Tinder And Grindr. Waste Of Time.

I cannot get over how much the dating landscape in the 21st century seismically shifted.

When I was growing up, meeting someone for a relationship, was reasonably upfront. Give or take the odd, unexpected left turn. There was the at work option, or at a party, pub or bar. See. I’m so old fashioned and out of touch to be talking about this. Then along came Internet dating. I never had an issue with that. Never bothered me in the slightest. In fact I warmly embraced this development. It was such a perfectly, reasonable, rational not to mention respectful way to meet a potential partner. But now we have something completely different. I call them the devil’s children of Internet dating. Not that I am passing some kind of moral judgment here. I’m not. Far from it. I just have a lot of personal issues with Tinder and Grindr. And, it is not because they’re a couple of smartphone applications, used primarily by people to have casual sex. Actually, “casual” is way too nice a word. It’s because they live in a world where people and sex are disposable commodities. To be used and discarded, There’s no love, no deep connection, no personal investment of any kind to be found in Tinder and Grindr apart from the kind you get from self-gratification. But for some of us, maybe even many of us, these two apps have fundamentally changed the way we go about things relationship wise and not in a good way, in my view.

So I was quite interested and bemused to read a story with the headline: “ How Sex Is Killing The Live Music Scene Thanks To Tinder And Grindr.”

The story suggested that we forget breath-testing, lockouts, or downloading – Sex is killing live music, or at least the search for it is, on Tinder and Grindr.

That’s the provocative but serious claim, made by a music venue owner and live music booker, James Young, who says that more and more people prefer to “stare at their phones and swipe left or right ” rather than head out to a bar where they might meet somebody.  Sounds pretty sad to me.

“Grindr, the gay app, came out about two years before Tinder and has destroyed the gay hotspot [in Melbourne],” Young says. “That is a textbook, identifiable case. And here we are, two years later, with Tinder following in its footsteps”. He says young people are hanging about (probably at home) hunched over their phones instead of going out to bars and clubs.

It should be pointed out that music venues don’t simply exist for the sole purpose of enabling a romantic meeting between two people. Of course not says Young, but “bars are fragile businesses” and anything that affects even three or five percent of business on already thin margins can be hard to recover from. “And what we are talking about is 10 per cent loss of business and for some businesses, that’s their profit margin.”

Young, who owns and books music for three bars in Melbourne argues that “sex has always been a big part of rock ‘n’ roll but we’re not saying the sole purpose of venues is to pick up”. It is, however, a problem that carries a ripple effect because people used to meet – or hook up in the modern parlance – at venues where music was being played.

“If there are less people at the bars, that’s going to affect sales and there is also a parallel issue in the type of dates you go on,” Young says. “A Tinder date is a super casual date so ‘let’s meet at a cafe, let’s meet at the latest, chic pop-up restaurant’. He says first dates used to be at a rowdy live music event. Not anymore. But people don’t really talk to each other anymore. They hook up.

He says in Sydney you can add lockouts and earlier closing of bars to the Tinder-effect. Young also raises another fear, that “Netflix, Stan and binge TV series watching have become the new dating”, with the simplicity of an affordable entertaining option capped off by the fact that “you’re already on the couch”.

What a huge yawn. I prefer the personal meet and greet, the spark, the meeting of minds, the possibility of what might be and then discovering that it is, any day over any smartphone app. As far as I’m concerned Tinder can go up in flames and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. I know. So old fashioned.

Most Women Don’t Wash Every Day, What’s The Big Deal?

An interesting question was posed the other day. It went something like this: How keen are we to be clean? Clean as in hygienically clean as in washing our bodies. We still primp and pamper ourselves more than any of our ancestors. But quelle bloody horreur. The time for personal grooming is being squeezed out of our busy lives. It is being squeezed out as far as women are concerned but it’s probably equally true for men. What do I base this on? A survey, of course, conducted on more than two thousand women aged 18 to 50, by a British cosmetics company. Even if you don’t completely believe the findings they are nonetheless interesting and worthy of a discussion.

Four out of five women admit they don’t shower every day, and a third say they can go for three days without washing their body. The survey also found that almost two thirds can’t be bothered removing makeup before they go to bed, and one in eight own up to not brushing their teeth before they sleep.

When it comes to washing in the morning, only 21 per cent of females take the time to shower or have a bath every day, with 33 per cent admitting to leaving it as long as three days from wash to wash.

