You Better Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

During a time when technology is king, and we’re always on the lookout for the cooler/ faster/ bigger/ better/ shinier gadget, it’s truly amazing to see tech spill into every aspect of our lives.

(I’m keeping my eyes peeled for an iHubby.)

Remember when we used to look up movie times in a newspaper? And to that end, remember newspapers? Remember listening to your Walkman when you went running? Remember what computers used to look like?

Then we enjoyed  the advances in science/ machinery/ Hogwarts wizardry and got to order pizzas from our laptops and stalk our ex-boyfriends from the privacy of our cellphones. (Editor’s note: I totes don’t engage in either of those behaviors.)

I recently came across a Wired article about an apparatus that seems like a magical appliance from the faraway future. A self-touted “liquid library that combines the benefits of alcohol and apps,” this device acts as your digital mixologist.

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How cool is that? You order a drink from your smartphone or tablet and your iBartender (not the official name) dispenses your cocktail of choice. Added bonus: “The system also sends the host or bar owner email reminders when they’re running low on a specific spirit, creating an Amazon-esque reorder mechanism to ensure that users drink responsibly, but efficiently.”

So obviously this is rather fantastic. But the more I thought about it, the more disheartened I became. I gotta admit – as much as I love technology, at a certain point, I feel like there’s an element of dehumanization. There are “outdated” things that I prefer over their newer, tech-driven counterpoints, like:

Blockbuster

Go ahead, make fun of me and laugh. You done giggling yet? Sorry, but I truly enjoyed the experience of driving to my local Blockbuster and slowly meandering around the store. I adored picking up the DVD boxes, reading the synopsis, and studying the photos. I always grabbed popcorn and snacks on the way out and chatted with the hilarious, sarcastic employees who had an endless pit of knowledge about every movie ever made. Netflix is heartless.

MapQuest

Yes, I know that MapQuest kind of sucks. It doesn’t anticipate traffic jams. Or road closures. Or anything useful at all. Maybe I’m just attached to the process of printing out directions and stuffing them into my purse. Then finding them crumpled up under my seat 5 months later, as I reminisce about how friggin lost I got by listening to Mapquest. #ShutUp

A pen and paper

There’s something comforting about scribbling out notes/ ideas/ jokes onto a piece of paper that really resonates with me. It’s a feeling that can’t be duplicated by typing those same words onto a Word doc. For some reason, when I transfer ideas from my brain into a notebook, with a pen as the middleman, the concepts take shape and begin to make sense. Plus, I like to doodle hearts, flowers, and peace signs in the margins.

And now, with gizmos like Robo-Barkeep on the horizon (also not its official name), I’m still sticking to my guns. While these impressive technological innovations make life a little easier and a little more interesting, it also robs us of organic human interaction. Like, if I relied on Robo-Barkeep to sling my drinks at home, I wouldn’t venture out to awesome bars and befriend amazing people like Alex Goode.

Guest Post: You attended that pool party. I found myself drowning.

It is a thrill and an honor to feature a guest post by none other than my beloved Ershley. As I’ve been hastily swiping left in the fiery hell of Tinder, my Ershley has been searching the seas for Plenty of Fish.

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For those of you that have read the previous Kerm (that’s Ms. Kim Tronic to all of you) posts, you must have a hunch that I am that awful friend that proposed- well, pushed- Kerm into the Tinder waters.

I promise. It wasn’t all bad at first.

THE INITIAL DENIAL:

It all started back in March, just shortly after moving to Los Angeles. As a serial single at that point and not finding a glimpse of hope in sight, I did the most normal thing any other hardworking chick would do. I dove into work and my homies.

Not too long after, my friend began mentioning this new iPhone app Tinder. After leaving the iPhone party and happily moving towards the new Samsung Galaxy, I brushed it off and laughed at the thought.

I found her quickly glued to the app. It consumed her. We went out to bars. She was Tindering. We were riding in the car jammin’ to Justin Timberlake’s new jam. She was swiping RIGHT and getting matches. And finally… we were at Ralphs picking up grub and she scored her first date. Did I mention all of the above happened in a span of 24 hours? VOMIT.

Once I was home alone, drinking a glass of wine, and cooing over the beautiful French man on Brothers & Sisters (yeah – I’m a serial TV series watcher too), curiosity got the best of me and I logged onto PLAY (the iTunes store for Android). I asked myself, “Am I missing the boat here?”

