If a computer could determine the love of your life, would you want to know?

15 01 2018

In 2009, an underrated rom-com called TiMER was released. In this film, people elect to be implanted with a timing device that counts down to the second when they will meet their soulmate. The marketing tagline for the service was “Take the guesswork out of love.” At one point the main character Emma Caulfield Ford (of Buffy fame), says to her boyfriend of one month outside the TiMER offices, “What’s the point in continuing without a guarantee?” Then of course, she’s implanted and her timer is blank, which means her soulmate has yet to be implanted or could possibly not exist.

This year in the 4th season of Black Mirror, Episode 4, “Hang the DJ,” we meet Frank and Amy, two people who have signed up for an immersive experience to find “the one;” a program that has a 99.8% success rate. In this alternative universe, a computer uses its algorithm to collect data consistently in order to determine who belongs with each other by analyzing their every thought, action, experience, feelings. They’re set up with one person at a time, each date gets exactly that, a date in which the relationship will end. They are required to only spend that length of time together, 36 hours, 9 months, 1 year, etc. whether they like that person or not (because everything happens for a reason).


In both of these storylines, people know in advance whether they are with the love of their lives or not. Not to give it all away, but it seems like only through the rebellion of not-knowing do any of them find what they think they’ve been looking for.

Is that what love takes? Rebellion against society’s norms? Could it even be considered “society’s norms,” when really it’s just that no one likes being told what to do, particularly when it comes to who they’re going to love (see pretty much every work of literature, poetry, film that exists).

Which is partly why the Okcupid algorithm doesn’t really work (and was supposedly all arbitrary anyway) but anyone who is supposedly a 99% match is not going to match well, because we couldn’t possibly believe that a computer could tell us what’s real more so than our own minds and hearts–so we all look for signs that the computer is wrong, and find them because humans are naturally all flawed in some shape or form.

While watching the Black Mirror episode I couldn’t help but think that having a time-stamp on the relationship would actually be rather refreshing. Of course, I have done these types of relationships before, gotten into things I knew would end because the other person was moving or what have you. It was never heartbreaking because the terms were clear from the start.

Most relationships do end; so is it so wrong to know when that end will happen? How does it change your mindset knowing? Could it not potentially allow you the opportunity to make the most of your time together, whether it’s a day or 5 years? Would you want to know if you could?


What about when it comes to your “soulmate”? Could a computer ever have the capability to actually determine that? At some point, someone somewhere would have to confirm that the concept of the ‘soulmate’ indeed is true and exists and not only that, but it can be found essentially through math , and the finding can be easily done to make a profit.

Yet, by knowing, do we put up a wall, do we not put our whole hearts into relationships when we know that it doesn’t matter, that it will not last? And is that why people who are in love have to rebel because if they don’t, it’s not truly love?

As Tom Robbins says:
“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”

In the end, the security of love never exists, knowing that a computer thinks you’re right for each other doesn’t make it right, only you know, and only time can tell.


Sex, Tinder, and More Than That

12 01 2018

On changing up my dating life patterns and getting something better than before

Since getting back on Tinder in October of this year, I’ve matched with over 300 people, had conversations with 30% of them, and gone out with maybe, maybe 10 different souls.


It’s strange to me because 300 seems like a pretty big number and yet, I feel more disconnected than I ever have in my dating life. It’s as if the more people I match with the less likely I’ll find anyone of quality.

I know, I know, Tinder was created specifically for quantity. It’s designed so you want to keep coming back because someone hotter and funnier and smarter could be just a swipe away.


I get that we’re all throw-away people to each other now.


That we find ourselves rating our worth on the number of matches we have.

Yet, even though 300 people potentially would fuck me based off of a couple of photos, that doesn’t mean any of them would ever like being around me.

Like many people, I enjoy sex. I also have a higher sex drive than most people, men and women alike. It’s often not difficult to find someone willing to sleep with me. Yet, no matter how much I enjoy sex, one night stands, fucktoys, fuckboys, fuckgrrrls (is this a thing?), no-strings-attached, friends-with-benefits–it’s all becoming rather tiring.

