Reasons Why Your OKCupid Messages Go Unanswered

Pris Killingly: Serial Online Dater, at your service.

A few posts ago, I gave some advice on how to meet people from the internet and came out of the online dating closet. I’ve been a practicing OKCupider for a bit over a year now and have received a ridiculous amount of messages throughout the past few months. Some messages have been awesome and intrigued me right away. Some were a bit more bland and got lost in the shuffle. And then of course, a few stood out because of how absurd or ridiculous they were. When I first got on the site, I did my best to answer each and every message, even if I had absolutely no interest in the sender. Basically, I thought it was just bad manners to allow a letter to go unanswered. But time passed and the more messages I received, the harder it got to answer them all. Eventually, I began only selecting the more interesting messages from people I might potentially want to date or hang out with, leaving the rest to collect virtual dust until I got that message again: Your mailbox (incoming+sent) is almost full. Soon you’ll stop getting messages! That’s when I know it’s time to let the bygones be bygones and off they go into the trash.

I still feel kinda bad about letting so many of these messages go unanswered. There are many reasons why this happens. It’s not always one simple answer and truth be told, while I can be a bitch as much as the next person in my regular life, i’m actually a pretty nice person on the whole and i’d like to think I make for a decent online dater. (If you don’t believe me, i’ve got references!) So for those who are upset that I didn’t answer back, for those that don’t give a shit, or for others of you who are just now getting into the online dating game, here’s a few reasons why your letters might go unanswered. Advice on how to avoid letter rejectionitis included within each explanation.

Please don't be as creepy as Conebone69! (If you get the reference, congratulations. You're awesome.)

1. Your username creeps me out. This is essentially the first impression you’re making on me. When I get an e-mail from OKC, the first thing i’ll see if your username. Make sure it’s something not too over the top. If you reference body parts (e.g. bigblackcock*, ballsdeepstud, etc) or how “hot” you are (e.g. sexypapi69 or something to that effect), I probably won’t want to talk to you. If your username is something too specifically geared toward something that doesn’t interest me at all but is obviously a passion of yours (e.g. dragonwzrdking, gonefishing, anothergoodxtian, etc), I might also not answer. Maybe this is too judgemental of me. Maybe “RonPaulFanboy” has other qualities aside from wanting to constantly fellate his favored presidential candidate**. However, my distaste for RP is too great to get over and as I do need some way to filter out the messages I get, RonPaulFanboy will likely get deleted in favor of someone else.

2. You have absolutely no pictures. This is a no-brainer. Online dating sites allow you, nay, encourage you to post several pictures of yourself in order to give your potential date an idea of what they’re getting themselves in to. I use the allotted 10 image limit that OKCupid gives me to provide others with a good idea of what I look like. Even if you’re just looking to be friends, I still want to know what you look like. If I wanted to hang out with someone whose face I can’t see, i’d call over the gimp.

Huh? What? Sorry, wasn't listening.

3. You have nothing interesting to say. Alright, this isn’t necessarily fair. Maybe you just didn’t know what to say or how to say what you wanted to say without sounding creepy, weird, desperate, or some combination of those things. However, just saying “hey” or “sup?” or “hi cutie” or whatever makes the receiver of the message (me, in this example) feel like a. you’re not very creative and b. you don’t like to put in much effort. And if there’s one thing I highly value, it’s someone who puts forth effort. Make a casual mention about something on my profile and/or in one of my pictures. Or come up with a funny icebreaker. Make it so that i’d feel a bit like a jerk if I didn’t somehow respond, even if i’m not necessarily fully interested. There’s always a chance I might become more interested as a result.

4. You lay it on TOO thick. From time to time, I respond to someone who compliments me on my looks via message. But if that’s the only thing you’ve got to say to me (e.g. “Damn honey, you look good!”), my attention span might not last. Some people also just go a little too overboard with their approach. “You with all those curves and me with no breaks!” is just one of several lines that, while appreciated (this shit makes me laugh always), won’t necessarily work on me, and therefore might not work on many others. Also, people claiming they want to sweep me off my feet and show me everything i’ve been missing need not apply. I like my feet firmly planted on the ground. I’m usually looking for an equal to run around with instead. But I guess some people might go for that stuff.

5. I wanted to answer, but couldn’t come up with a clever response in a timely manner. Basically, I read your message and you seemed pretty cool, but then I had to rush to work and decided i’d respond later. Except then I got home and realized I needed to get groceries, so I told myself i’d write when I got home. But then I forgot I didn’t have any clean laundry, so I went to do that, and when I got back online, Facebook and Twitter began vying for my attention and I completely forgot to write to you. And then, a few days passed, maybe weeks, even months, and then I remembered I wanted to write to you but possibly felt embarassed to do so now, after so much time. This is a rare occurrence but it HAS happened. In fact, I just wrote to someone today who seemed like a fun person to hang out with that i’d exchange messages with last May but then completely forgot to follow up with. We’ll see if he responds.

Why must you insist on making me facepalm so much?

6. You picked a fight with me for absolutely no reason. This has happened. I once had a guy message me to let me know how much he hated Charles Bukowski (after seeing “Ham on Rye” listed as what I was currently reading). He went on to talk about how drunk writers are all overrated hacks (he obviously didn’t know who he was writing to). I entertained his messages for a couple of minutes and then finally got bored and stopped responding. He continued to message me, eventually asking if I was interested in him at all. My jaw dropped to the floor and as I picked it back up, my finger hit the ‘delete’ button.

7. I’m kinda-sorta seeing someone. Kinda. I don’t really date monogamously at the moment. Truth be told, I haven’t really found anyone that i’d want to take such a step with (for various reasons). However, there have been moments here and there, very rare and short-lived ones, where I wanted to see where something might go with someone. And so, I might’ve felt a bit strange answering your message at such a time. Obviously I’m still single and none of those situations quite worked out, so the chances that this is the reason your message went unanswered are slim to nil, but it might be true again in the future. You never know.

Take a lesson from the Fonz. Heyooo!

