Lost in Txtlation

These are the cookie crumbs for my depreciating mind.

Tag: tristan pope

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...

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… Some of my best childhood memories include talking about the same kiss over and over with my date the next day on the phone when we couldn’t see each other for another week due to school, work, or our parents haha. It is old wives gossip, but about the feelings you are being swelled up with. Now we have so many ways to do it and instead of embracing it, we outcast it, we make those who use it feel restricted, and we ultimately restrict our own growth and natural inclination to be “obsessed” in the best possible definition of the word. Why does it matter if we give off the “vibe” that we have 1 or 20 different people we are talking to at once. There used to be a thing called courtship and even less exciting, interest that doesn’t fade the minute the date ends. I prefer interest, intrigue, and the yearn for more. I choose to embrace it, regardless of my future dating schedule that I feel inclined to play out or my past dates. If that night felt amazing, I want to share that moment with you for a little longer.  And for someone that multi tasks his breaths, it is extremely valid.

Personally, the last time I said I love you to someone it literally took my chest almost exploding to squeeze it out and when it came out it was messy, tear filled, but it felt right. I love you is probably the hardest phrase for me to squeeze out of my mind, heart, and mouth. With the amount of divorces within my family, I air on the side of caution as it is. I believe in the small grand gestures still. I believe that asking someone to be your girlfriend is as important as to marry you, because you only get to do it once in the relationship.

Although I must admit if you looked at this blog out of context of me as a whole you might think all I want is love, but I just love to think about it, discuss it, and those thoughts are literally a fleeting second of a billion others. I analyse, I think, I observe. This is all part of who I am. I will pick sides of the fence and dig in, not because I expect to be right, but I believe in choosing things with the chance of a conversation later on to change it. I eat humble pie well. But I grew up with a lot of teeter tottering of those around me, so I built into myself the ability to decide and move forward. I think that alone can often scare people, because they don’t want the “conflict” or “debate”. To me it is part of the normal conversation. I often get told “let it happen”, “don’t think too much”, but I can’t. I am not wired that way. That is OK too, it just may differ from another, and that is OK too. But both are valid as long as you feel it is the way you want to be.

“I observe the world around me way more intensely than some, which may sound like it is stressful, but for me it is just the quick fire of a synapse in the brain, and it is over. I can totally chew gum and walk at the same time. This is why my heart, under a microscope, is probably bandaged up, split, cracked, and splintered, but still pumping strong. So if you can multitask thoughts, understand that I am not married to just one outcome of a conversation, and enjoy talking because it leads to… more talking.”

Cause(s) and Effect(s)

This often relates to first dates in terms that I think I am still trying to convince people I am worth their time when first meeting. Sure I have been making sure to take care of myself and the slew of new things I have learned:

Convincing Explanations

Or even the first impressions one makes on that first date:

First Impressions

One thing I am yet to shake is my childhood need for acceptance… approval… making them know I am worth their time. That is one backward ass sentence. But when you feel like you are in a proverbial rush to the finish, the finish being “interest” or “other suitors”, you can often find yourself giving so much so fast that it becomes a less intimate way of sharing and just a bullet list of things you don’t want to have to regurgitate. Thinking the shock and awe value floating over your head later might hurt things. Mind you these things are you, but I have often convinced myself if we don’t get it all out on the table right now we will probably ruin everything later or run out of time to tell them in the first place before the race ends. The difference between the European “How was your day” and the American answer of Good, versus “Well actually it was X Y Z, good or bad”. But this is where time is truly needed:

Do I actually miss you?

And it is amazing how time can slow when two people are ready and willing to step forward together.

What I forgot and is extremely important… when a person is interested in you for you, they make it known. There is no romantic comedy “chase”. There may be some resistance where they will tease back, but they will put forth effort too, they will want to see you, text you, talk to you, like your posts, etc. You won’t just one day “come out of the romantic closet” to the other person. Interest goes both ways and manifests both ways. If they cannot show it and you need it to be shown, perhaps it isn’t the right match. If you like to put in effort and they can show you what you need to feel the sense of approval than so be it! But it is so true that just going with the flow in this scenario is a better decision.

