My Personal Guide to Tinder, Part 1

Obligatory introduction and customary rhetorical questioning

I recently re-downloaded the Tinder app after meeting my friend’s new girlfriend. He met her through Tinder — an app I deleted about a year ago after assuming it was just for random local hookups — and she happens to be a very nice girl. This threw me for a loop and forced me to reconsider this form of online dating as a potential solution to my perpetual loneliness.

Could Tinder really be a way of finding love? How could I be so wrong about something I refused to take seriously following my initial experimentation?

Tinder

Maybe it’s time for me to swipe right on the concept of online dating. (Photo/gotinder.com)

 

For those who aren’t familiar with the app, Tinder is a mobile application that allows users to see profiles of fellow nearby users, and then either swipe left (to pass) or swipe right (to “like”). This first step of the Tinder process is essentially the Hot or Not concept, a binary system of judgment — we either like a person or we don’t.

Profiles consist of several items, including photos, age, distance from the user, and an About Me section with a 500-character limit. Tinder also allows users to see what common interests they have, as well as mutual friends (since the info is pulled from Facebook).

Here's a quick look at the matchmaking app's user interface. (Photo/gotinder.com)

Here’s a quick look at the matchmaking app’s user interface. (Photo/gotinder.com)

There was another major reason I originally deleted the Tinder app. Simply put, I didn’t feel comfortable judging people solely based on looks. I mean, I do it in real life — we all do — but it’s different when I’m actively judging someone aesthetically. At a bar (or wherever everybody meets people), I’m swiping left or right in my head. It’s more of a passive behavior. On Tinder, I’m outwardly expressing my distaste of someone’s appearance, and for some reason the rejection feels more personal. And frankly, that makes me feel bad about myself.

I don’t like feeling bad about myself, so I deleted the app. Perhaps this is why I’m single.

My personal Tinder guidelines

As I’ve started using the app again, I’ve established certain rules to ensure that I take it more seriously this time around. While some of these habits I’ve developed are designed to broaden my Tinder horizons, others are without a doubt designed to weed out specific types of girls. (I know: “Beggars can’t be choosers,” but I’m not taking what I can get if all I get is a night I won’t remember and a rash that won’t go away.)

Remember: Swipe left for NOPE, swipe right for LIKE.

  1. Swipe right for anybody named Chelsea.
  2. If it takes me more than two photos to figure out which girl she is, swipe left.
  3. If she has no photos of just her, swipe left.
  4. If there is any mention of EDM, Chipotle, or “friends with 420” in her About Me section, swipe left.
  5. If she quotes Marilyn Monroe in her About Me section, swipe left.
  6. If she likes Weezer, investigate further.
  7. If she looks younger than 18 years old but claims to be 22, think about it really hard before swiping left. (Read: swipe right.)
  8. Swipe right for attractive non-Caucasian girls because I am an equal opportunity Tinderer, eradicating racism one swipe at a time.
  9. If she isn’t the most attractive girl in the photo, swipe left. I don’t want any problems.
  10. If she’s throwing up the middle finger in a photo, swipe left.
  11. If she’s throwing up in a photo, period, swipe left.
  12. If she’s taking a bottle of alcohol to the face in a photo, swipe left.
  13. If all of the girl’s photos feature said girl in her underwear or swimwear, admire for a few moments and then swipe left. She’s clearly too advanced for me sexually. I can only assume that she’d be looking to get right down to business while I’d be asking her if she’s seen Gone Girl yet.
  14. If she includes her Instagram account information in her profile, assume nothing is off-limits. Swipe accordingly.
  15. If she looks like Taylor Swift, swipe right.
  16. If she’s 5’10 like T-Swift, swipe left. I’m not the type of guy to shy away from a girl who’s taller than me, but most tall girls don’t want to date shorter guys. I understand that, so I’m not going to waste anybody’s time — including mine.
  17. If all of her photos feature the same pose, swipe left because she’s probably a statue or mannequin and there is literally no evidence to refute that.

Suggestions for Tinder users

As a general rule, you should try to have a clear photo of your face in your first photo, then a full body shot somewhere, then any other cool photos that make you look good. This way, other people will get a good idea of what they’re dealing with. A lot of Tinder users — both girls and guys (I’ve been told) — have a deceptively attractive photo as their first picture. Then the rest of the photos make you wonder where the person in the first one went. Lighting and angles can be misleading. Don’t be one of the people who abuse this fact.

