When Pokémon first got big at the turn of the century, I was one of the bajillions of people around the world who got completely hooked, and I’m not ashamed to admit I dust it off every couple of years and go through it all over again.
But I was thinking recently of the sheer number of random Trainers dotted all over every game. There must be hundreds in each one, surely. And whenever they initiate battle, they always have some kind of weird one-liner to throw at you.
They also have to say something unique when they’re defeated, and then again if you talk to them afterwards.
I developed a weird obsession with those quotes and wondered how far I’d get if I used them as battle come-ons in real life – only replace “battle” with “flirtatious”, and replace “in real life” with “on Grindr”. Mission set.
Initially I had my profile picture as a bit of carpet (AS IN FLOOR CARPET), but nobody talked to me. I then changed it to an actual photo of myself, but I got scared of the one-in-a-billion chance that I might meet someone in real life who’d recognise me as that freak off Grindr who spoke like Pokémon trainers. So I settled on this fabulously hideous, specially-taken snap of me wearing sunglasses indoors. Like an UNDERCOVER AGENT. Eggplant emoji and a tick for a profile name. ‘Chat’, ‘dates’ and ‘right now’ ticked as my Looking For options because you’ve gotta have all bases covered, y’know? And we’re off.
(Full disclosure: I’m in an exclusive relationship and this whole thing is more of a ‘haha wouldn’t it be funny if…’ experiment than an actual hunt for romance and/or penis.)
I started a new game on FireRed (the GBA re-release of the original Pokémon Red) and kept a note of every Trainer quote that could feasibly make sense in real life or – even better – sound a bit flirty. Turns out there are a fair few.
At first, I wasn’t sure if it was gonna work. Surprisingly enough, it’s hard to actually maintain a conversation using a random mish-mash of one-liners, and for a while I couldn’t keep many chats going.
(Whenever you see a Staryu, by the way, it’s covering up a face pic.)
In fairness, a lot of the time I really wasn’t helping myself with my choice of quote.
Especially not with this guy, who pulled me up on my decision to wear sunglasses in a clearly bathroom-set profile picture.
Some people wanted to skip straight to the lovin’, and I had plenty of possible responses.
(Though this guy probably just wanted clarification on the word ‘little’.)
Grindr has a reputation for being overflowing with cocks, and… well, it didn’t disappoint on that front.
(I’ve used Magikarp for modesty here.)
I KNEW this one would come in handy:
I was pleasantly surprised by how many guys were quite sweet and kept on talking when I was at my weirdest. Like, for example, when I tossed out some completely ridiculous quotes, some people weren’t the massive dicks that they could have been:
And I had a lot of fun with the lines I got from tunnels and caves as well.
Given this guy’s username, I was very disappointed that this didn’t get a reply.
But other than that, it goes without saying that the vast (vast, vast) array of shorts-based quotes came in handy.
(This was the only time I cheated: I chucked in an emoji in the absence of anything better to say.)
But mostly it was all about the sex. And to confirm, literally every single word I’m saying is lifted straight from Pokémon FireRed.
Understandably, some people just thought I was weird.
This was the longest chat I got into. It escalated pretty quickly but I can’t say it was all his doing…
(It’s since been pointed out to me that this could well have been a bot… in which case THE FRAUDER HAS BECOME THE FRAUDEE!)
My favourite was this one, literally the very last chat I did before throwing in the towel, in which I got myself invited to and excused from a threesome. Well, nearly. I probably shouldn’t have given such mixed signals.
And that, ladies and gents, is what they call investigative journalism.
My intention wasn’t to prove anything in particular about Grindr or to shame anyone who uses it. I never used it for sexytime or to actually meet anyone but, before I got into my current relationship, I was chatting away on it like anyone else and was so attention-hungry I probably would have tried to keep a literal Pokémon talking to me, let alone someone sad enough to talk in Trainer quotes.
Anyway. Gotta catch ’em all, etc.