A scary decision.

An unnatural decision.

But the right decision.

The Two Face Theory

There are two faces to every girl. The face you see when you come home from work, the face you see when you are covered in daily dirt, even the face you see when you cry. That is face one, the one. Now there is face two the one where you are so close. You are face to face, all blemishes to see, yet all I look for and hope you see the same in me, is to see a sparkle in your eye. I want to find that sparkle and have it last forever, I want to find that sparkle, not make it an endeavor, by this I don’t want the games to play, some drama here or there, is fun but maybe just today and tomorrow, and then a day off, sure it can be exciting I won’t deny that feat. The simple touch and connection I want to find, seemingly something you can find. So in this second face you and me, we will kiss and it will last, last and last, just because kissing is amazing to me, and in that second face to kiss with an eternity going by. The longer the better in my eyes. Sometimes to be slick the writer will say it lasted for the perfect moment, but want the moment to be more than just a moment, I want it to be the rest of my life.

My new 2014 Reel for Http://TristanPope.com

Socks and Underwear

I saw an image that depicted what society thinks to be love between a woman and a man. The heart is located in the mans crotch and the womans heart is in the chest, but next to it, it has the “reality”: The mans heart in his chest and the womans in her head.

For me love has always started in my mouth. I talk about my life, my experiences, my stories, and my thoughts of the day to see how it hits the significant others mind. To see how she processes my spew. From there my heart begins to go to my eyes and brain. My brain watches her to see how she handles social situations, herself, if she is independant, co-dependant, emotionally connected, likes, dislikes. If we pickup on the same things around us. The ability to say “Did you just see…” and her to turn to me going, “OMG HIS HAIR WAS ON FIRE!”

Social situations hold a lot of water, because I am very sociable, yet reclusive in my own ways. I give off an exterior of confidence but under my arms are telling a different story. I want someone who can handle themselves but also be aware that we are there together and together we can be a stronger team. It is the old idea of both being in a room, one surfing the web and the other reading a book. Being together but being perfectly content to be “apart”. Independent but situationally aware.

My eyes look to see how she dresses, what she looks like, if I still am attracted to her as the days go on. This is a real thing by the way. Beyond the “puppy dog infatuation” the rules of attraction change on a day to day basis. The best thing you can hope for is everyday she becomes more attractive to you. You start to pick up on her body, her smiles, her emotions, and they just make you smile on the inside. That feeling of the butterflies but because you know you are still together.

After this my heart starts to slowly make its way to my chest. But before the ribs open up and let it in, my brain, eyes, mouth, and heart all have a sit down. They discuss what just happened, what they saw, heard, felt, and ultimately make the choice to finally spit out the words “I love you” not because it is the perfect timing or the logical next step, but because if I sit at that conference table anymore my heart will pop out of my chest if I don’t let it control my mouth to yell, whisper, cry out the three simple words, “I love you”.

This is the process of love for me. To be able to finally say I love you is such a freeing feeling for me being so analytical minded. It gives my head breathing space to just be. To be able to have my heart in my chest and just believe in it, in the way she looks at me and know the best parts are still to come now that this has opened up the ability to truly love even more is beautiful. I guess I also set myself up for a scarier fall if they change their mind after the fact, because if I say I love you, I am not just reciting one of the most overused phrases in our culture. Love is an action. We have to be willing to show it, not just say it. And we have to grow with it.

Majority of my relationships stall out on the mouth part. Sharing so much, yet in my mind so little of the “deeper” shit, up front scares a lot of people away. This is the one thing I refuse to compromise on. I am either me 100% or not at all. I refuse to have thought about love, romance, relationships, life, etc so much to have to penalize myself for having a larger outer shell with less fear of breaking my own heart than them to find love in the first place.

The second half of them die when my mind becomes involved. Often I will give such a large portion of my own self, that by the time I have time to process myself, they have moved to the heart and “love” is not the end but the beginning. It frees up the mind to go about growing in society, life, family, and the other shit that gets thrown at us on a daily basis. But many people I have run into get stuck on love so much that I no longer get a picture of who they are, but a picture of who they think I want them to be. Allowing love to hinder the growth of who we could be together. Me be an analytical brain fizzles pretty quickly the minute I feel as though I am no longer able to enjoy their company because it is so focused on “I love you” and “Baby” than the everyday.

