Posts tagged ‘internet’

Just A Bite?

Scenario 1:

I invite a friend round for dinner. The doorbell rings, I answer, we hug and I invite them in. We enjoy our meal while catching up, conversing, engaging, laughing, etc. I’ve made dessert too. It’s all very enjoyable. We even arrange to do it again.

Scenario 2: The doorbell rings, I’m not expecting anyone but I go to answer it. Standing there is someone I don’t know very well but have gotten along with in the past. Before I know it, they’ve pushed past me, they’re in the kitchen and riffling through my cupboards. I’m in stunned silence. This isn’t what I expected when I answered the door. I return to the kitchen and I’m yelled at to sit down. I’m suddenly scared so I do as I’m told. My fight or flight instinct has chosen to freeze and I can’t override it. They make a sandwich, all the while yelling at me. I’m frozen to the spot, I daren’t move for fear I’ll feel their rage via their fists. They scoff the sandwich down, leave the place in a mess and storm out of the house.

Still with me? Now, let’s say I want to make a complaint to the Gardaí about this? Let’s say I take it to trial? Why does my ability or willingness to engage in scenario 1 sully my testimony while his previous convictions for scenario 2 are inadmissible?

Because I opened the door, is it my fault? I should have looked through the peep hole. I should have been a better judge of character. I should have yelled back. I should have used my words and my fists to get them out of my house. Is it my fault because I had fresh bread in the house?

So it’s all my fault and now I’m afraid to open the door to anyone. I live in fear. I jump every time I hear a car slow down outside.

If this seems ridiculous to you, you’re right. It is ridiculous. Yet that’s what happens to rape victims daily, both by society and by our legal system. We fail them.

The purpose of Tinder is to meet and engage with new people. How can we do this is we don’t take people at face value? How has anyone ever found a new person to add to their world without an element of trust? This is not the fault of Tinder but equally, it is not the fault of the victim.

Enough is enough. Let’s blame the rapist. Are you with me?

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Down The Well

Imagine you’re walking along a familiar path. There’s a pretty deep hole in the ground, just like a well shaft. You’ve walked this path many, many times. You’ve fallen in occasionally but not every time, sure that’d be silly.

You’ve put up warning signs around the well; you’ve learned to tread carefully so that you won’t misstep again. You’re applying knowledge from previous falls and everything pretty much goes according to plan.

Occasionally you will still lose your footing and when you do fall, what happens is that you won’t have the strength to catch the walls and halt your fall on your own. By far the easier option is to roll into a ball and protect yourself from the inevitable bang that awaits you at the bottom. You convince yourself that once there you will gather your thoughts and consider your options for escape. Of course, the sensible option is to catch yourself mid-way so you’ve less of a distance to climb back up but you’re not thinking rationally, you’re in freefall.

Recently I missed the warning signs and fell. This time was different though. Instead of curling into a ball to protect myself from the impact, I used skills I’d learned from previous falls. Go me! Applied learning FTW!

What I did was I wrote about it here, I told everyone what was happening and do you know what happened? I stopped falling. I clung to the edge of the well and watched as so many people threw ropes to help me up. I’ve stumbled on some of those ropes and I’m still climbing but I refuse to stop climbing, I’m stubborn like that.

What have I learned this time? To talk, don’t just tell someone, you should tell everyone. The people around you won’t know you’re falling if you won’t tell them and they can’t help you if they don’t know. One rope just isn’t enough and it places far too much responsibility on the person holding it at the top. If you had any other illness that you live with and manage daily you’d tell them if it was flaring up, wouldn’t you? So tell them, tell each and every one of them and let them throw you a rope, and they will.

To everyone who called, texted, commented, provided company and identified with my words, thank you. It means so much to know others want me out of the well. I’m not there yet but without you all I’d be sitting at the bottom of that well, alone. Thank you.

 

Until Tomorrow

She’s been doing this for over three weeks now. She gets up, puts on her mask and goes to work. Her colleagues can’t tell the difference, or at least she believes this to be the case. She’s more detached than usual, less likely to partake in daily banter but on the surface little seems different. She’s probably just busy or distracted, they think. Her attention span isn’t what it used to be but she thinks she’s hiding this pretty well too. She makes a note of everything because she’ll forget it if she doesn’t. Her ability to make tough decisions has all but disappeared so she tries to avoid them at all costs and eagerly takes guidance from colleagues.

