Woman: “I swiped right because you don’t want kids. You?”

Me: “I swiped right because you hack Raspberry Pi’s.”

 

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“Hey Secretgeek, do you have a spare US$2000 sitting around I could borrow? I’ll pay you back by February the absolute latest. It’s for urgent bills and to get my business off the ground while I am job hunting.”

A million replies come to mind.

For example, “Why can’t your business wait until March?”

Or, “What kind of urgent bills, and why didn’t you put money aside for emergencies?”

Maybe, “If you lack two thousand dollars now, how are you going to earn that kind of surplus by February?”

There’s also “Maybe you should have dated a guy who is financially responsible instead of getting knocked up by a deadbeat.”

Or perhaps the more basic, “Oh, nice to hear from you after all these years, how’s the family doing?”

In the end I settled for a simple lie. “I don’t.”

The last time I helped someone out in “an emergency” with promises of getting paid back “really soon”, it was a family member. I’m still waiting for the first installment seven years later.

The sad part is that I almost feel bad for not helping. I do have the cash, and while 2000 bucks is a ton of money, losing it wouldn’t put me in dire straits. I grew up in a poor family and I know what it’s like to have to pay some bill and not be able to.

But then that’s precisely how I learned not to depend on others, and that living beyond your means and from paycheck to paycheck is a terrible idea. I clawed my way up and I saved money even when it was tough to do so, and I am never, ever going to risk getting into that situation again.

You plan your own finances. If you lack the foresight or the ability, please don’t expect me to drain my emergency fund for your emergencies.

My money stays where it is.

Every now and then, when I get bored, lonely, or both, I give Tinder a try. There isn’t much in it for an aging, average-ish looking, still somewhat chubby guy, but hey, you never know, I tell myself. Plus, what else is there to do when you get bored in the office?

There are two observations I’ve made about Tinder.

One is a gender issue. I am a completely straight guy, and I have selected “women” as the gender I am interested in. Yet Tinder decides to also match me with transgender people. Don’t get me wrong, I really couldn’t care less how anybody decides to live their lives. But when it comes to someone I might have sex with, or even date, well, they simply do nothing for me. I get it, in this day and age it’s not politically correct to offer a straight man the choice to ignore people who come with a Y chromosome, but it strikes me as bad for a dating app. After all, shouldn’t it be all about bringing people together who might actually be a match for each other?

Oh well.

The second, and to me weirder, observation is about how Tinder operates. I’ve never noticed this before today, so call me dense if you want. But I found that the quality of your matches is inverse proportional to the amount of time you spend swiping on Tinder.

By this I mean that Tinder starts out showing you all kinds of very attractive people. Then, some days later, you get to a “meh” phase. And eventually you hit the pits of despair, and Tinder shows you the bad apples. The sickly obese people. The disfigured people. The ones with warts and missing teeth, skin parched from nicotine addiction and faces marked by drug abuse. I am not overstating this; and I really wish I could illustrate this with screenshots.

I just spent a good fifteen minutes almost exclusively swiping left on people who live in the Uncanny Valley. And then it struck me: Tinder must be sorting profiles by number of right swipes they generate. It makes sense, too: Since Tinder is 100% about looks, right swipes mean attractive people, and showing attractive people to a new (or not so new) user makes them use the app more. Maybe even spend money for a “super like” or whatever, hoping to get the attention of that lovely face they just spent seven seconds admiring.

I wonder what the net result is. Generating a lot of matches between very beautiful people, I imagine, and essentially taxing the unattractive. Digging through the usage data generated by such an app must be fascinating.

Of course, there is this thing, too. Which is probably more telling about modern dating than anything else.

 

So, I met a woman. She is beautiful, smart, successful in her career, exactly my kind of person. The kind you can talk to for hours and don’t notice time passing.

But you guessed it, there’s a catch.

There’s always a catch.

After a short time it became apparent that she suffers from BPD or something similar. Without going too much into details, she switched from “this is awesome and I am so happy we met” to “secretgeek you are evil incarnate” on a near daily basis.

Eventually she gave me the “I think we should just be friends” line on a good day. I asked her if she was sure about that, and, when she confirmed it, I essentially wished her well and never called back.

I am, after all, evil incarnate.

Obviously, part of me regrets this, but in the end it was probably the right decision. I am willing to put a lot of work into a relationship, down to the ugliest problems (oh the things I can’t post about!), but if the person needing the support doesn’t want it, I can’t force them.

And I really can do without the drama for once.

Overall Progress report:

  • Punched four new holes in my belt since spring.
  • Started wearing shirts that last fit me six or seven years ago
  • Now wearing “regular fit” pants instead of ones with “stretch” waist

And don’t ask me why I kept those old shirts for so long.

I don’t weigh myself, so I am not sure how much I actually lost. The four belt-holes are about four inches total, I would say.

As you know I am not doing a diet – I am essentially changing my habits. This takes a lot of time and is far, far more difficult than it may sound. My goal is not to have to force myself to eat less, but simply to eat whatever I want – while wanting to eat a more normal amount. Seems I am finally in a place where that’s working out.

 

I finally ditched Facebook.

As in, for good.