When you find that mixture of pet names and living life, wow what a feeling that can be. Living with love, not living for love.

I actually think men need more affection than women. I truly think society has it backwards as guys being the emotionless fuck machines and women being the tissue sucking, chocolate icecream inhaling succubi. We as men are used to being “strong” and when we can be softer it is a pleasure and something we want to share deeply with that special person. The person who makes a holiday picture card seem like a fun activity.

Ultimately I will always value interpersonal relationships over a job or money because I feel as though this world we live in is backwards. I believe we put so much emphasis on the physical things that we literally lose years of life so we can have a bigger inch on our TV when in the end as we take our last breaths who will give two shits about the size of a TV and care about those who are next to us. If I could flip the way we work and retire I think it would make more sense. We are retiring our lives with our “savings” when we no longer have the energy to do what we wanted to experience and we are working away the hours when we have nothing but energy and ambition.

Social media feeds into this misconception of “self”. We post moments from our lives in the forms of 140 character blurbs or pictures on instagram. What is weird though is not only do we have to deal with societal norms and “the way things are” but we each have our own perception of what a picture or 140 character insert means. What weight it holds, what it shows about the person posting it. Although with a job and tangible life it is easier to label an interaction versus a moment posted to the cloud. There are not definitive ways to portray yourself yet “online”. We are making it up as we go along. So for each person you are now faced with a second layer of judgement. What is OK to post about and how are we being portrayed without even knowing? Is it better to show the smaller moments in life? Is it better to keep the bad out of the news feeds? Should be post the $$ signs from our latest raise or job?

For instance, I post a photo of my sock drawer with all new socks after throwing out the old ones.  I think bragging about socks is more acceptable in the world of Facebook then how much money you pull in on a gig. When twitter first came out my first post was “on the toilet” not knowing what anyone would actually want to know about me in a 140 character post as my day went on. I treat social media differently than person B and C may perceive it, and that is a problem, not because it is wrong or different but because you never know if you are talking to an A B C or Z person.  This makes a picture of my sock drawer turn into much more than was intended. Kinda like my writing. Stream of consciousness. Nothing holding more water than the thought ten seconds after this one. So I post a picture of socks and in my own head maybe this is going on: my family has always been surprised when they see me clean and the like because as a kid I was that rebellious asshole and then when I hit college I grew up. So it’s nice to continue to show them. I get pleasure out of their “likes”. I guess I also feel like an adult when I can have a drawer full of new socks instead of ratty old ones I kept due to financial situations or prioritization. It is a silent societal judgment on the size of a metaphorical TV. It’s a constant struggle if we went super meta on a sock picture, that we want to feel like we are living like adults and can portray that through material things such as apartments, amenities, new clothes, etc. so maybe in one way that is why I post it. I post smaller achievements to mask my “unsure” bits about the bigger picture. A 24 hour accessibility that you have no input on, no way to give context to, and a perfect recipe for snap judgement on who YOU are versus the image itself, thus turning socks into a stream of words and emotions you may never have had, said, or thought. But for the person looking on, they can’t help it, it is human nature to analyze the “meaning”.

It amazes me that pictures of your animals or selfies are often more acceptable than a more intimate off the shelf look into ones life. Social media is causing a new level of social disconnection and intricacy to dating. It is causing us to look into the past of someone else’s experiences forgetting the most important idea; the idea of making our own memories. Expecting to get what we see as if we are shopping for a doll or buying tickets to a movie we just saw the preview for. Going home after a date and looking at the past life of the person you just spent real time with instead of thinking of the night you just had, replaying the freshest moments in your mind. We are choosing to live off a post or status update of the one we are with rather than picking up the phone and hearing the persons voice, letting that warm our hearts and meeting up to make our own Facebook pasts. The worst part is we don’t know when it is happening. It is this sub-division of a relationship that we have no knowledge of until it is brought up. Our profiles exist even while we sleep, so 24/7 the other person can be spending time with “you” without you even knowing, unable to respond, react, or give the subsequent emotional context via expressions or inflections. We are accessible to those we love at every moment of every day, and I don’t think that is such a good thing. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. We are suffocating our significant others without even knowing it.

