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19

Mar

7 Days Of Tinder

Tinder. It was a fun ride. It had been calling my name and I was running out of reasons to resist it’s digital match making clutches. For months I’d been entertained by stories from friends, coworkers, even family members. Those were enough to keep me amused for a while, but finally I just wanted to feel for myself the thrill of the right swipe. So here we go. 

It began on the train to work. My phone held perpendicular to the ground and as close to my body as possible so bystanders couldn’t witness what was about to go down. I had my phone tilted ever so slightly so that I could view the screen and not left swipe an undeserving soul. (Aside: Why is there no undo button? Tinder, please fix.)

By the time my train rolled into the station and I lost service, the game-y quality of Tinder had done it’s job of drawing me in. And I liked it. Left-swiping makes you feel in control and right-swiping gives you hope. Getting a match…Getting a match makes you feel like you’re winning in a casino. It provides that little burst of fuel to “Keep playing” as Tinder so indiscreetly prompts you to do. 

Over the course of the next few days I had nice conversations with people I never would have “met” otherwise. Like clockwork the bulk of the matches would come in around 11 p.m. when everyone, it seemed, was in bed alone, looking for someone to talk to. 

Certainly not listed in order of importance, here’s what I learned on Tinder:

1. 100 miles is far. Scale it back. Or else you’ll find yourself conversing with people from Milwaukee. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

2. I have a type. Indians. With beards. My sister looked at my messages and suggested that if all I was going to do was match with Indians I should just join Shaadi.com. I cried. If you’re not sure what your type is, join Tinder. You’ll find out fast.

3. The world is tiny. Miniscule. The amount of people I came across with mutual friends and connections who intersected with mine was a little surreal. It can turn out to be beautiful coincidence or a hysterical nightmare. The kind where you laugh uncontrollably with your friends (in real life, while downing shots on St. Patty’s day) when you run right into the tangled web. The naughtiness of all makes it worth it though. Which brings me to…

4. It feels naughty. To me anyway. Not everyone sees it as a hookup app, but the fact that my friends lower our voices when we talk about it in public feels like we’re doing something wrong…dare I say, unnatural? It’s for the same reason I’d shudder at the thought of coming across friends or family members on the app. Do I left or right swipe? Tinder, tell me!

5. Tinder should partner with a screen cleaning company. Heavy Tinder usage during lunch hours, while consuming chips, created a streak that went down and left like half of a stick figure. That kind of streak won’t disappear by rubbing your phone on your pants. Get on it, Tinder.

6. As a good friend told me today - You need to know why you’re on Tinder. Whether it’s for a fling, to date or to kill time, know your purpose. And this brings us full circle to the reason I deleted my account after one week.

I had no purpose on Tinder.

I joined because I wanted to know how it worked and was curious about why it suddenly became a staple on the home screens of so many 20-somethings I knew. Except for the rare cases, here’s why:

We’re smart, career-driven and optimistic, but for the most part, we’re searching online for connections we simply don’t have time for. Tinder appears to be the perfect remedy because is easy to use and the options seem endless. However, that’s where it’s advantages end, the way I see it.

Tinder is a distraction from the things we all know we need to address in our personal lives. It gives us the false sense that we’re putting ourselves out there. It feels as though we’re being open and allowing new experiences into our lives, but rarely do conversations contained inside the app ever see the light of an actual day.  

Yes, I’ve heard of relationships that started on Tinder and people who’ve become great friends with matches, but if we’re to speak about the majority of interactions within the app, it seems appropriate to say that what’s lacking is the very thing we’re most in need of: Meaning.

I’m not about to dig too deep into Tinder (though I think I already might have), but I’ll end by saying the reason I won’t use the app anymore, is because there are relationships in my life that deserve more attention than I’ve been giving them. Downloading an app, handpicking people and trying to retroactively attach some level of meaning to them, no matter how banal, is a futile effort. It’s an escape, a quick getaway, that for me, only lasted a few swipes until the next time my hands were idle. 

