Sunday, April 6, 2014

How Online Dating is Like Real Estate

What's that you say?
Internet dating language is like real estate?

For a number of years now, we have been approached with many unsolicited suggestions to give the world of online dating a try.

We have also been accosted by many over the years who have a case of "is the grass greener" syndrome, curious to hear what life is like "on the other side".  We have nothing to say to these peeps other than just like anyone else's life, it can be suckier than yours or awesomer than yours, or both from time to time.  Find your own way, is all we're saying.

In the meantime, for those who have been curious about what it's like "out there", our conclusion is that this process takes what may otherwise be level-headed rather intelligent people with common sense, and turns them into narrow-minded nitwits without minds of their own.

Allow us to paint a not-so-flattering picture of what awaits those eager to try it, or the many of you that have asked for a glimpse into this world so elusive to all of you that are already partnered up.

As a service to you all, we conducted some competitive reconnaissance (read: scoured through dozens and dozens of male and female profiles) and came up with a list of the most common cliches one must avoid at all costs. Nothing says "unoriginal" and "lazy" quite like these:
  • I love New York and taking advantage of everything the city has to offer.
  • I love to travel.
  • I love finding new restaurants. 
  • I love the outdoors and am always active. (Oh peeps. Be especially wary of the "always active" one as it is clearly a lie for those living in New York City)
  • I’m tired of playing games.
  • I’m looking for my partner in crime. (Really? Are we all on a mission to rob banks here?)

And so on and so forth.  We have purposely listed them in bullet point format, so as to hit home the point of just how boring these statements are.

Now, one would think this would be a fairly obvious mistake to avoid when writing about oneself, however based on the number of offenses we saw this is clearly not the case.  These phrases are used verbatim, over and over, to the point where seeing again them makes us cringe. One starts to wonder whether these sites offer some added program whereby if you send them some extra cash with your pics they have write your profile for you.

Though overuse of boring cliches are the most common offense we've seen, other rampant profile tactics include lying about your weight, age, height, and/or salary.

Is there no one authentic out there or are people just afraid to reveal their true selves?  Do people not think about whether or not they are setting up unrealistic expectations?  We often wonder whether this alone is the cause behind the common complaint we frequently hear from people that so many dates past that first meeting.

For example, is the 60 yr old retired guy really surprised when the woman expecting a 30-yr old bodybuilder doesn't want to see him again?  How can people not think ahead like this?  Then again, since the sanity of anyone using any of the above tactics must be seriously questioned, perhaps it is unfair to assume that any logical thinking occurs in this process.

For those of you eager to see a little more for yourselves, we invite you to play "interpret that profile"!
It's easy. If you are familiar with reading between the lines in real estate ads, you are ready to play.

You see, in real estate, “charming, intimate two bedroom with exposed brick” translates to “closet sized, unrenovated one bedroom with an unfinished wall.”

Similarly, on dating sites, “Responsible, approachable, youthful looking guy with stable job who loves to travel” is often code for “short, at least fifteen years older than you, afraid of change, and only vacations with his mother.”

See how this works?

To really bring this lesson home, we suggest you try it for yourself.

“Fun-loving, great with kids, always knows the best places to go out!”

Translation:  ________________________________________________

(Good job! If you answered “unemployed, looking for a sugar mama and drinks like a fish,” you’re right!) 

So there you have it peeps.  A brief lesson on the the world of online dating profiles.  And to friends of ours who may be on these sites, since we love and respect you we'd like it keep it that way, so if you've done any of the above if you could keep it to yourself that'd be swell.  

And in the meantime, if you're looking for yet more sneak peeks into this elusive world, this here flowchart isn't far off the mark and may even provide a chuckle or two.

Yes, we said chuckle. Get over it.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Different Kind of "Bucket list"

A lot of Jewish peeps out there have been posting this new infographic below and using it to make all sorts of claims.
If it says so in an infographic, it must be true!
For those who can't read the teeny tiny stick figures, the chart shows different affiliations of Judaism and statistically predicts how many Jewish offspring they will have four generations later, based on what bucket they choose to affiliate themselves with today.

As with all stats, peeps are interpreting it in all sorts of ways.

Fear: "The people will die out! We must fear the secular peeps who will make our culture extinct!"

Guilt: "See what your non-observance will do!"

Ignorance: "Proof that those black hats are going to take over the world!" 

Relief: "Phew! So glad we are on the right side of that chart and doing our part to save our future"

As an unaffiliated Jew (and therefore clearly a heathen who must be depriving our child of Jewish education and community), we've been asked by many now as to our opinion on this visual oversimplifying this study.

One might think we'd disregard it, but you would be wrong!

In fact, we are relieved to see members of the tribe split up into only 5 distinct buckets.  It makes it very difficult when meeting people to know what makes them tick.  From now on, all we have to do is ask them what kind of Jew they are, and then we will know everything there is to know about them!  It is very unsettling to not know where on the spectrum people lie.  People can be complicated and everything is so much neater when you can fit your peers into a box that will tell you everything about their values, politics, and hopes and dreams.  Judging is much, much easier.

