The Challenge of Being Female on the Internet

I had a friend request from myself.

Worse than the unsettling experience of receiving a friend request from you that you hadn’t sent was the fact that it wasn’t really surprising at all. Since, for the past week or two, I’d been occasionally contacted by a Goodreads account that was an exact copy of my own.

As someone who has discovered a love for rereading books I loved in childhood, I set a goal of rereading every Sarah Dessen book in 2018. As I finished another reread of the queen of middle school literature, I logged into Goodreads to update my review.

Before I did, I checked my notifications. And saw my own profile picture. My name, with the same lowercase E I use on my profiles.

“emma started following you.”

“emma commented on your review of The Moon and More.”

Continue reading “The Challenge of Being Female on the Internet”


Being Present


Credit: Pinterest

Last week I came across the above quote and it really spoke to me. Being physically present and being mentally present have two completely different definitions. Lately I have been feeling the absence of deep, meaningful conversations in my life and I yearn for that void to be filled.

I cannot remember the last time a phone wasn’t pulled out at some point during a conversation. When hanging out with a group of friends all it takes is one person to pick up their phone and everyone feels obligated to check theirs too. We have grown accustomed to the presence of technology and it is getting harder and harder to be fully present in day to day life. The truth about technology is saddening because no one my age knows how to entertain themselves without a screen. Someone whip out Yahtzee or Pictionary, PLEASE.

It may seem ridiculous to live without technology but pulling back from constant screen use is a great way to slow down your brain. Lock your phone and instead pass some time by reading, journaling or drawing…unleash the creativity! Once enough time is focused in a more constructive place than the depths of someone’s Instagram page a feeling of relaxation arises. There will always be time to be engrossed in social media but I hope more than anything that young people can learn to stay present in the more simple joys of life.

When having a conversation, I try to remind myself to continuously look someone in the eye and ask questions about what they are saying. That is the best way to show your true interest in another person. It is just too easy to get lost behind a screen when the world is going by around us. We walk around engrossed in the latest Tasty video or Snapchat story, completely oblivious to the beauty passing by with every step.

 phones GIF

It may seem impossible to go a full day without your phone but the experience will allow you to see the world a little differently. You don’t need that perfectly staged Snapchat video or Instagram story to show that you are having fun with your friends. There is definitely pressure in our world today about posting constantly to ensure that your followers know you are maintaining an interesting life. Your friends that you are hanging out with already know how much fun you are. Pictures and videos are great, but soaking in the memories with your eyes and ears is more organic and fulfilling.

It is always great to snap some pics of a new place or some cool food, but save the editing and posting until after in order to enjoy the rest of the day. People always seemed surprised when I say I left my phone at home for the day or night; it’s like a security blanket that is thought to be a necessity when I can function just as well without it.

Right now you are looking at a screen, as are billions of people around the world. Try taking a breather from all the screens and pay attention to the beautiful details all around you because the world is a lot more interesting than the Instagram popular page.

I snapped this pic before embarking on a beautiful walk down the beach a few weeks ago. Left my phone in the car (:



Looking at Advertisements as Time Capsules

Part of my summer cleaning involved removing 50 pounds worth of Bon Appetite magazines from my grandmother’s kitchen cabinets. Before throwing monoliths of magazines away, I decided to flip through a few of them. Bon Appetite is a good magazine if cooking is your thing, but what intrigued me was looking at the advertisements. What I found was a time capsule to the late 70s through early 90s that gave me a unique insight into American life.

Considering Bon Appetite‘s readership consisted mainly of housewives, the ads were targeted to things they would buy. The majority of ads were for cars, refrigerators and cigarettes. (Sidenote: I wonder what my experience would have been if I were reading vintage Tiger Beat magazines? Or New Yorkers? Or Playboy?)

In terms of the most ads placed, Honda reigned supreme. I can’t imagine what their budget for print advertising was, since they often took up two pages. And those ads often doubled as essays. I mean who is going to read all that text? It’s practically another story in itself!

