What to Give Your New Flame for Christmas

Tips for finding that perfect ‘in-between’ gift

What is this? I can feel it in the air. Things are… changing. Temperatures, dropping. Prices, dropping. Most single girls’ standards? As low as ever.

Fall and winter are known as “cuffing season,” which refers to how people find their ways into relationships as the weather gets colder and the holidays near. During this time of the year, “Netflix and chill” becomes the preferred date option to “I don’t know.” Most people would rather stay in with someone they don’t mind than go out and meet a bunch of people they hate. It’s like hibernation, but with more hot chocolate and OTPHJs. However you want to describe it, “cuffing season” is in full-swing.

That means Christmas is coming, too, which leaves you with tons of shopping to do for family and friends. Of course, if you’re fortunate enough not to becompletely and utterly alone this holiday season, you’ll also have to find a gift for your significant other.

But as you’re shopping for loved ones, what type of gift do you get for someone you just started dating?


To read more about my in-between gift tips, follow this link to the full article on Medium.

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Songs You’ll Never Hear

Awhile back, I wrote a fairly in-depth article about art. I wrote about art as an outward expression of our deepest emotions, as well as the various other roles it plays. I explored the idea of “unshared” art — that is, art that the artist keeps to him/herself. I posed questions like What makes something I create valuable to me? and Does that value increase if my art affects others in the same way?

I also discussed the ways I “judge” my own art:

a. How does this help me?

b. How does this help others?

For my art to help others, I need to share it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to judge my art based on both criteria mentioned above. Sure, something I create might help me, but for it to have any affect on another person, I can’t keep it to myself.

I conclude in the article that perhaps it’s time for me to reconsider my hesitance to share things I’ve created, so that I can share that same value with other people.

Clearly, sitting here writing this post makes me hypocritical. If you continue reading below, you’ll see that I directly mention things I’ve created but neglect to actually show them. So, for what it’s worth, I’d like to share my ten favorite lyrics from songs I’ve written because that’s the best I can do right now.¹

 My favorite lyrics of songs you’ll (probably) never hear

10.

I like the way you move

And I can’t shake the feeling

That I could fit into every groove your body has to offer

I accept.

from a song called “Blacklisted”

9.

Objects in mirror are more regretful than they appear.

from a song called “Take One for the Team”

8.

Every word that escapes my lips is met with confusion and amazement,

That glazed look upon your face.

-from a song called “Above the Influence”

7.

Do you think I’m funny?

I don’t know if I’m crying or laughing

All I know is I’m hysterical.

-from a song called “Hysterical”

6.

And if you happen to get cold feet,

Don’t worry — you can keep your socks on.

from a song called “Friend of the Year”

5.

This town’s a museum and you’re every exhibit.

from a song called “The Artist”

4.

Hate leaves bruises, but love leaves scars.

from a song called “The Win-You-Back Song”

3.

The storm will eventually pass

Then I can comprehend her influence on the forecast.

from a song called “Click”

2.

Let’s bury this town in the ash of our homes.

from a song called “Cigarettes”

1.

I’m a paper airplane in the wind, and you’re the wind

Because you can blow me.

-from a song called “Blow Me (Away)”


Footnote:

¹The hesitance is still there because I care about what people think, but I’m running out of fucks.

My Personal Guide to Tinder, Part 3

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After reading Part 1 and Part 2 of my Tinder installments, I realized that the most interesting sections are the stories. Sure, the rules are entertaining to write and read about, but it’s more fun to see those guidelines in action. So, for this third installment, I’ll focus more on anecdotes from my Tinder experiences.

My personal Tinder guidelines (cont.)

