To Tinder or Not to Tinder?

Just last week I had the great pleasure of discovering the new dating app called “Tinder.”  I suppose I am a little late in the game, as my friends in more forward-thinking cities like Chicago or NYC have been “Tindering” for some time now.

To give you a little background, if you haven’t Tinderized your life yet, this app takes your first name, age and profile picture from Facebook and creates a mini profile for you.  You can change the pictures and add a little “About Me” section as well.  It also shares any “interests,” a.k.a. anything you have ever “Liked” on Facebook and matches them to guys (or girls) that you are searching.  You can pick the age range and distance directly from the GPS on your phone to find people you’d be more willing to date in your area.

And so, with all my pictures carefully chosen and a clever one-liner in my “About Me” section, a ventured on to check out the men in my city.  I opened the app and immediately a guy’s face pops up.  His name was Kevin, he was 25 and he loves the outdoors.  He was an average looking guy and we had similar “interests” in Cardinals Baseball and the Saint Louis Zoo (how precious).  At the bottom of his simple profile, there was an “X” on the left and a heart on the right.  I click the heart.

Why not, right?  Everyone likes to know when someone thinks they’re cute so I figure I am boosting his ego a bit if anything else.  As soon as I click the heart, a new screen pops up that says “You’re a Match!”  My eyes light up with joy and now I’m addicted.

On Tinder, if a guy likes your picture and you like his, this new matchmaker screen pops up and the communication lines have opened.  You can message each other and talk about whatever you think the other person wants to hear.

This is where my problems begin.  I highly dislike text message conversations.  No one can tell how funny I am in a text message.  My cynical tone falls flat against the screen of my phone.  I end up sounding like a huge bitch or a giant idiot…or both.  It’s usually both.  I feel like even saying “hi” I sound like an ass and thus, my conversations with any new guy ends instantly.

My first match, Kevin, messages me instantly and says the ever so eloquent, “Sup?”  I immediately start to dissect his question.  How should I respond? Should I sound equally dumb so that I don’t intimidate him with my intelligence?  Is he asking how I am feeling or is he asking what I’m currently doing? Does he like, really want to know about my life?  I decide to respond with the equally blasé, “Not much. You?”

Twenty minutes later, I stare at my screen, refreshing my Tinder every thirty seconds or so, waiting for Kevin Tinder’s response.  Since you can’t see last names, I gave everyone the last name Tinder.  Still nothing.

Okay, so, he hated me.

Our future relationship is officially over.  I decide to return to the Tinder profiles and forget about Kevin Tinder.  It wasn’t meant to be, I decided.  I swipe through a few more guys before I find a new future boyfriend.  This time I think I will have a more interesting response and that will keep him interested.  But what would be interesting? I could tell him I am watching a funny movie.  Guys love funny movies.  Or maybe that I am about to go to the gym? (Even though we all know I am sitting here with a bowl of popcorn and a bottle of wine).

I have not been then stressed about a conversation since my last job interview.  Every word mattered and one slip could turn to radio silence.

I’d bee on Tinder for a full 24 hours before I told my girlfriends about my new obsession.  I wanted to have at least one ongoing conversation with a guy before I let them in on my secret dating strategy.  As fellow outdated St. Louisans, they were equally unaware of this new Tinder World.

One friend quickly met Keith Tinder, a Navy officer new to town.  My friends also gave their guys the last name “Tinder.”  It was our not-so-subtle code that we met said guy on Tinder.

They became equally obsessed.  It was like a bad drug.  No, it was like the bad side effects of a good drug.  It was the hangover without all the fun of drinking.  There was a moment of euphoria upon finding a match, knowing a guy out there in the world thought you were cute and then thirty seconds later you crash into reality and you’re back on the search to find someone to match with.

Craving attention from a cute guy or being told you’re beautiful is not a new thing for women.  Or men, really.  Who in this world doesn’t like being told they are good-looking?  It’s a universally wonderful feeling.

And yet, just like online dating websites, Tinder already has a bad rap.  Online dating is much more prevalent now, but there are still plenty of people who are skeptical of anything other than the old fashion 3D dating game.  If you’re not running into your future husband in the grocery store or at a happy hour, it’s just not right.  One of my married girlfriends was particularly against online dating.

“How do you know they are who they say they are?” she asked.

“How do you know the guy who buys you a drink in a bar isn’t a murderer?” I retorted.

I agree, it’s easier to make yourself seem more interesting online, putting up your best pictures, properly doctored through Instagram; where in real like “what you see is what you get.”  And yet, there are stigmas when it comes to meeting people in the real world as well.  You can’t meet anyone for a long-term relationship at a bar, those guys just want to get in your bed and out the door before the sun comes up.  Maybe at the mall? No, he’s obviously gay or shopping for his girlfriend.  The grocery store?  Maybe, but what is he buying?  All junk food? No thanks, he’s probably a lazy slob.

