The ‘hookup’ app

Tinder, for those who don’t know is a relatively new app that has hit the dating scene. It has a simple methodology that gets rid of the awkward conversations with people you’re just not attracted to. Instead of exposing yourself with a long written paragraph that sounds more like you’re applying for a job than enticing someone to ask you on a date, tinder instead connects with your Facebook to bring over a selection of photos, your interests (which pages you like on Facebook), your friends list and your age and location. There is the option to write a little paragraph about yourself but this seems mostly to be used for humorous taglines, jokes and anecdotes to entice in the lucky (or unlucky) viewer.

The beauty of tinder is that for the most part it mainly focuses on being attracted to someone. The basic idea being when presented with a photo of a possible love match you swipe right if you like and left if you don’t. A conversation cannot be started between two people until they both swipe right on each other and ‘match’.

In theory it’s a wonderful idea, no more disappointment when you message someone and they ignore you because now you know that just by matching that person fancies you as much as you fancy them. The facebook connection allows you to see what interests you share and any mutual friends you have and it’s all done geographically so you can set the distance you want to search in from where you are. Helpful if you’ve just moved or are visiting somewhere new.

Tinder has however come under some criticism. Dubbed ‘the sex app’ because when you’re matching on physical attraction alone it becomes very easy to use the app to meet up with people purely for sex. Not to mention it’s not without its own collection of extremely weird (and wonderful) people and their weird and not so wonderful photos.

A random scroll through 50 possible candidates in my area revealed the following:

A 27 year old man who’s only shared interest with me was the lad bible and his main picture was of him and some friends dressed as clowns. Scary clowns I may add

A 25 year old ‘self-employed promoter, freelancer, Luddite’ I had to google the latter and I’m still unsure of its relevance

Tim, a rugby player who takes a shot at humour with ‘I’m not heightest provided I can still wear heels and be shorter than you’ after advising he is 6’3

Rosalie who is definitely…. A girl and clearly clicked the wrong sex on her profile and hasn’t realised yet

Cesar who actually looks like the dog whisperer…

Wayne who makes it clear he’s openly racist with his disgustingly worded meme as a main picture

And of course the usual assortment of fake tan covered, Ibiza loving Joey Essex wannabes in their bar crawl vests from last year’s holiday and matching bright red shorts.

But then… a rogue hottie appears. Student, rugby player, buff but not too much so, just the right amount of facial hair, shared music tastes, shared drinking places, and likes Netflix. Right swipe it is! And… no match. But then that’s the beauty of tinder yet again. 50 more people to swipe past and you’ve forgotten about the rogue fitty you found before because you’re onto the next one or laughing at the guy who thought a picture of his penis was a great idea to attract the ladies right swipe.

For amusing tinder messages you should check out ‘tinder nightmares’ on Instagram.

Can you be too picky?

A girlfriend text me the other day and said no wonder you’re single, you’re so picky. It was said in a way that implied there was something wrong with me for being choosy about who I want to date.

I have a simple outlook on life, I have fun when I want to and I meet great guys when I’m single (which is most of the time) I enjoy the single life. But call me crazy I believe that when I meet someone I want to be with I genuinely want them to be ‘the one’ who I can spend the rest of my life with and I guess that’s what makes me picky.

There’s a lot of factors that would have to be right to make me want to get into a relationship with someone. Of course there will always be the physical needs of being attracted to someone and being compatible in bed (anyone who says these things don’t matter are lying) but it goes beyond that as well. I’m a big believer in soul mates and the connection two people can feel together. I think it’s important to share the same goals and ambitions and to want the same things from life it’s no good for example being somebody who wants to travel if your partner wants to stay at home, or wanting ten children if your partner wants none.

Yes there is such a thing as compromise and opposites attracting but this life is the only one we ever get and I think that I personally would rather spend it alone that with someone who does not fill it with happiness, who doesn’t respect me and my goals or who I cannot respect in return. To me it is far better to wait and be alone and let people judge you for your choices than to settle for second best and spend the rest of your life judging yourself.

Should we be more charitable?

It’s a cloudy Sunday afternoon and I’m in the passenger seat of a car belonging to a guy I sometimes see. I’m in last night’s clothes but thankfully not suffering a hangover as for once I’d actually moderated my drinking the night before. Nevertheless I needed to clean my teeth get my pyjamas on and just have some me time. I wasn’t really in the mood for an in-depth conversation on the purpose of charities and whether or not we should donate. But that’s what happened.

