i-saw-you-on-tinder

Snog, Marry, Avoid was a fairly trashy TV show which involved making over women who were deemed a bit trashy, and making them classy. The title hinted at the fact that dressing and wearing makeup in a certain way might get you a snog, but it wouldn’t get you a ring, and if you wanted him to put a ring on it you needed to shape up because the snap judgements men  made about the way you look could make you miss out.

I think I might have admitted this before, but in a moment of midnight madness and curiosity, I downloaded Tinder. It didn’t last very long, approximately 5 minutes. I don’t say this in a sneering way to belittle those of you who have used the app as an aid in your romantic (sexual?) endeavours. It just took all of 5 minutes for me understand that my particular demographic – black, female, born again Christian,waiting till marriage to have sex and looking for a man with similar values, was possibly NOT Tinder’s target demographic and that I was extremely unlikely to swipe and land on a 28 year old man who was currently deciding whether to read Revelation or Matthew next and investing his pent up sexual energy in 5 mile runs. It was swiftly deleted and I went to sleep.

I was watching a (fairly low brow) documentary this evening called Face Value, which explored how central our faces are to..well..life. Wars have been waged over faces. Millions of pounds have been earned from the simple genetic lot of facial features.Most importantly, in 2016 especially, potential life partners have been selected or discarded on the basis of their face.

I often hear people say that your twenties are the time for having fun when you’re dating. We get told not to get too tied down to one person, not to spend time being patient with someone who isn’t meeting our expectations, to ‘get it out our system’. The assumption is that once this period is over, we will be ready to settle down with a long term life partner. Once we’ve gone through a 10 year period of making snap judgements, impulse decisions and allowing ourselves slightly more superficiality that we would expect from a ‘proper’ adult, we can then go on to blossom into a a more mature connoisseur of  love and relationships.

Essentially, your twenties are your snog, marry, avoid years. Your Twenties are your Tinder years. You have the youth, the good looks amd the free time to swipe as you please. Your fertility can withstand your snap judgements and there is no receding hairline to force you into low expectations and settling. Some people are comfortable with moving from person to person because they have their whole life ahead of them to be boring and committed and tied down.

But what if you never get out of your Tinder habit? What if your brain becomes so accustomed to swiping, avoiding, hooking up, discarding and transactional sexual experiences, that come 35, no woman can hold your attention for long enough?  What if you find out too late that you haven’t learnt the steady, sometimes difficult uphill hike of learning to grapple with someones flaws and reflecting on your own?

Would it be worth it? Maybe we’re delusional in believing that our brains, marvellous in their ability to form habits and build neuronal pathways that reinforce these, can suddenly adjust when we and society decide that it’s time for us to grow up. I read a diary entry I’d written at age 14 – it  listed the things I liked about myself and the things that I didn’t like, things I wanted to change and work on. I’d scrawled in my notebook ‘I’m good at talking to people, I have a quick mind, I can be very loving…I can be selfish sometimes, I have a quick temper, I’m disorganised and messy’. I would like to say that I’ve changed dramatically, but apart from having a much slower temper (thank God) , I’m still a bit selfish and I’m still quite messy and disorganised at times. In fact, it’s frightening how many of both my good and bad qualities were solidified during my teenage years.

The fact that my temper has improved quite significantly gives me some hope – I prayed a lot about that and I’m thankful that I’ve changed. Change is possible. But the other things on my list serve as a warning to me that every day I’m making choices about who I will be in 10 years time. I’m fooling myself if I think that who I am today at 26 and who I am at 36 will be different just because I decide that it’s time for me to grow up. Life doesn’t woirk that way.

So next time you decide to swipe in real life, or on Tinder, ask yourself how swiping is changing the way you look at people. And remember that who you are in 10 years may be so similar to who you are now, it will surprise even you.

noy into you

I’m no authority on men or relationships having had fairly minimal experience with either, but I would say I’m a pretty good authority on unrequited love. I’ve had more than a couple crushes and ‘situationships’ which have ended with a lot of feelings on my side, and a couple ‘k cool’ text messages from their side.

My broken heart could have probably escaped with  a wee dent instead of being shattered with blunt force if only I had come to the realisation…he’s just not that into you.

Women especially, are professional love creators. We specialise in taking men with no love in their hearts for us, and using all the energy that could be spent on rock hard abs, a fantastic career and a relationship tighter with Jesus than all 12 of the disciples, on attempting to squeeze every ounce of non-affection from their souls.

The end result of this is wasted months, stress, a lot of kleenex and a complete rinsing of your thankfully, unlimited minutes on asking each of your friends in a million different ways why Jim-Bob just doesn’t seem to be giving you the attention you deserve.

My dear friend:Stop. Cease. Desist. Unhand the gentleman.

Shall I say it in patois for you? Him nuh want yuh

One thing men and woman both have in common though is that when we want someone, we show it.

Maybe not immediately. Sure, there’s the does -he-like-me, does-he-not stage  that can last varying amounts of time, but generally we’re pretty good at sending off signals. I could write an extensive list of signs that someone just isn’t into you, but there are two main signs:

  1. They don’t initiate contact. (Or in the case of many women, don’t accept contact)
  2. They don’t initiate commitment

That’s it. Simple. It all boils down to these two things – contact and commitment. Most men get to stage one and stop at stage two.