But to be fair, having a shower or a bath daily used to be a pastime only for the wealthy upper-class. Back in the days before we had convenient plumbing, almost no one would bathe every day.and almost everyone would have simply “freshened up with a quick wipe” in the morning and evening – which, according to that survey I mentioned is what 57% of women in 2015 are doing. It became, very much, a 20th-century routine to always include a daily bath. Later on, this morphed into taking a shower, by far the easiest way to wash off the dust, sweat and fatigue of a day’s hard work. This is what public baths were originally created for, when very few people had a bathroom; and we all know that coal miners had to wash before they would eat or sleep, as is true for those in the building trades today.

So where did this non-washing suddenly spring from? Eighty nine percent of those surveyed, blamed evening and morning tiredness for their lack of showering or bathing. I’m sure some people would be digusteded by this revelation. But is it disgust that is misplaced? Cleanliness maybe next to godliness but it is relative. Human bodies do not disintegrate if they are not washed for days even three or more days. So maybe we should be more forgiving of those who do not have the time or the energy for an evening or even morning grooming ritual. Maybe the time has come for us to acknowledge that most people lead busy,busy lives that get increasingly hectic as the day progresses. Many people have other things to do by 6pm, such as looking after children and cooking meals, worse still they haven’t even left work yet. Morning showers are more frequent, but not always possible in a family situation. I’m making a lot of excuses here. Just saying.

The curious finding in the survey is that parents, who don’t take an early evening bath, still regard it as an absolute ritual to bathe their children at 6pm every day. The why is because they are training their children in the habits of cleanliness, handed down directly from Victorian nurseries. But how effective are their efforts? How many parents find that their children’s grooming and tidying routines go on vacation immediately the children leave the surveillance of the parental home? The survey has an explanation for this. It may well be that the 63% who don’t bother removing make up or brush their teeth before bed, are young adults. They presumably have more important things to do with their time. But according to the experts ironically they will still, in all probability, train their offspring exactly as their parents trained them, because this is what humans do. It is how standards are maintained and passed on.

As one commentator pointed out, the really sad aspect of the survey is that even in the 21st century, personal grooming time is still a relative luxury, because we are still time-poor. We have almost completely lost sight of the extensive life-work balance that used to be the essence of the philosophy of Hygeia. Now I’m sure you all know about the philosophy of Hygeia. For those that don’t, Hygeia was the ancient Greek goddess of health. She gave her name to the philosophy of hygiene. The cult of Hygeia started in Athens in 600 BC, in connection with the cult of Athene, goddess of wisdom and purity. Statues of Athene and Hygeia stood at the entrance to the Athens Acropolis. Hygeia was a young goddess, daughter and chief attendant to Asklepios, the god of medicine. She was in charge of cleanliness and how to live a long life. She had two other medicinal sisters: Panacea (‘Cure-All’) and Iaso (‘Remedy’). The Romans named her Salus. In classical sculpture she was often shown holding or feeding a large snake, the symbol of medicine. Her other official symbol was a large water basin. Statues of Hygeia were erected in all the major healing centres in the temples of Asklepios. The cult of Hygeia was first spread about Greece in response to the bubonic plague, a disease symptomatic of poor hygiene.

In Greek ‘hygeia’ means ‘soundness’ or ‘wholeness’. Hygiene in medicine was about maintaining the ‘wholeness’ or ‘health’ of the body and keeping it fit. Hippocratic doctors formulated a philosophy of hygiene that covered almost every possible aspect of health – including mind, body and the environment. The influence of this philosophical thinking continued to impact on public health reforms during the past two centuries.

But with the passage of time and the Industrial revolution, hygiene became confined to the idle rich. They had the time because everyone else was too buy working to live. But reforms in working-hour legislation gave us a minimum of 10, then eight, working hours per day; then Saturday afternoons off; then Saturday mornings off; and finally the half-days that shops used to have on Wednesdays or Thursdays to allow workers time off for playing sport. All of these gains were painful and hard fought for and won from employers, but they’ve gradually been eroded by the pace of modern living. As one commentator observed, working hours have increased, under the same advanced capitalism that demands excellent personal grooming but spares us little time in which to perform it. Personal hygiene is now squeezed into our five-day working week, in an average office day which now ends (for both men and women) at 6-7pm rather than 4-5pm – if they are lucky.

