Online Dating Ridiculousness, Part 3: Return of the Douches

First, there was Part 1, where in my sweet, sweet innocence, I dipped a toe into the black lagoon of online dating and thought: “Huh. This will be fun.” Then there was Part 2, The Online Dating Strikes Back, in which I discovered the lagoon was actually a poisonous cesspool for nuclear waste. Welcome to Part 3. This one has wookies, and by wookies, I mean small men in bear costumes whose social skills have tragically died in a fire.

21. No wookies
alt text here
Or what other explanation do you have for this?

22. No “ciao, bella!”s
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One: Never ask “why are you single?” Two: Never ask “why are you single?” a second time. And three, don’t be your own stereotype. Unless that works, in which case I’ll just start all my messages from here on out with “Howdy, partner!”

23. No opening with your phone number
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I mean, points for honesty, but Carl is lucky I’m a nice person and have no friends in London. Or else Carl would have repeatedly received calls from parties extremely interested in knowing whether his refrigerator was functioning.

24. No balls that are impossible to throw back
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What is the correct answer to this?
A) “Kay.”
B) “Thank you.”
C) “Only occasionally, while running from rapists or towards small children who have gotten into the knife drawer.”
D) Radio silence

25. No dramatics
alt text here
I love a clever bit of self-deprecation as much as the next person living in England, but this…this is a seven-year-old with the brain chemistry of a self-aware and tragically extroverted sloth. Who allowed this man on the internet? Take this bottle of Nardil and go stand in the corner.

26. No pretentious douchenozzles
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A woman with a sharp brain and a kind heart and an open mind? Hahahaha, bro, there’s no such thing as unicorns.

27. No stalkers
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I meant to click on the girl next to you who I’m pretty sure was topless in her picture, but something about you makes me want to tie you up and pee on you. Could it be fate? Are you my unicorn?”

28. No guys in the wrong place
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Ah. Guy thinks he wants this:
Actually wants this:
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It’s cool. Honest mistake.

29. No racist pickup lines?
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Because nothing says “sexy” like a good ol’ fashioned racial pejorative.

And finally…

30. No one who describes themselves like so:
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Mongol vs English Thanksgiving: A Photographic Comparison

Last year, I partook in the shower slaughter of a turkey in the Middle of Nowhere, Mongolia. This year, I partook in a fancy catered Thanksgiving dinner in a historical house. Let’s compare!

Last year:
This year:
Last year:
This year:
Last year:
This year:
Last year:
This year:
Last year:
This year:
This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for a lot of things: my job, London, the fabulous people I have met here. But mostly I’m grateful I got to spend ten months being equal parts elated, frustrated, horrified, and endlessly entertained by the complete ridiculousness that is Mongolia. I miss it, and as much fun as English Thanksgiving was, I would go back to Mongol Thanksgiving in a heartbeat. Too many people crammed into my broken living room, our freshly slaughtered turkey cooking in the oven, my friends bringing over all the chairs, plates, and silverware in their respective apartments (and still coming up short), my bathroom reeking of dead bird, and all of us sitting around my shitty table, trading stories no one else in any other country would ever find funny, knowing that more Mongol hilarity is right around the corner.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Online Dating Ridiculousness–Part I

In many ways, I don’t consider myself a (stereo)typical American. I speak another language, for example. I think war is silly and social health care is awesome. Guns and social conservatives scare me. Religious figures and meatloaf make me uncomfortable. But in one respect I am very, very American, and that is that I will talk to anyone.

Babies. Dogs. Trees. Tiny humans. Old humans. Humans in costume. Things that look like humans but aren’t. Strangers on the bus. Strangers on the train. Strangers on the plane. Strangers on the street. Strangers on bikes. Strangers with hair/makeup/clothing/shoes that I find admirable. It’s my superpower, my hobby, my greatest travel skill. In fact, I am so overenthusiastic about talking to people–and so clueless as to the possible consequences–that (as anyone who has ever traveled with me has soon discovered) I will talk myself into trouble in a heartbeat. Courtesy of sub-par language skills, I have accidentally told 15-year-olds that I would have sex with them and agreed to go on dates with mariachi musicians, narcos, and old men who want to go mushroom hunting. On occasion, I have been known to be so busy assuming the basic goodness of everyone around me that I have almost gotten tear-gassed.

So knowing this about me, you can see why I thought joining OKCupid would be a great idea.

“Dear Tina, WHY. Love, everyone.” Well everyone, I’ll tell you. After a few weeks in London, I still didn’t really have any friends and I wanted an excuse to get out of my room and talking to people. And yes, I’ve been single for a year and a half at this point, so I though “Why not?” If something comes of it, cool. If nothing comes of it, well, at least I got out of my room and talking to people.

Before I joined OKCupid, my criteria for talking to someone began at “not a douche” and ended at “has all their own teeth,” with the last one being fairly negotiable. OKCupid, however, has forced me to come up with a very long, very sad list of reasons not to talk to people. As the social equivalent of a 12-week-old puppy, this has made me a bit depressed, but the necessity is there and the struggle is real.

Welcome to Tina’s Arbitrary OKCupid Automatic Rejection List, Part I of many.

1) No one-word messages.
If you’re only going to message me one word, it had better be a pretty damn awesome word.
No one word messages 2
No one word messages
Actually, I was thinking more like “Xenomorph” or “Frigoriphic” or “Homunculus.”

2) No shirtless pics
No shirtless pics
Put it away, dude. Just put it away.
No Shirtless Pics 2
On second thought, maybe I should just introduce these two. They can stand around in their underwear flexing their muscles at each other in a peculiar mating call that only brings in other douchebags.

