Dating in the Tinder-verse

Recently a story went viral about a poor woman getting stuck in a window while on a Tinder date. This girl had gone home with her date and had discovered after pooing in his toilet that the thing would not flush. In an act of pure desperation she grabbed the offending feces and through it out the window. This part of the story would be funny enough as is but it gets better/worse. The window did not lead to the outside as per the norm but in fact was closed in by a separate window. At this point admitting defeat she bravely fessed up to her date what she had done. Rather than being horrified he suggested that they try to get the poo out…together. After several attempts to reach it the girl suggested that she climb down between the window panes as she was an ex-gymnast and could probably reach it –  she couldn’t. She became stuck and it was at this point her date had to call the fire-brigade to come and rescue her by shattering the glass of the outside window. This amazing tale came to public attention after the pair had decided to crowd-fund for a new window.
As unbelievable and cringe-worthy as this story is, there is something admirable about the way both parties acted in such a ridiculous situation. If they do end up together (here’s hoping) they will have a fantastic cute-meet story to tell their children.

My experiences of Tinder have not been quite as exciting or as hopeful…so far.

In this day and age it seems that we are left with few ways of meeting people. If we are not lucky enough to have a wide circle of friends who themselves have lots of single friends than it can be really hard to meet anyone. You could try going to a bar but this generally does not end up anywhere except in one-night-stand territory.

So instead we turn to the land of dating sites and apps. Everyone seems to be on them and so you either join them or give up altogether probably.

The problem with apps like Tinder is that you have little information to go by. There are a couple of photos, perhaps a short blurb and if you are lucky potentially you can see their Spotify choices but that’s it.

When you do match with someone and begin chatting it usually goes one of two ways. The first is the boring but unavoidable small talk chat about how their day, week/end, life is going. While a perfectly reasonable way to begin a conversation, these often don’t lead anywhere as with so little to go on the conversation can often die before it has really begun with either or both parties losing interest. The second way is that one person will have either some witty open liner to get the conversation going or they will find some element of the other’s profile to ask about and the conversation will immediately be a little more interesting. Failing that they can just send a GIF which works equally well.

If you can get past this initiation period you will then need to work out whether you would prefer to just meet and see if this has any future or continue speaking to them and gathering more information.

When I started on Tinder I thought that the second option was best, collecting as much information as physically possible before deciding whether to meet up in person was the way to go. The problem I learned from doing it this way is that some people are great via message but less so in person. With so little to draw from you start to develop an idea of this person in your mind which often comes crashing down when you actually meet them and realise that who you thought they were actually doesn’t exist.
These days if I find that the initial conversation has gone well and there are no obvious red flags I will elect to meet up and avoid spending too much energy on the message banter.

It becomes clear very quickly once you meet someone whether this thing has legs or not. And it is usually sans legs.

I’ve been lucky so far in the fact that I haven’t really had any truly awful dates. Usually they will just be awkward, or conversation will be slow. You’ll realise that while you’d rather spend your weekends socialising with friends at restaurants or wine bars they would rather be dancing for 24 hours at some rail-house dance party.

Sometimes you will learn very quickly that this thing has no future at all when they tell you that they support Trump and will then launch into a diatribe about how we need to close the borders to anyone who is not white and rich, at which point you will suddenly have something very important that needs doing and get the hell out of there.

But usually it will just be that you both know that this is not a match.

The worst though is when you think it is going really well while for the other person perhaps it isn’t. You meet someone who you connect with straight away, the conversation flows and you seem to have so much in common. You organise a second date and again things just seem to flow and then.. you Never Hear From Them Again. You don’t know whether your interpretation of things is way off, or whether they have been abducted by aliens but suddenly they just disappear and you are left questioning every element of the date in the hopes somewhere in there will lie a clue to the radio silence. This last scenario needs a little down time afterwards as you recover from the rejection and mend your faith in basic truths and humanity. But at some point you have to get back on the horse and learn to swipe again.

