27 August 2015

Tinder and the state of modern dating

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Currently I’m reading Aziz Ansari’s book “Modern Romance,” and it’s a frighteningly real, fascinating and frustrating look at how romance and dating has changed since our parents were “courting.”

But before I started that, an article on Mashable caught my eye about the CEO of Tinder getting pissed about an article in Vanity Fair (Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse) where the brand was mentioned, and subsequently went on a tirade on Twitter blasting the magazine and article.

Naturally, this only solidified that I would read that article. Because if a grown man can have a public temper tantrum about it, it HAS to be good (or that true).

Thus, when my issue actually arrived, I went right to it and dove in.

First, Tinder has a reason to be pissed, but if the CEO took 5 minutes to step back and actually LOOK at what the article is saying, Tinder isn’t the bad guy. The bad guy is the general app dating culture, and the proliferation of this category’s growth as a whole (Hinge, Match, Ok Cupid, Bumble, etc.) Tinder is just the generic “Kleenex-like” brand that gets slapped on the dating app discussion.

Second, that article has to be the most fucking depressing description of modern dating. Either a) I’m that out of touch about dating or b) dating in NY is truly a Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies like situation. Or it’s a bit of both.

Third, Tinder doesn’t like being painted as a “hook up” app, but in reality, I know few who go on Tinder thinking they’ll find real love. They look at it as a necessity to be on, a curiosity of who they would get paired with and a reality of, look no serious guys are probably on there en mass.

In fact, in a post-Vanity Fair article segment on the Today Show, the CEO said that if you ask users, they would say the perception of Tinder being a “hook up” app is not the reality. But then the reporter talked to three of the most popular profiles in LA on Tinder, who said it’s basically shallow. So…okay. And while I was in Australia, the majority of my roommates and people I talked to in the dorms were using Tinder themselves to find local girls to have sex with, or guys to buy them drinks and hook up with after. Fortunately, none of that happened in my room. But on the other side, I have a friend who met her current boyfriend on Tinder and they have a good relationship.

But the Today Show (shockingly) made a comment that, IMO, hit on the larger issue that Vanity Fair tried to raise, that the “high tech, low commitment swiping culture” as the actual dating apocalypse.

Tinder isn’t the actual sign of it. The reality is that this culture has been building for a long time. But Tinder, who brought the “swipe right” feature to the mainstream, is by default going to be part of this larger category, like it or not.

Let’s be honest, the basic concept of romance and dating is very much almost dead. And it’s both men and womens fault. I strongly disagree with a comment in the Vanity Fair article that says it’s women’s fault that romance is dead. Wrong. It’s both sexes fault. Why? TOO MANY OPTIONS. Too many apps to cruise through, too many photos to view, too many people on the line to talk to or reply to or text back or schedule a date with. There is no need to really be present and settle down or look at someone as a viable partner because you have 15 other people on the app you can be flipping through. Why settle down when you could play the field?

It’s more than a full time job, it’s become a non-stop lifestyle of swiping, texting, emailing and going out. And ultimately being left (most times) with nothing to show for it than maybe a good story and hopefully not an STD.

And while both parties are to blame for dating and romance dying, men are especially to blame for being LAZY. I am a progressive, independent woman, but I don’t want to be the one having to initiate a date, or making plans. Not all the time. If I’m talking to a guy I may dance around getting together but I ultimately wait for him to ask. If he doesn’t, it’s his fucking loss because he’s clearly not that interested in me. If you’re interested, you ask them out. It’s that simple. Letting it get in to a benign, useless text conversation about random stuff, is just filler.

But I know a lot of people who will be matched with a guy, initiate conversation (fine), engage in conversation with them (fine) but then get impatient with them not initiating going out and do it themselves saying “so do you want get coffee next week?”. And the answer is usually the same from the guy, “oh yeah that sounds like fun, cool what day?” What day?? Take initiative! How much more work do we need to do? Sounds like you have something better to do, or you don’t really want to meet up. BYE.

The flip side to this is that, as you get in to your 30s, as a woman, you don’t want to wait around for this bullshit to continue but the overall options of men, especially in a city like Chicago, are smaller. So you almost have to tolerate lazy male behavior in order to have the option of a date. Some women feel this way, but I don’t. I have zero desire to date boys, only men, and a guy who is ready for a mature relationship and doesn’t want to stick his dick in whatever woman seems to walk by, will man up, ask me out and make plans.

And if that means I’m single for a long time, I don’t care. I’m not going to settle for crumbs.

Aziz’s book seems to hit on this stuff a lot too, so there may be more to share after I finish that book, but for now, I just could not hold this in.

