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Dating community friends in

Our lives certainly shouldn’t revolve around our phone screens, and we shouldn’t seek out connections only through mobile means, but these apps can, in fact, open doors in which we can meet people who broaden our worldviews and who we connect with in ways that, because of cultural or linguistic reasons, we otherwise wouldn’t be able to connect with.

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Our conversation proceeded to our next destination — a small craft beer bar just down a hill from the burger place (was I back in New York or was this really Europe? One thing led to another, which lead to a lovely evening, and next morning, with my new friend Julio.As I walked off the plane and waited for a cab to my flat located atop one of the beautiful hills that define Lisbon, I pulled out my phone and messaged the man I had talked to only a few days prior, and let him know that I was in the city and excited to explore it — hopefully with someone who knew it a little better than I did.He messaged back shortly after, as I sat looking out the giant windows overlooking Travessa Santo Ildefonso, and let me know that unfortunately he was still away and wouldn’t be back in Lisbon until Wednesday.With Belmiro, however, I didn’t need to worry about reconnecting or ensuring that social media kept us on each other’s minds.Our friendship that began on Grindr and took a route through his many activist friendships on the streets of Lisbon has continued onward.Both these men have become, for me, part of my community — friends with whom I share a bit of my life.

What began on Grindr and Tinder as only slightly erotic searches turned into friendship and community.

As Monday evening passed by, and I sat in the apartment unsure of myself and my complete lack of of ability to speak anything resembling Portuguese, I shifted through my dating apps looking for a potential other (cute) boy for my time in the city.

Tinder, and not my usual go-to app, Grindr, flashed up as I began matching with a litany of mysteriously melancholic Portuguese men.

To this day, Belmiro and I stay friends, sending letters back and forth across the Atlantic, as we discuss the state of American politics and the activities he and his fellow organizers are working on in an effort to help address the crisis in Chechnya.

I also stay in contact with Julio, who is insistent that I need to meet his boyfriend and eventually one day see his film.

We awoke in the morning, said goodbye, as he headed to work and I headed to catch my flight home.