It’s a tricky world out their in the Tinder-verse and when you are working with such superficial beginnings in such a throw-away world, it can be hard to navigate the delicate rules of this weird place and not become dis-heartened. Ultimately though I think the best way to manage it is to not take anything too seriously and remember it could always be worse, you could be the girl who got stuck in a window trying to retrieve her poo.

 

 

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My friend Dave

My friend Dave was a one of a kind type of guy. I know many say this about the dead, but for me this was sincerely true.

I met him when I first moved to Melbourne. I had begun waitressing in a large glamorous restaurant called the Waterfront. Dave was the head bartender there. The Waterfront was the type of place that at the time attracted celebrities and gangsters both of which had to be treated as VIPs. It was by where the Spirit of Tasmania docked and there were times where some of our guests would arrive literally by super yacht.
It was the kind of place that as a waitress you could receive large tips both in cash and some times even in cocaine.

Dave was outgoing, hilariously funny and always up for a chat. He had traveled the world and lived in many countries. He made friends wherever he went. At that time he was living in a backpackers in St Kilda aptly called ‘The Mansion’.
The Mansion as per it’s name was a mansion or probably had been once in it’s younger days. At that time it was a large crumbling house in grey. Dave and another Waterfront staffer and friend – Donnie, lived there socialising with the backpackers that passed through those run-down walls.

As anyone working in hospitality can probably attest, when you work separate hours from the rest of the world, your hospitality team become your family. And the Waterfront crew were no different. We were all young, mostly foreign and all aching for company and adventure. Much of our time outside of work was spent frequenting the bars in St Kilda where Dave seemed to know everyone and would often score us free or at least cheap alcohol.

I was young and far away from family and apart from working all I wanted to do was party. No matter how far down the rabbit hole I would travel though, I always felt safe as Dave was there, and I trusted him completely. Once, on a particularly hot new years eve night, we were traveling by tram from the city and I had begun fainting from the heat. Dave helped me off the tram and sat with me for several hours at the tram stop until I was able to maintain consciousness. We then headed back to the Mansion where I spent the the rest of the night sleeping it off in Dave’s kindly sacrificed bed. Another time at a dance party after taking several pills that as it turned out where laced with hallucinogenics I began seeing people’s faces twist and morph into grotesque masks. This was followed by literal vertical vomiting. I was in such a bad state that I could not trust myself to get home safely. Dave in his infinite kindness taxied with me all the way to my house north of the city before heading back to his home in the south. This was the type of guy he was, an amazing person to have on your team.

One of the things I remember most about Dave is what a great story teller he was. Every time we would catch up Dave would have a new yarn to spin. These were usually not very PG and generally involved some young backpacker he had “courted”. There was the story of Brown-eye Girl – a German backpacker who had invited Dave to her room where she had immediately dropped trow, bent over and demanded that Dave have sex with her. Dave promptly obliged and it was only part way through that he realised that both of her room mates were in residence and awkwardly trying to ignore what was happening in the middle of their room. He always had an innate ability to get himself into the weirdest/funniest situations.

Dave actually met his wife at the Mansion, she was a lovely french girl, who we all assumed would be another flash in the pan, but this one stuck and the two of them ended up getting married and having two beautiful children together.

I can’t remember how this came about, but one day we were all discussing how if we were each animals what would we be. Dave looked me square in the eye and told me that I would be a Lioness. For me it was a great compliment. For the first time in what may have been ever I felt like someone was seeing me for exactly who I wanted to be. They say it is much easier to remember the bad things people say about us over the good, but I have kept this comment safe in my heart as a precious gift. To this day it makes me feel better just thinking that there was once someone in the world that saw me in this way.

Years later when Dave messaged to say he had lung cancer it had been a long time since we had seen each other. He had been living in Switzerland with his wife and I had recently returned from living in London. I had moved back to Melbourne as my visa had expired. With no job I was in a dark depression having left the city I loved -London- my friends there, and a boy that I cared for deeply. I had so little to give and so when I received the group message that Dave had been diagnosed with cancer I couldn’t even respond to wish him well. I ignored the fact that this was potentially serious, I simply could not face the possibility that he could be in real trouble. So I said nothing.

