Lost in Txtlation

These are the cookie crumbs for my depreciating mind.

Tag: firstdate

Being Yourself is “OK”Cupid

How do you get the exposure to an online dating profile in a sea of hundreds of thousands without sacrificing integrity and a sense of self? When my dad met his wife via online dating there was a much smaller pool of people who knew what online dating was. Now it is normal for a profile to start with “My friend made me make this profile” Or “I figured, since so many of my friends use this,  I would try it out”.

Now no matter what I write here, I feel like I am holding a loaded gun and it scares me.  I find self proclaimed “people gurus” often have the least idea of what a person is truly feeling. I call it being observant. Would it be so bad to fall into a mold of just being a “creative person” and taking the risk of writing this article? Or is the gun going to go off in my pocket for my own dating life?


We Control Our Content

Like many others I have googled “best dating profile”. And I kept coming up with the same conclusion over and over: Be anything but yourself. Uhmm… to which I think, we don’t have to dumb down our profiles. We control what is the “norm” when the content is driven by the users. Like life we have a choice to change, but it requires all of us. We want quick information, we want truth and honesty in profiles, we want an insight to those on these dating sites to cut out the bar hopping annoyance; so why not do it? Instead we wonder why, in a world of bite sized information, we feel ill informed on our dates, why they turn out to be a game of potluck when technology is giving us a way to make faster connections.  We may like our news and coffee quick, but we all yearn for a “love” of some sort that lasts; are we all willing to put in the effort? Why can’t we just be ourselves? I have come to the conclusion that we have told ourselves we can’t. We have literally said, “I am too lazy, I do not accept, I will fill this out later”. We have accepted dating sites in their current form as “the way it is” instead of “what we want!”

I really enjoyed reading through your profile actually, it shows you are a mulch-dimensional person; unlike most profiles (and messages) on this website. Although, I do fall under my own criticism, I kept mine short and quite to the surface for “shits and giggles”. “ -Okcupid User

“Hello there 🙂 It was a treat to read your profile…you have a lot too say and you seem like a big thinker which is hot in my book lol. I can’t say I’ve invested as much in mine but you have me thinking I should lol.” – OKCupid User

We are setting the standards low for these sites by not actually putting in effort. Do we not realize we are the “customer” in this case.

Instead of following some “guide book” we can choose to be whatever we want and the site, in order to maintain its monetary worth has to adjust to us, not the other way around!

We are so caught up on instant gratification and the idea that we can have the “winning” profile that we forget to be ourselves, at all of the places, a dating site. The place to potentially find someone for the rest of our lives, like my father did. We are compromising on our own happy ending.

Popularity Contest

We have accepted the fact that OKCupid is turning our dating into highschool crushes. “Check Yes or No if you ‘like’ me”. Popular kids are marked by a red mark under their message box saying they “reply selectively and then the rest have orange or green.

I felt compelled to message you (despite the ominous red message saying you “reply very selectively.”) – OKCupid User

The site plays on humanities yearn for the “chase”, even if the excitement fizzles out after we actually get to know the other person. Get rated highly often, well OKCupid will now show you to more people who also are considered “attractive”.

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P.S. Did you know OkCupid scales their subscription model depending on your age, sex, and location? It can range from 4.95 to 29.95. The younger and more “desirable” demographic you fit into, the lower the price. You can game this system as well, by changing your age and sex to that before purchasing the A-List.

Breaking the “Code”

It is programmed social interaction in 1’s and 0’s. So of course there are tons of “how to game the system” articles. Someone wrote the code, so it makes sense that someone else figured it out.

I have this plethora of information I have gathered, not because I am seeking to write a self help book, a “Rules of Engagement” book, or even boost my ego. I feel a deep desire to publish this article about my experience because, finally in a world oversaturated with online dating profiles, inundated google search results for “dating guidelines” consisting of compromises that go against the very definition (mutual concession), I have found a way to be myself 100%. But how can I talk about this publicly without being considered someone who has “manipulated the system” or worse yet, the people who I am interacting with? How do I tell people about this amazing feeling I have now, that I have validated my ability to be me without pulling the trigger on my own hard work? Especially because I still am looking for that person that makes an article like this obsolete in my life. A person who makes me shut down a dating profile for good. I am actually looking for the means to an end, to create a beautiful beginning; naturally, organically, and somewhat digitalized.

I have read, watched, listened to so many of the “how I hacked online dating”. Each has their own formula, statistical analytics, and long winded explanations.(My right brained personality can’t even open excel without wanting to rip out my eyes) But at the end of the day, would I be meeting people who really just wanted a guy who was “sarcastic and humorous with a side of manliness” or would I meet people I could truly connect with? How can I maintain my integrity and personality and follow all these “rules”? The truth is, for me, I can’t. I want to be able to go on that first date and know I can be 100% myself and I won’t feel upset or empty afterwards because I was portraying someone else’s ideal man, the “norm” of bar hopping, and “sarcasm/humor”.

“Most dating advice exists to “solve” this grey area for people. Say this line. Text her this. Call him this many times. Wear that. Much of it gets exceedingly analytical, to the point where some men and women actually spend more time analyzing behaviors than actually, you know, behaving. Frustration with this grey area also drives many people to unnecessary manipulation, drama and game-playing. “ – Mark Manson

Sure I have used some of the statistics to my advantage. OkCupid being the weapon of choice, has released many breakdowns of what people on their site are attracted to, photo and profile etiquette, and subsequent articles published about the best practices for the site. But it made me cringe when I would look at the “top” profiles listed in these articles. If one more person told me to keep my profile short, I was going to scream. I have a lot to say dammit!

  “Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person.”

-Gloria Steinem

The multiple aspects of my profile

The profile photo’s

Mine is a combination of statistically proven algorithms:

  • HDR Black and White main photo(for that “manliness” appeal which I address in my profile to make sure there is no deviation from WHO I am**)

  • a dress shirt(for that classy approach)

  • a cat(luckily I own two and love them unconditionally, although only one makes for a good model)

  • combined with a self deprecating joke caption.

I follow up this piece of the puzzle with a very straight forward blurb in my profile that let’s me still be myself even though I succumb to the “statistics”.

