How To Find True Love On Tinder? Give Me A Break

I can’t really say I get Tinder. But I’m probably too old. On second thoughts, take out the probably. But I can’t deny that it’s an extraordinary social phenomenon. For a start, there are the stats. On Tinder, nearly 1 billion swipes occur every day from Sydney to New York … London to Tokyo. The dating game has changed inexorably. In fact one Tinder aficionado has written a book about the experience called SWIPE- The Game has Changed. The writer is a man. So it’s written from the male perspective. But when he says the dating game has changed, judging by his experiences, he is not kidding. He writes: “ my dating experiences have been nice – meeting lovely women who are smart, engaging, and filled with positive energy. It’s been naughty – from orgies to Fifty Shades-type encounters, I dipped my toes into the deep end, in between, there’s been tragic dates, new friends, and a bit of heartbreak.”

The writer then goes on to give chapter and verse from his ‘ weird, wild, and wonderful year on Tinder.”

What did he learn? Are you sitting down?

He learned that the smartphone apps like Tinder and OK Cupid have changed the dating game, and he ventures the opinion that human sexuality might have changed forever. That is a very big call, but he says, the evidence stacks up. He says that smartphones are 2015’s obligatory appendage, implying that the app dating single’s bar is open 24/7, it’s free, and everyone possessing one is invited to the party.

He says he also learned the dating world moves like a New York minute. In 2015, we live in a want it now culture. We want food, movies, information, porn, tickets, scores … and all of it, this minute. Make that this second. The writer says we swipe, match, and want to know right now if you want to date, have sex, or fall in love. And we want to meet … right now. Of course the ‘we’ is anyone in the age group 18 to 39.

Apparently, Tinder has dating rules. You’ve got 10 days from swipe match to meeting in person, or it’s not going to happen. And as tradition goes, a “pretty good” first date will land a second … But what’s different is that now, we are back on our phones swiping away on the cab ride home looking for the next “great” date.

Now I know what he means by a New York minute.

He says he also learned that the ‘three date’ rule is out. For those, like me, a bit slow on the uptake, he means sex. He says a week with a few dates turned into a few more dates that turned into a “ rock star-type experience of 18 orgasms … in a week. It was hedonistic. It was weird. It was too much.”

Probably.

Nikki Goldstein is a Doctor in Human Sexuality. She says we need to question whether the qualities we are using to quickly judge those we swipe on, are the right ones that should be used to find meaningful relationships or even casual sex. How much can you tell from a quick glance at a profile and a short drink before having sex with someone?

Again, I wouldn’t think you have to ponder too long or too deeply to answer that question.

“The dating world is so fast-paced and crowded that sex is no longer something to wait for,” Goldstein says. “ We want to know straight away if there is sexual compatibility and some women might also feel if they don’t act quickly on the sexual front they might lose to someone who will.”

The writer of his book SWIPE- The Game has Changed was so enamoured with this Tinder experience that he wants to share what he’s learned so that others will replicate his success. He’s developed a theory, don’t they all. It’s called the MISBAC Strategy. He doesn’t ever tell us what it stands for but he says it originated to solve app dating in much the way that he solved the PacMan puzzle as a child. He says armed with this strategy, it’s so much easier for men and women to meet up in person – whether you’re seeking a friend, a date, something naughty, or a relationship.

The author jokingly says he thought he’d be teaching finance at this age, but instead he’s mentoring men and women on MISBAC so their dating and sex lives are more fulfilling. I think what he really means is that what he’s doing now is lot more financially lucrative than teaching finance. Let’s face it anyone who can tell you how to go about having a successful relationship is going to make money. But parts of what he says I personally find a little unnerving. For example, he writes; “ I learned that Fifty Shades is, in reality, quite pale. There’s a whole new world of sex out there, and it’s a lot racier than porno-for-polo-mums at the cinema. Teens have turned into twentysomethings and grown up with porn as a means of sex education. Their dating lives and bedroom style would make Mr Grey tinkle in his suit. Ropes, toys, orgies, squirting, fisting, and “tromboning”. I did it all … starting with a swipe.”

