What we all can learn from 20+-year-old guys on tinder

ID-100327154Contrary to common assumptions I am not very self-confident. And I know lots of people who are not, either. I think that’s one of your biggest obstacles in life – to overcome your self-doubts and just be relaxed and happy. Once you’ve reached that state of mind, everything else will follow. And if it doesn’t, well, at least you couldn’t care less.

A friend of mine claims that low self-confidence stems from a too huge ego. Though contradictory at first sight, it actually does make sense: If your ego weren’t so huge, and your actual self did not constantly feel the need to try to catch up with that huge ego, there wouldn’t be any problem. You got two ways to solve that now: You either find yourself extremely awesome, just like that ego of yours does, and consequently repel people for being cocky and arrogant while being in constant danger to actually wake up from that dream-world, or you simply stop taking yourself so damn serious.

Make an advocated guess: I recommend the second option. I am continuously working on it, and even though it’s still a long way to go, I can already praise the effects. And since I am an active tinderer, observing more and more social peculiarities happening on this infamous app, I even came up with a theory: We should all be more like 22-year-old guys (who are on tinder)*. Now I’m not saying that all 20+-year-old guys on tinder ID-10030407don’t take themselves too serious – there are certainly lots among them who are extremely cocky – but in a general sense, they seem to not have any self-confidence problems. And the outcome is what counts most!

You cannot blame me for not having done my research properly. I even used my male friend’s tinder-account and talked to girls. So, I’ve seen both sides, and I’ve had several epiphanies. One: Girls* tend to ‘suck up’. They are focusing so much on being liked by the guy that they seem to lose themselves completely in the process. The oddest thing about that is that they might not even be interested in the guy. It’s a matter of principle. This is not news, and I had to observe it on myself several times throughout my (by now rather long) dating-career, but I hope it’s getting less. And I think keeping 20+-year-old-guys-on-tinder-behavior in mind can only help. Fact is, the meaner you are to girls on the chat, the more they suck up to you. If this sounds familiar to you now: yes, sorry, that was me writing in my friend’s name. But you liked it, didn’t you?

Two: Girls* are way too easy to impress. If a guy makes a compliment, girls* tend to feel obliged to be flattered. I mean, why? Do we really need the external approval of someone we haven’t even met? What does he know? If we look good on that one picture we put there, we certainly already know that – that’s why we put it there. Don’t feel flattered. Tell him to come up with something more original than that, because clearly, it’s not very clever. If the guy doesn’t make any compliments, however, girls* start to advertise themselves and brag about their skills and beauty in an utmost pathetic way. I have never had a guy doing that, at least not seriously. As a matter of fact, one told me how he stopped going to the gym and lost all his muscles in the past 2 years, and became all chubby from the vast amounts of alcohol he consumes now. Would you dare doing that if you need to catch up with your huge ego? There you go.

ID-100269031Three: Girls* don’t really know what they want. They claim they just wanna have fun, but it would also be nice to find someone to talk to, and yes, could he please be exclusive? But nothing complicated! Those young guys* instead, they know why they are there, and there’s nothing that can change their mind. They have decided to be single for at least the next three years, and they won’t let anything come between them and their decision. How much easier is life when you have a clear vision! What, you really don’t want anything serious? Great! Then you can just be yourself and nothing else; be nasty, be funny, do and say whatever comes to your mind, ‘cause you have the biggest gift there is: nothing to lose.

Four: Girls* think they are a princess. For guys*, it either seems self-evident that they are amazing (and thus there’s no need to stress it), or they simply don’t care. In fact, who told you you are special? Your parents? Ever thought of the fact that they had to? Now here’s the deal: If everyone was special, no one would be. The likelihood of you being special is very low, given the amount of other people out there. Pictures girls* tend to put on tinder reflect their need for confirmation of especialness – while guys* show their hobbies and themselves in action (or a fish they caught, but more to that later), girls have a reeeeaaally big close-up of their face, and then another one, with reeeeaaaally big Sailor-Moon-eyes, and then a third one, from a different angle.

ID-100179956 (1)Admittedly, I don’t really know the insides of those 20+-year-old-guys-on-tinder’s minds. All I can do is observe the outcome and interpret. And what they all seem to have in common is that they are true to themselves, and also relatively honest to others. Further, they expect – nothing. If you expect nothing, and you have nothing to lose, you probably live the happiest life there is. Now go and tell that to your ego. Because that one still thinks you deserve some fairy-tale marriage and a prince on a white horse because you are such a pretty special little princess**.