**“If you are looking for the guy who is mysterious, I may not be your choice, not because I am not good at keeping the intrigue going, keeping you on your toes, or being a “man”, but because I choose communication over fighting down the road over notions of “who I am with you” and “who I am with myself”. I can dress nice, I can grow a beard, I can also shave and look like a total bum. I am great with my hands, but also text faster than a jack rabbit, doing what jack rabbits do quickly. Perception really. Your wants at the time of reading this and my perception of what I want. Does that mean if we agree with each others profiles it is inception? *epic music here*”

The rest of my photos are snippets of who I am, I include pictures I think I look good in(always followed by a caption that is not serious) and then my goofy side(followed by a caption that is serious). Playing off the contrasts of oneself.

The only photo that even uses a formula is my profile photo in black and white. The rest are just as many different variations of myself that I can provide. We have good days, bad days, exciting and boring days. So I want to show all of that. I want to be transparent.

Iterations

I have tried many many iterations of my profile, from a casual 1 line response, a ridiculously stupid humor only profile, to one where I tell all. Each got different types of responses, but none were even remotely personal. The less I wrote the more I got approached, but that approach often fizzled out before the first meet. I felt as if I was compromising myself by catering to the “percentages”.

The problem with all of my profiles is the length, it is said by every article about online dating statistics that a long profile is a death sentence.

I refused to believe you couldn’t write a long profile if you had something of interest or passionate to say. The problem is to get someone to actually read it.  I found that if I put a disclaimer up front saying:

“My profile is long, if you are pressed on time you can skip it”

…was the tiny piece to the puzzle that made it OK. It allows those who don’t want to read it to just message me, that I am approachable, and feel as though looking at the pictures is a good enough start, but it also gives off the feeling of a challenge or accomplishment to those who might slog through my stream of consciousness.

“I actually read your entire profile…” -OKCupid User

Then it becomes difficult, how do you validate someone reading a small novel that is your “profile”? How do you not come across as too jaded or make the other person feel as though you are too good for them or have nothing left to offer? How do you convince a world addicted to 140 character limits that 500 words isn’t the finale of my personality?

“I read through your profile, and there were moment that I thought … “hmmm… This guy is a little too honest.” … Then I thought, “I use to be that honest… When did that become a bad thing?” “ -OKCupid User

This is what I thought, why can’t I be honest? Why can’t I be the un-abated version of me? I wanted the first conversations to not come as a shock as I clumsily fumble my way through the “getting to know” process. I wanted people to already understand I was not the perfect one liner, but someone who would blindly feel around to get to the deeper stuff, unafraid to humble myself or admit to it not working out. (and trust me this isn’t something you just inherently know how to do, but with some effort you can learn)

I look at an “About Me” as a place to really talk about me,  not just pepper with ideas my mother has told me about myself, although those are nice too. Although, again, statistically improper:

“2) Don’t make your “About Me” opening section so long that even your mother would find it boring.“

One rule of thumb: If someone has to scroll down more than twice to get to the end of it, it’s way too fucking long. Give people an overview of who you are and what you care about. You don’t need to go into how much you’d love to find a man/woman to be your “partner in crime” (shudder) and everything you’re looking for in a relationship. Your objective at this stage is to find someone you can stand and who can stand you; don’t jump the gun. You can bore people with your hopes and dreams for love later.

Also, avoid listing adjectives to describe yourself such as the mundane “attractive,” “intelligent” or “funny” (see above). This is standard advice for writing that you’ve probably heard: Show, don’t tell. If you describe what you’re like and what you’re doing with your life, people reading your profile can see for themselves that you’re attractive, smart or funny. (Or not.)”

Source: http://thedailybanter.com/2013/12/10-okcupid-profile-donts-to-heed-if-you-actually-want-to-get-laid/

I mean I am not going to write a book, but I find self awareness to be sexy, so why not try my own hand at it as well? So I use the about me to give the general idea. But you need more than empty words on a website to show your true passion for your “idea” of yourself. This is where the section “What am I doing with my life” helped significantly.

My Occupation

My occupation as a photographer carries all sorts of stigmas, the most popular being:

“ I feel like you probably meet a lot of really beautiful people through your photography, so it amazes me that you are even on an online dating site. “ – OKCupid user

My own business model has been refined over and over again to try to break free of that, so I decided why not literally take the work I put into my mission statement for my photography and copy paste it here? Is it personal and exposing, sure! But if I am putting so much effort into my job, why can’t I do the same with my love life? It is many years of work and the blunt truth. It also shows passion, which I and apparently many others find sexy. So instead of looking at me as the guy who looks at “hot girls” all day, it shows that I am on a dating site, so obviously I am not trying to date my work and looking for something real here..

Add onto that, that passion doesn’t always pay the bills, hopefully the people I will attract, will understand I am doing what I love and all others need not apply. I will lose the “wallstreet” types here but I am trying to ease the blow of my work so later on, I don’t have to defend my career choice, and instead share it and be supported for it. I had the high paying job, sports car, beautiful apartment, and feeling of “making it”, but it didn’t make me happy or fulfilled.

My work section is a topic for many to intro themselves to me with, it plays into those who put an emphasis on work over the other sections of the profile provided, but again it is 100% me, no compromise needed.

Being yourself is OK, the validation:

Instead of breaking down every aspect of my profile, since honestly it has been written over time and is extremely stream of consciousness, let me explain why I feel it has been validated, against all odds, statistics, and google results.

“Hi 🙂 so I saw that you “liked” me and after enjoying your (very detailed) 🙂 profile I thought I would send a message rather than just a like back.  Since you were so thorough in your descriptions I’ll just go ahead and put my truths out there too.

I love photography but the only class I’ve ever taken was my freshman year of college and only camera I have is my iPhone but still try to capture the special people, places and things I see that I know I’ll want to remember forever.

So I think that’s a lot for a first hello 🙂 especially since it’s 4am! I’ll let you digest and get back to me.

And thank you, your openness allowed for mine in return. It’s very much appreciated as it’s such a rarity now a days in life and especially in the online dating world :)” – OKCupid User

The technical “trick”

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(Image representative of an hour during a 24 hour period)

You can rate people on OkCupid from 1-5 stars. Clicking the 5 star sends an email saying you like them, if they like you back it starts the conversation via a “You like each other” canned message. It removes your need for an opener and you know they are “interested” for the first convo at least.

5 Starring everyone isn’t as dumb as it sounds, it is sort of like being your own wingman(woman). You have to talk to everyone in order to finally catch the eye of the person you really want to talk to. But the reaction I could have never predicted.