As in the past, Saturday is still often the only day that allows time to get a haircut, or (these days) a pedicure, manicure, or a massage. You can get time off for the doctor or a dental emergency, but not the hairdresser, the yoga class, or for playing sport. So what does this all mean? Is it all just one giant excuse for being incredibly lazy and unhygienic? Or maybe we just don’t have time to be clean, at least not every day. The French don’t seem to have any hang ups about this. I’m sure it was Napoleon, who in a letter to Josephine, wrote, I will be home in a week. Don’t wash. That’s definitely pretty dirty.

Did You Know It’s Hot To Stare

Sometimes I have been known to write about sex. It could be because I am a depraved and dirty old man who likes to get his jollies off writing something salacious. Or (the real reason) sex is a natural part of life and anything that is going to make it better for everyone is worth talking about.

For example, did you know that more eye contact improves your sex life? I read a clever line the other day on the topic. When it comes to love and sex, the eyes have it. But how we eye one another off these days, is not so good. In fact, if the truth was known it is nonexistent. We seem to have lost the art of creating a lasting impression because we have become too scared to stare. We don’t look at each other anymore.

I mean, do you make a point of establishing and holding eye contact when you flirt? How often do you make eye contact with your significant other? Most importantly, how often do you make eye contact when you are doing the business? The answer is probably rarely, if at all.

Speaking of probables. On the balance of probabilities those who are looking for love are exercising their pupils far more than those already partnered up. In other words, if you are already spoken for, the look of love doesn’t involve much looking anymore. There could be a multitude of reasons for this. But I am suggesting just one. We don’t have time for the look of love because we are too busy looking at other stuff. Like smart phones, tablets, computer screens and porn. Yes porn. It’s instantly available and you are carrying its downloadable potential on portable devices every day.

A columnist took on this issue the other day. She suggested we stop mooning around (her words) at these “mirrors of self reflection” and start “turning back to the proverbial soul windows of the people we are actually with.”

She went on to suggest a mighty good reason for doing so. Recent research suggests we are having sex less often. This research says it’s because, thanks to the internet, we are having sex under the shadow of a new form of performance anxiety which, as the theory goes, owes its existence to the newly found, easily accessible, porn industry.

I certainly don’t want this to sound judgmental. This theory could be true or not but whatever you might think you’d have to admit it’s pretty interesting. The theory says that thanks to the porn industry and cheaper, faster, internet speeds, we’re now really familiar with how people look when they are having sex. We know how to perform when we’re having sex, what faces to make, what positions to adopt, what sounds to make and the list goes on.

But there is a downside. While we are looking at these people banging their bits together we might also notice that rarely are they looking at each other. In fact the eyes have it when it comes to the only contact not being made. Of course it could be argued they don’t have to. We are talking flesh not feelings. Why waste time with a loving gaze, when all eyes are on the money shot figuratively and metaphorically speaking?

But are we truly missing out?

Maybe.

Good sex is about good connection. Connected sex isn’t sex at all. It’s called love. And isn’t love making what we need more of because it is truly satisfying? And it certainly doesn’t happen if at no point are you looking into the face of someone, if you’ll pardon the pun, that your connected to.

That columnist, who I mentioned, points out  that only when you’ve felt the rush of connectivity from looking into the proverbial soul-windows of your partner, will you know the sheer bliss of soul-rocking sex. It’s probably overstating it a tad. But it has the ring of truth. She says the power of a stare shared between two soul mates is stunning. It shines with a new brilliance once that gaze has been raised, and met. That’s where the understanding and the joy and the truth comes from. That’s where good sex – and a good relationship – begins.

She says it takes courage to make and maintain eye contact, especially when it comes to the risky, run of romance. But reward comes with effort and fortune favours the brave. So it might pay to do what scares us sometimes, even if that scary thing is as simple as looking into the eyes of the person you’re talking to, whispering to, or undressing.

I’ll shut up now.

A Woman’s Work Is Never Done. So Get Your Husband To Help.

Being a woman and a mother must be a tough gig these days. I say this from the point of view of an outsider looking in. These women are juggling relationships, careers and family, all at the same time.

Being a man is still a position of privilege. They earn more. Get promoted faster and higher. Even if they have a family they still get to focus on their career with everything else pretty much on the backburner or to put it more accurately hand passed to their other half.

Maybe it comes from the male DNA that says a man can only do one thing at a time. Let’s face it. You rarely see the words men and multi-tasking in the same sentence except if you happen to be talking about a ménage a trois.

Whereas women have to cope with always doing more than one thing all the time like moving forward with their career while at the same time caring for children.

