No safe harbor: adventures in dating

This month I’ve been trying to write an article a week in continuation of my Mental Health Awareness month series. If you’ve been with the blog a while, you’ll have noticed a sprinkle of relationship talk here and there. It’s a topic long avoided as it has always been my most frustrating challenge. Over the years, I’ve become an expert in dating, which, to be frank, no one should become an expert in. Ideally, I want a meet-cute and if you think I curated environments where I was more likely to bump into a cute girl, you’d be correct. Bars, Coffee shops, and book stores. It was a simple plan or so I thought. Pro tip: work on yourself before you start dating, it’ll make life a whole lot easier. But we’re not here for cute stories this Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re here for the dark side of dating. The, “What happens when you install Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, and OKcupid all at once”, when the dating process gets taken to the extreme. So sit back, buckle up, and get ready as I delve into the emotional cost of dating when it becomes a numbers game.

The idea was simple: I wanted to be in a relationship and the more exposure I had, the more likely I was to end up in a relationship (thank you marketing classes!). So I worked on my pickup game, using lines such as “Hey baby, hand me an ice pick, cause I need to break the ice” or “Dein augen sind sie sterne “. Tinder in the beginning was fun, I had a date once in every blue moon and I got to practice having a conversation with a girl (I’m joking!). Some dates were good, others bad but all in all, not terrible. Then I had my college flame that eventually started a forest fire. I demoed well with the European demographic during my time in Germany; Berlin will always hold a special place in my heart. After college, I stopped dating for one simple reason; it’s expensive and I didn’t have money.

Fast forward to a point where I did have money and as they say “You either die the hero or live long enough to watch yourself become the villain”. I’ve been ghosted more times than I can count and where once I was adamant that you should always respond, I now understand. A thousand “Hi Mike’s” later and I can’t be bothered. Unlike the ring cast into the fires of Mordor, even if I were to uninstall tinder, it would always find it’s way back. The constant swiping is short term fun, but not healthy. Tinder is my least successful of the dating apps. First comes Okcupid, second is Bumble, third is Hinge, and Tinder is dead last. The fact that I can list my top dating apps should sound the siren and wave the red flag.


I’m resisting the urge to tell my dating life story right now as I must stay focused. And that’s to answer the simple question, are dating apps healthy? The simple answer is no. I’ll be the first to say it, but truly, fuck capitalism. We have turned what was once sacred into an economy of scale. If you don’t understand how truly messed up that is, I envy you. What once used to be “what you see is all there is” or WYSIATI is now “What you see is all there is, but if I swipe left maybe there is something else” or better known as WYSIATIBIISLMTISE (or in other words, complete gibberish!). My last date was a second date affair, where my lover already had another man lined up and waited until a couple weeks after our second date to tell me. And this coming after I had already friended her on Animal Crossing, so if that doesn’t scream “monster” I don’t know what does. It is absolutely insane. A culture of flirting around, a lack of vulnerability, and a lack of commitment.

So what can be done?

While it would be nice to leave this article without a call to action, I feel like I should share my knowledge. This last year has been a drastic improvement to my love life. Dating has been fun, dating apps have not been. That said, the most fun I’ve had is the flirting and the courting. While I must remember that a relationship is the end goal, there is something to be said about being in your 20’s and simply putting yourself out there. My main rule of thumb is that if you’re going on dates with someone, don’t date other people. That is commitment 101; from the first date to the last date, you have my full attention. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work but that takes away the worry that has become so common in our dating culture; the “am I good enough or will they choose the slightly better option?” Also keep in mind, courting is different than going on dates with someone. If you’re courting, just have fun; go to workshops, get coffee, and simply enjoy yourself; if someone likes you enough, they’ll go on a date with you. My favorite moments have been my meet-cute’s. moments where I go to a zoo brew on a whim and a cute girl comes over to talk to me or drinking at a bar to have someone remember me from last time (not an alcoholic). They’re fun, precious, and should be enjoyed. To combat dating app culture, I recommend reaching out to your friends and let them know you’re single. Hold on, before you jump to conclusions, I am not saying date your friends (although, hmm… I’ve heard worse ideas). I’m saying people are generally willing to help a friend out and there’s no greater joy than playing matchmaker (I think anyways!). Friends can introduce you and if there’s chemistry, future dates! If there’s not, no harm, no foul!


