Here’s What Your Message Says About You, or Greatest Hits Volume 1

A writer friend of mine brought it to my attention that because we’re writers, and because we’ve taught Composition, we’re extremely (erring on the side of being obnoxious) aware of the rhetorical choices people make on the internet – on social media, blogs, and especially on online dating sites.  If you’re a heterosexual woman, and you mention “loving children”, guys will think that you want to get married and have a baby RIGHT NOW.  If you’re a guy, and you mention “not wanting anything really serious right now”, most women are going to think you’re looking for a hook-up.  We’re not going to take everything you say at face value.  There’s subtext to everything.

Hi/hey/Hi there/How are you

If we’re in a real life setting, and there’s no way for you to know anything about me, this is a perfectly acceptable way for you to greet me.  If you’re using an online dating site, one with profiles to read, this message translates to, “I’m incredibly boring!” or “I’m too lazy to come up with something to say to you!”  Or even, “you’re not worth more of my time than a ‘hi'”.  These messages usually get a swift “delete”.  Every now and then I turn it into a conversation about something super random, like a house built out of bananas, or sharks doing ballet, because I get bored, and one of us has to keep things interesting, and I know that Mr. Hi There isn’t going to be that person.

Hi how are you today im 26 love the out doors , going to the beach , and watching the ocean and cuddle with , I’m looking for a serious relationship no games no bs all real thing .im a real man im romantic loving funny out going and im looking for a serious , down to earth 100% women to be with cuddle talk ,text communicate with and treat her rite if your that women email me if u are serious

This message also says a few other things.  The first is, “I copied and pasted this to 100 other women”.  Now, you’d think if he was going to send this out to so many people that he would spellcheck it first.  Or bother to write out words like “you”.  You’re not 13 – you’re an adult.  You should know how to construct a sentence (unless English is not your first language, which is not the case here).  And, considering that you find communication to be so important, it would be in your best interest to learn how to do it.  So, this message is also saying, “I’m fairly incompetent.  I may like to cuddle with the ocean.  And I’m looking for ‘a serious women’ “.  In case you didn’t get enough extra messages from this, it also tells me, “I didn’t read your profile, so I assume you won’t read mine.  That’s why I’m telling you about myself here.”  Either that, or you think I can’t read.  Which is a problem, because then how would I read this new message? Plus, between the two of us, I don’t think you’re winning the medal for literacy.  None of these are great things to get in a message, and probably are not how you want to be seen.  In addition, this message says, “It will always be about me, and never about you.”  You’re not going to ask me any questions, are you?  This would end up as more of a lecture than a date.  If I wanted a lecture on how to write like a 4th grader.

Hey sexy/gorgeous/cutie/you’re hot, etc.

This message says, “I’m really shallow”.  Now don’t get me wrong – online dating makes it really easy to be shallow.  We see people’s pictures before we read their profiles, and only click on the ones we find attractive.  That’s pretty much a given.  And attraction is important in a relationship.  Sometimes it can grow on you if the other person has a super awesome personality, but usually, we reject what we don’t like.  It sucks, but that’s just what we do.  However, for most of us, at least those of us who are actually looking for relationships, that attraction isn’t enough.  We need to know that you’re smart, or silly, or really into discovering new cheeses.  If you’re cute, but boring, cute isn’t going to mean a whole lot.  But here’s the other thing: if you’re sending me a message, I already know that you find me attractive.  Telling me this is as useful as writing a message that says, “I’m sending you a message” – it conveys about as much information that I didn’t already know.  So, really, this message also tells me, “I looked at your pictures, and that’s all”.  Next.

Hello, any chance we could have a civil conversation and maybe see what transpire? Your thoughts?

“I also copy and paste this to a hundred women, but I want it to be less obvious.  Also, I want it implied right away that I think you might not be capable of civil conversation.”

You’re joking right? There is no way you are single. you seem so gorgeous!! I’m not buying it sister. But if in fact this is not an elaborate hoax, I’d like to find out more…

“Not only did I copy and paste this to many women, but I also probably stole it from some website that gives terrible dating advice.”  Also, someone’s attractiveness has no bearing on how good they are at being in relationships.  Sure, they might find mates more easily and quickly, but they still go through breakups like the rest of us!

I wanna bend you over that medicine ball

“I have no idea how to talk to women.”

Hey wanna do something??

“I’m looking for a hookup, and I don’t want to put in the effort of having a conversation first!”

Gorgeous! but real? not so sure?

“I’m trying for a neg, but I’m not very good at it.”

i hope you like genetics too cuz i got a lot of dna for you to collect 😉

“I’m going to give you something to use that rape kit for.”

Seems like something mutual is happening in your profile pic. You are having fun with the rubber ball and the rubber ball is having fun with your balls!
Just kidding! ;)​

“I think I’m hilarious, but I’m also really confused about female anatomy.  Help?”

Hello Dear,
You are so beautiful and pretty, really can’t take my eyes off you
since i came across you.
Will you marry me?
Yours lovely,sam from ıstanbul.

“You should stay far, far away from Istanbul, because I am a crazy person.  Also, I want you to have that They Might Be Giants song stuck in your head for the next 5 hours.”

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Why Does the Internet Hate Lady Geeks? (part one of many in “Sexism of the Interweb”)

I’m feeling very ranty these days.  Perhaps this is because I have too much time on my hands, and because I spend too much of that time on the internet.  But I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about sexism, misogyny, and the problems caused by gender roles.

It’s one of those things that comes up every day, and which I’m acutely conscious of.  Sexism affects my work/job hunt: I’m at a fairly large disadvantage looking for school counseling jobs because I have lady parts.  Yes, we are now affirmative-actioning the majority population to the point where the principal who said he was “really impressed with” my answers during the interview hired a guy because, well, he wanted a guy.  Even men in the field have admitted that they have an unfair advantage.  I encounter the damage that misogyny and gender roles cause in the online dating world, but that’s an entirely separate post that I’ll get to.  I see it when I play co-ed volleyball, and I get treated like a weak child who couldn’t hit a ball if she had eight extra arms.

But one of the scariest places for sexism and misogyny is on the internet.  This, again, is subject matter that it will take me several posts to wade through, so for today, I’m just going to consider sexism as it shows up in geek culture.  Now in order for this to make any sense, I should define what geek culture actually is.  The original derived from the word for fool, then was used to describe a carnival performer who would bite the heads off of chickens (why they needed a performer to do something this disturbing is beyond me.  Maybe Ozzy Osbourne has some insight).  Next, it meant a socially inept person.  Today, I think the definition we most identify with is an obsessive enthusiast who has great knowledge, usually in an area or areas that aren’t part of mainstream culture.  This is pretty broad.  There are computer geeks, gaming geeks, Star Wars/Trek geeks, comic book geeks, academic/book geeks, RPG geeks, music geeks, and many many others.  And the internet makes it 10,000 times easier to obsess about these things.