And here’s a Tinder anecdote for you…

I came across a girl on Tinder whose first photo contained two females. I found only one of the girls attractive, so I clicked her profile to see exactly whose profile it was. The second photo confirmed that it was, indeed, the “hot” one — a picture of her holding a baby. Immediately, I wondered: Is that baby hers?

So, I scrolled down to read her About Me section. Lo and behold:

Yes, the baby is mine. Single mama 💪

My first thought was, Well, I’m good with kids. Swipe right.

To be continued…?

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The Lies — WHEN WILL THEY STOP???

A few of my coworkers laughed at me when I told them I’ve never cheated on a girl and have never been cheated on before. They thought I was joking. It came as a shock to them that in a world inundated with infidelity and disloyalty, I’ve managed to avoid the drama that seems to plague a majority of my generation. In a time period when “hookup” culture appears to have completely replaced the classic idea of romance, I’ve realized that my inexperience with unfaithfulness might actually put me in the minority.

That’s a good thing, I guess… For me, at least.

But why does cheating seem so much more common today than it was back when my parents were growing up? The most obvious place to look is all of the technology we now enjoy that seemed like merely a pipe dream several decades ago. While all of these technological advancements help us stay in touch with one another, they can also be detrimental to the idea of romantic relationships all together. Modern technology makes it much easier to maintain a long-distance relationship, but it also makes it a hell of a lot easier to find that horny, newly-single chick within a five-mile radius who’s “down for anything.”

Like all things in life, technology has both its pros and cons. One of the major negatives just happens to be the temptation and ease it provides for people looking to make like a tree and branch out from their relationships. However, while technology makes it very easy to meet someone new or find someone else and sneak around, it also makes it extremely easy to get caught/catch our cheating partners in the act. Now, a lot of people are — for lack of a better term — pretty dumb. So, combine this general incompetence with a relentless sex drive and a smartphone, and we’ve got ourselves a cheater asking to be caught red-handed. This idea holds true for emotional cheating as well (especially if partners know each other’s cellphone and email passwords).

I’m not sure if this only became commonplace in the last decade or so, but I know that some individuals even use cheating to as a way out of their relationships. In other words, a person may physically cheat on his/her significant other to catalyze the end of their relationship — consciously or unconsciously causing the partner to break up with said individual, or at least leading to a talk resulting in a “mutual” breakup. I’m sure not everybody who cheats does it for this specific reason, but I have no respect for individuals who use infidelity to avoid having legitimate, honest conversations with people who care about them. (I have very little respect for people who cheat to begin with.)

But maybe I’m asking the wrong question here. Is cheating actually more common today? Perhaps cheating was just as common when my parents were growing up, and nowadays people just get caught more often.

This, again, can be attributed to the vast discrepancy in available technology between the two generations. Assuming people still found ways to cheat on their significant others back in the 70s and 80s, the absence of cellphones and social media made it a little more difficult to discover their unfaithfulness. And maybe a lot of these significant others didn’t even want to know about their partners’ misdeeds. After all, victims of infidelity in 2014 don’t always have the option of looking the other way — it’s sort of difficult not to catch a significant other who is cheating when people post everything they do onto Facebook and Twitter. So, maybe (and hopefully) my generation doesn’t lack the morals of my parents’ generation; maybe my parents’ generation simply lacked the technology we have today.

The aspect of this entire problem that worries me most is a matter of discretion. Does my generation care? Is the higher prominence of infidelity simply because of the technological revolution we’re living in, or is it a direct result of our lack of commitment to anything?

According to Forbes, sixty-percent of millennials change jobs every three years, and many Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers consider this statistic a major red flag when hiring. Similarly, if somebody has cheated on a significant other in the past, how can we be sure this person won’t do the same to us? (“Once a cheater, always a cheater.”) This is why I am so confused when Guy 1 cheats on Girl 1 for months with Girl 2 and then leaves Girl 1 for Girl 2, and Girl 2 is dumbfounded when it happens all over again and she catches him with Girl 3.