It wasn’t really because of the Cambridge Analytics scandal, although that was part of it and ultimately what triggered my decision. Instead, I have simply experienced a growing general dislike for social media. I don’t want to sound pretentious, but I do believe social media is having a very negative effect on our culture. There’s just too much social outrage over petty things, too much online mob justice (#metoo, I am looking at you), too much narcissism, and too much plain extremism.

Essentially, we’ve given stupid people an easy platform, and they’re dragging everybody down by their sheer numbers. It’s a digital zombie apocalypse.

(And before anybody whines in the comments: Harassment or even molestation of women – or men for that matter – is never okay, but online witch hunts are not the answer. Too many false accusations that ruin lives. In dubio pro reo is a very important concept and nobody, absolutely nobody, gets to “pick and choose” when to apply it.)

 

After ditching Tinder, I decided to try more traditional dating sites again. I had, after all, some decent luck with them in the future. I decided not to use any that required payment. I don’t have a problem paying for a service, but most dating sites are essentially scams. They advertise themselves as “free”, but when you want to get to actually writing to other members or read messages from them, you can’t unless you pay unreasonably high fees.

And so it comes to no surprise that many dating sites use fake profiles and fake messages to trick people into paying.

I ended up using two free sites; Plenty of Fish and OKCupid.

Plenty of Fish is, essentially, a haven for scammers and for ugly people. The scammers are easy to detect – they use African grammar or include some obvious mistakes in their profiles. For example there was a profile with a photo of a black chick, who then described herself as “fair skinned, blonde, green eyes”. Stuff like that.

The ugly people are, of course, also easy to spot. I don’t place huge value on appearance but there are limits.

OKCupid has entirely different problems. The biggest of these is that they’ve decided to match bisexual men with straight men. When notified about this mistake, their stance was “we do not enforce what gender our members identify as”. It took me a number of increasingly snarky emails to get the point across that my complaint had nothing to do with gender politics, but rather with practicality. An actually straight man will simply never date a bisexual guy.

I mean by OKCupid’s logic, my profile (as a straight guy) should appear on the list of matches for lesbian women because I like women. It’s so utterly basic and stupid that I’m not sure if it might not be kinder to attribute it to malice on the part of OKCupid.

Sigh.

As for the results, I mostly got replies from female tourists who were either not yet in My City, or were just leaving. The notable exception was an illegal immigrant who was looking to marry someone before she gets deported. I kid you not. And while that might have been an easy way to get laid, I decided I was simply not desperate enough for that.

I’m not exactly optimistic online dating is going to work out for me. But then it might not have to – as you’ll soon find out.

Me: “I really need to blog more.”

Friend: “Yes you do.”

Hi there. Sorry it’s been another half-year. What can I say, life’s pretty busy. Let’s get the minor topics out of the way first:

Work: I spent a good amount of time on applying for jobs, but was then transferred from a boss who hates me, to a boss who likes me. Unfortunately the new boss is pretty incompetent, but I guess we can’t have our cake and eat it, too. I’ll probably stay at this company for a little longer, I’ll get into the “why the hell would you do that” in a separate post. Meanwhile, I have started working on a side project in my spare time. It’s really ambitious, but if it works out it might become my main job in a few years. We’ll see.

Tinder: I ended up ditching Tinder again. Got a decent number of matches actually, which really surprised me, but what good is that if conversations never go anywhere? I get that Tinder is supposed to be a casual dating app, but I simply can’t get myself to go down the “How you doin’ – let’s frak” route. Call it a character flaw if you want. I have plenty of those.

Weight loss: I am doing pretty well in this regard. I stopped eating chocolate at work, and in general really fixed my dietary habits. I can’t be arsed to actually weigh myself, but I’ve punched new holes in my belts. The beautiful thing is that I am not actually on a diet of any kind – After years of work, it seems I finally trained myself to simply not eat too much anymore. You (probably) have no idea how proud I am of that.

 

My unexpected New Year’s date got cancelled again (big surprise), but the girl asked to meet me on January 1st. I almost told her to go to hell but then I decided it’d be nice to start 2018 with a date.

Met her for dinner, decided she was boring and fat, and left as soon as I could reasonably excuse myself. (And I apologize for being harsh, but really, she was obese. And, much worse, as dull as one of our two hour team meetings.)

Speaking of dating and fat people: As you guys may remember, I, too, am trying to lose weight. But I am doing it in a slow fashion, trying to re-train myself to eat better rather than chasing a diet fat or forcing myself into a gym.

Well, I signed up for Tinder again on a whim (and, likely, a desire for mental self-harm) and lo and behold, I am actually getting matches. Of non-bot female users who then actually talk to me for a little. So I guess I am actually losing weight.

Either that, or my selfie skills have greatly improved.

Just dropping in for two reasons. One, to wish you all a happy new year. May it be better than 2017, no matter how good or bad 2017 may have been for you.

The other thing:

About two hours ago, I actually got a date for New Year’s evening. 30 minutes ago, she cancelled again. And just before I posted it, she un-cancelled again. Oh and if the date happens, she’s bringing her sister, which leads me to think my chances of actually scoring are abut the same whether I go or not.

At any rate, with 5 hours and 40 minutes left to the year, 2017 ends with a fitting commentary on my life.

Good riddance 2017. Hello 2018. Play nice, k?

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