Month: September 2015

Day 5: How the Date Went (written on the 9th)

I’ll start by saying, I don’t think I have all my answers to the questions I wrote last time. Let me tell you how terrible I am at following through. Hopefully, it will be an ongoing process.

_What do you expect from this relationship?

His answer: (It isn’t clearly defined, but he wasn’t at all phased when I told him the past year of my personal life has been pretty rough. Neither was he phased by me saying I might marry someone one day. Nor by the fact that I want a traditional Assamese wedding. He isn’t phased by much. That’s kind of different.)

_Do you have any STDs? How frequently do you get tested?

His answer: No. (the second part is unknown)

_How frequently do you expect we will be having sex? (I need a serious answer)

His answer: (I haven’t found out as of yet.)

_How much time do you reasonably expect to see me in a week?

His answer: (I have gathered from our exchanges that it will most likely be one or two times a week. He seems pretty easygoing).

_Do you want this relationship to be monogamous?

His answer: (I haven’t found out as of yet.)

 

Anyway, the important part–the date!

To give some context, I haven’t gone on too many dates in my life. I went on about 3 in college. The first two were with a very traditional white, Christian guy who was great company and with whom I enjoyed some decent food. He called off the whole thing after the second date, though, so I didn’t really get to know him very well. And the third was with this white, Jewish RA guy who spent as little as possible on me but took me to pretty cool places, and generally only wanted to get in my pants.

This date was actually really cute. Okay, so to give more context, (I realize I almost never mention the place where I live–for safety reasons, but this isn’t going to make any sense if I don’t put that information out there) I live in western Massachusetts. Me and the date guy both live in the same little town. Our original plan was to eat brunch at the restaurant under the Book Mill in Montague, but that didn’t end up happening because we couldn’t find parking.

Instead, we went to this place out in Greenfield, which is a little further away, but I love the all the quaint countryside you pass by on the highway. I also really like date guy’s company. He’s such a dork. He must have turned the wrong way about 3 times on this drive, and he did nothing to hide this, either. Like me, he enjoys making fun of white people (he’s from Brazil. He considers himself brown, too.)

Then we spent the rest of the afternoon on the bank of the Connecticut River, at this little spot in Greenfield. I can’t remember exactly where, but there was this very pretty bridge.

(to be continued)

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Day 2: Tinder

It’s true, I have more thoughts.

There is a reason why I’m more excited by the interaction I get on Tinder. The conclusion I reached last night was Tinder satisfies that stupid human need for an adrenaline rush. I figured this out while I was talking to Smart Friend while she drove me home after hanging out with a few friends. She specifically said a lot of people on Tinder are looking for hookups. Cue: red flag. And then it all made sense.

I thought about it. On OKCupid, you answer a TON of questions that measure your compatibility with other people. It’s also suggested that you fill out several sections about yourself. This provides people with a lot of information about you–your goals, what you’re doing, where you’re going in life. You could potentially gather enough information about a person to figure out whether or not you could live with them or whether or not you want something long-term with them. This is all very useful practically for the person looking for a partner. Romantically, though, there is always something to be said about mystery, or just the possibility that there is more to someone than what you see. If the OKCupid formula is used correctly, it can definitely find you a person well-suited to your needs, but might also kill the intrigue.

On the other hand, Tinder is all about those vague and stupid “sparks” people obsess over in romantic relationships. You see someone, *sparks*. You message them, you meet up (without ever really indicating what you expect from a relationship, what length of time you expect the thing to last, how romantic and/or sexual you would like it to be–if we’re only going by what people say in their profiles), you have however much fun you want with said person, and hopefully it’s a good experience. If it’s not, hopefully you have salvaged enough of your heart to be able to pick up your sorry ass and move on.

I personally have no belief at all whatsoever in “sparks”. I mean yes, I have experienced that carnal attraction to someone I find very attractive. But that’s not what I build my relationships on. I used to do a lot with “sparks”. It wasn’t very fun at all. The strategy I use these days is–protect my heart, just to give you an idea of where I’m coming from.