Like this guy!
3) No profile pictures of people having sex
No...guys with profile pictures of people having sex
I am relatively sure the guy in this picture is not the guy whose entire profile consists of “Hello x,” because the guy in the picture, we can assume, at least had the mental faculty to present himself at a photo shoot and talk to the photographer about having his picture taken. I’m not sure “Hello x” has the mental faculty to talk to anything that’s not a carrot.

4) No run-on sentences.
No run-ons
My day’s been fine why can’t you grammar properly haha just kidding I’m actually not kidding.

5) No misusing ellipses.
No guys misuing ellipses
“Nurse, we’re losing IQ points in the spaces between the periods. This patient needs a book on basic punctuation, stat.”
“Doctor! Our only punctuation book is being used by the run-ons guy!”
“Are we not a hospital?! DAMN THESE BUDGET CUTS.”

6) No giving me ridiculous names.
No ridiculous names
No I have not, li’l mister epictoolmonsterclaw.

7) No obvious serial killers looking for victims.
No serial killers looking for victims 2
So you can kill me and leave my body in a field? I think not.
No potential murderers 3 copy
So you can kill me and leave my body in a Cornish field? I think not.
No serial killers looking for victims

8) No marriage proposals.
No marriage proposals
Wow! Let’s run as fast and as far away from this one as possible!

8a) No I-Love-Yous.
No I love yous

8b) No “I-Love-Yous” followed by marriage proposals.
No i love yous followed by marriage proposals copy

9) No unsolicited inspirational bullshit.
No inspirational advice
You were born with potential. The potential to talk to human beings. You failed, so now you get high and write for Buzzfeed to forget.

And finally–and I cannot believe I actually have to say this–10) No “adult babies” who wear diapers.
No guys who wear diapers
Fuck off.

Stay tuned for future installments of Online Dating Ridiculousness. . . . . . .because there is so much of it.

So…I live in London now. And it’s so. easy.

I’ve been delaying this blog post because I’ve been waiting for something terrible to happen to me.

No, seriously. I’ve been waiting for something to fall out of the sky and crush my legs, for some bureaucratic nightmare dragon to rear its ugly head and bite mine off, to be sleeping in a box next to the Thames. But as it turns out, I’ve been here for a little over three weeks and nothing has gone wrong. In fact, everything is fine–more than fine, everything’s great! To my complete surprise, this has been by far the easiest international move I have ever made. It remains to be seen whether that has more to do with me getting to be an old hat at this whole trans-hemispherical relocation thing, or else because everyone speaks English/you can buy brown sugar here/I just spent ten months in Mongolia after which England is a cakewalk, because seriously bro, Mongolia. Moving abroad is supposed to be hard, but life in London is so easy I feel like I’m cheating at being an expat.

Happily, I’m finding living in London combines all of my favorite things about living in Germany (health care! public transportation! things to do!) with the ability to jaywalk. Less happily, it also involves a cost of living that is just stupid, plus all the public health hazards that go along with driving cars on the wrong side of the road, which makes jaywalking a daily exercise in close encounters of the fatal kind.

I’m currently renting a room in an area of London that’s not exactly the most hopping, but since it only takes me seven minutes to walk to work in the morning, I can’t say I’m particularly sad about it. I get all of this:
while also only being approximately 30 minutes from Central London, so it’s a good compromise.

In more happy news, I love my job to a degree that I did not dare hope for when I first decided to try being an adult with an adult job for once. I thought full-time employment was supposed to be lame, and yet, it’s Sunday evening and I’m looking forward to work tomorrow because we’ve got fun things that need doing, and I am the person getting paid to do them. Amazingly, I have somehow managed to find a job that pays me to do things I enjoy doing and would be doing anyway for no money. I feel like I’ve gamed the system.

In my further quest to painstakingly assemble the ingredients of personal happiness, I got WHEEEEEEEELS.
It has flowers AND a basket AND a bell AND not one, not two, but THREE SPEEDS! It’s also, like, forty years old but whatever. Is awesome.

The only true issue I have had since arriving here is making friends. Where I live, people are either 21 or 40, and my theory as to everyone in between’s whereabouts begins and ends at “state-mandated cryogenic hibernation,” possibly to cut down on NHS costs. Ah well, they’ll come. I’m a pretty social person, so it can’t be much longer.

In conclusion, London is awesome, come visit ya’ll. We’ll grill up these:

HOLY ADVENTURES, BATMAN, Kulturschock! is moving to…



So right off the bat, serious apologies for not keeping my blog updated since I’ve been back in the US. I’ve got a couple more Mongolia posts coming up in the next few weeks but my lack of posting has been mostly the result of the intensified soul-crushing job hunt that has kept me chained to my computer and crying into my bowl of ice cream.

But NO MORE. Because I have a JOB. Technically a (PAID!) internship, but details are the devil! or something. And it’s in LONDON! This calls for ARBITRARY CAPITALIZATION!

I’ll be working for a university doing stuff with their international students. So not in international development, which was my original goal, although the hypocrisy of not getting paid to do an entry-level job helping other people get out of poverty became a bit more than I could stand after 154 failed applications in the field. So, I’m moving into higher education and hoping this sets me up down the line to do a lot of diversity/immigration stuff. We shall see. Also, my new workplace is in a castle, which sets my little American heart to exploding every time I think about it.

I’m leaving Sept 24th, and as is pretty standard for me, I’m flipping back and forth between being desperately, manically excited and desperately, manically terrified. If my history is any indication, we can expect these feelings to intensify in character but shorten in duration until the day I leave, when my second-to-second mood swings will give me the effect of having taken so much speed that I became a Spanish soap opera. And then I’ll get to London and be perfect.

So stay tuned for more Mongolia posts and until then, cheers to old adventures and new ones.