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<editorsnote> Hi, I'm Jen Friel, and we here at TNTML examine the lives of nerds outside of the basements and into the social media, and dating world.  We have over 75 peeps that write about their life in real time. (Real nerds, real time, real deal.) Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the stories!! </editorsnote>

 

 

 

 

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Thursday
Feb132014

#RealDeal: Single? Taken? Confused? Who cares! Here's a different approach to Valentines day

All week, I have heard complaint after complaint from my friends regarding Valentines Day. Some are happy with their relationship but are angry that their spouse/ sig-o doesn't do anything (or very little) for Vday. Others, are single and view this day as an annual reminder of their inadequacies. I won't say where I am on the spectrum, but this year I do have a different appreciation for love and for this holiday. Here are my thoughts ... 

You can't explain or quantify love.

It doesn't happen when you are, or are not looking for it- you're just knocked on your ass, and it's humbling.

To sit and hold anger for a quote unquote commercial holiday only speaks to your own insecurity.

Friday is a day of love. Everyday should be that way IMHO - but that's not the reality of our calendar reminders or the reality of the reminders we place upon ourselves and the places we think we "should" be.

I've ranted about not having a valentine for my entire life, but this year I proudly say I actually love myself and that's all that matters.

I respect my environment - I keep it clean.

I respect my body and work out almost every day.

I respect my heart because I know it's in a loving place, and finally I respect my mind because I know it doesn't need to keep racing.

Love is in the air.

Please don't miss out on it.

<3, 

Jen 

#kthxbye

 

Monday
Feb102014

Fun with #OkCupid: @Brandoncomedy goes undercover ... 

#TalkNerdyToMeLover's @BrandonComedy

I’ve been undercover lately. As a kid, I always wanted to be a spy, to know secrets and wear tuxedos all the time. But real life spying wasn’t in the cards for me, so instead I made a fake profile to find out what women really experience with online dating, all in the effort to present myself optimally.

 I’d love to tell you what I learned, and eventually I will, but first you need to know my methods (You don’t NEED to, but I’m telling you anyway):

I created two profiles on OKCupid, the website’s entire hook is it asks you questions, and based on those questions, you’re given a compatibility score with any number of daters. Now for our two fake ladies, I gave them different (but very basic) personalities, and sat back and observed how people interacted with them.!

Girl number one: 


And girl number two:

 


I purposefully made both profiles extremely similar, based them in the same city, and included the same reference to the documentary Catfish. Where the girls differed was in HOW I answered questions for each of them, and the pictures I used.

For girl number one I answered the questions far more sexually open, and her pictures tended to openly display her sexuality. For girl number two, I answered her questions more sexually conservatively. She had after all just gotten out of a bad relationship.

I used the pictures of Facebook friends (with consent). Girl number one takes pole dancing classes, and while in the context of her Facebook and in real life she isn’t a whore, for the purposes of THIS experiment I felt it best to give her those traits, and make her an ex dancer (sorry!!). For girl number two I used face shots and covered up pictures.

The difference in messages should’ve been entirely different, I figured that girl number one was going to get the sexually explicit messages, and girl number two would get the regular guys! But what happened was that BOTH girls received relatively the same percentages of message types, and in some cases from the same guys.

The only major differences I observed were that in the messages to girl number one, pictures and specific quotes would be referenced, other than that it was mostly guys looking for sex. I am mostly appalled by how FEW genuine messages either girl received. The breakdown of genuine messages to salacious messages is roughly 1:5 for girl one and a whopping 1:30 for girl two.

Once I discovered that there was virtually no difference between the types of messages both girls were getting, I decided to cancel one of the profiles, and focus on just girl number one (as she was receiving a TON of messages)

I also noticed that guys seemed to not mind sending the same message to both girls, nor did they seem to mind sending a message, getting no response, sending another, getting no response, and then finally either giving up, or calling “me” a bitch.

This was interesting to me, because I’d never thought to send a girl a message after being rejected once. My method was to always send a message, wait for a response, and if no response came, to not worry about it. The online dating pool is far too deep to assume a connection, when one isn’t present. But I digress!

So what were the results? I’ll tell you next week! But until then, enjoy some random observations.

Stray Observations:

Couples didn’t seem to mind messaging “me” despite a clear disclaimer dissuading such behavior.! Guys from multiple states away (and sometimes countries) would message me.

1. No one really paid attention to the percentages. Guys with an 80% “enemy” rating still approached as if the fundamental design of the site was off.

2. Women approach women far more aggressively on the site than I ever would’ve thought.

3. Guys generally made no effort to apply information found in my profile, to the actual messages sent.! Guys with no compatibility had no problem paying money to message girl number 2.

(This happens when the inbox is full, OKCupid let’s you pay a dollar to allow your message to get through anyway.)

