Online dating in Iceland: Local lads open up

If you find yourself single or have given up on finding the right match with conventional methods your best bet is to meet people through dating apps. But that world is a jungle with so many options to choose from which can drive anyone a bit mad. So we decided to ask a few queer men what they themselves look for in “promising suitors”, how they avoid strange and dangerous situations and what is the best and worst pick-up lines that they’ve gotten. But first of all we asked them to help us find the best dating app out there. 

Many guys want to see a (non filtered) portrait of the person they’re chatting to, because they don’t talk to other users unless they have one.

Ágúst: “I mostly use dating apps when I’m traveling. In China for example the best ones are Hornet and Scout; Grindr is very popular in Bangkok and in other parts of the world there are other apps that are most used. I recommend you browse through as many apps as you can to find the one perfect for you.”

Jonathan: “They’re all so different and they seem to have different purposes. For example if you’re actually wanting to get to know someone for a possibly long-term thing, I think you’re better off going with Tinder. If it’s just sex you’re after then Grindr is a safer bet. The market is saturated with something for almost everyone… and here in Iceland the same people are on all of them.”

Alexander: “I’ve only used Tinder of the dating apps out there. I’ve also used OkCupid which is a different app but I like that the most, simply because you have more information about someone before you make contact. The thought of being judged based on a few photos and sentences about myself doesn’t sit well with me.”

Gunnar: “I guess it’s Grindr, or The Fence (“Grindverkið” in Icelandic) as me and my friends call it. Everyone is some how on Grindr. Guys tend to have profiles on all these dating apps but when I travel abroad I prefer Hornet since it’s less NSA (“no strings attached”). I can also see more photos of guys on there which helps me decide whether I want to send them messages or not.”

“The most memorable line is: “Are you up for an adventure?” I had no idea what it meant but despite that I decided to reply and that adventure is still ongoing.”

Be clear about what you want. Maybe just don’t over do it.

Red: “I’m old school so I prefer Gayromeo. It gives you more detailed info regarding people and what they like.”

Georg: “In general I think Grindr is the best one of those apps I have tried but it depends on your type.

Some are looking for teddy bears, some are looking for tweens, while others are looking for ordinary guys.”

Davíð: “I think Tinder is the best dating app of the ones I’ve tried. It’s simple to use and nearly everyone that is single is on it.”

Hjálmar: “It depends on where in the world you are but in Iceland it’s definitely Grindr and Tinder.

There is also a website called Planet Romeo but I don’t know if there’s an app for that.”

Hafþór: “I’ve always been a fan of Planet Romeo. That was the first site I tried and I still use it since it fits me the best.

Users on there are open for everything from one night stands to long-term relationships.”

Best pick up line you’ve received? Did it work?

Ágúst: “I think I need to trademark it, but then again, maybe not. I think it’s best to just talk, be factual and meet. That works best and then it’s easy to get through three dates in a day even.”

Hjálmar: “I think it was when I was in Tenerife and one guy said that he didn’t speak a word of English so he asked me if it was ok he spoke Spanish in bed. From that moment I was his, hahaha.”

Davíð: “Are you up for an adventure with me?” That worked like a charm on me since I’m impulsive and adventurous. He sold me a few dates with that line.”

Georg: “Oh my god. You of course receive loads of pick up lines but I think they’re all so cliché that I don’t even bother memorizing them. I’ve gotten everything from “You’ve fallen from the sky” and blah blah blah to really cheap line which have the sole purpose of getting into your pants.”

Hafþór: “The most memorable line is: “Are you up for an adventure?” I had no idea what it meant but despite that I decided to reply and that adventure is still ongoing.”

Worst pick up line? How did you react?

Jonathan: “Into? Pics? It’s so aggressive and vanilla.”

Gunnar: “I got a really bad one the other day: “Your lips would look good on my penis. Are you on your way?” Then he sent me a picture of his junk. I just blocked the guy.”