8. You have absolutely no confidence in yourself. I know this probably sounds mean, but if you don’t think you’re anything special, why should I? No, but seriously, if your first message is loaded with phrases like “I’m really shitty at this”, “I know I don’t have a chance”, or “I’m probably not your type,” well, for one, it’ll make me kinda sad because I’m sure you’re probably a very nice person but are lacking in the self-esteem department. I’m not here to be anyone’s cheerleader though. It’s hard enough to keep my own esteem relatively up (while working against ever becoming too much of an egomaniac) without having to try and let you know how special I think you are. My job is not to massage egos. Figure your shit out, learn your best qualities, embrace who you are, and then get back to me.

9. All your pictures are inconsistent and/or terrible. Some people look different in all of their images. This bothers me to no end. Which one do you REALLY look like? I might still talk to you, but this is always going to bug me to no end. Also, if you’re taking low angle shots of yourself… please… for the love of the gods… STOP! It’s not flattering for anyone. Not anyone.*** I’ve actually been considering lending out my services to people (especially gentlemen) by advising people on which pictures to use in their online dating profiles. Hell, i’ll even take em for you, so long as you quit it with the low angle. Shirtless pics should also be avoided unless it’s a pic of you at the beach/pool/other large body of water and you’re very comfortable/confident in your body (not necessarily that you’re super fit, but that you carry yourself well). Also, pictures of you looking like absolute shit with captions like “Looking like shit after a long night out” or “Exhausted, cranky, looking terrible” should be avoided. Why the fuck do people post bad pictures of themselves? We all have a good side, a perfect angle that captures what we look like and still puts us in the best light. Go with what works. PS. I don’t want to see pics of you in more than one Halloween/theme party costume (unless they’re amazing costumes – dressing in drag isn’t amazing unless you’re actually in the biz of being a drag king/queen FYI). Goofy fact pics should also be kept to a minimum. We might think that’s what you actually normally look like and then we’ll never take you seriously.

Arrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhh!

10. You are rude. “I wanna fuck u” is not a good icebreaker – unless maybe you’re Ryan Gosling. Also, harassing me by sending constant messages after I failed to respond to the first one is a quick way to get me to completely ignore you. Sometimes I take a while to respond because I want to figure out the right thing to say, or maybe i’ve just been busy, or I might be seeing someone at the time and don’t want to try to date anyone else. Or maybe i’m just not interested. (It’s probably that.) Whatever the case, it’s fine if you send me another message a few days/weeks down the line as a friendly reminder that you messaged me before. Make your intentions known. If you’re writing to ask me out on a date and I didn’t respond and I still don’t, take the hint. If you’re writing because you honestly just want to hang out and don’t expect anything, and you tell me this, I might be more inclined to meet you. Or maybe I will want to go on that date. You really never know. All I do know is that there’s few things that irritate me more about online dating than assholes who want to call me names because I wasn’t interested in them. Get over it, psychos. It’s not cool. I should make a Tumblr reporting you all so no one dates you.****

11. The answers to your questions freak me out. Some people don’t take the question portion too seriously and give a lot of bullshit answers while others try to be as honest and consistent as possible. I don’t always read through people’s questions because, well, I don’t usually have the time or attention span for it. However, sometimes I like to give it a once over. Some red flag answers for me that might cause me to NOT answer you back? Anything that indicates you’re anti-choice/pro-life, extremely religious/religion-oriented (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, whatever – it just doesn’t interest me and will likely cause major conflicts down the line), you don’t believe in evolution, you’re Republican or agree with the Tea Party in any way, you’re racist, you’re sexist… Need I go on? Everyone’s got their hot-button issues and these are mine. Don’t like em? I don’t want to date you.

12. I’m just not interested. Sometimes people just aren’t interested. I’ve sent out messages that went unanswered and lived to tell the tale. They either had one of the above reasons for not answering, had a different reason, or, the main reason – they just weren’t interested. And that’s okay. We’re not always physically, mentally, and/or emotionally attracted to everyone, no matter how nice and good looking and pleasant they might be or appear to others. It happens.

Hope that shed some light into this potentially perplexing problem. Now get out there and date some strangers! I swear it’s good for you.

 

 

*I’m not using any actual usernames i’ve seen to protect the quasi-innocent.

**Just joking about this. Kinda. I really don’t like Ron Paul or the kool-aid drinking following he’s got, but i’ll save that for a different post.

***Alright, maybe some porn stars can get away with it, but this is because we’re looking at other body parts most likely and forgot to check out the face.

****Future project? Maybe that’s a little too mean…

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10 Minute Moments: Adjusting

Woke up with a stuffy nose, and I know it’s because my room is a mess and because I keep forgetting to take my allergy medicine. The sun isn’t even up and I’m not sure how I’m still awake. Or rather, how I woke up at all. It’s the end of February, and the only thing that makes me realize is that time simply refuses to sit still.

I think i’m going to try to do a little free write like this whenever I can. Too often, I jot down ideas of what I want to write about, I open drafts that I never publish, I write but I stop myself because it’s not perfect. Except that writing is never perfect. Art in every form is constantly changing, morphing from one thing to the next. Or maybe that’s just the kind of thing you think when you’ve slept maybe 10 hours tops in 3 days. Who knows.

I started a new job on Monday. I’d been waiting to hear back from them for about a month now. So far, it’s going alright save for the whole waking up before dawn part. Living out in the suburbs certainly doesn’t help the situation.

Other random thoughts as of late?

– Sandwiches are fantastic. I got hooked on Po’ Boys this month after celebrating Mardi Gras the only way I knew how (with food, although we had some Abita too. Did a little Boozin Betties write up on it here.).

– I don’t mind driving far distances as long as the traffic isn’t so bad. And yet, I live in Miami, where traffic is king.

– I’m still stuck between trying to figure out if I should try to TEFL abroad next year, or just move to New York, or apply to grad schools and see where they take me, or pack up all my stuff and move to California, land of milk and honey and lax laws about some favored personal items. Or maybe become a rubbertramp, pack my stuff in my car, and travel around. Except my car is unreliable. You see where I’m going with this…

And on that note, time for work. My 10 minutes are up.

From Morgan Avenue with Love (New York City Stories – Take 8)

(…Continued from Part 7)

Disclaimer: This part of the travelogue doesn’t have much about the travel aspect. It’s about a moment during the trip that needs documenting. There’ll be more travel-related destination banter in the next one. So there you go.