Somewhere along the line, we got this weird idea that geek culture was created by men, and therefore owned and practiced by men and boys worldwide.  Some of this may be a result of TV and movies: Revenge of the Nerds, and brat pack movie, Weird Science, the Big Bang Theory, the IT Crowd, and hundreds of other films and shows present us time and time again with the same basic formula: nerdy (okay, I realize these words are not exactly synonymous – nerds tend to err more on the academic side of geekdom, and usually have more varied interests, but for the sake of making my points, I’m going to use them interchangeably, as I believe they fill the same cultural space)  guy(s) are shunned by the majority of the population (high school, college, the office), and the pretty ladies ignore them or find them not worthy of their time.  Usually at least one of these geeky guys has a crush on a popular, attractive woman, often one who already has a boyfriend (a football player type).  He acts awkward around her, wonders why women don’t seem to like nice, nerdy guys, and wins her heart by the end of the movie/show (to the movie’s credit, while that storyline is central in Revenge of the Nerds – and culminates in a scene that is, at best, worst, rape, and at best, a total dick move – another main character does actually fall for a fellow geeky girl – who knew they existed?).  So our culture built this narrative of the loser geek guy who eventually gets the hot girl.  But it’s not about the conquest aspect, at least not yet.  Right now, I’m just going to just deal with what that sets up: an all-male cohort of geeks and nerds and dweebs that is in opposition to the popular people, and, more importantly to women.

Let’s look a little more closely at one of these “non-mainstream hobbies”.  Okay, video games.  For whatever reason, games seem to be the default way to prove membership in the geek culture, above really any other geeky hobbies. Depending whose stats you read, between 40-50% of the US’s total gamers are women.  Insert cries of “but the wimmin don’t play the hardcore games, they only play the games on Facebook and on their phones!  Because there’s an unspoken hierarchy in video game culture (at least, it goes unspoken until anyone starts talking about women in video games) that certain types of games are more “legit” than others.  Computer games have a different rank than phone app games, and console games yet another.  God forbid you play Angry Birds or The Sims: geeks will mock you.  But, you know, in anonymous online forums.  There is an unbelievable amount of social posturing that goes on in online spaces that are overflowing with people who claimed to be unpopular in high school.

So…what happens if you go into these spaces as a lady geek?  Sometimes they are openly hostile.  This is mostly true if you present yourself as a feminist who tries to alter any part of gaming culture.  I don’t typically follow video game news outside of reading the occasional posts from Facebook friends, but I read enough about sexism in culture and general geekery to hear about things that happen to women like Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist media critic known most recently for her videos in a series titled, “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” in which she criticizes sexism in games, frequently in regards to the roles women play, often in the background, as victims of abuse, or as damsels who need to be rescued.  Granted, I identify as a feminist, so there’s a good chance that I would find some merit to her arguments, which I’ve heard are fairly academic and generally well sourced.  But not everyone is going to agree with her analyses, and of course, some will want to argue back.  That’s completely fair.  But…that’s mostly not what happened.  Some people got PISSED.  People have emailed her rape threats, and threatened to kill her on her Twitter feed.  They created images of her being sexually assaulted and sent them to her.  She recently had to call the police when a particularly scary Twitter user claimed to know her address, and threatened to kill not only Sarkeesian, but also her family members.  Because she made youtube videos about sexism in video games.  Apparently, making a video that someone disagrees with is now an offense worthy of rape, humiliation, vitriolic comments, and death.  She discusses the misogyny displayed in imaginary worlds…and then some internet morons prove that it’s out in the real world, too.  It doesn’t matter how offensive you find her critiques, or if you think she scammed people out of money (this is something no one can seem to agree on) – this is NOT the appropriate way to treat anyone.  Maybe a serial killer, or a convicted serial rapist/child molester.  But a media critic?  Come on, people.  This is lunacy.  The truth terrifies some of these people, though.  Something similar happened with another woman, Zoe Quinn, who developed a game, and then supposedly slept with a game reviewer in order to garner attention for her creation.  Again, no one can prove that this happened this way, and no one can prove that it can’t.  But it doesn’t matter.  It’s not an excuse to slut-shame her or use her as an example of why the industry is the corrupt.  She…clearly would have had to sleep with…someone else?  Why does HE not get a buttload of complaints for this unethical behavior?  Oh, right.  Because he’s in a more powerful position, and because he has man parts.  It’s Bill Clinton all over again.  A naive and foolish intern fools around with him in the Oval Office, and he keeps his job, and, after a few years of typical American amnesia, his reputation.  But Monica Lewinsky lost her job, and she will always be known for that one offense.  Let me know when the same thing happens to a man.

Another symptom of this oddly exclusive culture is that, even if you don’t get overt misogynistic responses when you announce your female gender in a gamer space, there are notable differences in how you will be treated.  Many WoW players have observed that when they admit that they’re women, men offer them more help and assume that they don’t know what they’re doing.  Other times they get hit on.  And in a lot of gaming forums (fora?), once you confess to ownership of lady parts, you suddenly are required to prove that you have the right geek cred.   You have to show them that you play the right games, whatever they are (and you have to know what they are).  Or, less often, that you know the right comics.  Get the right Star Trek reference.  Any assertion you make is called into question, until a guy backs you up.  Sure, there are some guys there who claim they are glad women are joining the ranks, so there’s hope that this won’t last forever.  But why are these geeky guys so threatened by the presence of women in their little club?  Especially when women have been their all along, sitting in the bleachers and standing on the sidelines.

I hear some men profess that geek forums and gaming are their “safe spaces”, where they can be themselves around like-minded folk.  After years of high school persecution, they have larger social outlets that they can rely on for comfort.  What they don’t realize is that many of these girls endured the same persecution, but were often even more isolated.  While not a big gamer, I was definitely (and still am) a nerd, especially in the academic sense.  I suffered from social anxiety, and spent a lot of my time alone with a book.  With lots of books. I didn’t know where to find other nerds to spend my time with. I’ve spend most of my life feeling like an outsider.  It’s expected that nerds will be boys, so there doesn’t seem to much of a place for female nerds in school culture.  And because of that, it seems like utter nonsense to me to reject others from any group I’m part of (unless they’re huge jerks).

