I was flipping through a local alternative newspaper while waiting to share coffee with a friend in Nashville a couple of months ago. Half-glancing at the pages as I flipped, I stopped on an article about, or what I thought was about, the popular dating app for gay men I’d heard of, Grindr. What I discovered was the recounting of an anonymous writer’s decision to plunge into the online dating scene after failed attempts at meeting people “the old fashioned way.” To keep his identity veiled from the small Nashville community, he’s known in town only as Gary Bradshaw (a clever play on the iconic Sex & the City character).
Having briefly tried online dating myself, I was intrigued by the young writer’s inclusion in the paper. But the story went deeper than that. The decision to test the online dating waters was an experiment leading to self-discovery as he entered a new phase of his life; a closeted gay man venturing out of that cold, lonely place into the heart of Bible country. The piece ran in the monthly as an introduction to his website RiseAndGrindr.com, where he’d retell the stories and experiences of his romantic, and sometimes sexual, encounters with those whom he’d discover on the plethora of dating apps and websites available.
Captivated by his story, I dug a little deeper into “Gary Bradshaw,” but found very little. In search of a romantic columnist for Listen! It’s Vetrano, I started dialogue with the unidentified writer via email. After a few back and forths, I offered the man of mystery a role on the blog. Bringing his “Rise & Grindr” to ‘LIV‘ as a column, I’m happy to welcome Gary Bradshaw to the growing group of contributors, which includes Amanda Valentine, Joe Feys and Anna M’Queen.
Outside of the short bio on the site (“As a single man, newly experiencing life as a homosexual in the Bible belt, I share my dates, online encounters and much more on Rise & Grindr. Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent“), I know very little about Bradshaw, other than what is written in his stories.
The identity of the writer will remain anonymous and he’s assured me that names will be changed to protect the “not-so-innocent,” but the stories will be 100 percent real. You can catch up with his first story here, but stay tuned to Listen! It’s Vetrano for the next installment of “Rise & Grindr” very soon.