Tag Archives: Facebook

We have to save ourselves.

What I thought would be a pleasant, if generic conversation with a Tinder fellow to distract me from my aches and exhaustion (thanks two day adventure with food poisoning!) derailed into a tediousness that could only be countered by sarcasm.

Guy: Hey ya
Me: Hey
Guy: What’s up
Me: I’m sick. It’s lame. How are you?
Guy: Good. What’s wrong
Me: Food poisoning. My whole family has it
Guy: :/ are u on fb?
Me: Yes
Guy: How do I find ya
Me: Why might you need to find me?
Guy: Yeah I will add ya
Me: That didn’t answer my question
Guy: Who is thisb
Me: My name is Aubree. We met on tinder.
Guy: Ok
Me: Do you just text people in your phone and have no idea who they are?
Guy: Never mind. U have any recent pics
Me: Yes, many.
Guy: Can u send some

At which point I sent him this stunning array, all recent images either taken by or saved to my phone from random sources of internet hilarity that I now can’t find again:

IMG_6184

Han got me like WHOA.
Han got me like WHOA. I’ve had a crush on Harrison Ford for the past 12 years, and I happen to be pretty proud of it.
If you don't use the Oxford comma, you can't sit with us.
If you don’t use the Oxford comma, you can’t sit with us.
IMG_0871IMG_3260

Let’s ignore the whole “Do you just text people in your phone and have no idea who they are?” “Never mind” thing for the moment. That’s just insane.

Instead, let’s just look at the many, many yes or no, painfully generic questions that constitute this guy’s conversation attempts.

I worked in sales for a while. Sales taught me to hate yes or no questions in conversation, namely because they’re counter intuitive to the very purpose of conversation. They shut down the possibility of a back and forth. You’re expecting an answer of a two to three letter word. Not even a four letter word, which offer so many more colorful opportunities in a response.

For the record, Moonstruck is one my all time favorite movies.
Cher in Moonstruck is sheer perfection.
These Tinder questions, and real life questions, are the equivalent of the “so do you have a phone number?” or “do you have an email address” or “so do you have a last name?” (the last of which I admittedly appreciate, because for all they know maybe I’m pulling a Madonna or a Cher and rocking the single moniker).

The people who ask such questions hope and in some cases expect you take the passive aggressive bait and divulge whatever information might be relevant to the yes or no question they asked. Sometimes they’re trying to get you to spin a conversation out of thin air all by yourself, even if they were the one who started talking to you. They’re leading you to their own desired action with questions, rather than doing you the courtesy of actually asking for what they want directly.

For instance, this guy was trying to goad me into saying “oh yes, let’s be facebook friends!” or “oh, yes, here are lots of pictures of me!” or “Here, let me humor you and make you feel special by giving you more access to my life even though you clearly aren’t someone  I want to know more about me, because I am that desperate for attention!”

And that’s some bullshit right there.

I’m not a vending machine. You put in a quarter, you get a quarter back. If you only give me a quarter, I don’t spit out Bugles (though God knows I love me some salty pretend witch finger nails). You get what you give. And if you’re too shy to press the buttons to get whatever chocolate covered pretzels or sugar-watery beverage you want, then that’s your problem, not mine. If you can’t manage to have a real conversation with me, you sure as hell don’t get to see more photos of me than those that are on Tinder.

GollumIf I want to have a conversation with myself, I’ll go play Gollum, my precious.

So here’s the deal: let’s not waste time with people who won’t hold up their end of a conversation, who leave us vaguely annoyed at humanity at large and at ourselves for ever responding. No amount of distraction from nausea is worth enduring boring conversation.

Conversation should never be endured. It, unlike the One Ring, is truly precious and something to be celebrated. Plus never will you be able to drop a bad conversation into Mount Doom and then be saved by giant eagles.

We have to save ourselves.

I’ve spent too much time having conversations with Tinder fellows and even just people in general in hopes that they would prove themselves better conversationalists or less asinine or sexist or mean than I initially thought. 1 out of 10 times it happens. Why do I prioritize giving people the benefit of the doubt that they could eventually be a worthwhile addition to my life in some capacity, even if it wastes my time in the process? Do I want to have faith in humanity more than I want to have faith in my own judgment? Uh oh spaghettios.

What’s even better/worse: he already friended me on facebook ages ago (he was the first person to ever match me on Tinder), and I friended him back out of sheer novelty and almost immediately unfriended him because he made me feel uncomfortable and he’s way too into himself. And he didn’t recall that any of this had happened.

