Breaking away from the Tinder trap

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A selfie at the Mount Isa Golf Club. “Meet the club’s worst golfer.” 

It’s intoxicating being a journalist. You write and have a medium in which you share your work to a professional masthead which has gathered your readership. Sometimes when you’re in a small newspaper you deceive yourself into believing that entire audience belongs to you. Until of course you try writing and sharing something on your own blog, or your own Facebook.

I came on here to write about something else and ended up having a different tangent. But I suppose I was easing into this with the point that I spend so much time attempting to connect to the world around me, and undoubtedly I do, and yet I don’t feel it.

I’m an anxious person and not so great at talking. But give me a camera and a room of work contacts and I know how to run the room. Because I have a purpose. People acceptt me because I have a reason to be there. My journalist persona is a social crutch. And when for some reason I don’t have the voice as myself as a journalist I’m a completely different person. I no longer have the reach and influence that I thought I had.

I was in a relationship for a while in which I had a reason not to obsess about work. I stepped back. And when it ended I needed to focus on work to keep the hurt absent. When I concentrated on aspects of my personal life, such as finding references for a new house to stay in, buying a bed mattress, or food shopping, it was too hard. I wasn’t any good at it.

Then I joined Tinder again. This dating app was what led to my first serious relationship. And so when I joined it again after the break-up in a small town where the proportion of men to women are infamously against my odds, it was hard. It took days to even be able to “swipe right” in favour of a girl’s photo. And then I’ve barely matched since.

Last night my housemate and I had beers and deep and meaningful conversations as I cooked scotch fillet steak which was risking being overdue on its best before. I tried to get him into the new Legend of Zelda. He passed out on the couch and so the party ended. I woke this morning ready to go to work and that’s when I had an epiphany.

I’d fallen into the Tinder trap of judging girls as either “not interested” or “way too good for me so why try?” There was no middle ground. I wondered if I should stop being so picky and try swiping right on a girl I normally would  not, because it was out of the comfort zone.

So many Tinder profiles loved camping and 4WD and fishing (I live in the outback) and not things that I didn’t have the confidence to do myself. I kept thinking I needed to do these things. I needed to be fitter. I needed to be someone more than just married into my job. Yet was this all there was? Was this the only way I could meet people? No.

I’d allowed this trap to distract me from important personal connection. Of waiting for girls to match with me online before I did anything on my own. I waited for their approval. I waited for their timing in the hope we’d match.

I had a whole day. So I decided to do something active. But I wasn’t inspired more than that so I put out a cry for help on Facebook. “I’m not part of a social club. what sport can I play today?” I asked.

Athletics, golf, jogging, swimming, and pool were suggested. I chose to go golfing. I’d put off membership for months so a contact of mine and his son and I went out  on the course this afternoon for a few holes.

I feel horrible right now; like Edward Cullen with a sunburn. But it was worth it. I did something different. And that actually takes a lot to get to that point when not motivated by approval of a girl or your job.  I’m a 27-year-old man who for years chose whatever was given to me because I had no better option. I made do and was insecure about the decision until it no longer was applicable. I need to do more for myself and not be guided or branded by anything else. And I need to do all this before it’s too late, because without finding my real, yet quieter voice, I’m going to be cut off from community that feels the same I do.

Awkward bus-stop conversations

THE closest I ever came to being some sort of prostitute was late one afternoon in Year 5, after I arrived at my bus-stop.

It’s a small shed at a junction in the bush.

The quiet sort of place where random men will offer us Buffalo Bills and Red Skins, and promise to drive us to school in their Kombi vans.

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My friends like Shari, Joel and Leah live far enough away that after school their mothers will pick them up – or in Shari’s case, foster mother.

But Maggie and I walk home because it’s walking distance. She lives at the next house. I live two doors down. We’re basically neighbours.

I am usually able to avoid talking to her during the day. So she saves the awkward questions for when we’re walking the last 500 metres on the dirt road. Like;

“Chris, will you go out with me for my Super Nintendo?”

Cool. I’ve always wanted a Nintendo. “Do you have Mario?”

“Um, no.”

“Then nah.”

Ted meme