Secondly, the buckets help everyone know where they belong.  For example, if you are in one of the buckets on the left, you will know never to go to a place of worship that is intended for people in the buckets on the right.  And vice versa.  Also, the left four buckets can be united in their disdain for all those babies on the right, and the bucket on the right can feel justified in their hatred for the others for being responsible for the extinction of their people.  And if you don't fit into any of the buckets, well, that is clearly not possible so we won't even address that one.

Next, we think about the philanthropists and educators out there.  A lot of money and time has been expended at finding ways to get those people on the left side of the chart involved in their culture in other ways.  Non-traditional schools, volunteer work around the world, trips to Israel, other ways to bring culture and spirituality into their  life in a way that is meaningful to them.  What a relief to know that all these community-building efforts were a waste of time.  Clearly, efforts must be redirected at moving people towards different buckets.  Now everyone will know where to focus their time and money.

A nice side benefit is all those matchmakers out there will know who not to mix with whom.  So that's one less decision to make.  We wouldn't want those peeps in different buckets fraternizing or anything. That could lead to disastrous results such as dialogue.  Or schizophrenic Jews.  Or horrible mutations, like.... bacon challah [shudder].

Finally, what we really like about this chart is the predictability.  Not knowing what your future holds can be scary.  Having a chart tell you how many children you can expect to have, how many grandchildren you can expect to have, etc.  is supremely reassuring.   It is comforting to know what to expect, after all.

So while others might be upset at a chart like this that oversimplifies everything and ignores so many gray areas, we are grateful for the structure.

After all, engaging in meaningful dialogue about other ways to build community and make the culture meaningful to those who would otherwise abandon it is way too complicated.

Now, as with everything, statistics are all in the interpretation of the data.  In this case we suspect that the statistics excluded the subjects in the study who did not identify with "reform", "conservative", etc..., but rather the "I have no f*cking idea" segment.  We suspect this because this is exactly what we would have done!  Including this group would have made it much harder to draw meaningful qualitative, predictable conclusions, and that would have made the analysis much more messy.  Aside from the fact that it wouldn't lead to an easy sound bite, nobody likes messy.

That said, they probably ensured they could avoid that kind of messiness by making "affiliation" a close-ended question rather than open-ended.  That would force people to select an affiliation even if it wasn't quite right, and would make it much much easy to keep the analysis down to just 5 segments, and make it easier to categorize peeps.  Of course, in full disclosure we haven't looked at the full study data, so we're just guessing here.

What we do know is this: when life is complicated, look to the infographic!  It will tell you everything you need to know.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Friends Don't Let Friends Read Upworthy

"Content curation" is one of those buzzwords from last year you may or may not have heard, but y'all are doing it whether you realize it or not.  See, it's just a fancy schmancy way of saying sharing articles, information, videos created by someone else.

By selecting from all of the available content created by others out there, and funneling the information via email, your own site, or even just your Facebook feed, you're curating content for others.

Some of you are extremely, extremely good at it - so much so, that we are ashamed to admit that for a while Facebook has become our primary source of information on what happened in the world that day!  You know you do it too.

Now, this is not always a bad thing.  Everyone needs fabulous content curators in their life and thanks to a select few in ours that send group emails or post on Facebook, we are never short of interesting articles to read or information we would never have found on our own but are glad we did.  And we don't thank these people nearly enough.  Or, you know, at all.

Nearly everyone else is simply keeping us up to date on their lives, and that's fine too.  If the majority of peeps you knew were good content curators, you'd have too much to read and it would defeat the whole purpose!

But lately, given than ideal things many have been sharing (let's just say anything upworthy is now blocked from our feed!) we have been fretting that we're not doing enough on our end and we have a responsibility to share good content too.

That changes today!

Starting today, you peeps shall benefit from the fabulous content we will find for you all!  Today is the day we shall find out what kind of bagel we are, what type of bear we'd be if we were a bear with little brain as opposed to a human with a rapidly withering one, and....

wait for it.....

what character we'd be on Modern Family if, you know, we were reincarnated as one of them (we can't spill the beans on that one as we'd hate to be a spoiler but let's just say we'd be a fat baby whose name rhymes with shulhencio).

We can't wait to find out all these answers! 
We feel terrible that this isn't nearly enough to repay y'all, though, so stay tuned for tomorrow when we find out what kind of premium tequila we'd be as well as what kind of 1980's walkman we'd wear.  Later on in the week, we'll be sharing articles asking YOU to tell us more facts about yourself, like what kind of egg sandwich you'd be, and what foreign hard-to-pronounce lake fits you best.

No no, really, you're welcome.

Friday, December 27, 2013

It's the End of the Year, and You Want to Give Me Money.

Perhaps you missed the email.