I’ve even deleted his number a couple of times, but he’s frighteningly persistent for someone who apparently has no idea who I am. Recently someone taught me that you can block numbers on iPhone (I’ve only had one for two years, so I suppose it’s time I learned such things). Clearly it’s time I took advantage of this feature and channel what is actually the most recent image saved to my phone:

IMG_3404

Fat Like Me

Last night I had someone I thought really cared about me as a person call my reaction to getting Friend-zoned a “meltdown,” all behind my back. I was livid. But beyond that, I was hurt. This was someone I’d sat with through all kinds of rants and rages, driven by Facebook, by jobs, by friends, by frienemies. This was someone I trusted not to speak ill of me behind my back. I was shocked.

Then I realized I don’t think he understands why getting Friend-zoned hurt so much this time. This man who considered my feelings an overreaction is beautiful. Stunning. So frighteningly handsome it hurts a little. I realized he just didn’t get it.

I grew up the fat kid. I went to all-girls school, where almost everyone played sports. I vividly remember being made fun of as we changed for ballet because I had to wear a bra in third grade. In retrospect, I think that’s why I quit dancing. The other girls were lithe and graceful, shopping at Delias and Limited Too, while I wore clothes from Cold Water Creek. P.E. was my nightmare because they were all faster than me and because my leg chubbies rubbed together in my gym shorts. I spent my life hiding behind my books, because in books it didn’t matter what size pants you wore. When you raised your hand to answer a question in class, nobody was thinking about how fat your arms were. So I voraciously learned, and I hid in plain sight.

I was convinced I was the elephant in the room.

I was convinced I was destined for that cute curvy best friend subplot-having life.
I was convinced I was destined for that cute curvy best friend subplot-having life.

The few times I encountered boys (namely Bat Mitzvahs, school dances, and church), they never gave much notice to me, excepting for my personality. I became the fat friend. I felt destined to be somebody’s witty sidekick, their Sookie St. James, who only got to have tangential adventures and always had to be charming and funny and a lotta bit quirky. Even when I’m at my most workout intense and am the queen of salads, I’m still a plus-sized girl. It’s how my body is built, though my deep and abiding love of Southern cooking doesn’t help. And I’m okay with that. I have great self-esteem, especially thanks to how much time I spent looking at Titian, Rubens, and Renoir paintings that celebrated curvy female bodies (thanks art history for my self-esteem!). But what I’m starting to realize is that I’m still contending with how being fat controls and alters how I expect people to relate to me, especially in romantic and/or sexual situations.

LOOK! Handsome man is handsome.
LOOK! Handsome man is handsome.

Did you ever watch that weird ABC Family movie Beautiful Girl with Marissa Jaret Winokur? Basically, a plus sized woman competes on the beauty pageant circuit and challenges the norm. Also she wears a kick ass squirrel costume at one point. She was fat like me! And she got to be the protagonist! She got her own story! Maybe I could have my own story, too!

I remember watching that at age twelve and, beyond my surprise at seeing a plus-size heroine, just being in complete shock that she was engaged to a doting Mark Consuelos in the movie. A man that handsome, that extraordinary and Greek-god-esque, wanted a girl like her? Like me? And he was so supportive of her dreams! They talked about her hopes, her plans, her shortcomings, all within the pleasantly contrived super moralizing ABC Family movie format. Surely a relationship between such a beautiful man and a chubby jovial woman like this were the fictitious fluff that only ABC Family movies are made of!

Let's be honest though: I would look AH-mazing in this outfit.
Let’s be honest though: I would look AH-mazing in this outfit.

Just the idea that someone so good looking and smart as friend-zone guy wanted to go out with me made me feel, well, princess-y. I was fucking Marissa Jaret Winokur! And I didn’t even have to wear a squirrel costume!

It’s lame, it’s shallow, but it’s none-the-less true. Having a pretty person be, for one shining moment, a little bit into me enough to tell me I’m pretty, go out with me, kiss me on the top of my head…it felt magical. In contrast, realizing that yet again you’re not in the “girls I would want to makeout with” category but rather the “girls I can have a really great conversation with” category sucks. The guys that want to hookup with me often can’t hold their own on the conversation front, and rarely are they one of those absolutely beautiful people who make your mind go blank for a second. The guys that want to have great conversations with me rarely want to makeout with me, and often I don’t want to makeout with them either.

If life were a Venn diagram, I almost never get to be in that category in the middle. That’s what sucks the most. It’s not the loss of this particular guy, because let’s be honest, I haven’t lost him. He’s still my friend, and a pretty gosh darn excellent one at that. It’s that I’ve made this move so many times to the point that it feels like a pattern. It’s that I never get to be the girl in the middle.