I myself am a big believer in giving to charity where possible. Unless it’s a new book by an author I collect or part of a series I always buy my books from charity shops and donate them back afterwards. Same goes with clothes, if I can’t sell it on EBay that too goes in the charity bag. I always put my change in the little boxes on shop counters and at MacDonald’s. I donate to two animal charities directly from my wages. I give gift aid on donations and following a programme such as Sports Relief or Children in Need I’m a weeping mess sending 15 text messages off and nearly falling through the floor when my phone bill comes in. if there’s a charity event to be done such as the Ice Bucket Challenge or the bare faced selfie I’m your girl.

Not everyone it seems shares my views. It was my fault the subject got brought up really as whilst sat in a traffic jam and thinking of some small talk I volunteered the fact that we hadn’t watched Children in Need the night before. Well that opened up a can of worms! I was then treated to a ten minute lecture on why he didn’t agree with charities and didn’t donate. Basically to sum it up, he feels quite strongly that in donating to charity you are only providing the cause a small amount of your donation and that the majority of the money you donate goes to the ‘fat cats’ who manage the charities.

I can’t help but agree with this in one sense, in 2013 the Telegraph published an article which looked into just how much the ‘charity’ actually spent on the cause it supported. The article does make several valid points about charities none charitable expenditure including the amount of people it employs and whether or not it has a chain of high street shops that will generate expenditure. Oxfam for example. What they did find however is that some of the biggest and best known charities are paying some of their staff over £60,000 per annum.

The wages of the staff however does not necessarily have any correlation with the amount spent on what are defined as ‘charitable activities’. For example Cancer research pays 160 of its employees over £60,000 per year but 70% of its £493m annual income is spent on charitable activities. Meanwhile the British Heart Foundation only has 36 employees getting paid over £60,000 per year yet only 46% of its £250m annual income is spent on the cause itself.

Do I agree though with my friend that this should stop us giving to charity completely? After all if all of us were to take the view that our money wasn’t being spent wisely and therefore we would stop giving what would happen then? I think what’s important here is not to stop giving completely but to give more wisely. Make choices carefully and research the charity before agreeing to donate, check out the charity online to find out how many of their employees earn over £60,000 and the percentage of income spent on charitable activities. Most charity websites now provide information about where your donation goes and some such as Dogs Trust and PDSA who I donate to send me regular newsletters and packs of information to show where my money is being spent.

If you don’t feel confident with donating regularly to a charity or buying from their shops it’s worth looking into ideas such as helping a child by buying a Christmas gift for a boy or a girl. Around my area it’s called Help a Hallam Child but I’m sure there are similar fundraising events across the country. Charity Christmas cards are also a good idea and usually aren’t too expensive, try to buy them from the charity themselves though as often supermarkets and other stockists take the majority of the profit.

I’d love to hear others views on this so please get in touch by leaving a comment. What do you think, do you agree with my friend or think we should be more charitable?

The ‘cool’ Person

‘I’m cool with it just being sex’. Maybe true but more likely one of the biggest lies we tell these days. I find myself doing this a lot lately. Not just to the guy in question as I lounge around smoking a post coital cigarette before getting my shit together and leaving at first light, but to my friends and even to myself. ‘neither of us are at the right point in our lives, it’s not that I don’t want a relationship, it’s just that he’s a bit younger than me, he’s at uni, it’s not what he wants right now and well I’m cool with that’. I told a friend the other day when she asked why I didn’t like a guy after spouting off about his talents in and out of the bedroom for a good ten minutes.

The damming truth is, I would love a relationship with that guy. Yes he’s a couple of years younger than me, yes he is at uni but have I spoke to him about what he does or doesn’t want in a relationship? No. and why not? Because like many other girls and probably some guys as well in their early twenties I’m worried I’m going to scare him off.

Don’t get me wrong, to all intents and purposes what I have with that guy is mostly good. He’s intelligent and can therefore hold a decent conversation with me, our goals lean towards the same sort of career path and the sex is out of this world. I find him attractive, cool and interesting. We hook up 2 or 3 times a month and have great sex and then I leave the next morning. I tell myself each time that I’m happy with that, that I’m cool with us discussing other relationships we may or may not be having with other people while desperately trying to supress the jealousy that spikes whenever he mentions having another girl in his bed.

I find myself wanting to text him when I see or hear something I know he’ll find amusing or interesting. But I don’t. Because that fear is there at the back of my mind niggling away and saying that if I was to do that it would be too full on and he’d get scared away thinking I was after marriage and children. It suits me far better for some reason to hang out in that limbo of will he text me this weekend, should I text him, and the most desperate fear of all that he might suddenly get into a relationship with someone else and leave me behind and feeling inadequate. I suppose that’s the biggest fear of all, because when you convince yourself that the other person doesn’t want a relationship to make yourself feel better about not suggesting it, that when they do get into a relationship you manage to convince yourself that it was in fact something wrong with YOU and it was YOU they didn’t want a relationship with, when in fact if maybe you’d have asked them instead of being ‘cool’ with everything you’d be the one smiling out from a cheesy couple profile picture right now.