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

  1. Swipe right if she has a cute puppy. (<-not a typo)
  2. If she’s holding a cigarette in a photo, swipe left.
  3. Blurry photo? Are you serious? This is 2015. Swipe left.
  4. If she looks like my brother’s girlfriend, hmm…
  5. If she looks like my brother’s girlfriend with a different skin pigment, screenshot and send to him. Swipe direction irrelevant.
  6. If she looks like an ex, swipe right because I have deep-seated issues.
  7. If there’s a photo that looks like it has a story behind it, swipe right. (My curiosity might get the best of me sometimes, so if this rule conflicts with a previous rule, the previous rule shall maintain precedence.)

Playing by the rules

I could claim that I stick to the guidelines I’ve laid out in these three installments. And most of the time, I do consider my “rules” before swiping. However, you know how it goes: Some rules are made to be broken

6. If she likes Weezer, investigate further.

You wouldn’t believe how many girls claim they love Weezer and that their favorite song is “Island in the Sun.” If that’s your favorite Weezer song, you haven’t heard enough Weezer.

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.

Sometimes I swipe right just to comment on how every photo is the same. For example:

IMG_2052

For the record, she does always have headphones in.

18. If I can’t pronounce her name, swipe left.

I’m pretty sure I’ve swiped right for girls with no vowels in their names.

25. If she mentions faith and/or religion in her About Me section, swipe left because ain’t nobody got time for that.

Yesterday, I literally swiped left for an attractive girl solely because there was a crucifix in the background of her photo.

32. Swipe right if she has a cute puppy.

I swipe right all the time for girls I’m not even attracted to because of the possibility I’ll get to play with their dogs.

Pic or it didn’t happen

What’s a good story without some photographic evidence? In this section, you’ll find some of my favorite conversations that I thought were funny enough to screenshot and post on the Internet…

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$60 for a half hour?! What if I only need five minutes?

In the picture above, you’ll see my first encounter with a prostitute(?) on Tinder. I would love to say it’d be my only encounter, but that just wouldn’t be true. Turns out there are a ton of whores on Tinder, or at least girls/women who are looking to exchange sexual favors for money. (It’s fair to call them “whores,” right?)Berenice

Now, these girls differ from the elegant “Ellen” (pictured with headphones above), who just wanted to share her pornographic photos with me — I assume for free.

As I’ve encountered more and more of these girls, I’ve become deft at spotting them out before I even swipe. And if you know me, you know I’m swiping right almost every time to prove my hypothesis.

Usually, when I have a hunch that a girl is fake, I sabotage the conversation to see how far I can take it before she bails. Because if I’m not going to get a date out of it, I might as well get a decent story to tell my friends. Sometimes, these girls don’t answer and all but confirm their nonexistence. Other times, they either play along or are telling the truth and have actually moved from Germany recently (see Isabel screenshots below).IMG_2004IMG_2006

Strictly business

Like I said, I’m getting quite good at picking out which girls will probably have sex for money before I even swipe. I imagine that these accounts get a high volume of messages from guys who simply think the girl in the photo(s) is attractive. From that amount, I wonder what the success rate is for these entreprewhores. I mean, they’re operating their businesses in a marketplace where they already know exactly what the consumers want. So, targeting is not an issue because these accounts probably just swipe right for everybody to maximize their reach.

If a guy has $60-100 to spare, he can get — in one night — what would’ve taken him anywhere between three and five dates, as well as upwards of $100, to obtain. While I don’t want to judge anyone for being that desperate, and while I absolutely do not want to criticize somebody’s business (however illegal it may be), I do understand how and why it can be an effective use of the Tinder app.

Also, I basically just provided free advertisements for like three or four hookers. Happy dating!

IMG_2054

To be continued…?

I Wear Tighter Pants Now

“Something’s different about you,” she says, breaking eye contact. She doesn’t think people change. I agree.

“I just got a haircut the other day.” I step up onto a bench we’re passing.

“No, that’s not it.”

I jump down and stick the landing. “I wear tighter pants now.”

“Why do you do that?” Her eyes roll.

“Because they’re comfortable and more stylish.”

“No. You focus on the physical.” We continue to walk, with each other but not together.

