authenticity · awareness · career · dating · deprivation · faith · fear · integrity · internet dating · jobs · perseverance · self-abandonment · self-esteem

Broken Algorithms




Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Someone asks you out.
You’re pretty sure it’s not a match, but “you never know” and you have nothing better to do, so you
say sure. The date is uneventful, confirms that you’re not a match, and ends
with a nice awkward hug, and one of those vague promises to meet up again soon.
Perhaps there are follow-up texts, that you politely reply
to, but are vague and friendly. Perhaps there are then more follow-up texts
that you begin to ignore in an attempt to give a hint as to your lack of
interest and intention. And, finally, perhaps there’s the passive-aggressive
texts you begin to receive that a) reconfirm this wasn’t a match, and b) lead you
to hide them from your newsfeed!
What’s wrong with this picture? – as the back of the Highlights magazine asked you to spot.
Well, first and foremost is the fact that you abandoned your
own good judgment, values, and integrity by agreeing to go out in the first
place. “Pretty sure it’s not a match” is usually good enough. Enough of these
situations have proved that your gut is usually correct.
This self-abandonment is the seed of the whole problem.
It’s not the dude; it’s not his persistence; it’s not his disappointment masked
as passive-aggression. – It’s you.
I’ve finished reading the history of online dating/how-to
memoir entitled Data, A Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to
Meet My Match
. In it, the author describes
that the problem with online dating is not the sites; it’s
us. It’s us answering questions as our aspirational
self, instead of as we are. It’s us, chatting with people we only have vague
interest in. It’s us, abandoning our integrity in order to have crappy
connections with people.
I’ve been thinking about this process in relation to my job
search. I’ve realized that I do the same thing in dating that I do in job
searching: I lie. I let jobs that hold little to no interest for me get a bulk
of my attention, and then when I get the interview, I find that,
indeed, I’m not interested, but in order to be “nice” or liked or wanted or
hired, I will feign that interest. I will more often than not land that job,
and then I will become resentful that I have it. This suitor that I didn’t
want, I’m now trying to delete from my Facebook, or in this case, my LinkedIn.
Again, what’s broken here is not these jobs – it’s my
willingness to abandon my values. It’s my willingness to say to myself,
Something is better than nothing; what else have you got to do? It’s my
willingness to waste my time and theirs, so that I can put off and deny what it
is I really want.
My willingness to waste my own time … my threshold for the pain that causes is astronomically high.
But because I have a belief that this is easier than the
pain of making truer statements, of sticking close to my integrity, my
intentions, my values, and my wants, I choose the rockier path every time.
Because the alternative is to stick with myself. To be the
friend I want to be to myself. To be my
own cheerleader and ally, and to let myself know that I’m here to support
myself on the unknown path of self-esteem.
I said on the phone to a friend two weeks ago: “I’m having
trouble mustering the low self-esteem required to apply for jobs I don’t want.” Ha!
I think we call that progress; insight; growth. (Although, I am still finding myself browsing those job descriptions.)
I have to muster a whole silo filled with negative beliefs
in order to go toward jobs I don’t want. These include: I don’t know what I
want, so I don’t deserve anything better. I will only abandon myself
eventually, so I may as well do it now. There’re no happy endings in this world,
so what makes you think you deserve one.
To name a few.
And I have to bombard and drown myself in these beliefs
(false beliefs) in order to “muster the low self-esteem” necessary to undersell
The same, I’m sure, is true for me in the dating world.
So, again, what is the solution, here?
I know that it’s to not abandon myself, to continue working
on my self-esteem, to wipe away the corroded mirror I use to judge myself so
that I can get a clearer view, one that reflects esteem, joy, confidence, and
courage. One that reflects someone fun, engaged, lively, warm, and worthy. I
know that the work is to trust that if I walk away from that silo of low
self-esteem, I will be led toward a healthier source of sustenance.
And that trust… That is the hard part. That tiny sapling of
faith that I will have to hold onto as the storm of negativity swirls around
me, raging only harder the longer I resist. I will have to hold on to that sapling,
until it becomes a redwood, until the storm recedes into memory. I will have to
have faith that if I hold on long enough to my self-worth and my self-esteem,
the clouds will give way to the sun. 
Here’s hoping. 