He says he learned it’s easy come, easy go in The Age of Swipe.

That is not necessarily a good thing. In fact I know it isn’t.

He talks about a Tinder relationship he had that reads more like throwing away a disposable item. “ We had been dating for close to two months. A swish event at Sydney Opera House was our next date … then the email came. I was dumped and swiped left. It’s easy come, easy go, and we were both back online, swiping within days. We are all people with real, almost tangible feelings, yet we are all swipeable and oh so disposable.” Yep. There is that word again. Disposable. I’d like to know what happened to the getting to know one another and the journey that goes with it? That takes time and according to the writer there is no time.

He says: “ I learned to worry for the Generation Millennial. They will swipe their virginity away, apologise with a rose emoticon, declare their first “I love you” via text, and walk straight past a cute woman on the street because they are too busy swiping five on their smartphone.”

I’m sorry but this sounds like crazy talk to me. According to the Sex Doctor, Nikki Goldstein, “Going online to find love, sex and dates has opened up more possibilities and people, however tech dating is making us lazier and our communication skills are dwindling – things we actually need in relationships when we do get into them.”

At last, sanity prevails.

But according to our writer on Tinder who clearly wants to sell a lot of books, the Age of Swipe is here to stay, and it’s getting bigger. The good? he says, It’s so easy to meet somebody new. The bad? It shouldn’t be this easy to meet somebody new. He says society is at the dawn of a new beginning – the landscape for dating, sex, and relationships will change forever at the swipe of a smartphone app.

But here’s where the author gets a bit full of his own self-importance. He says: “ I wrote SWIPE not because my dating ups and downs are interesting (they are), but more because you can’t ask Dad or Grandpa the new, app dating rules. With SWIPE I hope to be that mentor, so people’s personal lives are more fulfilling.”

Give me a break. It’s superficial not fulfilling. It’s the self-fulfilling prophecy of ‘me.’ How is this going to affect me? How can I make this all about me? What is that person going to do for me? And if they don’t do enough for me, I’ll go and find someone who will and all I have to do is swipe my phone.

Well guess what? Having a successful relationship is give and take. In other words, if you want to take you also have to give. And you are never going to learn that from a smartphone app or reading a book about a year on Tinder.

Happy Valentine’s Day Means Getting Rid Of Hair Down There

It’s Valentine’s Day. I like to think of myself as liberal and tolerant. Ready to embrace the new and the different. I’ve discovered VD clearly means a lot of different stuff to very different people. Not just flowers, chocolates and a nice dinner in a fancy restaurant. So I guess that explains if not accounts for some of the strange rituals performed in celebration of the day. Or not. Mmmm. Maybe not. Let’s just call them strange and leave it at that. This is definitely bizarre. Quivering with anticipation and ready to emerge from hibernation, after yet another long, cold winter, millions of Americans, apparently, have engaged in, what can loosely be described, as a thinning of their nether regions. We are told by reliable sources, that this is a ritual as old as time itself. But this year’s pubis shearing is expected to be among the largest and most bountiful in decades, with more than 20,000 tons of short and curlies shorn by Feb. 14.

“My boyfriend and I are going to see, As You Like It, and then enjoy a nice candlelit three-course dinner,” said Brooklyn resident Lydia Simonson, who, along with her fellow Americans across the country, will prepare for Valentine’s Day by carefully crafting or thinning their pubis. She, along with many other hopeful VD lovers, will soon excuse themselves from their daily grind and retreat to a nearby bathroom, to tend to their lady garden. “It’s going to be so romantic,” Simonson said.

Funny, I don’t see the connection. But, what would I know?

Imagine, tiny scissors and electric razors flying off drugstore shelves, while all across the country legs dangle precariously over open bathtub drains. According to statistics from the National Depilatory Council, (yes there is such a body) the week before Valentine’s Day is by far the busiest time of the year for shaving, trimming, sculpting, playful pattern-making, waxing, and even ‘manscaping’, the genitalia. I am pretty sure ‘manscaping’ means making it pleasant for a man to look at.

