It’s Going Down, I’m Yelling Tinder (Part II)

I tell my cousin that I’ve joined Tinder and, I kid you not, the first thing he tells me is that it’s not the place I’m going to find my wife.

So now I hope I do, entirely out of spite.

And because I believe in healthy relationships, clearly.

My cousin goes on to tell me that most people on Tinder are there because they have too much baggage. He tells me I may get a couple of first dates out of it (which would be a couple more than I’ve ever had), but that’s about it.

I tell him that’s fine. I can handle baggage. I’ve got some too. We can spend those first dates comparing package sizes.

After my profile has been meticulously created, edited, re-edited, edited once more and then edited again, I’m finally ready to start judging people entirely based on a couple of photos and a paragraph.

Bring it on, real world dating.

The one thing no one ever warns you about Tinder is how immensely satisfying it is to judge people based on appearance. With a simple flick of the wrist you can send another person into oblivion, never to be heard from again with a big red “NOPE” stamp across their face.

Unflattering picture? NOPE!  Bad angle? NOPE! Look like you’re way out of my league? NOPE

I assume this is how all the pretty girls in my high school felt all the time.

It. Is. Awesome.

It’s instantaneous satisfaction! And it’s okay, because I know a whole bunch of people (see: nearly all of them) are doing it to me. There’s so much power! This must be what it’s like to fire people for a living. You know, without the uncomfortable crying (well, some crying – why won’t anyone love me?!?)

Is it weird that not matching always seems to sting more when they’re better looking?

That feels pretty shallow…Which means…I must be doing this right! Who’s next?!

After more time than I’d like to admit, I finally get that friendly little alert that tells me I’ve matched with someone – the digital equivalent of making eye-contact in a bar, and equally terrifying.

What the hell am I supposed to do now?

I mean, I don’t have any lines. I’ve never even approached a woman in a bar before (that’s true, sadly), except once. Where, after seeing the woman for a serendipitous 5th time of the day and embarrassingly specific urging from my group of friends I tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me – I don’t do this often – but, you’re the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life and can I please, please, please by you a drink.

After several uncomfortable seconds (possibly minutes, or even hours, I wasn’t exactly checking my watch at the time) she took be by the hand to the bar across the street. Unfortunately I don’t think that will ever work again, and Tinder is a bit too digital to take anyone by the anything, and so I’m stuck.

Luckily, I matched with a girl who doesn’t mess around, and she contacts me first.

And she says to me: Hi there, I haven’t seen you on here before! I’m a little drunk, have a father issue – are you looking for great anonymous sex with no strings attached? Click this link [tinyurl].

That’s an awfully complex question to ask someone right off the bat. I mean, I don’t think I’m not looking for great anonymous sex with no strings attached. On the surface that seems like something I’d be fundamentally OK with. But then again, I’d like to think that I’m probably looking for something a bit more than that. I mean, she didn’t even offer cuddling afterwards. More importantly, when was the last time clicking an anonymous tiny url ever led to anything “great”?

I politely declined, with a “no, thank you,” and went merrily on my way; reassured by the fact that if I can’t find a wife on Tinder, at least anonymous sex robots are looking out for me.

It’s Going Down, I’m Yelling Tinder (Part 1)

So my friends, out of a pity for my perpetual single-hood (which let’s pretend is my choice), or in a far more likely desire to watch an inevitable and reoccurring train-wreck have signed me up for Tinder.

If you’ve been living under a rock, or in a happy and healthy relationship, Tinder is the “dating” app  that takes your primal impulse to find and point out every single flaw in another person, and matches it with the equally primal impulse to not put a lot of effort into doing it.

It’s cathartic, in a “so many people are turning me down in the space of a couple minutes,” kind of way. 

To join Tinder, you must first create a profile. Aptly, and probably prophetically, this is where my trouble starts. In the beginning.

It’s important to understand – I take awful photos. So if I’m going to be judged entirely based on my looks then I want to make sure I’m putting the best I’ve got out there.

That way when I don’t match with anyone I’ll know for sure: it’s not them, it’s me. Because when you try your best and fail, well, that’s on you, kids.

And then there’s the strategy behind the photos. It’s 2015, there has to be a selfie but there can’t be too many, because that’s just self-involved. Plus, do I want to come off as a guy who doesn’t have anyone to take photos of him?

You’ve got to have a picture with friends, proving that you do actually have them. But it should probably be with friends who aren’t better looking than you, which is a distinct problem for me. And if your friends are of the opposite sex then it needs to be a large group, lest anyone think you’re sticking photos of you and your ex – or worse, your current paramour. And then there can’t be too many of them, or how will anyone know which one you are?

There’s got to be a travel photo, with a tiger if you can manage it because nothing says “I’m significant-other material,” than a hungry-looking tiger.

Next comes a photo in formal wear, to let people know you’re the kind of guy that owns a suit.

And finally, a photo of something that isn’t you. Because coming up with five pictures of oneself is hard. So here’s my dog. Now, LOVE ME!

And then you’ve got to write a profile…

I’m a writer. I get paid to write things. I’m pretty proud of that.

It took me a while to get here, after flirting with being paleontologist, an archaeologist, a baseball player, a professional pirate, a semi-professional pirate, a lawyer, an amateur pirate, and a journalist between ages four and 26, I think I’ve really found my calling.

Or I did, until I was faced with having to write a goddamn Tinder profile.

How do you capture the nuances, the emotions and vast wealth of experiences of 26 years of human living?

I like to chill and watch Netflix. World Traveler. 5’11. DTF. I love scotch and adventure.

Or, you know, not. I mean, 5’11? As if.

How much do you let people know?

