Opinion

The Art of Tinder

Swipe left. Swipe left. Swipe left. Pause. Click. Scroll. Swipe right. Match. Swipe left. Swipe left.

We’ve all been there. You’re bored, and you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed. Then all of a sudden, you close out and click on that orange fire icon and start swiping. It’s mindless entertainment, and we can’t deny the rush it gives us to literally rate people based on a single photo. But, why?

For me, the Tinder journey has been just that: a journey. I end up going through phases in which I cover months without touching the app. And then, suddenly, I’ll see a friend swiping, and I realize I kind of miss it. Then begins the brief phase, lasting between one week and one month, where I’m back on the app, semi-regularly. No matter what prompted my return, I must admit it always stems from some level of boredom. That, I believe, is a commonality of our generation; with a constant stream of information being thrown in our faces, we’re always looking for ways to be entertained. For most, that’s spending hours each day tagging friends in memes and flipping through people’s Snapchat Stories. But, when that gets old, the best way to uncover some new content is through Tinder, since you’re always being shown new faces.

In my opinion, Tinder doubles as a dating (or hookup) app and a self-validation app. We can’t deny the little ray of pride we feel when we match with someone we find pretty attractive. Even more so when that person messages us. In this day and age, it’s hard to get that kind of validation in person. Face-to-face human interaction has spiraled downwards as we’ve become consumed by our devices at all times of day. It seems to be getting more and more difficult to meet someone in person and have them actually ask you out on a date. Some might say that chivalry is dead; I say that direct conversation is dead. If I’m being honest, I would probably find it very strange and uncomfortable if any stranger approached me and tried to strike up a conversation. So, to get that same feeling in a much safer and more comfortable environment (a.k.a our phones), Tinder can often be that outlet. You get to talk to people you find attractive, to whom you’d never typically speak, and feel validated by their attraction to you. And, if all fails, you can just stop responding or delete them and move on with your life. It’s as simple as that.

The problem with Tinder for me, though, is the varying levels of involvement each individual on the app has. There are some people who live by Tinder as if it’s a religious text; there are others, like me, who go on it once in awhile and often forget about their matches. There are some who are on the app solely to find one-night stands and meaningless hookups; there are others who are looking for relationships or even just friendships. This is a flaw in the app for me; it’s very difficult to find someone who’s on the same page as you. While I myself am not searching for my future husband on Tinder, it does get a bit tiring when most of the men with whom I match seem to only want to hook up once and then move on. It would be a lot better for me if Tinder added a couple more settings to their Discovery Settings. Since you can edit the gender, age range, and location range you’re looking for, I believe you should also be able to edit “what” you’re looking for (ex. relationship, friendship, regular hook-up, one-night stand) and only match with people who are on the same page as you.

However, what’s most interesting to me about Tinder is the emphasis we place on photos and bios. There are settings on Tinder that can place your photos in order of how attractive people will find them. There are articles and studies done on what types of photos receive the most right swipes. To many, Tinder is truly an art form; a lot of thought goes behind the making of a Tinder profile. Just as it is with any other social media platform, we are given the power to control how others view us. And, in creating this image, a lot of thought is involved. You can give as much or as little as you want, and in return, also get as much or as little as you want. That is truly the art of Tinder.

I will end with 5 of the most ridiculous messages I have received from recent Tinder guys:

  1. That’s funny.. My second girlfriend had the name Swetha too!! But the thing is I only had one girlfriend
  2. U like bad boys?
  3. if you were a flower you’d be a dammmmmnedelion
  4. I’ll make you a deal. I’ll set you up with my bunny if you set me up with your tall blond friend in the fourth pic?
  5. hey
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Opinion

The Bus Mishap that Shaped a Friendship

It was the start of Spring Break. In Boston, the sun had finally begun to shine warming the air to a beautiful fifty-five degrees. The city was flocking with families taking their kids into the Common to play, friends grabbing coffee and basking in the sun, and runners freed from treadmills going up and down the Esplanade.

Federica, my soon to become best friend, and I were all packed for our trip to New York, ready to visit what we both considered our future home. We’d both traveled before, but this was our first real girls trip, no supervision.