They also win in brand recognition, because their style (simple black on white text, same font and basic photo) was uniform for all their spots.

Seeing ads for anything technology related is especially bewildering, since what is marketed as “innovating” five years ago is now obsolete. That made looking at cars and refrigerators all the more entertaining.

It’s weird to think that having a fridge that was a different color was something that was marketable. It seems so quaint now; since there are refrigerators on the market that double as smart phones. Alas, there are those weird instances of a product being ahead of its time, like the Frigidaire Conversation Piece. A radio, cassette player and recorder in your fridge? I guess smacking all of the latest technologies on the kitchen fridge isn’t a new trend.

There were plenty of other signs of the times in these pages. Celebrities endorsing things whose names were completely lost on me. Products that are now rendered useless. Women’s hairstyles inflating and deflating over time. But the most interesting part of looking at these magazines was seeing all the cigarette ads.

It’s truly mind warping to see ads selling a product that is now universally known as a major health risk. I can’t imagine seeing cigarette ads in any cooking or housekeeping magazine nowadays.

As I looked through editions from the 70s through the 90s, brands began distancing themselves from the very product they were selling. They went from bragging about how great their cigarettes tasted to not mentioning the flavor at all. The models in their pictures weren’t even smoking. By the 90s magazines, a company boasted about how their cigs were the ones with the least amount of tar in them.

Flipping through an Entertainment Weekly the other day, I saw an ad for Newports. It caught me off guard; I recognized their trademark green background only because I had seen it so much in a those magazines from thirty years ago. Maybe it’s because of the magazines I was exposed to, but the only time I saw cigarette ads in print was in DARE class. It serves as a reminder to how quickly the public can change their views on a product. Seeing how companies respond to consumer attitudes in the lens of advertising shows how relentless they are. Even when they know what they’re selling is terrible, they will always find ways to do so.

Source: Productioncars.com
Source: Productioncars.com
Source: Ad Vintage Plus
Source: Attic Paper


Source: Vintage Everyday
City, Opinion

The Role of the Boston Public Library in the 21st Century

The question “Where is your favorite spot in the city?” is a complete no-brainer for me. The answer will always be, “the Boston Public Library.” It has been there for me more than any sort of entity has been in the past three years (well, at least until nine o’clock). It’s where I spend my time, where I get my textbooks and where I go to get a slice of life. It was the number one place we had to go when my family came from Minnesota to Boston. Not that I would ever diss a library, but let’s just say the Galaxie Library in Apple Valley is not the kind of place that instills a sense of wonder in its patrons. I’m pleased to say my 10-year-old sister was just as amazed at the Boston Public Library(BPL) as I am every time I go there.

A window to Boylston St.

Recently, the library announced it would be opening up a cafe and a broadcast station for WGBH, the public news channel for Massachusetts. The modern side of the library, the Johnson Building, has been under going renovations for the past year and is set to be complete in the summer of 2016. While the new cafe and station are most certainly an attempt to bring in revenue for the $78 million renovation taking place, it also changes the definition of what a library could be.

When most people think of libraries, they think of books. While they’re not wrong to think that’s what a library should offer, the 21st century library can do so much more for its community than share books. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a library as “a collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing.” This definition most accurately describes what public libraries are, even if it seems broad. Libraries are centers of information for a specific community. In the 21st century, that’s more than just books.

Wall decor inside Teen Central

Take for example, the BPL’s teen center. A place where history books, coloring books and anime volumes can exist among each other and still make sense. In one of two rooms adjacent to the main room of teen central are Macs and PCs loaded with the complete Adobe Creative Suite, the kind of software found in my college’s computer labs. Installed in this lab is also 3D printer. All of these high-tech exemplars of luxury are available for young teens to use for free.  And the sole purpose of “The Media Lounge” is to enjoy playing Xbox 1, Playstation 4 and Wii U. Video games? In a library? The BPL knows enough that video games can be educational, but also realize the value of them as a stress relieving activities. In addition to Teen Central, the library also offers a a college planning center sponsored by American Student Assistance (ASA), a non-profit organization that helps students plan financially for secondary education.