Don’t get me wrong. I like my body. Would I like it to be stronger and faster and healthier? Yes. And I’m working on that. But I know even with all of my body’s curves that I’m beautiful; in fact, part of my beauty comes from said curves. Hell, I know the guy who friend-zoned me knows I’m beautiful; he reminded me of this mere hours ago. But having someone else whom you find stunningly attractive and intellectually stimulating and who treats you like an equal not only find you beautiful but find you alluring…that’s magical. That’s rare. To be perfectly honest, that has yet to happen in my life, even for a shining, singular moment.

And it’ll happen someday. It’s just that once again that someday wasn’t today.

And on top of my long sick day and a very strange week, that made today a very hard day.

The Curse and Blessing of Formal Friend-zoning

Tonight I got friend-zoned by a really great guy.

It’s not surprising. He all but disappeared after our second date, doing that weird not responding to texts thing and falling off the face of the earth beyond periodic “likings” of my Facebook statuses. I got invited to one of his gigs, where I was without warning introduced to his very young and very dull girlfriend (in fairness, even he has acknowledged to me that she was boring) with whom I made absolutely agonizingly tedious small talk. At that point, I’d actually written him off, to the point that my brother, in all his fourteen-year-old articulateness, told me “fuck that guy. Stop talking to him.” And then, lo and behold, he appeared again, having broken up with young boring girlfriend, and becoming the stuff of my musings on conversation. To say I was confused was an understatement.

But he was fascinating. Brilliant. Ridiculously good looking to the point I found myself at a loss for words (and as you might guess, that is an extremely rare issue for me). One of those people who ask incredible questions. Self-reflective. Insightful. Creative. The rare sort of person who inspires you.

And I knew. In my heart of hearts, I knew we were firmly planted in the friend-zone.

He’s told me I’m sweet three times in the way you’d say it about a puppy. That is a friend-zone “sweet” right there. That is an arm’s length, never mind that I kissed you on the top of your head because I’m never going to do it again, let’s just forget how nice it was to have my arm around you “sweet” right there.

Apparently my sense of masochism took over, and I just had to go and say something that I knew would lead to clarification.

I’ve gotten friend-zoned a lot in my life. I’ve been left in liminal places eternally without responses. I’ve had guys suddenly deny having told me multiple times they liked me, meaning they either lied or they were fickle. Those things hurt far, far more than this knowing does. There’s a great blessing in actually knowing where you stand with someone. It feels a lot better, even as much as it hurts.

I'm pretty sure I could rock this look from She's All That.
I’m pretty sure I could rock this look from She’s All That.

At the end of the day, I’m still the artsy girl in the glasses in a Freddy Prinze, Jr. movie who never got the makeover (not that I need a makeover. I happen to think I’m pretty awesome the way I am). I’m still going to lose out sometimes to boring women who have cute faces and giggle when you poke them, while I sit with my nose buried in the illustrated William Blake or a book about ideal museum label structure, or go play with a cat and chat with a slightly unhinged drug dealer in the corner of a concert. I am the girl in the strip club analyzing the subliminal messaging on the walls and chatting it up with the girls about how they take care of their feet after wearing those heels all day. I am the girl who unabashedly ran a porn club, who plays in the rain when she’s home by herself, and who drives a mini-van.

I’m more than just interesting or quirky. I’m capable, and I’m fun, and dammit I’m beautiful. Not pretty. Beautiful.

And I get it. I’m not going to fault someone for not feeling chemistry. I wouldn’t want someone to pretend to want me if he didn’t really. We want what we want. He gets to want what he wants. He’s entitled to that, and I can respect that. I’m grateful for his honesty and his forthrightness at long last. I’m pretty sure we have a long and lovely friendship ahead of us after I build a bridge and get over this.

But sometimes we just want to be wanted. And it is valid and just as important to let ourselves acknowledge and feel how much we want to be wanted. It hurts. But it will pass.

Because there are men out there who like us, who feel the chemistry, who find music in our laughter and joy in our eyes. These are the men who dream of us with flour smeared on our cheeks or curled up in library chairs, simply being ourselves. These are the men who text us before bed just to make sure we go to sleep with a smile on our lips, who respect when we say things are moving too fast, who just want to make us laugh-and then in that same breath-kiss us. We wait for these men.

Weird? Yes. Lovable? Definitely.
Weird? Yes. Lovable? Definitely.