*These are all generalizations based on the sample I observed. There are probably exceptions (to prove my rule, of course), no doubt.
**This goes out to both genders, not only girls, just to be clear. You can be an insecure little crybaby regardless of the gender (and sexual orientation).
Image courtesy of iosphere, Idea go, Master isolated images and AKARAKINGDOMS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Hairsplitting

ID-100285872After recent observations in my new temporary, very equated and feminist home Sweden, I could not help but start (and never stop) detailed discussions about a widely avoided and yet very popular topic: hair. I reckon no other topic is so controversial: well-presented and omnipresent throughout media and society, but yet so frowned upon when broken down to its hairy components.

Consider this: As long as hair is growing on the top of our heads, it’s all pretty much ok to discuss it freely ad nauseam. About a gazillion different hair products are out there, waiting to be purchased, whole businesses and lifestyles revolve around these peculiar dead, emotionless cells emerging through our skulls. Yet, be aware! The more south we follow the growth of the fur covering 99% of our bodies, the more censored the topic becomes*. Take the beard, for instance: For a very long time, faces have been beardless and smooth, ever since the good old 80s passed with their seriously questionable moustache-fashion-trends. Apart from Movember, facial hair has not really been in style since then. Full-grown beards, moustaches or even goatbeards were recognizable accessories acting as warning signs to stay away from the bearer.ID-100318414

Until recently. Nowadays, a thing formerly known as pedophile beards is proudly worn by hipsters, and made socially acceptable again. And, I have to admit, this is also probably one of the best examples for how society and habits shape our perception: While in the beginning, I understandably still found those hairy mats in guys’ faces as icky as ever, by now my attitude has changed to secret admiration (which sometimes goes as far as me wanting to grow such a beard myself).

Why I found them icky, you ask? Well, my hygiene-driven assumption that they smell like everything that has been eaten throughout the whole day, and probably capture also physical evidence of this, cannot be reversed just by making a trend out of it. Yet, by constant exposure to these face-mats, my mind began to change. Slowly, but steadily, up to the point that I caught myself regarding those unhygienic bacteria-ships (fun facts: beards contain on average approximately the bacteria of a public toilet seat) as sexy. I find myself checking out hipster-guys with hipster-beards as if they were my only and last chance for procreation.

So, if it is a matter of habit what we find attractive or even acceptable, can this perhaps be expanded to other body parts? I do agree that the never ending chest-hair-debate will probably remain a matter of preferences – which is good, it decreases my competition! –, but let’s take armpits, for instance. Since ages, it is taught to us that ladies should keep their armpits hairless. Is this just a matter of habit, too? Could it be considered completely normal if everyone was always running around with hairy, sweaty armpits? Here in Sweden, this seems to be the next arising trend – and as I strongly believe also the hipster-beard stems from here, it probably is just a matter of time until the armpit hair grows on surrounding countries. But why? And: Do I need to find that great? Is it a feminist thing to not shave your armpits? Can I be a feminist and rather support hairless armpits no matter the gender, instead of “hair for everyone”?

dusi_zopf

Also head-hair gets an icky touch, once detached from your skull

Let’s face it: Hair that is not attached to your body is kind of icky. That applies for head-hair as well as any other kind of hair lying around, plugging the drain, or suddenly sticking to your fingers when washing the dishes… maybe this is due to the fact that once detached, it is hard to figure out the previous owner of it. And then it becomes quite strange – touching the dead cells of someone else… I know, right? So the less hair you allow growing on your body, the less likely it will end up in someone’s soup, sink, or on a public toilet seat. That’s probably the main reason why I personally prefer less hairy people (well, except for the chest hair, but I think that is old news).

There remains one secret, still, though: The leg hair. Not only are women supposed to keep their armpits smooth and tidy, also their legs should always be prepared to participate in a competition that requires maximum aero-dynamics. Still it is not clear, however, if the legs are supposed to be hair-free up to the knee, or entirely – this has unfortunately not been communicated well enough yet.

I am excitedly awaiting the developing trend concerning the legs. The day we find hairy women-legs just as desirable as pubic-hair-like facial decoration. And, after all, at least there won’t be any food left-overs wrapped around our legs!

* before our dedicated hobby-scientists start complaining to me again through various different channels (ain’t got no time for that, eh!), let me clarify: Yes, I know there’s major differences between head-hair, secondary-sexual-characteristical hair, and the overall cover of vellus hair. However, for the sake of this blog post’s comedic effect, I decided to just not care so much about distinctions. And because sometimes, I can’t be bothered.