Once home, the mask comes off. Aah, that’s better. It’s been smothering her, it’s tough work keeping it on all day. In fact it’s utterly exhausting. At least she’s at home now, she shuts the door and is safe from the stress of real life for today.

She should make dinner but feels no incentive. The only value in eating is to quieten the grumbling sound in her abdomen, so she goes straight to bed, eats 2 bars of chocolate and that does the trick for now. Not even chocolate tastes good anymore so why make the effort of real meals. She’ll be hungry again in an hour and will make another poor dietary choice. She’ll eat better tomorrow, when the real world hasn’t felt like such a struggle, just not today. Maybe tomorrow.

She’s deleted her dating profile for now, it’s such hard work interacting with the people she knows and likes that there’s no way she’s in a position to converse and get to know new people. It’s only online but it still requires wearing the mask. It is easier than real world interaction, she knows that but she just can’t be bothered for now. Maybe tomorrow.

What if she went for a walk? Get some air in her lungs, she’s been told repeatedly that exercise is good when she feels like this but she can’t seem to face up to it. The prospect of 30-45 minutes alone with her thoughts while out in the world, is terrifying. She’s tried all day to not let those thoughts in, she’s certainly not going to let them waltz into her consciousness now. The far preferable option is to stay indoors with a box set, away from her thoughts. Her attention span is dead so she can’t risk a movie but she thinks she can manage a TV episode or two. Surely she’s not that much a victim to her own cognition.

Why doesn’t she just go to the doctor or call that person she used to go to when she last felt like this? Well, she can’t even write this in the first person yet so she’s clearly not ready to be proactive in dealing with these feelings. Besides, she just might feel a little stronger tomorrow.

Maybe talk to a friend then, wouldn’t that be easier? Her friends are busy with their own lives so she won’t inconvenience them with something intangible that they can’t fix anyway. Besides, she’d only be whinging. They’ve real lives with real problems. She’s just feeling sorry for herself, it’s not like there’s anything really wrong with her. And maybe it’ll pass, it could all be gone tomorrow and it’ll turn out she was whinging for nothing.

She does know that only she can fix this but she just doesn’t have the energy today. Besides, she’s got to put that mask on again tomorrow and without a good nights sleep that’s going to be tougher than today. So she clings to the hope that she’ll get a good night’s sleep, that tomorrow will be magically better somehow and she won’t have to face up to dealing with this.

How Do You Spell Single?

Online dating is a bit like a left handed wank. It feels weird and unnatural but if you put the effort in, you might just get the result you seek.
With this in mind, perhaps a cursory check of your profile is a good idea, it’s the only thing your prospective dates will have to judge you on. Remember folks, spell check is your friend.

I’m not a complete autocrat, there are some errors I will forgive. I’m also perfectly ok with a lot of text abbreviations. I’m sure I’d never get laid at all if I didn’t forgive the occasional typo of the your/you’re, there/their/they’re and the then/than variety.

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On one site in particular, one of the questions you need to complete is your occupation. Here’s a selection of occupations of my prospective matches in the greater Galway area:

Pumber
Capinter
Tower cane
Diector
Factoty
Free lancer

I’ve found men on this site in the past few weeks describe themselves as follows:

I am cearing (I can only assume he means caring).
I am toaled am funny (Well I laughed).
People say I am a GD man (No idea what he’s trying to say here).
Will fill dis out later (Can’t imagine how he’ll improve upon this insight into his character).
Could of (Just how difficult is “Could have”)?
Searious (Seariously?)
Simular (Like is far easier to spell correctly).
Looking to meet the wome of my dreams (What’s a wome?).

The pickings are slim, even when I’ve conceded to accept the more forgivable typos. The world of online dating is a very bleak place indeed when spelling skills become a basic requirement in a suitor.

I am also learning quite a lot of peculiar text speak lately. Did you know that bbe means babe? I mean who’d see a need to type an extra letter to make the subject matter clearer? Never mind the fact that we’ve never met and I’m wincing at being called babe, in any format.

I’ll bet you couldn’t guess what wbu stands for? No? Well that’s because the letters in this particular acronym don’t even represent the words within it. It stands for ‘what About you’.