I will always be the weirdo. I am a Gonzo, a total oddball, surrounded by a sea of chickens, perfectly contented to throw myself into whatever may fascinate me. I will always be who I am. Sometimes, that means I don’t get the guy.

But I’d rather be the friend-zoned weirdo without the guy than be anyone besides myself.

And for tonight, that’s a little bit lonely. I’ll still take it.

The Hogwarts-Cosmo Factor (common ground and the gift of being actively present)

Sometimes you meet someone and the connection is immediate. There’s instant chemistry. You have heaps of things in common, and you don’t want to stop talking to each other. Everything about them enchants you. You’re drawn to each other. It’s electrifying (10,000 life points if you heard John Travolta as Danny Zuko’s voice in your head when you read that).

This was not one of those dates.

Let’s call this gentleman Catfish, not in the sense of the internet dating phenomenon of “catfishing” which inspired the vaguely tedious MTV show, but in the sense of the impetus for this date was a quest to find the best catfish in Memphis.

Fake optimism for the win. Sometimes you gotta fake it til you make it. Also, sometimes you just have to acknowledge the awkwardness.
All hail Seth Cohen, king of sarcastic optimism.

At first it felt like we were oil and water. He’s into sciences; I’m into humanities. He’s into athletics; I’m into art. He likes to party; I like to drink vodka in my pajamas. We live on completely opposite sides of Memphis. I was intimidated. There was a brief awkward silence in which I inwardly panicked.

Then my Southern took over, and I started asking questions. They breed charm and poise into us young. Thanks grandma for the Cotillion lessons and infinite manners books!

I forget that sometimes it’s important to talk to someone completely different from you. As I asked about the nuances of pharmacy work and learned about the roles pharmacists play, about the culture of his graduate school, about his family, I found myself absolutely fascinated to learn about a world and a life so different from my own.

And then, at long last, we stumbled upon the common ground: Harry Potter and Cosmopolitan.

Let's consider this gif a flag boldly staked in the midst of the newly discovered Common Ground.
Let’s consider this gif a flag boldly staked in the midst of the newly discovered Common Ground.

We compared favorite Harry Potter books and which Hogwarts houses we’d be sorted into (me: Prisoner of Azkaban and Gryffindor or Hufflepuff, Catfish: Goblet of Fire and Slytherin or Ravenclaw). Plus, it turns out we both spent our undergrad years indulgently laughing at the weird sex positions and stories of strange lady woes in Cosmo. We had, at least in my opinion, a really nice time. He’s a terrific guy, and it was a pleasure to spend an evening in his company.

As we said goodnight in the parking lot, still having not touched each other, I found myself feeling grateful. It’s so easy to go through life and not practice the art of conversation with strangers. It’s easy to write someone off as too different from us, as having nothing in common with us. We put up walls before we even look for where there might be windows.

Since when does having relatively little in common mean you can’t genuinely enjoy some time with someone? Since when does not having an immediate spark on a date mean you can’t have a lovely time?

Just being present with someone is a gift. Being in the moment, being focused on them, caring about their stories and their experiences, and really hearing what someone has to say is a wonderful thing, and frankly a very rare thing. Having someone voluntarily devote their evening to you is an act of faith, of generosity, of confidence that you’re someone who is worthy of their time and energy, and perhaps most preciously, of their stories and thoughts. Yet we’re willing to do this on a first date with virtual strangers, even if we won’t with the people we care about most?

That I can manage to be so genuinely attentive to people I’ve just met in person but that I so often can’t manage to put down my phone when spending time with dear friends embarrasses me. I’m calling myself out. I owe it to the people in my life to be as actively present with them as I am on first dates, if not more so. Yes, there’s something to be said for the comfort factor in that we’re not trying to impress our friends and that we can respect each other’s penchants for texting and social media as means of keeping other friendships going so that we can afford some glances at our phones and some distracted Facebook fiddling. However, I want to be focused enough on you as individuals to absorb your stories, your adventures, your wonders, your fears. I want to listen without thinking about what I’m going to say next, which is actually a piece of sage wisdom passed on to me by Jesus, who tries to live this way.

After all, what if we treated everyone in our lives with the respect with which we treat a first date? What if we brought that attentiveness, the willingness to listen, the sense that this could be something wonderful to each conversation?  What if we treated each other as if each person could profoundly change our lives for the better? What if we kept talking until we found the common ground, the laughter, the Hogwarts-Cosmo factor? Would our relationships become more intimate, more genuine, more powerful?

I like to think so.