This is after just a week of using the app. No doubt there may be nuances I’m unaware of that people who’ve used Tinder for a longer period of time could point out. I’m open to hearing other perspectives.

In the meantime, if you really want to connect in a genuine, meaningful way, first take a look at your real life relationships, including the one you have with yourself, and tend to them instead.

22

Feb

On Time

There are certain moments in life that awaken you to the truth about time. Sitting in a hospital waiting room is one of them. No matter how routine the procedure or how experienced the doctors are, it’s in those seconds which suddenly stretch into hours, that you realize how delicate this thing called life is and how easily we assume that we’ll have all the time to figure it out. 

Those moments do a lot of things. They give you a new appreciation for your loved ones, a deep gratitude for every positive outcome and they offer a fresh reminder that life is so very short. And if you’re like me, they can also fill you with an uneasy feeling that time is running out. As though you have to rush to get things done, to experience things, to express things… just in case.

Those minutes can make you want to crawl out of yourself and into the future to chase down your dreams and reposition them into this new heightened reality that you find yourself in. In those few days, I felt like I suddenly needed to say everything I had to say to the people that needed to hear it, not later, but now.

So much of life is about timing. Being at the right place at the right time or deciding whether it’s time to take the next step. Timing changes everything. But I have learned that while there are times when the premise “Life is short” should give you every reason to say or do exactly what’s in your heart, there are other circumstances when the wait is much more important. Deciding which moments fall into which category is one of the puzzles I’m still working out. After all, no one wants to live with any regrets.

But here’s what I know: Time heals. Time teaches patience. Time tempers wisdom and understanding like few forces in nature can. And then, when you’ve understood the importance of all these things and you’re ok with giving it time, it can set you up to experience moments of such profound clarity that there is no doubt in your mind that you are exactly where you need to be. You can’t achieve that if you act on very impulse you have.  

If outcomes are rushed, what confidence can you have that the result, that particular beginning/ending was meant for you? I guess that’s the thing about growing up. You start to appreciate the relationships and circumstances that you have allowed time to refine. And you also learn when to seize the moment when there are important words that cannot be left unsaid or deeds that can’t go undone. It’s a fine balance between the two, but it ultimately boils down to the faith you have in life and in yourself. Let that faith guide your choices and know that time is on your side.

14

Feb

One hot afternoon during the era in which you’ve gotten yourself ridiculously tangled up with heroin you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are when a little girl will get on the bus holding the strings of two purple balloons. She’ll offer you one of the balloons, but you won’t take it because you believe you no longer have a right to such tiny beautiful things. You’re wrong. You do.

Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.

When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t “mean anything” because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.

The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.

One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.

Say thank you.

20

Jan

I guess when you’re young, you just believe there’ll be many people with whom you’ll connect with. Later in life, you realize it only happens a few times.
Celine (Before Sunset)

11

Jan

If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.
John Steinbeck on Falling In Love

13

Oct

Gut check

It’s that pit in your stomach saying something is amiss. Other times it’s the calm confidence of knowing you’re headed down the right path. Whether you listen to it or not, intuition is your heart and mind joining forces to fight for your protection, and at times, for your very survival.

But what matters infinitely more than having a strong sense of intuition is the ability to follow it. That’s where I seem to run into issues. It’s every optimists’ dilemma.

Ever since I can remember, my intuition has been on point. I can sense the emotions in a room before people speak. Red flags go off without fail when I’m being told a lie instead of the truth. To this day, there are only a handful of situations that unraveled in a way I didn’t see coming.

In many of these situations though, what follows after I hear that voice is usually me telling myself to stop overreacting. To relax, remain optimistic and expect only the best out of people.

It’s what we optimists do to ourselves. In high stakes situations, we dismiss our natural instincts and hope that the next sign will be from “out there,” instead of from within, and that it will prove us wrong. Optimists are more relieved to be wrong about themselves than to be wrong about others.

