Tuesday, May 19, 2015

O Banco da Saudade

It seems wise to save up one’s sorrow in preparation for something that you know will be kind of sad. When a bunch of your friends are graduating and leaving town, it’s usually time to build up capital in your saudade bank. When you couple that with one of your best friends/roommate leaving to build her life across the country mere days after graduation, you definitely want to compound that interest. The candy coating on these bitter pills is that even though they are leaving and you will likely lose contact for a while, they are at least moving on to bigger/better things, and and you’re pretty sure that they will excel in the greener pastures to which they are heading. So yes, It seems wise to keep a cache of somber emotions stored to prepare you for these specific occasions.

What you never expect, though, is that in between attending graduation ceremonies and parties and quality time with your soon-to-be ex-roommate, you will casually check up on your Facebook status and find out that a friend of yours was missing and subsequently found dead. You also don’t expect 5 minutes later to learn that another one of your friends passed away seemingly as suddenly, on the same day. All that saudade you saved that was supposed to be slowly dispensed as you said fond farewells and gave goodbyes hugs and kisses to your departing friends was just spent and debited in less than 300 seconds, and you STILL have yet to say goodbye to the people who are leaving.

What do you do? What else can you do, but say goodbye to the people to whom you can say goodbye, try not to harsh anyone’s mellow by talking about what you learned in between closing graduation ceremonies and opening graduation parties, and quietly say goodbye to those to whom you could not say goodbye until you have time to properly pay tribute to them.

Mind you, this is a terrible idea. Penning down your already spent sorrow to put on a mask and act like you are okay for a few hours for the sake of others who did not know your too-soon departed friends will make it worse with which to deal later. But what can you do?

Drinking the pain away doesn’t do much for your psyche, neither does visiting the approximate sites of their too-soon passings. Talking with friends brings tears, and thinking alone brings tears. You know that this is much more difficult because it was two people younger than you, and in two different situations. The odds of this happening are so slim, that it is hard completely contemplate it, which makes everything worse. You think you still have to maintain a strong face in front of your friends and roommate who are leaving. It was definitely a bad idea to spend a few hours holding down that pain and shock, but it would have been a terrible idea to skip saying goodbye to people whom you know you may not see for a long while. Because if there is one lesson you learned from untimely passing of your two friends, it is to not take for granted an opportunity to see people for which you care and tell them you appreciate them.

So you take off a day or two from work, process all of your spent sorrow for all of what happened during the weekend, and try to be cogent in life again so that you can face the world again. This all sounds great in print, but you’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

Que saudades.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hateful Bigots Incite Anger from Hateful Bigots


No, this is not an essay about the current Republican Presidential Candidate field. This is about a hate group and its acts of terror.

This group espouses negative propaganda against a religious group that they depicted as an ethnicity at best, a group of subhuman group of bloodsucking goblins at worst. It has plastered city buses and subways with negative ads that blame its target for all of the ills of the world. It made major moves to block members of the religious group from worshipping in public. It made noise to prevent its targets from building centers for its members. This group is so insidious, it even disseminated conspiracy theories and rumours that involve the religious group infiltrating and tainting media, government, and all other areas of life in its attempt to take over and conquer our government an install an empire and crush its dissenters. No, I am not talking about 1930s Nazi-run German government and its treatment of Jews. I am talking about the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).

Since 9/11, I have been very distrustful of any group that has that many "patriotic" buzzwords in its title. Just like the USA Patriot Act that essentially deemed all Americans suspects subject to monitoring, The American Freedom Defense Initiative has nothing to do with love of America, freedom, or defense. Perhaps they'd be more convincing if they called themselves the USA American Defense F-150 Skull-Hump a Frenchie with a Bald Eagle Dick Patriot League (USAADFSHFBEDPL), they'd be more convincing. Regardless, the only reason AFDI exists is to use its words and actions to try to destroy destroy the religion of Islam, which they colourfully depict as a disease that brown people from Asia and Africa have that can spread to innocent white people in the US. Had they existed in the early 1900's I wager Birth of a Nation would have had a bigger budget for turbans and brown shoe polish rather than watermelons and black shoe polish. Their rhetoric is so angering that it makes non-Muslims cringe and nearly want to fight someone.

