Category: How To?

How To Online Date — It’s Not Difficult, But It’s Not Obvious

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)

Whether you reside under a rock or not, you’ve heard of online dating. It seems so easy, so natural, so smart. Just post a few pictures of yourself, answer a few personality questions and that’s it. Wedding bells will be ringing soon enough. The problem is that it isn’t that easy. Lucky for us, I’ve finally figured it out. No, that doesn’t mean wedding bells are in my future, it just means that after nearly two years of online dating in some form or fashion I’ve finally developed a “how to” guide.

The number one difficulty with online dating is pushing the idea out of your head that someone can be captured by a photograph or a profile. They can’t. It’d be nice if they could, but it is not possible. Just like cameras don’t steal people’s souls, pictures don’t contain them. Neither do words. Bodies do, however. Real human bodies. So that’s the starting point, that’s where we’ll begin. We’ll begin with human bodies.

No matter what site or app you’re on, the most important question you need to ask yourself is, “Do I want to have sex with this picture?” It sounds base, it sounds dirty, it sounds disreputable, but it absolutely must lead the way. If it doesn’t, then you’re being dishonest with yourself and the other person who may or may not be sitting with you some day. By starting here we also cut right through idealizing the person behind the profile. Who cares if you read the same books or love the same lord? What gal doesn’t write that she prefers jeans and a t-shirt, but dolls up really nice too? And what guy doesn’t like sports or movies or video games or hunting or reading? Is anyone not passionate about their job? Seriously, there’s not that many options in life. Again, look at the pictures and ask, “Do I want to have sex with this picture?”

Next, skip everything to do with pen pals and make time to meet the other person. Then from the moment they arrive, stick with the sex question in its new, modified form, “Do I want to have sex with this person?” Not “would I?” or “what would their personality have to be like in order for me to want to?” but a chemistry/spark type unquantifiable feeling of attraction. If you don’t, if the attraction that was there isn’t there anymore for whatever reason, then politely thank them for meeting with you, but explain that it is in everyone’s best interest to not waste any time pretending. If on the off-chance you do desire them sexually in that moment, keep the moment going for as long as you can. Minutes to hours, hours to days, days to weeks, etc. Or whatever. I have no idea how to maintain a relationship. This post is about how to online date, not how to be in a relationship.

My point here is to simplify all the bullshyat that confuses online dating into something it can never be. We’re people first. People who are attracted to other people. In everyday life the physical attraction comes before the date. In online life it seems like there are other factors to consider. But that’s a lie. Physical and sexual attraction must be there. So trust in it and run with it.

Instructions for How To Online Date

Step 1 — ASK yourself, “Do I want to have sex with this picture?”

Step 2 — If the answer to Step 1 is “Yes”, then MAKE time for a date. If the answer is “No”, then MOVE on.

Step 3 —  SCHEDULE a date.

Step 4 — At the date ASK yourself, “Do I want to have sex with this person?”

Step 5 If the answer to Step 4 is “No”, then immediately–though politely–END the date.

Step 6 — If the answer to Step 4 is “Yes”, then I guess you at least know what you want to do, so DO it.

What’s fascinating about eHarmony’s take on online dating is how NOT according to these steps it is. Take for instance this pop-up that appeared when I took “white” off the list of races I was interested in dating.

Really

Really, eHarmony? Really? After you’ve taken my money upfront and not given me any women with whom I seem remotely compatible, now you’re going to tell me that if I don’t feel like seeing anymore pics of white women’s dogs (is the dog interested in a date?), now you’re going to tell me if I don’t feel like seeing anymore ridiculous pics of white women being photographed while surrounded by non-white, third-world, presumably just converted heathen children, then I should stop and reconsider my tactic? Really? And what’s with the save button being grey’d out like it’s not even clickable? It’s like you are doing everything in your power to keep the races pure. That makes you my enemy, I think. And I thought you were supposed to be helping. Oh well. Just under two more months of fun. I can’t wait.

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Let’s Talk About WordPress Blogging

Time has performed its magic beautifully, yet again. Honestly, I feel a bit sheepish about the two–now password protected–posts from last week. I password protected them (the password is under the Password page) because they contain what I would call filth. Want to read filth? Want to re-read filth? Like Regis Philbin of not-so-old, you have to be sure of your final answer. A password is the only way I know how to make sure you’re sure. But read it if you’d like.