The choice to dismiss our natural instinct happens so fast it’s barely perceptible. But it’s still as real and powerful as any other life changing decision we make. 

So where does this come from? This preference to cling blindly to hope while denying our strongest ally –- ourselves?

Personally, I have always seen my optimism and my intuition at odds with each other. One is full of wild faith in the people, places and situations in my life. The other tells it like it is and is strongly rooted in truth and reality. As of late, optimism has always won that battle. I think it’s because following my intuition would mean acknowledging that life is messy, that the world contains as much evil as it does good and that friends can cause more pain than enemies.

What I’m starting to learn though, is that gut instinct and genuine positivity aren’t divergent paths. Actually, they should be viewed more as a succession of self-saving habits. You have to know yourself first, then follow your intuition. Afterwards is when all that optimism is needed. I believe that’s when optimism is most informed, most potent.

It’s scary to rely that much on intuition, but it becomes easier when you realize that the world rewards those who 1) seek the truth and 2) know how to handle it when it comes their way. When the truth disappoints you, a big part of how to “handle it” is to refuse to allow it to dull your optimism. If you can do that, you’ve already won. 

The bottom line is that there’s enough manipulation and deception in the world, that the worst thing you can do is add to that by betraying yourself. The best solution is to trust yourself and never underestimate how far following your intuition and staying optimistic about the outcome will take you!

10

Oct

06

Oct

Nothing Fails, from American Life, by far Madonna’s most underrated album.

20

Sep

allthingseurope:

Cornwall, UK (by Bruus UK)

allthingseurope:

Cornwall, UK (by Bruus UK)

17

Sep

The real social media story about Miss America

image

As a social media manager I have a front row seat to the very best and worst of what humanity has to offer. It’s in plain sight on my monitors every day - trending topics, keywords, hashtags, “top stories.” The good, the bad and the ugly.

So today when the world awoke to news of the first Miss America of Indian descent, I wasn’t surprised to see it take over Twitter and Facebook. As the day went on though, my feeds didn’t surface the great content that had been published about Nina Davuluri’s educationfamilybackgroundcareer aspirations or social platform. Instead it was the BuzzFeed article with embedded tweets that had gone viral.

I’m not knocking BuzzFeed, because frankly the author did a great job of aggregating the tweets in a way that displayed how embarrassingly ignorant some of our fellow Americans are. We needed that truth. However the problem was that the article became louder than the racist tweets themselves. It gave those people undeserved attention and soon other news outlets added the racism ‘angle’ to their own coverage and the cycle repeated itself.

But here’s what people are forgetting:

1. Those who made racist comments are undoubtedly in the minority. Don’t let the severity of their stupidity fool you. From a social media standpoint, the overwhelming majority of people (of various ethnicities and nationalities) on Facebook and Twitter were loving on the new Miss America. As an Indian that was a beautiful sight to see! It was a proud moment which a nation of immigrants should embrace without letting hatred steal the show.

2. The way our media culture operates today, if racist tweets hadn’t solicited so much attention, something else would have. The hot topic might have been Nina Davuluri’s alleged “fat” comments about her predecessor, her past eating disorder or another controversial topic that someone, somewhere would have dug up. This time it was a no-brainer: racism=wrong. If you’re a decent person you know where you stand on that. But would it be so easy to condemn if it was one of the topics above? Or would our voices (mine included) get caught up in the chaos and contribute to the noise, watching someone rise and fall in a single 24-hour news cycle? Here’s a scarier question: Would I even care about this if she and I didn’t share the same heritage?

I will have to revisit these topics at another time…

Having come so far and taken the crown, I’m sure Nina Davuluri has thick skin and sees far beyond this. I’m sure she knows that for any one mean-spirited comment, there are hundreds of positive remarks from people who are thrilled for her. Judging from today, she will need to navigate many complex issues, but based on the outpouring of support I’ve seen via social media, there is no shortage of positivity, pride and encouragement on her side. I wish her all the best!

(Image: Getty Images)