And that’s it! This concludes the Mental Health Awareness month segment on this blog. Originally, I was not going to cover mental health this month. I was thinking I’d write a quick article and be done. Started in 2018, the series was meant to be a one off; a challenge for myself to articulate vulnerability and eventually talk about my Father’s alcoholism. It was one of the most engaged series I ever wrote and one of the series I could truly be proud of. It’s easy to write about travel, poetry, and the occasional book or movie but mental health is still very much taboo. As such, I’ve decided to make the series annual. Last year I did very little during the month of May, writing a single poem. This year is a return to former glory. As mentioned during previous posts, I took some time to evaluate where I wanted this blog to go and a part of that is a continuation of series. While I won’t dive into too much detail here, expect to see more on the subject next week in my “June 2020 update” post. The update posts will be monthly and act as an outline of what I want to accomplish for the coming month. Posts will typically be once every two weeks to avoid burnout. A reminder that every like, follow, and share helps this blog grow; it may not seem like a lot but it has helped this blog grow this year; 2020 is already on course to surpass the entire year of 2019. In addition, please consider supporting me financially. Every donation is truly appreciated and my patreon is pretty rockin’. As my content grows, eventually my Patreon will include more than just writing. I don’t want to dive into too much detail here, but I’ll include a link below if you’re interested in supporting me!

Support this blog!

And as always, feel free to comment below! My prompt for this article is: if you could give one piece of dating advice you’ve learned over the years, what would it be? Thanks for reading!

Blink: Worth a Read?

So, I read a lot. I’ve been going through about a book every week or two for the past few months. I’ve had a few favorite authors throughout my lifetime: Steinbeck, Hemmingway, Orwell. And now? Malcolm Gladwell, the author of “Blink” He was recommended to me through a professor of mine and I’ve since read “Tipping point”, “Outliers”, and now “Blink”. All three are wonderful books, so with that, let’s get started.

What’s it about?

“Blink” is an adventure book that delves into the unconscious mind. It explains specifically the question of “trusting our gut”. What I like about Malcolm Gladwell is he uses research to illustrate his points. He will go over case over case until his question is clearly illustrated. He’s analytical without being dry. If you’ve ever wondered why you make the decisions you make and have a “hunch” then this book is for you. As you read further into the book, the bigger picture becomes clearer and clearer. My favorite part was when he went over mind reading towards the end of the book. So if you say mind reading is impossible, you might want to give this book a go.

My Recommendation

Read it! It’s such a fun book. Not only is it fun but it’s a thinking man’s (or woman’s) book. Malcolm Gladwell has yet to disappoint. The writing is quality, the humor good, and the interesting subject material aplenty. So go on, give this book a spin and yell at me if you’re disappointed.


Where to Buy?

I literally do all my shopping on amazon (thank you amazon student), so here’s a link: Blink

Comments?

Already read Blink or have questions? Comment below and start a discussion, recommend it or say it’s terrible, whatever you want, just be polite!

Week 5 and 6.5: Bist Du Mude?

So how’s my German coming along? Well, it’s better than it was last week! People can finally understand me (for once in my life!) and I like to believe I now have a sexy American accent when I’m speaking German. Before I continue any further, I’d like to address some rumors and speculation that are going around. It is true, that, I indeed, got kicked out of Oktoberfest. What is not clear is why. There are many stories going around but to be honest Oktoberfest is still one big blur. There was dancing, there was singing, and of course there was beer drinking (3 liters). No one will ever know for sure why I was kicked out, but one thing is certain; I was escorted out by security. I’m not trying to brag, I just want to keep my friends and family informed.