Whoa.

Let me butt in here and give my twenty cents worth. Call me old fashioned but I prefer women to look exactly as nature intended. If you happen to be hairy downstairs so be it, I say. Consider it to be part of your personality. And if anyone should dare offer criticism, tell em to shove it. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. “David and I are going to take a long walk around the park and then maybe on the way home we’ll stop and grab some ice cream,” said Julie Stibbons, a Dallas-area design consultant who recently made use of grooming shears, a pair of tweezers, and two magnifying mirrors to contribute her 0.4 ounces to the nation’s total raw hairscape. “I wonder if David will send me flowers at work like last year, Stibbons said, whose smooth vaginal region will show no signs of stubble for days, if not weeks to come, “He’s just so wonderful.”

While this year’s pubis shaving promises to be prolific, experts say the United States and much of the Western world has undergone many personal grooming phases over the years. In 1947, the first year that records were kept, Americans only mowed about 1.25 tons off their “genital lawns,” while in the mid-1970s private edging was so rare that documentation had to actually be abandoned until 1981. But with the booming economy of the 1990s, the U.S. suddenly saw smooth as the way to be, for men and women and, as VD approached, a huge resurgence in both shearing, plucking and waxing.

Not lyrically I should hasten to add.

“There’s a huge spike every year in the first half of February,” said Brooks Watson, head of sales at Schick, makers of the TrimStyle razor for women. “The rest of the year, Americans generate about 50,000 tons of total trimmings, but in the week before this special holiday we see a massive jump. It’s a veritable clear-cutting down there.”

I would offer the observation that the only element missing is for someone to yell timber.

According to Schick’s marketing research, during the VD season, American pubic hair removal rates briefly approach those of Brazil, traditionally the smoothest country on the planet. While Americans seem willing to slash and burn it all off for their annual celebratory day of romance, personal trimming still varies by the season, and plummets to levels almost as low as Greece during the week of Thanksgiving. And believe it or not, there are some Americans willing to talk about it. Publicly I mean. “If I trim the shrubs, the tree looks bigger,” said Jeremy Wertz, resident of Boise, Idaho, standing in front of his hall mirror with a pair of scissors “See? Worth the itching, if you ask me.

Actually, Jeremy, we didn’t ask but thanks for telling us anyway, While many consider the practice a time-honored tradition, not all Americans share Wertz’s enthusiasm.

Thank God.

“I’m not going to let corporate America dictate the date or time at which I choose to groom my genitals,” said Denver resident Marcus Shannon, adding that Valentine’s Day was “invented by the razor industry” to sell grooming devices. If the truth be known, VD was invented to simply sell, per se.

Again, according to that august body, the National Depilatory Council, the nationwide surge in concern for matters follicle,  is understandable, However, spokesperson, Donna Spaulding, urged caution. “We all want to look good and feel desirable, but it’s important to keep things in perspective,” Spaulding said. “In the end, you want people to love your pubic region for what’s inside, not just for how it looks.” Donna, how right you are.

But if that isn’t enough to make you want to leave things alone down there, how about some good, old-fashioned fear. Genital injuries have increased five fold over the past decade due to our propensity to shave the nether regions. According to a study by the University of California, the majority of injuries involved razors. And get this. In 2009, the State of New Jersey even considered, but later abandoned, the idea of banning bikini line waxing after two women were infected, and hospitalized, in a Brazilian waxing that went wrong. According to at least one American GP, pubic hair serves a purpose. When pubic hair is removed, it causes tiny wounds that can become breeding grounds for bacteria. Having it is a sign of our entry into adulthood and should cause neither shame nor embarrassment. Amen or Awomen to that.

Can You Fall In Love With Anyone? Answer 36 Questions

Occasionally, I like to dabble in what I call pop psychology. The latest fads or trends or theories offered to explain away why human beings do certain things. The weirder the theory the better it is from my point of view. With that in mind, something interesting crossed my desk, and could not be allowed to go un-noticed. It was weird enough, without being over the top. Nothing that was going to change the world, but it could provide a valuable insight into why we do what we do as people.