acceptance · change · dating · internet dating · trying


One guy’s profile on Tinder read, “Let’s just tell people we met in line at a coffee
shop, and I said something charming.”
Because (forgive me if you did) who wants to say, We met
My dad met his fiancé online. My mom met her boyfriend
online. My coworker is happily married to a man she met online. To name a few. 
So, what’s the big deal? Will this stigma end? Is it a
stigma, or is it just me and my highfalutin ideas of how people should act and
meet and love?…
So, how did me and the 25-year old meet? Well, according to
my highfalutin idea that I would “meet someone on the way to meeting
myself,” in fact. Amazingly.
We met at the Theater Bay Area auditions last Sunday. He was an auditor (i.e. some kind of representative of a theater company who watched all the auditions–casting director, director, who knew), I was a volunteer.
We repeatedly caught one another’s eye during the day, but the day passed without a word and was ending. I didn’t want to let the opportunity to meet him pass by, because either he’s
someone in the theater world I’d like to meet, or he’s just a cute boy I’d like
to meet.
Everyone milled in the lobby at day’s end, and I simply
walked up to him and said, “Hi, We’ve been glancing at one another all day, and
I just wanted to introduce myself.” He replied that it was the red I was
wearing that caught his eye. And, that I was very beautiful.
We chatted, we laughed a little, and in the end, I gave him
my card, utterly ambiguous to either of us whether our intentions were personal or professional.
Then, his email later in the week, and the ambiguous Saturday afternoon meeting
that turned into half a date. And last night into a full one. 
His beard hid the fact he’s 7 years younger than me, could have been anywhere around 30, til I asked on Saturday outright.
The agony I poured into my friends’ text messages yesterday
morning about the age gap! “He was in diapers when the Challenger blew up.” “He
doesn’t know Corey Feldman before rehab.” “He didn’t suffer neon like the rest of
us.” Though born in the 80s, his earliest memories begin in the 90s. This is a Millenial. 
My friends’ resounding response was: Just go on a second date,
You don’t even know if you like one another yet; stop
manufacturing reasons to make this a no.
One friend in particular had good insight about the
generational gap. About the desire for aligned frames of childhood reference. Her husband is from
Germany, arrived in the States in 1995. His American pop-culture references
only go back that far, even though he’s of similar age. She said she walks down
memory lane with her friends. And that’s enough.
What are the need to haves; what are the nice to haves?
What about the “He’s employed, attractive, intelligent, ambitious,
Jewish, tall” part of the equation?
Then again. Your 20s are so much different than your 30s or
any other years (that I’ve lived so far). There is a certainty about the world
and your place in it that you have in your 20s that completely shifts by your
30s. There is a hubris about your knowledge. The development of those few years
is drastic. I know. I’ve lived it, and
watch others live it. I know that people who are 40 look at me and how I think
I fit in the world, and smile good-naturedly at my naïveté.
Though, perhaps it’s my own hubris that I can know where
another person is on their developmental path.
There is no definite here, there’s only exploration. More
opening, more meeting, more laughing and softening. The part where you (I) feel
comfortable enough to be silly–if that part even comes to pass. You
can’t even know yet if you like one another, and so all the questions about how
you met, about generational alignment, about maturity and Back to the
references AREN’T EVEN RELEVANT yet.
For now, I, said doofus, went on the second date. And this
one was unambiguous. 

adventure · dating · internet dating · love

Love in an Elevator – of Zeros and Ones

Long have I harbored, and still do, the idea that I will
“meet the person on the way to meeting myself.” Meaning, that if I am engaged
in doing things that ignite and enliven me, and I happen to meet a dude on the way,
great – if I don’t meet a dude there, well, I went for me anyway. The other
thing about that method is that you already know that you have something in
common, wherever it is you are or what you’re doing – more than what you’ll know
by internet dating, which the only thing you know for sure you have in common
is that you both internet date. Or seek to.
So, that’s all well and good to “meet the person…yadda yadda
yadda,” but, well, what if you haven’t, and it’s time to grease the wheels a
little? Enter the internet. And, for me, most recently (as in Sunday) Tinder.
Ah yes, the new fangled, smart-phone app, where you swipe a
photo left to reject and swipe right to approve. If you both “swipe right” on
one another, you get the chance to chat. I like the idea of this better than my
previous forees into internet dating, because there’s none of
this “so and so winked at you” or
“looked at your profile,” or even so-and-so messaged you and his photos are of
him in a sports bar with five of his best bros swilling pints. In those situations,
the most fun part is the polite decline. How to answer,
if to answer the, “Hey hows it goin”?
Once, I politely declined a guy’s “advances,” and got a
lovely diatribe on how all women were superficial bitches. That was fun. So,
Tinder – you can only communicate if you’ve both agreed you pass the first gate.
Last night, I was supposed to have a coffee date with
someone who passed the gate, but he got sick and texted to cancel and
reschedule. About an hour later, I just took down my profile.
I’ve done it before. My second stint on OkCupid lasted 12
hours—from when I put the profile up at night, to when I woke up horrified in
the morning, and took it down!
I was talking to a friend last night before my date was
cancelled about my amalgam of feelings around the whole “internet dating thing”: That I felt glad to get out there; that I felt loser-ish to “have to”
date that way; that I was excited for the date, but also trepidatious about
meeting a stranger who all I know is from two photos and a witty sentence.
And then the date was cancelled, and I was relieved.
It’s not to say that I won’t restart again, but I usually do internet dating only so long as I can stomach the concept. And
it’s hard (for me) to quiet the nausea long enough to “get out there.” That’s
okay. As Alanis Morissette says in her song “21 Things I Want In A Lover”
(which may as well be my WSM Craigslist ad), I’m in no rush, ‘cause I like
being solo…In the meantime I’ll live like there’s no tomorrow.
And though I agree with the second part, and will continue
to go out to meet myself and potentially meet you too, my desire for dinner for
two may bring me back to 140-character witticisms and culling my most
swipe-rightable photos.