Why people should try online dating

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Originally published: 15th March 2016 on blorgy.net

Online dating – the social club of today. In case you were wondering, online dating is the practice of searching for a romantic or sexual partner on the internet, typically via a dedicated website. Most online dating services follow the same model: you setup a profile of yourself, browse for matches, send them messages, and hope for a reply.

The topic of online dating has come up every now and then, but only in recent years has it really been accepted as the norm. Heck, even I didn’t believe in it back then. I have a post on Facebook with a screenshot of me saying something along the lines of ‘online dating is for desperate people who can’t get anyone in real life’. It’s been years since I wrote that and my perception on the whole subject has changed.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, who would do such a thing? The answer is – a lot of people. I don’t have the numbers, but chances are (if you live in a decently populated city), there are plenty of people out there using these matchmaking services in hopes of finding a suitable partner.

I’m rarely one to say ‘no’ to a challenge, so when the idea of joining a dating site to get me out of my single slump formed, I decided to do it. It’s been many years since I started online dating, and while I don’t use it anymore (I’m currently in a happy relationship), I’ve met plenty of girls and it has been a very positive experience.

Now some of you might be asking – why not just meet people regularly (or ‘offline’)? Well, I can tell you there are quite a number of benefits to online dating. Firstly, it’s very convenient. The fact that you can meet people from the comfort of your own home or during your lunch break at the office is huge. If you treat the online conversation as a screener, you can also save yourself the hassle of driving for miles to spend an evening with someone you don’t click with. It really doesn’t take a lot of time.

Secondly, it enabled me to meet plenty of people I wouldn’t otherwise meet. I’m not exactly young and my social circle hasn’t really grown in a while. I had no way to meet new people bar talking to strangers in public places (not great when those people aren’t out to meet strangers, especially when I wasn’t very good at talking to them). Online dating allowed me to overcome those obstacles. It also introduced me to people from all walks of life – people I wouldn’t have crossed paths with under other circumstances. I’ve had dates with girls that I had nothing in common with, in terms of education, lifestyle; yet we still connected because we were both looking for partners on the internet.

Thirdly, it’s a great way for people like me, who struggle to think of things to say when put on the spot, to meet people. When meeting complete strangers, I usually freeze up and have no idea what to say. Online dating eliminates this problem. You get time to think of what to say and reply. When face to face, the other person isn’t going to wait ten minutes or an hour for you to respond to a question. Whenever I got a match, I used this opportunity to build up confidence and rapport with her, so when we met in person, it was much easier to talk to them. If you can chat with someone online – you should be able to chat offline too.

That sounds great, so what are the downsides to online dating? Well, here’s a few things I’ve learned from my time spent doing it. Minus the convenience part, online dating pretty much mimics offline dating. There will be rejections. Not everybody will respond to your advances. Sometimes they ignore you, sometimes they read your messages and choose to not reply. But you know what? It’s okay. Chances are, they weren’t very interested in you and you haven’t lost anything besides the time spent crafting your introductory message.

Like offline dating, it is a numbers game. If you’ve seen a girl (especially if she’s physically attractive) using an online dating service, you’ll understand how often they get bombarded with messages. It’s not uncommon for girls to miss a message you send them or think that your message isn’t interesting enough to reply to. Like girls who get hit on in clubs, it’s not very different on the internet. You’ll just have to accept it and move on.

Not every girl you match with will end up becoming a partner – you may meet a lot more girls, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be meeting ‘the one’ right away. There will definitely be matches you don’t click or have any sparks with offline. You can just stay friends or move on. Who knows? Maybe they’ll introduce you to their friends in the future if they think you’re worth it.

The waiting game – remember how I mentioned you can take your time to craft responses? Well, sometimes you end up waiting hours, even days, for a reply to your own message. You never know if they’ve forgotten about you or they’ve been thinking of what to say, or if they’re really busy with other things in their life. Again, it’s not a problem. You can go on with your day, message other people and just respond to them in the future when and if they reply.

Online dating isn’t a replacement for meeting people in person. Personally, I treated it as a vehicle for introducing me to my match and setting up the first date. After that, it was all on me and how I acted or reacted to her when we met. This way, I got to save the more interesting topics for our conversations face to face, which made our dates better. Plus, being able to see them physically helped me steer conversations towards the right direction.