Of course, the BPL offers plenty of services for its users that aren’t teens. But it’s crucial to note that at the forefront of all the changes occurring in the renovation is an emphasis on making the library a place for young people. The Children’s Library is a rainbow splattered room that is filled with books, but also glowing lions, touchscreen tables and a sensory wall. Engaging Bostonians from a budding age and keeping them involved in their adolescent years is key to letting them know libraries are a place for them too.


I remember the awe of my 10-year-old sister as she walked through the children’s section of the library. It had completely changed her schema of what a library could be. Despite our ten year age difference, the library of my youth is completely unrecognizable to hers. The next generation isn’t going to have the same library experience as we did and perhaps won’t even need to know what the Dewey Decimal System is. What they will hopefully have is an excitement for libraries; and an enthusiasm for libraries translates to an enthusiasm for reading and learning in general.

The incoming broadcast station should be seen as good news for the 167-year-old institution. By making news more accessible to the public, allowing citizens to possibly be involved in the news making process (or at least watch it unfold), the BPL is continuing it’s tradition of bringing the power to the people with knowledge.


Pic City: The Return of Visual Communication

Social media has left the text world behind and returned to pictures through the creation of mobile apps like Instagram and Snapchat—moving back to a form of communication that has been ingrained in the human race since the caveman years. Visual communication itself has expended over the last few years due to technological advancements that have made the world of communication easier than ever. The increase in the “selfie” has also brought about the increase in platforms that cater to communicating visually.

These advancements in technology that allowed for mobile apps to grow and become the force that they have, brought about things like Instagram and Snapchat. These new ways of sharing visual communication, that exist almost entirely on a mobile platform, gained popularity rather quickly. According to an article released by Digitaltrends.com, Instagram has reached almost 20 billion images shared since its release in October 2010.

“I would say the evolution of it, the ubiquitous of it and the ease of use,” says Professor David Gerzof Richard, Professor of Media Relations, Social Media and Marketing at Emerson College, is the key to technology’s promotion of these new platforms in social media. “It’s evolved. It’s come from digits to sending photos. It’s ubiquitous in that last year was the first year that smartphone penetration in the US was over 50 percent.”

Visual communication has always been a way to communicate, dating back to the years of the cavemen. Cueva de las Manos, or the Cave of Hands as it’s translated, is located in Santa Cruz, Argentina and can be said to be one of the earliest forms of social media, something that dates almost 13,000 to 9,000 years ago.

“They didn’t have Facebook, they didn’t have text messaging or picture messaging; they had cave walls, they had a dye and they had reeds,” says Gerzof-Richard about the ancient’s way of communicating. “Before there was Facebook, there was ‘handbook’ and that’s how they connected.”

These caves aren’t the only way people communicated visually. People have been using art to depict events and people for centuries. Before the creation of photography, artists would paint portraits for paying customers. Unlike pictures, which were more correct when it came to being perfectly precise with features, these early versions of selfies were up to the interpretation of the artist. When photography was created, many were afraid of this new invention, believing that it took something from the subject every time a picture was taken. It became popular anyway, due to the fact that it was cheaper than having a portrait painted.

In 1839, the first self-portrait was accomplished in the world of photography. According to The Public Domain Review, Robert Cornelius was the first to snap a picture of himself. It was accomplished by removing the lens cap and then running into the frame where he sat for a minute. He replaced the lens. According to the article, early self-portraits like Cornelius’ were common in the early days of photography as people were continuously experimenting with this new platform.

The launch of MySpace in 2003 brought about the first time that a self-portrait was used in social media at such a high rate, as people used these selfies for profile pictures. Since then, the selfie has spread to other social media platforms, especially Facebook and Twitter. As the selfie became more popular on social media, it also opened up a new way of expressing ones self.