“I must say, I initially “liked” you because of your cool profile pictures (…and, you have a cat in your main one…I mean, that’s kinda unfair…). Then, I read your absolutely refreshingly honest and interesting profile (yes, I read it all), and, though I rarely message people, I felt compelled to message you (despite the ominous red message saying you “reply very selectively.”)” – OKCupid User

I “like” you

The “like” button has a lot of mind fuckery power attached to it, when in turn if the site exposed people to one another in a more organic way such as a real life encounter, there would be more people seeing these kinds of interactions. But for now it is basically throwing empty promises at the wall, hoping someone will walk by in time to catch it. It feels degrading. It has the “celebrity effect”, where you are creating a bigger pool of “views” in order to catch the eye of someone who mixes well with you, but also having to not take the “fame” to your head and act better than other.

“Engaging, thorough, and much foresight = your profile… It’s overwhelming, yet a relief! Finally, someone on this site says it ‘as it is!’” -Okcupid User

“Hello there 🙂 It was a treat to read your profile…you have a lot too say and you seem like a big thinker which is hot in my book lol. I can’t say I’ve invested as much in mine but you have me thinking I should lol.” -Okcupid User

But if they knew the site did it automatically, would the “like” still make them respond? Would we once again fall into the idea that a long profile = dating suicide even though it is clear from the responses I have gotten we truly want more from these dating sites?

“Hello! I read your profile (twice…alright, three times actually haha!) and really enjoyed what you had to say! I appreciate the honesty and detail you put into your writing. That is so rare!” -Okcupid User

I’ve gotten some of the kindest heartfelt replies and messages from being myself; A kid at heart, a thinker, and a goofball stumbling over my words in person.

You get out what you put in

“I don’t write long messages usually but I thought you seemed worth the energy.” -OKCupid User

We apply this theory to our day jobs and so many other aspects of life, but because we have “labeled” online dating as a fo-pa, joke, or don’t fully understand it yet, I feel like we still are not completely ready to use it to make true connections. Can we truly be OK with a slightly digitized way of meeting when we still hardly know how to do it in person? We are happier feeling like we can carry around the “trophies” or “abundance of choice” in our pockets via our smartphones, than actually thinking beyond the instant gratification or validation of our egos.

Directly from an article that turned me on to the 5 star “trick” in the first place:

“It’s easy to see how the attention could become addictive, so I ask James: When does it end?

“I don’t know,” he says. He describes himself as “romantic,” but, like a lot of people who log on and see thousands of singles within a mile of their Zip Code, he’s not really stressed about the end. “A lot of us want the best: the best job, the best apartment, the best significant other,” he says. And in his case, that might mean being the best bachelor as well—someone with the best stories of dating adventures to tell. In fact, he can’t stop thinking about this one incredible woman he met recently; they danced until two in the morning. Then he tells me about another beautiful, smart woman who fed him meat loaf at three in the morning. And then there was that woman with …”

Not only can online dating become almost addicting with the “choices” it can work the opposite way by us fearing the other person’s choices as well. Dating can be intimidating.. with all the different dates we go on, it feels like a rush to the metaphorical finish line of “pulling full attention”. So we work hard to get it, but do we compromise just being ourselves for the “win”? – http://lostintxtlation.tumblr.com/post/91546586723/intimi-dating

I am online for dating because I believe in the idea that technology can help us to skip some of the less desirable parts of “meeting” and truly make great connections. If we don’t invest some time into an honest profile, aren’t we just showing our faces for a physical attraction and then drudging through figuring out what in the profile was real and a boasted version of self? How does this differ than going to a bar? We have so much more control over our “self” on these sites than we admit to and I feel like it is time we start acting on it. Putting in the same effort we do with our jobs, passions, and careers into our love life as well.  Eventually we have to meet face to face with the person we start talking to to really get a feel for a good match, so why waste time with “white lies”.

If I ever find someone who truly believes in this too, I think the entire date, interaction, and experience will be much more enjoyable to both people.  But remember, I don’t love you….

Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, “I don’t love you”… txt me maybe? This is what present day society seems to defend harder than “I love you”.

Scenario: You meet someone, you have a good night, and now you are presented with a conundrum… do you use technology to enhance the ability to reflect on the moments you just had, using the time away from one another to use as time to know each other more through the wonderful noninvasive form of messaging… or do you get lost in their past memories on facebook ignoring the ones you just had… or even worse are you forced into a situation of who can hold off from responding the quickest to messages we all know are read immediately or at the quickest convenience. We are secretly defending our “dislike” for one another than our possible “like”. We are being punished for what used to be a legitimate way of decompressing from a date: reveling in the glow of the night the next day. There is a reason songs like “Maria” from West Side Story were written. It is because on a good date, we hear music, and we don’t want to stop singing about it.  We are not in love, we are in like, and it is really fun to share that feeling rather than feeling as if it will expose our “true intentions” to love them by the end of the day…

– Read more on that topic at: http://lostintxtlation.tumblr.com/post/96392232873/i-dont-love-you

Quasi Organic

The current iteration of my profile states:

“Trying something completely different here. I am going to stray from the long profile, just gonna express it how it is; if there is an attraction, let’s meetup and take it from there. I can write a TON here, (request my old profile if you dare lol), but then I find there is too much “Type A” or “Type B” stereotyping without inflection, voice, and just plain getting to know one another organically. I have multiple parts to who I am, as I hope you do too and would rather get to know you via conversation to portray those. So anything beyond this point is just fluff, if you liked my pictures, in my opinion.. but feel free to wander.”

The reason for this is because online dating isn’t organic, not in the slightest, but I think that is OK, as long as we accept it for what it is and skip the bullshit inorganic parts of it and try our hand at meeting if there is an attraction. I mean if I thought you were attractive in person I would talk to you right away, not text you for days until we met again. I mean how much time do you want to invest into someone who might be super attractive but pheromones are just off and you can’t stand the smell of one another?

A dating profile or online dating “resume” as I like to call it, can never summate the stuff in your head. I want to find someone who understands the idea of discussion. The idea that if I say something weird, I don’t have to dive into the ditch I just dug, but be able to continue the conversation to other parts of the plot to see if there is another hole we can fall into together. The idea that living through someones past or stalking someones profile after a date is not giving your own mind the ability to breath and enjoy the moment you just created. Oversaturating your mind with their life not the moment you just had together.

We prefer to open up with questions that are shallow, but have a proven record of working.

“Did you get into any trouble last weekend?”

“Have any trouble planned for this weekend?”