It’s ironic, but the first person I’m planning to meet up with is someone I messaged on Tinder. Now begins that most arduous task of meeting for the first time and laying out my expectations. What I’m going to do now will seem rather bizarre, but there’s a list of things I plan to cover on this first date, which I will include here. I feel these are things I should be allowed to bring up on a first date and expect honest answers. If we can’t discuss these things, well then that’s a deal-breaker. Afterwards, I’ll see how much of it I actually covered.

_What do you expect from this relationship?

His answer:

My answer: In a nutshell, what I’m looking for can be summarized in the word “cuddle buddy.” I’m not really looking for sex at the moment. I’m not opposed to it, but it’s not my primary reason for starting a partnership. If that’s your primary reason, then you’d best move along. I will not satisfy you. I’m also not looking for love. I have no interest in something long-term and demanding. I have one year left in the place where I am currently, and then I will most likely move pretty far away. I’m not looking for deep, emotional attachment. If that is something you want, you’d best move along. I will still leave in a year. Your ass will be heartbroken.

However, if you like having someone around with whom you can eat cider donuts, go foliage-hunting, check out random art galleries, or sit on the couch and watch a movie, I’m your person! At this moment in my life, I’m more into the read-on-the-couch-together aesthetic than I am in a DEEP PASSIONATE ROMANCE thing.

_Do you have any STDs? How frequently do you get tested?

My answer: No. I try to test every 6 months if I can help it. I’m due for testing soon.

His answer:

_How frequently do you expect we will be having sex? (I need a serious answer)

My answer: Not much, if at all. Once a month seems pretty generous. Admittedly, I’m probably a gray-scale asexual. I don’t require much sex.

His answer:

_How much time do you reasonably expect to see me in a week?

My answer: I’ve got quite a bit going on this semester. I’m basically working the equivalent of two jobs, and I might pick up a third. All are things I want to be doing. If you like spending study time with me, then we’ll probably get by. I can’t be spending nights all the time. I’m too busy. I can spare maybe one night every two weeks.

His answer:

_Do you want this relationship to be monogamous?

My answer: To be super honest, no. I think I’d like it to be an open partnership, just because I’m at a point in my life where a lot of things are transitory and I don’t like committing to anything too exclusively. Though if it really bothers you, I can be monogamous. Just know that if I find someone better has come along, I might leave. That will probably hurt a lot.

His answer:

 

I think that covers most of the bases. I’m beginning to like the word “partnership” to describe my romantic endeavors rather than “relationship”. The latter just always seems so serious. It also implies so much. I feel like “relationship” immediately conjures up monogamy, long-term, mostly-heterosexual, traditional power dynamics, traditional romance, traditional sexuality, and traditional everything. Sometimes that’s okay. I think in the long-term, I’m more traditional than I let on. But for right now, I need to break a few rules. Mostly the traditional ones.

Day 1 on Tinder

I think one of the reasons why this whole online dating process feels so bizarre to me is because it actually takes me a little while to figure out I’m attracted to people. I’ve got to have at least one conversation with them, online or otherwise. I thought about it and I realized OkCupid and Tinder are just basically Facebook. What differentiates online dating platforms from something like Facebook? You know for a fact that 99.9% of the people you see on these platforms are looking for a partner, whether that’s romantic, sexual, or both. Some of them are doing that just by looking at a picture of you. Isn’t that weird?!

I created a Tinder account, too. This app makes…absolutely…no sense. If you wanted to, you could literally just swipe right for hot, left for not. That’s Tinder in a nutshell. Some people write stuff in the little profiles, which I’ve actually been reading because I swiped right on a 21-year-old not too long ago, and I’d like to be seeing someone who is at least my age, thank you very much.

On Tinder, I give much more credit to folks who get creative. There was a profile not too long ago that was created by a guy posing as a glitch, claiming he was just bits of stuff put together. His pictures were, as he describes them, “a mix of photography, 3d modeling, and glitch art”. I messaged him.

I also messaged a guy who had a cello in one of his photos.

Both have replied, which is kind of exciting. Although why I am more excited on Tinder than I am on OKCupid escapes me at the moment. I get this vibe that Tinder users are just being slightly more honest, and are not as likely to be fuckbois. That might just be because I’m impressed by all the bells-and-whistles of a cleanly designed dating app. It just seems more legit.

