Tinder kings, queens and addicts

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Last week during my hugging and Cuddlr experimentation on live subjects in a crowded bar, I came across one table of mid-twenties men who basically shot me a look of pity when I offered to give them a PG rated public hug for no reason. It was as if the act of innocence was so foreign to them, and so I pried, “why are you weirded out by hugs, do you use Tinder?” I asked. One of the guys responded with laugh followed by “oh, this guy is the Tinder King” and pointed to the guy beside him. I will admit, he was very good looking but I’ve seen guys like him on Tinder time and time again. Their profile description typically consists of a generic “looking to have some fun” tagline and a few shirtless selfies in the bathroom mirror at the gym (ab shots mandatory) I have also been personally victimized by having to eyeball profiles in passing of men on Tinder that literally have a throbbing erection poking from beneath their tight and white boxer briefs, and this is their actual front page picture. These are apparently the kings of Tinder. So I asked this supposed “Tinder King” about his successes, and more importantly, how many women he was hooking up with weekly.

I was shocked to learn that he was sleeping with 1-2 women a week and had an actual system in place. He would sleep with said women for about a month at which time he would begin a new cycle. I asked him why, and it was simple. It’s easy and addicting. Women are doing it too. Bikini body selfies, lingerie pictures and offering everything up front on the first date is not uncommon now, but it is sad in my opinion. Call me old fashioned but it made me wonder why we are so addicted to dating apps, and the reason is not because we are having a hard time searching for someone to fulfill a long term void, but because we now have the ability to boost our egos and conquer our human urges on command, just by logging on, swiping and clicking away until we settle the loneliness. My question is, does having this attitude and the satisfaction of having multiple women or men chasing you down at once make you a Tinder King or Queen, or does it make you someone who needs someone to validate something you can’t find in yourself?

Everyone has a different reason for using Tinder and while on rare occasion, you might actually cross paths with someone who is of sound and like mind with a level of integrity and class, take it from me and my three years of online dating experiences, those occasions are rare so if you found it early on without much weeding, count your lucky fucking stars. When we are single, these apps become addicting because we can find the means to continue on alone with little to no effort. I know many single women like myself who live alone and will often use the apps just for an ego boost and men are no different. If you live alone, subscribe to Netflix and relish evenings alone with your pet, chances are you curl up on your couch and start swiping. Why? For a boost of the ego. For conversation. For sex. For the sole purpose of not feeling alone. And then you move on to the next swipe right. Sound familiar? You’re not the only one doing this.

Online dating was supposed to act as a gateway to meeting a person to date and form a relationship with. Because of our twisted usage of apps and dating sites, we have become addicted to connections of little substance, because it’s easily and readily available for us. Hell, even if you’re in a relationship or dating someone, curiosity can easily be settled by a simple download and I know this because I have unfortunately caught a few of my friends spouses online as well. Nothing is sacred anymore especially in the world of online dating. Good and genuine connections are very few and far between because we are now inundated with a sea of ego and sex seekers. While Tinder and online dating apps like this may be a good gateway to boost your self esteem and give you plenty of entertainment (clearly) it’s probably not the best solution to your loneliness, not in the long term anyways. I’ve been off dating apps for over a month now and I have to say the feeling is odd because it has been a safe haven for me and my lifestyle for quite some time now. The further I get from this world, the less I miss it. Sometimes focusing on your own inner circle of friends and people you care for feels much better than constantly seeking meaningless companionship whether it’s through innocent and flirtatious conversation or no strings attached sex. Eventually you get tired of the false advertising and people only looking to validate themselves. Eventually, you have to validate yourself on your own and this starts by taking the food dish away from the wolf pack.

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D.T.C = Down to cuddle. Cuddlr Review

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It seems like we’ve got an app for basically everything now, as if we can’t solve our first world life problems on our own, now we have a device boasting intricate schedulers, list makers, recipe builders, social and dating networking and now we have evolved to a whole new level of desperation with a new app called Cuddlr. Everyone has been buzzing about it since its launch but I was curious to see how many people in Vancouver were actually using it, so my curious and quizzical mind decided to test it out. Pull up a chair, it’s about to get weird.

