Dating In The Null Set

To say wading into the ocean that is the dating world at 46 years old differs from what it was like in my twenties is beyond an understatement. Hell, it’s different that it was even 5 years ago and the surf can be rough. Quite honestly, it’s almost unrecognizable and I feel like people have just forgotten how to interact with other humans or in the case of younger peeps, never learned to begin with. So in an effort to entertain, I’m going to give you some highlights of what it’s been like of recent, for me at least.

The most major difference as we all know is the advent and popularity of internet dating. Now, this is not my first rodeo when it comes to dating later in life nor with internet dating. And quite honestly, it’s become somewhat of a necessary evil. I mean, most other options aren’t any better if not worse. Looking for a long term partner in a bar? Of course it’s not impossible but the chances are slim it will work out. Dating at work? Yes your chances are better in finding an equal more aligned with who you are but when they don’t work out, it can get messy and awkward. Even though I’ve tripped over this same rock multiple times, I have never quite learned to not do this. Being set up by friends? Again, if it doesn’t work out, awkward city. Coffee shops? Never seems to work in my experience. So the options for finding a person who has some things in common with you and has similar goals in life is limited. And honestly, internet dating does get some of those common, repetitive questions out of the way. I do like being able to filter out people who smoke and want kids. Those things are just not for me and I’d rather spend time talking to a person about things we have in common than discussing those filter questions in person.

As already stated, this is not my first foray into internet dating. I did it a little over 5 years ago and it was vastly different and better. Back then, I interacted with many more “real” people and met a lot of very cool people. Don’t get me wrong, it still wasn’t perfect. I still had a couple of issues with people grossly lying about their age or who they were. And mind you, it was still nothing compared to what women have to unfortunately deal with regarding incels, men who feel they are owed something from women, or worse men who outright insult or stalk women. The stories I’ve heard make my skin absolutely crawl. The biggest difference today is the amount of fake profiles that I have encountered. That is why is used the term “real” a few sentences ago. When I first got back onto internet dating I was woefully unprepared for this. At first I could not actually figure out what was going on but quickly realized it and was kind of annoyed it wasn’t obvious to me from the start. I encountered these mostly on Plenty O Fish and OK Cupid and it quickly became easy to pick out these fake profiles. They would all have only one photo of a gorgeous, model-esque woman. They would have the most contradictory (and hilarious) information in their profiles such as “Education: High School. Profession: Surgeon”. Additionally, their self summaries are a quagmire of poor grammar and odd punctuation. To top it off, these fake profiles will actually contact you with short messages of “Hi” and “Hello there”. And if you responded, undoubtedly you would get a response with a link to another less then reputable dating site or porn site. Tinder, a dating app made more for your smart phone and relies mostly on pictures with very limited personal descriptions (in case you didn’t know or have been in a coma), was no less guilty of having these profiles. But instead of contacting you with a link or hiding behind a fake profile, they would have a picture directing you too said other website with some of the most hilarious names. Then there are the more simple yet still annoying things people do with their profiles. Some put pictures of them with other people so you can’t tell who the person is. Some put pictures of nature. I even had one use a picture of Bill Joel???  What the actual fuck?!? At the very least they are entertaining. However it is ultimately more annoying as it becomes a great wast of time and my actual interactions and discussions with real people is far far less that it was 5 years ago.

I’d like to say that the differences from the past stop at internet dating, but they don’t. Even when meeting people face to face, there has been a huge decline in the ability of others to just have a conversation. I recently went to a place in Ocean City, Maryland called Seacrets. It’s an iconic establishment in OCMD that has been there for at least 20 plus years. First off let me say the phrase “You can’t go home again” might be a bit trite but it’s 100% true. While I have many memorable memories of that place from my younger years, it was obvious from the moment I walked it that it’s just not my scene anymore. But I was there so I sat down at one of the bars and decided to imbibe and people watch for a while. Not long after I noticed a rather attractive woman sitting across from me. She was alone and looked close to my age so I sent over a drink. I really wasn’t looking for anything and just hoped for some good conversation. After the person sitting next to me left, she came over to talk. I’m not exaggerating when I said it was one of the most painful conversations I’ve had in my life. I was unprepared for how one sided it would be. I would ask a question, she would respond with one to three words then… nothing. There was not back and forth, there was not questions from her. If I did not engage the conversation there would have been radio silence. I just don’t get it. Do people not know how to have conversations anymore? I could understand if it was a twenty something year old, Bieber loving person but someone near my age? I politely removed myself from the situation saying I it was late and I had a 40 minute drive back to my place (both true) and thanked her for a nice evening of conversation (not so true). I   understand she may have had her reasons. I’m not discounting that. And what I wouldn’t give for a good conversation.

So, what’s next? Well, I’m going to keep some of a presence on a couple internet dating sites. Far more entertaining, I’m going to experience what speed dating is like come this August. I can only hope that it is at least as entertaining as the speed dating scene in the “40 Year Old Virgin” and I have something fun (or funny) to write about afterwards.