For AFDI, though, it wasn't a non-Muslim that almost got to them; it was a pair of extremists who call themselves Muslim. Two ISIS sympathizers attempted to attack a "Muhammed Drawing Convention" that AFDI was holding in Garland, TX. These were members of a hate group. They hated EVERYONE who isn't what they deem as Muslim, but unfortunately, their vision of Islam is about as accurate as the Ku Klux Klan's, or AFDI co-founder Patty Mueller's, vision of Christianity is. They spread lies to gain power, and use violence as a cudgel to beat down and literally kill all dissent. Fortunately, a police officer at the front dispatched both attackers before they could even get into the event. They were the only fatal casualties. So here we are: a hate group that spreads lies was attacked by a hate group that spreads lies, and now the target is using the attacker's actions to claim their point is proven. Said group IS truly violent. I think both events were reprehensible, but I really don't know how to feel. This is like a Neo-Nazi group attempting to attack a chapter of the Aryan Nation, but everybody dies. Can anyone really feel bad about that?


I DO NOT THINK THAT THE SHOOTERS HAD ANY RIGHT TO TRY TO KILL ANYONE. However, every Muslim in America has a right to be offended. If someone berates you and constantly misrepresents your faith and core beliefs, you would get mad. I imagine what would happen if there was a group organized to solely antagonize absolutely everything I do or say. Let's call it the Americans for Supreme Sovereignty and Helping Others in Liberty and Equality for Some, ASSHOLES for short. They claim that black and brown people, in their fight to be seen as equal, are attempting to take over the nation and force their Western African and Central American traditions on everyone. When I take a train to my job, I see a billboard sponsored by the ASSHOLES comparing me to a gorilla or a rat. Sambo caricatures eating watermelon are all over town; ASSHOLES publish books explaining how black and Hispanic men are inherently feral beasts, yet somehow also devious and nefarious, who need to be eradicated. When I file a building permit to put a shed in my own yard, there are picketers at the city office claiming I am trying to build a training center and am bent on "blackifying" innocent white people. I mow my lawn, and there is a member of ASSHOLES claiming I am symbolizing the cutting down of white American lives. When my Mexican neighbour opens his own restaurant, ASSHOLES accuse him of attempting to push his Latino agenda on the American people. Now I hear that ASSHOLES is organizing a "SamboSpanic Drawing Contest", where people are to draw the most offensive caricatures of black and brown people that they can, perpetuating every stereotype in literal graphic detail. I think I would be hotly mad about that, and anyone would understand my anger, but I DO NOT THINK THAT THE SHOOTERS HAD ANY RIGHT TO TRY TO KILL ANYONE. Were she the organizer of an anti brown people group, her basic message would be "nigger nigger nigger nigger" in boldface Times New Roman, full justified. Why do most sit by just because she put "sand" in front of the "nigger"?

While violence is not a good way to get one's point across, it is good that this conflict ended with only the aggressors dying. Even with only them dispatched, Geller and her fellow conventioneers are STILL claiming that they proved a point, that Islam is violent and must go. No word yet on their thoughts on the Crusades, the Holocaust, or the modern day Christian militias that indiscriminately execute anyone they do not think is baptized. Two Muslims attacked Geller's Offendfest. No mention of the millions in the country who did not and are just trying to get by, though.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The News and “Dead Negro Season”

The news cycle goes through major seasons. Last season was "Legislate Uteri and Campus Rape" season. Before that, it was "Foreigners Are Going to Take Our Jobs and Nuke Us" season, and before that was, "Why is Our Government Oppressing Us and Gridlocked???" season. Then, of course, there is "Dead Unarmed Negro Season". DUN season is in full swing, and right now, the focus is in Baltimore. My home town is on fire!...not really, but there's a lot of damage. You would think that if you turned on any news outlet in the last week. When Freddie Gray died in the custody of the Baltimore Police, all of the news outlets played their role.