It’s a rising trend I think in young people that we presume that nobody wants a relationship. Yes there’s cute couples everywhere but they’re like a different breed to us. The good time people who go out partying every weekend, blowing off steam from a week of working or studying and inevitably ending up in someone else’s bed. Even when the right person comes along you either find they’re the ones you don’t want a relationship with or it ends up never developing past the stage of just sleeping together because neither of you know any better. In trying to be the ‘cool girl’ or guy you end up cooling it off altogether and to be honest in being that cool girl or guy in the first place your setting yourself up as ‘not boyfriend/girlfriend material’.

While lads wholly appreciate us girls who go round and play video games and get on with their mates and give them blowjobs without moaning about it for an hour first we’re not the type of girl they want on a permanent basis. I won’t pretend I know what guys want because if I knew that I’d be a really famous published author instead of writing a blog that only has a slim chance of being read. BUT. I do think that as a generation we need to pull back a little on being the ‘cool person’ fair enough knowing what you want and getting it is a mantra I live by myself but if you meet someone special who you think you might want to be with for real don’t fall into the trap of acting round them the way you would around a casual hook up. There’s only one person you hurt in the end and that’s yourself.

Sick of Work

It’s the morning of an 8-6 shift. Ten hours sat behind your desk procrastinating, listening to angry customers, or maybe you work outdoors and its pouring it down with rain. The comfort of your warm duvet is calling and you’ve snoozed your alarm six times already. Consciously you make the decision and reach for your phone. ‘I’m sorry, I’m not coming in today, I’ve got flu/a bad cold/my cats died/my boilers broke/my other half has locked me in the house/my cars broke down.’ There’s a myriad of excuses you can use because frankly, it’s Monday and you just can’t be arsed.

There are hundreds of us that do this every day. There’s a shortfall in holiday time, prices are rising and wages aren’t going up and despite the promises of the growing economy the little man just isn’t reaping the benefits. We’re overworked and underpaid.

The thing is, work places have started to cotton on to this. New policies are put in place, most workplaces now commonly put in place an absence policy which states an employee can only have 3 occasions of absence over a year, manager’s spy on social networks to see what their employees are up to. With a rise in unemployment people are finding themselves easily sacked and easily replaced, we have become literally just a number.

How though does this affect the people with genuine illness? People who really can’t get into work and are suffering because of those of us who sometimes just like to skive?

I am one of those people. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying there’s never been a time in my life when I’ve genuinely just not wanted to get out of bed and I’ve rang in sick with some excuse when really I’m just tired or still hungover from the weekend, but in a very realistic way I have suffered because of genuine illness and health problems and found myself penalised with frankly nowhere to turn.

I have a series of health problems. I suffer with depression which at the moment and despite campaigning, isn’t always seen as a genuine reason to not be in work. People who haven’t suffered with depression have no idea how hard it can be to get out of bed and complete the simplest of tasks. There is no sympathy from your boss when you ring up and try to explain that you just can’t come in today because you felt like drowning yourself in the bath last night. I have had to leave several jobs in the past when I have just been unable to cope with the pressure they put on you to return to work when you feel like your life is falling apart.

Equally I have had to deal with managers who ask ‘why can’t you be in work though?’ when you call in with a throat infection and work in a call centre. Or can’t you try and come in for the morning and come home when you’re suffering from a heart condition and need to get to hospital. But I think the best one had to be following an ambulance visit to my home to find out I’d suffered a miscarriage being asked ‘do you really think that’s a good enough reason not to be in work?.

Another friend of mine suffers a condition which causes her to black out at random occasions. Her employers are aware of this but have put no provisions in place to look after her in the workplace and have threatened her on more than one occasion with the sack when she has been off work with this condition. On the one occasion she actually blacked out at work they wouldn’t even let her leave to go to hospital, saying instead that as she only had 2 hours left to her shift she may as well stay and then go to the hospital later.

People might think why wouldn’t you just go anyway or leave such a horrible place? But with the growing concern over actually finding another job a lot of us feel trapped and scared. We daren’t walk out because we might not find anything else and with rising debt and financial problems how can we afford to live on the dole? Most people are too scared to stand up to a manager who we know are being disrespectful and treating us badly because we are too frightened of the consequences. Extended probation periods mean that basically employees are robbed of their rights and employers can sack them with immediate effect and no following of procedure. Employees struggle into work with illness and injury and pass it on to everyone else until half the office is down with it. How are we expected to perform well, meet targets and do our jobs properly when we’re mentally and physically worn down? Not to mention the fact that not many employers pay sick pay these days meaning at least for the first 7 days of absence you’ve also got no money coming in. Something has got to give.

Everyday issues, political and social issues, everyday feminism.