It’s time to go deeper with someone–not physically deeper–emotionally, spiritually deeper. It’s like we’re all afraid to actually get to know someone. We come with excuses that are worse than the ones that George and Jerry and Elaine always seemed to find. Hands are too small. Nose is too big. Beard is weird. He still eats Chef-Boyardee. She does this annoying popping thing with her toes. He texts too much. She doesn’t text enough. He sucks my nose when we’re making out. She pees a little when she sneezes. etc. etc.


But why the constant excuses? Is it fear? Is it FOMO? Is it actually justifiable and we should know they’re right from the beginning?


I’ve decided to slow down. To rid my expectations of other people. To attempt to learn something from everyone I meet. To stay curious and open to the exploration of other souls–and at the same time, my own.


The Tinder culture is addicting. It’s like junk food, it tastes delicious but it’s just a bunch of empty calories nothingness.


You keep wanting more but it’s not good for you. Instead of rotting your teeth though, it rots your soul. It makes you feel both wanted and rejected at the same time. It makes you think that the possibilities are endless and you should never settle. And of course you should never settle, but you should also not keep repeating a pattern that fails to live up to anything substantial or meaningful.


I’m not sure if it’s a waste so much as a distraction. A tool that we use to keep ourselves occupied, to keep opportunity available, to see just how fuckable we are on a surface level. Because we all want the possibility of connection, even if it’s just for a night, but many people, whether we want to admit it out loud or not, many of us want something more, something with legs, something closer to longevity.

Maybe all it takes is putting down the phone and looking around, interacting with people in real life situations. It at least seems more fulfilling to talk to someone face to face, see if anything is there, and act upon it if there is, walk away (quickly) if there isn’t?

All I know (which isn’t much) is that I have to stop thinking Tinder is the answer. To be honest, I can barely even remember the question, but I think it has to do with how we uncover love in its long form.

My plan is to create new habits and knock off the bad patterns regardless of how long it takes or how hard it is because I want more–and I’m going to get it.

Cat Person, Fiction, & Thoughts on Likes and Love

11 12 2017


Are we all each other’s stories?

The other day my friend sent me a link to a fiction story in the New Yorker called “Cat Person.”

I avoided reading it, mostly because it’s the New Yorker and that’s what I do every time I have a subscription to the magazine–ignore it week after week while the guilt from not opening them piles higher and higher.

Anyway, my friend bothered me about it again; he told me people were buzzing about it on the internets, so after a long sigh, and an even longer “fffinnnee,” I went ahead and went for it.

*Spoilers ahead*

This excruciatingly painful fictional tale is about a 20-year-old woman who goes on a date with a 30-ish old guy she meets at her job at a movie theater.

As I said to my friend, “It’s good, but in a cringe-worthy type of way.”

The author examines the internal dialogue of this woman, revealing many relatable thoughts we’ve all had while dating.

What’s most painful is that we see ourselves in her ( we see ourselves in him too, though we all seem much less likely to admit that considering how it ends) and the parts we see are the parts of ourselves we look back on later in life and wish we had trusted our instincts and intuitions.

What I think the author does so well through these characters is show how easy it is to create stories about who other people are in order for us to like them.

Hence the cringe. It’s not that it’s so much of a mismatched non-compatible interaction, it’s that we’ve all been in situations where we just really want the other person to be who we desire them to be instead of who they are.

In fact, what ripped my heart out while reading this was that just last night I cut it off with a guy for almost the exact same reason.

Not that he had been terrible in bed or called me a whore or anything, but that I had made-up a narrative in my head about who he was–and more importantly, who I was when I was with him–a story that was not even close to being accurate in reality.

I did it because I wanted so badly to like someone that I failed to pay attention to who that person really was, until it was too late.

The female character wants the guy to be so badly who he was in his flirty smart text messages that she starts reading him in ways to reassure herself that he those things in real life. Just because someone is smart and witty doesn’t mean they’re a good person.

It’s like with this guy I was dating, he told me he’d only disappoint me. He told me he was the worst. He told me he was a terrible person. And while he was doing it, I knew I should run away, I knew that people will always tell you who they are, and yet, I stuck around.

I made him prove it.