At the end of this post I’m going to paste my “Why A Log?” page to remind myself what I’m even doing with this blog, and also to remind some of you what a blog is for. But first, let’s talk plainly about WordPress blogs.

WordPress is a business that makes money off of blogs (among other things I’m sure). Blog is simply the shorthand for web log; that is to say that many websites contain fixed data on their homepages, whereas web logs operate more like an ol’ timey captain’s log. It is just content upon content upon content. Honestly, though, a blog is a diary.

There’s this idea out there in the ether that some blogs become very popular and make folks money. But that’s not really true or if it is, it is not statistically relevant. It’s certainly not true of free or $20/year WordPress blogs like mine and yours. We’re just a sub-culture of folks who like to write. Some folks stick to fiction, some to poetry, some to rants. A lot of us understand that writing is very therapeutic. But what those of us persistent bloggers really know is that we really don’t need other people to read it. It feels wonderful when we can tell that some stranger out there has read it, and even better when they like what we wrote. But we write for ourselves. The reason I publish anything and everything online for anyone to read is because I am constantly amazed to discover the smallest nuances of feeling and human experience, the most private thoughts I’ve ever had are always shared by at least one person–even if that person is just another blogger. And that means that I’m not alone, which then means the two of us are not alone and on and on. And there’s something comforting about that.

A friend of mine (and one of you that floored me with your concern over my family matters) strongly cautioned me about publishing filth after reading the last two posts because of the fact that I may have to someday answer for my blog’s content. If the world has taught me anything it is that character assassination cannot be defended. If it wasn’t my blog it’d be something else. I’m not about defensive living. Tried that once, failed miserably. Keeping things inside is by far the worse solution (or so my upbringing taught me–along with nearly every divorcee ever) and we’re talking about the written word.

Different than listening, reading is active. Don’t ever want to read the “c” word again? Encourage my ex to behave reasonably. Kidding. If you don’t want to read it again, then don’t read these blog posts. But before you quit entirely, give me another five or so posts to share what I’ve learned from trying really hard at blogging. (Tomorrow is the transcript of my best man toast for my brother, then an explanation of my sense of humor–and why you should adopt it. Then you can expect some mildly depressing posts about WordPress blogs/likes/followers etc.) Exciting, I know.

Okay. Thank you for reading.

Why A Log? 

In The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Twain quotes John Hay regarding the imperative to write an autobiography. Hay says,

And he will tell the truth in spite of himself, for his facts and his fictions will work loyally together for the protection of the reader: each fact and each fiction will be a dab of paint, each will fall in its right place, and together they will paint his portrait; not the portrait he thinks they are painting, but his real portrait, the inside of him, the soul of him, his character (223).

Aircrews recognize that an aircraft doesn’t crash in compartments. Free time in Iraq allowed me to see that flying is a tremendous–I’d say flawless–metaphor for life. (You can check out the metaphor in the beginning of this post.) In short, in life, as with flying, the only way we get where we want to go–the future–is with each other.

By following Captain’s Log, you’ll receive posts that take less than 2-minutes to read Monday through Friday. They might be creative writings, satirical news stories, “How To” guides, letters I wish I wrote, humorous pieces, book/movie reviews or other types which are more difficult to classify. The intent of all the posts is to reveal life.

Like Hay said above, the most important thing you’ll find, if you look closely, is me. And in finding me, you might just find you.

The only way to get there is together.

****

Twain, Mark, Harriet Elinor. Smith, and Benjamin Griffin. Autobiography of Mark Twain. Vol. 1. Berkeley: University of California, 2010. Print.

4 Reasons To Avoid Using Eye-Catching Headlines

1. First, nobody likes people who try too hard. And a good eye-catching headline, such as, “Did Michael Jackson Secretly Confess to Janet That He Was Guilty?” or my favorite one from LinkedIn of late, “10 Reasons You Should Quit Your Job in 2014”, these types of headlines that really beg the reader to point-and-click reek of strong cologne before a big date. Rather than trying too hard, it’s better if you try just the right amount.

2. Second, your reputation is worth more than the ad revenue generated by clicks. And readers often feel let down when they discover (again) that Michael Jackson didn’t confess anything to Janet, and that there is not one good reason, let alone ten, to quit working in 2014. After time, people will question your integrity and motivations.