In these kinds of geek spaces, I fall epically short.  I can out-Harry Potter most folks, and I know my academic subjects pretty well, but I’m not obsessive enough about most of it to pass any geek litmus test.  And frankly, I’m not sure I really want to anymore.  I’m the opposite of Groucho Marx – I don’t want to be a part of any club that doesn’t want me.

I used some references for this, but I’m too lazy to cite them, because this is a blog entry and no one’s grading it.

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What Not to Do (and Some Things You Should) in Online Dating

Okay, so I promised to offer some advice to those of you who really have no idea how to do online dating.  Not that I’m a super expert, but I’ve had many successful conversations, meetings, and a couple of relationships that have all come out of it, so I’m at least semi-knowledgeable.  Most of this advice is directed towards men looking for women, but some of it applies to everyone.

So, guys, some general advice for those profile questions (the summary and such that show up first).  Please stop describing yourselves as laid-back, easygoing, or down to earth.  For one, it’s lazy.  It’s also rarely true (for instance, the large majority of men whose profiles I visit are not okay with me hanging out with an ex, whether frequently or ever.  This sounds less than laid-back to me).  And honestly, I don’t know that being laid back is a universally appealing characteristic.  I want a guy who cares about stuff, and is passionate about what he does or wants to do.  I think most women, frankly, most people, are attracted to others who are enthusiastic about something, especially if it’s something they have in common.  I don’t understand what is supposed to be so appealing about not caring about stuff.  This is part of why I can’t stand most hipsters: they can’t be bothered to really care about anything.  And it’s what I love about most geeks and nerds (at least, the ones who aren’t “nice guys” who are constantly complaining about the “friendzone”): they’re passionate about things. And if they care that much about an interest or hobby, there’s a better chance that they’ll care about me, or about the kids I’d eventually like to adopt.

Stop saying “I’m bad at describing myself” as a way to start of your profile.  No one really likes doing it, so you don’t need to tell us.  If it’s that hard, find a friend to write a little blurb for you.  You would never do this in an interview, and you often have to do something similar for those.  Now, I know there are a few things that I personally find irritating if mentioned in a profile, but these may just be me.  For instance, I don’t like if you need to stress that you drink or smoke (cigarettes or pot).  You can easily indicate these preferences in that “details” list that shows up in a column on the right.  So if you need to talk about them, you might be too interested in getting trashed for me.  Also, these aren’t particularly unique or interesting habits.  It’s like when someone writes that they like to “have fun and grab a drink with friends”.  We all like fun.  And most people will grab drinks with friends.  If this is all you’ve got, you are probably boring. 

This one is probably obvious to those of you who aren’t idiots, but if you fill out your profile and all you say is “If you want to know more, ask” or “I’d rather get to know you by talking to you”, I’m not going to message you, and neither are a lot of other women.  This is so lazy.  You don’t have to tell us a whole lot, but if all I know if what you look like, and that you can’t be bothered to tell us anything about yourself, I know that you’re already putting no effort into dating, so why would I think you would do any differently in person?

And as for pictures…smile.  And keep your shirt on.  Oh, and if you have a puppy, putting in the picture can’t hurt.  And for the love of god, stop trying to look like an emo guy playing an acoustic guitar on tiny stoop.  Okay, that last one might just be because I live less than 50 miles from Brooklyn.

On to more important things: the messages.  There are several types of message that the majority of women will ignore, regardless of how attractive you are, what your percentage match is, or how charming your profile is.  I, of course, am an anomaly, because I like to engage in shenanigans with online strangers, so I respond to almost everything.  Most women have gotten a message like this: “hey sexy”.  Sometimes it’s “Yo gorgeous” or “Hi beautiful lady” or “Wow u hot”, but you know what I mean.  Even if it’s grammatically correct, and more “polite”, it’s still demeaning.  You really shouldn’t start your message to a stranger with a comment about someone’s appearance.  Women aren’t objects.  We do not exist just for you to ogle.  If, as part or a longer message you mention that you really like something about one of our pictures (a smile, an outfit, how much fun it looks like we’re having), that’s fine.  Our appearance (or, in cruder messages, how much you want to kiss/stick it in/fuck us or “hit that”) should not be the entirety of your message. We write profiles.  Read them.  This is the internet dating version of street harassment.  I don’t know any woman who’s had “hey sexy lady” yelled at her from a street corner or out a car window who ever fell in love with, or even casually dated, the man who yelled.  On a similar note, the “how could you possibly still be single” message is pretty lame, too.  Someone’s attractiveness has no bearing on their relationship successes.  If anything, I’d argue that more attractive people are more likely to have short, crappy relationships, because a lot of shallow men are interested in them for their beauty, rather than for their common interests or their dazzling personalities (not that they don’t have dazzling personalities).  While I’m obviously on an online dating site, and currently single, I think part of why I’ve had some dating success (meaning that my “dating” tends to turn into meaningful relationships, even if they all eventually ended) is that I’m not what most people think of as traditionally attractive.  That means that I have a bit of an “automatic jerk filter”.  The guys who want to date me are usually the kind who find a lot of different types of women attractive, or who value intelligence, humor, and general awesomeness over attractiveness, and who don’t care what their friends might say if they date an overweight gal.  Of course, I do get some guys who have a thing specifically for larger women, which I don’t love, but that’s a subject for another entry.  Mostly, stop talking about how we look.  We know that you are attracted to us because you are sending the message.  You don’t need to make it a thing.

Another frustrating type of message is the “hi” or “hello” or “how’s it going?”.  In person, these are harmless, and makes sense.  When you meet a stranger at a party or social gathering, you usually don’t know anything about that person, so you have little to start with.  But online, you have an entire profile to work with! This is what I like about online dating – I have automatic conversation starters that don’t involve weather or current events.  These simple ones are the messages that I am most likely to ignore.  Occasionally, I’ll answer with something odd, like when I talked about my missing kangaroo.  One of us has to find something to talk about.  Mostly I just don’t answer, but sometimes you get the guys who don’t take no answer as an answer, and they just keep going.  What I need in order to reply to these messages is a response that manages to find a more polite and non-offensive way to say that I can’t talk to this person because he is “horribly, deadly boring”. But I haven’t figured that out yet.  If you have a suggestion, let me know.