Though I don’t have any firsthand experience with any of this and consequently may not understand the concept of cheating all together, I can say with conviction that I care.

And when I say “I’ve never cheated on a girl and have never been cheated on,” I mean I’ve never cheated on a girl and have never been cheated on to my knowledge. As far as I know — again, all we “know” is what we think we know — every girl I’ve dated has remained faithful. And as much as I’d love to contact each girl and confirm this presumption, I’d rather keep in tact this illusion that I’m immune to the same disease that’s been the ruination of so many of my peers’ relationships. I guess the fact that I’d rather not know with 100% certainty helps demonstrate the notion that cheating can be prevalent without being conspicuous, and therefore we can’t necessarily assume it is more common today than it was several decades ago.

An Open Letter to the Ladies

Dear ladies,

Hi, my name’s Ryan. What’s going on? I’m 23, employed, and 100% mentally stable. (<– I also like to play “Two Truths and a Lie,” so have fun figuring that one out.) I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I’m difficult to read, so I just want to clear some things up for you guys.

A lot of people — men and women — have commitment issues. I wouldn’t exactly say that’s what is going on with me, but it’s a possibility. Nobody likes to jump into anything without having an idea of how they’re going to get out. Personally, I always like to have an escape plan before entering any situation. It’s a terrible way to live, I’m sure, but sometimes it’s what I have to do to feel comfortable.

Occasionally, these “commitment issues” stem from intimacy problems. I’ll go on record and say that is not the case with me because I love to talk about myself. Very often, men will hesitate with emotional and spiritual intimacy, whereas women will hesitate to advance the physical aspect of a relationship.

I’m writing this letter to let everybody know that there are just certain things I won’t do until I feel comfortable with someone. Now, it varies on a person-to-person basis; so it might be a few dates, a few months, or even a year before I succumb to the pressure. I know women have needs. I know many women think about it more than men do. I know you talk about it with your friends and are never completely satisfied without it.

But just so you know, I absolutely refuse to use emojis until I feel like I can trust you. Until I’m totally comfortable with you and know you won’t go parading my emoji usage around to your friends or on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, don’t expect any happy faces, kissy faces, winky faces, or even those little smiley piles of poop.

I’m not that easy. Yeah, there might be stories going around about how it only took me a few weeks with the last girl I was seeing. Yeah, I know you use emojis with me all the time. And yeah, I know I use periods to end most of my texts and you always think I’m mad at you or something.

But there are just some things I’m not comfortable with… And using emojis is one of them.

So don’t mistake my lack of emojion for unhappiness or lack of interest. If I’m not interested or if I don’t like you, I’ll let you know about it. Also, don’t let my intimacy issue get in the way of our physical relationship. Believe me, I would still very much like to express my feelings for you through physical, x-rated activity — just don’t expect a 👍  text afterward.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I hope you have a better understanding of where I’m coming from. Also, there are plenty of other things you won’t be able to pinpoint about me, so I figured I’d throw you a bone.

Stay beautiful,

Ryan

25 Inspirational Movies

We all need a little inspiration every now and again. Some people find intellectual and emotional stimulation in nature, while others find it in music or literature. Some of us even seek this creative motivation in other people. Many of us, however, turn to film to inspire us. The way a story can make us feel — whether it be true or fictional — is what gets the gears moving in our heads. It is with this stimulation that the most groundbreaking innovation is possible.

So, I’ve compiled a list of twenty-five of the most inspirational movies I’ve seen to hopefully inspire somebody else. Of course, my list is different than others. And that’s fine because trust me — it’s fine. [WARNING: Some spoilers ahead…]

1. Big Fish

Memorable quote: “A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal.”

Message: Everybody has daddy issues. What makes you think yours are any worse than somebody else’s? Also, sometimes your dad’s a fish.

2. The Shawshank Redemption

Memorable quote: “Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”

Message: Don’t have hope in anything. Except our justice system because clearly it works.

3. Life of Pi

Memorable quote: “If it happened, it happened. Why should it have to mean anything?”

Message: Sometimes, you need to live a lie to be happy.

4. Pay It Forward

Memorable quote: “I think some people are too scared, or something. I guess it’s hard for people who are so used to things the way they are – even if they’re bad – to change. ‘Cause they kind of give up. And when they do, everybody kind of loses.”