Kind of.

To put this into context, it all stems from a social experiment performed by New York psychologist, Arthur Aron, in 1997. Aron reasoned that human beings could be engineered to fall in love with anyone. Then he set out to prove his theory by conducting a study called The Experimental Generation Of Interpersonal Closeness. It sounds like a very self-important study title but basically it boils down to pairing up a couple of complete strangers. For his purposes, Aron selected a heterosexual man and woman. But there is no good reason to think that it wouldn’t apply to a same sex couple. He than gave them three quarters of an hour to answer 36 specific questions which gradually grew more progressively intimate. The questions ranged from, would you like to be famous? To, what if anything is too serious to be joked about? Aron wanted to see if closeness and intimacy could be created, in an experimental environment. After answering the quiz, the couple then had to stare into each other’s eyes, for four minutes, in total silence. Guess what? It worked. Yep, the man and woman who walked into his lab complete strangers, through separate doors, left together and fell in love. Six months later, they were married and all of the scientists in Aron’s laboratory were invited to the wedding.

Now I know what you’re thinking. This sounds like a load of malarkey. I might have been tempted to agree with you. Even if you accept that everything happened, as it was said to have happened, this was more to do with being a random, one off occurrence. The kind of experiment that could never be repeated in the real world. Lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Right?

Well, here’s where the story gets kind of interesting. Eighteen years later, along comes Mandy Len Catron, writer of the popular, Modern Love column, in the New York Times newspaper. She knew of Aron’s study. It crossed her mind as well, as to whether the result was a one off that could never be repeated. It occurred to Catron, that the only way of really answering that question was to replicate the study. But Catron’s twist is that she would be one of the participants along with a complete stranger. so that is what she did. At the end of her experiment, Catron wrote about what happened, so with a bit of judicious paraphrasing on my part I will let her tell the story. But, before we get into the details, I should point out a couple of disclaimers, relating to the Catron experiment. Firstly, it turns out that Catron’s ‘complete stranger’ wasn’t a completely complete stranger if you get my meaning. She says that they were University acquaintances who would occasionally meet at the climbing gym. Catron admits that at one time she thought there might have been a romantic possibility but it never came to anything. This was going to be the first time that the two of them would hang out together, as it were, to see what happened. Secondly, Catron first read of Aron’s study in the middle of a relationship breakup.  She says: “ Each time I thought of leaving, my heart overruled my brain. I felt stuck. So, like a good academic, I turned to science, hoping there was a way to love smarter.”

So Catron was not exactly in a fit state of mind to be objective about the whole romance thing. In fact there might even be an element of wishful thinking, on her part, for a positive out come. I am not accusing her of anything. I am simply pointing out she was in a vulnerable state of mind. At the very least she would have been open to the possibility of having a relationship as a result of doing the experiment. Then again aren’t we all if we actively desire to be in a relationship? Anyway let’s give her the benefit of the doubt.

Catron says she happened to mention the Aron study to that University acquaintance I mentioned previously, more than likely when they were climbing a rock wall together. She told him of how Aron had engineered a heterosexual man and woman to enter his laboratory through separate doors, sit face-to-face, and answer a series of increasingly personal questions. Then they stared intently into each others’ eyes etc etc. Which prompted her University acquaintance to say: “ Let’s try it.”

Of course, Catron’s experiment was not an exact duplication of the Aron study. For a start, she and her ‘stranger’ met in a bar not a laboratory. Catron then googled Aron’s 36 questions and the two of them spent the next two hours passing an iphone across the table posing each question.

Caton recalls the questions began fairly innocuously. Would you like to be famous? In what way? When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? But then they began to get more intimate. But this is where it gets a bit Mills and Boonish to be honest. Catron says she asked her acquaintance: Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common? “To which he replied: I think we are both interested in each other.”

Catron writes she” grinned and gulped her beer as he listed two more commonalities I then promptly forgot. We exchanged storiesabout the last time we each cried, and confessed the one thing we’d like to ask a fortuneteller. We explained our relationships with our mothers.”