I also have 4 other matches, and one message I don’t plan to reply to. All matches so far have been from men.

I’m sure I will have more thoughts on this soon.

Day 1 on OkCupid

I have decided, after much deliberation, to succumb to this online dating phenomenon. I do so rather reluctantly. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned or I just have a lot of pride, but I actually do not believe in online dating at all. I just think it reduces people to a commodity, to a degree. I feel like there’s something to be said about seeing a person as a human first–literally–and your potential partner or what-have-you second. This is a lot easier to do (in my opinion) when you see them in real life than when you see them as a picture on a website. Regardless, I’ve decided to give it a go.

The reasons

My reason for making this decision probably spells my imminent failure (but then again, which person has a dignified reason to resort to online dating? I’m letting too much of my pride show).

What happened was, I found someone (before I started online dating) who I felt was actually worth the time I was spending on him. He’s very smart and very handsome. He also speaks my language, which has an allure that I never thought it would have. There’s a lot about me that he understands without me ever having to explain it. I’ve been surrounded all my life by people who think I’m a novelty, or some exotic beauty. It would be nice to just be a human around someone.

However, he isn’t looking for a relationship at the moment, so we’ve agreed to be friends for now. It’s not as sad as it sounds. He lives far away, and we’re both oh-so-busy graduate students anyway. Sometimes it’s pleasant to observe someone from afar.

I came back to my little college town with the goal of doing a better job of building community for myself. I’ve been doing so by spending lots of time with my mostly female, platonic friends. We have a lot of fun, but since we’re platonic and all, it’s not really possible to cuddle with them before going to bed at night. Not that that’s a requirement for me to get by, but it would be nice.

Thus, I began my social experiment. That’s probably a terrible way to think of it, but at this point, I really can’t take this process seriously. It’s hilarious.

Deception at it’s finest: Creating an OKCupid Profile

I decided I would try both OKCupid and Tinder, since a good handful of my friends are on both. I started with OKCupid.

I actually really like most of the profile questions. They’re probably all the things I consider, but never give voice to (because we intuitive types can’t always explain what we’re thinking). Some of the ones I like:

  • Would you strongly prefer to go out with someone of your own racial background?
  • Do you believe your country would be more or less safe if every adult owned a gun?
  • Say you’ve started seeing someone you really like. As far as you’re concerned, how long will it take before you have sex?
  • What is the most exciting thing about getting to know someone?

In your profile, you have the option of filling out any number out of 8 different sections: My self summary, What I’m doing with my life, I’m really good at, favorite books, movies, shows, music and food, Six things I could never do without, I spend a lot of time thinking about, On a typical Friday night I am…, You should message me if.

I filled out all 8, to varying degrees, as well as most of the “My details” section on the right side. I’ve decided to indicated that I’m “heteroflexible”. I mean, it’s true. All of my relationships have been with men. But I’ve been attracted to women before, and I’m not completely closed off to the possibility of dating one, though if the person in question is looking for a life partner, I might have to disappoint.

Even before I was finished writing, people were already liking my page. I must have received 15 likes in that first hour alone, though since I refuse to upgrade, I can’t view who is liking me. I’m guessing the likes were coming because I had uploaded a picture before I started filling out sections. I used that picture of me from the “About me” page, with the hat. People seem to really like that picture…

Anyway, then I started browsing people. I already notice some patterns. First, women are more likely to write more in their profile sections than men. They tend to include more details about what they like and what they are like. The profiles in which men were very detailed included a lot of lists or, oddly enough, were from men in very tech-y fields. The vast majority of straight men’s profiles are very stereotypically like…”I like hamburgers. I’m a chill dude.” In other words, I don’t find significant enough details in most men’s profiles to really piece together a person.

I noticed that the vast majority of my profile views are from straight white dudes. Go figure.

Lastly, maybe this is just the area I’m in, but I also notice that there are a lot of skinny ginger guys who post a lot of shirtless pictures. I don’t know what that’s all about, but I’m decidedly not attracted to the aesthetic.