 

Fox News discussed what heroes the police were. Half, if not most, of the cops in Baltimore were black, and Fox News is not great at saying good things about black people, so this was likely a difficult feat. As per protocol, they explained how the late Mr. Gray and the protesters, whether peaceful or not, were dirty thugs. "Thug" is the closest anyone on television news can get to saying "nigger" now, but kudos to Fox for getting away with "black gorilla", as they were more than happy to discuss the activities of the organized crime syndicate, the Black Guerilla Family. Even the Black Guerilla Family colloquially call themselves "BGF". They rounded out the their coverage with the usual blaming of Obama, although the President's comments were nearly in line with what Fox News would say, except for the part where he said we had to do some soul searching and get to the root of the problem.


 

MSNBC and Huffington Post went the other way and asked vague questions about whether this is a sign of an ongoing systemic problem in our justice system that unfairly treats minorities, women, and the poor to undue detriment. If they really cared and listened, they would know that the answer is yes. There was much call for Cumbayas, as well as all expense paid flights for Al Sharpton to come in and use his statement-making superpowers to make everything better. Al Sharpton may mean well, but for a lot of us, he is like a reverse Daredevil, where when he comes to town, not many people want to see him.


 

CNN made a computer simulation of the incident starring Teletubbies instead of the actual video and looped it…not really, but they sent Don Lemon to Baltimore to cover everything, which is less productive than the computer simulation.


 

Over the weekend, this demonstration of 5,000 to 10,000 evolved into days of violence, and 200 people were arrested. If we make the faulty assumption that all 200 were actually part of the initial demonstration and were all guilty, that means the media is now painting the entire movement based on the actions of 2-4%. How did the violence start, though? One could surmise that it was the drunken sports fans who turned on the protesters. One could surmise that it was the frustration of school kids who were stuck at Mondawmin Station, because all of the buses, the ONLY way for public school kids with no cars to get home, were cancelled, and police in riot gear were blocking the major terminal. None of these reasons make for good news.


 

If you are claiming that the demonstration is nothing but a bunch of people who want immunity from penal punishment (or other idiotic misrepresentations of nonviolent protest), then you are just as much a fool as the 2% of the people who are using destruction of property and violent retaliation against the police. If you think that the violence is justified base on previous actions of a corrupt system, then you are wrong. Understand that some of the violence is coming from people who have no other outlets to vent their anger, because the city, state, and nation failed them in ways of education, employment, and general social respect. This still does not make their violence justified or condoned. I have not heard anyone ask, "Well, what about black-on-black crime?", so I have not had the pleasure of telling anyone to shut the unholy fuck up.


There weren't 200 arrests and wall to wall press coverage when Kentucky students rioted when their team won games, or when Ohio State students rioted when their team lost, or when Penn State students rioted because they have a team. For that matter, there weren't 200 arrests when Penn State students rioted when their coach was fired for covering up years of sexual abuse by his co-worker. There weren't 200 arrests and wall to wall press coverage when people rioted during a Maine town festival for pumpkins. Apparently, #GourdLivesDon'tMatter either.


 

We can delve deeply into what is happening now, and how it could be avoided. I do recall many times growing up when violent mayhem occurred in the Baltimore. I remember one particular time when Baltimore County police (NOT CITY) dispersed a line trying to get into a sold out roller rink, not by telling everyone that the rink is at capacity and that they should go home, but by spraying mace and pepper into the crowd of mostly 14-18 year olds. Some of it went directly into a 12 year old's eyes, who was choking and spitting while all out chaos ensued. I remember this well, because one of my friend's back was sliced open with a box cutter, and I was pulled out of the car from whence I came and spent a night in jail, right before the K-9 Unit arrived. This was all pre-cell phone camera, so we can't Youtube search the blurry details, but if you've seen Picasso's Guernica, you have a good idea of what happened.


 

Violence and a dead black man at the hands of authority make for very good ratings. What doesn't usually make for good ratings is what I see on my Facebook and Twitter feed: dozens of friends in Baltimore asking who has time to help clean up the mess that was made this weekend. Surprisingly, it DID make the news that people are taking days off of work and buying hundreds of dollars of cleaning supplies with no expectation of reimbursement to clean up hurt shops in neighbourhoods that are not their own. Students, employed professionals, fire fighters, police, and unemployed people (who may or may not have a criminal record) go through parts of my hometown and help each other tend to the scars of the week's events. I know that what WON'T make the news is that all these people are working together. It also won't make the news that the reason everyone is pulling together to clean up the affected neighbourhoods is because the city likely will not, as it has had well over 40 years to clean up the remnant of the 1968 riots, and that has not happened. What also will not be covered is how tenuous the situation is when Baltimore spent millions pushing out poor residents to make way for ridiculously expensive condos, essentially trying to make a mini Manhattan in the middle of the city. The endemic complacency and lack of care for public education, safety, and recreation will not be seen in the news. This is not the fault of individual police officials, legislators, or the mayor of Baltimore. This is the fault of Baltimore. We are all culpable. We are failing our least advantaged citizens, and we need to do better.