Continue reading “The Bus Mishap that Shaped a Friendship”

Opinion

Looking Back on Childhood Friends and Memories

There are hundreds of relationships that one will have during their lifetime. There is the childhood friend, the high school group, the best friend, the boyfriend and the family friends. Of course, there are plenty more, and each will have different and unique experiences and memories. There will be a ton of laughter, smiles, and secrets, but also tears, fights, and second guessing. It happens with everyone, slowly, but surely, and at different times of everyone’s life. Within each relationship that you had, have and will have, there are lessons that you learn. The lessons, in turn, will be established in future friendships that you will make.

When I was little, like many, I had a childhood best friend. We did so much together, which was less of our choosing and more because our moms were close friends. Either way, we wanted to have “play dates” and play imaginary games. Personally, I believe that having a childhood best friend is important. It could be a person, imaginary friend, or a loved pet. With any of these types, we learn to play, love, interact and learn from others. I can confidently say that my childhood best friend began to teach me all of these characteristics and everyday human capabilities that would later turn into major building blocks for other friendships.

There is always a specific memory that you can tag to a person. With this friend (you know who you are), we used to play on the wooden swing in her backyard. It was the type of the swing that had a plank of wood connected to rope, you know, the ones that swung really high with just one push. We used to take turns playing on that swing for hours, screaming and smiling all at once as we quickly got higher and higher off of the ground and closer to the shining sun. This was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid, plainly because it was just so simple but so fun.

Unfortunately for me, I have always been scared of heights and also that feeling of dropping backwards without having control of it. Therefore, I would always have fun going up, but as soon as it hit the highest part of the swing and began to go back to the ground, I would panic. I thought that I was going to run into the wooden fence that shut my friend’s yard off from weeds and sharp bushes that lived in her neighbor’s. I would shut my eyes tight, and turtle my chin into my neck, ready for impact. But it would never happen. She would always catch the swing before it would hit the fence. I would open my eyes and find myself still intact.

As silly as this sounds, these simple playtimes at the swing helped me to begin building trust for people besides my family. The fact that I never crashed into the fence because of the true dedication of my friend (think about it, two small and young girls can’t stop a fast moving swing with someone equally as heavy on top of it that easily) helped me to open up to other people rather than hide from them.

Now, with an experience that brought me so much trust to instill in my everyday surroundings and the people within them, came others that brought me back down to earth. We all have experienced friends who talked about us behind our backs, lied to us, or smirked meanly at us when we made stupid comments. Maybe you didn’t know it, but someone did. Middle school and high school, for most of us, are the grounds for bringing down our trust levels. Especially for girls. We really are mean. I mean, guys are also pretty bad. Though, in middle school, they tend to separate themselves into two categories: loud and obnoxious or quiet and shy. Girls on the other hand, well, quiet or not, we are just plain mean. If not all of the time, then a pretty good amount of it. And half the time we don’t even intend to be.

For me, I was more quiet in middle school and stuck to a smaller group of friends. But was I a perfect friend who never talked about anyone behind their backs? Absolutely not. It’s in our nature, and at a time when everything both physically and mentally is changing for us, it helps something to feel normal. This by no means excuses bullying, however emphasizes that sad fact that we as girls do eventually thrive off of some sort of drama in order to distract ourselves from our own ongoing lives.

As I thread through thousands of unfinished journal pages covered with sloppy handwriting and unidentifiable drawings, I remember those times in my life while growing into that “awkward middle school phase.” I remember times that I was mean (like when I threw a dinner roll at my aunt to stop her from telling an embarrassing story) and then times that people were mean to me. (Remember FormSpring?) If I could relive those moments now, as a 20-year-old woman rather than a ten to 13-year-old girl, I would probably change a couple of things. One, I wouldn’t throw the dinner roll, I would most likely let my aunt continue her embarrassing story and secretly plan a less harmful revenge. Two, I would probably delete my FormSpring account and never look back at it again.

Both of these instances described above, (one being cute and nostalgic, and the other more of a laughing stock), are completely different. However, both of the relationships had in them helped me to become the person I am today. As you can tell through this article, I am a big believer of “everything happens for a reason.” But thinking back onto every relationship you have ever had (which is a lot), there is some sort of happy, sad or angry ending to it that makes you more wary or trusting about others around you. If all of the relationships that we had in our lives were happy and had positive outcomes, no fights or crying, then we would never expect anything bad of anyone. We would be naive and a serious target for anything and everything horrible and evil.

