LIFE

61-Year-Old Man Uses Gay Dating App To Invite People To His BBQ And Winds Up Trending On Twitter

by Kim Wong-Shing

Several weeks ago, 61-year-old Chris Bowman of Apex, North Carolina, began inviting people to his fifth annual Fourth of July barbecue. He told BuzzFeed News that he puts on the event every year to “get all sorts of people across the board together to learn about each other.”

As a recovering alcoholic, Chris also sees the event as a way of “giving back,” he added.

But Chris didn’t send out any old invitations to his barbecue this year. Instead, he took to Grindr — a dating and hookup app for gay men — and started encouraging other users to attend his event, which he made sure to describe as a “BBQ not n ORGY” for clarity’s sake.

Chris’ endearing post caught other Grindr users’ attention, some of whom took screenshots of it and shared it on social media. Before long, Chris’ shindig was going viral.

“5th annual 4th of July BBQ June 30th from 1 until?” Chris wrote on his profile. “Why do 90% of u think this is an orgy? It’s not it’s open to all. Is it because I’m on the app? I try to invite all types of people, men, women, gay, bi, str8, trans, doesn’t matter to me.”

Chris sent personal invitations to several other Grindr users who lived near him, hoping to attract as many people as possible to the inclusive (and free) event.

Screenshots of Chris’ post found their way to Tumblr and later Twitter, where they went majorly viral.

One tweet about Chris’ event was liked more than 162,000 times.

People on Twitter thought Chris’ invite was one of the purest things they’d ever seen.

Chris swiftly captured the internet’s heart.

People really, really wanted his party to be a success.

In fact, some Twitter users considered going to his barbecue themselves.

And a few of them actually followed through!

Matthew Setzer, 23, told BuzzFeed News that he’d gotten one of Chris’ personal invitations to the barbecue weeks earlier. When he saw the event going viral, he decided to go check it out with a friend.

And guess what? He had a GREAT time.

“The second we pulled into the driveway, we knew everything was going to be fine,” Matthew said. “Everyone just had a positive demeanor.”

“There was so much food there,” Matthew said. “He [Chris] had cooked an entire pig, an entire chicken. He had so much food. There were so many sides, there were vegan options, there was literally everything. It was insane.”

All of Chris’ guests were tolerant and loving, Matthew added — even Chris’ dog.

“Everyone was super sweet, really engaging, and it was actually a really diverse group of people,” Matthew continued. “Like as the barbecue went on, there were multiple languages being spoken, and we had a great conversation with this one couple about the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the MET exhibits.”

Matthew said Chris was “an absolute sweetheart and a really genuine guy.” He’s glad he went to the barbecue, and he plans to go again next year, too.

Chris told BuzzFeed, “Everyone had a blast, and that was the goal.”

OK, so who’s going with us next year?