Catron writes the questions reminded her of the infamous boiling frog experiment where the frog doesn’t feel the water getting hotter until it’s too late. Then quite poignantly, she says “With us, because the level of vulnerability increased gradually, I didn’t notice we had entered intimate territory until we were already there, a process that can typically take weeks or months.I liked learning about myself through my answers, but I liked learning things about him even more.”

In a moment of self candour, Catron says she and her acquaintance were so absorbed in their conversation, they had not even noticed that the bar, which was empty when they arrived, had filled up by the time they paused for a bathroom break.

Catron writes: “ We all have a narrative of ourselves that we offer up to strangers and acquaintances, but Dr. Aron’s questions make it impossible to rely on that narrative. Ours was the kind of accelerated intimacy I remembered from summer camp, staying up all night with a new friend, exchanging the details of our short lives. At 13, away from home for the first time, it felt natural to get to know someone quickly. But rarely does adult life present us with such circumstances.”

Catron says the moments she found the most uncomfortable, in her experiment, were not the ones where she had to confess something about herself, but when she was forced to express an opinion about her partner. For example there was the question: Alternate, sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner a total of five items? and Tell your partner what you like about them and be very honest. This time saying things you might not say to someone you’ve just met?

Catron has a point. The questions are pretty out there and most people would struggle with the answers.

As Catron observes the majority of Aron’s research focuses on creating interpersonal closeness, investigating the ways in which we incorporate others into our sense of self. She says it makes it easy to see how the questions encourage what Aron called ‘self expansion,’ prompting answers such as , “I like your voice, your taste in beer, the way all your friends seem to admire you.” Catron writes what it does, is instantly make certain positive qualities belonging to one person, explicitly valuable to the other.

As Catron observes: “ It’s astounding, really, to hear what someone admires in you. I don’t know why we don’t go around thoughtfully complimenting one another all the time.”

Which brings us to the sixty four million dollar question: What was the outcome of the Catron experiment? Did it result in true love ever after? Or, just a night of passion and then see you later? It’s only fair to allow Catron to have the final word. However I really do think she has read one too many Mills and Boon books ; “We finished at midnight, taking far longer than the 90 minutes for the original study. Looking around the bar, I felt as if I had just woken up. “That wasn’t so bad,” I said. “Definitely less uncomfortable than the staring into each other’s eyes part would be. “ He hesitated and asked. “Do you think we should do that, too?””Here?” I looked around the bar. It seemed too weird, too public.”We could stand on the bridge,” he said, turning toward the window. “The night was warm and I was wide-awake. We walked to the highest point, then turned to face each other. I fumbled with my phone as I set the timer. “OK,” I said, inhaling sharply. “OK,” he said, smiling.

Ok. Now prepare yourself for the next bit because Catron lays it on with a trowel.

“I’ve skied steep slopes and hung from a rock face by a short length of rope, “ Catron writes. “But staring into someone’s eyes for four silent minutes was one of the more thrilling and terrifying experiences of my life.  “I know the eyes are the windows to the soul or whatever, but the real crux of the moment was not just that I was really seeing someone, but that I was seeing someone really seeing me. “

Please forgive if I sound churlish. I don’t mean to be mean. Catron deserves much credit for having the courage to become the guinea pig in this experiment. She writes: “What I like about (Aron”s) study is how it assumes that love is an action. It assumes that what matters to my partner, also matters to me, because we have at least three things in common, because we have close relationships with our mothers, and because he let me look at him.  I wondered what would come of our interaction. If nothing else, I thought it would make a good story. But I see now that the story isn’t about us; it’s about what it means to bother to know someone, which is really a story about what it means to be known.”

Catron says Aron’s study taught her that it’s possible and pretty simple to generate trust and intimacy, the two feelings required for love to grow. Now I know you are itching to know, did it result in the two of them becoming an item? The answer is yes. Not quite wedding bells but they are in a relationship. So, has the Aron experiment, times two, answered some age old question? Can we indeed fall in love with anyone given the right circumstances? Maybe. A strike rate of two out of two ain’t bad.