Then the Facebook post came several months later telling us that he had died. I fought even harder to remain in denial. His wife sent out a request for us to share our stories of Dave so that she would have something to show their kids what kind of guy he was. But even this I could not do. Partially because our stories together were not fit for children, but also because this would be admitting to myself that he was actually gone. This I have learned is the blessing and the curse of having a friend pass that is in a different country. Their death remains ever so slightly unreal. And because of this you can ignore it but also you can never really have closure as their is no way to properly grieve. Funerals I have discovered, are for the living.

One night after returning home from drinks and dinner with a friend it hit me. Alone in my darkened room the tsunami of grief crashed down on me and I began to cry. Primal, childlike sobs of sadness came shuddering out of me like a geyser and I could no longer ignore the fact that Dave was truly gone.

I miss you Dave and I am so sorry I was not able to say good bye. You were one of the most unique and beautiful souls I have been blessed to know. My life is eternally enriched because I was lucky enough to call you friend.

 

The Handmaid’s warning

Just finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale and I’ve been feeling the cold prickle of dread at how close we are to this horrifying future being a reality. How quickly could the hard won rights we have only had a 100 years or so to enjoy, could be ripped away from us and we become the slave race Margaret Atwood has warned us of becoming.

From Trump removing funding from planned parenthood and Russia legalising domestic violence. The war on women feels like it has begun and I for one am worried.
The past year has felt like a bizarre nightmare or strange alternate universe, every time I read a news story the facts become scarier and weirder.

But how realistic is it that Atwood’s tale becomes a reality? I think what I found so scary about her book is just how quickly and adequately women could be completely crippled and forced into servitude. First closing our bank accounts so we have no access to our money, then making it illegal for us to work therefore making us (once again) completely reliant on the men in our lives. Finally we would be stripped of our rights to choose the direction of our lives, our humanity stolen we would then be reduced to a vessel designed for baby making and little more.

As awful as this scenario sounds in some places in the world this is not that far off reality and there are many on the right that would be more than pleased with us going back to these archaic ways in the west. So is this possible and is it where we are heading? Or is this just the last stand of the far-right, white, misogynist, patriarchal conservatives? Shall we batten down the hatches or simply ride this weird little blip in history out and prepare ourselves to laugh about it later? I guess only time will tell…

Poor millenials?

Today I leaned that millennials are one of the first generations in a long time who are destined to be less well off than their parents. How the hell is that possible when we are earning more than any previous generations ever have.
My parents met at university. The were both two of the first in their family’s to even get to Uni. University was free for them, when they left uni (debt free) they were able to travel the world and then buy a house. Still in their early twenties they were now educated, well-travelled and new home owners.
Now my parents generation are in charge, they are making all of the political decisions and royally screwing everyone else that has come along after them.
I once heard my grandparents generation  – or the WWII generation  – referred to as the last great generation – selfless, generous, kind, and noble. So if this is true what the hell happened to their children -the Baby Boomers? Were they too privileged? Were their lives too easy?
Millennials have more opportunities available to them than ever before, we are better educated, freer, and better paid. Yes we are also time poor, with limited attention spans due to the mass over stimulation of our phones, tablets, laptops and Netflix, but otherwise we should be riding high on all the blessings provided us…but we’re not.
Millennials have been referred to in the media as lazy, entitled, flakey, and spoilt. But are we really?  These claims are made despite of the fact that we are working longer hours for more money, also regardless of the fact that a single income household is now a pipe dream that most of us will never know,  and that we may not retire for  very long time once the massive population of the boomers sucks the superannuation pot dry. If we will never have houses of our own and are on track to be poorer and less secure than our parents how spoilt can we be?
I know every generation is thought of in a more negative light by the preceding one, so the negative attitude towards our group should not be that surprising, and perhaps very little stock should be placed within these opinions, but what does seem to be true is that the world in some ways seems to be going down the proverbial toilet and it is our age group that will be the ones who have to struggle to fix it.