Firstly as I searched for the App in my iTunes store, it tells me immediately the creators name is Charlie Williams. After using the app, I will say to Charlie, take your name off of this creepy app. After I downloaded it, I was greeted with a series of instructions, which I will list verbatim:

“Welcome to Cuddlr

Cuddlr lets you find people near you who are up for a cuddle. When you see someone who looks nice, send them a cuddle request. When you get a request, you have 60 minutes to accept. When accepting, you can send one 140-character message to say something like “Let’s meet in the park” or “I’m wearing a green shirt”.

Accepting a request shows you the location of the sender, and shares your location with them. Real-time updates and walking directions help you find each other. Then the fun part: Have a cuddle!

Unlike some other apps, Cuddlr is strictly about PG-Rated experiences. Keep the cuddle a cuddle! At times, you may want to ask someone about having a coffee or learning to knit. Wait until the end of the cuddle, and then ask politely.

Completing a good cuddle will get you upvotes. Being a bad cuddlr will get you downvotes. You can tell how reliable a cuddlr is by looking at their scores.”

And then the mission statement:

“Cuddlr springs from the belief that we don’t have enough opportunities for safe, consensual, non-scripted, communicative, fun, silly, serious, spontaneous, physical affection carrying no further expectation. A cuddle can be many things: lying together in a park, window shopping holding hands, hugging, playing with each other’s hair, putting your head in someone lap. Keep communicating and find an idea you both like!”

And then the fun part; finding people in my area who wanted to cuddle. At the time, I wasn’t local to where I live (thank god because once you match with a cuddlr, it automatically zones in on your GPS coordinates and gives actual walking directions and the time it will take you to reach your cuddlr which seems a bit dangerous in my opinion) There were 4 people. Apparently people in Vancouver aren’t much into cuddling. I chose the person whose picture was of a Collie, under the assumption that I could cuddle with the dog instead (I know, I’m a shit head sometimes) Anyways, I match up to them and as soon as the map comes up to start zoning in my location, I politely cancelled the cuddle; because A. it’s fucking creepy for a stranger to know exactly where I am and B. why are we so lazy and resorting to this?

At this point, my friends and I are laughing hysterically at the sheer creepiness of this new app. We were in a crowded pub on an NFL night and a thought struck me. What if I just went up to every possible stranger I could and asked them for hugs? Why did I need this app to get a warm hug or a cuddle? I was determined to prove the internet wrong.

I started out simple. I went up to tables full of men and asked them how they felt about hugs. The first table was a group of late 20’s to mid-30’s guys. There were 5 of them. They all told me they thought hugging was great and so I asked if they would like one. One by one by one, each guy got a hug and then we started talking about why I was doing what I was doing, so I told them about the blog and the Cuddlr app. This went on with each table I victimized with my pint sized bear hugs. 90% of the people I approached were ecstatic to receive a hug from a random stranger. Some of the older men I hugged would even comment that it had been so long since they had hugged their wives. Most told me it was so nice and unexpected to get a happy hug from a happy smiley girl. The only table who didn’t hug me was a group of Tinder whispering men in which I will write about in a later blog. There were 5 of them but on their way out, after getting scolded by the other men I had hugged in the bar, they hugged me goodbye.

While this experiment was fun and friendly, and I smelled of 40 different men’s colognes afterwards, the conversations I had with people about why this is necessary now were interesting. We have become a society who has become disconnected with innocent acts of intimacy. Instead of hugging, kissing and hand holding, we lust for a more vulgar and disconnected form of connection. No strings attached sex seekers and commitment phobias has driven our world to the need to have apps like Cuddlr so that people can get the intimate connection they want, but now are having to source them from many different outlets instead of getting them from just one person as people have done traditionally. Now you have Tinder, OkCupid and Plenty of Fish for your sex and ego boost, Cuddlr for your need of innocent intimacy and Facebook and Instagram for your social connection with friends. Isn’t it time we draw the line and focus on finding one person to satisfy all of what we want in a person or are we going to continue this path of creating apps to fulfill voids in our lives that used to come from just meeting one person who you fit with? The sooner we condense this modern world of dating technology, the sooner we can be happy. There’s no need to have 6 apps on our phones to seek connection and yet here we are, eager to download the newest way to connect.