3. Third, and finally, the most enticing headlines are always one mistake away from pissing readers off.

How To Avoid Capture (despite being an extremely eligible bachelor)

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)

“So, guess what I just got?”

“I don’t know.  What?”

“Tailored shirts.  They’re great.  Gone are the yards of fabric that hide my svelte figure.”

“Yeah, I actually heard the radio talk about how women like men who wear tailored clothes the other day.  Though, I have to say it seems out of character that you’d do something like that.  Did you have them done at the store?  When did you even go shopping?”

“Oh, I didn’t get them done.  My friend was going to throw some away, so I said I’d take them.”

“So, they’re not tailored…to you?”

Instructions for How To Stay Single

Step 1 — CROSSFIT for life.

Step 2 — WALK through Costco like a kid in a candy store.

Step 3 —  ABSTAIN from soap.

Step 4 — TELL everyone you know about Steps 1- 3.

How To Get A Raise

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions).

In the classic western Tombstone the new actress in town is awestruck by who-she-doesn’t-yet-know-is Wyatt Earp.  The actress’s friend says to her, “My dear, you’ve set your gaze upon the quintessential frontier type.  Note the lean silhouette…eyes closed by the sun, though sharp as a hawk.”

For some reason that quote sprung to his mind when he thought of describing his new boss.  Standing a lean 6 feet, the man’s movements signaled to all–customers and staff–that he was in charge.  But that’s not the extraordinary thing.  What’s extraordinary is his oneness with the job.

It’s retail.  Business can be slow or fast.  Apart from the length of the line, anyone wanting to know how busy it is need simply look at the man.  When business is slow, he focuses on the numbers and keeps everyone ready for it to pick up.  When business is fast, his smile beams an uncommon love of the job.  The line of customers can be out the door, and he just smiles and smiles.  Where some would be stressed, he handles the situation with exceptional grace.  This grace stems from a certain pride in knowing that he is doing his job well.  In response to “man, you should see your face.  How are you so happy?”, he clarifies “It’s not that we’re busy, it’s that we’re so busy and things are running so smoothly.”  His smile betrays his joy.  It is a joy founded on purity.  And that is why he is the boss.

Instructions for How To Get A Raise

Step 1 — FLATTER your boss endlessly.

Step 2 — REPEAT Step 1.

How To Make Blogging Thrilling

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions).

Clicking away at the keyboard, he suddenly found himself grabbing the mouse, about to highlight and delete everything.  He couldn’t possibly publish it.  He was a good dude; what would people think?

He sometimes wanted to write some horror posts–he wanted to graphically describe the most gruesome paths out of this life.

He sometimes wanted to write some posts from a women’s perspective–he wanted to have some fun exploring how the female human navigates this world.

He wanted to write without abandon.  He wanted to swear, he wanted to be passionate.  More times than not he wanted to cause people who knew him to say, “I can’t believe he wrote that.”

But as soon as the words manifested themselves on the screen, he’d hesitate.  “What if they don’t like it?  What if they think I went too far?” he’d ask himself.  “Ah, fuck it,” he’d answer, clicking the publish button.  And then he’d feel it–a rush like no other.

“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!”

He’d then laugh out loud thinking, “If people only knew how much energy I put into each post…they’d think I was nnnuts.”

And there was something more.  Behind all of this he would tell himself that his daughter might someday read his posts.  And if he guessed correctly, by that time she would be fascinated that he wasn’t quite the man she’d taken him for all those years.  He’d hope that if she wasn’t there yet, this realization would be the weight that would finally and forever tilt the scales of how she’d live the rest of her life towards courageously, without fear, without worry, and without anxiety.  Just the way he strove to.

Instructions for How To Make Blogging Thrilling

Step 1 — WRITE what you think.

Step 2 — DO NOT DELETE what you wrote.

Step 3 — PUBLISH what you wrote.

How To Start An Argument

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions).

“Are you kidding me?  That’s not at all what I said,” he said, resigning himself.

“That is what you said.  That is exactly what you said,” she replied, her voice betraying her emotion.

“No.  I said that your family does things different from how I’m used to.  I never said they are weird.  I never said they are wrong,” he argued, trying one last time to be clear.

“Well, I think if we Googled ‘synonyms for different’, ‘weird’ would make the list,” she said, calming ever so slightly.

“It might.  But the difference is that ‘weird’ carries a value, whereas ‘different’ is value-neutral,” he said trying not to get excited too early.