This is how we open. Our first encounter is based on a very general idea of sparking conversation but we do it in a way that is trivial. “So how did you and X meet” Oh well I asked her what kinda trouble she was getting into and she told me “lots”. Then we got a drink and boned… wow…

I am a bit old school when I think about it in terms of asking someone to be my girlfriend or date, I believe since we only get one chance to do this with someone, it should be memorable. I like to let things happen organically, but I also like the grand gestures as well.

Organic or not if two people are open to something it can work. Problem is as you most people see it as “an experiment". I think what that truly means however is “fear of the unknown”. Online dating isn’t any more awkward than meeting in a bar. It all stems on one thing, actually meeting. These back and forths mean nothing until you hear my voice, see my face, and actually get a gut feeling for someone rather than an educated guess. I have strong opinions about online dating and I believe that is healthy. Because in actuality if someone found love from it, they would not turn it down.

Meeting

In the end we have to meet. Meeting is the only way to really know if the kind messages, sexy profile photos, or short or long profile are true to life. Being honest before hand is awesome and helps us to know if we want to spend our precious time with another person and online dating helps with this, especially for those of us with busy schedules. But it falls short with the amount of ways we can communicate prior to meeting. The first step to meeting is often exchanging numbers and texting. So we move away from the convenience of a keyboard where we can type many more words per minute, to a tiny screen in which we usually send texts of little to no consequence as fillers until we meet. Watching the little chat bubble pop up and down as the other person perfects their three word text to not feel too overbearing or interested.

“One of writing’s traditional advantages over speech is the time it affords you to collect your thoughts. This time empowers you to calculate your words’ effects on their reader. Rather than blurting out “YOU’RE SO HOT,” you pen a pleasing phrase: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

Text and instant messages, however, are eroding this advantage. We don’t correspond over text and instant messages, like we do in letters; we chat in quick informal exchanges, like we do face-to-face. One of the underpinnings of spoken conversation is what’s known in linguistics as turn-taking. “We need some way of determining when someone else’s turn is over and ours can begin”.

The most common-sense workaround, of course, is to prepare your thoughts mentally before you begin typing them. That sounds easy enough, but some of us actually use writing as a way of working out our thoughts, not simply recording them after they’re fully formed. If nothing else we don’t consider the words blurted out of our mouths a finality but something that can be correct as can a word be spell checked after the entire paper has been written.”

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116268/gchat-typing-indicator-most-awkward-feature-online-chat

Are we truly ready to date online?

The world isn’t ready for online dating if you ask me. It is a place to go after a breakup or to get recognition when you feel you have a flaw. It is made up of tutorials created by those who have written the same self help guides to sitting in a cubicle. The amount of messages that tell me mine is refreshing but theirs is “still a work in process” is proof enough in my eyes.  

I will admit, I fell victim to the “OKRebound” after a bad breakup. I, as they like to call it, “serial dated”. A few dates a week to the point where I was showering just to go back out. It was vindicating and empty. But even when I explained it to people I met, they seemed to get it and accept it as a form of acceptable behavior. It was surreal. Actually the more my phone buzzed on the table with OKCupid notifications the more likely they would “be interested in me” without me having to say a word. It was a fucked up reverse psychology thing. I got over it pretty fast however. That isn’t what I wanted. And if someone else was going to like me more because of the “likes” I had, it was not a good indicator.

I wish I could express to people how online dating has as much potential as we allow it to and right now we aren’t allowing it more than a drunken nights dare or “I was bored so I made this profile… Oops did I post a shot of my ass in a bikini… Oh and I like long walks on the beach and sacrasm and the extra attention” *breaks computer screen*

“The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, they must inspire you to say “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.

The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” also states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, THEY must respond with a “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.” – http://markmanson.net/fuck-yes/

Being online, is sort of like a gamification of dating to people.

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“Haha I’m over it I just use it as a form of entertainment now just cuz I think what people say is funny I haven’t actually “used” it for what it’s for for a long time hAha you?” – OKCupid User

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OkCupid’s Most Desirable

I got this message a month or two back. I was dumbfounded.

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I knew the quantity of messages I was getting was not normal, but it was strange to get a message like this. It helped to validate that I could have a profile true to self and be considered desirable but it was a short lived moment when you compare it to who was actually picked to do the interview. I did not end up being used because they found someone who was much more TV worthy than I was, talking about how he uses “smileys” and “swiping techniques”, bragging about his lack of honest profile, how he lies on dates, and his general need to fuck as many people as he can through manipulation. You can watch that entire interview here: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/online-dating-secrets-desirable-24753151

I warn you though, I almost shut down my profile after watching this. It literally made me furious with humanity for letting someone like this exist, let alone thrive.

Why I still have a profile

Why am I on here? Because I believe there are other people who trust in a convenience like this and will use it the way they want versus how a YouTube video or article in the Huffington post tells you how to. And they will be genuine and accept it for what it is, an online meeting system in which you allow to match you with others and then go from there. Because it is convenient, not a bar that smells like piss and regret, a place you don’t want to be, or are too busy to be.

Because out of all the people I have met I have learned many things about online dating, more than I ever thought I wanted to know, and sadly these things show me how much people fall into to groups or patterns. I can change my profile picture to attract a specific nationality or put emphasis on a certain part of my profile for a specific type of personality. But it is when I go out on a date and those formulas and structures get blown out of the water and I am no longer giving my thesis or biography to the person across the table but talking to them because it is enjoyable, but mostly when I become scared… Scared that conversations break all conventions and preconceived notions Leaving me in a spot of vulnerability to want to share all but not knowing… Just feeling the need to do it anyway, that is what I date for. That 1 out of 100(that is different for every person)  that will truly make me feel the the possibility of love and having to put every ounce of myself out on the table to make sure I give it my all regardless of the outcome. To open my heart I must be open to the idea of heart break. That is how I approach dating even if I start to see patterns or stereotypes or formulas for successful or unsuccessful dating profiles, first dates, and the like. Because in the end no matter what the formula is and what you think you know when you find the person right for you, the reason it is a magical moment is because you are no longer running on rails but off course, enjoying and living a moment.

But even if we go on a successful date we are still littered with obstacles to overcome.