One of the worst types is the “rant about me” message.  It’s usually braggy, but always talks just about the person sending the message.  It’s often an entire paragraph, and almost always contains information that can be found in the user’s profile.  Dude, if I’m interested, I will read your profile.  I don’t need a message that tells me what ivy league college you went to, or how tall you are, or that you love music.  It’s just like talking to people in person, folks.  Stop talking about you.  That is not going to make women excited to talk with you.  Unless maybe the thing you say is, “I am Johnny Depp/Stephen Hawking/Alan Rickman” or “I have a basket filled with puppies that I’d love to share with you” or “I just made pie – would you like some?”

So here is a fool proof way to write messages to women (or to anyone).  First, a greeting is always nice.  Hi, hello, howdy, cheerio, I don’t care.  If the woman’s name is in her profile, you can just use that.  After that, you only need to include two things.  The first is a mention of a shared interest.  This makes it clear that you have read my profile.  It also shows me that we have something in common, and that you are not just sending me a message because you like my pictures and want a piece of “dat ass”.  It can be something simple: a book, TV show, or band that I mention; a suggestion of a book that is similar to my tastes; a reference to Harry Potter, an interest in nonsense words; or even a discussion about ambiverts.  And, of course, if you know where my socks are.  I respond to anyone who claims that they have information about the whereabouts of my lost sock partners.  The second thing, and this is the most important, is that you need to ask me a question, and it has to be something better than “how are you” or “how was your weekend”.  I don’t know you well enough for that answer to be interesting to either of us.  Your best bet is to ask something about one of my interests, or a comment I made on one of the OKC questions, because you already know that I will enjoy talking about that subject.  If you have other more random questions that you like to answer, and they aren’t about sex or something intimate/personal right away, those are fine, too. 

There is no secret to getting people to talk to you.  It’s fairly simple – you need to engage the user by discussing something that interests them. You need to be curious about that person and what they care about.  You need to not insult us right away (this is a trend now, called “negging”.  Apparently it’s only for really pretty girls, of the 8/9/10 caliber.  Yeah.  If you ever want to be terrified, look up these things on Pickup Artist sites). Women really aren’t that complicated.  We just want to be appreciated for things we’ve actually done, or for how we are, not how we look, which have little control over.  Oh, and one last important thing.  While I think this type of message is appealing to most women, many women still will not be interested.  They might not like your body type.  They might think your political views are too different, or that you are too religious/not religious enough.  They have the right to those opinions.  And they have the right to not message you back.  When that happens, please don’t try to message them again.  They are not obligated to respond to you.  Just take the hint, and message someone else.  Or respond to some nice woman who messages you!

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Where’s Your Fedora?

So, for any of you who don’t or haven’t spent as much time reading blogs and tumblrs about OKC, there’s this bizarre phenomenon where guys wear fedoras in their profile pictures, claim to be nice guys, and then act like complete jackasses, either in their profile responses, their questions, or in the nasty things they say to women who reject them.  They are also a lot like what are often referred to as NiceGuys (TM).  I don’t know what the correlation is with the fedoras, if there is some sort of chemical infused in them that leaks into guys’ brains and makes them awful people, but it’s pretty consistently true that the guys who wear them, and who use OKC, are asshats.  So I cam across this charming profile-visitor today.

First off, his username is a reference to marijuana.  Something about a “dab”, which I had to look up.  It’s some sort of extreme, high quality pot.  He also mentions dabs as one of the six things he couldn’t live without.  Honestly, I don’t have a really strong opinion about pot.  I don’t think it’s very dangerous, as long as people are smart about it and don’t drive after smoking it, but it shouldn’t rule your life.  I feel similarly when people have main profile pictures where they’re very obviously holding a six pack.  If this is the first impression you want to give off, booze or weed are way too important in your life.

And here’s his self summary:

I am looking for a serious monogamous relationship

(In his questions, he expresses serious interest in three ways.  If you want to do this in an open relationship, and your partner(s) agree to it, fine.  But I don’t think this fits what most people think of as monogamous relationships)

I enjoy traveling, BBQ, relaxing at the inlet on a cool night, trying all different types of cuisines, occasional city visits, I will try anything just about once. I love to cook all different things and it would be great if you did too! I’m pretty easy going, not looking for any drama or bs. No games played here or wanted. I’d rather talk to you then dump my life story here. I’m the nice guy that won’t send you dick picks or ask to have sex on the first email hahaha. I’ll never understand those losers!

(Stop telling us how nice and easy going you are, guys, and how willing you are to try things.  It doesn’t make you sound interesting, and often isn’t true.  Try showing us instead.  Also, stop telling us how much you hate drama.  Men and women are equally guilty of causing drama.  But most importantly…don’t mention dick picks.  Just don’t.  Women don’t want to think about that when reading your profiles.  I hope our standards are higher than just “doesn’t send dick picks” and “doesn’t proposition us in the first message”)

What I’m doing with my life:

Figuring out my next move.. The future, wil I ever actually find someone serious on here

(Maybe if you didn’t send confusing mixed messages about wanting monogamy and wanting threesomes?)

What I’m good at: I’m a techie, the guy who fixes your phone when you’re to lazy to use google haha

(Yup, following up your insult to women with a “haha” totally negates it!)

An, oh, the questions…

 

Straight women who kiss or fondle each other in clubs in the hopes of attracting men are…

Incredibly hot!

(I have a feeling that the strict monogamous girlfriend you are seeking might not be a huge fan of this? Okay, now remember how his guy describes himself as nice?)

How do you feel about government-subsidized food programs (free lunch, food stamps, etc.)?

Never – Get a job

(It’s super easy these days, too, so you should totally yell at anyone who struggles to find one, and make it impossible to support themselves while they do)

What’s your relationship with marijuana?

I smoke occasionally.Get over it, you get shit faced st a bar, I don’t

(Assume much?  No, I don’t get “shit-faced”, at a bar or otherwise.  Do I drink?  Yeah, sometimes.  Plenty of women don’t, or don’t drink enough to get shit-faced. And women are allowed to not like pot smokers if they so choose)

Do you litter?

Often

(Really?  First of all, I think you’d actually have to put effort in to litter often.  You’d have to walk around with all sorts of trash in your pockets, throw shit on the ground, and say, “yeah, suck it, earth!  I don’t care about you, and I want you to know it!”  And what is he hoping to prove with this?  That he’s proud of littering?)

I prefer to sleep…

Alone

(Okay, if you have a sleep disorder or some other condition that makes it difficult or impossible to sleep in the same bed as a partner, this is acceptable.  But if that’s the case, you should either explain that, or leave this question blank.  I can’t imagine that a lot of OKC users who are looking for monogamous relationships are hoping for a guy who would sleep in a separate bed/room/apartment all the time.  At least, not in the long run.)