Stereotypes are everything.  And everyone everywhere is prone to snap judgments.  It’s nearly impossible not to scrutinize every little thing people do and say.

After five stressful days of half-assed Tindering, I decide to drop my account.  Not because I am against online dating, but I found that the guys on Tinder might be as skeptical as I am.  What if I am not the blonde in the picture?  Or what if the picture is four years old and twenty pounds lighter?  I suppose they don’t know the reality that is me any more than I know about them.

And besides, my sarcastic nature is so much easier to take in person than on paper.  I think I’ll take my chances at the grocery store.  You can find me in the booze aisle.  Er, was that too much information?

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A Day in the Life…St. Patrick’s Day

Oxalis acetosella

Oxalis acetosella (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The story might be a couple of weeks late, but it’s still March.  Cheers to the Irish!

The alarm on my phone beeps loudly into my ear.  I’ve purposely placed my phone under my pillow, so there would be no chance of sleeping through the alarm.  It’s 6 A.M.  Any other day of the year, including Christmas and my birthday, I would not wake up this early in the morning.  Of course, I’ve had to wake up earlier for work occasionally, but I am grumpier than a mama bear in winter on those days.  This day though, March 17th, I quite literally jump out of bed to start my day.  The house is still dark, the sun barely up in the sky.  My friends are all sleeping in various places.  This is also one of the few days we still get together, putting our busy lives to the side for one day of frivolous, ever ridiculous, behavior.

I step around the sleeping bodies, around the air mattresses and suitcases and jump into the shower.  I let the water run cold for a few minutes to shock the last bit of sleep from behind my eyes.  Not only do I start this day early because it is my favorite day, but be

cause it’s necessary.  Sharing one shower with eight or more girls, depending on how many people could make it out, means shower time must start early if we want to be ready to go before 5 P.M.

When I step out of the shower, some of the girls are already waking up.  Coffee is brewing—with Bailey’s of course, and breakfast is about to begin.  Every year, we make green eggs, green pancakes, EXTRA bacon and a few other sides we decide to make that year.  It’s always a mouth-watering, hearty breakfast, the perfect meal to start the holiday.

I quickly throw on pair of sweats as the next chick hops into the shower.  I start pouring cups of coffee—half Bailey’s—and passing them around.  The girls who are STILL asleep, I quickly pounce on, yelling at them in a terrible Irish accent and jumping on their beds.  By 8 A.M. breakfast is ready for devouring and everyone has showered.  With breakfast, everyone has a choice of drink, as long as it includes alcohol.  This may sound like a bit of a drinking problem, but on St. Patrick’s Day, it’s perfectly okay to start your day with a drink.  Choices include: Bailey’s Coffee, Mimosa, Whiskey or just go ahead and crack open a beer.

I quickly scarf down my breakfast, burning the roof of my mouth, but I don’t have time to sit and eat.  My chore for the morning is about to begin.  No

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t only do we dress up in various shades of green, I paint up everyone’s faces as well.  I’ve always enjoyed doing other people’s makeup, and holidays like St Paddy’s or Mardi Gras are great for getting creative with it.  I set up my makeup station in the living room, spreading out the various eye shadows, eyeliner, glitters and more.  I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to doing makeup, so even if the outcome is a crazy leprechaun face, I take special care to make it look just so.  I take a few gulps of my beer as I let the liquid liner dry; and one of my friends brings me a shot of whiskey.  Another friend brings me a jello shot.

Jello shots are one of my favorite treats about this day.  Not to brag, but the jello shots I make are delicious; orange jello with Whipped Cream Vodka, and green jello with Malibu.  We made them the night before, around 150 little cups of green and orange taking up all the space in the fridge.  By the time I finish everyone’s makeup, most of the jello shots are gone.  I can handle a bit of alcohol before I get sloppy, so I have no problem finishing everyone’s makeup with precision.  I look around at all the sparkling little leprechaun’s I’ve created and smile, perhaps a little drunkenly.  I smile again to myself, to have so many good friends to spend this day with.  Not many people are so lucky.  Luck of the Irish, perhaps?

We each grab another jello shot and cheers to us, cheers to friends, parades, parties and all the memories we were about to make, but probably won’t remember.  I take the shot, and forget the rest.

Slainte!