What made me happiest about last night was that it showed me that people are willing to connect, converse and even hug strangers in a physical environment. I can be pretty shy at times so it took me several nudges before I actually got up from the table and approached people but once I was connecting with people, I was happy I did. Dating is a painful process. It’s awkward, uncomfortable and at times, stressful. The thing is though these have always been normal stages in any relationship but now that we have this technology, the painful process lasts a lot longer unless you break the cycle. In short, Cuddlr isn’t a breakthrough app, but more of a wake-up call to society of how sad we have become.

The “I forgot to mention” people

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Have you ever dated someone and things are going great when all of a sudden a few dates (or months) in, they blindside you with a seemingly important detail of their life that you’re just kind of like “what the fuck?” and wonder why it wasn’t brought up initially. Not surprisingly, in this crippled world of constant failure to communicate, many people have experienced this baffling phenomenon of people keeping important details that can be considered deal breakers to some, in their skeleton closet until they feel they have you invested, and then they pop out at you like a psychotic clown in a fun house. That’s kind of what dating is like now; it’s like walking through a fun house… and you’re just waiting for the next clown to pop out at you around the corner. A couple of my single girlfriends and even some men I know have vented their dismay over these incidents they seem to keep encountering and it brought me back to a situation of my own that I experienced with a man a couple years back.

I was pretty newly single, and 27 at the time. I had met a nice man who was a few years older than me; 34. We went on a few great dates together and things were going well. He seemed to have his life in order and good life morals, which is important to me, because I have my shit together too. On the 8th date, he invited me to finally see his place, have drinks and then go to a movie downtown together. When I got to his place, a vintage Vancouver basement greeted me along with furniture he had covered in torn sheets and pressed up against the wall. He gave me the grand two-minute tour of the 500 square foot space and tried to make light of the fact that instead of a dresser, he had a 5 ft. pile of clothes at the end of his bed. No biggie, at this point I’m just ready to have a drink. So we’re sitting on the couch and I notice this chair. This chair is quite modern and out of place from the rest of the “décor theme.” It had a remote control built into the side and was a light beige microfiber suede. The shape was like a lounger and looked incredibly sleek and aero dynamic. It reminded me of something like a gamer chair. So I ask about the chair and I remember this conversation perfectly…

“So that chair… it’s interesting… tell me about the chair…”
“Oh my heated chair you mean?”
“Yea, what made you buy that?”
“Oh well after my divorce… ” I don’t remember what he said after that.
“Umm… divorce?”
“Oh, umm… ya! I forgot to mention that. Usually I tell people on the first or second date!”

A few days later, I ended things. At the time and at the age of 27, a divorcee with a jaded heart was a deal-breaker for me. To many people, certain things are pretty important. People have beliefs and morals that can hinder the possibility of a future. They shouldn’t be petty deal-breakers but there are some things that are worth mentioning. Things like,

“I forgot to mention I have a child”
“I forgot to mention I am divorced”
“I forgot to mention I am mid-divorce”
“I forgot to mention I have herpes”
“I forgot to mention I’m moving to Haiti for a year”
“I forgot to mention that my ex is still stalking me”
“I forgot to mention that I am a swinger”
“I forgot to mention I occasionally escort”
“I forgot to mention I have a mayonnaise fetish”
And so on…