Do you keep it to your likes, or do you open up and get a little more personal?

Sports fan. Dog lover. Wine drinker. I spend all my spare time in the gym. I know the lines to all of Gilbert & Sullivan’s patter songs by heart. When I was four I slid down the stairs on my stomach and liked it a little too much. I cry to Elton John songs while shame-eating cookie dough at least once a month.

Or maybe it’s best to keep it vague and simple. Something like,

I have all my appendages intact and a socially acceptable number of fingers and toes. If you’re looking for a man, in the anatomical sense, I’m your guy!

The End of Lent Ultimate Playlist

I have cravings.

Cravings for strawberry ice cream.

Not the store-bought kind that comes in a box or a tub. Real, parlor-made strawberry ice cream.

That kind made with actual cream. The kind so thick you have to use some muscle to separate a scoop with a little plastic spoon.

And it has to be eaten with a spoon, out of a bowl. Never a cone. Cones adulterate the taste, and if the ice cream is that good, you don’t want to eat it with anything else.

That’s what I want. Strawberry ice cream. 

Yesterday it was blueberry pie.

Day old and refrigerated so the filling is cold blueberry pie. With a small scoop of vanilla-bean ice cream.

Or maybe a piece of carrot cake. A piece three inches high and topped with cream cheese icing. And it has to have the little icing carrot on the top, so that you know it’s carrot cake.

And today I can have it all.

Lent is over, and with it ends my sugar ban.

In celebration, here’s my ultimate end of Lent playlist:

Pour Some Sugar on Me – Def Leopard

I Want Candy – The Strangeloves

Sugar Daddy – Hedwig and the Angry Inch

How Sweet It Is – Marvin Gaye

Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones

Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

Lips Like Sugar – Echo & The Bunnymen

Sugar on my Tongue – Talking Heads

Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics

Sweet Child O’Mine – Guns N’ Roses

Sugar and Spice – The Cryan Shame

Blood Sugar Sex Magik – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Sugar – Maroon 5

Sweet Emotion – Areosmith

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd 

Ain’t She Sweet – The Beatles

Sugar Sugar – The Archies

Bonus: The discography of Sugar Ray

The Marshmallow Theory

I came up with this one sunny April morning while walking from Boadilla del Camino to Carrion. It was a good morning.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Love is a marshmallow.

It’s not something you have often, but you’re always exited when it comes your way.

Your friends are jealous when you have it, and too much too fast can make you sick.

If you’re not careful, someone might try to take it from you. 

Let it fall and it ends up in the ashes.

It can be easily lit, and can just as easily flame out.

Play with fire for too long and it gets burned. 

Neglect it and it goes stale.

When it’s gone you’re left with a sticky memory that’s hard to get rid of.

But if you nurse it just right, and warm it to gold, it’s perfect.

Love. Love is a Marshmallow.

I Walk The Line

I would make an excellent soldier.

Apart from my very rational irrational fear of being shot at, my staunch pacifism stemming from a strong adversity to pain, my love of complaining about all things trivial and a physical fitness level that sits somewhere between “hippo” and “walrus”, I have all the traits necessary to excel at soldiering.

Which is a long, and rather sarcastic, way of saying: I’m good at following orders.

I’ve always liked rules. I was the kind of kid that did not pass GO, did not collect $200 and proceeded straight to jail. Because a well implemented prison system is what separates the civilized from the psychopathic. It’s the social contract, and frankly, good board game etiquette.

I never moved after being caught at freeze tag (which at my formidable girth was rather quickly and often), I did not exceed my allotted five minutes at the debate table and I called my own fouls on the court (which, of course, was rare).

But my panache for colouring within the lines is no more apparent than between the chalk-white bars of a city crosswalk when I’m new to town.

I cross when the man says cross. I stop when the red hand says stop. And I hurry along when the signal starts flashing, because I know the environmentalist trying to make the left-hand turn in his Hummer in the downtown core has places to be too.

It doesn’t matter if there’s traffic or if the path is clear. I wait for the signal.

I don’t have anything against jaywalkers. I can appreciate the need to get to where you’ve got to go and that the shortest distance between two point is a straight line, the fact that an 18-wheeler acting on the same two point principal happens to wish to occupy the same space as your impatient ass notwithstanding.

But I have a rule about jaywalking: only locals can do it.

It’s the same rule that possesses London city officials to have “Look Right” painted at the edge of every crosswalk. Locals don’t need to be reminded, I’m sure they don’t notice. But there’s a reason every tourist returns from a jaunt across the pond with an Instagram of common sense painted on a city road.

Because Darwinism was winning.

If you’re not local – that’s to say, if you don’t haven’t been living in the city for a six month period – you shouldn’t do it. You don’t understand the rhythm of the traffic yet.

And it’s painfully obvious to everyone else.

At any given moment in any given city at any given crosswalk you can spot them. Those people who think they have this place all figured out. Those people making confident strides towards the little white man only to freeze midstride, in perfect imitation of the man that just disappeared, replaced by the giant red hand.

And then you can see it, often as you glance up from your phone while stepping into oncoming traffic (but it’s ok, you’re a local, you’ve got this) – that moment of indecision as the red hand flashes.

Do I stay or do I go?

How far is it to the other side?

How much time is remaining?

Exactly how flattened will I be after that bus runs over me?

Shit. Shit. Shit!

If you look hard enough you can see their life flashing before their eyes. Right before they bounce back up onto the curb like the street were made of lava. Then they look around to make sure no one saw that (we all saw that, outsider) before taking a deep breath and making the mental note for a fresh pair of briefs.

Remember: traffic signals save lives. And laundry detergent.