The next day, I woke up in the Bronx with a pounding headache, lying next to a near comatose Italian* chef from Detroit. This man was NOT the DJ; this man was not who I was supposed to end up going home with. So what the hell happened?

I wish that I’d taken pictures that night, because my memory is not quite as sharp as I wish it were…

When Lisa and I got to the DJ’s gig, the first thing the DJ did was take us inside and make sure his bartender friend Neela took care of us. We sat at the bar and got comfortable with the plethora of shots that began making their way to the bar, into our hands, and down our throats. The DJ was in good form. He was always in good form. He’s one of those people who always maintain the perfect amount of positive energy. You know when people say “your smile could light up a room”? He’s one of those people you’d say that about. And boy did he like to keep those dark rooms bright.

Throughout the night, we saw the crowds come and go, mixed bags of yuppies and out-of-towners and aging hipsters and people just looking for a night cap. The DJ played on, and took cigarette breaks as often as possible, and then began taking dance breaks as often as possible; his tall, lanky self pulling Lisa and Neela and I out on to the dance floor, smiles aplenty. And the drinks, and the drinks, and the dancing and the drinks until my head was swimming and I wanted to grab him and kiss him and tell him that he still meant something to me, that he always had. The streets of Manhattan were quiet outside while the noise in my head was only muffled slightly by the alcohol.

The hours went on and the party did too. I would sneak over to the DJ while he worked sometimes, and I held his hand, and he squeezed his fingers in mine, and I would get sad because I knew that it might be years before I got to see him again, and how long would this go on? More drinks, more smokes. And then another man walked in, and this one knew the DJ well, so much so that he and the DJ began to dance. Then the DJ introduced us, flinging me into the strangers arms as he made his way back to the DJ booth. This is how I met Parker.

Parker hit me like a ton of bricks. That’s not the right way to say that. He didn’t hit me. But something about him hit me. He had another one of those smiles, though nowhere near as endearing as the DJ’s. But still, he had a good one, and I’ve always been a sucker for a nice smile. Parker was working overtime that night. The way he’d look at me. The way he’d do anything to force me to stare back into his eyes. And my god, did he lay it on thick. “Beautiful.” “Baby.” “Gorgeous.” I would tell him he really didn’t have to, but then he’d spew another “I’m not a player or anything, I’m being serious,” and i’d laugh it off because there really wasn’t anything else to say or do. Lisa began sitting out more dances, buying us more drinks. Parker kept on, and on and on. Until he’d invaded every inch of my personal space, and with his finger tips lifting my chin up, he kissed me. It hit me. Like a ton of confused, awkward bricks that have landed everywhere after an explosion. It was fantastic and awful and i’m pretty sure the only thing I said or thought for a good while afterward was, “Oh, fuck.”

The DJ saw everything. The DJ kept playing music. The DJ kept drinking and smoking. The DJ, the DJ. Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ…

I ran to him like some scared little girl, unsure of what to do next. The DJ was still my friend. I felt terrible about Parker, and worse about what I knew would happen next. I grabbed the DJ and asked him what he knew about Parker, what he thought.

“He’s a good guy.. I like him. You should go for it.”

 

…Alright, It’s been over 6 months since this incident. It’s taken 6 months for me to say all of these things and be (almost) okay with them. But I’ll tell you this: at that moment, it was one of the worst things I’d ever heard anyone say to me. Ever. It’s tough to admit when we’re wrong about something, and even tougher still to admit when things just don’t go your way. Because I know deep down I would’ve wanted there to be some kind of jealousy, or at least a sign to say “hey, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.” Nothing. Go for it. So let’s just say this: It fucking hurt.

Why didn’t he care? This plagued me to no end. He didn’t seem thrilled about the situation, but I couldn’t tell if he cared at all. At that point in our lives, we hadn’t been talking very much. For all I know, he was seeing someone. Maybe having an affair with Neela the married bartender. Maybe he had a girlfriend that he didn’t like to talk about. Maybe he’d just finally stopped feeling that chemistry that had existed between us for so long. I couldn’t be sure. When you’re plastered at 3am in the city that never sleeps, it’s hard to be sure about anything.

What I did know was that Parker seemed to have taken a liking to me. He wasn’t the DJ. The DJ was lost to me now. Parker was real, and his arms would wrap around me, and his lips would kiss me deep, and my head would spin. So I said fuck it.

“Parker wants me to go home with him,” I said to the DJ on our final cigarette break alone.

Parker was back inside, maybe talking to Lisa or Neela, maybe drinking more, I can’t be sure. I couldn’t care less at the time. He was a man I didn’t know and the man I did know was doing everything possible to crush all the feelings I’d harbored for him for the better part of a decade. He smiled and hugged me tight. I wished with every fiber of my being that I could read his thoughts, that he would tell me something that would reassure me that I wasn’t insane. That whatever that thing was that existed between us still did indeed exist. That this would not be the last night. That he cared in some way but didn’t know how to say it, just like every other time had been, when he’d act like everything was fine only to tell me months down the line how much I’d actually been wanted and missed. For fuck’s sake, anything.

“He’s a good guy. Like I said, you should go for it.”

I’m surprised, given how drunk I was, that I didn’t cry or yell or even get angry. Maybe I knew it was coming. I could hear tires driving over the slick streets blocks away. It had rained again, just like it’d rained every day that I was in NYC. I met his gaze and gave him the saddest false smile I’ve probably ever given anyone, and I let him go.

Parker was eager to get out of Manhattan. Lisa thought I was crazy to go home with a near-stranger, but I trusted the DJ. He wouldn’t send me off with a total nut job. At least, that’s what I figured. Parker bummed a final cigg from the DJ and I said goodbye to Lisa, Neela, and the infamous Mr. DJ. Parker and I walked/stumbled down the street, searching for a cab to hail. I could see his Squee tattoo on the back of his calve and figured he couldn’t be so bad if he was a Squee fan. I grabbed his hand and decided to go with it.

In case you're not familiar with Jhonen Vasquez's Squee...