Message: If you ever try to change the world, you WILL get stabbed.

5. Forrest Gump

Memorable quote: “You have to do the best with what God gave you.”

Message: If you have sex with a mentally challenged person, you WILL get HIV and have a kid who sees ghosts. Also, sometimes that weird kid in your class grows up to do amazing things.

6. Slumdog Millionaire

Memorable quote: [the part when they all dance at the end]

Message: Every experience is meaningful in its own way. Also, dancing is fun.

7. Schindler’s List

Memorable quote: “Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t.”

Message: Liam Neeson saved just as many people as he killed in those Taken movies. And you should always make lists so you don’t forget stuff. (I’ve never seen the whole movie.)

8. Field of Dreams

Memorable quote: “If you build it, he will come.”

Message: Commit to something and follow through with it.

9. 8 Mile

Memorable quote: “Do you ever wonder at what point you just got to say ‘fuck it,’ man? Like when you gotta stop living up here, and start living down here?”

Message: It’s just nice to see a Caucasian from a poor area succeed and go on to make as much money as his African American counterpart for once.

10. The Rookie

Memorable quote: “If you don’t have dreams, you don’t have anything.”

Message: You’re never too old to pursue a dream.

11. Up

Memorable quote: “Adventure is out there!”

Message: You’re never too old to pursue a dream.

12. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Memorable quote: “I need some poon! I need genital to genital connections!”

Message: You’re never too old to pursue a dream.

13. Clockstoppers

Memorable quote: [something about a watch, probably]

Message: I don’t know if this movie is “inspirational” per se, but it definitely makes me think about what I would do if I could slow down time.

14. Jurassic Park

Memorable quote: “Life, uh… finds a way.”

Message: Evolution is real but so is God. Nothing makes sense.

15. Good Will Hunting

Memorable quote: “You know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, from when I pull up to the curb and when I get to your door, ’cause I think, maybe I’ll get up there and I’ll knock on the door and you won’t be there.”

Message: Getting up and leaving solves everything.

16. The Graduate

Memorable quote: “It’s like I was playing some kind of game, but the rules don’t make any sense to me. They’re being made up by all the wrong people. I mean no one makes them up. They seem to make themselves up.”

Message: If you go through the trouble of breaking up a wedding, she almost HAS to choose you.

17. Fast & Furious 6

Memorable quote: “Ah! I’m driving at a dangerously high speed!”

Message: Never doubt yourself because you can always get faster and more furious. R.I.P., Paul — you lived fast and furiously, and we know you wouldn’t have left this world any other way.

18. Captain America: The First Avenger

Memorable quote: “OMG that little dude just jumped on top of a grenade!”

Message: Even the biggest underdog can be a hero when he’s genetically enhanced into a physical specimen with super strength and peak human conditioning. Basically — if you can’t beat ’em, cheat.

19. It’s A Wonderful Life

Memorable quote: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Message: If you want to do something, commit to it and be sure to follow through.

20. Finding Nemo

Memorable quote: “Just keep swimming.”

Message: Don’t give up. Also, a lot of fish look the same. So if you’re looking for a specific one, good luck. Better hope they have a fucked up fin or something.

21. Beauty and the Beast

Memorable quote: “As the years passed, he fell into despair and lost all hope. For who could ever learn to love a beast?”

Message: When you’re attractive, people don’t ask questions about why you were a hideous beast. They just go with it… Oh, Just Go With It — now that’s a movie. (Memorable quote: “Just go with it.” Message: Just go with it.)

22. Love Actually

Memorable quote: “Let’s go get the shit kicked out of us by love.”

Message: Love only exists when you have a British accent. Also, when you are in love with your best friend’s wife, that shit comes back to bite you in the ass when there’s a zombie apocalypse or something.

23. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Memorable quote: “What a loss to spend that much time with someone, only to find out that she’s a stranger.”

Message: How well does anybody really know Kate Winslet?

24. Crash

Memorable quote: “I think we miss that touch so much that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.”

Message: Everybody in LA is a little bit racist and don’t you forget that.

25. The Social Network

Memorable quote: “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.”

Message: Screw over your best friend and he WILL become Spider-Man. Also, what the fuck am I doing? I could be inventing Facebook or some shit.

