I survived Tinder and back

Over the past three days I have managed to flirt my way through the many layers of Tinder, which became increasingly similar to those Dante managed to scathe in the Inferno. Difference is, Dante was never bombarded by eggplant emoji’s and water droplets (romantic, I know).

To start at the beginning of this drama, I need to explain why. I hated the idea of Tinder. I understand the appeal, but I think the reality has become creepy. Yet, I had friends doing it as a joke and I wanted to laugh too. So I went to my local App Store in the settings box of my phone, and downloaded it. At first you log on, post a couple of pictures of yourself, create some goofy bio, set up your location, it’s cute. However, it doesn’t stay that way. Swiping left and right is all fun and games but Tinder plays into one of the greatest flaws within society today. Going off something based on how it looks. The same goes for those who swiped right on me. Granted, I wasn’t the one sending pictures of my lower extremities, but they still don’t know who I am either. When you and someone swipe right on each other, you become a “match”. There’s little hearts and whatever that surround your pictures and you become free to message each other.

I started off getting messages from 22 year olds, 25, 20, a decent age range that I had selected, just to avoid the older men. In my naivety, I didn’t know creepy comes in all ages. The first couple of messages were complimenting how beautiful I was, what was my number, things of that sort. This was what I call the “Surface Layer”. Then I reached another layer, the one of “Double Messages”.  I quickly learned that people’s egos are on the line here apparently, and they don’t hold back. I found if I didn’t reply, I would get hit with mad face emoji’s, or “Damn ok, you don’t wanna talk now”. I swear, the time in between the initial message and the following wasn’t even enough for me to go make myself a cup of coffee (which is exactly what I was trying to do).

Then I reached the level of “I Need To Follow You On Everything”. I had linked my Instagram to try to get more followers, even though I knew it was dumb because I don’t post, so why would I care? But, everyone else did it, so like a sheep in a herd, I followed. Those I was not responding to started going in on my Instagram. Then on my Facebook once they found my name, asking for my Snapchat, my number, where I live, etc. This got creepy. I was getting afraid I was going to start getting Christmas cards. Once I blocked and changed my profile to solely be able to contact me on Tinder, I had made my way to a more personal level. One I was heartbroken by, the “I use pictures of my Dogs in my profile to distract from the fact that I’m a Douchebag”. That’s like tripping an older woman in the street but explaining that you volunteer at a senior center, so its ok. After my interactions with the assh*les on this level, I was ready to call ASPCA, because no dog should be subjected to people like that.

On this level,  which was possibly the lowest, is when the aggressiveness kicked into high gear. The messages were straight up vile. Granted, they were honest, but I was stunned that men actually speak this way to women. I got a message which so delicately read “I hope you have pet insurance, cause I’m about to destroy that p*ssy”. Now, given my friends were doing it as a joke, I figured some of these guys should be too. In my world no one really uses a line like that and expects to actually make a move. So I replied with my little laughing face, “Damn. You didn’t even ask me what my favorite color was”. To which my man Brock’s reply was “don’t care, just want your p*ssy”. And with that, I stopped answering. These men were going into detail about their desires and to be quite frank, many of them were disturbingly violent. Then with such ease, they followed with “so when are you free”. That’s the same question I should be asking them, on the phone, when they end up in some county jail after fulfilling a fantasy. But I digress.

Tinder was not fun, I didn’t even get a laugh out of this. It gave me anxiety in all honesty, having to block and secure my profiles, make sure everything was deleted for real, take down pictures. And I know “I did this to myself”. I understand, however, wrong is wrong. And the way we speak to each other is vile and quite sad. No one, even on a hookup app, should be spoken to that way. Hooking up doesn’t disregard the fact that we still deserve respect. So if I could give you anything from this journey through Douchebags Inferno, it’s don’t be distracted by a nice profile picture, but MOST importantly, remember that some people use pictures of their dogs to do evil. Just saying. It’s a sad, inconceivable truth, but all things are possible apparently when you’re on Tinder.

 

O

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Oxymoron

You are the bitter seed in a candied apple.

You are the maturity in a playground. The salt over my left.

You are the definition of undefined. An antiqued youth. The integrity of a crook. The silver lining to a tragedy.

The color of chaos. For you are everything I am not. Everything cautious beings should avoid. However, I find myself attracted to you.

Attracted to those red flags stitched with warnings that you hold so boldly in my face. You insist to me that you are not the one, that the open difference is what keeps love from ignition.

I scream the opposition of this separation.

You are my sacred solace in the trauma they named life.

For you are everything I am not, and that is why I need you.

O

Tips for the sober college student

“Its going to get better” is that phrase many of us have heard. From parents, teachers, therapists, and strangers. We’ve all heard it. I’m sick of that damn saying. I heard it in middle school, high school, and I’m still hearing it in college. I don’t have many friends, I’m not in a relationship, I don’t go out much, but I am happy with myself. Many of us have been groomed to equate happiness with how other people make us feel, or perceive us. The worst possible place you could put your happiness is in the control of others. I would know, I’ve been doing it since I’m young, we all do it. That will set you up for disappointment without fail. Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. I find with being sober in college, I end up getting disappointed quite often. It isn’t on big things like driving accidents, or friends forgetting my name at a party. Its little things like introducing me as the sober girl, getting teased, or getting asked if “something happened” that made me avoid substances at all costs. Being sober in college is apparently such a phenomenon that it has become, in a sense, my identity. It has probably become many peoples identity as well, and there is no reason to feel embarrassed of it.