Even through intimate relationships we learn. If I acted shy and uncomfortable around my current boyfriend like I did with my first boyfriend, then our relationship would not be going very far (and would possibly already be over.) If someone had never made fun of me, then I never would have built a thicker skin (and a wildly large determination to do everything to prove them wrong.) And even as I am presented with similar relationships that I dealt with in the past, I realize that it is another chance to deal with them in a better and more responsible way than how I did before.

As awkward as our memories of the past may be, they can not be rewritten. And honestly, why would you ever want to?

Art, Opinion

Movie Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

*Warning: Spoilers!

The first time I had heard of this movie was when I got an email inviting me to a screening. I had never seen a preview for it, but a free movie is a free movie, so I signed up for passes. I was expecting it to be something like The Fault in Our Stars and so did my not-so-excited boyfriend who thought I was dragging him to a chick flick. The screening itself was much smaller than the others I’d been to, so even though he was late and we didn’t get to the theater until after 6:30 p.m., there were plenty of good seats left. After a few warnings about not using our cell phones, the couple in front of us pulled out a couple of burritos and we settled in to watch the movie.

Like so many teen movies, the story opens like with an awkward high school student, Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) who doesn’t really fit in well. He floats from clique to clique and has only one friend, Earl (RJ Cyler), who he calls his “coworker.” The way they describe high school cliques is pretty cliche, but maybe I think that about most teen movies. What was interesting and different about this one, was that Greg was an outcast because he was afraid to become close to people, not because the kids in his high school picked on him. When an acquaintance of his, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), is diagnosed with cancer, he is forced by his mother to hang out with her. I went in thinking there would be some grand romance, like most YA story lines have, but I was surprised that Greg and Rachel don’t fall in love. After the initial surprise, I think it made the ending of the movie even stronger.

I had few complaints about this movie, one of them being the narration. Sometimes narration works really well in movies, but it was unnecessary here. The movie started off with Greg writing his college essay, so the narration was probably to remind you that he was telling the “audience” the story of how his senior year of high school destroyed his life, but I didn’t need the reminders that it wasn’t a typical cancer movie and they weren’t going to fall in love. Nor did I need him to keep telling us that Rachel didn’t die. Another thing I thought was strange was the lack of knowledge of Rachel’s life before Greg. There was that one awkward scene with her friends, but other than that, Rachel didn’t seem to have friends anymore. I know the movie was about the relationship between her and Greg, but I always think that there needs to be some context of how characters’ lives used to be.

Despite those few things, I think the movie was beautifully done. Maybe I’m just more sentimental than most when it comes to books and movie, but I really cared about Rachel and Greg. I almost cried at the end of the movie when Greg realized he was losing everything. His last two scenes with Rachel were the most heartbreaking, even though I suspected how it would end. The movie is about so much more than Rachel’s cancer, and that’s what I loved most about it. There was a lot going on, but I think the screenwriter (and author of the book), Jesse Andrews, and the director, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, did an amazing job weaving all the aspects of the story together. That’s what sets it apart from other movies like it.

Globe, Opinion

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Think of middle school. Try not to cringe.

The reason I say this is because for myself, and for most people I know, middle school is our most embarrassing time period in our past. (I feel my face turning red even just thinking about it.)

There were braces and Hollister t-shirts that were so simple and boring but cost a fortune. There were crushes, AIM profiles and giggles exchanged next to vending machines– attempts to talk to cute boys from class. There were angsty pop-punk lyrics written in your math notebook and Jonas Brothers posters hanging in your locker (maybe this was just me, but humor me here.)

I think of that time and feel utterly astounded that I had any friends at all, never mind many of the same friends that I still consider some of my best friends now. I stop and think about it and realize that my friends at the time were just as cringeworthy as I was.

We were all navigating “teenage years” and constantly changing social hierarchies. We were coming to terms with our bodies as “adults” and feeling more emotions than we thought possible at such a young age. Life was starting to become real, at times too real, which is why we whispered to our friends over a bag of Doritos at 4 a.m. on Friday nights.

And I think there’s something so inherently beautiful in that. The friends I cried on the bathroom floor with when I was thirteen over a bad report card became the people I turned to when I had my first broken heart. They were the first people to call me out when I lied about being okay, because they had seen me in middle school when absolutely nothing was ever okay.

Friends that you have grown up with just fit you so perfectly. You were shaped and formed all throughout your childhood and adolescence and during this time you were surrounded by people that slowly filled the cracks with laughter and salty snacks. When you are an “adult”, or at least you are told you are one, these friends have already been cemented, a foundation so strong and unforgettable that it can never be ripped apart.