I sent you another note reminding you about the end of the year, and well, you haven't responded yet.  I know you're busy so don't worry, that's why I'm sending you a third reminder.

You see, I know you want to give me money.  You just haven't gotten around to it yet.  And I hate to see you miss out on something I know you want to do, so I've taken it upon myself to remind you several times that the end of the year is rapidly approaching and well, time is running out.  I am certain you are just not aware of this fact so it is up to me to remind you.
Give cash.  Give checks.  But whatever
you do, don't give me coins.
They're too damn heavy.

I know you are a busy person.  I know you have other demands on your time and money.  Of course, you could be helping starving children in Africa, but have you considered the alternative of seeing just how your funds are spent and making an impact on one person?

A small donation could buy me a nice bottle of tequila.  A little more could buy me that new coat I've had my eye on.  Or perhaps, you're feeling generous and would like to fund a spending spree at Sephora, makers of all things good?  Throw in a couple more dollars and I may even treat my child to something nice too.  Or maybe not.  On second thought, I'll have a second fundraiser for that.  That would be diluting your generosity and we wouldn't want to do that.

In exchange for your end of year donation I will give you a letter which you can give your accountant, who will promptly tell you there's no chance in hell of deducting that from your taxes.  He might use big words like "fraud" and "scam".  Don't worry, this is standard procedure.  You will be grateful to him for opening up your eyes before you gave even more, and he will feel like he finally earned that high fee he's been overcharging you for years.  And me?  Well, I will be able to spend just a little more this year.  See how that's a win-win for everyone?

The best part of a gift to me is that it's a gift that keeps on giving.  In fact, if you're feeling particularly generous this year, I will thank you by personally calling you next year to see how we can outdo this year's funds.  Together, I know we can do great things.  That is why I'm sending you this third email.  Because I know you wouldn't ignore a note from me, so I am smiling imagining how grateful you will be for my reminding you about this wonderful opportunity before it's too late.  No one has your back quite like I do.

The good news is that the economy is in an upswing! Even my friend from Nigeria isn't asking people for money anymore.  Sure, you can chalk it up to spam filters but  I know it's because he's finally gotten himself out of the hole.  Surely if he can do it I can too.

So please, if you've found yourself reading one of my free articles and chuckling, remember how much it cost for you to get that laugh.  And consider giving back.  After all, if every person who read my articles gave just $3, my fundraiser would be over in an hour, and I'd have a whole $15 to spend at the casino.

Isn't that a good cause?

Remember, before you overspend your money on that big New Year's party you're going to black out for most of anyway, consider an alternative way to spend that hard-earned cash.  After all, don't others deserve to party until they black out too?

Just a few days left until the end of the year.  I know you'll do the right thing.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Five Reasons to Celebrate Thanksgiving Abroad

As some of you know, this year we decided to have ourselves a little adventure this Thanksgiving. We like to call it the Great Thanksgivingukkah, Catalonia-style.

Many people drive for hours to see their family, or brave the airports to get stuck at snow-filled connections, just to see their family for a few hours.  This is, as many like to say, par for the course.

Thus, we decided what's a few hours of flying? It was time to celebrate the holiday outside the country!!!  Close your eyes, nap for a few hours and then.....hola, Barcelona!  See how easy that was?

Now, we knew Thanksgiving outside of the U.S. would have its benefits, but in hindsight they were even greater than anticipated.  So behold, our top 5 reasons to leave the country on Thanksgiving!

1) It's the cheapest time to see Europe.  For reals.

2) If you're visiting friends, you can still have Thanksgiving dinner!  We may have been thousands of miles away from home, but we were not without our turkey and marshmallow covered sweet potatoes.

mmm .... malvaviscos rosa y blanco
3) Better wine while you eat, and no football.  You can actually converse with the other guests without having them fall asleep on you!

4) Airports are packed with people flying within the 50 states - international flights? Not so much.  You'd never know we were flying on a holiday weekend!

5) And perhaps the best part of traveling abroad on Thanksgiving: missing Black Friday!  Instead of fighting with strangers in the name of consumerism, we spent our day visiting gorgeous architecture, taking a walking tour of a new city, learning some Spanish history, drinking fabulous coffee, and learning about fun local traditions such as Caga Tio, the Catalonian Christmas log you hit with a special Christmas stick so he poops out presents and candy.  (If you think we're making this up, read more about it here).  Strange to see a culture that brings out the squatting statuettes on the holidays.

Because we like you peeps, we'll spare you the picture of Hello Kitty and her pink turd, which means you'll have to take our word for it on this one.

Caga Tios, everywhere you look.  Every home has one.
A big thank you to our hostess with the mostess
So there you have it.  If you ever get a chance to have yourself a little Thanksgiving adventure outside of the U.S., take it! And unlike this year, you won't have to worry about what to do about Chanukah either.  Though if you do, get thee some Southeast Asian cauliflower/zucchini fritters, which taste just like the real thing. You heard it here first.