Initial Contact

Not surprisingly, I received two messages within two hours of creating a profile. One was from a Middle Eastern guy with a kid. The other was from a SWD. I’m pretty naive, so I messaged both of them back (after briefly consulting with my other online-dating-savvy friends this morning, I soon learned that this is a no-no. From this point on, I don’t plan on replying to anyone I’m not actually interested in, at least in some way). It literally took 4 messages for Middle Eastern guy to suggest meeting up. White guy was hinting at it by the second. Clearly, folks are thirsty.

I reached my first match within 3 hours of browsing around. It’s with a woman. She has a lovely profile photo, very flirty with red lipstick and curly brown hair. I just feel like if we were ever to meet, I’d want more so to be her friend than her date. Maybe I’ll message her. We’ll see how that goes.

24(ish) Hours Later

I received 4 more messages from random people who I’m probably not going to reply to. I think the best one so far just said “hey hun”.

It’s kind of cool, I’m close enough to New York that people from there are included in my radius. I’m definitely seeing more diverse profiles when I browse New Yorkers. My friends caution me that I might receive messages from crazies in the city. I don’t doubt it.

Why sexism will be the last system of oppression on earth

I have to ask because it occupies a lot of my thoughts.

Would a man ever willingly give up his masculinity?

Would he ever give up that 23 cents he makes so a woman can earn a dollar?

Would he ever willingly turn down a position of power so that a more qualified woman could take the position?

Would he give up wearing relatively comfortable clothes in exchange for clothes that are less comfortable and of worse quality just because it’s what women want him to wear?

Would he change his entire diet, worry constantly about his body, because women want him to look a certain way, and he isn’t acceptable in any other way?

Would he use all kinds of whitening creams, constantly cover his face in public, just so he doesn’t tan because he is less acceptable when his skin is not as light as possible?

Would he be okay knowing that, from the day he is born, society only views him as useful when he marries? That he is safest when he marries? That when he marries, for all intents and purposes, he becomes the property of the family he marries into? That changing his last name means renouncing the people who loved him his entire life, the people who would take bullets for him, who gave up an empire for him, who built a new one from scratch for him? Would he be okay giving that up?

Would he accept knowing he is never safe, not at night, not during the day, no matter what he wears, no matter what he carries?

Would he be okay knowing he is inherently weak?

Would he be able to accept that the medical industry does not exist to serve him, and that his health will be systematically othered? Would he be able to accept that less research has been done on the way his body operates, therefore diagnoses for him will be less accurate? Is he okay with knowing that if these diagnoses are less accurate, his life could possibly end a lot sooner than expected?

Could he be content with the way women will treat him as a disposable sex object if he makes himself too vulnerable?

Could he be content with knowing it is constantly his responsibility to preclude pregnancy, and in the case that someone becomes pregnant as a result of his actions, it is generally considered his fault?

Could he be content knowing that most of the world views him as the primary caregiver for children? Can he handle having one or multiple very young lives be dependent on him? Could he raise a child alone?

Would he be comfortable knowing that, no matter how right he is, no matter how much evidence he has to support his claims, no matter how many people back him up, everything he knows means very little or nothing unless it comes out of the mouth of a woman?

Could he accept that the skills that are conditioned in him from childhood are considered less important than the skills that are conditioned in women from childhood?

Could he accept that he is less intelligent?

Could he accept that, if he is raped or sexually assaulted, his rapist will most likely not be indicted, in most cases, not even be caught? Is he okay knowing that his rapist and hundreds of thousands of rapists roam the streets as free people? That they still vote? They can still ride buses and drive cars? They are allowed to eat at restaurants? They are allowed to keep their jobs? They are still given human rights? That these people, who commit acts of violence, often multiple times, look like normal people? That rape is so normalized?

Would he be comfortable knowing that to most people on earth, his life is secondary to the lives of half the people on earth?

Would he be comfortable knowing that the people who are most likely to commit violence against him are the very people he loves the most? The people in his family, the person he is intimate with, the person he marries?

Would he be comfortable knowing that no matter how much money he makes or how high a position he achieves, he will never have true power?

If this was the world he had to live in, would he live in it?

Would he willingly give up his masculinity, and live in this world of his creation?