The advancements in technology helped the selfie become an every day fad, as phones like the iPhone began to be equipped with cameras. By 2010, when the iPhone was equipped with a frontal camera in order to support video chatting services, the selfie was cemented into history as users began taking pictures of themselves. Now, it’s not only pictures of themselves that people are posting on these picture based apps, but also of their food, their pets, their friends, anything that a person can deem picturesque has been snapped and uploaded to one of these apps.

According to ROI Research’s Performic Life on Demand Summery from 2012, people using social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter paid more attention to pictures posted by their friends. These numbers, at 35 percent, were 9 percent higher than the second interest that was status updates (25%), providing a starting point for this new trend.

By the time Mary Meeker’s 2014 Internet Trends Report, posted by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, came about, the trend had increased, showing that SnapChat alone shared about 700 million snaps per day, while 1.8 billion photos are uploaded and shared per day throughout all image accessible platforms. By sharing this many photos daily, the trend has increased from where it had been merely five years ago, where only 50 million pictures had been shared.

“At this point, SnapChat, Instagram and other platforms are becoming more popular for now and it so happens that they are image based,” says Professor Roxana Maiorescu, an assistant professor in the Department of Marketing Communication at Emerson College, “but it’s just a matter of time until corporations and your parents and other entities are going to use those social media platforms and [the younger generation] are going to come up with something new.”

The rate at which visual communication has returned since the lunch of mobile apps like Instagram and SnapChat has been fast paced. And both of these apps, especially the later, are being populated by the younger generation. SnapChat, in fact, owes most of its success to teenagers, who are incredibly active on the app.

“I think it’s being driven by the younger generation, folks that are sort of playing with the latest apps,” confirms Professor David Gerzof-Richard.

In a world where communication is key, visual based apps have risen to the top. Driven to that peak by the younger generation, social media platforms are continuously expanding as one is always searching for the best new thing, moving from Facebook to Instagram to SnapChat. Visual communication, while always having been part of the human culture dating back to ancient times 13,000 years ago, has proven to be the new thing, condensing what could be said in 140 words to a simple picture. As communication evolves, the future is uncertain but for now, just smile.


Apple’s New Emojis and How They’re Promoting Diversity

Maybe it’s just me, but I know that I always get excited when there’s a new iPhone update. It doesn’t matter if it’s something small, like changing the way a certain app runs on their latest phone, or something big like completely changing what our texts look like; there’s just an exciting feeling that comes when I see the little notification pop up next to the updates section.

When my friends starting buzzing that there were new emojis out on April 8th, I got even more excited. I remembered when I read an article over the summer announcing that there were going to be new emojis released in July, and then the intense disappointment that followed when my emoji keyboard remained the same.

A few of my friends had downloaded the update before me, and my one friend told me the faces were all yellow and the only new ones were additional flags. I was confused by what she meant by this. Then my update finally downloaded and I saw that the people emojis went from looking like this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 1.13.54 PM

to looking like this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 1.16.48 PM

I didn’t really understand it. I thought maybe Apple was trying to follow in the footsteps of Legos, whose standard figures usually feature yellow skin. According to the Lego Customer Service page, “We chose yellow to avoid assigning a specific ethnicity in sets that don’t include any specific characters. With this neutral color, fans can assign their own individual roles to LEGO minifigures. In some sets, such as movie themed ones, we want to represent the characters as authentically as possible. Some figures included will therefore be represented in different ethnic roles to stay true to their characterization.” It seemed logical that maybe Apple was trying to do the same thing with their emojis.

Later on, I was holding down an emoji, and I discovered that the yellow emojis weren’t the only updated emojis this update brought along. The yellow emojis were set as the default, but for some of the emojis, such as the police officer and the bride, you can hold down the emoji and select from five different skin tones.