Old eggs

I seem to have reached the Sex and the City age. No I don’t live in New York or have an uber successful career nor do I live in an amazing apartment but I am in my early thirties and I am single. I’ve never had marriage as a massive life plan but I did assume that it would happen organically one day without me having to worry about it. I have fought mentally against the “ticking-clock” farce that women are pressured to believe in and I hold on to the hope that if I am meant to have a child it will happen. But lately my resolve has begun to wain, lately the little tickle of worry has start to itch my neck and I am not sure what to do about it. It’s hard feeling young and sprightly but feeling also as if the world is judging you as being old and spinsterish.

I envy the friends of mine that don’t want to have kids, for them surely the pressure does not exist. There is no impending threat of their eggs going off. Exploding from their bodies, never to be used again. For them they must feel the infinite freedom of time stretching out full of career moves and overseas holidays. Or maybe not. The point is I am beginning to buckle under the unspoken expectation to be coupled up and I don’t know what to do about it.

It’s not that I don’t want to be in a relationship, I very much do. It’s just for some reason I can’t find anyone who wants to be in a relationship with me that I like in return. Is there something wrong with me? Do I exude something that repels possible suitors from me? Am I so ancient now that no-one could possibly want to be with me? I hope not. If I’m too old now then I have many many years of solitude ahead of me.

So what do I do about all of this then? Latch on to the next guy that crosses my path, as long as he has a heartbeat and reasonable personal hygiene? Do I hitch my wagon to whomever will have me and repress any other wants or desires that come up? No, probably not. But if not that path then what? because the ache I feel when engagement notices come up on my Facebook feed is becoming really irksome to me.

WTF 2016?

2016 has been a weird year to be a human let alone a woman. It really has felt like some big horrible April fools joke that won’t end. Surely someone is going to admit soon this was all just some big prank and that the joke is on us.

Bono was named Grazia’s woman of the year, Brexit happened, people started dressing like clowns and scaring the crap out of each other..oh and Donald (Sexism and racism poster child or as Samantha Bee so aptly called him  – screaming carrot demon – was voted president and the world did a collective sigh of confusion and despair.

The year began with the death of Bowie and it did not get much better from there. Music died and fascism resurrected itself. We have apparently passed the point of no return in regards to climate change, people are being evacuated from the island of Kiribati because the sea is engulfing the island. But rather than focus on the earths imminent demise we seemed intent instead on fighting amongst ourselves. Evil corporations continue to find shitty ways to continue the earths destruction (Dakota pipeline anybody?) who only care about money and power continue their destruction while the rest of the world is tearing itself apart one fingernail at a time. What the fuck is wrong with that small wealthy group of avaricious cretins?

When I heard that Trump had won I came home and cried. Trump being voted in sends a very clear hate filled message. As one woman suggested – “this is white supremacy’s last stand”, a statement which is scarily accurate. I would add it is also misogyny and systemic sexism’s last stand as well. The orange potato-head poster-child for xenophobia has put every marginalised group in the USA in serious danger and my heart breaks for them. As one man said, ‘How do I treat my children that bullying is wrong when Trump is president?’. How do you teach children that racism is wrong, homophobia is wrong, Rape is wrong when all of these acts have been committed by the leader of their country.
Around the world the rise of the so-called “Alt-right” – read ‘white supremacy’ – seems to have been repeated. In a time where we should be more advanced than ever before the world has taken giant steps backwards in acceptance of all non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual, humans.

Perhaps it is the last stand of hate and privilege at lease for the west, perhaps the patriarchy is finally crumbling and this is it’s last attempt at holding on control, but what scares me is who will be the casualties to this final battle because I imagine most of the blood shed won’t be from rich white men.

The darkness is looking back

I have always looked at misogynistic men and questioned what has happened to make them hate women so much? What exactly did we do to them to make them this way? Why do they find rape jokes funny? Why do they justify sexual assault and think women are overreacting when we react. Why do they victim blame and go out of their way to try to shut women up, especially if we voice an opinion..any opinion. Why would they rather have a racist, bigoted, rapist president than a woman? I have looked at these men with disdain and anger, justifiably I have always thought. However, recently I have come to the uncomfortable realisation that I have started to become the thing that I hate as now I am begining to hate them.

