|Reed Richards/Mr Fantastic: Happening on Gabriel in the kitchen, Reed gets an introduction to the world of online hookups.
Gabriel raised an eyebrow, staring at Reed and waiting to see if the innocence was a put on. The phone made another characteristic chirp, one inextricably associated with the app that prompted it. "Oh, buddy," he said mid-chew, reaching for the phone. "That's not people. That's Grindr."
It was very possible that Reed was already regretting opening his mouth. "Grinder....." He thought about it for a moment before shaking his head. "I haven't the slightest idea what that is."
"Of course not." The response was matter-of-fact, even though Gabriel's face suggested he was more surprised than he sounded. "We live in a heteronormative world, Surely you know Tinder?"
"I don't think you're speaking English," was the reply. Nothing coming out of Gabriel's mouth was making any sense to Reed. Resuming his attention to his spaghetti, he chewed thoughtfully for a moment before adding: "And what does a heteronormative world have to do with anything?"
"This is not the time for a discussion about privilege," Gabriel waved him off. He stared at Reed with a bemused expression, silent as he tried to weigh the situation. "Are you seriously telling me," he finally ventured, his incredulity all too clear, "that you're, like, in your 20s and you don't know what dating apps are?"
Oh. "Apps. Short for applications. Useful (debatable) tools that have permeated daily living in such a way as to almost be subversive." Another thoughtful look as Reed tried to think of anything else to add. There really wasn't. Instead, he shrugged. "I'm not much of a dater. Or a social media savant for that matter"
"Or a human male in the 21st century, apparently," Gabriel added, a little more amused now. "You have a phone, at least?"
Reed reached into his pocket and pulled out his own cell phone, courtesy of Storm Tech. If it wasn't because it was required, he probably wouldn't have one. It was easier for him to respond to emails, which could sit in an inbox for days without being looked at. Text messages were too imposing. All this immediacy gave him a headache. "It's annoying being tethered to it, but yes, I have one. How often I use it is another story." In fact, the light was blinking, which caused him to frown. "I don't understand why we have to be connected 24/7 these days. Nothing is so important as to require an immediate answer."
"Maybe not in your life," Gabriel countered, "but there are plenty of people—" a few chirps in succession caused him to reach for his phone— "who rely on things like this too..." he trailed off as he swiped a few times, his brows finally raising and an amused smile appearing on his face. He tapped out a few words, loud clicking noises signaling each letter, then hit the send button. "Point being," he finally said, ignoring Reed's expression as he looked back up, "you are obviously very single." The phone made another birrup, and Gabriel resisted casting a glance at it
Gabriel's casual demeanor and the way he made what sounded like an obvious statement caused Reed to blush slightly. "Well. Yes," he managed to stammer out, looking down at his plate of food. "But what does that have to do with my phone?"
"Well." Gabriel looked down at his. He swiped the notification away. "This," he held it up, "is how people meet now. And these..." He waited to see if his phone would make a ping, then shrugged. "These are people."
Reed gave him a look. "Obviously those are people," he picked up his fork again. "What I was simply getting at is you know quite a bit, considering the rate at which you are receiving notifications. I simply asked if it was overwhelming and -- oh. Wait, so you don't know any of those people?"
"I mean," Gabriel shrugged again, a sly smile on his face, "kind of depends on how you'd define 'know,' but, you know..." He looked down at this phone, then back up at Reed. "Nah."
Still confused, Reed tilted his head. "There's not many ways to interpret that. I mean, you can have general knowledge of something, a spiritual one, societal, carnal....which definition is the one you're alluding to?"
"You think too much." It was an observation, not an admonishment. "Here." Gabriel unlocked his phone and tapped into his Grindr messages. He passed the phone to Reed. "Analyze these."Reed wasn't sure what he was expecting, but it definitely wasn't what he saw. "You have a plethora of penis pictures.....with various grooming styles," he stated after perusing a few of the messages. "Does that work? Remove the mystery therefore you are more confident, knowing that there are no unknowns? Does society expect this kind of behaviour." He thought for a moment. "Although, biologically speaking, it's not much different than a peacock strutting his feathers. 'Look at me, for I am beautiful.'" He shook his head. "And these messages....does no one know how to write properly? The days of character limits are long gone. Words can be appropriately spelled. There's no need for shortcuts."