The Second Date Limbo

It is so incredibly complicated getting to the second date these days. The rules of “3 days before a call” have long been muddied, if not completely forgotten. Now you are faced with the dilemma of liking an Instagram photo, responding to a Facebook post, texting an indifferent message once every day or two so not to seem too interested but still interested enough until schedules line up. The balancing act of  texts between multiple dates, hoping you don’t message the wrong person the wrong response, timing your texts so not to be assumed you are overbearing.

All these unspoken “rules”, impossible to master without literally not giving a shit, because texts are usually two or three lines of nothing of consequence. So you sit there looking at your time stamps and read recipes wondering if the other person:

A is just not interested

B doing the same shit

C has nothing interesting to say.

So you question saying hi because saying hi is so damn easy these days. – Read that entire post at: http://lostintxtlation.tumblr.com/#sthash.dzN3TDUu.dpuf

Someone actually suggested, after reading the article above, an app that allows you to further disconnect from your date to the online ether by having the app follow up on dates you have been on so you can let the person know without actually talking to them if you wish to go on a second date or not. I guarantee this becomes a reality and more reasons to feel completely disconnected from the person you are meeting or just met.

The OK in Cupid

I believe online dating is incomplete. It, by the very nature of humanity, is an iteration… constantly evolving to what we define it as. To say I have the answers or know where to go from here would be a farce. Whether online dating is just a way to get “experience” a so called practice date, or it will eventually evolve into a place where we don’t hide behind whatever semblance of online anonymity we are holding onto and finally realize how important we are to one another. Ultimately I just want to be able to find someone to come home to, to be real with… “the one person for me” is better than the girl of my dreams, she is real. So for now I say OK to being myself. I say OK to breaking the “online dating rules”. I say OK to OKcupid, where I am actually looking for something organic, in this inorganic clusterfuck that is online dating, because in the end, it is me I have to be OK with. And if you have two people who are just OK, you have two people in a better place than the “perfect online dating profile” you have something real, explosive, difficult, frustrating, exciting, and explorable. That there is the very inexplicable definition of love, which to me is the perfect beginning, because love is not enough...

Safety Date

I too often have gone on dates where I am told via text before arriving(because that is what we do to avoid the awkward conversations these days), “I have to leave in an hour, meeting a girlfriend for X Y Z”. Now this could be true or it could be total bullshit. The amusing factor is it is done for the same reason every time: a safety net from a bad date. For a person like me that couldn’t even quite deal with the timer on a Mario game back during my childhood, these trivial times on dates make me not want to leave the house in the first place. I am going on a date to enjoy the time, not plan for it to be a disaster or feel like I will lose an extra life if I go over the designated timelimit.

I have been on my fair share of dates where I realize within a few minutes of meeting that there is literally no connection. It is amazing what being in person with three dimensions, voice, pheromones, and close contact can have versus a two dimensional photo on a dating site and the obligatory resume or the notorious “About Me”.

So what do I do? I can tell you what I used to do; nothing. I would slog out the night filling the empty space with “uh huhs” and “yeahs”. Constantly checking my phone hoping candy crush(disclaimer I never have nor will I ever play that game!) will somehow become the worlds best excuses app, but constantly realizing all I have in the pipe is “My grandmother died”… and then I feel guilty for thinking it. Yeah not a very good one. So now I am not only doing a disservice for myself but to the person across from me. Trying to be boring enough so maybe they will want to end it and take the burden off me. To me that is exactly what the “timer” is, a tedious way to regulate a date before it even begins and if we are having a great time, trust me I don’t want you to leave just to keep the facade alive of your “plans”.

What do I do now? I tell the person the truth. WHAT!? You would be amazed at how much less invasive the truth is. This is NOT a skill I had inherently, this was something I had to teach myself. I had to build up my own belief in the idea that I need to protect myself a little bit as well. Not from danger but from situations that made me uncomfortable. I was asked once, “why did you stay if you were not enjoying your time?” I said, “I didn’t know what to say.” I was answered quickly, “Why not the truth”… I literally laughed out loud, but when I saw they were serious and considered it a way to care about and/or protect yourself a bit, for someone who is used to giving, I saw the figurative lightbulb over my head light up.  I needed to figure out a “timer” without hindering the possibilities of a good date. So I decided to go with the truth. Trust me the first few times were a little messy, but even the worst ones(which were not that bad), I got a text later on thanking me for my honesty and it was just not something they were used to. And ya know what? It felt really good to be able to protect that inside of myself that feels trapped when I am with someone I am not interested in. It let me go about my day/night the way I wanted without wasting time and energy on something I knew wasn’t going to work. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you are on a train wreck so horrific you can’t even get yourself to look away, but what I didn’t realize is how much less jaded I got when I was able to go into a new date and know I was in control of my own comfort, if I felt no connection I could now openly explain to the other person, in a kind way, that I would like to end it right then, instead of dragging out something and being totally fake. It has made internet dating so much less nerve wracking. It doesn’t lead anyone on and it gives you actual control over something I always thought was uncontrollable.

So how is this different than the timer? I suppose different strokes for different folks, but imagine this if you may… If everyone approached the first date like this, would you even need to tell someone in what would become a redundant, yet currently obligatory text at the end of the night, “I had a good time”. If you made it through the date, guess what is implied? Yup. One change would make a ripple effect on how dating feels. It could literally make a good date that much better because no one is leaving the date wondering. I often reference European culture in respect to not having to question a date and how it went, and being able to be yourself. Take a gander at this article: http://www.myfrenchlife.org/2014/06/18/french-vs-american-dating/ A kiss in the French culture means exclusive. Hookups are less of a faux pa and “dating” doesn’t exist, they don’t even have a word for date. So there is a much more distinct line between getting to know someone comfortably and openly than just trying to get laid. The difference between a date where you are following strange dating mechanics of “doing” rather than “being”. But one step at a time. What do you think? Will you choose to tell the truth next time? Because it really is just that, a very conscious choice. And even if it feels harder, it ultimately ends up being easier on your soul.

The Second Date Limbo

It is so incredibly complicated getting to the second date these days. The rules of “3 days before a call” have long been muddied, if not completely forgotten. Now you are faced with the dilemma of liking an Instagram photo, responding to a Facebook post, texting an indifferent message once every day or two so not to seem too interested but still interested enough until schedules line up. The balancing act of  texts between multiple dates, hoping you don’t message the wrong person the wrong response, timing your texts so not to be assumed you are overbearing.

