 10 people in an hour gives you anxiety, and you haven’t played softball since middle school, fear not.  You can find a gay meetup that’s centered around your interests, whatever they may be.  In New York alone, there are meetups for professional happy hours, beach trips, book readings, tantra and massage, comic lovers, and life coaching.  Regardless of how obscure your hobbies are, there’s likely a group of gays out there who are just as interested.  Spend some time searching meetup.com to find IRL activities that are tailored to what you love.


gay dating

It may sound a little counterintuitive to search for love while helping those in need, but don’t think about it that way.  Your primary objective in volunteering is serving your community.  However, when you volunteer for gay-centered causes, you’re likely to meet other gay men from surrounding areas who enjoy giving back.  Additionally, volunteering often involves teamwork to accomplish projects.  While you’re planting trees at a neighborhood LGBTQ center or organizing donations at a food bank, you could end up collaborating with the love of your life.  Helping out the community and falling in love?  Sounds like a win-win.  Visit The Trevor Project for a list of volunteer opportunities in your area.

Gay Men’s Chorus

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New York City Gay Men’s Choir // Image Source: facebook.com/nycgmc

According to Elite Daily, musically gifted guys are more romantic and they’re better in bed.  So, maybe the place you should scope out your next date is the gay men’s chorus.  Like volunteering, being part of a chorus involves a lot of collaboration.  But here, you’ll spend a lot more time together pushing your voices to the next level and creating beautiful harmonies.  How romantic would it be for Mr. Right to serenade you?  There’s just one caveat—you need to know how to sing.  

Modern dating, with its heavy dependence on technology, only gets more impersonal by the minute.  For those men seeking a more genuine way to find dates, there are still plenty of options.  Just put down your smartphone and get out there!