According to an article on MTV.com, “They’ve also changed up the emoji for family. Along with an emoji showing a mom and dad and two kids, you can also show a family with two dads or two moms. And, likewise, you can change the skin color of the dads and moms. Apple is also releasing emoji of different countries’ flags so that no matter where you live, you’ll have a flag to share.” So not only did they make the emojis more diverse with different skin colors, they’ve also added representation for other countries and other sexual orientations.

tumblr_inline_nmlfxlJ7S41s4rar7_500 Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 1.14.42 PM

I think this is a pretty important step. It may not seem like such a big thing, because they’re only emojis, but I think this will eventually lead to bigger things. It may seem trivial at first, but the way I see it, if a little girl sees an emoji and is able to be excited because it looks like her then that’s a step in the right direction. A little boy can see an emoji with a two dads and feel like it’s okay to have two dads or love a man. A kid can live in a country other than the United States and actually see their flag.

Technology is something that is so present these days. I often see little kids in public being entertained by their parents’ iPhones or iPads and the acceptable age for a child to have their own phone seems to become younger and younger. This is why I think it’s such a good medium to try and implement diversity into.

Emojis seem so simple and harmless and on the surface, this change may seem trivial. But I think it carries a bigger message than others may see at first. Even though it’s 2015, there is still an issue with racism. People are still discriminated against for wanting to marry a member of the same sex. There are certain countries where there are so many stereotypes that go along with them that are not fair to assume. Emojis aren’t going to make a huge difference, but they’re a step in the right direction. A lot of people use emojis, so if a lot of people can see this small inkling of diversity starting to spread, then maybe it’s a hint that bigger things will come in the future.

Art, Opinion

Paper vs. Laptop

As a writer, I’ve always gone back and forth between using technology to write and using paper and a pen. I’m sure even if you’re not a writer, everyone has had this dilemma as well. I always go back and forth between which method is better, but now I’m starting to thing that neither method is better than the other. I think they both have their own set of pros and cons.

Pros of Using Paper

1. Nostalgia

Lately, I have been using electronic devices more often than paper. That being said, I sometimes use paper simply because I am feeling nostalgic and miss the feeling of having a pen in my hands.

2. Fewer Distractions

Sometimes it’s better to use paper because if you’re able to kind of zone out everything around you, there are fewer distractions. It’s nice to be able to sit down and write without the constant flurry of notifications popping into your view. When you write on a laptop there are constant notifications from Facebook and iMessage. But writing on paper allows you to take yourself out of the world of media and just be alone with your thoughts.

3. Personal Touch

I feel like this is something more relevant to things like cards or letters. It’s a lot more personal when you take the time to write out a note to a friend or a card to a family member than typing it out. It adds a personal touch that Times New Roman just can’t achieve.

Cons of Using Paper

1. More Work

It really depends on what you are writing, but more often than not when you write something on paper it just creates more work for you. I once wrote a 19 page short story entirely on paper and then later had to sit down and copy the entire thing into a word document. As someone who is not the best typer, it was a horribly tedious and drawn out process. With longer works, it’s more beneficial to just type it as you go along because you waste time writing it out on paper and then having to copy it all later.

2. Less Protected

Sometimes I prefer putting things on my laptop because I can password protect them. With paper, it’s easier for people to read things especially if they’re just in a plain notebook. Also, it’s really easy for paper to get damaged and it can be  difficult to take that risk with really important things.

Pros of Using a Laptop

1. Easier to Share

It’s a lot easier to share work with people when you’re using a laptop. Your work is already typed so you can just copy and paste it into an email and send it to someone. Also, with technology like Google Docs it’s easy to collaborate with people about your work.

2. More Protected

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like my work is more safe with a password than if it’s in a notebook (even if the notebook is in a safe or has a lock and key). As long as you don’t forget the password or your laptop doesn’t lose all your work, whatever you have protected is pretty safe.

3. Neater

It’s a lot neater to write with a laptop because you can just delete words without having a bunch of cross outs or eraser marks. It’s also easier to add in text because you don’t have to scrunch it all in the margins.