A cab ride to the Bronx. My first time in that most avoided of boroughs (aside from Staten Island, although I’m not sure which one is avoided more – any native New Yorkers wanna take a stab at it?) And then we were inside the apartment, which was by far one of the most spacious NYC apartments i’ve ever been in.

“Just one of the perks of living in the Bronx,” said Parker, who actually absolutely hated New York City, and who had plans to move back to Detroit to open up a fine dining establishment someday.

Sigh. From there, you can guess what happened next. The sex was alright, but not terribly memorable, probably for numerous reasons (we were both too drunk, I was still hurt about the DJ, we’d only just met a few hours before, etc). I spent the next morning hydrating and smoking (his very low grade) grass while he snored away, sleeping off the hangover. I felt terribly awkward about not coming back to Tyler’s for the night. Not that I owed him explanations, but all my things were there and he’d been nice enough to let me stay with him for the duration of the trip. I tried to come up with different excuses as to why I hadn’t made it back to Manhattan. I tried to forget all about the DJ.

Parker had to get to work that afternoon, so we took the train back to Manhattan that afternoon. He got off two stops before I did.

“It was nice to meet you,” we both said, with the knowledge that we’d likely never speak again. I thought about how ridiculous life could be sometimes. So many years feeling one way about someone, regardless of time and distance, and now it was over. 6 months later, I still don’t know how I feel about all of it. Except maybe a little grateful.

The DJ and I discussed the matter about 2 months or so later. I told him how awkward the whole thing was, how strangely I felt about it. He was candid, telling me he just wanted me to be happy and have a good time. That he didn’t feel like he had any claim over me, and that he genuinely felt that Parker was a good guy, that he also wanted him to be happy and have a good time.

“I may be perpetually unavailable, but I’m not a bastard; you’re still a good friend, and I do care.”

…And that’s it, really. That’s the anti-climactic conclusion to the longest non-relationship i’ve ever had, all wrapped up in one New York City night. It feels strange to write about it now, but I couldn’t have written it any sooner. So much has happened since then that I’m able to be somewhat disconnected about the situation. The DJ and I have spoken very briefly online since, but for the most part he’s rarely around and it’s for the best.

By the end of the next day, I wanted nothing to do with anyone. Sometimes people need a night away from the world, to walk silently with ones’ thoughts and memories in a city of eight million people. Lonesome as can be. And that’s just what I did.

But I’ll write about that later, because that night did take me to some unexpected places, including making my first friend from Amsterdam. For now though, it’s 5am and definitely quitting time. Quitting on the past, and quitting on tonight.

Here’s a song to keep you company that’s been helping me out while writing all this.

 

Part 9 in this series will be up soon!

 

*He was Italian and a chef, not a chef of strictly Italian cuisine. There’s a difference.

Song of the Day: Neutral Milk Hotel “Three Peaches”

Taken from the Neutral Milk Hotel official website.

If there’s one thing I love about meeting new people, it’s getting into new (or old) music. Last month, I met a pretty fantastic boy that was really in to Neutral Milk Hotel. NMH is one of those bands I had kind of put on the back burner. Not because they’re not an amazing band. in fact, Jeff Mangum’s voice and lyrics have been haunting me for years now. I first heard about them through WVUM 90.5 FM (the radio station that, funny enough, I wound up working for year later) and then later through my friend Hector who put a few NMH songs on a mix cd for me.

From then, i’d kind of forgotten about them until 2005, when I met a boy in California who absolutely loved them. During one of my trips to Los Angeles, he even tried to teach me how to play Two-Headed Boy on the guitar (I got a little of it but have forgotten since). But after I came back to Miami, and after that short-lived romance had ended, I stopped listening to them. Things didn’t work out with the boy and although I wouldn’t admit it in those days, enough time has passed to say that I was really heartbroken.But  It wasn’t their fault that things didn’t work out with that particular boy. The music is never responsible. It only serves as a reminder of things that might have been, things that once were, things that can’t be. And that’s alright. Because it’s making me realize something important.

See, I’ve spent about 3 hours now listening to this song on repeat, going over so many things in my head that might’ve mattered, that could matter, that probably shouldn’t. The great thing about listening to something over and over again is that eventually, the song means something completely different. It’s like when you say a word over and over again until it begins to deconstruct, decompose. It gets pulled apart, shredded, torn, and eventually it’s completely unrecognizable. The same is true for music. You can analyze a song to death, you can cherish it until it’s gone, you hold it close until you can’t remember why you were holding on in the first place.

And so it is with this particular song, Three Peaches, that I’ve gone through all of this, that’s seen me go through this, that continues to exist. I didn’t even bother to look up the words at first, but then I did, and of course it took on more meaning. But the more I listen to it, the less I want to cry and the more I want to be inspired, the more I want to do. It’s the kind of song that shackles you to the bottom of the ocean just long enough for you to find the key and rush back to the top. It resonates- because we’ve all felt that thing that sits in the back of Mangum’s throat. It’s the same thing that’s in the back of our minds and at the bottom of our bellies and hidden deep within the cavity of our chests, a harsh reality that simultaneously slaps you in the face and then cradles you until you’re okay again.

This song isn’t just a song. It means so much in its simplicity. So much emotion in each note. And to me, it means more than that. It means moments, it means history, it means everything i’ve felt for so few, on such rare occasion, when i’ve actually been capable, and it means a fresh start when it’s finally all behind me.

So listen. Just… listen. And if you hear it, if you know what i’m talking about, well.. then that’s all there is to it. That’s all I can say about that.

Lessons in Meeting People From The Internet

I’ve met over 20 people from the internet in the past year. Some of them have been incredible (the conversations, the outings, the sex), others have been brief and fun, and still others have been downright unpleasant. Many of my friends think this is crazy, and I suppose I can understand this. We grew up at a time when the Lifestyle network was banking on stories about girls being lured online by serial rapists/murderers; girls who would tell no one who they were going to see, and who eventually wound up in a ditch or cut up into little pieces in the woods only to later be discovered by anyone on the cast of Law & Order. But obviously not everyone ends up a victim to (seriously fascinating) internet sociopaths like the Montauk Grifter or worse, victim to complete sickos like the Craigslist Killer. If anything, most of us just end up with a few tame stories about people much like ourselves just looking to connect with anyone.