 

None of this will be covered, though, because it does not make for good news. Don't worry, though. Summer is coming, and that means "Dead Unarmed Negro" season will be over, and "Scary Faux Epidemic" season will be afoot.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Good Will Hiding: Ben Affleck and other LOSERs UPDATE

This may well be the grittiest Lego Batman movie ever.
Due to Ben Affleck’s activity off screen and his seemingly good-natured personality, I was willing to overlook his part in Daredevil movie, and in Gigli, and in Paycheck, and Pearl Harbor, and Jersey Girl, and He’s Just Not Into You, and Boiler Room…and possibly Batman v Superman: Lawsuit of Justice. He is quite active in his hometown and abroad, founding or supporting progressive causes, from A-T awareness to community-based support in Central Africa. Sadly, though, I must revoke all passes for Mr. Affleck, as it seems he is a coward. "Man without Fear", my ass.

It came out that Ben Affleck sought censor the part of the PBS show Finding Your Roots that indicated that he had a slave owning ancestor. This did not have to be a big deal. One’s family history is solely his business, and deserves some modicum of privacy. However, once you go on a show whose sole purpose is to investigate celebrities’ histories and broadcast the results on air for the world to see, you relinquish that modicum. White celebrities have been on Finding Your Roots and found out that their ancestors owned slaves, and they dealt with that dark spot (no pun intended) in their history. Hell, Don Cheadle found out some of his ancestors owned slaves! If you are American, and none of your great-great-grandparents came through Ellis Island, there is probably a 50/50 chance one of your ancestors owned slaves or was involved. I already know that I came from a long line of bastards. I didn’t get this light-skinned through some recessive gene in a line of pure light-skinned Angolans. Someone in my lineage is the bastard child of someone who owned him. It happened. We know it. Stop denying it.

This is not the big deal, so it is disappointing that Mr. Affleck sought to hide this information from the broadcast, as if he was sweeping it under a rug so that no one would know. This would not have tarnished his image. It would have tarnished his image if after learning of his people-owning skeletons, he responded with, “WHOO! Wicked pissah! I’m gonna call every darkie ‘Toby’ from now on and high-five Paula Deen!” THAT would have been a good reason to push the producers of the show to omit that segment.

Ben Affleck’s actions speak to a point of contention I have with a number of white liberals and the wielding of their inherent privilege, even though they rail against it privilege. Some like to say all of the left things: they will say they’re pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, pro-equal pay, pro-minimum wage hike, etc. Maybe they’ll throw some money at a colour run that donates money to a charity that helps gay lumberjack couples adopt straight poodles. Perhaps they’ll vote…every four years. Maybe they will stand up and FIGHT for everyone’s rights in front of their local town hall…Facebook page.

The second anyone wants to delve into WHY such causes are necessary, though, they clam up. They repeat the mantra that slavery is over, so we need to look beyond it, or claim that the women’s equality battle is over since the Lilly Ledbetter Act was signed, or they will overuse the phrase “trigger warning” the second that a conversation gets too deep. Mr. Affleck is just richer than the rest of us, so he can throw a little bit more money at that lumberjack colour run than most people. If you are going to call yourself a progressive person, then you need to look back at from whence we came, or else you have no direction in which to progress.