Cons of Using a Laptop

1. Not as Personal

Sometimes it’s just better to write things on paper because the typing of the keys can’t compare to writing on paper. No matter what font you choose, it’s not as unique as your own handwriting.

2. Technology Can’t Always Be Trusted

I’m always skeptical of using technology because I’m afraid that my laptop is going to lose my work or I’m going to forget a password and not be able to access work that I protected. I guess it’s a risk you take with both paper and laptops. Paper writing can be damaged and laptop writing can be lost.

Either way, both methods are good methods. They both have their pros and cons and they both have their risks. Lately, I’ve been using the electronic method more than the traditional paper method but that doesn’t mean I like one better than the other. They both have their own unique uses and benefits.

Tinder illustration by Kate McMillan

Adventures in Tinder-land

If there’s one thing I love, it’s hearing about my friends’ love lives. I’m always the first to want to know who went out with whom, what they did and how it went. You know that obnoxious female relative at family parties who always wants to know if you’re dating someone? That’s me. But there is nothing like living vicariously through your friend’s dating successes and blunders.

One of my friends, who frequently entertains me with his many tales, told me about some of the apps he used to meet people. He encouraged me to try one, just for fun. He recommended Tinder.

Tinder is a social media app that quickly became a popular forum for online dating. You sign into the app using Facebook and it transfers your basic information, such as your first name, age and interests, as well as your photos. You choose which photos you want to use and add a brief description of yourself. The app then finds your location and will find potential matches within a certain radius that you set.

Using the app is simple. If you like someone, you swipe right. If you dislike them, you swipe left. If you and the other person both swipe right, you have a match and have the option to message them.

The original aim of the app was to help the user meet other people. It has since evolved into a hook-up app. Yet, friends assured me that I could find people on there actually interested in just meeting new people. Still, I was hesitant to even try it. Using an app to find a suitable guy seemed like going to Forever 21 to find investment pieces: you are simply not looking in the right place.

Still, I downloaded Tinder. Its orange flame icon beckoned to me as if I were a moth. I wanted to go in to see if there were people I knew on there. I had no intent of actually using the app to find a match. And yet, it happened. Infrequently, at the encouragement of my app-savvy friend, I found my finger going right. The key word is infrequently.

“Oh, he has facial hair?” Swipe left.

“Is that a girl in his photo? Nice try.” Swipe left.

“There is more than one guy in this photo and I can’t be bothered to figure out which one is him.” Swipe left.

Occasionally, I would swipe right. In these cases, the candidates would have to meet my clean-shaven, solo photo criteria and often have another appealing factor. One guy had a questionable style blog; another had several dogs in his photos. It surprised me when I began getting matches for every right swipe. Soon enough, I got my first message from a guy who I’d liked because he too had a black lab.

Mr. Comedian, as I called him, messaged me with a classic, if not frightening opening line: “Knock, knock.”

Oh, you have got to be kidding me, I thought to myself as I sarcastically replied:  “Oh boy, who’s there?”

“Noah,” he answered.

This was too much for me to handle kindly.

“Noah you, right?” I answered, thinking I had cracked the riddle.

“Haha noo, you’re supposed to say Noah who?”

Apparently, he did not catch my displeasure with the conversation and thought I didn’t understand the concept of a knock-knock joke.

“Fine,” I typed back. “Noah who?”

“Noah good place for our first date, Erin?” It came complete with a winky face emoji.

Excuse me? You haven’t even taken the time to get to know me and you want me to go out on a date with you? I simply could not help the sarcasm in my reply.

“I’m afraid I don’t know of any good places amidst the glaring dullness of American suburbia to go with a person who I just connected with on a mildly sketchy app based on a singular photo.”

My conversation with Mr. Comedian ended shortly after that. But there were others. I soon discovered that the turnover rate is high on Tinder. If it doesn’t work out with one guy, then there are several more lined up right behind him.