The first person I ever met from online was an old friend from my days in the AOL chat room back in the late 1990’s. My friend (who i’ll refer to as Alec) and I used to discuss everything from Marilyn Manson to Kids in the Hall throughout a portion of our early adolescence. Then, in 2009 (or 2010?), after many years of random IMs and texts, Alec told me he was coming down to Miami with his girlfriend at the time. The perfect opportunity to meet finally presented itself! We made plans to meet up at the bar on my university’s campus for an afternoon drink. I told my boyfriend at the time about my plans, and he wasn’t too keen on the idea.

“How do you know this guy’s even real?” he asked, more paranoid than usual.

Now, I suppose that it’s true that one could potentially create such an elaborate lie spanning over a decade just to meet one random girl from South Florida. But the odds that the many profiles Alec had created on various social networks over the years, not to mention the phone conversations we had, were actually all falsely created, were slim to nil. On top of that, we would be meeting in a public place during the day time and I was letting people know where I would be. I didn’t doubt that Alec was who he said he was, but I do admit I did want to err on the side of caution.

And so came the afternoon that we would meet. I left class that day in a hurry and rushed over to Titanic for our meeting. It was probably one of the best first-meetings i’ve ever had with anyone. Alec turned out to be exactly who he’d said he was and then some. We continued to speak after our meeting, after he returned to Buffalo, and I even wound up spending an unforgettable time with him in Ohio last Summer – all thanks to the internet.

Not every encounter goes like this, of course. I tell a story about a guy (i’ll call him Richie) that I went out on two brief dates with who I also met via the internet. More specifically, we met via the popular internet dating site, OKCupid. Richie was a native New Yorker finishing his undergrad in town. He was a good looking guy and at the time I had just re-entered the dating scene (having been in a relationship for a good 4 years prior). Richie was the 2nd guy I agreed to meet from OKC. We made plans to meet near his Brickell apartment for dinner. He seemed like a nice enough guy, although a little negative in general. The first red flag came up during our dinner, and it was the kind of flag that should have informed me that this was not the guy for me. There was a table full of women next to us who were all speaking Spanish.

“Why do people need to speak Spanish in public? I mean, this is America,” Richie griped.

The statement was so ridiculous that I just didn’t really know how to react. I’d just met this guy, a guy who I found to be physically attractive, a guy who seemed to have genuinely good taste (according to his profile, anyway), and then this. I put my anthropologist hat on and attempted to see things from his point of view. Why shouldn’t people speak another language in public? I asked. I drank my wine fast as he went on about how he wasn’t racist, how he didn’t mind that people speak other languages, but that he was fed up being in a city where people spoke another language more than English. He went on about his frustrations about being unable to always communicate since he didn’t speak Spanish. He said he thought it was ridiculous how people didn’t make an effort to learn. He continued to spew narrow minded responses until I finished my meal, and I tried to put it into my head that he didn’t really mean it in a bad way. Oh, the things we’ll tell ourselves when we’re trying to hit it off with someone.

The rest of the night went alright. I wound up meeting him again on another night after work. From the minute we met up, he began to whine about being hungry and what a shit day he’d had and wanting to just find a good place for a beer. We walked by several places, each of which he’d say something negative about.

I made a suggestion to hit up Transit Lounge, but when we got there, they didn’t have anything he wanted on draft. He complained about this and so I suggested we go elsewhere. We wound up going to this burger joint of his choosing. And then, the conversation killer began:

“I don’t get why people like shows like Sex and the City. All it teaches is women to be whores. Most TV does.”

Sigh. Suffice to say, he went on trying to explain his position and I retorted with the societal double standards regarding sex had by men and women, but he wouldn’t hear it. Then, smiling as politely as possible, I turned to him and said,

“Thank you for the beer but I don’t think this will ever work. I’m going to finish this drink now and walk out and then we’ll never see each other again.”

And that was that. My first (and potentially only) negative experience meeting someone from the internet.

Since then, I’ve been lucky to meet some pretty awesome people. While I was traveling last year, I used CouchSurfing as one of my main means of meeting folks and finding housing throughout the country. Couchsurfing, for those who don’t know, is a website where travelers can meet up and make plans to meet or even arrange cost-free housing while on the road. The great thing about the site is that it allows others to leave reviews of their experience with you to keep things just a bit more legitimate. I first did this in Pittsburgh and then also got to do it again in St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans. I definitely plan to start being more active in the Miami CS community soon, and hopefully even using it again on future travels.

Another site I’ve used to meet people (as I said before) is OKCupid. Some people are still of the mindset that online dating is hokey, while others I know personally have made great friends and even found their spouses as a result. Still, there’s a definite stigma attached to it that seems to hold a lot of people back from doing it. When I tell my friends i’m going on another OKC date/hangout, they often tell me they wouldn’t have the nerve to meet someone from the internet. But I’m here to preach the gospel of meeting new people (not necessarily just for dating), regardless of the means. So here’s a few tips to help you get over your online-people-are-scary mentality:

Taken from PieComic.com

1. Do your research. First and foremost, make sure you’ve spoken to this person online at least a few times before meeting them. Especially at first. If you’ve found someone via an internet profile site, make sure to read everything on the page and check all the pictures. You can get a good sense of whether or not they’re just an internet troll or the real thing. I’d say most people are legit. Depending on the site, maybe you can get a good sense of what their interests are (note these for topics of conversation). If you’ve got their full name, you could always go the extra step and Google them. Some people might see this as excessive, but it’s always an option for the extra paranoid types. If they’re on a site like CS, read their references. You can even check on their references’ pages to make sure they’re on the up and up.

2. Pick the right scenario. Alright. You’ve exchanged a few e-mails or IMs, maybe even swapped numbers to text each other to make plans. Now it’s time to decide where you’re going and what you’re going to do. When first meeting someone, it’s always wise to pick a public location. Even if you’re meeting someone near their home, it’s probably best to meet them outside, on the street, before deciding where to go next. Bars and restaurants and cafes tend to be ideal of course. Plenty of people around coupled with some form of activity (I find that having a good beverage on hand is nice when meeting someone new. Coffee, wine, tea, beer, whatever. Gives you both something to do while stripping away the awkward layers that always come with first meetings.)