May the dating and online dating app force be with you.

 

 

23 August 2015

Birthday

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Birthdays. An odd adult experience where you want it to feel as magical as it did when you were younger, but ultimately face more scheduling issues and unrealistic expectations which result it feel more like hassle than anything else.

Well, sometimes.

Today is my birthday. And, it’s kinda weird. Not because I didn’t expect it, but more like, because it feels very different this year.

Last year was a TERRIBLE birthday. It was a combo of a non-quarter life crisis that was coupled with personal issues and the beginning of the end of life as I knew it (as of then.) It was a horrible time of change and sadness and just feeling like, “what the fuck am I doing??”

I tried then to put on a good face, but it was a facade. I sat at restaurants, dejected, beaten down and just feeling like, is this it? Friends rallied last minute to meet up for drinks and surprising me with cheesecake, and that was truly the only bright spot of that weekend. And as much as I love that group of people that rallied around me, I just couldn’t feel the joy because I was just in such a bad place, entertaining very terrible thoughts in my head.

So, now it’s one year later.

And this time, rather than feel dejected and sad. I feel good. And, I’m not sucking down Old Fashioneds, trying to let the bourbon numb my emotion. But I did have a few Negroni slushies with friends, and I enjoyed it in delightful moderation.

I am in a much better place today than I was last year. Not everything is perfect or how I want it to be, but it’s still a lot better, and it feels weird, with the emotional ghosts of last year feeling very close (for some reason).

And given the change since last year, I don’t feel like making a big production of my birthday. Instead, I planned fun things throughout the weekend (and even in to tomorrow) to enjoy this feeling of “betterness” and focus on that and the things and people I love. It may be anti-climactic or boring, but when you finally start to feel better, and see the growth from the year before, I’d rather just savor that, rather than make a production of it.

Ta ta for today.

 

 

 

 

 

14 August 2015

On having nice things

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

I did not grow up with money. We were comfortable, but after my parents split, that changed.

I worked a lot to have money to provide for myself throughout high school and college. And when I started working professionally, and did so for a long time, I got used to finally treating myself to nicer things. Or just treating myself in general and not feeling guilty about it.

That’s the thing about being told regularly that you don’t deserve nice stuff, you feel guilty buying it.

But eventually I got a little more lenient about that. I still lived on a budget and put money in savings, but I also had a pretty healthy social life. Out during the week, out on weekends, going to try new places, and never feeling guilty about buying drinks, dinner, clothes, shoes, etc.

Then, I got laid off, and suddenly all of that security disappeared.

One of the hardest parts about being unemployed is that you don’t know how long it can last. So, you have to budget (or I did), but I had to be really conservative because I didn’t know when I would find work again. Or, work that I wanted to be doing.

Going out all but stopped, I lived on an even tighter budget, and shopped my closet as much as possible, finding, hey some of those clothes I treated myself to….still had tags on them. So, that was fine too. Really, that worked out.

But the mentality of needing to ration, cut back and just survive, stays with you. You look at things in the store and ask yourself, do I really need that? Do I really want that? Wow that seems expensive, I could just hold out or go find something similar for cheaper.

And when you’re with friends who haven’t had to do something like this, it’s even MORE awkward. I don’t mind watching people spend money, but when your friend pays $50 for a cotton tank top, you’re like, dude really?

When I finally got paid from my new job, I paid all of my bills but found that I still felt like I couldn’t spend money on fun stuff. I paid off all other little debt stuff I owed, which was a huge piece of mind, but I still found myself unable to even just go out to dinner one night, or when I did with friends, I would find myself adding up the bill and my part immediately, just like when I was unemployed.

The mentality of feeling okay with having some dispensable income again and not feeling like you need to hoard every dollar because who knows when you’ll get paid again, is a harder transition than I expected. Just like when I had to slow my life down to a baby crawl months ago.

I can adjust to having no money, since I grew up like that, but the fear that it could all go away again, takes longer to fade.

So, I’m working on trying to be more social and get out a bit more. I don’t doubt this will take more time, but for now, owning that I’m aware of this separation and the desire to slowly get back out there, will get better.

No real point to this, just something I thought I’d share :)

 

11 August 2015

Post traumatic growth

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

While getting my hair done last weekend (insert adorable emoji), I was forced to read real magazines of substance, like Time. Let’s just say, someone getting highlights was hogging the Us Weekly‘s.

And while I was exercising my brain as my color processed, I stumbled upon an article that caught my attention. It’s about Post Traumatic Growth.