The Good & Bad of Writing for Free

I recently read an article about the advantages and disadvantages of writing for free in an expensive and money-hungry world.  The article  started off with a man who was asked to write an article for a publication, sans payment, and this man happened to be a paid writer.  He wrote back saying he would not do such a thing, when his writing was his source of income.  The article goes on to talk about how the average paid writer was able to become said paid writer, because he started out with a bank roll in his pocket.  It’s disheartening to think that the writer’s that make it big are mostly there because they had someone (i.e. mom and dad) paying their bills when they first took that internship in NYC or other expensive city.  The writers who are trying to get into the business without anyone paying their bills will forever have a harder time getting anywhere, because they have to work 40 hours a week to eat, have a hot shower and a roof to sleep under.  When that writer comes home at the end of the day, sleep is the only thing that sounds appealing, not writing a 1,500 word essay to a magazine that won’t pay them for their efforts.  However, newbies in any business know that any acknowledgement of their work is usually worth the effort.  That one free show you perform or short article you write could get you recognized by someone who could get you that dream job.

I’m not exactly in the bank roller class, but I’m not without help if I need it.  It’s a tough position to take a stand on because I don’t want to stereotype all rich kids into being bad writers who only making it because Daddy’s money bought them an internship.  I think writing is a talent anyone can have, rich or poor, but I do agree that it is much harder to move up in the business without knowing somebody who knows somebody.

Then again…there are those random success stories like J.K.Rowling‘s, who was supposedly eating paper for dinner before Harry Potter changed her life.  Hopefully when someone Google’s my name in twenty years, I’ll have a similar story.  Although, if I can keep eating real food over paper, that would be really great.  Fingers crossed.

 

Check out the article here: http://gawker.com/5989280/when-people-write-for-free-who-pays

Ode to an Online “Window Shopping” Enthusiast

As a financially challenged twenty-something trying to make a living in a big city, keeping up with fashion trends by buying new and expensive clothes can be difficult.  And by difficult, I mean almost impossible.  By the time I save enough money to buy a dress I’ve been eyeing for weeks, the dress is no longer available or there is something new, gorgeous and expensive that I want.

It’s a rough life, I know…but something I find that helps me get through these hard times is window shopping, online and out in the world. I love and generally prefer window shopping online.  I’ve got about fifteen items, give or take a skirt, in my shopping cart for several different websites.  Even though I don’t actually buy any of it, it’s fun to browse the websites and see what is out there.  In doing this, you might actually find that you have items hidden in a box somewhere that are similar to the new things in your shopping cart.  Especially now that vintage is in, dressing up old rags is the way to go.  So when you find that old t-shirt with a crazy, fat cat wearing sunglasses on it, don’t throw it out!  Instead, throw on some ripped skinny jeans, neon flats and flashy earrings and poof! you have a cute and casual outfit for a Sunday Funday.  Another closet to raid for the vintage trend is your mother’s or even your grandmother’s! Snag those floral printed skirts from your grandmother’s hippie days or a pretty brooch to pair with a simple blouse for a flirty happy hour after work.

Window shopping online is kind of like using Pinterest to find new recipes.  Check out what styles are trending on all those clothing sites and then dig under your bed for that plain jane dress you thought was never going to work; and watch it make a comeback with a new emerald-green belt.

I will admit, I recently caved and bought this super cute, 50’s style, royal purple dress from Modcloth.com.  The dress sat there, in my shopping cart, taunting me for weeks and I finally bought it to wear to my friend’s birthday party.  But what made the outfit come together, was an old neon purple headband with silky black feathers, which I found hiding in a box in my apartment.  Combine the feathered headband, my favorite nude pumps, the new purple dress and voilà! Perfect party outfit and a great night out with friends.

Go Big or Go Home

If you have never seen the movie, The Girl Next Door I highly recommend it.  Actually, I enjoy most corny, funny, obnoxious movies; including Legally Blonde, Easy A, House Bunny, Grind…heck we could even get musical and throw Across the Universe in there as well.  But the one theme they all have in common, my favorite thing about each of these movies, is the “fuck it” attitude of the main characters.  The title players in these movies take chances, make moves and do what makes them happy, even if it doesn’t quite follow the standard quo.  In Girl Next Door, Matthew falls for a girl in the porn industry and turns his average world into chaos.  But instead of losing control, he just goes for it.  In all these movies, the characters just go for it.  Now, I know these are movies, fictional stories and fictional lives, but that doesn’t mean I can’t follow a similar theme!

I think one of my first, “just go with it” moves was packing up and heading to New York.  Two of my friends moved to Chicago around the same time.  We just packed up are lives and moved to a new place to try new things.  Yes, saving money is important, and bills are always stressful.  But I think what stresses me out more than having good credit or having all the newest stuff, is missing out on the fun things in life.  Like going to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade every year (even if it means playing hookie), tweeter pic2taking random trips to visit friends, visit family.  I would hate to be held back by money, even if I don’t have it.  So I don’t mind working crazy hours in the food industry and writing, writing, writing until 2am, if it means that when I look back at everything I did that year, I’m smiling.  Because if you aren’t enjoying yourself, what is the point?