It’s possible that Mr. Affleck’s push to censor was a knee-jerk reaction at the horror of his past. Sadly, the producers accommodated him. That act right there is an example of him exerting rich and white privilege to suppress something he didn’t like. Looking at his philanthropy resume, one would think he would be railing against that type of execution of power. He needs to own what happened in his past; his past involved some people owning other people. I don’t believe in the whole “sins of the father” idea. I highly doubt that Ben Affleck is bad person because of a great-great-grandfather’s bad ideas. Mr. Affleck is probably not a bad person at all. He is, however, a wimp for not following through with a show whose purpose is to possibly show some ugly bits of history. I feel like there should be a term for people who are like this, who claim all the liberal things, but don’t want to get too deep about it. When conservatives are accused of betraying deeper principles of their convictions, they’re called RINO (Republican In Name Only) or “rational human being”. Perhaps we should do the same for liberals who do this. Perhaps “Fiberal”, or “Liberal Only So Everyone Respects” (LOSER).

That looks nice. Ben Affleck is a LOSER.

And he’d better not do to Batman what he did to Daredevil. THAT would be something he should suppress.

UPDATE: Ben Affleck wrote on his Facebook page that he was sorry for trying to hide his ancestors' slave-holding past. Perhaps I deemed him a LOSER too soon. This whole situation is a microcosm for the battle we as humans must make when we express pride for our status and culture, but must also acknowledge that where we are now may have been at the cost of the blood of others earlier. Hopefully there will be a lesson learned from this mess. Ben Affleck is learning that now, with the rest of us.

But he still hasn't apologized for Daredevil, so he's still on one more shit list.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

50 1st Dates: Profiling Your Dating Site

I have been single for quite a long time. Partly, this is because I have chosen to be autonomous and don’t very much give much thought to the idea that a person who is single is somehow not “complete” or there is something inherently wrong with single life. Mostly, it is because I have a two remote control Lego trains in my living room, and for some reason that is not a libido riser. Being single for so long, I have had the (dis)pleasure of using dating sites and apps as an avenue for finding kindness in the company of strangers. Some think dating sites are creepy, but they are no more creepy than going to a bar or other public venue and talking to a complete stranger. At least with online dating, you have a little bit more of an idea of who the person is. It is like going to a bar, but you have that Terminator vision, where you can see your subject's skills, weaknesses, whether he/she is a Level 5 Night Orc, etc. Yes, it can be a sea of tiger selfies and duck mouth bathroom pics and very rude asses with a sense of privilege, but weave through that, and you may meet some nice people. I met some of my best friends online. So this is what I learned about five for which I’ve had success/failure...mostly failure.


PLENTY OF FISH (PoF) is a free dating site. It is very simple. You post your pictures, write a little summary, and fill out your profile, much like any other dating site. Fun fact: PoF has the highest amount of profile summaries with requests to leave your drama and your baggage at the door. Apparently, most people on PoF hate stage acting and packing heavy for trips. The main feature of Plenty of Fish is its “Meet Me” section. Here, you are shown flashcards of people’s main profile pictures with the buttons NO, MAYBE, and YES under them. Why MAYBE? I don’t know. It’s as if they programmed in the Fade-Away before one can even meet a person. If you would like to know who would like to meet you, you have to pay. This is a new feature. You can pay anywhere from $38.70 for 3 months to $82.00 for 12 months. Would that be worth it? I couldn’t tell you. While the phone app is a little bit dynamic, PC website looks like it was built on an Angelfire backbone. Perhaps if more people paid, they’d make a better looking site. The only other way to find out if someone wants to meet you is if you two “mutual meet” or if they reach out to you.


Unlike other dating sites, though, when you search, you have a narrow filter: You set age range and distance. Because of this, Plenty of Fish is the dragnet fishing of dating sites. Your search WILL yield EVERYTHING. You will get tall people, short people, high school dropouts, PhDs*, Holocaust-denying Jews, ultra conservative hippies, a dolphin trapped in an inner tube, dead mob snitches, etc. I have only gone on two dates via PoF. They were not promising, and sure enough, nothing came of them. I have, however, been emailed many times, by people who don’t know much about punctuation or spelling. There were a lot of women who wanted to date black men for the purpose of dating black men. I am not the black man they are looking for. Much like white men with yellow fever, I usually steer clear of white women who have…brown fever (I hate the term “jungle fever”). I am not an object. If you have a fetish, get an account on FetLife. Also, PoF is the only site where I was trolled, twice, by the same “woman”, nearly on the same day a year apart. This was AFTER I blocked her the first time. So if you’re not picky or want to get trolled or fetishized by people who undoubtedly have not read your profile, PoF will work for you.