If he doesn’t text or call you and you’re always the one calling and texting – he’s not that into you. If he only calls or texts during unsavoury hours when Sam’s chicken and brothels are the only institutions open for business- he’s not that into you. If your phone calls last 10 minutes and the main point is clearly to warm you up enough so he can come over and get some sort of sexual intimacy – he’s not into you, he’s into getting into you. If she talks to you for 20 minutes and then ‘has to go’ Every.Single.Time – she’s just not that into you.If you disappear from the country, climb Everest, and 3 months later get a text saying ‘sup? you good?’. They’re just not that into you.If you’re in a relationship  and you have to beg him to check up on you once a week – no, it’s very unlikely that’s just his personality- he’s just not that into you. If he repeatedly cancels plans you make together to go out with friends/siblings/ his personal trainer and apologises profusely each time, but still cancels…guess what? He’s just not that into you. If she doesn’t pick up for 3 days at a time and doesn’t bother to  even text a ‘sorry I missed ya :-)’ text, then mate, she’s probably just not that into you.

Now on to commitment. Intimacy is the reward of commitment. And as intimacy grows so should commitment. Many of us have broken hearts because we give intimacy – be that emotional, sexual, mental without the appropriate level of commitment If you’ve been ‘talking’ for a year but there’s been no suggestion of a relationship, the odds are he’s just not that into you. If he/she says ‘I’m  focusing on my career right now’, then that may be a very true statement, but what’s also true is that they’re just not that into you. Because if they thought you were unmissable, they wouldn’t miss out on you. For my Christian folk – if you’ve been dating for 5 years, are both grown adults with a viable income and are ‘celibate’ but he still has not proposed, my friend, he’s just not that into you. Because no grown heterosexual man with a sex drive and a stable income needs 5 years to decide whether he wants to marry a woman and make attempts at procreating. Please be honest with yourself – if he wanted you to be his wife he would have asked by now.  If after 8 months of dating she doesn’t want to ‘tie herself down’ by actually having the title of girlfriend , she may fancy you , but really and truly, she’s just not THAT into you. If they break up with you, guess what? They’re just not that into you. Regardless of whether they tell you you’re perfect and amazing – they’ve broken up with you. Massive hint. Pretty huge.

Sure there are exceptions to all of these, but if you’re reading this and thinking your boyfriend/emotional booty call/person you fancy is the exception then you’re probably wrong. And they’re probably not that into you. And you should grab yourself by the shoulders, believe that you’re worth it and trust that God has someone for you who actually IS that into you.

So  pick up the phone and (with dignity) bury that relationship that is already dead.

What do you think? How can you tell when someone’s not into you?

bearded man.jpg

There are very few things that superficially warm my heart than the sight of a man with a good beard and a good shape up. There’s something about the clean line of a level one perfectly orchestrated, partnered with a full  chin of hair that makes my heart skip a little beat. I’ve convinced myself that not only are beards physically attractive, they’re actually a signifier of a higher level of being.

Disclaimer: Just because something isn’t logical, doesn’t mean it’s not true. Think about that. It’s deep. 

1) Men with beards are more spiritually enlightened.

According to every painting  I’ve ever seen, Jesus had a beard. In fact, every famous religious figure worth mentioning had a beard. Now, I’m team Jesus, but Mohammed, Buddha, Confuscious, and all the Egyptian Pharoahs (who they thought were also gods) had beards. Basically, despite my opinions on their varying theologies they all got one thing right – a good beard makes a man more at peace with himself and the world around him.

2) Men with beards have more time to spend with you

If it takes a man 5 minutes to shave in the morning, that’s 5 minutes every day he can’t spend giving you attention. That’s 5 minutes less breakfast in bed, foot rubs, phone conversations, asking  for the 10th time his opinion on whether you should go natural,  helping you choose hairstyles for when you go natural, arguing about George Osbourne’s budget (just me?), or telling you that you’re beautiful. Unless he has one of those beards that needs daily grroming. In which case, refer to point number 1. View Post

miniskirthijab

 

I love learning about different religions. I’ve always been fascinated by faith and non-faith, from the colourful polytheism of Hinduism to the strict monotheism of Islam, right down to the secular humanism that rejects both. R.E was one of my favourite subjects at school and I distinctly remember one of my best grades was a project I had to do on Judaism in year 9. I remember working particularly hard on it simply because I found Jewish culture fascinating – maybe even attractive. I admired their pride in their cultural traditions, I loved the beauty of the language of the Torah and the Talmud, and I so badly wanted to experience Shabbat at a synagogue.(It’s still on my bucket list).

I would never date a Jewish man.

Strange? While I love learning about different faiths, I am adamant that the faith I believe in is the truth. Arrogant,some would say. But not only do I assert that what i believe is the truth, I fully expect other people who have different faith backgrounds to assert the same thing, and I have no problem with that. After all, what is the point of faith if it is half hearted? How can something shape the entire fabric of your life, right down to the clothes you wear and the food you eat, and be a ambiguous wandering in the direction of a possible certainty. No one’s giving up bacon based on a vague inkling. And I’m certainly not refraining from sex before marriage because of a hunch I got a few years ago that it could possibly be a good idea, sorta, depending on what cereal I ate yesterday. Erm, no. There’s got to be certainty on that one. View Post

facebbok fdadoes that make you a bad person?

There was article yesterday in the Guardian which claimed that female graduates are less likely than their less (conventionally) educated counterparts to be able to date or marry a man who is their educational equal. Apparently, more women are going to university than men. I know that in my course for example, women outnumbered men. Which proves what women have known for centuries – we’re far more intelligent and productive than men, which explains why until recently they wouldn’t give us our chance to shine. Jokes aside, the article goes on to suggest that in the future we’ll go on to see a lot more ‘mixed collar’ relationships, where women who are highly educated marry and date men in traditional blue collar professions. He emphasises that this shouldn’t be seen as ‘settling’ because obviously, there are wonderful men from many different backgrounds who would make great life partners.

But surely settling is determined by the person who does it? The definition of settling in dating terms is having a standard that is very important to you, but realising that the standard is, at present, unobtainable, and so you learn to live with something lower than that standard. View Post