4. Nine guys did this, and none of them even brought up the fact they had paid to message me, even when ! I didn’t message them back.!

**Initially, I had a friend help me manage one of the profiles due to sheer volume, and on occasion he would instigate messages, but once I reduced the profiles to one that stopped happening. Messages instigated BY the profile are so rare, I only include this disclaimer for factual accuracy. 

#nerdsunite

click here to follow Brandon on twitter & don't miss his blog over yonder!

Monday
Jan202014

#RealDeal: Living on both ends of the spectrum (Bipolar Hallway)

<editorsnote> Nerds, meet my buddy Brandon. We started talking on the Facebook not too long ago, and lemme tell you, this guy can throw in quite the few kneeslappers in his emails. Yep, see Brandon is a comedian who is here today to tell you the real deal on what it's like being "on the circuit." I only have one more thing left to say ... HIT IT BRANDON!!! </editorsnote>

#TalkNerdyToMeLover's @BrandonComedy

I’ve been depressed lately. But instead of sitting in my room and sulking, I’ve made a conscious effort to mingle with people, and be social. It’s not working per-se, but it has got me talking about my condition. A friend asked me to describe depression, saying that it seemed like just being sad all the time, and while that might describe general depression, it isn’t true to my experiences.
 
Depression for me is not the feeling of total sadness, but rather the opposite. I never feel sad for the sake of sadness, my whole thing is about hope. Depression to me is being in a dark circular hallway, and seeing light 20 feet away, but no matter how close you get, you can never experience the light. Sometimes you walk the hallway leisurely, sometimes you run, but no matter the pace, you simply can’t catch the light. You become so fixated on the light, you ignore the fact that the hallway is lined with doors, and those doors represent opportunity. You become so singularly focused on catching light, you neglect opportunities, friends, everything, it ALL becomes about catching the light.
 
I have been focusing so hard on getting back to Chicago, that I’ve neglected how truly spectacular my friends in Kansas City are. I’ve become fixated on a theoretical good, that I’ve missed out on so many good things, and great experiences with awesome people.
 
Chicago wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, for a number of reasons, but still I’ve been making it my number one priority. I might be stuck in the hallway forever, but from now on I’m going to open more doors, and let their light shine in.

 

#nerdsunite

click here to follow Brandon on twitter & don't miss his blog over yonder!

Thursday
Jan092014

#RealDeal: 10 lessons learned while being 28 

I turned 29 last month. It may not be a "milestone" year by tradition, but for me personally, this year changed everything. So much so, I have written this post three times already and been dissatisfied with each one. I don't know how to put into words everything that I am feeling, but I will certainly try. 

Maestro ... 

Oh hey 29! Nice to see you. 10 Lessons Learned While Being 28: 

1) To love someone is truly selfless.

I wrote about that a few weeks back, but I can't stress enough how true it is. Even in re-reading it, I can't stop crying. Falling in love this year has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done.

<tangent> In a beautiful way, of course, as love in its natural state is beyond any beauty we can articulate. </tangent>

I guess I just never realized how closed off emotionally I have been my whole life. The Shaman tried telling me a few times ... (very very very much appreciate all your help Brendan), but it took falling in love for me to actually see it. You can't see how selfish you are as a person until you have to become selfless. I can hear some of our earlier conversations and I'm genuinely embarrassed. I know I can't go back, and I know there's nothing I can do about it, but I even apologized to my dad the other day. I thought back to how selfish I was as a teenager, young adult, ::whispers:: and even when I was a-not-so-young-adult. He of course just laughed, and said it's what you do as a parent when you love your child. 

Selfless. It's completely selfless, and it's now time for me to not be strictly on the receiving end. 

2) To love someone means you are the caretaker for their heart. 

(I also mentioned this in a previous post.) 

I've spent a lot of time thinking about guys that I've dated and relationships I have been in. Looking back critically I think about things I could have done differently, or steps that I might not have seen. While I can't go back, I can stop history from repeating itself. 

To love someone means to encourage their desires, whatever or however weird/ wild they may be - while at the same time walking on your own path. If the two of you continue to march down that same path, great! If not, great! It's not your job to dictate which way things will go or change your own desires to appease. We are only the caretaker for our partner's heart for however long we are on the same path. It is of course impossibly difficult to not want to change aspects of yourself to give in to whatever path your partner is going down, but you have to be honest with yourself and honest with your relationship. If you cloud things with the reality of "it'll all just work out" you aren't leading an authentic life. Relationships are work, man. They take two to tango, but if you realize your partner is hurting you have to accept the fact that you can no longer be the caretaker for their heart. Love, again, is selfless. Sure, at first, you'll want to scream and get mad - but you have to understand that that is just your ego talking. Loving someone doesn't ever change and doesn't ever go away. Just because you're no longer the caretaker doesn't mean that the care given is suddenly null and void. It simply means it's time to go your own way. 