After searching “Tinder,” “Dating App Swipe,” “Match Me” and any other remote dating terms… I Googled and found out that f*cking Tinder wasn’t available for my silly new phone. What gives universe?!

THE HALF-ASSED HUNT:

Before getting absolutely beside myself and worried that I was missing the Tinder party… I found an app called Plently of Fish. I briefly remember my good friend in NYC talking about how she went out on a few dates with some girls and it was pretty entertaining. Although she’s a full-blown lesbian, I gave in and agreed to all the terms and services. The POF app landed on my phone’s homepage, right next to my beloved Instagram and Twitter.

I didn’t want to enter the swim party with nothing less than my hot bikini, smoking elevator pitch, and a smooth glass of “date me.”

I spent the entire night uploading the best yet most realistic photos and crafting a story that told these dudes that 1. I’m not here for a quick bang 2. I have a lot to offer 3. I’m killing it personally 4. I’m ready to meet someone who’s ready to have some fun.

I don’t mean to sound conceited, but within minutes I was getting messages. Here were a few of them. Nothing too exciting.

  • “Hey”
  • “You’re Cute”
  • “Wanna Bang?”
  • “Meow”
  • “Hey I’m Michael. I saw your profile and it caught my eye. I have been on here for only a few months, and saw that you lived in Jacksonville. Have you ever been to Ginnie Springs? I was there for sometime in between the Marines. It was a blast. Would love to hear from you. Have a great night!”

STOP. It took a handful of messages to get something pretty unique to my profile that I labored over? Little win!

Still being a skeptic to the whole thing, I left the message sitting there like a wallflower at a high school dance. Poor kid.

THE CONTEMPLATION:

A few nights later, Kerm convinced me to go out for drinks and appetizers (mostly drinks) at our favorite stomping grounds in Hollyweird – St. Felix. After 2 delicious Moscow Mules, I whipped out the app and started playing around. I even grabbed Kerm’s phone and downloaded Tinder in hopes that I could play while she was in the bathroom.  She wasn’t having it, especially after knowing it linked to her Facebook account – ERMAHGERD.

Kerm, being the little instigator that she is, found herself swiping through the 30 messages I had received over the past couple of days. We couldn’t control the laughter and the bartender confused this for sending over more Mules.

I finally got up the courage to message Mr. Michael back and we continued to message all night long. Luckily with all the effort I was putting in, he manned up and asked for my number on my drive back home and I agreed to meet with him sometime that next weekend for dinner in Santa Monica.

*fast forward one week and multiple cases of small talk*

THE FIRST SWIM:

6:45PM — I tried SO hard to be a few minutes late. The LA travel gods must have known and fast tracked me over to the west side. I arrived 15 minutes early. I strolled around the Santa Monica Pier, watching the homeless light things on fire, kids screaming at their parents that they hated the sun, and even watched a couple achieve some hardcore PDA.

7:02 PM Michael called. SHIT. I picked up and said “Hey there… I’m by the pier in a pink dress.” And before I knew it, he was tapping me on the shoulder and cradling me in a huge hug with an, “Ashley, how are you?” By the time I had a second to unclasp myself from his embrace, my mouth hit the floor. Drop…Dead… SEXY… and 6’4! This was it ladies and gents… I was going to be one of the success stories of POF that landed their future Mr. in one date.

7:05 PM — He grabbed my arm as we briskly walked to Sonoma Wine Garden for dinner. We chose a public place because I told him I was being safe just in case he was a rapist. You’re welcome mom!

7:45 PM Dinner was amazing. No awkward silences. We rambled on forever about our families, our stories, and our favorite things to do in LA. I even ran to the Ladies to text my mom and friends that I was alive. Things were smooth sailing at this point.

8:30 PM — Toward the end of dinner, he picked up the tab (after I heckled him to split it) and asked if I wanted to walk around Santa Monica for a bit. We popped into a few bars, walked along the beach… but he just couldn’t get up the nerve to kiss me. I respected that.

10:15 PM — As he walked me back to my car, he asked what I was doing for the rest of the night. I shared that I didn’t have any plans and was going to go back to Hollywood. Without skipping a beat he said, “I know it may sound forward, but I’d love to hang out and watch a movie or something at my place. Is that weird?” I went into this night saying I wasn’t going to go home with anyone. And not “go home” in that sense either. As a serial single, I’ve prided myself on only sleeping with those I’ve been in a serious relationship with. However, this date really had me excited and I wasn’t ready to go to sleep just yet. I told him “Sure why not!” Sorry mom! Then he planted the sweetest kiss ever on my cheek.