I look at these men and I wonder where is your fucking humanity? Don’t you have a mother or a sister or a girlfriend ? Would you be happy if the same restrictions and cruelty that you practise against other women happened to your grandmother for example? – and why must I put it in this context just so you can understand?

I think these things and I become more and more angry. The more I dwell, the more I think fuck you! Fuck you for treating women like they are worthless or at the most second class citizens that exist just for your needs and wants. For believing that for some reason you and not us have a say over what happens to our bodies.

I am starting to tire of fighting, I feel the weight of hundreds of years of the sisterhood giving a collective sigh that we have moved so far and no more. I can’t imagine what it is like for the women in their 50s and 60s or older who have been putting up with this shit for so long. I have been on this planet for less than half their time and I am over it, I can’t even imagine what it is like for women who have been putting up with this for so much longer.

So, within all my raging and my exhaustive fighting somehow I have started to become the same as them. I am starting to hate those that hate me. The bullshit rhetoric anti-feminists have always used against feminists is that we hate men, ironic considering the way they view us, but maybe they are not so wrong. I look at the men in my life and although I can see that they are great humans, who are kind, and generous, and decent, I am beginning to struggle not to see them as part of the collective of arseholes that treat women like rubbish.

My mum told me recently that I need to try to not become bitter as once I become so no-one will care. But I fear that the bitterness has already set in and for me at least I fear it may be too late. She also told me that this is a marathon and not a sprint and that if I was getting tired I needed to stop and remind myself of the reasons that we are fighting in the first place.

I don’t want to hate men, if we are ever going to make this world a better place for all we need to work with each other and not against each other. However, although it may not be most men it is some, and the some have loud obnoxious voices that I am finding it very hard to ignore.

30-year-old monster

Recently I was out with a group of women for drinks when I was brutally reminded about the curse I have been living with for 3 years now, that I am.. wait for it…in my 30s (gasp). I sat there speaking to a young woman – one year younger than me – who was lamenting the fact that now she was in her thirties men would no longer be attracted to her, as if by entering this new decade she had morphed into a hideous beast, too horrific to love. What I found most disturbing about this conversation is how many of her points I too had thought about myself.
I began to have flashbacks from when I was a teenager watching Sex And The City where these powerful successful women in their thirties would complain ad nauseum about having not being able to find a man now that they were in their third decade. I would think how sad to end up like that, where that is your major worry. Yet here I was in exactly in that position, having my own negative beliefs about aging being thrown back in to my face by this incredibly unhappy woman. I realised that something was seriously wrong here.
Olivia Wilde wasn’t even in her thirties yet when she was told she was too old to play her much older cast mate’s “love interest”. Maggie Gyllenhaal was told that as she was in her thirties she was to old to play a 49-year-old male actor’s partner. Ageism is alive in well in Hollywood and it is not that different in real life.
Why is it that a woman’s worth diminishes as she ages, but most notably when she crosses the threshold from her twenties into her thirties, who the hell decided that was a thing? No need to answer I’m pretty sure I know who, it’s the same person who decided tampons should be taxed as luxury items presumably. Yes that guy.
We have been taught that as women our worth lies within the way we look, everything else like intelligence, personality, desires etc – not really relevant, looks that’s what’s important if you have a vagina. And the aforementioned looks must also be youthful.
If you no longer exist between the golden ages of 18-29 you are no longer “fuckable” and therefore pose no value to society. You are now something likened to the hunchback, and should promptly get back into you bell-tower before someone sees you I assume. None of this is new information, but what surprised me is how much I had bought into these ridiculous notions as well.
I realised that for the past few years I have believed that I too had lost value because I was no longer in my twenties. But I don’t want to hide away now that I am more than 3 decades old. It is yet another shackle placed on women in an attempt to control and to that I say no thank you. Age doesn’t devalue us, it expands us. Now that I have had this epiphany I somehow need to find a way to live that.