Is it because I’m a masochist? Is it because that even though I’ve learned over and over again that you can’t change a person, I still haven’t learned it enough?

I think it’s because we’re all addicted to liking someone and being liked in return. The chase, the dating, the sex, it all just comes down to us wanting to be wanted.


How do we stop ourselves from filling in the blanks on questions we have about people before we get to know them? How do we stop ourselves from projecting things we want them to be when they’re clearly not those things? How do we rid ourselves of expectations particularly when there’s so much excitement when we meet someone new? Is it possible to not get swept up into the bubble of misrepresentation? Into the love-bubble? (or even the like-bubble?)

I don’t know. I haven’t figured anything out.

All I know is that I need to save my stories for my writing and quit making up fictions about people who will always tell me who they are, if I just ask and if I just listen.


Having a Fling Doesn’t Have to End a Relationship.

18 11 2013

The other night I decided since I didn’t have a Netflix tv obsession at the moment that I was going to instead sit through an entire movie. The movie I chose was called Fling. I picked it because it was about a couple in an open relationship. I thought it would be interesting to see how they worked through these ideas via a mainstream outlet. It was pretty typical in that the monogamy-culture won in the end.

But what really struck me odd was the way in which they proceeded to carry out this open relationship. It was unrealistic to say the least. They had established no boundaries in their non-monogamy, choosing to flirt, go home with, make-out with other people within each other’s presence. Now, there are very few people in the world who could handle doing this at the rate in which this couple did. Like they would go out together and then each other’s flings would show up at the same space and they didn’t think there would be drama or tension or awkwardness. And if there was awkwardness it wasn’t something the main couple were capable of admitting was happening between the two of them.


What tore the couple apart was not the non-monogamy though. It was only after they started keeping secrets, lying, not communicating, that their relationship started to unravel. And they weren’t just lying to each other but to everyone close to them. The main guy started sleeping with his best friend’s sister and neglected to tell him. The best friend flipped and it was hard to determine if it was because he thought his sister deserved better or that he felt he was being deceived. In any case, it could have been not nearly dramatic if they were all just upfront from the beginning about everything–because if you love your sister and you love your best friend–why would it be a big deal if they loved each other too?

Some may say the main partnership always had problems and the two involved in the open-relationship were doing it because they didn’t want to be alone and were only with each other until something better came along. Because they blatantly loved each other I don’t think that’s a strong argument, but perhaps what happened is that they loved each other, but were no longer “in love” with each other.

It felt that they just threw themselves into an open-relationship without much thought as to how it should or could actually function properly. It initially worked when they were being truthful about everything and weren’t making any intense connections with other people. It was when other connections became stronger and they didn’t know how to balance all of the different emotions and issues within each coupling that it all seemed to fall apart.

I was left feeling torn because in a way it did show how an open-relationship doesn’t work and that could be just as beneficial for making sure that doesn’t happen within one’s own open-relationship, but at the same time it pushed monogamy, making their relationship seem perverted and not as serious or meaningful as it could be, which is bullshit.

The things that go wrong in relationships, whether monogamous or other, are generally the same. People fall out of love for whatever reasons and instead of ending it because they’re too scared or too comfortable they end up being dishonest, deceitful and they fail at communicating what’s going on with them.

In the end, I’d say it was an okay story, but it would be nice to see more movies or tv shows where non-monogamy (polyamory, open-relationships, etc.) works in a positive healthy way, but I suppose it takes people in them to start telling their stories and perhaps when it’s positive and healthy it’s actually pretty boring and no one really cares.


OKC Broadcast Dating Story Disasters.