On Being Present

Why does my phone have to die for me to live? In a world in which we are more connected than ever through technology, it seems as if our advances are becoming counterproductive. True connection lies in the way we interact with each other – with people we know, people we just met, and people we’ll never see again.

This past weekend, I attended the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware with a bunch of friends. To the narrow minded, the words “music” and “festival” together mean shitty music, shitty beer, drugs, filth, and a lot of sweaty people rubbing up against each other.

Now, while all of those things are certainly a part of Firefly, our beloved music festival represents many other things to us as a group. A weekend away, dreading my inevitable return to the “real world” made me realize that I was in the real world. What I lacked in hygiene, I made up for in consciousness.

Firefly is not just an excuse to get drunk and not shower for three days. It’s freedom. It’s a sense of community. It’s getting in touch with nature. Learning about the real you. And, perhaps most importantly, connecting with other people.

At festivals like Firefly, we learn so many things about others: what they like to drink, how they dance, what songs they enjoy, how many hot dogs they can eat in one sitting. We meet countless people we will probably never come across again in our lives, and they become our friends for the weekend, the day, or sometimes just the next few songs.

Last year, we befriended our neighbors staying at the campsite next to ours. Our grill wasn’t functioning properly the first day, so we asked if we could borrow theirs. This led to us cooking together, enjoying meals, playing beer pong, and starting a slip-n-slide party that truly got out of control.

This year, I met a girl from Texas and talked to her for about twenty minutes, learning about what she wants to do when she finishes college and how she wants to impact the world. I doubt I’ll ever see her again. I also danced and sang along with another girl for an entire set, only to be shot down when I was about to make a move. (She had a boyfriend. Nice girl, though.)

The beauty of camping without electricity for three days is that my phone remained dead for a majority of the weekend. So, instead of living behind a screen, I enjoyed the privilege of living in the moment. People should do that more often, huh?

A friend and I went to go see Cake perform last year at Firefly, and the band’s lead singer, John McCrea, addressed the crowd during the set. He urged that the crowd put away their cellphones and cameras and enjoy the moment. He said something to the effect of: “We will all never be here again in this moment, together. So, I encourage you to be present. Right here, right now.” Posting a video or tweeting or updating a status wasn’t as important as the show we were experiencing at that very point in time. Nothing was.

All experiences are like that, though. We will never be in the same exact location with the same exact people doing the same exact thing ever again. So, why do so many of us choose to live behind screens? Why can’t we appreciate experiences for what they are?

I understand that people want to have photographs and videos to capture certain moments. But if we are at a party and the only thing people are doing is taking pictures, what will these individuals say when they look at their phones and cameras in the morning? “Oh god, what did we do last night?” (HINT: The answer is “nothing” because all they were doing was posing for pictures.)

People always tell us to live for the moment (sort of like “Don’t think. Just do.“), but many fall into the trap of living for the memory of the moment. They fear that they won’t remember the important aspects of certain experiences, so they attempt to document every little detail, in turn missing out on the intrinsic value of the experience.

I mean, I would love to remember everything significant I experience, but if I need to worry about remembering it, maybe it’s not so significant to me in the first place. For example, I haven’t the slightest clue as to what the girl from Texas’ name was, nor her major, nor her aspirations. I just know that she told me those things, and I listened.

I wasn’t concerned with the future. I didn’t try to get her number or “Facebook” her or anything. I appreciated the encounter for what it was, and then moved on. (In other words, I went to urinate and she was gone when I got back to where we were standing. Nice girl, though.)

What makes an experience important is that we experience it. It is something so incredibly significant to our growth as people, and it happens to be something entirely intangible. No matter how many pictures or videos we take, we will never be able to capture the experience we gained from being in any specific situation. So, we shouldn’t be living for the moment. We should be living in it.

April Showers

I had an interesting conversation with a man who called to reject my employment today. After the initial “We’ve decided to go in another direction for this position,” he and I managed to have a refreshingly honest discussion. I respected the company’s decision not to hire me, and I understood that they felt somebody else was better suited for the job. And as frustrating as it is to know that I did everything in my power to get this job (including a second-round interview during which I was on fire), there was one thing he said during this exchange that made it bittersweet.