All these unspoken “rules”, impossible to master without literally not giving a shit, because texts are usually two or three lines of nothing of consequence. So you sit there looking at your time stamps and read recipes wondering if the other person

A is just not interested

B doing the same shit

C has nothing interesting to say

So you question saying hi because saying hi is so damn easy these days. Nothing rings, no running to the phone, just hit a button, tap a screen, flush, and be on your way. The amount of times someone like me who enjoys conversation and interaction gets questioned if I am overzealous is hard to count. If I am in love with you after one date, first you must be amazing beyond words for a text, and secondI woulda sent you flowers.(this is not a dead art dammit!)

(Shit having this blog makes most people assume I am obsessed with love.)

This period between date one and maybe even three or four is confusing, judgmental, and just plain silly. The “I had a good time with you tonight” and if you are feeling generous and not cryptic “would love to see you again” is usually the only sane text after and before date one. It happens somewhere between one and two hours after the first date ends and is usually met with an “I agree” or “me too” but it never defines when you will see the other again. So you are now wondering, should I follow up with a time, or do I wait until tomorrow since I just left. There is no more “distance” because it is so easy to talk immediately after seeing one another. Questioning your own texts perchance they will be taken out of context of trying to get to the next date sucks. Then the time between setting up a time and the date… should you send a few texts here and there to get to know them a bit more?

In my opinion we should use all these communication methods not as a label for “desperate” but a tool to transition smoothly from one date to the next. i understand some people are nuts, but isn’t that what the first date was for? You should probably have a good indication of crazy or not by now. This would allow us some time to talk a little more about our daily life that isn’t considered proper first date etiquette. But nope… We stumble and question and end up looking at a slew of texts over a period of time assuming the other person, if their texts start to amount to something more than a screen’s worth,(mind you this is still probably no more than 10 sentences on 4 inch screen), is a loser, has no other prospects, is obsessed, or likes is more than them. All of this is a false sense of balance and it blows. And remember if you see the “is typing” animation don’t text before it sends or you look too desperate… Growing up in the AIM generation doesn’t help me here haha. 

Don’t even get me started on trying to call someone…..

Things Change

I used to believe there was this conscious effort that went into finding the right person quicker than others. I am not talking about meeting them and then getting to know each other, but through personal exploration, sense of self, cultural differences, there was a possibility to see fireworks/ hear music the first time you met. That to me seeing multiple people at once, I.E. “Dating”, was a waste of time where you could be learning the most you could about one person to see if it would work or not, then move on. Shoot like an arrow so to say.

Movies like 500 days of summer made me wince as she took on multiple relationships at once, mind you a very different and intense version of “dating” but one I figured was and is happening all around. People who are afraid to commit, so they just wait until enough time has passed where a decision is made for them on which side of the coin they choose versus flipping it.

But what I am realizing as I learn more about myself is that sometimes that first date is nothing even close to who we are regardless of how self aware we are. In my case, being hyper aware of my surroundings caused me to unintentionally act differently. Validating myself so the person across from me would accept me, putting our needs as whole to the side and worrying about what they thought. The simplest example is being unsure how to tell someone upon first meet “I don’t think this is going to work out” and remove myself from the situation, without becoming uncomfortable.

So now that I am becoming aware of what it is to be myself and to act myself, I can see that obviously others have to be going through the same thing. Then take that and multiply it by how far they have thought about it or how much effort they have put into themselves. So it is no longer me thinking that “giving all up front” is the key(although I believe being open is still important), but being able to “be consciously yourself upfront” is an important first step to getting to know someone.

My projections of how someone may date and the such apply to this newer idea as well. To just date 5 people at once is still weird in my head, but I understand it if you are going into it without an act and honestly just trying to let the organic nature of human interaction take its course. We really don’t know the other person on the other end of the relationship and won’t for quite some time. We may feel an attraction and it feels great, but knowing and feeling “happy” are so different.

You can bring in the talk of sex here but I think it goes beyond the physical. It is about the part of you that doesn’t need that sensation.

For me, I feel like my biggest step lately is just understanding, knowing I am struggling and constantly consciously working on being me on a date, that the other person is too. And regardless of the outcome, I am OK with it because I am being me. I can only bring myself to the table. I no longer have interested in “turning the tables”. By learning and applying that I myself become calm, collected, and meditative on what might otherwise be a struggled date through the above, it has made the simple act of breathing out in between sentences and stumbling over context or conversation a comfort and normal.

It feels wonderful when you are OK with it yourself and even better when the person with you accepts it as well. I think it benefits both people, it turns a “first date” best face forward, into a conversation between two people. It opens you up to stories, memories, and things that can bring you joy and intrigue. The two of us are laying the groundwork for a friendship.

I still believe in being an open book, but my book now has a cover to help let me close it if I don’t want to read anymore/need a break or give that great crackling sound down the binding if I want to read more.

Convincing Explanations

I find myself learning more and more about my securities and defenses. I often consider myself someone without walls, which is true to a point, but then I see an act, albeit a very sincere one, being played out in front of me at times. My own mouth the main actor.

For example, if I were to explain to you my ideas of how relationships work and sharing a lot of feelings up front with no reservation, I would give you a scenario about Europe, my childhood, the way of life there, and how I was raised. This gives you context but in a roundabout way of saying my unabated thoughts on the topic. By putting it in this context I have a third degree of separation removed from the idea that you may reject my ideals and the topic at hand. I have placed them into the context of my life instead of me, as a person, in that very moment I am saying it.

On the other hand, I could tell you I think sharing a lot right away is refreshing, a breath of fresh air, and the way I expect to see things; but there is a chance I get rejected from that idea or judged. While that judgement would be an accurate way for me to assess a relationship, in a deal breaker sense, I have created these “explanations” or “stories” that one would tell their boss on a sick day, instead of just saying “I don’t want to come in today, my work is done, I need a day off”. It beats around the truth in the way a Fool jests the truth, making it acceptable to be laughed off or listened to intently. I have found the “formula” for relaying my own beliefs so that the person in front of me can be “impressed” instead of judgemental. I have figured out how to pad myself from rejection or snap judgements. While I still think there is validity in doing it this way, so you don’t get thought of as the “clingy” or “over analytical” person, it doesn’t do much to help me find the person who accepts the things the way I see them in the long run. Later on, the person could dislike the same idea I just told them while we had our first drink as I set off the pyrotechnics with flashy dance numbers. The presentation may have impressed them, but it didn’t help them to assess it for themselves, thus not allowing my own assessment to be accurate.