12 11 2013

So, OK Cupid added this thing where you can “set your broadcast,” which is basically like a facebook status for dates. People use it to make plans within a two-hour time span. As a person with an adventurous spontaneous mentality I have on occasion tested this, sometimes for fun, when I need a few good posts for Aimless, sometimes when I am actually looking for someone to hangout with because all my “friends” are too busy for me.

jack ass

Story 1: No Confirmation

The first time I ever met anyone from a broadcast I put exactly where I was going to be, which, by the way, is a big mistake. I ended up meeting this guy at a bar near me; he was visiting from out of town and we had great conversation about writing, technology, beer etc. This was not like a date or a sexual thing, just two people enjoying life. Eventually it was bar close and it started clearing out. I guess I had seen the guy from the corner of my eye earlier, but randomly this 40ish tall skinny beaten-down looking ginger came up and started talking to us. Like he wouldn’t stop talking to us. He was drunk. Eventually we got out of there; I looked at my phone and he had sent me multiple messages, messages to the point of them feeling stalker-ish. It was weird because generally, at least in my opinion, you wouldn’t go to a place to meet someone unless the other person confirmed that they were indeed in desire of meeting you.

Story 2: Wiped Out.

Another time I had an extra ticket to a movie and I didn’t want to go alone because it looked like it was going to be intense. The movie was indeed intense, there was a lot of murdering and blood and dungeons and overall weirdness, to the point where I felt like I was going to vomit. But I didn’t.

No, I didn’t.

I got this guy into the movie with me, a ticket that would normally cost $13. I bought us a round at the theater. We then ended up at a bar after where we proceeded to get into this ugly argument about gender. Trust that it’s very difficult to win an argument with me about gender, though it’s a subject I thoroughly enjoy engaging in with people regardless of their knowledge or lack there of. Even though we were arguing he’d slip in stuff about going back to my place and wanting to kiss me etc. which I deflected because I was in no way interested.

In any case, I was slightly buzzed and he seemed to have suddenly gotten drunk drunk out of nowhere. I was talking about something, he took a drink of his beer and then out of nowhere spit it up all over me, like the beer projectiled across the table spraying me all across the front of my body. I stared at him in shock for a moment. Then I stared at him in complete annoyance.

“Dude. Aren’t you going to try to, I don’t know, wipe this off of me?” I said.

He just keeps looking down at the table shaking his head, “I can’t.” he replied.

I grabbed napkins from the bar and cleaned myself off.

“Well, I think it’s time for me to go.” I said.

Then he looks at me confused. “Aren’t you going to pay for your beer?”

By this point I was appalled. “Dude. I watched you the entire time while you ordered and they ran your card.”

“Oh. Oh, I don’t remember that.” He said.

I couldn’t handle the situation anymore. So I told him to deal with it; I thanked him for spitting up all over me and I left.

Later I got an apology text from him for being “rude,” but, yeah, that did nothing to help the rudeness at the time.

So. I think perhaps, it’s time to retire the broadcast idea, it’s probably time to retire OKC in general, but that’s a different story.


10 Randoms: Strange Love Sandwich.

27 09 2013

1. This is my response to the 300 Sandwiches situation:


Seriously, this seems like an abusive relationship, at least mental abuse. Because marriage shouldn’t be the prize at the end of a stamp-card; on your 300th sandwich get a wedding ring! What a bunch of manipulative desperate bullshit.

2. Sometimes I leave my apartment and sometimes when I leave my apartment it’s afternoon. Usually I try to time it so this doesn’t happen, but more often than not I’m caught running into herds of high school students. High school kids are scary and it took me a while to figure out why. They’re scary because they’re mean. They’re mean and they’re always in groups. So it’s like walking through a pack of meanness. They don’t mean to be mean they just haven’t emotionally matured yet and they do what they need to do to fit in. But let me tell you, I hold my head high and I do not make eye contact when I come across a cluster of them.

3. Speaking of high school kids. They have revealed to me that romance is dead. I stepped outside in the afternoon one day and saw a couple making out in the parking lot of 7-11. Their high school is less than a block from city park, where birds chirp and it smells like wet grass. But no, these kids picked asphalt and the smell of wafting trash. I guess when you’re “in love” it doesn’t matter where you “love?”


4. The other day I accidentally bought mustard greens instead of kale. And I realized that was the most white-privileged thing I have ever thought/did/said.

5. So, while watching Jeopardy they had this question come up that said if you were 5’7” at 160 pounds your BMI would be 25, and thus you would be a tad overweight. As a person who is 5’7” and 160 pounds I would have to say that they don’t actually know how to calculate body fat based off of that formula. Particularly if the whole “muscle weighs more than fat” thing is accurate. Maybe you have or haven’t met me, but I’m fucking buff, I can open my own pickle jars buff, I am not overweight. Fuck that system.