There are so many movies with this attitude, and books as well, that tell you just to let it all go and go for it.  Even TWILIGHT talked about it!  When Jessica gives her graduation speech, her theme centers around action and changes and new beginnings.  “Change your mind and change it again,” she says.  And she is right! And you don’t have to be in high school to change your mind, either.  You can be 45 years old and decide to do something different; cut your losses, and move on with a happier attitude.  If I only live to be 50, or if I make it to 110, I want to know that I had the best time I could possible have.

Like Ferris says, life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it.

And like they say In Girl Next Door, when you look back, you’ll want to know, that the juice was worth the squeeze.

Cover of "The Girl Next Door  (Unrated Ed...I LOVE CHEESY LINES AND CORNY METAPHORS.

That’s really all I’ve got tonight.  I am having a live in the moment kind of attitude tonight, and I thought I would share it.  I think if more people did things that made them happy, and thought less about how the future will turn out, they might enjoy their lives a little more.  So go out and do something crazy, in a positive way!

A Terrifying Task

William Faulkner's Underwood Universal Portabl...

William Faulkner’s Underwood Universal Portable sits in his office at Rowan Oak, which is now maintained by the University of Mississippi in Oxford as a museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SO.

I have finally buckled down and started writing consistently every day.  I don’t count random short stories, because those jump out of my head constanly.  I have five or six unfinished short stories that I have started in the past two months, but the book…that I have ignored.  Not because I don’t have the ideas in my head, or scenes played out that I want to put to paper, but because I thought writing an actual book would be terrifying.  Well, it’s not really.  When you just look at it as a giant short story, something that you don’t have to share with the world if you don’t want to, it’s not so bad.  I finished three more chapters in the last week and I am pretty pleased with that.  Things were going nicely until I received an email from Writer’s Digest (I subscribe to them regularly).  The email was focused on the Query Letter, which thus far I hadn’t thought much about.  So I started reading and now I have a new armpit-sweating, heart fluttering fear.  The Query Letter.

In just three or four little paragraphs, a writer must convince its reader, generally an agent, publishing house, etc.,  that her manuscript is the next big thing.  For me, this is much more difficult than writing the actual novel.  When it comes to talking about other people, I could come up with something clever and witty in a New York Minute, but when I have to talk about myself, or my writing, I clam up.  It’s easily the most annoying quality I have (my close friends are not allowed to comment on that).  However, the internet is a valuable asset in this respect, so I Googled this life-changing letter and how to write one; and there are so many examples all over the web.  There are even agents who publish examples and critique them so you can find out just what you need to say to impress the right people.

Of course, my manuscript is only in the beginning stages of life, so technically, I can wait a little while longer before I let the stress of this Query Letter destroy my life.  As a now unpublished, fresh off the farm kind of writer, everything still seems big and terrifying; even blogging.  I am still terrible at it, mostly because I am inconsistent.  But they say the first step on the path to change is admitting your fault, so I guess that means I’m growing. YAY.

Soon enough though, I’ll be putting my big girl pants on and sending out a thousand Query Letters; and hoping, that at least one of them will come back to me with good news.

 

City Life as I Know It

I’ve lived in New York City for a few months now; and so far, it isn’t that different from living anywhere else.  I sleep, I eat, I spend money and I try to make enough money to pay the bills.  All things I already did back in St. Louis.  But then every once in a while, as I ride the subway from Queens to Manhattan, or take a cab across the Queensboro Bridge into the city, my stomach does a little dance of excitement to see that city skyline.  And then again to walk the streets at night and look up at the thousands of lights from the buildings rising into the clouds. And of course, the beauty of Central Park, densely packed with huge trees and curving pathways, in the middle of all that concrete, is something I am awed by every time I walk through it.

The stress of life can be overwhelming anywhere, but I have heard all that concrete of city living can weigh down on a girl, and I have noticed that feeling already.  I heard a quote once, that a place is only as good as the people in it.  I think that is just as true in New York, with all its city sparkle; if you don’t have good people to spend down-time with, life is a lot less fun.  So even though I already love this city, I love that I have good people to enjoy my time with as well.  I don’t think anywhere would be a fun place to live, if you were all alone.

Oh, and I am EXTREMELY excited to see the city all dressed up in holiday decorations and SNOW.  I will take the difficult travelling if it means I get to see the city blanketed with snow and glittering Christmas lights. Aaahhh, the holiday season!