Hjálmar: “I guess the worst ones are when older men, which I am not into, send me long messages about how experienced they are and that it’s good for us young guys to learn a thing or two from them. They often mention that they have nice houses and more things like that. I usually just say that unfortunately I’m not interested in sex with old men but that I’m up for a fun chat if they have something interesting to say.”

“A dick pic always ruins the mood if it’s in an opening message with a simple question.”

Alexander: “The worst pick up line that I’ve gotten is: “It would be extremely hot to fuck a guy with a pussy.” I replied quite courteously that I didn’t like being objectified in that way. I told the guy that I would block him for being disgusting.”

Hafþór: “A dick pic always ruins the mood if it’s in an opening message with a simple question. I have a rule to answer everyone even if it’s just: No, thank you.”

What turns you on?

Hjálmar: “When guys are themselves and are not just trying to tell you what they think you want to hear. But some days I’m into Latinos and other days I’m into muscular guys, or really slim guys but I guess straight guys turn me on the most.”

Jonathan: “It’s a person by person basis. I like when people have a sense of humour (actually it’s sort of a requirement). Apart from that, there’s not much else. I like it when a guy has a brain. In the past I’ve been drawn to science types mainly because they tend to question things and not just accept things. You know, they want to see evidence before they share a meme. I like it when a guy isn’t afraid to make things happen. I’m a performer and have a very direct personality and often have to be in charge every day, so if someone really wants to go have dinner and they are persistent, I really like that.”

Gunnar: “A lot of things. I think hands with prominent veins are super hot. And a nice ass is also always hot. Latino guys are my favorite. I think their blood is also warmer than white men and they’re also so sexual in how they move and in everything they do.”

What annoys you the most?

Hafþór: “It really bugs me when I have said no in a polite way and guys continue to try to charm me. Everyone is welcome to contact me but I think it should be unnecessary to block someone to get the message across.”

Guy goes nuts on Grindr when he doesn't get an instant reply.
Sometimes it’s good to be patient – even though you don’t get an instant reply.

Ágúst: “Copy/paste messages and the prostitution that takes place on these apps.”

Jonathan: “Emotional retards. Guys who have feelings about things but are too afraid of confrontation to say something about it. I’ve also noticed a strange trend among some local guys on dating apps here in Iceland.

“I’ve…noticed a strange trend among some local guys … There’s this weird thing where sometimes they insult you or make comments about how they’re really hot, insinuating that you should be so lucky they’re talking to you.”

There’s this weird thing where sometimes they insult you or make comments about how they’re really hot, insinuating that you should be so lucky they’re talking to you. News flash, that’s not hot. It never has been and it never will be. Don’t be that guy. I’ve even told guys that on a date. I pisses me off that much that I can’t be silent about it.”

Georg: “Guys that lie and the ones that demand a photo of you when they can’t even reveal themselves.”

The most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you after you met a guy after a chat?

Jonathan: “There’s way too many to choose from. I’m really bad at remembering names so I guess the most common one is that I spend the entire date trying to remember the guy’s name. I also meet a lot of people because of stand up comedy so sometimes I’ve confidently mentioned details of my date’s week only to be informed that I must be thinking of someone else.”

Ágúst: “I don’t remember anything embarrassing per say but the weirdest thing I’ve experienced was when a guy came to me with his face covered, walked straight to the bed, took of his clothes and had his butt pointing straight up before I even got to say: “Hi there”.”

The more honest you are about what you want the less likely you are to have a misunderstanding.
The more honest you are about what you want the less likely you are to have a misunderstanding.

Hafþór: “The funniest thing was when I had decided to meet a guy and he was going to pick me up at a hotel room I was sharing with my friends. When the guy was just about to arrive I was getting ready in a state of panic and sent my friend to greet him so I had a bit longer to fix myself up. When he opened the door there was an awkward silence since the difference between the photo I had sent my friend and the guy standing opposite him was massive.”