I get afraid of people jumping to conclusions of who I am, what I like, and how I see the world, because it is true, I do think about shit intensely, I do have a lot to give right away, but I have been privileged to so many people jumping to the conclusion that, “it is too much too soon” or “all I have to give”, that I have searched for the long winded stories that accompany my feelings, thoughts, desires, and self. It is tiring to have to accompany what could be considered a yes or no answer with notation to read chapter 3 and 4 to truly understand the meaning.

I am pressed to write out that explanation right now, to tell anyone reading this that, spending time as a child in Zurich and abroad helped me to see interpersonal relationships in a different light, to feel more connected quickly, to not be disappointed if things didn’t work out, but to be happy to meet new people and form strong bonds, to not find boobs to be shocking but a natural way of life, to sit 1 inch too close because personal space is boring. To tell you about my friends in Denmark and France that I have stronger relationships than I have with anyone here over less time because we accepted one another based off very truthful, raw, moment conversations. To explain how on Sundays every store, gas station, business is shut down, forcing people to interact, go over to friends for dinner, converse, and just focus on the social aspects of life. Giving for one day, interpersonal relationships more importance that our careers and materialistic needs. But it doesn’t help me. It helps you. It helps you to either “accept” my explanation in that moment or it confuses you because you haven’t lived in that world, therefore you accept it as my “quirk” and consider it something you will learn more about overtime. But there is no more explanation overtime, my me, my “who I am” is the same right then, as it will be two months from then, as it will be with a boss, family member, best friend, and girlfriend.

So I am learning, I am growing, and ultimately I am becoming more comfortable being me.

That sparkle in your eyes…

Does this, turned cheesy pickup line, have actual validity? I feel as though there is a moment in any date, relationship, meeting, where the “glimmer” usually enhanced by a dimly lit wine bar or restaurant’s candle light turns from the casual side effect of ambient lighting to an emotional response to the person across the way from you. What the exact cause of it is is beyond me, but my speculation is that it combines the transition in our minds when we go from “getting to know them”, to “wanting to know them”. It is a micro expression of itself that we don’t control when we truly become interested in the person we are looking at. Their words become more interesting, the motion of their mouths slow down allowing us to make out the words before they finish, we equate the lips, rouge colors cheeks, and words as more than just a person talking, but a person we want to listen to tomorrow as well as the very moment we are in. I think the actual glimmer or sparkle is similar to what I have the models I work with do when we shoot glamour, a simple “half squint”.

Cooking show

The photography world according to Peter Hurley has defined this a “squinching” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff7nltdBCHs

When we become sexually involved with someone or we try to entice, it is human nature to slightly purse our eyelids around the eye, this literally causes the refraction of light to change significantly as well as give us a bit of allure. So when we see the person across from as as someone we want to potentially kiss, the eyes squint slightly. But it isn’t just sexual, I find the transition also happens when we truly find the other person interesting mentally. It is our subconscious attempt to make ourselves more appealing to the other person inadvertently, so the lighting that we first introduced ourselves to one another in has now changed in our eyes.

We now have that glimmer or sparkle of the eyes. When that moment happens and you can recognize it, it is truly a beautiful experience. You become more attracted to the person, not because they have magically made themselves “sexier” but because they have given you a subtle hint that the night is going well. They have inadvertently told you, “I am paying attention”, “I find you interesting”, “I want to know more about you beyond this drink”. Be it emotional or sexual(or a mixture of both), the validation of knowing the person you are with finds you, in the simplest of explanations, “interesting”, is really a game changer. Obviously there is the problem that it is almost impossible to make a read on whether they are looking at you for your mind or your body, but when it is a combination and we both have it happen together, it is wonderful.

Guard drops, you feel more confident, and the sparkle will continue to intrigue you to keep more eye contact, which in turns raises tensions, personal connection, and open you up to yourself, allowing the other person in more: comfort. So the next time you are on a date and the lights dim, take a look at the person you are with, and see if their eyes have adjusted to the light or to you.

This sparkle, this glimmer, it doesn’t leave as love grows either. If anything this is something I have noticed, with more emotional attachment, grows in intensity. During day by day interactions it really shows when you are close to them in intimate settings. The “Two Face Theory”.

The First Time – Let’s be awkward, together.

Since, because I am a lover of discourse, the (wo)men of the city, rather than nature and the countryside, are my teachers. – Plato, Gorgias

With the current trend of books like 50 Shades of Grey hitting the top selling lists, you would think we would all just throw each other in cuffs, a blindfold, and have mind blowing sex the minute tensions arise. But like that book, life is filled with typos and awkward moments.

For me, that first sexual encounter always brings with it a level of anxiety. I am not talking run out of the room or curl into a corner anxiety. I am talking about having no idea beyond the few text interactions leading up, perhaps a Facebook stalk, and subsequent dates/drinks/light hearted conversations we have had, what the person in front of me actually likes, dislikes, gets turned on from, and if they care what turns me on.

I have always, since a very young age, raised with 5 sisters and hearing their horror stories of dates, made it a mission to be in control of my body, emotions, and sexual prowess. In short, I want to please the person in-front of me. I didn’t want to be so selfish that it brought someone to tears, so I put this first interaction before myself more often than not.

I will be the first person to say I have had difficulty performing the first time many times. Not because I am not extremely attracted to the person, but because I find many people when you first dive into this part of the relationship, get closed off and quiet.

Shit even typing about a first sexual encounter makes me question how it will come off to the general populous. Will I be judged for having sex on the 1st date or 10th? Will I be judged for not being able to perform? Will you just think I am broken or a player? Regardless I am going to tell you what it is like for me and then what it is like the second time.(even if that second time is a half hour later).

The first thing I do is gauge the lighting. I find that depending on the person the lighting is super important. Some want to see what they are unwrapping in front of them, and others want it to be a classical lights off, closed eye kissing, “first time”. I listen to their breathing while we kiss, watch the corners of their mouths as each kiss restarts over and over for that curl upward. I keep my eyes open majority of the time to see if they will make eye contact, I find the face of someone at that close proximity in what could be described as a broken down boundary to be beautiful. We can fall for someone at a distance or a 5 foot safety, but that close, the face becomes a new thing to look at, enjoy, and breath in. I love catching their eyes, having that moment where both I and they close them quickly almost embarrassed, but even more I love when the gaze gets locked. It helps to turn this very strange first exploration not only physical but emotional.  