Do you think women have an obligation to keep their legs shaved?

YesIt’s not even a question. No hair except your head!

(Yay!  Another guy dictating what women should do with their bodies!  So NICE!)

Do you believe that men should be the heads of their households?

Yes

If you turn a left-handed glove inside out, it fits…

On my left hand

In the line “Wherefore art thou Romeo?,” what does “wherefore” mean?

Who cares / wtf?

STALE is to STEAL as 89475 is to…

89754

Would the world be a better place if people with low IQs were not allowed to reproduce?

Yes

(Um…you see the problem here, right?)

Do you have a problem with racist jokes?

NoLove them

 

This guy sounds like a total catch.  He enjoys racist jokes, wants to get rid of people who are as dumb as he is, enjoys littering, will tell you how to groom yourself (by the way – does this mean you can’t have arm hair, either???) , and he will be judgmental about your drinking habits before he even knows what they are!  I just can’t figure out why he can’t find a girlfriend with this profile.  I mean, really, he sounds like the type of guy who really respects women.  And the earth.  And people in general.

 

Next up: some helpful tips for new users/folks who don’t know what they’re doing in the online dating world!

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Profile Hypocrisy, or Why Jess Really Needs to Get a Job

Every now and then, when I notice that a terrible match has looked at my profile, I like to take a look at their profiles and questions, just to amuse myself.  Or sometimes to feel superior.  So I checked out this dude:fat hypocrite

Now, normally, I don’t include pictures, but here, it’s pretty important.  Take a  good look.  It’ll be on the quiz later.

So, in the first few sentences of his profile, this guy claims to be a geek.  Also, I should mention that he answers in a few of his questions that religion and God are important to him.

While he only comes up as about 45% enemy, I’ve never seen so many pages of unmatched answers.  Let’s take a look, and remember: geeky, religious, and that’s his picture:

Which of the following best describes Science, in your opinion?

Hello? Like totally boring, dude.

(Okay, so he’s not a SCIENCE geek)

Which is longer, a mile or a kilometer?

I don’t know!

(And not a math/fact geek…my answer was also red, so he also doesn’t want me to know!)

Would the idea of a quiet evening sitting together reading books ever appeal to you?

No.

Yes.

(Not a book/literary geek either, and I also can’t be one)
How important is it that your partner be willing and able to participate in meaningful philosophical conversations?
Not at all important.
(My answer of “extremely important” is also red, so philosophical discussions aren’t his thing, and can’t be mine)
Star Trek: cool or uncool?

Uncool

Cool

(Dude, what the hell kind of geek are you?)

Does he cosplay, or want to? No. Is he left or right brained?  Too much brain talk!  Boardgames? Meh.  Academic achievements? Not important.  Significant other having a graduate level education? Unacceptable (I get this a lot, and not just from guys who only finished high school.  Plenty of guys who went to college don’t want to date someone who has a graduate degree.  Really?)  What does the “wherefore” in “Wherefore art thou Romeo” mean?  Where.  This takes 5 SECONDS to google.  And less to skip the question.  Would the world be a better place if people with low IQs weren’t allowed to reproduce? Yes.  Well, dude, you might not be allowed to have kids, then. And…

Have you ever spent more than 8 hours straight playing video games?

Yes

No.

Dingdingding!  This must be what makes him geeky! And it is completely unacceptable if the person he dates is another kind of geek!  Also, is it just me, or are video games a big enough part of popular culture that we can’t consider all gamers to be geeks automatically?

Now, I can’t tell if he really is this specific about what he DOESN’T want in a significant other, or if he didn’t really understand how the questions work, and that you can accept answers besides your own.  Either way, that might explain his answer to this question:

Have you been faithful in all of your past relationships?

I haven’t had a past relationship.

Yes.

(Is he objecting to that fact that I’ve been faithful???  Okay, now remember that he’s religious again…)

The idea of gay and lesbian couples having children is:

Not acceptable.

(Blarg, but not surprising)

Gay marriage—should it be legal?

No civil union is good enough

(I wasn’t surprised by the answer, but the commentary just adds to how much I cringed)

Straight women who kiss or fondle each other in clubs in the hopes of attracting men are…

Just having some girlish fun.

(Ohhhhhh, I get it.  You think that it’s morally wrong to BE gay, but it’s absolutely charming to PRETEND to be gay for ATTENTION!)

Overall, do you think that what you do (or plan to do) for a living makes the world a better or worse place?

No impact.

Better.

(Okay, I kind of assumed that anyone who considers himself to be religious or spiritual or even moral would be completely on board with dating someone who believes that what they do is good for the world, but…I’m agnostic, so, maybe I’m confused about what morality is?)

Do you think women have an obligation to keep their legs shaved?

Yes

(Now I’ve read the ten commandments several times, and I don’t remember “Thou shalt not keep thyne womanly legs hairy!” being in there)

Commitment to personal growth is:

Sort of important

Critically important.

(I mean, you should grow, but not TOO damn much.  It makes the rest of us look bad if you try to do that)

Now, take a few seconds to scroll back up and get a good look at that picture.  Did you do it?  Good.

How would you describe your body?

Slender

(Um..not sure that’s the word I’d use.  Now, the closest on that list for me is “voluptuous”, which I chose, and which he thinks is unacceptable.  But it gets better)

Can overweight people still be sexy?

No

Yes

 (Ah.  You’ll notice that this is the only time his answer’s in red, and mine isn’t.  So…overweight MEN – i.e., he – can be sexy, or he wants you to think so, but he does not extend the same courtesy.)

Do overweight people annoy you?

Yes Obese people

(I don’t hate ALL fat people, just the ones who are fatter than I am!!!  Or, I have a lot of self-hatred)

And now for some random inconsistency:

Other things being equal, would you be more attracted to an artist or a scientist?

Artist

Scientist

(Now, since I’m already a bit of an artsy type, I’d rather date some who isn’t, so that I can get a bit of balance.  His answer here isn’t the problem yet)

Are you an aspiring actor/artist/writer or other creative type?

No

Yes

(I…what?  I can’t figure out what the hell you want, dude, but you seem awfully choosy about whatever inconsistent thing it is!)