“…non-personalized use of Facebook—scanning your friends’ status updates and updating the world on your own activities via your wall, or what Burke calls “passive consumption” and “broadcasting”—correlates to feelings of disconnectedness. It’s a lonely business, wandering the labyrinths of our friends’ and pseudo-friends’ projected identities, trying to figure out what part of ourselves we ought to project, who will listen, and what they will hear.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930/ (Highly recommend this read)

There is so much more to our own progression through life than we can ever express via social media. There is a limit on how much is socially acceptable to talk about depression, struggle, and failure. So much so that if there isn’t a constant stream of updates and progression of your “working life” on a place like Facebook, you may just be perceived as someone with a lack of ambition and ability to “keep up”. But if you are anything like me, there is no update or photo that can truly explain the everyday struggles and successes between the creative and monetary side of the brain. It is something that real life allows us to make a more accurate assessment of. I am not one for delayed gratification, but honestly I think we really need a more organic approach to all of this.

Then again maybe I just like having new socks and underwear.

Some more Christmas cheer. A little darker this time… 

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I want those “thoughtless” highschool nights back.

So as I reminisce to those moments in high school that I hated. Ya know anytime in high school. lol Ok so I have been thinking of those simple nights in which I sat there with a girl in my arms. We would kiss, we would talk about very little, hardly scratch the surface of each other’s lives, as there was little surface to scratch back then. Yet we would be content. Regardless of the drama caused by all the world around us, we managed to live it up and enjoy each moment, even enjoy a small amount of cat and mouse.

So Ok I don’t want to go back there or waste time with the cat and mouse style games anymore, but part of me wants to incorporate some of the antics back into my life. By this I mean the innocence of it all. The long months where all we needed was the kiss into the late night hours, the dances when we dressed up and went to an unfamiliar place, a drive to no where, a moment when our parents would leave and I would sit you up on the counter and stand in between your legs just thinking about you in my life. Playing with your hair for hours, rubbing my fingers down your arms as you nestled into my chest. The idea that, I was a virgin and so were you, and there was no pressure to do anything but enjoy the simpler aspects of the relationship.

Now imagine incorporating this into a relationship now as we get older. You get the same floating feeling but instead of only scratching the surface you gain an insight to the other person with the time spent. And the idea here is that even if you have the urge to go further into non virgin territory, you hold your ground for as long as you can, and then you keep a lively relationship up to learn as much as possible before you are driven with the other brain.

Imagine, now in our lives, we live on our own, we pay our bills, we are free to do like we always hoped for when in our puppy dog love so many years ago. So let’s fall into each others eyes, head over heels, but keep in mind past experiences so we can catch each other during the fall and not get swept away with false pretense emotions or the idea of love(Ever fall in love with love? I have..).

Sure there are things to do other than sex to keep the tensions down lol, but the point here is that I am going to base my future relationships on this idea, that perhaps the scariest thing in a relationship is to have sex. Why do you think there are condoms, so we do not have children before we are ready. Well why even have to worry about this? Or why even be pressured? When I was younger sex wasn’t even an idea, I was excited enough if you ate some ice cream then kissed me. A simple sensation made extra receptive through that innocence and plain young love/emotion.

Yes I believe whole-heartedly that if you are not sexually compatible it can hinder your true relationships progression. But who is to say you cannot figure out how sexually compatible you are through falling in love before you begin it? What if the simple feeling of love creates compatibility for such an act? Why even use such a strong word as love, what about simple COMFORT with one another?

You can stay in my house leaving a light on when I see when I get home. You can come home knowing I will still look at you with a gleam in my eyes, but this time we are free to be who we were those many years ago, without the infinite odds against us and hormones raging out of control. And even without curfew it gives us a new reason to figure out small things to make the time spent interesting such as: how to sneak in that one last kiss before bedtime.

We will see where it gets me.

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