 

 

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius and stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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The Independence Inconclusion

ID-100256260How do I put this in order to not be misunderstood and flooded with either pity-messages or insults – let me try the blunt way: I love being alone. The older I got, the more I appreciate my B-time. Or, me-time. When, only months ago, feeling restless and on the edge of missing out on the coolest stuff ever, whenever I was left stranded at home instead of joining some (maybe not even existent?) happening, I couldn’t care less nowadays. On the one hand it is trust in my friends – if something cool was happening, they surely would have notified me already –, on the other hand it’s self-appreciation. Without alone time one cannot fully appreciate time with others, either.

Sometimes I enjoy being alone throughout every daily situation so much that I wonder whether it will ever be possible to re-adjust, should this long due prince on his (apparently super slow) white horse come by finally. I guess it will be, as usual, just a matter of habit. At least that’s what I try to tell myself. Of course I am not immune to feeling lonely now and then. But out of experience and based on my extraordinarily sharp observation skills I claim that being in a relationship is not the all-time remedy against that, either.

ID-100174472
So let’s recap: Being alone can be fun. You get used to your own habits and ways of dealing with things. And living alone, even more so! If I should ever move in with someone again – the odds are very low – we need at least an East and a West wing to spend some apart-time as well. Or maybe a neighbouring house, instead…? It can be quite awesome to have no one to ask for when you want to travel somewhere, or move somewhere, or do something, or watch something – yes, I know it’s all about compromises. But it’s also nice to just do whatever the heck you want for a while.

This is what I thought until today. Being in my own little B-bubble, all happy and safe and cheerful, I tried to put on my new dress. I jumped and bent and stretched and twisted – and it remained impossible to close the stupid zipper on the back. Why on earth would they produce clothes that you are unable to put on all by yourself? I thought the times when I needed assistance to get dressed are long gone since I learned to tie my shoelaces  five years ago!

ID-10023587While biking to work with a half-open dress, hoping for any of my female colleagues to be there already, I wondered if there is anything men could not do by themselves without assistance. Except for the obvious like vacuum-cleaning also the corners of a room, or ironing a shirt without burning it, I mean. Just kidding, I know you only pretend to not be able to do that so that someone else takes over!

Here I am, all independent and happy about being alone, shattered in my beliefs by such a simple thing. I drill holes in walls and fix bike and change car tires, I clean and slowly learn how to cook – and then I suffer a setback by my own, very feminine clothes. But, where there is a problem there is a solution. More yoga lessons it is for me – and then I can finally take this dress off again.

Image courtesy of iosphere, Vlado, and scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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The One And Only Leading Part

ID-100383064Imagine a classic cheesy movie-scene: Bob, the protagonist, once again gets turned down by someone (this time it was cute but annoying Linda), ends up sitting alone in a bar, reminiscing about “all those places he lost to being there with the wrong person”. You feel with Bob, knowing soon the one and only right girl will come around the corner, releasing Bob the protagonist from his suffering and promising a happy and joyful life together.

Have you ever thought about the other side to it all? What’s with Linda, the poor girl that has just been labelled “the wrong one” – is something really wrong with her? Well, in this cheesy movie there obviously is, given that the audience needs dull hints on why she is totally wrong for Bob – but does that really mean Linda is not entitled to have a happy life herself?

ID-100363460Probably not. It’s all about the angle. In a (hypothetical) movie with Linda as the chief character, Bob the (former) protagonist is the wrong one. Now let’s try to connect to real life: Why on earth would anyone ever come up with the slightest doubt about themselves being not right, not good enough, having “something wrong” with them?

Because we tend to forget: we are the protagonists in our very own movies. If you put on your headphones with music so loud that the rest of the world is fading out, you get a feeling of how it should be. This movie is about you. You are the main character, and people in your life are either handpicked by you to join your main cast, or they simply make a special occurrence and then disappear again. That doesn’t change who you are. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. From your perspective, something’s wrong with them, they didn’t fit in your movie. They will find a role in a different movie, and not having them in yours permanently just makes your movie better.

Don't let anyone remote-control you!

Don’t let anyone remote-control you in your own movie!

Rejection might be one of the hardest things to deal with, but it really just depends on the perspective. There are hundreds of smart-ass texts written about how you shouldn’t feel bad about being rejected, especially if the person doesn’t really know you, because they can’t even reject you, they simply reject an image they have of you. The downside of these texts is that if you take them literally, you could just go and blame yourself for all the times someone actually rejected you for who you are – after a failed relationship, for instance.