Why Ignoring Climate Scientists Is Illogical- An Analogy

If you are any one of the many people in this country who does not believe in climate change or the roughly 97% of scientists who support it, this article is for you. Before anyone gets in a huff and starts exclaiming “It’s my right to voice my opinion” let me start by saying, “Yes, you do have a right to your opinion”. You also have a right to be wrong, to have your opinion mocked, and to have your opinion challenged.

However, I’m not going to pepper you with facts and figures, graphs and charts. Chances are you will just dig your heels in even more being confronted with such evidence. No, instead, I’m going to present you with a simple analogy that many of you will have had first hand experience with.

When you get sick, have a chronic medical condition, or an exacerbation of a chronic medical condition, what do you do? You go to a health care provider of course. You go to a person who has the scientific and medical knowledge to treat your issue. And while you may go to your primary care provider when you feel sick and think you may have strep throat or pneumonia, if you have something more serious or rare, you see a health care provider that is a specialist like a cardiologist or nephrologist depending on the condition. A health care provider that has even more training and knowledge in a particular field of medicine.

A majority of health care providers agree on what causes disease and the best way to treat it today based on results from studies conducted via the Scientific Method. True, occasionally there will be slight differences of opinion between providers such as if treatment with medication is better than having a surgical procedure. In those instances you get a second opinion and you get that from another health care provider in the same field. And even in those instances, those providers usually still agree on the cause of your condition. They may or may not disagree on the treatment. You also would likely not side with the minority. If you were sitting in the ER and nine doctors said you had a heart attack and needed a stent and the tenth doctor said it was just heartburn, I highly doubt you would take prescription for Pepcid and go home. Finally, excluding patients with chronic conditions such as asthma, migraines, or congestive heart failure who know what their exacerbations feel like, you can’t just read WebMD and have an equivalent expertise to your health care provider.

What you don’t do (or shouldn’t be doing) is go to provider after provider after provider until you find one that gives you the answer you want hear. To see multiple clinicians until you get that unnecessary antibiotic for your common cold or told that you are sick when you aren’t, that’s either doctor shopping and bad medicine or a psychological issue.

What you also don’t do is seek care from a person who is not a health care provider. You would never go to a politician for your ingrown toenail. Even though your heart is a pump, you would not consult a mechanical engineer or plumber to fix it. It would never enter your mind to make an appointment with the CFO of a hospital to get your gallbladder removed. Despite working for the hospital, they deal in finances, not medicine.

So why in the world would you not believe the 97% of scientists whose job and expertise it is to study climate change? Why would you go outside of those experts, say with a politician or CEO of a fossil fuel company, to get your information on said topic? Why would you assume you know more than the scientists who have studied this for years? Why would you go with the 3% of scientists who disagree? It makes absolutely no sense. In doing so, you are doing the equivalent of doctor shopping. You don’t care what the actual facts are, you just want to find the person who will say your opinion is right and damn the facts. I hate to break it to you, that’s not how it works.

Rape Culture… It’s Real

I amazes me that even though I was raised during a time when adult men repeatedly repeatedly told me to respect women, many of them never knew what that really meant. Many of those same men lived lives defined by misogyny and chauvinism. So much so that they have since gone on the defensive when women started pushing to be treated equal. Over the years they have become scared of losing their position as man of the house and king of the castle. They fear women with strength to the extent that they must try to knock them down figuratively via verbal abuse, slut shaming, or calling them names like “bitch” or “frigid”. And sadly in this day and age men still literally try to knock them down through rape and/or physical abuse.

I had the idea of writing a blog article on rape culture for a while. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long. Perhaps I was waiting to accumulate enough evidence from current events? Perhaps deep down I was worried what other me would think of me or say in retort to this blog? And let’s face it, there are going to be guys reading this who will at least think ill of me and some of them will even be brazen enough to actually respond. I know you are out there. By all means, respond to me, challenge me, call me names, (try to) insult me, I don’t give a fuck. I know my experiences, I can better see past events now than I ever could when they happened. I’ve been to bachelor parties where men willingly and without hesitation would cheat on their wives or girlfriends while at the same time calling the stripper a “slut” just for working as a stripper. If you can’t seen the double standard, you are part of the problem. If you can’t see that there is no shame when a women chooses how to work with her body and certainly not worse than a man cheating on his partner, you have issues. I’ve known men who starting dating / sleeping with underage women who have risen into positions of authority, being “respected” by his peers. I’ve even experienced the tyranny and verbal abuse of my father. Don’t get me wrong, I love my father despite what a tyrant he was. I love him despite his many faults which we all have. However he is the quintessential do as I say, not as I do type father. His actions were anything but a good role model for how to have a healthy relationship with a partner. Years of verbal abuse towards my mother (and me and my siblings) did not prepare me to have a healthy relationship with other women. And it wasn’t just verbal abuse per se but his blatant disregard for my mother’s opinion on matters. Even to this day, though softened over time, emotional erosion, those tendencies still come out. I still get irritated when after my mother spends all day cooking a family meal, my dad asks her “can you put the coffee on”. I usually remind him he is fully capable making coffee. Others just roll their eyes intimating “he’s never gonna change”. True, he won’t change at this point. That doesn’t make it right. I’m fairly positive my family will be upset with me airing dirty laundry but if I’m going to pontificate on this topic, I must open and honest about the various forms of misogyny I have seen over the years.