The man basically told me that I was better than this job – that he knew I wouldn’t be happy there long-term. I took the first part as a compliment, and I understand that not getting this job could be a blessing in disguise. But I didn’t know how to take the second part of what he said.

Sure, I was fine with him telling me that I would be happier doing something else long-term, and that I would be better suited in a position in which I can utilize my expertise. But through his choice of words, he showed me that even he knew one thing about me that I may not have realized until he finished saying it. If this man could already see that I wouldn’t be happy after only meeting me twice, then perhaps it’s painfully obvious that I’m not happy now.

I feel like what is happening to me is happening to the world, except on a much larger scale. It’s just a humongous identity crisis. When something negative happens, we try to spin it with positive language. We are even told “You’re better than this,” but we feel as though we haven’t seen enough proof to consider that thought valid. Am I better than this? Are we better than this?

In her article in today’s Star Ledger, Kathleen O’Brien poses the question: “What is it about April?” She goes on to illustrate April’s long history of violence, highlighting various historical events dating all the way back to the start of the Civil War.

Think about it. There have been a number of brutal occurrences that have happened during the fourth month of the year…

April 19, 1775: The American Revolutionary War begins with the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

April 14, 1865: John Wilkes Booth shoots President Abraham Lincoln in the back of the head at point-blank range. Lincoln dies the next morning.

April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr. is shot and killed a day after delivering his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech in Memphis, Tennessee.

April 20, 1999: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shoot and kill thirteen people (twelve students, one teacher) and then turn the guns on themselves at Columbine High School in Colorado.

April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho shoots and kills thirty-two people, wounding seventeen at Virginia Tech before committing suicide.

April 15, 2013: Two bombs go off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three individuals and injuring at least 144 others. At least two other explosive devices are found and dismantled at other locations in Boston.

[Source: The Star Ledger]

Take all of these events, and combine them with the ricin-poisoned letters sent to President Obama, Senator Wicker, and Judge Holland, along with the (pseudo-)threats North Korea has been throwing our way – and we have ourselves quite the month. (Don’t even get me started on the background check expansions bill that the Senate shot down.)

Is this some sort of sick, drawn-out April Fools’ joke? What begins as such a fun and pleasant month always seems to turn into an endless shitstorm of negativity. And with April’s track record, we are forced to ponder whether or not history will repeat itself. If these are the “April showers,” will we be able to appreciate the flowers that bloom in May? Will we even have flowers that bloom?

Will we have the time to admire anything good that happens in the next month? Or will we be too busy – too preoccupied with debating the semantics of church and state, faith and religion, terror and “terrorism”? We are spending all of this time trying to figure out who we are as individuals, as a community, as a nation, and as a planet. If there are two kinds of people in the world, which are we? Are we the good ones people write about in books, the heroes parents describe in stories to their children, the people that are inspirational and decide to inspire? Or are we the other kind?

Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt seems to believe we are the former. In a Facebook post that went viral the afternoon of the Boston Marathon incident, Oswalt wrote:

“…the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago…”

 

I don’t have the answers to these questions. I’m just a 22-year old kid trying to inspire people, trying to make people think every once in awhile – and maybe even prompt some self-reflection. If somebody learns something they didn’t already know, great. If I learn something about myself, even better. I’m a kid who writes about the things that are bothering him so he doesn’t end up another face on the news. It’s called “catharsis.”

My Courtship of Emma Roberts

As many know, I wrote a letter to Emma Roberts last March. The letter was mostly a joke, but I still wanted her to read it because I would’ve loved to have known what she thought about it. I’ve compiled a list of tweets I’ve sent to her since I wrote the letter, and sadly, this is the abridged version. Go figure that the one she would read and retweet would be one of the only sincere ones…

Suddenly, my cries no longer fell on deaf ears.

Suddenly, my cries no longer fell on deaf ears.

The 10 Worst Facebook Friends

There are tons of lists like this floating around on the Interwebs, but I wanted to point out a few types of people that those other lists fail to mention. (Not to say there won’t be any overlap here.) Many people don’t realize that while Facebook does ask you “How are you feeling” or “What’s on your mind,” nobody actually gives a shit.