Sometimes, after looking through profiles like this, I want to give up on online dating altogether.  It’s fine if people want to be too lazy for the intelligence/knowledge questions, but at least don’t parade yourself as a smart person. And what is with all the homophobic guys who still love to watch straight girls make out? Why is THIS okay to them?  And then there’s the fat thing.  Now, as a fat person, I pay attention to these questions.  If a guy answers that he doesn’t find fat people attractive, I don’t message him.  Seems pretty logical.  I used not message them even if they said they would only rule women out “if they were obese”, because, based on the medical definition, I am.  But then I realized that plenty of guys who answered it that way were messaging me, so apparently I must be passing as “overweight”.  And here’s the other thing.  Yes, I’m mostly attracted to skinny dudes. Anyone who’s met my past boyfriends could figure this out.  But it would be super hypocritical of me to be like, “nope, fat people are all hideous and unsexy”, and it’s just not true, anyway.  I think a ton of larger women are very attractive: Queen Latifah, Adele, Melissa McCarthy, etc.  And there are some overweight dudes out there who are, too.  Honestly, I stopped being bothered by the amount of guys out there who answer “no” for a lot of those questions.  But for some reason, it really ticks me off when this guy, who is obviously not “slender”, answers in SEVERAL questions that he does not like fat people.  That’s like if I said I was a terrible speller, but that it really bothered me when other people spelled stuff wrong.  If I “rarely” remember to conserve electricity, I’m not going to yell at someone else for forgetting just as often as I do.    Sometimes I want to punch some of these people in the face, and it’s a really good thing that the internet has not invented this feature yet.  There would be a LOT of bruises out there.

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I Bet this Guy Calls Himself a Nice Guy

I typically get six types of messages on OKC.  The overtly sexual ones, the “hi/hey” with nothing else, the “hey pretty/sexxy/beautiful”, the “I’m going to tell you a bunch of stuff about myself and not ask you anything specific”. the “greeting and questions, but seems on the boring side”, and the very rare “greeting and questions, but seems fun/funny/quirky/interesting.”  If I get one in that last category, and our percentage match is around the 90s, I’ll checkout the profile, and if I like it, I respond with interest.  For the sexual messages, I generally respond with something sassy or weird.  For the ones who are only interested in my appearance, I tell them that that bothers me.  For the his, depending on the match percentage, I’ll ignore, respond, or respond with something absurd, because at least one of us needs to make the conversation interesting.  For the guys who just talk about themselves, I call them out on it, or don’t respond.  And for the final category, the guys who seem polite or pleasant but uninteresting, I give them the benefit of the doubt.  They might be trying to come of as “not a rapist” or “not a serial killer”.   But I’ll be a little more critical looking at their profiles.  I’ll check through their questions, and see how much we fundamentally disagree or agree about.  I have a few dealbreaker triggers, like sexism, homophobia, belief in creationism, non-interest in anything intellectual, or racism/tolerance of racism.  For most of the other things, even if we wouldn’t be great in a relationship, we could probably at least be friends.  And I like friends, right?
 
So I get this message from a guy who’s an okay, but not great, percentage match: randomlettersNJ: I like your profile.How long have you been living on the east coast? I moved to NJ from MN last year, But I am originally from Nigeria 11 years ago. 
 
Not the most interesting thing in the world.  Also, in the picture he has a backwards baseball cap, and is trying to look tough and cool.  Sigh.  Still, I check out the profile:
 

My self-summary

I am self sufficient, independent, honest, and a dedicated person. I have a great sense of humor. I am very laid back and down to earth. I enjoy helping others and making people laugh more than anything else. I mainly go by the saying “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Most people will describe me as generous hard working and caring and most of all very humorous. I enjoy watching movies and sports. Also, I like spending time with friends and family, road trips, bowling. etc Let’s chat and see what happens.
 
(I am soooo tired of everyone calling themselves down to earth, or laid back.  And both!  It’s okay to care about stuff, people, and sometimes in order to be passionate about things you like, it also means you’re passionate about what you don’t.  Mostly, this just seems generic and boring.)

What I’m doing with my life

Working towards my goals.
 
(Vague.  Boring.)

I’m really good at

Everything 🙂
 
(Cocky much?)

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food

MUSIC:
Hip Hop
R&B
Rap
 (This is all he has for this entire section.  No books, movies, TV, or food interests.  I don’t have stylistic problems with hip hop and rap, but in general, those types of music tend to be violent, misogynistic, and promote a disturbing extreme of materialism.  So, already, not looking like a great match.)

On a typical Friday night I am

Spending time with friends.
 
(Doing what?  Acting like ninjas?  Murdering people?)
 
I wasn’t super interested in this guy so far, but I figured I’d check out his questions.  One of the first things that stuck out was that he thinks men should be the heads of their households.  Reg flag!!  But I figured, hey, his message was harmless enough, I’ll at least respond and give him a chance to defend his opinion.
 
Me: I grew up here, but wen to college and grad school in other cities. Why do you think it’s important for men to be the heads of their households? 
 
(Yeah, that typo’s bugging me!  This seems innocuous, right?)
 
randomlettersNJ: You want to be the head of the household? 
 
(Right away, this seems defensive.  Instead of just answer with what he believes in, he throws out a challenge.  Challenge accepted, Mr. Vague and Evasive.)
 
Me: I don’t really think they’re should be a head. It’s called partnership. But that didn’t answer what I asked. 
 
(Ack, I must’ve typed that too quickly.  THERE, Jess, THERE.  But I won’t let you not answer.)
 
randomlettersNJ: I believe in partnership. But I am a little surprised how you are focused on negative already. 
 
(Did I say anything particularly negative?  If anything, I’m trying to give this guy a chance to convince me that I should like him, because so far he is uninteresting and does not seem like my type at all.)
 
Me: It doesn’t sound like it. But I get a lot of messages from guys who either didn’t bother to read my profile, or who don’t have a lot in common with me, or both. Some differences are fine, like what activities you enjoy, or religion. But gender equality is pretty important to me, so that’s something I look into when I get messages. 
 
(This is true, and again, I think fairly innocuous.  Yes, I commented on the partnership, because to me, thinking that the male should be the leader doesn’t mean equal partnership.  But if a guy doesn’t respect women as equals, we’re not going to get along, period.)
 
randomlettersNJ: How about you try going with the flow sometimes. Life is too short. No reason to be too complicated. 
 
(I never try to say that I’m easy going, or laid back, so I’m not sure why he expects that I should be, or that everyone should be.  Also, nothing makes me more at ease than when a guy tells me how I should act.)
 
Me: How about you don’t tell me how I should respond or react, please? 
 
randomlettersNJ: Ok boss. 
 