TINDER is app only. It is similar to PoF in that the parameters for searching are age and distance. Also, you are limited to about 400 characters on what you can say in your summary. You are also limited to four pictures, so choose wisely! The ONLY feature is the flash card “Meet Me” style interface, but without that pesky MAYBE button. In fact, it’s not even YES or NO; it’s a checkmark or an X. If hitting buttons is too complicated, you swipe right for yes or left for no, leaving a nice smudge on your phone screen if you forgot how greasy your lunch is. Tinder is essentially Plenty of Fish for illiterate people!
My competition...


Many tout Tinder as Hetero-Grindr and say it is a hook up app. I think that is silly, because ANYTHING could be a hookup app. Also, of the few people who wrote a blurb beyond a few wine glass and plane emojis, the most common sentence you’ll see is, “Swipe Left if you’re looking for a hookup!” This does not deter some people. For a good laugh in horror, look up @byefelipe on Instagram…oy…


Most recently, Tinder created Tinder Plus, its premium service where you can undo left swipes, look for people in other areas, and get UNLIMITED SWIPES! The latter used to be free, but now you have a limited number per day, so you’d better choose wisely who you are judging strictly by headshots. Tinder Plus is only $9.99/mo, unless you’re over 30; then it’s $19.99/mo, because fuck old people!


All that said, the swiping can be fun. Of the actual dates I’ve had thanks to Tinder, we were so incompatible that it was laughable. It is as if only going by looks for your dating criteria is a bad idea!


OKCUPID is another mostly-free app and website. It does have the superficial swipey interface, called Quickmatch, as well, but you have a LOT more that you can fill out beyond the obligatory, “I’m not here for games; leave your baggage at the door”. There are profile questions that kind of guide you through what to say. Give a brief summary. What are your favourite things? What to people notice about you? What is the most private thing you are willing to divulge to complete strangers on an online platform? What is that on your shoulder? At what are you really good? What are you doing with your life? The latter is usually answered, “Living it!” This is great, because you can tell immediately that this person has very little imagination, and you can immediately pass him/her by! OKCupid also has the highest concentration of pictures of women doing yoga dangerously close to the edges of gorges and canyons in the world.
No.


The good thing about OKC is that in your search, you can specify MANY more fields than simply distance and age. You can choose education, gender, marital status, drug/alcohol/smoking preference, job type, diet, height, eye/hair/skin colour…If you would like to date an athletic Bangladeshi polyamorous pansexual trans woman twin vegan chemist who smokes marijuana and pops ecstasy when walking her blue-eyed corgie, you can make that search.
Maybe.


Additionally, there are thousands of user- and staff-generated questions that you can elect to answer that range from dating to politics to sex to religion and beyond. When your accepted answers match up with another person’s accepted answers, a percentage grade for chance of match and enemy is generated. This makes the Quickmatch more enjoyable. The more questions one answers, the more likely those grades will be accurate. So yes, she may be hot, but we’re a 13% match and 75% enemy, so no.
-_-

A sensible answer


The grading percentage system is both a feature and a fault. If one pays attention to it, you will likely have a good time with people who match from 80% to 99%. That is a solid B- to A+! You can’t go wrong with that, right? One flaw, though. Just like straight A students in school, The ARE great, and they ARE very close to matching with you, but like many straight A students, there is likely one little thing slightly amiss about them. You will not know what it is, until one day, you put the dinner forks in the lunch fork tray, and suddenly, they turned from perfect angel to egg-beater wielding harbinger of punishment, and ironically you have to jump out of a second-story window to escape bodily harm. Either that or you will be listening to the Jackson 5, and you’ll mention how much you like Jermaine, and they’ll turn with fire in their eyes and tell you, “You like Tito now. You ONLY like Tito”, at which point you realize the reason for the missing 10% of your 90% match rate, and you ironically have to jump out of the second-story window to escape bodily harm.