10:45 PM — I arrived at his house and we watched some mortal combat movie cuddled on the couch. He didn’t try to pull a fast one, however, a few seconds of kissing occurred and then he wrapped me back up into his big U.S. Marine arms. This repeated a few times. It was perfect knowing that there was no pressure and that there was a chance to find someone awesome here in a new city.

1:00 AM — Mr. Michael offered me his bed and like a gentleman he slept on the couch.  I accepted the offer. He had mentioned earlier in the night that he had to leave for work in Malibu at 5am so I tossed and turned all night anticipating his goodbye.

4:45 AM — Michael came into his room and got ready for work. I rolled over thinking that he would wake me up before leaving, however, a few minutes later I woke up to his Cadillac roaring out of the parking lot. WHAT? I was alone in his house. I didn’t have a key and I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

THE AFTERMATH:

I walked out to the living room to find a note: “Ashley, I had so much fun last night. Please lock the door behind you and text me when you leave. Talk to you soon J – Michael” What a sweetheart – I wish I had taken a picture of the note. I left the house still wearing my dress from the night before, completely elated. As asked, I texted him thanking him for a smashing time and locked the door being me. Vroom Vroom back to Hollywood.

Later that day, I texted him asking how he was holding up after getting only a few hours of sleep. Nothing. I told him that I was free that following Thursday if he was in Hollywood. Nothing. Where the hell did it go wrong? Hopes, dreams, were crushed. I was completely confused that I had done something off-character. My cynical self said that he 1. Must be gay 2. Pissed, yet a gentleman, that I didn’t sleep with him 3. Was getting back with an ex.

Just as quickly as I had caught Michael, I’d lost him. Fish fried. Number deleted.

THE SLIM SENSE OF HOPE:

After sulking over my experience with Kerm the next few days at work… I found myself clicking through new profiles and receiving new messages. I had to stay positive. This went on for months. 5 MONTHS and nothing stood out as anything special. In all honesty, it got worse.

Here are my top 5 (never!) experiences on POF:

Case #1: NAKED MAN.

I give credit where credit is due, homie. You are stacked! But as a main profile picture? Do you have a brain in that head of yours? I’m talking about the one north of your chest….

Case #2: WANNA-BE CAT

If only you said that when you answered the phone the first time. 5 points for effort… but after seeing that you’re unemployed and your favorite pastime is “getting swoll” I nexted ya.

Case #3: THE HOMIE

Is the world really that small that you have to come across one of your best homies since 2010? Come ON!

Case #4: THE BANK

Awww – you want to pay my bills? Although I almost throw up every time I make my BMW-equivalent student loan payment, your generosity has me boggled. WTF.

Case #5: THE ANIMAL LOVER

This guy must not have gotten the memo from the other 1,000 tiger-huggers. Although precious, all your other pictures were with your “sister” COUGH EX GIRL FRIEND COUGH.

THE PEACE THE F*UCK OUT:

So final synopsis: Just like I just killed this bottle of Charles Shaw while writing this guest post, I’ve killed the POF app.

I’ve also probably killed my chances at ever writing a guest post again….

Peace, Love, + Kittens,

-Ershler

Eye Of The Tinder Tiger

I know I’ve spent some time explaining how I started using Tinder, and then how I came to despise it.  But now it’s time to examine a very baffling phenomenon…

The guys who post photos of themselves with a tiger.

Not Tiger Woods.

A real tiger.

Maybe I don’t lead a very charmed life, but I can’t image where I would be in the presence of a tiger. I will admit that I’m SUPREMELY jealous of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, who gets to pet and nuzzle Raja. But where do these guys go to hang out with a tiger?

Do you go to a zoo? A rescue organization? Africa? Mike Tyson’s house?

I understand that tigers represent strength. Their blood is supposed to be magical. Their teeth are sharper than a brand new Ginsu. They’re quick. They’re smooth. They’re sexy.  I suppose it makes sense that Tinder weirdos want chicks to associate them with a powerful sexy beast.

Except then the next photo is a shirtless selfie of you pursing your lips so you’ve ruined everything.

Swipe left.

Love Me Tinderly Part 2: Why I’m Swiping Left & Leaving This Party

So after giving  in and actually testing the Tinder waters, I am officially swiping left and leaving this party.