Hjálmar: “Probably when I was logged in to Planet Romeo and wasn’t very active – didn’t even have a photo or info about me. Neither did this guy I started chatting to but he told me how old he was and sent me a photo of his body. When we were gearing up to meet it turned out that this guy was the boyfriend of a girl I know very well. That was embarrassing at first and then it was hysterically funny.”

Georg: “A few months ago I ended up with a guy but a few months later I spoke to another guy and when I went to meet him I ended up in the same apartment. Apparently they were room mates.”

Davíð: “When I had two dates on the same day with very interesting guys. I took my later date to KIKI and there we met my first date. We exchanged some harsh words and I lost my chance with both of them. Not my finest moment but that is definitely on me.”

But what about the most fun thing?

Davíð: “I guess it’s when I meet guys at a café, we click and get together a few times after that. I’ve experienced that a few times and that’s always exciting.”

Jonathan: “In recent history it was a date that turned into an entire weekend of walking, cooking, eating and watching David Attenborough documentaries on Netflix. It probably sounds boring to lots of people, but that’s what I like to do to unwind and it’s the most fun for me.”

Ágúst: “When you’re lucky to find someone you can meet more than once. But you have to shield your heart so you don’t get your heart-broken because all good things must sometime come to an end.”

Do you rather go for tourists or locals or both?

Gunnar: “I rather meet up with tourist than locals. No one’s going to find out about it unless I tell them. I think people talk to much about other people’s private affairs, like who they sleep with and so on.”

Davíð: “It varies but when I look back I’ve met up with more tourist. I guess it’s because I’m adventurous and I’m attracted to exotic people.”

“You know that idiom: “Beggars can’t be choosers.” Well, we have very limited “resources” here in Iceland, so you might as well venture out. I do prefer locals though, because if the chemistry is right then you can at least meet the guy again in the following days or weeks.”
Dating apps are different and seem to have a different purpose. Some are good if you want to get to know someone for a long term relationship, others are better if you’re looking for something else.

Hafþór: “When I lived in Iceland I would rather meet up with tourists. I lived in a small community where the market was pretty stale so tourists were like gold to me. They were new meat on the market but I also enjoyed dates with them more than I did with Icelanders.”

Red: “You know that idiom: “Beggars can’t be choosers.” Well, we have very limited “resources” here in Iceland, so you might as well venture out. I do prefer locals though, because if the chemistry is right then you can at least meet the guy again in the following days or weeks.”

Jonathan: “Honestly if you are taking the time to talk to me I will speak back. However it does actually state in my profile that I’m not a tourist so don’t go waiting till midnight to chat to me – I’ll be asleep.”

Why do you use dating apps? Are they better than meeting people in real life?

Georg: “Everyone knows who I am in the gay scene in Iceland and therefore dating apps have been better for me in regards to meeting new people and getting to know them instead of being judged beforehand. I think using dating apps is a comfortable way of meeting guys who are on the same wave lengths as you without going to cafés or bars.”

Ágúst: “At first it was laziness, then curiosity and then it ended up being my primary way of meeting people who are looking for sex, no strings attached. This in no means substitutes friends or lovers.”

“I use them mainly for fun. I think it’s charming to get to know someone a bit before I meet them…”

Alexander: “I use them mainly for fun. I think it’s charming to get to know someone a bit before I meet them but I wouldn’t say that dating apps are a better or worse way than any other. I can imagine that this is a good way for shy people, for example.”

Jonathan: “If I’m to be completely honest, I use them because from time to time we all have needs and although I’m happy with just me for now, I don’t want to be alone forever.”

Have you witnessed or encountered prejudice or discrimination on dating apps?

Hjálmar: “Not exactly prejudice but it has happened that guys think I must be really weird since I’m a drag queen.”

Make sure you see dating apps for what they are.
Make sure you see dating apps for what they are.