Are single women just as bad? Can anyone spell correctly anymore or am I destined to drop my standards even further?

I despair.

And parents, can you please ensure your offspring never fail to get the ride in the future because of a poor attention to spelling.

The Dress

There are countless variables that go into a successful date. A small selection of these include: are you familiar with the venue, is the atmosphere conducive to conversation, is it coffee or drinks, and how have you been getting along virtually.

There is one thing I can have complete control over and it helps a lot to calm the nerves. I have a dress. Shocker, I hear you say, we’ve all got a dress. This dress is different. It isn’t spectacular, nor does it have some fancy schmancy designer label. What this dress can do is make me feel good about myself and I feel completely comfortable in it.

I’ve worn it on a lot of dates, every 1st date since last October to be exact and it has never let me down yet. I try not to believe in luck so this isn’t my lucky dress, it’s simply my first date dress. Since selecting this uniform for first dates I haven’t yet had a first date that failed to turn into a second unless I decided I didn’t want a second.

In this dress I’m relaxed and comfortable. This must shine through as it’s got a 100% success rate. I highly recommend selecting an outfit that you feel good in, that you look good in and using it for dates only. By all means, trial run a few options first before selecting the right one. It’s the single ingredient in a first date that you’ve got complete control over.

That’s my two cents.

Cold World

We’re rarely intentionally cruel, but we can be guilty of some very mean-spirited behaviour towards our fellow singleton. Is stringing someone along better or worse than ghosting them? Does it count as letting them down gently? I’ll let you decide.

I recently met a guy that got me thinking about this. I felt he was stringing me along for one of the reasons below (Spoiler alert: I suspect it was ‘Options’). I ghosted his last sporadic and insincere message. But which of us is worse?

I wouldn’t ever string anyone along to be intentionally mean, I’m sure very few would. But why can callousness come so easily to us? When did we become so cold?

For Attention

Dating is like waiting for a bus. It’s utterly selfish but it’s also nice to have someone interested in us to massage our ego and make us feel desirable when the pickings are slim. Even I’m guilty of this one, and I’m damn near perfect.

Cowards

I could argue the point that we’re too nice and hate the prospect of hurting anyone but that’s not it. We’re doing it because we’re selfish and don’t want to play the villan. The Nerd did this one to me and it felt awful when the penny dropped. I don’t do well with subtleties so to be quite honest, it’s a wonder that particular penny dropped at all.

Options

We haven’t yet decided if we want them in our lives so we hang on and drip feed the interaction while searching for someone better. Can they not see I’m totally fricking awesome? Seriously what’s there to think about?

Players

This needs no explanation. It’s intentional and it’s keeping you strung along with a minimum of effort for the possibility of maybe getting laid on a Friday night.

In A Relationship

They’re assholes.

So what should we do when we think we’re being strung along? The correct answer is nothing at all. If a guy wants to talk to you or see you, there will be no excuses, there will be no games. He will make it happen. It really is that simple.

Hope

After a few early messages, I usually get a sense of a person. Yes I could be very wrong about them and it can all turn pear-shaped quite fast but that early impression counts for a lot.

We get chatting; sharing stories and interests, learning all about each other and that’s when it kicks in. Hope. Regardless of how many times I’ve had this feeling before or how many times it’s been misplaced, it inevitably returns and with it comes a bucket load of confusion.

Today I’m slap bang in the middle of the hope phase. I’m loving and hating it in equal measure. Yes, it’s exciting getting to know him and I’m having lots of laughs but nestled in the back of my mind is that this is not real, and it can’t be real until we meet. Essentially I’m refusing to trust my own judgement of our conversations. What if he’s nothing like I’ve imagined? What if I’m an awful judge of character? What if he’s simply really good at telling me what I want to hear?

A consequence to that is that this can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on a first meeting. Wasn’t it so much easier when we met in real life first? Texting with people we already know is fine but texting strangers is fraught with doubts. Maybe it’s because I see so many obvious catfish online that I’m wary of anyone who seems too good to be true. Of course it could be fine and it’s probable that I’m just overthinking it; nothing new there.

I used to be quite blasé about first dates, and mostly I still am. Once in a while though you find one that you’re really hopeful about. Who knew that hope and excitement was so stress inducing? I’m sure we’ll meet in the next few days, wish me luck!