Adventures

So what have I been doing? Well last weekend I was in Bavaria, feeling the magic. The weekend started with a visit to the Saturday market in the town square (sorry no pictures!) and on Sunday we left early to go visit Neuschwanstein Castle. It was raining but that wasn’t a problem cause I’m from Oregon and we’re all hardy people (who don’t need umbrellas). The day started with an audio guided tour in a museum, which is a lot more interesting than it sounds! After that, we got to tour the inside of our first castle (yes, there were two!)

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Schloss Hohenschwangau from Schloss Neuschwanstein

I couldn’t take pictures while inside nor would I want to. The castles were beautiful and are best experienced in person. After Hohenschwangau, we made our way over to Neuschwanstein or better known as THE Disney castle. It was simply breathtaking. Ludwig the II (the King of Bavaria at the time) was declared insane before it’s completion and was mysteriously found dead in the Lake before his vision could be fully realized. As such, the Disney castle is a castle without a throne. It has a beautiful throne room but no throne! Some points of interest in the castle were: The entire interior, whether it was the detailed carvings or painted murals, or better yet, the cave in the middle of the castle (yes, I said cave), it did not disappoint. Touring the castles took all day, so we decided to spend the night in Neu-Ulm.

Neu-Ulm und Ulm

The airbnb cost 12 Euros, it was amazing. Other than that, I slept in a comfy bed, went to a market, and visited the childhood home of Einstein (which I thought was cool and may have more or less “convinced” the rest of my group to go see).

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“Here stood the house in which, on May 14th, 1879. Albert Einstein came into the world”

Surprise! The house was gone. But, hey, it was still pretty cool. Then after our brief tour of Ulm, we went to…

Lindau

Lindau is a tiny little island city, located on Lake Constance, one of the largest lakes in Europe, bordering Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

We it only takes a few hours to see everything but what a few hours they were. The day ending with skipping rocks and soaking in the beauty.

That’s a wrap! Danke for reading and stay Classy friends!

Germany Week 2 (and 3… and 4…): Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

Germany is pretty cool and I’ve left the house a few times!

The question everyone is asking, “does Mike Cole speak German?” What’s the answer. Well, that’s the debate. I say “Jaaa” but many say “Nein, Nein, Nein!”. I however, am not deterred and have strengthened my resolve to practice pronunciation every minute of the day.

In other news, I left coffee in the coffee maker back home. It’s only been a month, so I’m sure it’s fine. An evil nail also ripped my pants, but I hear ripped pants are all the rage. And I lost my health insurance card, so if I don’t post for a while it either means I’m super busy or got struck by illness and am dead.

Adventures

 Switzerland

My big adventure for week 2 was going to Switzerland, which was absolutely gorgeous! Rhein (Rhine) Falls was absolutely amazing. The Falls are 250 ft wide and 75 ft high (as illustrated beautifully by the photo below). After standing in awe for a good while, we then headed over to Lucerne, where we spent a few hours exploring the city.

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Lucerne was absolutely amazing. The city had a giant monument of a dying Lion carved into a rock. Of course, words and photos can only say so much, but they say enough, so here’s a picture!

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Then of course there was the old town… Which had murals painted on the buildings.

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Other than that, it was just plain beautiful. Walking around, seeing the history of the city, it really is something that has to be experience. There’s a lot of character in European cities. Then we spent 10 hours in Zurich which was more or less the same (not a bad thing). My only regret is that I am but a broke college student, so I couldn’t buy a Swiss watch.

France

This last weekend I was in France, which was absolutely amazing. I drank French wine (both red and white), ate a crepe, ate a baguette (I almost started crying it was so delicious) and had some fancy French Chicken (forget what it’s called).

And of course, the most amazing part of the trip…

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Notre Dame

Disclaimer: I am attending class in case any of you were concerned. First two weeks I had a crash course in the German language, last week I had a Intercultural experience course, and this  week I’ve had business law and leadership.

That’s it, that’s my week(s)! Thanks for reading and stay classy friends!