3. Take a few safety precautions. Meeting in public as I just said is definitely one. But another precaution I like to take is letting at least one other person know where i’m going to be. Before heading out, text an address and maybe the name of who you’re going to be with to one of your good friends. I don’t ever enter these situations with the mindset that something will go badly, but it doesn’t hurt to be safe, especially when you’re a single female.

5. Make sure you’re comfortable. The first time you meet someone you’ve only spoken to online might be incredibly nerve wracking. It gets easier the more often you do it, but sometimes the jitters might still appear. Be sure that you’re comfortable with the entire situation. If you have a bad feeling about meeting someone (something about their profile or your conversations felt off, or they want to meet someplace very secluded, etc), don’t do it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about these situations, it’s trust your gut. Never agree to anything you’re not completely cool with. This of course varies from person to person.

6. Have a good time! You and your hang out buddy/potential date are both probably thinking the same things. “I hope they’re cool/they aren’t crazy/they like me” are generally what we all think before meeting someone new. Don’t put too much pressure on the night. Go into it like you would going into any night palling around with your best friends. If it’s someone you met from a dating site, it’s probably still best not to approach it as a date. Instead, just see where the night takes you. Sometimes people hit it off, sometimes they don’t. The important thing is to just enjoy meeting and getting to know someone new. Ask them questions, make jokes, make suggestions, relax. Breathe. Meeting someone new is not the end all be all of your social life. The more relaxed you are going in to the situation, the more relaxed the other person will be, and the more likely it will be that you have an enjoyable time.

Have you met anyone recently from the internet? Was it good, bad, just plain ugly? I’d love to hear your stories. More on meeting online folks and the world of internet dating to come!

The Business of Getting Off (Notes on the Orgasm)

This is your brain on orgasm (Photo Credit: The Daily Beast)

Back in high school, I had a friend confess that she had never reached orgasm. She masturbated sometimes and had already had sex, but no matter what, she could never cum. Sometimes she would say, “I think I might have cum but I’m not sure,” to which I would always reply, “trust me. If you did, you would know it.”

It was true. About a year later, the same girl wound up in a new relationship and this time, those involuntary contractions finally kicked in. There was no question about it.

Now, before I go on – no, that girl was not me. I was fortunate enough to discover my first orgasm when I was maybe 10 or 11 years old. And when I did, I knew it was love.

But anyone that’s ever cum knows that it’s not always as easy as it was the first time you did. With those overly sensitive days of adolescence behind me, I’ve come to realize a few things about the business of getting off:

It’s not the end of the world if you don’t. It really isn’t. When my friend was experiencing “orgasm-block,” I wondered why it was she still masturbated or had sex in the first place. “It still feels good,” she would say, and eventually it made sense. In those days, it didn’t matter if it took me 2 minutes or 2 hours; if I was masturbating, I was definitely going to get off. But sex was different. My first few partners were never able to help me reach orgasm. It wasn’t because I wasn’t into them and it wasn’t because I didn’t know how to on my own. It just wouldn’t happen. In retrospect, it could be in part because I was much more reserved about sex in those days (more vanilla missionary, not too much foreplay, etc). It could also be due to the fact that my youthful partners were also quite inexperienced (one was a virgin and the others may as well have been) and just as reserved. These are things that a younger version of myself was fine with overlooking. Again, none of them could make me cum so it began to feel commonplace. Plus, I’ve always been of the mindset that it’s more about the journey than the destination. Depending on your partner and how good the sex is, it might not even matter (this is RARE, but has been known to happen). While this is all well and good, I would never complain about reaching orgasm with a partner today, and to be honest, unless the sex is near perfect in other respects, it’s not likely I’ll be sticking around a partner that can’t help me cum for very long.

Everyone gets off differently. Like I said before, orgasms with partners used to be as elusive to me as confirmed Big Foot sightings (still waiting on those). Over time, I became open to all kinds of sexual positions, but getting off continued to be a mystery. One day though, I decided that if they couldn’t get me off, I might as well try it on my own. And so I discovered the key to getting me off was via clitoral stimulation. Suddenly, it all made sense. I could have sex AND get off at the same time! Why didn’t I learn this sooner? Considering the fact that you rarely see women pleasuring themselves to orgasm in movie sex scenes or even in most standard straight porn, it made sense that it didn’t dawn on me earlier. Not to mention how little orgasms are discussed in general (positive discussions about orgasms in sex ed? Definitely not the standard here.) I spent so many years wondering if something was just “wrong” with me that I never realized the answer was right at my own fingertips. Now, this doesn’t mean that this is the key for every woman, but it very often does help, especially if she’s unable to reach an orgasm vaginally (which is a much rarer occurrence than most realize). And once you begin to realize the different things that help you orgasm, the more frequently you’ll be able to do so, and the better a lover you’ll be since this awareness will bring with it more confidence and the ability to let your partners know what they can do to get you off. It’s a win/win situation!

Your mind can be your best friend of your worst enemy when it comes to cumming. There are so many factors involved when it comes to reaching orgasm. Stress levels, depression, performance anxiety – these things can certainly cause a person, female OR male, to lose their ability to orgasm. I’ve been on both sides of this spectrum, and it can become incredibly frustrating for both you and your partner. However, it’s always important to understand that in these scenarios, no one is at fault, and how you proceed from there can really make or break a person. No one likes to hear discouraging comments from their partner, regardless of whether they’re your spouse, friend with benefits, or a random booty call. “Wow, you take too long,” is not a flattering response to your lover’s inability to climax when you want them, and chances are that this kind of attitude will lead to the death of your sexual romps with said partner. Rolling over and falling asleep or fleeing the scene of the crime once you’ve cum, leaving your partner alone in their frustration, is also not an appropriate response. You always want to make sure you do everything possible to help your partner cum (in which case, you’re only allowed to leave the room if they think it’ll actually help – but then there’s a good chance you won’t be invited back in). There are a million different ways to get someone off, or to at least help them get off. And if it still doesn’t happen, just make sure they’re the ones to call it quits or else you might fall victim to a series of faked orgasms, created specifically to avoid complaints from lazy lovers the world over.

