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.

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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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Relationship Status: Happy.

ID-100314214That some feature the tendency to pass on more or less redundant information constantly is no big secret, and probably one of the main reasons why you are reading this blog now. Also, if you were bothered by this fact, you would probably not read it – thus, I refrain from a fundamental discussion on the necessity of sharing irrelevant information with the public. It’s pretty straightforward.

However, society values hearing about certain occurrences more than about others, occasionally. Aside from the general imbalance in appreciation of pictures against written words, there are particular life-events that we generally consider as happier than others. Sure, a “We are pregnant!!!!” might be slightly more life-changing than a “I got an electronic toothbrush!!!” (though this would be practical right away and not only in 9 months to 4 years), and thus trigger more likes. But I am not talking about different levels of importance here – I am talking about direction of acknowledgement.

ID-10039221Have you ever wondered why, when people change their relationship status on facebook, for instance, everyone not only clicks on like automatically, but even congratulates them? And with everyone I mean even those who have no clue about the person’s life nowadays, have probably seen the person, with whom they are merely acquainted with, the last time 7 months ago on that one event where everyone got drunk, and never even met the person’s new partner. Because, honestly, if my two good friends team up and I always thought they would make an awesome couple, and it just took them a while to figure it out – well, then I probably know of this long before facebook does, and I have already told them what a good idea this is – in person. I would probably not go on and congratulate additionally on a life-event status. Out of the mentioned reasons, and because I find it kind of dull.

And then what is the underlying thinking of appreciating this, anyways? That being in a relationship is some kind of an achievement – there, she finally got someone to stick with her. There, he finally gets laid. Or do people automatically assume that changing from single to being-in-a-relationship increases the happiness level by infinity? Everyone who has ever been in a serious relationship most certainly knows that this is not the case, that there are pros and cons for each side. That usually we think the grass is greener on the other side, no matter on which side we are standing: singles are having the time of their lives. Adventures, glorious sex, interesting people non-stop, only fun. Whell, why do they stare full of envy at those happy couples, who never have to go to bed lonely, who have someone to cook with, discuss important thoughts with and love them crazily with flowers and rainbows every day. To be honest, it both sounds a tiny bit utopian, doesn’t it?

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Congrats to your three-year-a-single anniversary!

So considering we do know the pros and cons, and we have taken an elaborated decision for ourselves to be happy no matter in which life situation we are – why do we keep on congratulating those who change their relationship status into committed? Do we also turn around and congratulate all our single friends for being independent and happy? Well, we should!

And I am not talking about congratulating about a break-up here. That would be just mean. On the other hand, if people think starting a relationship is only butterflies and unicorns, they look at the exact same range of marginal change when switching from one life-situation into the other, just at the other end. So why do we celebrate extreme situations, claiming this is the whole cake?

Maybe we should finally stop romanticizing relationships to such an extreme. Maybe people would have a healthier approach to them then, some day. We should rather go and congratulate people who are already in a relationship, since, let’s be realistic, several decades or so. Because that would be a real achievement.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, iosphere and digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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A broom, a broom, my kingdom for a broom!

ID-100297300People who know me longer than 5 minutes can confirm: I am not a very tidy person. Have you ever met someone with a special talent of entering a place, opening their purse for a second on the search for, let’s say, tissues, and suddenly it looks like a hurricane has just passed? That’s me. You can see it on my desk, in my office, in my room – but of course, it’s all organized chaos. However, that’s not the point yet.

I claim there is a fine, dusty line between being untidy and being a little bit disgusting. If you don’t agree, you probably have never visited a single guy’s apartment with open eyes (no judging here). Actually, the guy in question doesn’t even need to be single, the only condition that allows for a proper state of yuckyness is probably that he lives without female supervision. And no way you know better, few exceptions just prove the rule!

The few or sometimes several years which, after having left the well-cleaned parental shelter, a guy spends all by himself (or, even worse: with his guy friends) in a den that was formerly known as an apartment seem to close eyes and noses for dirt. There’s chaos – and then there is dirt. If you still disagree, let’s have a virtual tour around a maybe fictional but definitely representative apartment of an average guy.

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Rare image: A guy sitting down on a toilet like a civilized human being.

The first stop is the bathroom. I have literally never seen a bathroom with a clean toilet in a guys’ apartment. It is as if they think the brown and yellow layers on the bottom of the toilet bowl came straight from the factory. A public toilet usually is as clean as a whistle compared to this stuff! I mean, in a way, I understand – I also wouldn’t wanna touch anything I regularly pee all over and around, especially not to clean it thoroughly. But hey, maybe there’s a solution to it all?

Generously skimming over leftover beard-stubbles from the last shave this morning, or maybe yesterday, or probably two weeks ago, we can leave the sink and “mirror” (I think it should actually only deserve the word mirror if it is still able to reflect anything) in the bathroom and move on to the kitchen. Do you know these horror-stories on the internet about how contaminated your kitchen probably is with bacteria, even if it looks perfectly clean? The sponge, the rug, the sink – you may not wanna leave anything you’re still planning to eat lying around there.

ID-10088706Well, the kitchen in our textbook-single-guy’s apartment has no hidden bacteria. They don’t even bother hiding since a long time. They sit there on their chubby bacteria asses in the sink, laughing sneeringly in your face. If you accidentally drop something edible, it will probably dissolve in a heartbeat. Not completely, though – the faint smell of something rotting in the pipes, tried to be covered by a desperate attempt of constantly leaving the kitchen windows open, no matter if summer or winter, makes you feel slightly nauseous. However, the thought of throwing up disappears from your mind as soon as it popped up – do you really wanna hang over this afore mentioned toilet bowl, like, with your face?

Preparing something in the oven is a no-go – the thing that exploded in there earlier this century defends its territory successfully. You don’t wanna provoke it with a pie, or a meatloaf. You could, if you really want to use these facilities for preparing something crazy like food, eventually use the stove. That is, if you find a pot that is still cleanable. No, please don’t do it with the brush that is currently having a party with the food-leftovers and their bacteria-buddies in the sink (btw, buying a new brush does not lead to much. It will magically always end up in this party-place). And anyways, what would you even want to prepare? Something from the fridge? No, don’t open tha-

Now there you go. Even the open windows can no longer help us now. I wonder what happens if our maybe fictional guy wants to move out of this apartment ever. Probably it needs to be burnt down and rebuilt.

Eventual similarities with places of friends of mine, my male flatmate(s), my ex-boyfriend or anyone who feels alluded to are totally intended. If you are interested in a real show, send an inquiry for names and addresses. If you wonder whether I made anything of this up: No.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, Victor Habbick and Tuomas_Lehtinen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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