Houston dating online

It's a question worth considering given the recent news that the app Grindr, which is designed to help gay men meet, may have played a role in the deaths of Glenser Soliman and An Vinh Nguyen, two Houston-area men who disappeared earlier this year.

The news "should be a little bit of a wakeup call" for people using apps to meet partners, said John Wright, the editor of Houston's Out Smart magazine, which is published for the LGBTQ community.

"It's pretty nonchalant, and people don't really consider the risks." This doesn't mean we need to ban dating apps - or even the ones used mostly for hookups.

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"I would certainly hope that cases like this would cause people to think twice." Women almost always are urged to take precautions when meeting men they don't know.

But men tend not to think of themselves as potential crime victims when they're meeting strangers for dates or sex, said Andrew Edmonson, a gay rights activist in Houston.

Here are what he calls some "little common-sense things that aren't that much of an inconvenience": "Don't assume (you're safe) because someone says 'this is who I am' online," Judge said.

"You have to assume they may not be that person." You don't have to stalk your date online, but take the time to check out social media profiles.

If you want a one-night stand, you won't find as many safeguards.

The Hinge dating app, for instance, forged its identity by promising "no randos," or random strangers. Hinge displays each user's full name and pulls profile photos directly from Facebook.

If this is a hookup, you're not going to spend three weeks trading messages.

But if you're looking for a relationship, Judge said, get to know each other before you give out your phone number or agree to meet.

"If someone's using a fake profile, chances are they don't have many photos to go with it," Wright said, so when you ask for more they'll disappear.

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