3) Leading an authentic life is really, really hard. 

I've spent so much of my adulthood wanting to "find myself." In doing so, I've certainly had a lot of fun ... but even in the process I was still hiding behind a persona. I was no less closer to understanding who that inner being was before I had even gotten started. Of course, you don't really realize this, but being on an island for the last few months has been quite helpful. There is no hype here. No bs. You can't hide from anyone, and that certainly includes yourself.

I had two friends from LA stay with me the other week. One of them turned to me at one point and said, I've gotten to know you more in these last few hours than I have in the last 2 years. Normally, I would have been hurt or gone on a huff and puff of how "I lead this transparent life, yada yada." Instead I just smiled because I knew that while it was unfortunate he was right, I was actually glad that I knew I was speaking from my heart and layer by layer a more authentic individual is unfolding. I'm sure this process is going to take a really long time, so I'm just going to leave the rest of this thought at just that. 

4) Confidence and character are built through experiences. 

I was in Jamaica a few months back, and while I was on a tour of one of the plantation homes they talked about how the kids growing up here would have to carry these buckets in each of their hands. The buckets alone weighed 15 lbs, and when they were strong enough to carry not only the buckets but fill them with water they were ready to work in the field. At any other time in my life, I would have thought that it was child abuse, and move on. Looking back critically at my own life, I have been extremely sheltered. Even in not having a home, and all of the adventures within this website, I still had the protection of my own computer. I crafted all of these walls around myself as a barrier, never actually experiencing things in their natural state. In that moment, I envied those children that had that experience. I'm sure they didn't enjoy it, but the fruits of their labor I'm sure blossomed into a kind of strength I can only hope to have one day. 

5) Speaking of strength - you need to work out. Period end of sentence. 

28 was definitely the year I got serious about fitness. In my early 20s I was thin, but I did the LA diet of drinking diet coke and eating a piece of cheese when you feel like you're about to pass out. 

 

While I was exercising at the time, I also greatly deprived my body of the nutrients it needed. I was always tired, and was in a deep depression. Now, I am the same weight I was then, but am leaner and stronger ... 

 

It's no longer about the number on the scale, but the strength that is emerging from deep within myself. It sounds really cheesy, but to me, working out is like showering. If I'm not healthy and presenting the best I can be to the people I come across to on a daily basis, I am denying myself a fulfilled life, and cheating my friends out of a fulfilling relationship. Now, instead of allowing myself to go back into a depression, anytime I'm feeling anxious I'll go for a run or take a spin class. It's about getting out of my head and back into my body. I've honestly never felt better. 

6) Your outer environment represents your inner environment.

I've known this for the last few years. I would always notice a correlation between the cleanliness of my room or apartment with my happiness. If I was happy things were clean, but if I was depressed I wouldn't be able to see the floor - let alone whatever was falling over in the closet. This past year, I wake up, make my bed every single day, and clean the house daily while leaving time on the weekend for a full clean. I've developed discipline and an appreciation for both of my environments. I take pride in my home even if no one else is there to see that I clean, I know it is, and that feels good. 

7) Stop relying so much on other people's advice, find your own.

A friend of mine called me out a few months back for always sticking my head in various advice books, or stories of other people's adventures and their lessons learned from their experiences. Let me ask you something, he said one day, what did you actually learn from all these "wild" adventures that you've had? I don't know, I shrugged. It's like people who read Bukowski, or Kerouac, he continued. They so badly want to align with this individual that they try to follow this same path, and do the same things. All I got from the "wild" experiences were just that - good stories, I said. I'm grateful, I certainly don't regret a second of it, but I know for a fact I've learned more in these last few months of just watching and truly experiencing something for myself and not just for a story. You can go out and have a wild adventure, he continued, but all you will ever end up with is just that. You can't go expecting to learn something, you just need to be happy with the experience and leave it at that. Down the road, you might be able to look at it critically, but it really is just that - an adventure. He was so right, and I actually had to cut off contact with specific friends just for that fact. I KNOW I will always turn to them for advice (or talk to them because I know they turn to me for advice), but it's time for me to develop my own confidence and own decision making ability. I can't rely on anyone else for this part of the journey. 

8) When you get everything you want, you realize it isn't exactly what you wanted. 

This past year has professionally been the best. I had all of these goals, and then I actually signed contracts attaining them. I remember looking in the mirror afterwards though, and not feeling any different. I had pushed and pushed and pushed, but who and/or what was I doing it all for? The only thing in life that ended up changing was my desire to want to talk about any of the projects I was working on. I only needed to tell the world if I was actually marketing said project - but otherwise, I could just be quiet and content with everything that had been accomplished. It was in those moments of stillness, that I was then faced with the reality that none of this had fulfilled me. I got what I wanted, and found out it wasn't anything that I needed. 