(I’m asking him to not think for me, or choose my responses, so obviously that means I’m acting like I’m the boss of him.  Oh, wait…)
 
Me: Yeah, I get to be the boss of my own thoughts and feelings. Crazy. 
 
randomlettersNJ: You need to go and get laid. You need a good dick. 
 
(Whoa.  What?  You can get defensive and argumentative all you want, but this is just gross and immature.)
 
Me: Wow. I asked a legitimate question about something you seem to believe, and I get this kind of response. Turns out I was right thinking that we wouldn’t get along. Obviously when a woman is assertive, you assume it’s because she’s cranky from not getting laid. I imagine a lot of women are into that. Good luck finding one. 
 
(I assumed, because of that last line, that he would understand this as the end of the conversation.  Well, we all know what happens when you assume.)
 
randomlettersNJ: Lol. “Turns out I was right thinking that we wouldn’t get along” Maybe you just find a way to prove yourself/thinking right. Hence why I said you are focused on the negative. Good luck to you too finding whatever it is you are looking for, if you even know.
 
(Yeah, I know I’m not looking for misogynists.)
 
Me: No, you proved it by telling me that I need to get laid. Because women only have opinions when we’re not getting some. Obviously you know what you want – a woman who won’t express her opinions or concerns. A nice doormat. 
 
randomlettersNJ: Ha Ha. Ok, if you say so. You know everything, don’t you. Maybe it’s the way you are expressing your opinions and concerns. Perhaps you should try dating a woman, since you are such a feminist.  
 
(I expressed my opinions perfectly politely until he told me I needed “a good dick”.  I think after that I’m allowed to be pissed off.  Also, this seems like Misogynist BS 101.)
 
Me: Yeah, because all feminists are lesbians. Plenty of men are feminists. I’m pretty sure that expressing a concern by asking someone a valid question about one of their answers is a completely acceptable and reasonable thing to do, but it seems like you don’t like people to question you. Also, it’s perfectly fine for a woman to reject you, and it shouldn’t cause you to act like a petty child. 
 
(Again, I wished him good luck in finding his doormat.)
 
randomlettersNJ: Lol. This is too funny. I think you are the only one feeling rejected here. I am pretty sure I have said good bye to you and you just keep messaging back. Bye again. 
 
 
 
…And then I reported him.  Yeah, I feel super rejected by a guy I wasn’t even interested in.  I think I was nicer to this guy then I am to others – I didn’t automatically assume he was going to be a jackass.  But as soon as he thought I might not be fawning over his awesomeness, and swooning at his ability to initiate a conversation, he went on the offensive.  Guys reject me all the time.  Much, much more often than I reject them.  I send friendly messages that never get responses, or get a few responses and a fade out (this one tends to confuse me the most).  But I have never gotten angry with them about it, or assumed that it was because they were awful, negative people.  I just assumed that they weren’t interested.  Sure, it can be disappointing.  And sure, I know that often it’s because they don’t find me attractive.  But the logical part of my brain knows that if they don’t find me attractive enough to give me a chance, then they wouldn’t be someone I’d want to spend tons of time with.  Stop taking everything so personally, guys.  Women don’t have to like you just because you send a nice first message.  And they definitely won’t like you if you become a dick when you think you’re being rejected.  If you want to act like a child, pick the fun parts, like the Legos and pillow fights and wearing your clothing inside out.  But don’t try to force women to want to date you, or assume that when we have opinions that we are uptight.  Oh, and randomnumbersNJ?  If you, me, and another woman were the only three people left on earth?  I’d try out the whole lesbian thing.

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Hopping on the Depression Bandwagon

Yup, this is going to be about mental health, and a bit of a departure from me torturing jerky online dating dudes. I know that, because of Robin Williams’s suicide, articles about depression and mental health are popping up on the internet more than cute pictures of puppies (maybe that’s just MY internet with all the puppies?).  So you are probably rolling your eyes and thinking, “good lord, not more of this…”, but I think that the more people talk about it, the less stigma we’ll attach to it, so, yeah.

A few of you already know most of this, and some of you probably know a little of it, and the rest of you have no idea.  I suffer from anxiety and situational depression.  It’s a very common combination, and most of it’s been passed down from my family members.  As a kid, it was mostly the anxiety.  Other kids labeled me as shy or aloof because approaching new people made my insides squirm.  Even more if they were adults who weren’t my parents.  I’m pretty sure this is why I read so many books.  With books, I could interact with all sorts of interesting people, but without any risk on my part.  I wasn’t going to say the wrong thing, or make someone unconformable.  And I could listen to them without being labeled as “the quiet girl”.   

I sort of outgrew that.  I still get anxiety in large groups, or meeting a lot of new people at once.  But I generally enjoy being around people, especially people I know well and don’t have to “perform” with,  But that doesn’t mean that the anxiety has gone away; it’s just moved to other parts of my life.  Like, for example, the first time I went on a date, my junior year of college.  We were already friends, or at least friend-ish, but that didn’t seem to matter.  I was relieved that the bus we took into Boston was crowded, because it made it difficult for us to talk much.  I sat while he stood, and we avoided eye contact.  We got tickets for a movie I had already seen and loved, but it didn’t start for over an hour, so we walked around the city.  I don’t know if I looked at his face once.  I just talked…a lot.  About the most random nonsense I could think of.  Because this is what it sounds like inside my brain sometimes: “Where are we walking? Should I walk faster so that he thinks I’m better shape than I am?  That’s dumb.  Does he think I look fat?  I mean, I am, but can he tell?  Of course he can tell.  Duh.  I hope I don’t sound stupid.  Why don’t I ask what male celebrity he would sleep with?  Do I want to know? Why is he staring at me? I wonder what he’s thinking about.  Probably broccoli.  Why broccoli?  Well, why not broccoli?  Well, maybe he prefers cauliflower.  Why would he prefer cauliflower?  It looks like those health book pictures of genital warts.  Ew.  I hope he doesn’t have an SD.  Has he had a girlfriend?  Did they have sex?  Like, a lot?  And what kind of underwear did she wear?  I’ve heard that some people wear matching underwear all the time.  Where do people even GET matching underwear? Maybe not everyone buys theirs at Target?” This was all in the span of about 30 seconds, and continued throughout the night. And this is something my mind goes through regularly – often before bed, before a performance/presentation of some sort, before an interview, before a first date, before a big party (because I go to soooo many of those), and during any life event that gives me anxiety. 