I used to wear baggier pants, the kind that would drag behind my sneakers and rip, the kind whose bottom hems would wear away like a memory. Or a scar. I used to wear jeans that would get wet halfway up the leg just from stepping in a tiny rain puddle. My old pants had crotches that hung down much lower than a proper inseam.

I can barely fit both of my balls into some of my new pants. They’re snug. They aren’t too tight, but some pairs toe the line of skinnies. I can’t fit into real skinny jeans because they’re not made for guys with any type of muscle on their calves or thighs. But “slims” I can do. Slims make my butt look good, and I like that.

“Has it ever occurred to you that maybe people don’t care what you’re wearing?”

It’s funny how things like this work. When I was younger, clothes always had to be loose. Tight was bad, tight was uncomfortable, tight was gay. Then suddenly I wanted everything tight. Not too tight, but fitted. I basically woke up one morning and knew that none of my clothes fit me right. I’d like to think it was the morning after I watched Daniel Craig as James Bond for the first time. The man wears his suits better than most people wear their skin.

“You were always obsessed with appearance,” she continues.

I’m not sure if it’s just one of those things that comes with age, like I’ll fall back into the Loose Pants Club again when I reach my forties, or if it’s something more. Or less. They say “beauty is pain” or “pain is beauty” or something like that. Now, I don’t know if I agree with all of it, but I do know that comfort is overrated.

She reasons, “Just because you’ve changed your clothes or because you look different doesn’t mean you’re a different person.”

Pain is temporary. It either goes away or you can deal with it long enough to make it seem like it has. You get used to it — you get accustomed to it — so you stop noticing it’s there. But the same thing happens with beauty.

“You’ve always been concerned with what’s on the surface, and maybe that’s all you are. A surface encounter.”

Depth is definitely an issue. With tighter pants come smaller pockets. Jeez, baggy jeans used to have such deep pockets. Now, I’m lucky if I can slip my wallet into my front pocket. And don’t even get me started on my phone. Phones are strange, too. First, they were huge and inconvenient to carry around. Then the trend was to make them as small as possible, so brands made them smaller. Now, the trend is larger screens and companies are following suit. I imagine my pant preference will follow this type of viciously circular path.

“You’ve always refused to acknowledge your true feelings and communicate with people. That’s how you alienate yourself.”

I look her in the eyes and say, “Funny how things like this work, huh?”

She shakes her head. “Nice pants,” she says, turning away.

“Do you think people choose not to change, or that they’re just not capable of it altogether?” I don’t say this out loud, of course. But I think it.


Originally published in The Bigger Picture on Medium.

 

My Personal Guide to Tinder, Part 2

A solution to a problem that doesn’t exist

Maybe it’s time for me to swipe right on the concept of online dating.

-me, in My Personal Guide to Tinder, Part 1

The last time I checked in, I was just beginning my Tinder journey. After hearing a handful of success stories, I decided that I’d give the dating app another chance. Perhaps it could be the “solution to my perpetual loneliness” (direct quote from my last post). But what I neglected to realize is that “my perpetual loneliness” is a conscious decision I’ve made, and frankly it’s not much of a problem at all. So, instead of looking at Tinder as a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, I’m going to look at it as an opportunity — an opportunity to open doors that would remain closed otherwise.

My personal Tinder guidelines (cont.)

As I continue to use the app, I find myself developing more and more habits. One interesting observation I’ll make about these “rules” is that an overwhelming majority of them involve swiping left, effectively narrowing down (limiting?) my options. Like I said, I am the main reason those doors are closed in the first place.