That is something that is so hard when you first begin any physical exchange with someone, is understanding that much deeper level of emotion. Sex is intense and it does change things, I don’t care who you are. And what guys will never admit, is they are MUCH more subject to this kind of emotional attachment from sex than women are. For some men it is a territorial thing and some it is intimacy, or a mix of both. For me it is about the connection and not being positive it is a mutual feeling yet. And I don’t expect it to be clear that first time.

Are the hands on your back holding tightly because you are nervous or because you want me closer. How do you gauge what your emotional level is at this point anyway. Easy answer? You don’t. I don’t care if you are someone with a 3 date rule, 10 date rule, marriage rule, sex is so damn personal, no set of guidelines and conversation leading up to it is going to make it smooth. Sure you may be able to be dominant or submissive right off the bat, but there is a connection we all strive for that is mutual. When we let our guard down and don’t play a “role” things become scary. And this is why sex is scary for me at first, I am emotional, I love romance. However I have been a Dominant Leo all my life. Since I could first get it up I always found some sort forms of BDSM extremely sexy. Nothing in the self depreciating world, but the whole tied down, blindfold, outfits, and things that just spice the act up.  I may not be a certified dom and definitely too shy without the right trust to say the right things, but I am extremely observant and have learned quite a bit on my own. To have a partner in crime who is comfortable makes me comfortable, opening up the gate to a whole lot more.

But my big secret is that since I knew what a wet dream was, I was a submissive mindset. Let me define this better, I love to not have to control everything, I love for someone to be strong and be able to help guide me a bit or take control of the situation. I find it captivating when there is a balance of give and take. I will have my jaw break before I give up on figuring out what pleases you, so why should I expect less in return? Should I just accept the female/male power dynamic of “women can hold out sex to control their man?” What century are we in? To have put the same amount of thought and research into the male body as I have the female seems fair to me. I am 30 and still learn new things. So how can you as a woman who knows your body is different than others and will often admit it openly, say, “because it worked on the last guy”. I don’t want you to pull away because I can’t get off after X minutes like your ex and you feel depreciated or belittled. I am a new person, this is a new chemistry, and I am taking it all in. It is beautiful and overwhelming.

Why am I even talking about this when I am talking about “first encounters”? It all ties into the idea that you just don’t know that first time. You don’t know if you should pull the hair or caress it. You don’t know if you lock eyes if they will think you are getting too “involved” subconsciously and reel back from intimacy. So to even get to the more inner expressions of desire, I muddy my way through every bit of emotion I can get my hands on.

“It’s so prehistoric, all men care about is performance, but they have an appendage that doesn’t work if they are worried about performance.” – Love and Other Drugs

After all of this, you are usually fooling around for a certain amount of time before you actually engage in some sort of sexual intercourse. So now my mind is thinking about 10 gazillion things, your body language, your breath, your gaze, your emotes, the fucking lighting, all while trying to keep my little guy ready to go. Even talking about it makes me laugh out loud, there is no way to do this smoothly unless you have the ego of a neanderthal and are just there to get your fuck on. Add to that the worry that the person you are with will feel rejected if it takes you a moment after the foreplay to re-gain your “manliness”, and it is just a “rock hard” formula for disaster.

The sex itself is also an exploration. I have actually taught myself to be more vocal so the person I am with knows more of what feels good, but even then that first time, all I can think of is, “I don’t want to disappoint them” I want them to orgasm and feel good, but sometimes it comes at a small cost of exhausting my own ability without the right mindset on their end afterwards. I want to exhaust myself the first time, with a smile on my face, because I know the next time, I have so much more awareness and so much more emotional attachment.(yes I know, emotional attachment… scary)

The best experience I have ever had was when the person I was with, laughed during the awkward moments. They knew it was OK to be messy, it was OK to be scared, it was OK to have anxiety. It is amazingly fun to explore the other person, to ask awkward questions, to look to please the person you are hoping to see again and again. It is fun to touch the parts that have been covered up all night, it is fun to pull back for a moment and look, it is nice to start with the lights on to see what you have wanted to see for however long it has been before getting to this point.

So yes, I am not the perfect first time, but the second time, which could literally be after I go pee and relax for a half hour, I have heard your moans, I have touched your body, I am intrigued by your “sexual” look, I want to feel you again, and all of this lifts a huge amount of that first time pressure and allows you to just be more in the moment, but more connected at the same time. I got to see what you are like versus getting the synopsis in what these days is the obligatory “sexts” prior.

It can be equated to the simplest form of intimacy, the first kiss. After the first kiss, you know something about your partner, you know they are interested in you too. And so you pull about a foot away from them, open your eyes, and giggle a little, then you just start making out as if you have never kissed another person in your life because it feels good, physically of course, but emotionally, to feel as though you are validated. The person you are with is now partly closer to fulfilling the possible “meet the parents” question. OFF THE FIRST KISS? Yes, off the first kiss. I don’t care what anyone says, if you are actually looking for a relationship, open to dating, and want more than a one night stand, your mind will subconsciously run every scenario of the future it can, even if that subconscious moment is a nano second in between pursed lips.

So I am here, stumbling through my love life, and OK with it. Those imperfections, that struggle, that is what makes it worthwhile. Those moments when you get that tiny bit of validation, confirmation, two minds as one, and you literally smile from the inside out… I may have a moment where I am a stallion or a moment where I am a broken mare, but each moment is beautiful for what it is; sharing an intimacy with someone you hope will share it back, and each day that intimacy turns more into familiarity, that face when you are so close your noses touch becomes something you wish you could get a prescription glass to see it more clearly, and that person becomes someone who you look at and think, “It is OK to tell them about my 51st Shade of Grey”, so that familiarity doesn’t become stagnation or routine or a power play. Call it what you will: love making, fucking, first times, last times, they all are part of a process. I was once told through a message on my dating profile,

“"hmmm… This guy is a little too honest.“ … Then I thought, "I use to be that honest… When did that become a bad thing?” “

We set rules and guidelines based on social norms, the news, our friends experiences, disconnected(but well intentioned) advice from those around us, a revolving inspirational meme on tumblr, or a youtube video explaining “how to ____”, but we forget it is nothing more than someone else’s experience. I make sure to apply my own needs, wants, insecurities, and awkward laughter to the person in front of me, not the idea of what is happening, but what IS actually happening. I don’t know how to not be myself and that often scares me.

“That something is difficult is one more reason for us to do it" – Rainer Marie Rilke, Seven Letters to A Young Poet

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