Crap. 

9) When a 4 year old tells you she loves you, she really means it.

Recently I was playing with two of my friends Lilly and Adam. Lilly is 4 and Adam just turned 7. We were playing hide and seek and Adam was counting. Lilly and I ran into her parent's bedroom and she hid under the comforter while I hid behind the bathroom door. A few seconds after placing the blanket above her head she stuck her whole body out and said, "I really love you Jen." I smiled, telling her that I loved her too, but that Adam was going to find us so she better keep hiding!!!! I didn't let on to her in that moment, but I can definitely say it was top 3 for age 28. Lilly is radically honest. We were playing once, and I turned her table into a spaceship and she laughed saying, "it wasn't time for pretend." I'm fascinated by these kids, and honored that I get to call them friends. Here I am teaching them how to play "red light green light" and "Mother, may I?" and they are teaching me about love and life in more ways than I can count. I didn't expect that. 

10) Speaking of kids, you really do have a ticking biological clock. 

I remember growing up watching this scene from Look Who's Talking ... 

I had no idea obviously what a biological clock - but now? Holy hell that thing ticks and ticks and ticks. It's scary being a woman and having this timeline biologically that doesn't take into consideration your dating history, any marriages, job security. A lot of my friends have kids now, and while they say you may never be ready, if you're like me and want them, you also can't wait too long. 

That scares me, but maybe this is something I will learn to overcome this year. Only time will tell. 

Tick tock tick tock. 

Thanks for reading. 

#kthxbye

Tuesday
Dec312013

#NerdsUnite: Gratitude for Love in Your Life

#TalkNerdyToMeLover's Ajay Chauhan


All of us go through personal victories and tragedies. The difference is in how we perceive these experiences. One can downplay the positives and dwell on the negatives. This will make life hell. On the other hand, you can have a beautiful life if we have a sense of gratitude for all the little positives that are manifested in our life.

Some of us may be going through a period of separation from a partner or spouse. The newly single status and its associated loneliness may seem cruel and empty. People may seem vicious and evil.

At this stage, one must remember that this stage will definitely pass. No situation is permanent, and if you have lost one relationship, there are several more relationships waiting for you in the future.

Meanwhile, you need to cultivate the habit of gratitude. Even if you have lost a husband, there is plenty of love in your life: From a close friend to a friendly neighbor to a sensitive colleague at work. If you contribute to charitable causes, you have the love of its recipients to boot.

How can a habit of gratitude be cultivated?

•                Use your senses:  Many sensory experiences are taken for granted. Learn to appreciate life with heightened awareness: Beautiful sights of trees and flowers around you, different smells, and different tastes of food items and different feel of fabrics. Appreciate music, as well as, the different sounds of silence.

•                Do some spring cleaning: Whichever month it is, it is good to gather up the mops and vacuum cleaner to clean up your home. Not only does the newly cleaned room re-invigorate you, but you may stumble upon old photos and trinkets that remind you of happy times.

•                Learn to relax: It is difficult to have a grateful attitude if you are anxious or angry. Try to resolve all issues that disturb your mind so that it can be relaxed and happy.

•                Live in the present: Do not lose the joy of today being entangled with the past and the future. Dwelling on the past and the future makes you miss the wonderful things in the present. Enjoy the experiences of today and do not delay it for tomorrow.

•                Take vacation: It is good to pack up your bags and set upon a vacation far away from the hustle and bustle of your life.  A small picnic in a park nearby will also do, if it can help you unwind. You need to separate yourself from someone or something to truly appreciate their value.

•                Maintain a gratitude journal:  Keep a written record of all the things you are grateful for. By re-evaluating your experiences and sifting the positives, you can reinforce the habit of gratitude. You can read this journal every time you are feeling low, and it will perk up your spirits.

•                Create your own ceremony of gratitude: Light a few candles, meditate or enjoy a pampering bubble bath where you can collect all your positive energy.

•                Take things lightheartedly: Look at the lemons handed down in your life with a pinch of humor. Learn to laugh more, love more and be thankful for every laugh and every feeling of   love in your life.

•                Inspirational material: Read Inspiring books, as well as, inspirational quotes in order to be thankful for the good things in life.

•                Dollops of kindness: Allow yourself to perform random actions of kindness.  Gift a bag of grocery to a homeless man. Volunteer as a neighborhood watch member. All these kind acts are a perfect way to express gratitude to God.

•                Family time: Take out time from your daily life to spend with family and friends and your life will be blessed with unconditional love and joy.

These are some of the tips on how to develop the habit of gratitude in one’s life.

#nerdsunite

Author: The author Ajay Chauhan is presently associated with Love Wale. All articles are published on behalf of LoveWale.