So why do I think people should try online dating? It’s a very exciting and interesting experience – especially if you’re the kind of person who enjoys meeting new people and you’ve never done it before. I’ve yet to have a terrible date though I’ve heard horror stories from the other side of the fence. At worst, your bad date becomes a funny tale you can recount with your friends. At best, you meet someone amazing and magical things happen.

Because I’ve been able to go out with so many different girls through online dating, my confidence in myself increased, along with my social skills – which has improved my life significantly (for both work and leisure). I’m no Casanova, but at least I’m not the most awkward guy at a party anymore.

If you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to meet new people, an expanding social circle or the skills to meet strangers in public, online dating should be an option you should seriously consider. Be sure to stay safe and most importantly, have fun. As for writing a good profile and introductory message, that will have to be an essay for another day!

Writing is like asking a girl out

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Originally Published: 5th August 2015 on blorgy.net

There are many parallels to draw between writing and asking a girl out. Actually not really, but since I couldn’t think of what to compare it to, I just took the first thing that came to mind. Let’s see how I can forcefully marry the two activities together.

Before you start writing or ask a girl out, you have to do some research. Especially if you’re unfamiliar with the subject or person. Going in unprepared is the easiest way to fail at something. Just like how you won’t write that essay on your country’s history without doing some research, you’re not going to ask a girl out without knowing anything about her.

You need to know the facts about the country, what happened, why it happened and so on. You need to find out what a girl likes or doesn’t like. What kind of person she is. What she does in her spare time. Then only you’ll know what kind of date you’d like to bring her out on.

Just like how you’re not going to make up facts for your historical essay, you’re not going to take an acrophobiac vegan skydiving and to a nice steak dinner afterwards. Either will not end well.

If you did your research and cite your sources correctly, you can’t go wrong with your essay. The same goes for taking a girl who loves new age music and drinking fine wine to a hipster joint which provides just that. You gotta know what you’re dealing with before you jump right in.

Other aspects of preparation includes working with the right medium, knowing your deadlines and submission guidelines. A beautifully handwritten essay handed in a week late isn’t going to score you any points when they specifically mentioned they wanted something in .doc format. Asking a girl out when she’s not around isn’t going to score you any dates either. Also, you’ll need to be dressed appropriately for the activity you’ll be doing.

Besides planning for the essay or date, there’s the execution bit. You can have great ideas but until you pen them down onto paper, they’re nothing more than ideas. Having the funniest lines or engaging questions trapped in your head isn’t going to help. You need to let her hear them. There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank piece of paper not knowing what to write or staring at a girl with a blank expression on your face not knowing what to say.

Have a little confidence in your writing and yourself. Be adventurous, don’t limit yourself. If you think it works, put it down or say it out. It doesn’t matter if you mess up – you can learn from your mistakes.

I could go on (actually, not really. I’ve run out of things to say but I’ve hit the 300 word requirement so I shall stop here!) – but there’s one thing left to say.

Like writing, sometimes you can just throw all the rules out the window, and follow your heart (or gut) with reckless abandon. Sometimes you write better when you don’t limit yourself and put down whatever comes to mind – everything and anything. It’s called free writing and it helps unblock your brain. It may also work when asking a girl out. Being spontaneous is an attractive quality to most people and can do wonders.

You don’t have to be the smoothest guy on the block, you just need to say the right thing at the right time, and sometimes that happens. Serendipity? Fate? Luck? Who knows? (who cares?) Maybe you caught them on a good day and things work out in your favor just because. But whatever it is, sometimes it pays to take a chance and pull the trigger without overthinking or over-analyzing your next move.

Which is pretty much what I did here. I didn’t plan this writing piece. I just wrote down what I felt and it worked out alright (I think).

And I shall leave you with some wise words some famous actor recently said – DO IT.

The Captcha Test

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Originally Published 12th August 2015 on blorgy.net

Bob typed in his name, email address and password and carefully read through the terms and conditions before clicking “accept”. The form disappeared and another page appeared.

“Please verify that you are human” were the words on the screen. Below it, a check box next to the words “I’m not a robot”.

“Captcha tests sure are getting easier these days,” he said to himself. He moved the cursor to click the check mark and submitted his answer.

The page reloaded and again, he was presented with the same Captcha test. Maybe his internet connection was wonky and his answer didn’t go through. He selected the checkbox and submitted his answer again. The same thing happened.

