Breaking away from the Tinder trap

at golf.jpg
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.

I am Jughead

It’s been months since watching Netflix. My partner and I had made the swap to Foxtel but then when change happened in my life, I found myself camping out in a mate’s home. With his TV. And Netflix. But no chill.

I mean, I needed to chill. But not in the sexual way. I just needed my own time so when I turned on the TV I saw Riverdale was on offer.

Archie was a great comic book when I was little. I mean, I didn’t know many people who were into them. And I can’t remember much about them except the main gang. And what the plot was really about, I have no idea. And I’m even clueless as to how I even had the comics. They were just a presence. Mysteriously obtained from under the floorboards.

I don’t binge watch a show, but I was close to doing that with Riverdale. As much as I could. I’m in love with Veronica (oops did I slip that in there). The 10th episode, The Lost Weekend, was the last aired and I’ve finished that tonight.

Now. A brief description that is a SPOILER ALERT but I’m trying to keep it vague.

Jughead is homeless and has a troubled childhood and has father issues. His girlfriend is hot and kind and he’s a lucky guy. But he knows that. Now. It’s his birthday, and his girlfriend decides to organise a small birthday party for him (I mean, what else was she to do?). Which gets unexpectedly larger to no fault of the girlfriend.

Now. Jughead is furious. He’s angry at his girlfriend Betty. He says that if she knew him she would realise the party was not what he wanted. That it was just to prove she was the perfect girlfriend.

It’s harsh. It’s moody. It seems unfair.

But I’m getting what he’s feeling. And yet I’m in the middle and watching and understanding Betty as well. It’s unfair he’s treated her this way. And it’s been done because he’s emotionally overwhelmed.

Is this an excuse? Mmm. No. It’s a red flag on their relationship but it’s a concern for Jughead himself.

Because making it through a crap childhood doesn’t mean you’re an ugly duckling becoming a swan. That swan from the Hans Christian Anderson story has insecurity.

But I wish more people knew that.

Jughead hates celebrating his birthday and his reason is that one day of the year shouldn’t a pretence of a perfect life. It should not be a break from how crap the other days of the year are.

To have all that attention on him for one day, for him to feel special and cared for properly is hard. He was self-conscious. The insecurity issues came pouring out. And he took them out on his girlfriend.

That relationship shouldn’t last. Not because of Betty doing anything wrong, not because Jughead is a terrible person, but because both of them have emotional needs to be filled. And they can’t fill them together.

 

 

My best friend is the school captain, and that’s funny

Among the hilarious contradictions of real life,  I was tight with the school captain.

We weren’t gay about it. But it was still a great friendship. We made it work, despite his seriousness and my behavioral problems.

What we have in common:

  • We catch the same bus.
  • We both live the same distance from each other, which is about three kilometres.
  • His mother is good friends with my foster mother, and they both love horses.
  • We’re not fans of horses, unless they are Ponytas or Rapidashes Rapidashs Rapidash? Dammit. I never get the plural of Pokemons Pokemon correct. We tell Pokemon jokes. Such as:

How do you get Charizard on a stick? You Poke Him On.

Yawn. You’ve heard it. I know. So we invent our own Pokemon jokes that nobody but us can get.

How come Exeggcute always wins at beauty contests? Because eggs are cuter Exeggutor!

slowpoke meme2

 

But what we don’t have in common:

  • His name is Joel. My name is Chris.
  • Joel lives with his mum and his sister. I don’t live with his mum and his sister, although I stay over sometimes.
  • He is smart in every subject. I barely know what subjects we have.
  • Joel is in Year 6. I am in Year 5.
  • I have temper tantrums and run away and climb trees to hide. Joel is usually asked by the principal to persuade me to come down from the trees.

 

The new kid in Year 5 is a player

It’s two minutes into my first recess at a new primary school and a girl already wants to go out with me!

“What’s your name?”

“It’s Tahlia!”

We are both in Year 5 but she is the tallest student in school. I only reach her shoulder. She’s taller than some of the teachers. She is red headed and freckled. Tahlia also has a shy smile.

I’ve never heard anybody say no to having a girlfriend. All the cool boys have one.

“Well, okay then.”

“Let’s hold hands.”

It’s my first day and I’m already holding hands with a girl!

baby meme

Her hand is dry and bony. We walk across the football field. A dark haired girl in Year 6 jogs to me to say hello. Her name is Shari. “I’m fostered too,” she admitted. “I live just down the road from you.”

Shari is to be one of my better friends the next few years, but Tahlia is stomping her foot jealously.

Time to move on. I am a boyfriend now.

The kids kicking a ball in the goal post. I used to be carefree like them.

And the two boys laughing near the wooden seats as they keep trying to stomp on their apple juice poppers? Alas, I yearn to join their mischief.

I cannot shirk from my responsibilities. I’m part of something bigger now.

And I have been tamed.

Tahlia tugs my arm again. “Hey you guys!” she shouts at a circle of her friends in the shade of a tree. “This is my boyfriend.”