So let’s not take those smart-ass texts for granted. Different approach, but equally flawed: you could always deliberately force your thoughts away from negative things and towards positive – for instance, by telling yourself it just didn’t work out because it wasn’t meant to be, or it is better that it ended because you were not happy anymore, and so on. But there are (at least) two catches to this approach:

  • After a break-up, you are not exactly rational and emotionally balanced to think like that
  • Maybe in your eyes it was a perfect match and the break-up came as a total surprise to you

No, we need something easier, more catchy. Luckily, a witty friend of mine recently broke the whole dilemma down to very comprehensible essentials: If you are a triangle, and you don’t fit through the round hole, whose fault is it? The hole’s, or the triangle’s?

ID-10096933Right. There is no real fault. It’s just a wrong match. So whenever someone rejects you, think of them as the round hole. Even if you could manage to fit through the hole, you don’t really wanna be living a life as a triangle in a world made for round stuff, do you? Sometimes, the round world seems like a triangular one from afar, and sometimes you only realize in retrospective that it was in fact round.

So, even if it sometimes feels like your (triangular) world is about to end because you lost someone special who turned out to be too round for you, remember: Your movie is still running. There will be new casts. And, hopefully, you are not in a superficial romantic comedy, but in a way more complex movie – so your plot doesn’t even need to revolve constantly around finding the lit to your pot.

In your own movie, you are always on the good side, because you are the main character. The most awesome person in that movie is you. The one everyone else admires, and wants to be friends with, it’s always you. Don’t let anyone steal your leading part – you only got that one movie.

Image courtesy of bluebay, Sira Anamwong, sumetho, and iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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You May Still Hinder Tinder

ID-100371905Whoever said “never say never” was probably very right. I publicly promised to myself on this very blog to never register on Tinder, never ever in my life – and it took me just approximately two weeks of loneliness in a new place to throw all my principles over board.

Yes, you read correctly – I did use Tinder. For an entire span of 4 full days I was registered and actively using the app. It was earlier this autumn, and after a short while of being slightly traumatized, I finally find the courage to admit and write about it. The good news is: Now no one can accuse me of judging the unknown anymore. The even better news is: I was right all along. It does suck very much.

On way more levels than I initially assumed, though. My preliminary conclusion of the app, namely that it creates false expectations and thus an expectation-gap with a subsequent disappointment-dilemma – I still totally stand up for that. I have to withdraw the gender-assumption, though, as my second Tinder match started the conversation with planning our common holidays and questioning me about my preferred amount of children. However, I can add many more insights now!

ID-100221417First of all, it makes you very picky. Not picky in a healthy, self-protective way, but more in the spoiled-little-brat way. Imagine you are in a supermarket and there are millions of different shampoos, and they probably all fulfill the purpose of cleaning your hair, and probably all equally suck at all the other promises they give (stronger, shinier, fuller, less grey hair; walks your dog and gives you a fulfilled sex-life) – but you still can’t decide. So you walk out of the store, without having bought any shampoo, after all.

This is exactly what taking a decision on Tinder is like: That one has a weird smile, swipe left. That one chose a lame picture, swipe left. Why is he wearing a blue shirt? Swipe left. Swipe left, swipe left, swipe – wait, that one was cute. But too late. Oh well, there will be more.

But this is just the beginning. If you do swipe right, you – oddly enough – match with approximately 90% of those confirmed ones. Or more. But then they don’t talk to you. Transferred to real life, that would be like walking up to someone at a bar and then just staring at them without a sound. Which might or might not be better than what actually happens if they do talk to you:

“Hi.”
“Hi.”
“How are you?”
“I’m fine, thanks. And you? :)”
“I’m good.”

Maybe, in rare cases, some chitchat about where you are from and what you are doing in this city will follow (let’s regard the ones desperately in need of common courtesy as outlier, shall we?). I already hate such conversations in real life (seriously, who cares or remembers?), but typing them into a phone keyboard is just so much more tedious. And, honestly, what else could you expect? If you just walked up to a random stranger on the street, how would you start a conversation? Exactly. With one guy I made up an imaginary horror scenario of us roaming some underground zombie world, feasting on human flesh. I had fun times, but besides wondering what that might possibly say on a psychological level about my choice in guys, nothing else happened after this one conversation.

ID-10010630Which brings me to the next flaw of the system: It is not so much about the fact that those empty small talks are annoying as that they are time consuming. In most of the cases they don’t lead to anything. Chances are high that you will either never meet, or meet and not have anything in common. And, in the worst case, not even find each other attractive.