I have always begrudgingly admired how women are so good at sharing and supporting one another. Social media is tailor made for them. And now they are using it to empower themselves and each other by creating websites and pages on Facebook for job opportunities, tips on flexible working hours, support as well as advice on how to balance job demands with family life.

And these sites are not only creating opportunities for women who want to work from home, they are educating employers on the advantages of hiring flexible workers.

If employers are smart they will realize stay-at-home women have experience and talent, and would otherwise be in senior corporate roles if they were not raising a family. Salary is not as important to them as flexible working hours. These women have a track record for loyalty, maturity and possessing a great work ethic. The hours they want to work may not be 9-5 but they will get the job done without supervision.

And as more and more of these opportunities are taken up, stay-at-home Mums are relishing the chance to spend time with their children and have a career.

Change is on its way, but as satirical writer, Kathy Lette reminded one and all in a recent opinion piece we still have a long way to go baby.

The sad reality is that a women’s work is never done and certainly not by a man. Female life expectancy is falling and women are showing signs of increased stress levels with high blood pressure, heart attacks and alopecia because they literally have too much to do.

A British survey found that women do 11 hours 30 minutes of housework per week, twice as much as men. They also do most of the dreary household chores like washing the floors, cleaning the toilet, vacuuming and the ironing. That age- old claim that the closest a man ever gets to housework, is to give a room a sweeping glance might be true after-all. The reality is most workingwomen work all day then they come home to cook dinner, help the children with their homework, stack the dishwasher, put out the rubbish and sort the washing. By the end of the night the only fantasy occupying her thoughts is a good night’s sleep. She certainly isn’t in the mood for love, as most husbands will testify.

But Kathy Lette did present one solution that,to me, seemed to make a lot of sense. Offering sexual rewards in return for doing the chores. She says offering a ‘sensual incentive’ would have men doing the vacuuming so thoroughly they would suck the skirting boards off the wall.

And as it turns out that might not be the only incentive.

As Ms Lette quite correctly points out, it is scientifically proven that no woman ever killed her husband or partner while he was vacuuming the house, cleaning the bath or moping the floors.

Bring Us Some Men

There’s a remote village in southeast Brazil about 500 km from Rio De Janeiro called Noiva do Cordeiro. It sits in a valley called Belo Vale, which literally translates as beautiful Valley and it’s a place that lives up to its name. The village has groves with row upon row of thick skinned and sweet tangerines, banana plants and trees covered with bright yellow flowers.

But if you go to Noiva do Codeiro the landscape is not the only view to catch your eye. There are also its inhabitants. To be more specific, I’m talking about the village women. But that is also Noiva do Codeiro’s curse as much as it is a blessing.

Apparently this area is famous in Brazil for producing more women than men. But right now too many of them are single and looking for love and there just aren’t enough men around to go round if you get my meaning. And the women of Noiva do Codeiro are determined to do something about it. They’ve launched a nationwide and an international appeal for eligible men to come to their village.

As one of the young village women explained: The only men that single girls meet in the village are either married or a relative. Everyone is a cousin. She says: we all dream of falling in love and getting married. But that is not to say they need a man. They don’t. The village women do very well and are quite happy the way they are. They manage the village finances, they work the fields, they run the show in the absence of men. In fact what makes the place so special is the sense of community that exists here. People work together, and because they work so hard it makes them want to look out for one another. The village has a saying: Life is good because we are always with friends.

Now at this point you might be wondering why there is such a lopsided gender balance. It has to do with Noiva do Codeiro’s history. The village was first settled in the late 19th century. Its founder was a woman called Maria Senhorinha de Lima who arrived after she was accused of adultery and exiled from her church and home in 1891. That stigma has never left the place. The villagers say it has meant that Novia do Codeiro has been isolated because of prejudice and they have also been fighting a campaign to ensure that the authorities don’t continue to ignore the community.

Clearly, there are men who live in Noiva do Codeiro but they spend the week away working either as miners or in the nearest big city. The village women acknowledge they are an unusual group in rural Brazil. But the times they are a changing in Brazil. The country has a female President. A woman heads up the country’s oil company and women make up more than a quarter of the senior management of Brazil’s leading companies.

This latest publicity has helped to spread Noiva do Codeiro’s notoriety far and wide. The place has a history of male visitors falling for the inhabitants of the village. And that is what the women of Noiva do Codeiro are hoping for. It is now on the tourist trail for some French travellers. If only the village women could speak French.