It all boils down to communication. You simply can’t bait a person based on a façade you create of yourself. You have to be open, honest and real in my opinion. If you aren’t, you’re only ripping yourself off from opening up the possibility of something good coming from your honesty. I smoke. It’s a hard one to tell people because yes, I know it’s gross and a lot of people have issues with it but I am open and honest about it and while it is scary telling someone you’re into knowing it might be their deal-breaker, it’s still best to be yourself and be accepted by someone who accepts all of who you are. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you should also take time to ask yourself why these things are deal-breakers? Let’s face it, if you read my blog or go out on your own dating adventures and have been doing so for a while, you probably already know by now that everyone has something that makes them a little messed up. There’s always some flaw. No one is perfect. You can’t back down after minor details but it all comes down to prioritizing what is the most important to you about the kind of person you want to date. Are they kind? Do they have the same ambition and life morals? Do they make you laugh? Sometimes we wander around dating like chickens with our heads cut off. We let the most trivial things bother us and then we run from it like it’s a plague. This isn’t always the answer. Being open and honest will get you further than by shutting things down at face value. If you really can’t date someone who is divorced, has children or whatever the reason, then just be honest but make sure you think about it before you hit the fun house again.

Romance in modern times

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Women are raised to believe in fairy tales. From an early age, we are exposed to an array of Disney movies which predominantly give us the idea that Prince Charming eventually finds us, showers us with flowery and glittery trinkets, whispers sweet nothings into our ears and lifts us up onto his saddled up white horse as we gallop off into the sunset while forest creatures serenade our departure with a catchy love song. Fast forward to modern day and this notion is still fed into our beliefs even in our adulthood with shows like the Bachelor and Bachelorette teaching us that the perfect date is sailing the French Riviera on a boat decorated with rose petals boasting chocolate covered strawberries and a perfectly chilled bottle of Bollinger. The word most commonly associated with these types of situations is none other than “romance.” We think of flowers, we think “romance.” We think of candlelit dinners, we think “romance.” In reality, the true definition of romance is this “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love or a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.” In a verb tense, it means to “court; woo.” At no point do these references mention anything of a material nature and yet as a society, we long to believe that certain items are the monumental signs of romance.

My best friend recently got engaged to an amazing guy. Perhaps the most admirable quality and characteristics about their relationship is the way they show affections towards each other. While certain situations provoke flowers, the relationship is not based on the hallmark version of romance, but more in line with the true definition itself. Romance is not about what is presented, but the feeling that is created from actions. It’s not about the material things that we are taught to believe shows care, but about those little things he does for her that prove sacred because you know he does it because he genuinely wants to make her feel special. Things like remembering mention of wanting to build a gingerbread house and the following day having one ready to make together. Things like giving her the cheeseburger with the most onions even though they both asked for extra. Things like surprising each other with coffees and wanting to provide and offer the basic things we need to someone else; someone we care about. The occurrence of these small things may be few and far between but the feelings they create echo for longer than someone who just buys flowers every other week.

Many women make the mistake of believing that a man who doesn’t show up with a bouquet of long stems isn’t capable of romance or being romantic. Take for example a show like the Bachelor. At the end of each episode, there is a rose ceremony. The bachelor calls upon his selected women one by one and presents them each with a single long stem rose while proposing “will you accept this rose?” The women gazes up starry eyed, coo’s “yes, I will” in his ear, kisses him and takes her place back in line. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers just as much as any woman but if the Bachelor handed me an ice cold long neck import lager and asked “will you accept this beer?” I would be tickled pink with romance. Mostly because A) I love beer and B) he paid attention to me and what I like.

There are two types of women in this world; women who make demands and nag what they fail to receive and women who are elated and appreciative of the little things that have big impact. Any man who has ever experienced the “you never buy me flowers” attack will understand this statement. Any woman who has ever shouted those words will probably stop reading here.

In my experiences and expertise with dating these past few years, I have learned that the game has changed and romance is no different. There are all different types of men in this regard ranging from the ones who will recite Shakespearean quotes to those who stick their smart phones down their pants. While the later has proven to be my least preferred and most hated type of Bachelor, it’s those men in the middle who seem to shine the brightest. Women need to give men a break when it comes to romance and recognize that it happens in different forms. There’s a reason why women like my friend have been taken off the market. It’s because she gets it. She knows what and when to appreciate. He may not serenade you on your balcony and he may never buy you a teddy bear holding a heart but if you’re lucky, he will hand you your favorite beer or selflessly sacrifice his cheeseburger, just to see you smile. That’s romance.