Justice not so blind

The Stanford rape case has caused a mass cry of anger and disbelief recently. A rich white male raped an unconscious women, his crime was witnessed and stopped by two men who luckily were nearby, the case then went to trial and he was found guilty by a jury of his peers and then even then the rapist was still believed to be innocent by the judge. He was given 6 months but will only serve 3. In the judge’s mind- even though this person had committed one of the most heinous acts that a human can inflict on another person- he did not want to ruin the rapists life by too harsh of a sentence. Brock Turner was a talented swimmer with a “bright” future, all of which apparently overrides the fact that he irrevocably altered the course of this young woman’s life by assaulting her. In this case the message is clear – men’s lives matter more than women’s.

Most rape cases never make it any where near court because most rape victims do not want to endure the emotional assault they will experience in the court room. Everything about them, their sexual history their alcohol consumption their choice of dress will be dissected and used against them.

When it comes to rape cases a rape victim is guilty until occasionally found innocent and a rapist is innocent until most likely proven innocent. Rape cases often come down to a man’s word versus a woman’s and men’s will generally always be valued more.
In this situation the way the victim’s life has been affected is not important. What is important is that the rapist was a good swimmer and was from a wealthy family and was a white man and therefore his future is considered more valuable than hers. It is not seen worthy of ruining just because as his father so disgustingly termed it he had “20 minutes of action”.

Roughly 80% of rape cases are Not left with a guilty verdict yet 1 in 5 women will be raped in her life time and most women will encounter some version of sexual assault in their lifetime. I wonder though, how accurate these statistics are when most women that are attacked never report it. And why would they? Victim blaming is still the principle reaction to a claim of rape. What a woman drank, wore, who she was with and who she has previously slept with are considered important factors in deciding whether her claim is truthful or not. The thing with victim blaming is is that it says all women are responsible for their own rapes and all men, All men, are rapists. The only person responsible for rape is the rapist and most men are not rapists so why are we still using this tired rhetoric that is harmful and unfair to everyone?

I hope if nothing else this Stanford rape case changes the dialogue and shines a light on the fact that no matter who you are, how wealthy your family are, how white your skin is, or how good a swimmer you are, if you do the crime you do the time. In this case I hope that Brock follows through with his ridiculous appeal and is sentenced properly for the crime he has committed by a judge that actually practices blind justice.

To bra or not to bra

I may be a little late to this band wagon but it seems more and more women these days are ditching the shackles of their bras to ‘free-boob it’ as it were, choosing comfort over constraint these women are no longer following convention when it comes to their undergarments.

My mother has not owned a bra for the majority of her life, as a product of her 70’s era youth she followed the bra-burning generation’s lead and never looked back. Her main reasoning these days for not wearing a bra is simple though, she finds it more comfortable that way.

Maybe for her age group not wearing a bra is more common but for some reason I had assumed with my generation this was not the case. So it has been surprising for me to learn that wasn’t completely true. It has made me question why exactly I choose to wear them. For the bigger busted ladies the wearing of bras is probably more of a necessity, but for smaller boobed ladies like myself do we really need to wear them at all?

Youtube vloger Savannah Brown recently put out a video (sav’s guide to going braless) speaking about her reasons for not wearing a bra she provided tips for how women can go bra-free while still wearing the clothes they want to wear. From nipple pasties to bra-lets she discussed many of the alternative ways women can chose to dress and addressed the issue that I would mostly be worried about – how to hide the nipple. I know we are living in the free the nipple age – which I fully support by the way – but I’m not so keen on the idea of showing said nipples in certain if many environments if I can help it.

I’m still not convinced that I am going to follow the trend and get rid of my bras altogether, but I do admire the women that are choosing not to wear them. There definitely is still an expectation that women should wear bras and to not wear them is considered inappropriate by some, but really,  if men don’t have to wear them then women shouldn’t have to either –  if they don’t want to.