My second first date was almost as bad.  I drank at least seven glasses of water just to have something to do with my hands.  Which, of course, meant that I had to pee three times during the date.  And when I came the third time, I told him that I wasn’t going in there to shoot heroin, I just had ingested a lot water.  I talked about Crocs.  I talked about how awesome I thought time travel was (mostly, I find it confusing).  I talked about a lot of other things, but I don’t remember what they were, because I don’t think I was paying attention.

But the worst part is when the anxiety works itself into depression, which has only happened three times in my life so far.  The first was when I moved to Seattle.  I moved out with my then-boyfriend to start my Creative Writing MFA.  I had a teaching assistantship.  We found a shithole basement apartment, and I was registered for classes.  I was all ready to go…until my parents, who had flown out to help me move, flew back home, and I went into my room to lie down.  Our ceilings were lower than most, but right then, the room felt crushingly small.  I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t imagine myself as a teacher, as a Seattleite, as a grad student.  I knew no one in the city besides my boyfriend.  And I was convinced that I would never meet any other people, and would, spend the rest of my life by myself, or with him, in our dark, miserable basement with it’s teeny kitchen for eternity. I watched a lot of TV, mostly the Cosby show, to distract myself from these thoughts.  I spent most of the day crying, and the other part hyperventilating.  At one point, my boyfriend found me sitting on the floor in my closet with a pile of my clothes on top of me.  I wasn’t moving.  See, in my brain, this was totally logical.  If I put all my clothes up in the closet, than I would really be a person who lived in this city thousands of miles from everyone else I knew.  But if the clothes were on the floor, than it wasn’t real.  I could still move back to the safety of home, to my family and friends.  I could stay still. 

But of course, we can’t stand still, unless we want to drown or get struck by lightning or hit by cars.  My boyfriend, not knowing what the heck was going on, called my mom.  I flew home for a few weeks before classes started, and when I went back, tried to see a counselor, and eventually took some anti-anxiety pills.  They didn’t work for me, but once I started orientation, and spent some time with other people, even if I wasn’t friends with them for quite a while, I was okay, because my mind was busy enough to forget how bad I felt.

The second and third times were after breakups, and were pretty similar, though different degrees.  And both happened and not great times in my life: right before winter break my first year of my grad program at TCNJ,where I felt isolated and alien; and right after graduating from the same program, only a few months ago, with basically no job.  It hasn’t helped matters that a lot of my close friends are scattered across the country, and that while I have friends here, many of them have significant others and jobs and generally busy lives, while, right now I don’t, and didn’t then.  But here’s the thing everyone will tell you: breakups are hard.  And they are, almost always, and for most people.  They are a thousand times worse when you have depression.  My first breakup was fairly normal, because I was otherwise in a good place in my life – I liked my grad program, my job, and my social circle.  Yes, I was sad, and guilty, and sometimes lonely, and it did feel like little pieces of me were missing.  Most of the time I was able to distract myself from those feelings by surrounding myself with work and writing and friends.  But the next time, I didn’t have those things.  And I had certain expectations for my breakups, so nothing prepared me.  No one told me that I wouldn’t want to get out of bed, for days, weeks, even a couple of months.  That food would lose it’s appeal.  That nothing would be exciting or interesting enough for me to want to leave the house.  Some people call the feeling after you get dumped “heartbroken”, but it doesn’t feel like breaking. It feels like it gets sucked out the front of you with something strong and sharp. It takes yours lungs with it. It takes your intestines, your kidneys, your gall bladder. It takes everything inside you and dumps it on a highway somewhere for SUVs to crunch over. And when that’s over, you have a hole the exact shape of that person inside you. All that’s left of you is an outline, and you don’t know how to fill it. 

At least, that’s how if feels when you have depression.  Like living is meaningless.  Like any time you breathe, shards of glass enter your lungs.  Like everything is empty.  Many days I was physically sick.  Sometimes, this was a reaction to anxiety medication I was prescribed for sleeping, because I couldn’t fall asleep on my own anymore.  But it happened before I started taking that, so some of it was a physical reaction to my emotional state.  I would frequently throw up stomach acid in the mornings, and climb back into bed with my limbs shaking.  I didn’t clean my room for months.  Sometimes, I was afraid to drive.  I would think about crashing into a tree or a lamppost at top speed.  I would think about falling asleep and never waking up.  I spent my free time reading or watching TV, because being alone with my thoughts was a dangerous thing.  Because most of the time they sounded like: “you are a terrible person with no friends who will die alone in a ditch and no one will even notice that you’re gone”, or other versions of that.  After a really, really long time, things got slightly better.  And then slightly better than that.  I was taking antidepressants, and seeing a therapist, which do actually help, but not always. 

Yes, I know that it will go away.  But I also know that it can come back, and that is terrifying.  Because maybe it will be even worse the next time.  Hopefully by then, I will have a job, and a decent social life, so won’t feel it as much. 

And this is why I just don’t understand why people get angry at people who commit suicide because they have a mental health issue, often depression or bipolar disorder.  Those people have zero clues what it’s like to have those symptoms, and to feel that low.  They act like depression is a thing that means someone is crazy, or abnormal.  Except that it’s not.  Your friends have it, even if they don’t tell you.  Someone in your family.  Your teacher.  Your coworker.  Your mail carrier.  And some of them have gotten help for it, and some haven’t.  Because they can’t afford to.  Because they think they don’t need to.  Because they’re afraid of what their friends/parents/peers/boss/kids will say.  Because they think that a strong person would be able to deal with it on their own. Which is bullshit.  A few incredibly lucky people can manage their own depression, if it’s mild enough.  Most of us can’t, and that doesn’t make us weak, it makes us smart, and responsible.  No one calls you weak for going to a doctor to fix your sprained ankle, or your ear infection.  But when it comes to diseases of the brain, we all suddenly become really judgmental.  Because we can’t see the problems, they aren’t real.  

I’m not entirely sure I have a “point” to writing this, but one thing I’d like to throw out there is something for those like me, who’ve experienced a mental health issue sometime in their life: if you’re already open about it, continue being awesome.   If you’re not, because you’re a private person, that’s cool.  You’re allowed to keep what you want private.  But if you keep your issues to yourself because you’re embarrassed, or afraid, know that the more people who tell their stories, the less we need to tell them.  People will realize that mental health is a real thing – the kind that should be part of an insurance plan, and the kind that deserves respect, and sometimes treatment.  And then maybe all the people who need help can actually get it, and the jerks who stand on their pedestals and accuse sufferers of selfishness and petty actions will shut the hell up.    

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