Following Mr. Comedian was Basketball Boy, a guy I had liked because one of his photos featured my former workplace in the background. I began to regret this impulsive right-swipe when most of the conversation revolved around him asking me basketball trivia and being amazed that I actually know something about sports, despite the fact I am not overly interested in them. He did not quite get my sarcasm and told me he felt like I was “writing a book with (my) words”. I tired of him quickly and the conversation mercifully ended once I told him I liked Glee.

There were others though with whom I actually managed to have engaging conversations. There was “Fitz”, a guy who I warmed up to when he complimented me on my Great Gatsby t-shirt. We ended up discussing F. Scott Fitzgerald, which led to a discussion of favorite books. I was impressed with him and we ended up talking for several days.

I also kept up a long-standing conversation with a guy I referred to as “Mr. Worldwide”. We had both just returned from studying abroad and lamented together about missing Europe.

The appeal of these random conversations quickly wore off and after just a day, I became tired of constantly having messages and worrying about what to say. After another few days the messages trickled down, as I stopped right swiping. However, Fitz and Mr. Worldwide continued messaging me, trying to keep up the momentum of our admittedly good conversations. I just had too much going on though to really care. I was working, travelling and spending time focusing on what was in front of me. I wasn’t interested in being on my phone and talking to someone I didn’t even know.

My lack of interest in conversing with strangers should have been a sign to end my Tinder career. But I simply could not give it up; I was drawn in to see the profiles of people I know and was determined to stay on just to do so. Things took a turn for the comical when I visited my friend one night and decided to lower my distance range so people we knew would start popping up. There is something oddly humorous about seeing people you know on online dating and getting to see how they present themselves to total strangers.

We sat on our phones, shrieking when we found someone we knew. It was all fun and games until I decided to swipe right on a guy we knew from high school, just to see what would happen. To my bemused delight and horror, we matched.  Oops.

I sat there, unsure of what to do as our little photos popped up in the screen while Tinder declared the match, encouraging me to message him. I was unsure of what to do. Do I message him? Block him? Pretend it never happened? What if he messaged me? What if he didn’t? I had no clue what the etiquette was for this sort of social snafu.

Later in the night, Mr. NAHS (North Attleboro High School, my alma mater) messaged me, acknowledging the match. I replied, also acknowledging the overall weirdness of the situation and haven’t heard from him since. Here’s hoping for no awkward home-for-the-summer run-ins.

Great minds think alike and sometimes collide on Tinder. At least, that’s what I’m thinking was the case when I matched with Mr. NAHS. Chances are he too was swiping right to see would come of it. But I also knew there was the slim chance that he swiped right due to actual interest and here I was, treating it all like a joke.

This was one of the problems that motivated me to go into Tinder retirement.  I was becoming too disconnected. This became painfully obvious when I got the most awkward match in the history of Tinder. I knew what could happen when I swiped right, yet here I was, shocked and confused when the match was made. It’s easy to say and do whatever you want and forget that there’s an actual person behind there, potentially feeling the sting of rejection and sass. It all became very real when my Tinder path awkwardly crossed with Mr. NAHS, a person who is more than just a few photos and words on a phone screen to me.

I also discovered that I’m not crazy about the whole idea of online dating. In fact, I think it’s really weird. What initially kept me off Tinder was the idea that someone chose you based on a photo and a brief description. It all seemed so shallow to me. I realized that what I want from someone I’m dating is for him to like me, not just for my looks, but for who I am as a person. Granted, there are guys on Tinder who do want to get to know you, such as Fitz and Mr. Worldwide. Even to connect though is based on whether or not they like one photo. What if they accidentally swipe left or just don’t like that one photo? There goes a chance to connect. The idea of my meeting someone being based off a photo and a finger swipe leaves too much up to chance for my liking.

Yet, the Tinder app remains on my phone for now. I still hop on occasionally, never swiping right, but only to poke around and see who I know who’s on there. Who knows though? Maybe someday, the orange flame will beckon me  and I’ll try my luck again; hopefully better next time around.