“Odd. Maybe the browser is clearing cookies for no reason.”

Bob inspected the settings on his browser and made sure that “Enable Cookies” was checked. He refreshed the page again, and re-entered his details.

“Thank god for autocomplete,” he muttered to himself.

The Captcha test appeared again. He reread the test again to make sure his eyes weren’t playing any tricks on him.

Click. Click. The Captcha test reappeared. Click. Click. Same thing.

Click. Click.

“This browser sure is acting up…I knew I shouldn’t have upgraded to Edge…”

After some pondering, he decided to not check the “I’m not a robot” box and clicked submit.

“Congratulations! You have successfully registered your account on Bang BUS and are one step closer to enjoying our collection of nasty, filthy cables going in and out of dirty, shameless sockets! And an e-mail has been sent to you to confirm your registration.”

“Huh”, he thought to himself. “That’s pretty odd. Is this why my friends all don’t enjoy the same kind of porn as me?”

But those thoughts left his mind as soon as he confirmed his account and got lost in the galleries of nasty, filthy cables having their way with dirty, shameless sockets.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: Bob doesn’t realise he’s a robot until he fails a captcha five times in a row.

Mission To Mars

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Originally Published 3rd September 2015 on blorgy.net

“Goodbye, my lover. Goodbye, my friend.”

“How fitting,” I thought to myself. James Blunt music while I’m in a pod miles and miles away from home. I guess it must’ve been some M2M employee’s sorry excuse for a joke. I turned the volume knob on the control panel all the way down to zero, enveloping myself in silence.

This is good. It felt like I hadn’t treated myself to a round of silence for some time. The silence helped me clear my mind. To think about everything. To think about nothing.


***

“You’ll get to start a new life. Forget all your worries. Just leave them all behind!” said the salesman pitching me what he called a vacation to remember.

I was skeptical. I mean, who wouldn’t be of a trip to another planet, all expenses paid, no strings attached. I went over the fine print multiple times. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing I had to be worried about. All I had to do was give them my name and contact number. They said they would call me if I was selected.

I received the call two days later.

***

I was travelling at high speeds, but this ship and suit I wore kept all my innards in place. They told it was safe, not that I was concerned in the first place. I was about ready to kill myself before the trip if I didn’t agree to be a passenger.

I hated my life. I hated my family. I had no friends – if I did, I would have probably hated them too.

From the frying pan into the fire – that idiom basically defined my life. Except that it was a never-ending series of pans and stoves. I kept going from one shitty situation to another. Nothing was going my way. I had lost my job. My country’s economy was shit. I had no savings. My dog had left me. I was being evicted from my home in a few days. I had nobody to borrow money from. There was nobody for me to turn to.

Nothing short of me finding a huge bag of money on the floor could have dug me out of my financial situation. Assuming I didn’t get robbed after finding that money.

So when I was approached by a stranger working for some company called M2M (Mission 2 Mars) and he promised me a better life away from home, I signed up on the spot.

After all, I was on the way to a drug store to steal some medication to kill myself with. I was ready to end it all.

***

“You always know how to make me smile,” I told Sparks. I had just come home from work – to be more accurate, after being fired from work. The mutt ran away that very night.

***

I was on a one way trip to Mars. And I regret nothing. I stared out the window as Earth gradually became smaller and smaller. Gosh, Earth does look as beautiful as it does in the books and movies I’ve seen. Especially from up here.

Then I noticed from a distance, what I thought was merely piece of space debris, an asteroid flying towards Earth. I guess it was pretty far away when I first saw it, because right now it looked to be about half the size of Earth.

It was hurtling towards the planet at an extremely high speed, drenched in flames, like a big fucking fireball.

***

“You’ll never amount to anything! Look at yourself! You’re a piece of shit! I regret not having the abortion!” were the very last words my mother told me before she left with dad after their weekend visit to the shanty side of town a.k.a. my home. Dad was quiet as usual. But I knew his silence was consent.

***

I watched the asteroid – the big fucking fireball – crash into Earth. It blew the planet to smithereens. And as quickly as it happened, it was over.

Earth was no more. And I was on a ship to its neighboring planet.

***

“Forty hours till your destination.” said the voice over the PA system.

***

I never really cared about that place anyway.
I never cared about that place anyway.
I never cared about that place.
I never cared.

Good riddance.

