The on-demand economy, online dating and long distance relationships

Dating apps like tinder and happn are successful partly due to the on-demand economy. I have not used happn but I will refrain from making jokes about the uselessness of yet, another dating app. I admit that I have used tinder more than once and I am past the point of thinking that I am better than it. Algorithm and coding make my options plentiful and swiping left or right to find a match gets rid of the burden (and some of the excitement) of trying to figure out if a feeling is mutual.

We mentally swipe left or right in real life all the time and even though some of us prefer the old-school way of meeting possible lovers, the truth is that dating friends or coworkers can have uncomfortable repercussions. Theoretically speaking, the odds of finding a desirable prospect while standing in line at Barnes & Nobles are less than finding them through computer programming.

I think about the on-demand economy and how our society is ruled by the ‘ask and you shall receive’ mindset. A tinder match is as convenient as the uber ride showing up with the push of a button. Online dating, much like the on-demand economy is based on efficiency.

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I sit at a bar by myself and nothing happens, but I open an app on my phone and I find a number of folks wanting to connect. Clearly, something is getting lost between my finger tip, the screen of my phone and the empty chair in front of me. It feels as if asking someone out in person is as unusual as hailing a yellow cab in San Francisco.

Technology allows us to open doors of opportunity to strangers from the safety of our homes and the comfort of our routine. We are able to start and sometimes maintain relationships across the country or in opposite sides of the world while we subconsciously question the need for face to face interactions.

Love that is curated by computers give us the freedom to remain independent and the assurance that there are plenty of virtual fish waiting, wanting and wishing for the same things we do.  For some of us, the convenience of the set-up translates into not knowing how to pursue and sustain flesh and blood exchanges in which a left swipe comes with a snarky look telling us to get lost, and long-term relationships don’t camouflage mundane conversations with xxx’s and ooo’s.

PS: Signature images borrowed from dating firsts

When do we give up?

We’ve all had nights of putting headphones on and listening to “Late Night Tales: MGMT”, or, maybe for you it’s Sad Bear by Tony Sly.

Whatever it might be, I’m talking about Sunday evenings that come after a long week of meeting every day expectations and self-imposed deadlines to make ourselves better at something. Better at everything. We wake up, fill out another online survey and hope that we qualify to be part of a study that will pay 20 times more than our last gig. A gig that we hope was a scam because it was either that or we are completely incompetent. The truth probably sipping cocktails somewhere in between.

We think about the price we pay to make ourselves understood and be valued for our efforts. Recognition takes time and before the time comes, we must rely on ourselves to maintain momentum. A Stanford graduate said that results are commensurate with effort but Leonard Cohen says everybody knows the fight was fixed. At the end of the day, we find ourselves cleaning the cat’s litter-box and feeling thoroughly confused.

We text a friend. They say kindness is valuable but we don’t buy it.

We call a friend. They ask about us but we have nothing to say.

At the end of it, we find our existential debate to be as pointless as inviting a lesbian to a circle jerk. Why do we waste time philosophizing? People love Gatsby because he was doomed from the beginning but he still gave it a shot. We realize that the answer to our question doesn’t require another sexually offensive analogy because there is nothing to give up except for who we are. Giving up on ourselves is unfeasible, unsustainable and Sunday blues are nothing that a good night’s sleep won’t fix.

On Monday, we wake up feeling like we fought a war and we are not sure whether we won or lost. We go on and the day offers us the gift of a great lunch with friends who are celebrating a fruitful plantation. Their success, which is our success, reminds us that achieving great things requires hard collaborative efforts. So we go back to enjoying the view despite the spot in the lens. And the answer to the question above becomes simple: we don’t.

PS: Thank you for the signature image Fırat Erkuş!

It’s awards season boys and girls!

I looove the red carpet, I love it. I love picking the best and worst dressed, the speeches, the fuck ups, the emotional rants. This year I went to see the Golden Globes at Producer Heather Haggarty‘s house. The cocktails were fabulous, the pork was a little fatty, and at the end of the night I left Heather’s house with a promise to get up to speed before the Academy Awards. So far I’ve seen most of the films nominated for best picture with the exception of Lincoln and Beasts of the Southern Wild. All the rest:  Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Amour and Argo I have seen and I am very underwhelmed.

Where are the memorable moments of supposedly the “best films of 2012”? So far, the nominees for best documentary film have been far more stimulating and thought provoking with Searching for Sugar Man and The Invisible War (go ITVS!). Does anyone know why documentaries can’t be nominated for best picture? Really, I would like to know.

I believe in the power of good performances and am sad to admit that… none have swept me off my feet this year. There are some very strong moments:
– Anne Hathaway’s solo song in Les Miserables was great yet I really hope I don’t have to listen to another one of her overly rehearsed speeches.
–  I loved Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook and I wonder if a romantic comedy could award him the golden statue.
– Samuel Jackson was brilliant in Django which was probably the one aspect of the movie that I really enjoyed.
– Jessica Chastain was good in Zero Dark Thirty but to me, rather than her performance, it was the symbolism of her final close-up with the white straps and the red background, what made the moment memorable.

I have not seen Lincoln yet (Sue McNamara: I’m still rooting for you!) so I have not lost faith. If I had to pick a favorite  right now my vote would go to Argo for one simple reason: Ben Affleck just seems like a reeeeally nice guy. Yes, awards should be about more than that. They should all be about celebrating the best films, the best crews, the best performances; they should not be about grand screening parties or profitable distribution deals. But we have to remember that Hollywood is a business and the Oscars, its biggest political campaign.  Ladies and gentlemen, come February 24th I hope you enjoy the show.

Reality TV – A friendly breakdown

I am the proud follower of only one reality show: Project Runway. Back when I had cable, I used to watch The Next Food Network Star and Man vs. Wild -The later mostly due to my interest in Bear Grylls’ pectorals. But never with the same addictive commitment that I invest into PR.

I came up with three broad categories that should encompass all different kinds of reality television:

1- Drama, drama, and more drama
Think MTV. These are the kind of shows that have a very broad premise and no clear objective. Some examples are The Jersey Shore, Big Brother, The Real Housewives…. and unfortunately, so many others.

2- Contest and competition
Most of the reality shows that spark my interest fit here. These are the shows that deal with a very concrete goal, like winning money or gaining prestige. Both, Project Runway and The Next Food Network Star, fit here. There are many more such as American Idol, almost all of TNT’s reality shows, Survivor… You get the drill.

3- Entertaining and educational
Here we have shows with the main objective of educating audiences. The first reality show ever, An American Family, belongs here. I’m talking Animal Planet series with Gorillas smooching each other. Old school stuff. I would put  Man vs. Wild here, along with many other Discovery programs such as Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs.

You might be thinking: “Who cares? I don’t even watch television!” And to that I say, good for you. But with all the recent talk about how authentic “Silicon Valley” is going to be, I can’t help but wonder: who thinks that any of these shows are authentic anyway? Most importantly, does it matter? The audience does not care.

Silicon Valley  is going to be a program about the rich, geeky, hipster entrepreneurs on Northern California. I wonder if they are going to make them get wasted while they write code! Oh wait, that’s been done. You better get ready anyway, ’cause it’s gonna be a hit.