10. Obsessive music promoters

If there is an amazing new song that nobody knows about, share it. If it’s a song you wrote/recorded yourself, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, I really don’t care. I’m mostly talking about house music fans here, but it includes the Fall Out Boy page that I recently unfollowed. We get it, Fall Out Boy. You guys have a new song out, and it’s awful.

-“Yooo, Avicii KILLED it with this new track.”

-“New Afrojack track gunna drop 2day… doooooooooope city.”

9. Parents/grandparents

Parents/grandparents tend to carry over Facebook conversations into everyday conversations. They are the first ones to tell younger people that “Facebook isn’t real life,” but they are the only ones who act like it is. Sometimes, they “like” everything you post; other times they comment inappropriately on posts you wish they hadn’t. And in some cases, they even contact your friends and exes. My grandfather was famous for this. (Doesn’t make it any less hilarious, though.)

8. Irrelevant song lyricists

This is the type of person who posts the lyrics to whatever song is stuck in his/her head, regardless of the circumstances. This is the type of person who posts the lyrics to “Yellow Submarine” but is petrified of water and colorblind. This is the type of person who is obviously in love with somebody but is afraid of saying anything facetime-to-facetime (or snapchat-to-snapchat, because God forbid we should engage in actual conversation – just kidding, God doesn’t exist – but for real). So, they post a few lines to a song that makes their hearts hurt to convey how they’re feeling in the hopes that the aforementioned somebody will read it. They usually don’t.

7. Political/religious ranters

Facebook is not the place to force your beliefs onto others. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but that doesn’t mean we have to share them with the world. Especially if they are ill-informed and downright idiotic. Embarking on a political dialogue via Facebook can turn into a never-ending bullshit war, because people are capable of saying anything when they are behind a computer screen.

If I wanted to read a Bible verse, I’d read the Bible or go to church. (Or ask my ordained brother to recite one.) If I wanted to know how you feel about Obama or gun control or the “homosexual agenda,” I’d send you a Facebook message and say:

“Hi, I know we haven’t spoken in awhile, but I would love to know how you feel about Obama, the Second Amendment, and gays.

Thanks,

Your pal Ryan”

Social commentary is one thing, but it’s never a good idea to get involved in political/religious debates with Internet folk. Remember, this is coming from someone who said one thing about Zach Braff and got called a “talentless twat.”

Also, stop sharing conspiracy theory videos because most of them are ridiculous. If you don’t think the Sandy Hook shooting happened, you’re a fucking idiot. (Boy, am I going to feel stupid if we find out it was a hoax.)

6. Play-by-play commentators

This applies to sporting events as well as television shows. If I care about the outcome of a game, chances are that I’m watching it or checking the score from my phone. If it’s a hockey game, there is no such chance. And if you’re a fan, don’t just be a fan when your team wins. Be a real fan.

Similarly, if I wanted to know what happened on the latest episode of PLL, I would watch it. Also, don’t tell me who does/doesn’t get a rose on the most recent episode of The Bachelor because I haven’t seen it yet. Just kidding – I don’t watch those dumb ass shows.

And now that LOST is off the air, I don’t have to worry about plot details being spoiled via Facebook/Twitter. Mostly because Breaking Bad fans are smart enough not to post “OMG Gus!!! #boom.”

5. Inside-jokers

Whatever happened to texting? (Never thought I’d hear/say/read/type that.) If you want to say something to your friends – something that only they will understand – just text them. There is no need to post it publicly on the Internet. By doing this, you leave yourself open to ridicule, creepers, and the aforementioned inappropriate comments by parents/grandparents.

I understand that everyone has inside jokes, and I understand that if you don’t get the reference, you probably won’t appreciate the joke. But maybe the joke isn’t actually funny sometimes.

-“We’re just a couple of pigs in a blanket!! lolz – with Kim Kimberly”

-“Burped and my dad just looked at me – with Jamye WithAY”

-“We all live in a… gray submarine? – with George H., Paul M., and John L.”

-“Whoops! Always forget Ringo!! – with Ringo S.”

4.  Girls with military boyfriends

This is not a knock on everyone who dates somebody in the armed forces, nor is it a knock on the armed forces. I have great respect for anybody who puts his/her life in harms way for our country, and I also admire the strength it takes for a significant other to remain loyal and, hopefully, faithful. It’s just that Dear John was a movie. Actually, first it was a book – but you get the point.