As I stared into the space which was taken up by Earth, I could feel the side of my mouth turning upwards, slowly creeping into a smile.


Writing Prompt from Reddit – You are one of the people sent to mars in 2020. Everyone thinks you volunteered for a suicide mission. You watch from a biosphere as Earth gets demolished by a large asteroid.

What a lovely night to be lonely

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Originally Published: 19th August 2015 on blorgy.net

I turned on the TV and it was still on her favorite channel, The Food Network, which we were watching during dinner earlier. An Iron Chef rerun episode was playing. I never understood the fascination she had with watching people cook, but I decided to watch it for a moment. It didn’t hold my attention for more than 30 seconds. I could only guess why she enjoyed it.

She was always up for something new and I’m pretty sure some of the meals she’s cooked for us had come from the countless hours she spent watching the channel. But this evening was special. She didn’t cook us dinner. I had texted her earlier in the day that she was in for a surprise when she returned from work. I was the one who made us dinner tonight.

It wasn’t anything special, but she liked it a lot. At least that’s what she told me after her first bite. That’s what people who love you tell you, right? You could cook the worst meal in the world and they will eat that shit up and feed you praise. Dinner was a simple salad, laced with her favorite sauce and a hint of some special condiment. “It’s a secret ingredient,” I had told her with a smile when she asked me about it.

“Dial one-eight-hundred Dan’s cars now for a limited time discount!” said the voice-over at the end of a used car dealer advertisement as I switched to another channel. The prices flashed onscreen. One of the highlights was $2,000 for a ’98 Corolla. Damn, I could’ve used this dealer tonight. Well, I guess I’ll keep him in mind for next time. Though, I doubt there would be a next time.

The Lonely Planet program resumed after the advertisement ended. It was a program about the most remote places to go to for a quiet holiday. “…we’re here in middle of Cornwall, with miles and miles of nothing but country side…” She always wanted to get away, to leave this noisy neighborhood in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. I promised her that we would go, as soon as I had some free time away from work.

And today I kept my promise to her. I had taken the remainder of the week off because I had some leaves to clear and had just finished a big project. It was the perfect opportunity for a getaway. I took her to a place where nobody could reach us. It was a long drive and she had had her eyes shut the whole journey. I guess I didn’t need the blindfolds I had prepared for the surprise.

“…nobody can get in touch with you, unless they sent a messenger from the closest town over – provided they knew where you checked in first!” exclaimed the TV host.

I jumped to another channel. It was the home shopping network showing yet another rerun. I had seen it last week – the man on TV was selling his faceless customers a garden shovel which came with free tools and a bag of fertilizer. I remembered watching the ad and thinking to myself, “that’s just what I need. Feels like I’m killing two birds with one stone!” as I reached out for my phone and dialed the number of the home shopping network.

Sometimes everything just falls into place.

I switched channels again, but this time to my favorite channel. The first quarter tip off for Hawks versus the Celtics had just started. I had placed a lot of money on the Hawks earlier today – the odds looked pretty good. I put the remote control aside and placed my feet on the table, carelessly knocking over a stack of magazines to the ground. I half expected to hear her nagging voice until I remembered that she wasn’t around anymore.

I’ll clean up the mess later. Thank god she’s not around to interrupt me. Let’s go Hawks!

I leaned back further into my couch. What a lovely night to be lonely.


Writing prompt from reddit.

Eighteen

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Originally Published: 15th February 2018 on blorgy.net

“Come on!” yelled Sobia. “What does it say?”

“Yeah!” said Farez. “Tell us!”

It was my eighteenth birthday and I had just blown the candles out on my birthday cake. Fortunately I didn’t get saliva all over the cake this year. For the past few years, my friends have been calling me ‘The Spitter’ for that very reason. I breathed a sigh of relief. I had made sure I swallowed all my saliva before attempting to blow the candles this time. However, this year my friends didn’t really care about the cake. They were more interested in my final words.

They would have appeared somewhere on my body, but I had no idea where they were yet. As far as I could tell the words didn’t appear on my face or my arms, if not my friends would have seen them already. Oh dear, I hope it wasn’t on my ass. That would be a pain to read.

I was the youngest of my friends in the group. All my friends had their last words appear on them last year. Most of them had typical last words like, “Goodbye world.” and similar variations. Some of them had more amusing ones like, “I told you so.” Which led us to speculate how they would be leaving this world. As for me, I had no clue yet.