“Why does my family have to be the ‘different’ one?  Why can’t your family be the ‘different’ one?” she stammered, signifying she was beginning to understand.

“Because I was the one who said it.  My family can’t be ‘different’ to me.   My family is what I am used to.  Therefore, if your family is not like what I am used to…they are different.  You could say the same thing if you thought so,” he said, hoping to be done with the whole thing.

“Fine.  My family is different to you, your family is different to me,” she said, unable to recall why this ever even came up.

“Good.”

“Good.”

“Your brother, on the other hand, is weird,” he said, laughing heartily as he ran.

Instructions for How To Start An Argument

Step 1 – Fail to communicate yourself fully and accurately on the first try.

Step 2 – Believe the other person is incapable of making the same error.

How To Ruin Food

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)

“I really shouldn’t eat this, what with it containing 12 grams of saturated fat.  Oh well, I’ll put in extra time at the gym tonight,” he said scarfing down the burger.

“I know.  I really went overboard last weekend on the late night snacking.  I think I ate two entire bags of chips and salsa,” she replied in kind.

They continued this way for the duration of the time it took for them to wolf down other foods they shouldn’t eat because of words and numbers on the packaging.  I know because I was eating with them.  You see, they were my friends.  I hadn’t seen them in such a long time, and I had finally made time to grab a bite to catch up with them.  By the time the food–if we can even call it that anymore–was finished, I was able to ask, “So how’s life?  What have you been up to?”

“It’s good.  Really good.  Oh, but look at the time.  I really need to get going if I’m going to make it to the restaurant on time after work tonight.  I really need to stop eating out so much,” she said.

Instruction for How To Ruin Food

Step 1 – Believe that there is any relationship between nutritional facts and self-discipline.

Step 2 – State the relationship.

Step 3 – Repeat Step 2 until time runs out.

How To Laugh

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)

“You have a sister?  What’s she like?”

“She’s cool.  You’ll like her.”

“Do you guys look alike, notwithstanding she’s a girl?”

“Not really.  She’s a lot lighter than me.  It’s actually kinda funny.  My sisters are all light brown, while I’m black–even though we have the same parents.”

“I knew someone who had the same problem.”

“What problem?  What problem is that?”

Lucky for her, he asked this only moments before bursting into one of the most contagious laughs imaginable.  Lucky for her, he had one of the best senses-of-humor available.  His ability to laugh transformed a moment more serious souls might have let become negatively charged into one filled with the glorious sounds of laughter.  Laughing uncontrollably, even she was unable to successfully join enough words together to mount whatever self-defense she had in mind.

Instructions for How To Laugh:

Step 1 – Resist all temptation to believe people actually think before they speak.

Step 2 – While smiling, immediately exhale the full amount of whatever air happens to be in your lungs.

Step 3 — Inhale as able.

Step 4 – Appropriate to the situation, repeat Steps 2 and 3 with ridiculously nonsensical  rhythm.

How To Be Angry

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)

“I’m not going to the dinner tonight!” he foamed.

“But you always go,” she responded.

“Right, but this one is about (insert hot button issue), and I’m not going to sit there and listen to those morons act like they know what they’re talking about!” he retorted furiously.

He knew he was right.  He knew what he believed.  And he knew they were wrong.

He could destroy their ideas with logic.  He could destroy their ideas with evidence.  He could destroy their ideas with history.  Listen to them?  Associate with them?  How could he?  He didn’t even understand how they could exist.  How could he possibly be expected to keep his cool when they were so blatantly wrong?  No, he’d made up his mind, he wasn’t going.

Waking up, he saw he had a few more morning emails than normal.  Several of his friends wrote that they missed his presence at the dinner.  One said they were all looking forward to a dissenting opinion, and without him it was a rather bland evening.  Immediately, he felt a pang of regret.   He didn’t expect anyone to even notice he wasn’t there, let alone miss him.  Kicking himself for forgetting that people are not arguments, people are not ideas, and people are not principles, he stood up and laboriously began his morning.  At 55, he thought he’d have learned his lesson by now.  Oh well, lucky for him the memories of his friends always welcoming him back with open arms burst through the floodgates.

Instructions for How To Be Angry

Step 1 – Make a decision without all the information.

Step 2 – Cease contact with anyone who disagrees with you.