The end result is that many men feel they are entitled. Entitled to having the only opinion that matters, entitled to sex with any woman, entitled to control the lives of women close to them. These are just but a few examples. Examples of a mentality that has grown over time and today allows headlines to laud a rapist’s swim times than condemn the rape he was found guilty of committing. A mentality that still puts the onus on women to prevent their own rape by not dressing in a way to attract a rapist. A society that shames girls with dress code violations because it is distracting to boys rather than educating boys about consent and their responsibility to not rape. In a day an age when “accountability” is a buzzword of the times, there seems to be very little accountability for teaching young boys to not rape or the rapists themselves, even when found guilty.

While rapist Brock Turner is probably the most well know recent failure of the law and society to hold a rapist accountable for his actions, there are many more were that came from. Again, if you can read these and not see the problem, not see the culture that exists which enables rapists to get away with their crimes and / or shift the blame, then you are part of the problem. You are certainly free to disagree, you are free to have a dissenting opinion but that opinion garners no right for respect and if you disagree, I have no respect for that opinion, not on this topic

This first example comes from our neighbors from the North who are no less immune to misogyny and cruelness. In perhaps the ultimate alienation of a victim, Judge Robin Camp asked a rape victim why she couldn’t “just keep her knees together”. This is victim blaming pure and simple. Such a statement is ignorant and insulting to say the least. It completely takes the onus off the perpetrator of this crime to insinuate that she could have stopped the rape through her own actions.

What could be more egregious than Brock Turner’s laughable and insulting sentence? How about a commuted sentence for a child rapist? After video taping his rape of a child and being found guilty, Kraigen Grooms spent a mere 2 years in juvenile detention and then had the following 10 year sentence suspended by Judge Randy Degeest. Let that sink in… 2 years for a child rape that was video taped.

In Steubenville Ohio, two football players were found guilty of rape thanks to the efforts of an Anonymous hacker who found evidence of a cover up by school administrators and parents. While the football players received insulting sentences of no more than two years, the hacker has been in indicted for allegedly “conspiring to access an online account to draw attention to a 2012 high-school rape case in Ohio.” and facing a possible sixteen year sentence. So, to paraphrase the article, apparently in the eyes of the law, it’s worse to force you way into a computer than to force your way into a woman.

The above article highlights how prone women are, how untrained flight crews are, and in some instances, the lack of empathy of the flight crew when rape and sexual assault occurs on airplanes. Airlines do not even have specific procedures for handling these incidents. Adding insult to injury, it shows how difficult it is to prosecute the perpetrators and how in many countries it is not even considered an issue get upset about, with one perpetrator being allowed to leave the plane without any questioning by authorities let alone detainment. Victims were told by to let go and get on with your life buy airline personnel, FBI, and police. While sky marshals were created in response to terrorism, it’s beyond me that airlines have not worked with sky marshals to expand their responsibilities to respond to these when they are on flights and device specific protocols to be followed when it is reported.
If you read these and cannot see the blatant culture of entitlement and victim blaming, if you cannot see that the perpetrators were afforded leniency and more concern for their futures than that of their victims, then I submit you cannot read or comprehend the English language. I submit you are blind to the this illness that permeates our society. If you live in denial of this, you are the sociological equivalent to the ignorant groups who deny the Earth is round. To all he men reading this in disagreement, I ask you to think really hard about other men you know. I guarantee you know a man who has this entitlement. I’m not saying you know a rapist, but you likely know a man who treats women as property, who feels women do not have valuable opinions. We need to call them out on this. And if you don’t know a man who fits this description, then you need to take a long look in the mirror, for it may be you.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the solution will be quick. While there are some who may disagree with me, I still tell everyone to be careful. I say it to men and women equally and unfortunately when it comes to rape, women do still need to be careful. NOT because it’s their responsibility to prevent it, it’s not, but because this will not change over night. Like biological evolution, the evolution of this disgusting male mentality will take time. Entitled, misogynistic men will not learn consent overnight, they will not stop physically forcing themselves on women in the next week, they will not stop drugging women or raping intoxicated women by the end of next month. And we as reasonable, intelligent, emotionally secure men are the start to that change. We need to teach consent to younger men, teach them that it is their responsibility to not rape, teach them that there is no expectations from women of sex in any scenario, that women’s choices need to be respected. We need to call out chauvinistic peers who treat women like property. If we don’t, we fail everybody. We fail those young men, we fail future victims of rape, we fail ourselves.