To sum it up in a nutshell, this app is supposed to support dating. But here come the major flaws:

  • It won’t increase the chances of you meeting someone you like, or meeting someone you can hook up with, relative to real life – you will just meet more people in total (but if you ever wondered how many people are actually out there you could dislike, go ahead!)
  • It makes you picky in a jerky way, and it is so much easier to ‘unmatch’ people that annoy you than to politely ‘ghost’ them in real life
  • It consumes loads of your limited time that you could rather spend chatting with people you actually already like
  • It distorts reality, expectations and your self-image – and jokes are a lost cause

So, given the fact that it won’t increase your chances of meeting someone interesting, you can as well continue living your life, knowing you probably will be accidentally running into someone interesting sooner or later anyways. And this is the best about it: if you run into them in real life, you will know it immediately without having to waste time on stupid blabber. Isn’t it a good thing that we seem to be more complex in choosing our (mating) partner than just relying on visuals?

In the meantime, I convinced my friend to register on Tinder and thus benefit only from the entertaining part, without the time-consuming chatting part. So I totally support this app in an indirect way. Now, who still wants to call me a hater!

Image courtesy of blackzheep, debspoons and Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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The Importance Of Not Giving A F**k

‘Let’s play a game,’ they said, and threw you into it. You didn’t have time to react, and you didn’t take a decision. But now you’re here, and you gotta play by the rules.

You don’t like the rules. What if you don’t want to play by them? Do you choose not to play at all, or do you start mourning over it, waiting for the rules to change?

Can you make up your own rules?
Maybe someone likes them, and comes to play with you?

But what if no one comes?

You don’t like the rules. You don’t want to be pretty to be liked, and decent to be taken serious. But they say if you don’t change, no one is going to play with you. No one is going to like you.

You don’t like the rules, and you don’t like that there are so many of them.
‘Wear this, not that – or else…’ they say.
‘Do this, not that – or else…’ they threaten.
Or else what? What if you rather don’t play at all, before you play by their silly rules?

No one is going to like a boy who cries. That’s not manly. No one is going to like a girl that makes dirty jokes. That’s not girly. Obey the rules, or else…

He touches you unasked, and you have to find it flattering. It’s a compliment, don’t you merely exist to please someone else’s desires? Why are you dressed like that, wear something more revealing! He is never going to fall for you if you don’t prove him, here and now, that you have all the necessary anatomy! See, now he goes and talks to her, because she shows more cleavage – and you, you were just cracking a joke. That was against the rules!

She wants you to put more effort, and you don’t even know if you will ever get along. Buy her flowers, be a gentleman, objectify her for the pretty thing she is, value her existence. Even if you both know, deep down inside, that you want the same. That you want to have fun, nothing complicated, it could be so easy. But this is not a game on par, and it never will be. You have to show her you are stronger, smarter, better – the rules say it, go and read them again.

Everything you do, everything you say, will be judged and evaluated. If you slip, you’ll have to pay for it. You will be punished with social exclusion, indifference, bullying.

But they warned you. You could have played by their rules.

It’s not easy, because they don’t want it to be.
It’s not fun, because rules never are.

You don’t like the rules. Why don’t you change them?

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Still a Better Love Story than Twilight

The moment that you disappeared will always be a part of me. It marked my memory like a cigarette accidentally marks a piece of cloth, quickly, ruthless, hard to ignore and even harder to forget.

With you, my life was a little bit more colorful, a little bit more vivid than it is now.

With you, I was a little bit more, and the others were a little bit less.

You gave me memories and filled my days with stories. You gave me time for myself, and music to underline it. I always felt like being in my own world, our own world, parallel to theirs and yet closed in itself.

Yet here I am, moving on and existing without you, somehow harder, but still doable. Every end is a new beginning, they say. When a door closes, another one opens, they say.

And if they knew how much I miss you they would tell me it is silly. First world problems, they’d say. Get a life.

But they don’t know how much I miss you. They don’t know how hard it is when a part of your life, something you were so used to, is gone, suddenly and unexpectedly. Without even the slightest warning.

I could always rely on you. You guided me. You always knew the way, and you always knew which one to take. You were my connection to reality, and my connection to myself. The past and the future, distorting the present, making it bearable.

Who will guide me now when I am lost? Who will assist me when I need help?

Nothing and no one is irreplaceable. But the moment something is taken from you might still be the hardest moment you’ll ever experience.

Every time again.

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