Monday, June 9, 2014

Day CXXII: Dating

Anyone else recognize this?

It's a brand logo. For a dating app. It's called Tinder.

For those of you who have never used the app, it's basically "Hot-or-Not" with age restrictions and parameters for distance. Simplified as such, it sounds a little pointless. 

No one needs an ego boost that badly.

But there's more to it than that. And while I am not currently perusing Tinder myself, I do have some thoughts I'd like to share.

I like Tinder. I think there's a wholesomeness to it that you lose with other dating software and applications. And while there are some stories out there that might lead one to believe otherwise, I have not experienced particularly raunchy scenarios with this little program. Of course, compared to other services--Grindr, Scruff, etc.--Tinder is a Disney classic without the hidden, sexualized content. And perhaps I am idealistically naive to think that there's not the same level of sex-driven interaction, I do think Tinder places an emphasis on actually dating, rather than hooking up. And that appeals to someone like me. 

With that emphasis comes a more casual vibe, a loss of pressure, and a lower level of sexual expectancy. (Interestingly, it's funny to think that an app, that relies almost 100% on physical attraction to match its users, would be less sexualized than its competitors. I dunno, maybe I am alone in thinking that there's less of that aura to Tinder? In which case: SOMEBODY CORRECT ME BECAUSE NOW I LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT.)

The matching system only allows you to message with individuals that also labeled you as attractive, or, to use Tinder terminology, "swiped right." So, immediately, when you have a match, you know you're mutually interested in each other's looks. In addition to the photos--up to six--you're allowed a very short bio. I think mine said: "I have green eyes. I live. I learn. I am. Books and Video Games for President. My spirit animal is a fox, my patronus is a giraffe."

Another line from my bio, and, perhaps, the most important part of the entire profile reads: "I invest myself in others, often to a fault."

I say it's the most important, because it does a really nice job of pinpointing my biggest strength and most unfortunate weakness when it comes to dating, to being alive. And it's a very integral part of my self, of my existence. If this were a job interview, I would never call it my weakness, but here, in this little space I've hollowed out of the Internet, I'll happily refer to it as such. It doesn't embarrass me. I am not ashamed of it. It is just (a very large) part of who I am. 

And it's important that I talk about it because it keeps it out of my head, the place where it can potentially do the most damage.

So here's what it means.

I have a go-big-or-go-home attitude when it comes to most aspects of my life. Dating is not sheltered from that mentality. It is, at times, very rewarding: I can grow close to others very quickly, and very readily feel at ease around someone I am interested in; I am good at creating passion and getting to know someone; I listen well and adapt easily to the dynamics of the person I am dating. 

But this mentality is not safe from painful experiences. I overthink everything. Literally, everything. I isolate moments in time and mercilessly pick at them until I've exhausted each possible meaning. I fixate, I collapse, I suffer. It's exhausting, emotionally and mentally, and almost always proves draining. But when the dust clears, the initial stages of dating are left behind, the horizon is always, always so beautiful. The formative moments of a new relationship can be disastrously overwhelming for someone like me, but the struggle is so worth the reward. 

There are points in those first days--yes, days, because I am a complete and utter mess--that I feel like a complete lunatic. Have you had that experience? You know what you're doing is embarrassingly unhealthy, unabashedly crazy, can step back, acknowledge that, and still not do anything to correct your actions? It's an unsettling condition. One that I chalk up to: the consequences of being me. 

I am reading Kyung-Sook Shin's I'll Be Right There. In a novel that is full of quotable sentences, passages, and paragraphs, there is one that has particularly caught my attention
I think that if we all have to say goodbye eventually then the best we can do is try to stay together as long as we possibly can.
There's a simplicity to the notion, an underscore of intensity and the importance of hitting hard, hitting fast, and that appeals to me.

I suppose because it's my philosophy.

There are plenty of things that I would change about myself. Better hair, ability to hide my feelings, longer torso. But, truthfully, the neurotic and intensely crazy behavior I exhibit in the face of new relationships is not one of them. The payoff is worth the intense and tragic flair that accessorizes the starting stages. And if I can't have one without the other...

I'll stick with a few days of madness.

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