“Come on guys, can we just enjoy this cake? I didn’t spit on it for once!” I said trying to change the topic.

“Don’t leave us hanging! We’ve waited all year for this!”

“Fine, let’s finish the cake and then I’ll go check it out.”

Tanzeel was ahead of me. He grabbed the knife from my hands and started dividing the cake for all of us.

I sat down there, waiting for the cake to be served to everybody before I started eating my own piece. It was a silent occasion and nobody hesitated to wolf down their helping of the delicious chocolate-flavored dessert.

“For fuck’s sake, guys! Are you serious? Did you guys attend my birthday party only to find out what I’ll say before I croak?”

“Yes,” Farez replied sheepishly.

“You guys are assholes.”

“Come on, we’re done with the cake, now go find out what your last words are!”

“Did you know birthday parties are a celebration of life? Not a ritual to find out what someone is going to say before they die?”

Nobody listened to me. They just stared at me, waiting for me to get out of my seat to look for my last words.

I grumbled and got up and headed to the bathroom. A couple of them followed me to the door. I could hear them from the outside talking among themselves. “What do you think it’s going to say?”

“I bet it won’t be as epic as yours, Sobia.”

“What if it’s something sad?”

“Oh shit, I never thought of that.”

I put their voices out of my head as I removed my shirt. There was nothing on my body. Craning my neck around, I checked out my reflection. Nope, there was nothing on my back. Hmph. I guess I’ll have to check my lower body. I took off my shoes and my pants. I noticed some letters trailing out under my boxers. It was on my thigh. Not too bad I guess, it would be easy to keep concealed. I pitied those people who had messages on their foreheads. Nobody understood how these last words appeared or where they appeared. It was just an accepted fact of life. We all just learned to deal with it.

I pulled one leg of my boxers up to reveal the full message. Oh fuck. Is this some sort of joke? I stumbled backwards and fell to the floor on my ass.

I heard banging on the toilet door. “What’s up man? Don’t leave us hanging!”

I took another look at the message on my thigh. I rubbed at it, to make sure that it wasn’t some sort of marker pen joke. The words remained, as clear as day.

“What are your last words? Do you need help in there?”

I tuned out their voices again as I sat on the floor, pondering my last words. No, this can’t be real. Why the hell would I say such a thing? I remained speechless. I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t tell my friends what my last words were. Nobody could know. I broke down and cried.

“Are you alright? What’s wrong? If you don’t reply, we’re coming in!” yelled Farez.

I couldn’t reply. My friends kicked the door in and found me on the ground, a whimpering mess.

“Holy fuck, Zoraiz. What the hell are your last words going to be?”

I didn’t reply. They inspected my body and saw the words on my thigh, still revealed for all to see.

“There is no God but God, Muhammad is His messenger.”


Writing Prompt from Reddit: When a person turns eighteen, their last words appear somewhere on their body. Yours frighten you intensely.

Rock Problems

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Originally Published: 11th February 2018 on blorgy.net

Over the years, I’ve seen many people come and go but nobody has ever caught my attention like her. Like a moth to a lantern, I can’t help but watch her from where I stand. It’s always the same spot, the bench under the tree. That’s where she eats her sandwiches during lunch time, drinks her coffee and smokes her cigarettes. Always alone, as though she prefers the company of my gaze to anybody else – at least that’s what I tell myself.

I’d go over to say hi, if only my feet didn’t feel like I had concrete filled boots on. I’ve been told that I had a heart of stone but if anyone could chisel through it, it would be her. I don’t know her name, or anything about her but I would love to. I’d find out what she likes, and surprise her every time we meet. I’d be the best boyfriend and eventually husband. I wonder if she feels the same way about me.

Would she like larger-sized guys? Someone who could tower over her and protect her from harm. I was strong enough to crush any foe that would stand in my way. As far as I knew, I was cut from the same cloth as mountains. While I hadn’t lost a fight in the past, this battle for her to notice me will probably be my inaugural defeat.

It’s Friday evening. I see her leaving the office, walking away from me. It’ll be another lonely weekend. But that’s okay. I’ll see her in another two days. Maybe next week I’ll be able to tell her hello, and how much I am in love with her. For now, I’ll stay here, dutifully guarding this pond.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: You’ve fallen in love with a girl, only problem is, you are a statue