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

  1. If I can’t pronounce her name, swipe left.
  2. Swipe left for girls whose names have stupid spellings (ie. Tayler, Elisabeth).
  3. *addendum to existing rule(s)* If there are two girls in the first photo and I can’t tell which one she is — BUT both girls are smoking hotswipe right. Swipe right immediately because it doesn’t matter which girl she is. Plus, she has gorgeous friends.
  4. If she has any more than zero (0) photos containing a horse, swipe left.
  5. If there is a glaring spelling/grammatical error in her About Me section, swipe left.
  6. If a girl is too New Jersey¹, swipe left.
  7. If she has something like If you _________, keep it moving! in her profile, swipe left.
  8. If she mentions faith and/or religion in her About Me section, swipe left because ain’t nobody got time for that.
  9. If her name is Dina, swipe left.
  10. Swipe left if her weight isn’t discernible. (I know this makes me sound like a shallow asshole, but what’s the point of swiping right on somebody I don’t really want to talk to? That’d be sacrificing the integrity of Tinder. <<<<< That was a funny sentence.)
  11. CrossFit? Swipe left.
  12. If she has bad teeth, swipe left. (If she doesn’t have her mouth open in any of her photos, there is no way to prove she even has teeth. Obviously swipe left.)
  13. If we have mutual friends, assess the situation. (But then probably swipe right to see if she did/does the same.)
  14. If we have mutual interests, refer to all preceding rules because literally nothing matters less than this. (Exception: Weezer — see Rule #6 in previous post.)

Another Tinder anecdote for you

I broke one of my own rules recently (Rule #21, if we’re keeping track²). I noticed that the girl actually had two photos with a horse — something that would normally have me scoffing and swiping any which way but right…

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I’m going to end up with one of those girls who’s super in love with her horse, aren’t I?

However, this girl happened to be very attractive and quite skinny. Perhaps this is a weakness of mine.

To be continued…?


Footnotes:

¹You know exactly what I mean.

²PUN ALERT.

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…?

Why I Don’t Keep My Promises

Promises are interesting phenomena. We all make promises — to our children, to our parents, to our significant others, to our friends, even to ourselves — and sometimes (maybe more often for some of us), we break them. We can’t, realistically speaking, keep every single promise we make. The only surefire way to avoid breaking promises is to refrain from making them altogether.

So, why do so many of the promises make end up broken?

In her Huffington Post article mentions that some people continue to break their promises because “saying you are going to do something feels just as good as actually doing it.”

I consider myself a man of my word. I’d like to think most people know that when I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. This is probably because of the conviction with which I assert things. If I declare with confidence that I’m going to do something and it sounds legitimate, why not believe it’s going to get done?

That being said, I can’t count how many times I’ve told myself I’m going to go for a run today and simply haven’t done it. A lot of times, I even mention to coworkers how I’m going to run later to try to solidify my plans, but I always end up looking like a lazy, Oreo-guzzling piece of shit when they ask me about my “run” the next day.

Now, going for a run is a small-scale example; it doesn’t affect anyone but me if I do or don’t exercise, and it really doesn’t even affect me that much. Come to think of it, most of the promises I break only affect me, small and large-scale.

This is why I want to focus on the promises I make to myself. These are the ones that affect only me by design — the ones that, if broken, disappoint me and only me because others hardly ever know I make them. These are the promises made on a bigger scale, or at least they seem that way. Perhaps I put more weight into them because they are that much more important to me than going for a run.

I’m talking about the promises I make to myself that truly challenge me as a person. I’m talking about the ones that are hard to keep not because they’re impossible but because I know myself too well.


 

Awhile back, I promised myself I would write more frequently. But, because I’m lazy, uninspired, and afraid of publishing anything less than “perfect” (in my eyes), I have been writing sporadically at best. To shed some light on this point, I started this post about promises over two months ago.

According to Robert Wicklund and Peter Gollwitzer’s Self-Completion Theory (1982), we engage in behaviors that reinforce specific identity goals to which we are committed. So, I want to write more frequently because I consider myself a “writer” and the only way to prove to myself and others that I am a writer is to write.