MATCH is not free. There is ad hoc pay. You want Match to write a profile for you? Fuck you; pay Match. You want to show up on top of all of the searches? Fuck you; pay Match. You want to send a message to that pretty lawyer? Fuck you; pay Match. You want to know if she read that message? Fuck you; pay Match. You want to “go incognito”, so that when you’re writing a message and looking at her profile, you don’t look like a creep? Fuck you; pay Match. However, if you pay for 6 months up front for the basic service and you do not find a match within the 6 months, you get 6 months free. This costs about the same as a really sweet Lego train. Alternatively, there is a free “Wink” option, where you can just wink at a person you like, similar to poking on Facebook. I am not sure why this is a feature. I am of the mindset that if you wouldn’t do it in real life, you probably shouldn’t do it online. I cannot imagine that anything good has come of a man walking up to a woman at a bar, not saying a word, just winking at her, and then walking away.


Wink for free in a Starbucks.
With the exception of the user and staff questions of OKC, all of the features of the aforementioned sites and apps are present in Match. The filtering is nearly as specific as OKC, with a few exceptions. Most of the profiles indicate that they are looking for their soulmates, or the ONE, or the “key to my lock”. They are looking for the person that they can let into their hearts. That is all well and good, but I am of the train of thought that fervently looking for a person to “complete” one will lead to feeling emptier in the end. One should be able to handle autonomy and not be so explicitly dependent on another person. This feeds into the myth that a single person is not a whole person or that he/she has a fatal flaw or is immoral until he/she is hitched to another human. If you are just dating to date and meet cool people, or if you are poly, you likely will not have much fun on Match. And that is fine.


The format of Match is such that you can line up your match criteria with another person’s to see if there actually is some compatibility. Things that do match are highlighted. One thing I noticed of Match: like all other sites, you can choose your ethnicity (or ethnicities), and you can choose which ethnicity (or ethnicities) you would like to date. You can choose from black/African descent, white/Caucasian, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, East Indian, Middle Eastern, Vulcan, Dead Rabbit, Other, etc. Let us ignore that EVERYONE is of African descent and they list three different synonyms for Asian. A lot of people choose only their own identified ethnicity. I call these the Basic Breadth. A lot of other people choose either all of the ethnicities or leave that preference blank, which is promising. A few who I call the Fetishizers choose only one or two ethnicities outside of their own. And then there are some who choose absolutely every ethnicity EXCEPT for Black/African descent. What on earth have they heard and internalized about black people that they would date absolutely everyone BUT black people? Are they just streaming AM talk 24 hours a day? Do they really think a Dead Rabbit or an Other is going to be much better of a partner? That is disappointing and confusing. Oh well.
This is pretty much every ethnicity EXCEPT black.


eHARMONY has a very specific formula for how they determine matches. Yes, you can browse, but your matches are more based on a slew of questions that you must answer, and you will receive notices of people they think will be good for you. Because of this, I wager that the only reason eHarmony is called that is because someone already owns the rights to eYenta.
There are a few issues I have with eHarmony. You cannot use it if you are separated. You MUST be divorced. You also cannot use it if you are polyamorous. Most annoying is that if you are gay, lesbian, or transsexual, you cannot use eHarmony. The excuse that eHarmony claims is that the meticulous formula that they concocted was only made for heterosexual coupling, that they just did not think about gay individuals. Right, because gay people come from a different galaxy, and therefore no one really knows what they would want in a relationship. Including them in the eHarmony formula might create a fissure in the space/time continuum! You MUST be a CIS-gender heterosexual strictly monogamous man or woman who legally has no marital ties to play. This excuse is utter bullshit. What kind of shitty formula are they using that it is so fragile that adding the variables X or Y where X= “Guy Who Kisses Boys” and Y= “Recently Separated Individual Strong Enough to Put Him/Herself Back Out There” will throw it off? I know eHarmony might work for me, but by virtue of the fact that they choose to exclude an entire demographic, no matter how small that demographic may be, fuck eHarmony.


There are hundreds more dating sites out there; some cast wide nets and some are honed down to one specific subject. You can look up InterracialMatch.com, FarmersOnly.com, JDate.com, Gk2gk.com (Geek to Geek), FurryHump.com**, etc. this is just an assessment of the ones I have tried. Now, I am going to get back to my Lego trains.

*There are no PhDs on PoF. Stop looking.
**FurryHump.com is not a dating site. Yet.

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