If all you’re going to do is post statuses about how you miss your “boo” while he’s overseas, get a new boyfriend. If you love him, awesome. But if you’re just staying with him because you think it makes you a better person, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. I’d like to establish a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for this sort of thing. Nobody asked about your relationship, so don’t tell Facebook about it.

3. Girls who can do better

Seriously, that guy? You’re beautiful. Don’t sell yourself short. Actually, don’t sell yourself at all. Is it because he has money? Is that it? Whatever. If you’re that shallow, maybe you deserve him. But when you guys break up, think about who’s been there for you this whole time – liking all of your mobile uploads, profile pictures, and Googling the lyrics of the stupid Mayday Parade songs you include in your status updates.

2. Attention-seekers

If you feed into this nonsense, the terrorists win.

-Selfies with captions such as: “Like the picture, not the link!”

-Before/after workout pictures.

-Girls who think they’re models. (Also, that “skinny arm” pose most girls do.)

-Obscure statuses to make people think you’re suicidal and force them to comment: “U ok?”

-Guys/girls who go out of their way to put themselves down, fishing for compliments.

1. Me

I’m guilty of almost all of these. Sorry. (Although, it wouldn’t kill you to share some of my blogs/videos if you enjoy them.)

-“Read my blog!”

-“Aren’t I funny?!?!”

-“Here’s a picture of my cousin/dog, so ex/next-girlfriends will remember/know how good I am with kids/animals!”

-“I play it off like I don’t care, but I do!”

-“But for real, I don’t!”

*I never actually use exclamation points, but you should really pay attention to the subtext.

What Was He Like?

My grandfather was generous. He gave to people who needed things. His money, his time. Sometimes, he gave too much to people who didn’t need it. Sometimes, not enough to those who did.

My grandfather was selfish. But everyone is, in their own way. He gave so much to some but ran out of time for others. He came around often, and then he didn’t. But he always came back.

My grandfather was unhealthy. Heart problems, a pacemaker, melanoma. He was in and out of hospitals. He told us stories about how he had been pronounced dead twice already, how he heard the doctors talking about him in the past tense. Maybe they were just stories, but maybe they weren’t.

My grandfather was mysterious. He traveled the world throughout his life. For his country, for his softball team, for himself. He had relationships with people I’ll never meet and people I’ll never hear about. He did things I’ll never understand, for reasons I’ll never have to.

My grandfather was supportive. He never missed my baseball games. He never missed my brother’s basketball games. He never missed an opportunity to tell us to follow our dreams.

My grandfather was an instigator. He dared me to ask out a Chili’s waitress, and I did. The relationship may have been short-lived, but it was because of him that I felt alive.

My grandfather was fun. He played, he joked, he cooked. He watched Monk and Psych with us. He slept over and made omelets in the morning.

My grandfather was hip. He had a Facebook and knew everything there was to know about sports. He subscribed to ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated, and he always found a way to give my brother and me the swimsuit issue without my mom knowing.

My grandfather was wise. He could talk about sports, or he could talk about anything else. It seemed as if he valued breadth more than depth. Perhaps this is why most of his conversations were shallow. Perhaps this is why many of his relationships were as well.

My grandfather was understanding. He read the things I wrote, and talked to me about the things I didn’t. These conversations were never in-depth either, but they never had to be.

My grandfather was invincible. He looked his age, but he never acted it. He was going to live forever.

Don't worry, Gramps. I'll carry on the family legacy.

Don’t worry, Gramps. I’ll carry on the family legacy.

My grandfather was dizzy one day, and when he tried to sit down, he missed the couch.

My grandfather was unlucky. His skin cancer had spread to his brain. The doctor told my dad on the phone that my grandfather had two or three months to live.

My grandfather was lucky. He was surrounded by people who loved him and cared about him. And although I may not know many of the people whose lives he touched, I do know we have that in common.

My grandfather made mistakes. He abandoned people who needed him, he alienated people who loved him, but he taught me one important thing. And that’s not to have any regrets.

If I had to sum my grandfather up in one word, I’m not sure exactly what word would describe him. I guess I’d say he was human.

The Story of the 2012 Presidential Election, Through Tweets