Alexander: “I’ve talked to more than one guy that either didn’t know what it means to be trans or that showed an unusual interest in my genitals. I’ve experienced that my body is objectified and I’ve been harassed for being trans.

I’ve not experienced prejudice towards my sexuality or because I am polyamorous and I’ve only experienced prejudice from male users.”

Davíð: “I am bisexual and I alway let people know about it before I date them. People have mixed reactions to that. Most women are fine with the fact that I’ve also been with guys but many have a hard time seeing me with other guys.”

Red: “Yeah, sort off. But to make it less hurtful I try to see it this way: People have their own preferences. So I respect yours and you respect mine. There is a subtle and polite way of saying that, but some queens don’t know what that means.

So it’s up to people how they will handle that. If you’re sensitive to rejection, then you might as well stick to porn.”

Any good advice for beginners?

Ágúst: “A photograph is necessary because most don’t contact the ones who don’t have a photo of themselves. Don’t filter the image, write a short and good text about yourself which indicates what you’re looking for and don’t lie about your age.

Meet in a public place so it’s guaranteed that your date gets caught on security cameras. Put yourself first and be strong enough to say no if the guy doesn’t want to use protection.”

Red: “Before you start using these apps, prepare yourself by reading articles (and comments) about them. And make sure you have thick skin enough to handle rejection and douche bags!”

Jonathan: “ALWAYS USE CONDOMS AND KNOW YOUR STATUS. HIV is different now but there is still a lot of stigma. Be honest with yourself about why you want a profile. If it’s sex that’s fine, if you want more that’s fine too, but make sure you have built your profile about what you actually want.

For me a pic where you actually look like yourself is important. The more honest you are about what you want the less likely you are to have a misunderstanding.

Be careful of sharing personal details and personal images. We live in a small country but there are still crazy ass weirdo’s everywhere. If you’re not interested you don’t have to talk to someone, but you can also just say so. I think if you’re going to meet up with someone you should always let someone know where and when and update them as well.
Just be honest with yourself and others and make sure you see dating apps for what they are. Something designed for men to connect one way or another. If you get upset by the apps, have a break – but also know that there are other ways to meet men. My last relationship started from a chance conversation on a bridge and that was a 10 year adventure I’m very glad I had.

Just remember – it’s easy to talk to a faceless screen, but sometimes more fun and rewarding to actually introduce your self and say: “Can I get you a drink?”

“Be honest with yourself … If it’s sex that’s fine, if you want more that’s fine too, but make sure you have built your profile about what you actually want.”

Hjálmar: “A photo is a must! I can’t be bothered talking to people when I don’t have a clue who they are. And by photo I mean a portrait.”

Hafþór: “I tell everyone to practice safe sex. Not using a condom heightens the sensitive and can be exciting but if you’re unlucky it’s not worth it. It’s a good rule to always carry a condom on you so it’s near by when the urge calls.

For bottoms it’s good to check if the guy is wearing a condom when he’s inserting his penis. I’ve been warned since some tops never put the condom on or take it off before penetration.”

Georg: “Of course I recommend safe sex even though there’s nothing that’s hundred percent safe. If you live abroad I recommend getting HIV and STD test regularly.”

The guys

Agúst Beaumont, a member of the Pirate Political Party
Alexander Björn Gunnarsson, volunteer for Samtökin ’78 and Trans Ísland
Davíð Halldór Lúðvíksson, developer operator
Georg Erlingsson Merritt, director, writer, editor and a singer, songwriter
Gunnar Hjörtur Baldvinsson
Hafþór Freyr Líndal, youth worker
Hjálmar Forni Poulsen
Jonathan Duffy, stand up comedian
Red Vito Cruz Corcuera, psychiatric nurse

• • • • • • • • •
Ágúst • Alexander Björn • Davíð Halldór • Georg • Gunnar • Hafþór Freyr • Hjálmar Forni • Jonathan • Red

Á. Óskarsson
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See links to social media in the upper left-hand corner


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