(I’ll definitely be writing more on this later.)

There’s just so much ground to cover when it comes to the wonders of climaxing. But in the end, there’s only one thing you really need to know: It’s (probably) the best thing you’ll ever feel. Ever. I know earlier I said it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t happen. And this is true, so long as the opportunity to cum exists in the future. Sexual activity of any kind can be seriously appreciated even without orgasm, but there is nothing in this world like those few seconds of pure ecstasy*.

If you’ve never had the good fortune to cum, well, first, why are you reading this!? Get off your computer, find a little privacy (or don’t, if that’s your thing), and get to working on yourself! Or if you’re lucky enough to have someone that can help you out, get to them now and spend a few hours, days, weeks exploring each other until you’re finally able to. After all, there’s nothing like the ego-boost that comes with getting someone else off, and if you have a partner that’s just too lazy to realize that, move on to someone better (even if that someone better happens to be made of silicone and batteries).

It’s that simple.

*Alright, there might be something that comes close, but we’ll save that for another discussion.

The things that keep you up at night (or: everyone hates something at 5am)

Sometime between the hours of 2am and 5am, when the hunger pangs begin to hit hard, when you know you’ve inevitably fucked your entire sleep schedule beyond repair, when all the booze and drugs are long gone, when the cigarettes are beginning to leave permanent stains on your person, when the world is quiet except for everything going on in your head, something just… shifts.

You lose perspective. You get tired of waiting. You get fed up with being understanding. You don’t want to understand. You want to yell. You want people to get the fuck out of their beds and out of their sound sleep, rip them away from those nice dreams about that trip to Thailand they never want on or maybe just a dream about a really good sandwich. You take another drag, a heavy one, a deep one, and you think to yourself, “When the fuck did I become a smoker again?”

I’m not angry. I’m not upset. But it’s late, my friends. I don’t even know if that’s even relevant. Late. It could be early. It could be very early. Just the beginning, perhaps. But it doesn’t matter, because the point is, regardless of how you feel, no matter how good things get, there are always things to hate.

I know some people have a distaste for the word hate.

“Oooh, hate? I wouldn’t say that… That’s such a strong word.”

But if you’ve ever loved anything, anything at all, your friends, your family, your pet, your house, your computer, your ability to stand upright, the taste of a good slice of pizza, the way you’ll always find a star in the sky if you look long enough… then you must understand that it is just as valid, just as easy to hate something.

And I do.

I hate several things. They become more apparent in the late night. And especially apparent when you’ve been in your head for too long. So here, in short list form, are all the things I hate right now. At least, the ones that are nagging and eating away at me and keeping me from any sort of sleep.

Insecurities. We all have them. Who really likes these?

Noticing pain on other people’s faces. Especially when there’s nothing you can do to really help them.

Being tired. Sometimes it would be nice to have some real energy. Sure, I could live a healthier lifestyle that might grant me more energy, but this usually eats into the things I deem as fun. And so, i’ll continue to be tired.

Barely getting by. This might be resolved soon, at least temporarily, but sometimes I wonder if it’s worth what you have to do in order to stay afloat.

Getting nagged. Especially by people who you’re not even close to. My mother, well, she can nag me til the end of times. But getting nagged by people with ulterior motives just makes me want to punch things. Mostly their faces. Need to get away from these situations.

Advertisements on YouTube. But that’s no surprise.

People who won’t help themselves. Because you know they can and just won’t and how that stupid saying about getting a horse to water but not being able to make them drink is pretty damn true.

The inability to move on. From what? Oh, take your pick.

Mosquitoes. I do live in Florida, afterall.

Timing. I am nothing if not a master at bad timing. Not for everything, but mostly when it counts. Or when I feel like it should count. Or when I just really want something. Is what it is.

Whining. You’d think i’d stop doing it, but sometimes I also love the things I hate.

Sitting still. Why am I not on the road again? Please, someone, tell me before I attempt the hitch away.

The unknown. This is another love/hate. Think we’ve all been there, yes? For example, right now, it is unknown whether I will actually post this, and then it is also unknown how long it will be before I take it down, if at all. It’s unknown whether or not i’ll get any sleep tonight. It’s unknown where i’ll be in a few months’ time. It’s unknown if anything I can think of right now will possibly ever work out. It’s unknown how i’ll feel about everything most of the time.

Distance. From the good things, anyway.

Not sleeping. See: Being tired.

Running out of the things you like. The last sip of ginger ale. The last cotton swab in the box. The last episode of your favorite show. The last bit of toilet paper. Empty lighters. Empty gas tanks. Feeling empty.

 

There are more things, i’m sure, but what good is it to continue blathering on about them? Here’s a good fuck you to all those things.

FUUUUUUUU.

At the very least, it’s all very therapeutic. Tomorrow (today?) is another day (today?). Don’t think i’ll bother to watch the sunrise this time around, but i’ll leave you with a song I found on one of my high school mix CDs recently that I was once obsessed with.

 

What keeps you up at night? Be honest. I’m obviously not about to crack the ol’ judgement whip on anyone. Yet.

8 Ways To Stop Missing Someone (That Probably Still Won’t Work)

Today, I woke up missing someone. It’s not something that’s easy for me to admit, but it’s true, and I gotta say, it absolutely sucks. There is nothing nice about missing someone. Whether it’s your best friend, a pet, a significant other, a relative, the greatest conversationalist you’ve ever waxed poetic with, or just some of the best sex of your life (hah! just…), it’s not a pleasant experience. You’ll know you miss this individual (human or otherwise) once you begin experiencing the following symptoms:

– Sudden loss or gain in appetite. This would depend on whether or not you’re a stress eater.

– Lethargy. You might not feel like doing anything but moping and thinking about said MIA individual.

– A feeling like you’ve been punched in the stomach. It’s there. Like an anvil resting uncomfortably atop your torso as you lie on your back wondering how exactly an anvil appeared in the first place. Confusing and painful and genuinely unpleasant. Yeah, you’re basically fucked.