There are things I’ve learned along the way that continue to help me feel comfortable when placed into certain situations. One thing I’ve learned, and quite possibly the biggest, is to just be straight up honest. If something did happen and you feel comfortable stating that, say it. If you’re afraid to get bloated, say that. Or if you just don’t want it, guess what? Say that! It’s not something that should make or break anyones interactions with you, and if it does, its on them. There are also moments in which people will not invite you places. It will hurt your feelings, but in that hurt recognize that it still isn’t you. You aren’t a stick in the mud, and you don’t have a stick up your ass. You just choose to spend your time differently, and that is ok. Do not forget that. With that being said, do not criticize others as well. They have a choice too, it may be different than mine or yours, but it is still their choice.

All these substances, weed, alcohol, have become a social bridge that people need in order to connect with others. Its a “must” for every party, every get together, every celebration; that gets hard when that isn’t your go-to. My dad would always tell me “just hold a cup, or nurse a beer”, just so people would get off my back. But why the f*ck are they on my back in the first place? What is the big deal? This is a question I ask myself almost every-time I meet someone new and they ask me about it. It isn’t a big deal, it is just different. It isn’t the usual response. When most people say yes, you probably say no. Thats why its “weird”. I never nurse, or make a fake drink anymore. You shouldn’t have to do that in order to feel comfortable. If you want to order a water in a sea of beer and liquor, don’t feel bad. I do it all the time, and the reason is because I don’t feel the need to hide (and because I really just want the damn water). If someone tries to push you into ordering something else, calls you a wuss, or tries to make a spectacle of you, make a joke. One thing I tend to do in an instance like this is turn it on them. Not in a rude or accusatory way, just simply say “wow, have you been focused on me this whole time? Thats so weird. Why do you care so much what I do, focus on yourself”. Or one of my personal favorite lines is “Honey, I don’t need a drink to have a good time”. Saying this with a smile helps get your point across, but also allows you to still have a good time. When you stand your ground and proceed with your original intention, it sends the message that you’re not one who needs to change to fit the mood. You create you’re own. Own that.

There will also be many people who paint you out to be this person who thinks they are better than everyone else. That you’re trying to make people feel bad about their choices. These are the people you meet that are insecure. There are people who are uneasy about their choices and will project that onto you. This may have set them off simply because you made a different choice that they may not have been strong enough to make at a certain time. In moments like these, remain humble, be truthful and state that it is in no way your intention to do so. Remember that people who say things to hurt others are hurt themselves. Not all interactions are this deep, but many people who rely heavily on substances are hurt, or stressed, and that comes out occasionally on sober people like us. Do not take it personally, as you and they know, it isn’t true.

My last piece of advice would be to hold on. Im not going to tell you it will get better for you soon. “It” being the people and social settings you are surrounded by, but what can get better is your relationship with yourself. I encourage you to keep focusing on yourself and building You up in a social climate that is trying to put you in a box. It can get lonely to be sober. I find most days it does. And listen, if one day you want to have a drink, by all means do it. Don’t feel like then you are going against yourself. You are only doing that when you place your happiness, and identity in the hands of others. Its super hard, super confusing, and extremely frustrating. You may lose friends, get your feelings hurt, and will feel lonely at times. In reading this however, remember you truly are not the only one, you’re not weird, or a buzz kill. You’re just different from the norm, and as history has proven itself, that will most likely benefit you in the end.

O

What it’s like to be an Antisocial Butterfly

To start this whole adventure off, I just wanted to state, this is not a place to mope and project the whole “Woe is Me” attitude. This is a place for those who feel that way to engage in thought about why they aren’t alone, or strange. To stop questioning what is wrong with them. The simple answer is nothing. My whole life I have never felt like I fit in. Yet, I wasn’t the girl who was staying up late at night, praying to some higher power, wishing I could become the popular girl. The truth is, I was never unpopular. I have always been very well liked, and sought after in social settings. However, I feel like I never belong anywhere. My favorite part of any social interaction was, and still is, saying goodbye. I am referring to the fact that I don’t subscribe to the social norms people do today. I do not smoke, I do not drink, I don’t like frat parties, and I never figured out how to use Tinder. I mean for crying out loud, the only streak I have going for me is the fact that I haven’t posted for 20 weeks! Many reading this may think “thats not a big deal, who cares?”, but many of us know, people do seem to care. Well, actually “care” isn’t the word, its more like they seem confused. To reiterate, I am a college student, in New York city, and I don’t like what has been presented as the way to “enjoy your youth”.

Despite what many say, it does become a struggle for those like us. It becomes a big deal when your out with friends at a bar they picked out, and you ask for water instead of a beer. Peoples heads tilt. Or when your at someones home, sitting in a literal social circle, playing hot potato with a blunt and you don’t take a hit. Expressions become those of  offense. Many of you know the looks I am talking about, and you understand what it’s like to to feel you have to try to defend and explain yourself. Eventually you may have gotten to the point where people just don’t invite you. Not because they don’t like you, but because they know you wouldn’t engage in what they are planning. Thats a horrible feeling. It hurts because you haven’t done anything wrong. I think the feelings of sadness come from the fact that we try and do everything right. Go to work, try hard in school, maybe even exercise, drink eight glasses of water a day, whatever it is, we try to do the right thing. And yet, it feels wrong. Even my boss and coworkers were confused as to why I, an underaged girl, wasn’t drinking off the free wine cart with them.

I am listing all these experiences because I want to convince you, not peer pressure you, into feeling that I understand, even though many people don’t. I have these experiences every day of my life. I know what its liked to be social but to feel embarrassed for what you don’t want to participate in. To try and hide how you feel because you’re afraid of  being alone. This is why I started Odd One In. I want to build a community in which people feel supported for doing the right thing and not looked at as lame. You are not. We are not. I can assure you, as well as myself when Im in doubt, just because we don’t meet people like us often, it doesn’t mean we are alone.

O