According to the article, Post Traumatic Growth was named in 1996 but recently has been a renewed focus of researchers. And the best way to summarize it is this, “The suffering that resulted from these horrible experiences was not an endpoint. Instead it acted as a catalyst, pushing these people to change for the better…Trauma sent them on a path they never would have found otherwise.”

To say I can relate to this in some capacity is an understatement. Sure, I’m not an Olympic athlete whose career dreams were dashed, and I’m not even close to those who serve in our military and endure overseas and then return to the U.S.

But the idea of using something traumatic to enact positive change, is something I can really connect with.

Losing my job and my grandmother (who was an integral part of my life) in the span of a month, was extremely traumatic. And I still feel a strong part of that loss. But, that experience and me “flipping the switch,” pushed me in a completely different direction. I left and traveled for three months, and then returned to Chicago with a new perspective and, hopefully a long-term new attitude on life.

I’ve started little things of “self betterment.” Reading 30 minutes a day, watching less TV, focusing on more positive relationships in my life, and re-establishing a connection with family and the closeness I felt we developed while dealing with my grandmother’s loss.

But I can’t say professionally it’s pushed me (yet) where I want to be. But having a clearer idea and new approach to it, will help.

And the thing I liked a lot about this article too is that for many people who talked to the researcher and had something traumatic happen, their lives weren’t 100% puppies and rainbows. They still had hard times (cough, like me applying for jobs), but overall their lives were better. And as my birthday approaches and I look back at this time last summer and how fucking miserable I was, I can say I’m in a better place now, even if I am not where I ultimately want to be, yet.

Just thought I’d share this.

 

 

03 August 2015

Letter to my nephew: First birthday

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Dear Derrick –

You are almost one year old. Last summer, I wrote you a letter (while you were still unnamed) that talked about the hopes I had for you and me together as aunt and nephew. And now that we have been together for almost a year, I thought it was time to write you another letter. Be warned, it gets mushy.

The day you were born, was such a happy day. I had my phone practically taped to my hand waiting for news from your dad. The night before you were born, I talked to your dad before midnight and he said that you would arrive sometime the next day. And then, just a few hours later, around 2am-ish, I woke up for no reason, only to hear my phone ring almost immediately and your dad said, “your nephew is here.” I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night because I was so excited. And a week later, I came back to Milwaukee to see you in person, and that is when I fell so madly in love with you, I knew I would never be the same. Don’t get me wrong, I loved you before you were born, but seeing you in person, it made that love multiply by a million.

For several reasons, I also got to spend a lot of time with you when you were around 3-5 months old. And during that very dark and sad time, our family, including you, is what got me through. You reminded me of what’s really important in life. You were the brightest spot during a time of endlessly applying for jobs and visits to the hospital, hospice, and then funeral home. You reminded me that I’m your Auntie Jess and that it doesn’t matter where I work or what I do because a) I feed you and b) love you unconditionally. Watching you start to grow and take shape was so fulfilling. I saw you smile, try to roll over, and eventually crawl, and I’m so glad I got to be there for those moments when you were young. I swear you knew who I was, even at this age. Because you would look at me and just smile, and that made me so happy. Leaving you for three months was horrible. You changed so much while I was gone, even though we Skyped early morning in Vietnam at very late night in Australia. Seeing you reminded me what I was coming back to.

I tell everyone how wonderful it is to be an aunt. I want everyone to experience it because you make me so happy that I cannot imagine someone not feeling that way. As of today, I have 98 photos of you marked as “favorite” in my phone, which is just the abridged number of photos I can reference to show friends when I force them to look at photos of you. If I ever need a pick-me-up, I look at those photos, and I’m instantly happier. You just have that effect on me.

And now that you can stand and are shaping in to that much more of a little boy, I’m still so excited to see how you grow up and the kind of man you become.

Your mom and dad called me while I was in Laos (post-food poisoning) and asked me to be your co-godmother. That term has a lot of meanings, but what I swear to you is that, I will always be there for you. If you need advice, to vent or to ask for help (and can’t talk to your parents), I’ll never let you down. I have a lot of life experience, random and practical, and I will teach you as much as I can. And, this applies even if we’re in different states or parts of the world. I’ll always listen or hold you if you need it. But I won’t lie to you or tell you what you want to hear. I’m not religious, but I will support you in whatever spiritual or non-journey you take. Unless it’s to a cult, then Auntie Jess is going to have to come get you and knock some sense in to you. These promises I make to you are the same as I did in my last letter, but are just that much more true now.

You are the love of my life, and I’m so glad you are my nephew. Thank you for giving me the best job I’ve ever had.

Happy birthday Derrick. I love you to the moon and beyond (and back).

Love,

Your Auntie Jess

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