6. Speaking of overweight. I’ve been eating really strangely lately. Like I won’t really be hungry until about 2 in the afternoon and then I’m like HUNGRY for four hours straight. So I eat. And eat. Then I’m full until about 10 and at that point I’m like oh, hell no, I’m not eating right now. So I try to go to bed instead and it’s hard to go to bed when you want to eat, but it’s stupid because I don’t need calories to sleep. At that point I read a book to distract myself and it almost always works.

7. Here’s the big one. As I said the other day on facebook, I realized that I can only sleep with books I love, all the others get the floor.

And that this should also probably be my approach to men.

Because when I’m reading a good book I don’t want it to stop, but sometimes I get tired and so I fall asleep holding it close to my chest, excited to open it the next day, excited for all the adventures it’s going to take me on and all the new ideas it will give me. And if a guy doesn’t give me that same feeling I should probably just get rid of him and find another book.

marilyn reading 2

8. Also, in that same vein, I wish that I felt the same way about people as I feel about dogs. Like when I see a dog I’m like, “oh my goddess what a cute creature,” and when I see a human I’m like, “please don’t look at me I don’t want to buy anything.”

9. What’s the last book I spooned with you’re wondering? Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad. I won’t be hurt if you spoon with it too.

10. Want to read something of mine that isn’t random? Here’s a link to my elephant journal author page.


The Power of Wanting.

11 03 2013


I’m going to take this time to work through a thought, it regards the concept of getting what one wants. I will admit outright that most of my life I have gotten what I want. But just wanting it alone never got it for me, I had to work for it, or at the very least I had to ask. Is the power of getting it deeper than wanting it alone? Does the power come from knowing deep down that you’ll get it? And only when that knowing is not fulfilled is the power shattered?

Has my power to get what I want, aka the deep-down knowledge of attainability vanished for good and if not how do I get it back?

What I’m really wondering is if all this time I’ve been hurt over the breakup not because it ended but because it didn’t end how I wanted it to. It actually didn’t play out like I wanted it to at all—and not just that specifically, but my whole future-want-acquire shattered, that goal which I had worked towards for many many years: the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect environment to thrive. It all looked perfect on paper too, Director of Marketing for a non-profit, in a loving relationship with one of those sensitive artist types, living in a town big enough to be considered a city (but wasn’t really one at all), a town that had breweries and bike lanes and mountains, oh my!

But it’s not really about that anymore. What it’s about now is whether I can overcome my shattered privilege and move on. Am I doomed to hold a grudge against the first person who really truly hurt me, who told me no, who could not, in the end give me what I wanted? Why am I still thinking about it? Mainly it seems unreal that someone could get over me so quickly, hahaha. Okay, okay. I KNOW that sounds super conceited and fucked up, but who wants to feel rejected? Particularly after putting so much time and commitment and energy into something. It’s like being pushed off a cliff and then after broken bones and a concussion and a bear trying to eat you, you still have to climb back up to where you started.

Perhaps that’s my problem after all. I’m trying to climb back up instead of taking the valley path along the river back into town.

So what? I didn’t get what I wanted. Boo fucking hoo right? Why be so dramatic about it? Forgive him already. Lesson(s) learned.

And I do forgive him. I forgive us. I forgive me. That last one is the hardest. I have to stop being so hard on myself for past decisions. They’re done. I made them. It’s what I thought was best for me at the time. Because of them I have grown into this wonderfully eccentric flower. Yes, it’s been hard re-evaluating what I want from life. Perhaps if I knew in more specifics that power would come back and I’d easily attain it like back in the old days. Perhaps I’m being a little more careful, a little more picky about my vision, my desires, my needs, this time around. As it should be, because if not that would mean I haven’t grown at all—isn’t that one of the values of one relationship ending, growing so the next one can be even better?

In the end, what I want in a vague sense is love—spiritual nourishment—from people, from my job, from the city I live in. That ability to help each other grow and flourish into the best we can be. I’ll start today with myself.