A few months ago, I made a “25 Before 25” list with some coworkers, detailing twenty-five goals I want to accomplish before I reach the quarter-century mark. I may have completed several of the things on that list already, but I don’t expect to accomplish much more. The worst part is that I knew I wouldn’t do some of these things when I made the list. In fact, I only added certain items to the list to pad my stats, so to speak. I essentially filled a bucket list with things I had already done to make it look like I’d accomplished something in my life. After all, I can’t break a promise I’ve already followed through with.

My best and most recent example of a broken promise is my vow to stay positive. Unlike my “25 Before 25” list, which I only shared with my coworkers, and my personal pledge to write more, I publicized this commitment to positivity to any close friends and family members willing to listen. (So, like three people total.)

It took me a lot longer to break this promise than I thought it would. I’m not sure if it had to do with the scope of the pledge, but for a few good weeks, I was committed to being positive. Or at least I thought I was.

See, what I mistook for positivity turned out to be a neutrality that was uncharacteristic in and of itself, but — when compared to my usual pessimism — seemed groundbreaking. So, rather than displaying true positivity for this span, I was fooling myself with my lack of negativity.

While vowing to stay positive sounds beneficial on the surface, I made the biggest mistake any of us can make when I made that promise. I did it for the wrong reasons.

I can try to explain why I break promises I make to myself and others through psychological terms and thirty-year-old theories, but the real reason is plain and simple. When I make a promise for the wrong reasons, I am extremely unlikely to keep it. And this is probably true for all of us.

I compiled that “25 Before 25” list to give myself something to reach for, and I self-sabotaged my chance for growth. I tried to write more often because I believed it was something I needed to do to maintain my identity, and I found myself with nothing to write about. And I decided to try on my positivity hat for a few weeks because I thought I could trick myself into being happy. Perhaps that was my worst mistake.

I viewed happiness as a goal rather than a state of being. This is dangerous because: 1. I classified my well-being as a temporary goal and 2. How can we measure the success of an objective that is completely intangible? What is the metric for happiness?

Earlier in this article, I mention that the only way not to break a promise is not to make it in the first place. But after analyzing all of the recent broken promises I’ve made to myself, I’ve realized that the best way to avoid breaking promises — and maybe the only way — is to make them for the right reasons.

Costumes, Candy & Another Existential Crisis

I keep an old picture of myself behind my bed. It’s there partially because I’m more vain than anyone who’s ever thought a subtweet was about them, and partially because I needed a photo to fill an empty frame. But mostly, it’s there because I need to remind myself who I am every so often.

The plain black frame came with a photograph in it, part of an eighteenth birthday gift from my then-girlfriend. The photograph featured the two of us in our Halloween costumes, as well as a handwritten note — only after removing it from its frame, I discovered — on the back. But that’s an entirely different story.

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Halloween 1992

I used to keep my ex-girlfriend’s photograph in the frame for similar reasons to why I chose its successor. However, I realized that instead of reminding me who I am, her photo was making me fixate on who I was. I couldn’t be that person anymore; I couldn’t afford to be. That version of me was, uh… extinct, so to speak.

Sometimes it’s not the picture itself, it’s what the image means to us that makes it meaningful. Or painful. Or counterproductive. Or inspirational. (Or downright adorable.)

I understand that it’s lame to call a picture of myself inspirational, but the photo means several different things to me. Sure, it’s humbling to look behind my bed before I go to sleep and see myself in a stupid little costume holding a lollipop. It’s things like this very photograph — along with plenty of other factors, like my upbringing and stuff — that keep me modest. Seeing the photo after a good day or even a really good day brings me back down to Earth.

But it also reminds me I can be anything I want in this world, whether it be a writer, a teacher, an astronaut, or a green fucking dinosaur. It reminds me that no matter how ugly and guilty I feel after a bad day, I was once cute and innocent. And I believe that same person still exists.

Regardless of how cool I think I am or how cool people tell me I’m not, regardless of how much pain I feel or how much pain I cause others, regardless of how great I become or how miserably I fail…

I’m still that green fucking dinosaur. But now, instead of grabbing for candy, I’m reaching for-

Actually, still probably candy.

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.