I’m currently at the mercy of all three symptoms, and have thus been attempting to alleviate my symptoms via most if not all of the following. Some of these have worked momentarily. I invite you to try them and if they work, well then won’t that be nice? And if they don’t, well, misery does love company. You and I should chat about how we’ve been suckered into this highly inconvenient emotion.

Without further ado, here’s 8 ways to avoid thinking about or completely stop missing someone:

1. Hang out with friends.

With fellow friends, posing around the pool table, ignoring our thoughts.

This is why friends exist. They are the main go-to persons in a crises. Whatever you do, don’t be alone. Being alone allows you enough time to make poor “I Miss You” choices, like sending inappropriate text messages, updating your Facebook status with enough mopey songs to cause the majority of people to “Hide” all your posts, and possibly huffing paint. Or maybe markers. Or white-out. Regardless, it’s not good to be alone with all those thoughts. Harness that energy into hanging out with people who might be able to relate. At the very least, you’ll think about Said-Missed-Individual a smidge less. Just a smidge.

2. Watch television/movies/Netflix.

If Workaholics doens't do it for you, I don't know what will.

But make sure it’s funny. I currently recommend Workaholics and Portlandia for your viewing pleasure. If you’re bummed about getting the shit end of the “I Miss You” stick, it’s probably best to go with comedies. You might, however, be a bit of a masochist like I am. If that’s the case, watch some really depressing shit. Dancer in the Dark is good for this. Biutiful is also on that list. Grey’s Anatomy is my personal guilty definitely-gonna-make-me-cry pleasure show. Seriously, you’ll know what works for you because your instincts will immediately guide you. Maybe you’re like me and you’ll have an enlightening moment watching Shannen Doherty tear Jason Lee a new asshole in Mall Rats, a moment that makes you realize you might not even need to miss what you thought you were missing in the first place.

3. Go for a drive (or a walk, train ride, etc).

If you’re lucky, you won’t run into massive traffic and you’ll get to enjoy a fair amount of pavement ahead of you. This is one of my preferred methods of dealing with heart ache of any kind. Get in the car, put on some good tunes, and zone out as the world passes you by. In fact, if the I-Miss-You-itis is that bad, I can even enjoy being stuck in traffic, watching snails and other slow maneuvering creatures dart past you while you wonder what it’s like to be that woman in the red mini van or that man in the black jag to your left. It’s like that REM video, “Everybody Hurts.” Or maybe it’s more like that Daria episode where they make fun of that video. Anyway, you should go drive. Or walk. Or take the bus. Or a train. Or just find a way to keep moving. Your emotions would love nothing better than to catch up with you the minute you finally decide to sit still. Don’t give them the chance!

4. Listen to music.

Every emotion we’ve ever felt or can ever feel can be sufficiently summed up in a song. Maybe you miss a place you’ve recently visited. There’s a song for that. Or a lady you left behind in those old country roads? A song for that too. Honestly, whether it’s your mother, your uncle’s dead husband, your best friend’s pet, or your old dance teacher that you miss, there is likely to be a song for it if you look hard enough. And when all else fails, listen to something happy and/or stupid and drag yourself out of the funk. Because let’s face it, there’s no use in feeling like crap for more than a few days at a time, if that. Moving right along…

5. Have a drink, or 2, or 20.

Most people probably don’t suggest jumping head first in to your vices. I suppose I’m not really seriously recommending it anyway. But if you’re anything like me, and realizing that many of you probably are, drowning your sorrows in a a few beers or whatever your poison might be isn’t so bad. I wouldn’t recommend anyone go on a heroine binge when they’re unable to see the person they want to see. That just seems a bit excessive. But you’re damn right if you guessed I’m on my 2nd beer of the night as I type this! It would be whiskey, but I let another friend finish my bottle since they were also missing someone. Which brings us back to my first piece of advice about hanging with friends. Misery loves company but miserable drunks certainly love each other way more.

6. Make a drastic change to your appearance. Cut (or dye) your hair. Get a tattoo and/or piercing. Gain or lose a few pounds. Get a nose job. Grow some new body hair. Develop a new use for your elbow. Brand your forehead. Make a change. I’ve basically done all of these in the past on several occasions. Alright, not all (I mean shit, this is obviously my natural nose), but I know that the cutting/dying of hair is a pretty common occurrence especially among girls coming out of recent relationships. I’m not sure what it is about the change of appearance that helps us cope with things, but it does. At the very least, it’s nice to have someone pamper you even a little bit (even if it’s at the Supercuts down the road). Anyway, use this opportunity to always get that tattoo of a unicorn on your butt that your ex never let you get cause they just didn’t see the beauty in it. Fuck it. You only live once. Might as well have fun with your appearance!

7. Clean house.

I rarely clean, but when I do, I suppose it's necessary.

They say cleanliness is next to godliness. I personally don’t have any lofty dreams of being a god, so I usually don’t bother with this. However, desperate times call for desperate measures and if it comes down to it, I am not opposed to zoning out to alphabetizing my books, matching up my socks, or even occasionally doing a few dishes (maybe)! Sometimes what you need is a change of scenery (which brings me to tip #3) but this can also be internalized. Change your atmosphere. Your living space is important and the last thing you need is to be reminded of Mr. or Mrs. I’ll-Call-You-I-Swear or whomever else might be on your missing persons list. Take down the old Polaroids. Donate those old sweaters you stole from his closet. Get rid of those movie and concert tickets from all the times you spent together. Change the locks. Whatever. Change your situation, clean your house, swipe away the memories. In fact, fucking Swiffer the hell out of them.

8. Write a blog post. When all else fails, write a blog post. This is why we’re here as bloggers in the first place, ain’t it? Allow this inability to rest to fuel you with inspiration for writing or whatever other artistic pursuits you might have. Writing this has been semi-cathartic for me. Granted, I’ve looked over at my phone a number of times and wondered things that I shouldn’t wonder about. But at least this killed a good 30-40 minutes of this first day of missing someone. I’ll say that’s a bit of a win.

 

For now, it’s time for this little lady to take another long drive with plenty of music to hopefully distract her from that which she cannot have. Tomorrow is another day!