Just to clarify and reiterate, I was never actually interested in participating in this judgmental dating app; my coworker Ershley installed Tinder on my phone one evening after work during cocktail hour. But ok, fine, I got curious and dipped my toe in the “shallow” end to see how things would pan out.

And what I found wasn’t pretty.

OBSERVATION #1:

Listen, I completely understand that since Tinder only allows you to post about 5 photos of yourself,  you want to put your best (aka most attractive/ badass) foot forward. But really, I’m dumbfounded that girls actually like:

*shirtless selfies: I get it.  You have a 6 pack. You still look like a douche. Stop pursing your lips. It’s not cute.

*photos of you surfing: I get it. You like the ocean. You like to ride waves. So do a lot of people in SoCal. What else makes you special?

*photos of you with a tiger: A SURPRISINGLY high amount of guys have apparently met a live tiger. I don’t understand this phenomenon.

*photos of you holding a baby: Is that your kid? Or a nephew? Or your kid sitting next to your nephew?  Or do you just pose with stunt babies at the mall to attract chicks?

*5 photos of you with your man-posse: Seriously, WHICH ONE ARE YOU, bro?!

*3 photos that don’t even remotely show anything about you: Shout-out to the guy who had one image of a cat, one of a tree, and one of a sky…put the bong down and upload at least one pic of yourself, stoner.

OBSERVATION #2:

Fact: there is an overwhelming amount of self-absorbed douche-nozzles on Tinder. To make things simple, I’ll break it down by the TYPE of douche:

*the unnecessarily rude dude: One of my profile pics was of my darling cats…some jackass took the time to write me a message that “the cat pic really killed it for me”…then why take the time to send me a message, @$$hole?

*the scumbag: A very smooth Casanova messaged me to ask “What are you doing on Tinder? Looking for Mr. right or Mr. Right now?” Come on, guy…

*the ego-manic: One dude’s tagline was “unless you’re a model, swipe left. Look at me.” Oh, I’m looking at you. And all I see is a hairless lonely meat-man-wich who’s insecure deep down.

OBSERVATION #3:

Having said all of this, I do give props to the guys who are actually funny. Self-deprecating humor is kind of endearing and shows that you don’t take yourself too seriously. Random silly thoughts that make no sense are good for a giggle, but these funny guys are few and far-between. For me, if you can make me laugh, you’re totally in. Some of my fave taglines:

“I love organic Tic Tacs.”

“Hi, I’m fun. I ride motorcycles. They are fun. Yay!!”

“My life is like Scrubs, except not as funny.”

“I think I belong in Canada.”

“I used to eat a lot of sandwiches, but I’ve really cut down lately. Honestly.”

“I’m not on this app.”

“I’m an aspiring oyster snob.”

“Yeah I’m Asian and I have blonde hair…I’m still good at math.”

“What’s in your lunch pail?”

“I was hiding under the house because I love you.”

“I’m like a real-life cartoon. Don’t drop an anvil on me though. I’ll die.”

And as a total side note: Plenty of Fish is not better. A certain girlfriend of mine (who shall remain nameless but her name rhymes with Smershley) knew I was writing this post, and shared with me a message that a dude sent her on POF:

“Hi, I’m Alex. Can we become friends with benefits and travel together to lots of exciting places? I will help you with your bills on a monthly basis as well.”

Apparently it’s rough waters for all those fish. Time to swipe left and swim away.

Love Me Tinderly?

So my beloved coworker Ershley thought it would be funny to install this dating app called Tinder on my iPhone while I wasn’t paying attention. I’d never heard of it and had no idea how it worked. Apparently it pulls a few photos from your Facebook profile, only allowing people to see a few minimal details like your age, location, and first name. So you see a person’s photo, and swipe left if you think they’re creepy or unattractive, and swipe right if they pass initial inspection. If you swipe right on their photo, and vice versa, then you’re alerted that you’re a match. My only question is…

Doesn’t this seem shallow?

Ershley argues that it’s not shallow- if you meet someone at a bar/ club/ shopping for banana peppers, you’ll be judging them on their looks anyways. But whatever happened to striking up conversation and getting to know someone before passing the “attraction judgement?” I realize that dating sites are more popular than ever and in this increasingly digital universe,  some people have had awesome luck meeting a mate this way. But even on other dating sites, I’ve heard you at least get more of a glimpse into someone’s personality. Tinder seems like the app equivalent of Regina George from Mean Girls.

Should I tell Ershley that as payback, I set her up on date with 25 year old Mike with the big muscles in the banana costume….or just let her find when he calls her?