Dating apps: A memoir

Many people ask my about my experience with dating apps and enjoy my hilarious, ridiculous stories about them so I feel obliged to give my review on the ones I have used.

I have participated in 3 of the most popular apps: Tinder, Bumble, and Raya for different purposes at different times. Sometimes it was because I was bored, sometimes because I was recently single and wanted to rebound, sometimes to find a fun, carefree fling, sometimes out of curiosity, once admittedly to catch my then cheating boyfriend who my friend had swiped past (ugh), and a few times literally to research for this blog.

I would go through periods when I would download the app, delete the app, then download the app again, and repeat going through a cycle of entertainment, boredom, amusement, frustration, annoyance, disinterest, etc. And although some apps are better than the rest, I definitely have a love/hate relationship with all of them.

Also, keep in mind all my experiences have been completely drawn from a woman’s perspective. I have no idea what men see on their side of the app except for possibly Raya where I chose to swipe both genders.

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First up is Tinder. This is probably the first dating app that used the popular ‘swipe’ technique and the one that most millenials have joined. I consider this app equivalent to well vodka — it’s cheap (most apps are free but this one just feels a little bit more $0.99 than the others) and gives you a bad hangover (from all the men on there wanting to ‘get a drink.’)  This app does a terrible job at filtering it’s users and in consequence Tinder is definitely the app where you will find the most fake profiles otherwise known as catfish. I have been honored to have at least 10 profiles created using my stolen photos all over the United States. Here I am as 24-year-old ‘Lory’ and 3 facebook followers alerting me to other fake profiles of me. What a humorous treat it is to see the names and details strangers come up for you.

The user interface is very easy to understand. You sign up with a facebook profile. Select your settings (age range, gender, etc) and it hooks you up with people in your vicinity which is cool especially if you’re traveling and looking to meet new people. Unfortunately, while in NYC in December I used this app and didn’t swipe anyone worth meeting, but still a very cool feature. And like the others, you swipe left for no and right for yes. Of course this app, as all of them, users are swiping based mostly on appearance as they leave little room for a well-written profile, which can be a downfall for those actually looking for people of substance as they may look pretty but be dumb as rocks.

My most bizarre Tinder experience was when I was led to believe I was going to have a date at a nice restaurant so I wore a cute outfit and heels. But to my surprise my date picked me up wearing sweats and then we drove off to meet his friends where the date resumed at a weed shop (first time in one actually), then we walked around in dirt below the Hollywood sign so his friends could take touristy photos, and then finally my croissant/donut crossbred virginity was taken at cronut shop. The plot twist is that my date filmed the entire thing and submitted it to a dating reality show. Our date must have been bizarre enough because he got picked for the show and I watched the entire season where he found a girlfriend and  won a decent sum of money. Congratulations and you’re welcome, guy. Feel free to send me a commission. 😉

Overall, this app is deemed the ‘hook up’ app for a reason, contributing significantly to the new netflix and chill generation. From a female perspective using the app to find quality males, it is quite daunting. This app has the largest demography of fuckboys, liars, and fakes. While some people have had relationship and/or hook up success on it, I am not a fan. As someone whose face is floating around multiple profiles on their app catfishing men, it is concerning that users can so easily make a fake profile. The quality of well-rounded men also seems to be fewer in number than the other apps in my experience.

Tinder is best compared to a $0.99 cent McDonald’s cheeseburger while the other two apps at least have the option of serving you steak.

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Bumble is a step up from Tinder. Same easy interface and instruction. However, this app steps it up a notch by allowing women to have the upper hand. Once you match, women must message the man first. They recently added a great feature that will eliminate a lot of ghosting that tends to happen on these apps — men must respond within 24 hours or lose that match completely. Same goes for women when they first initially match. I know a lot of people are like me and just match with a ton of people and then let them sit there until they eventually message the match or get bored and delete them. Now you’re forced to make an interaction right away or move on.

In my experience, for whatever reason this app has a way better selection of men whether you’re looking for a hook up or something more serious. Men are overall better looking, less entertainment based (sorry actors, models, musicians but it’s nice to see non-industry folk too), more mature, and send less late night 2am DTF-type texts.

I haven’t heard of any Bumble catfishes yet either even though it is not moderated and anyone can make a profile. A downside that I have heard from others is that this app tends to put a lot of the attractive users profiles up front which can give off the vibe that many of them are fake. I have seen a few recognizable names when I started swiping but have no knowledge if they are fake or not.

I’ve met a couple of cool people from this app, one who I saw for awhile and we remained acquaintances. I find that a lot of older men (30s+) prefer this app which may also be why there is a significantly less chance of swiping right on a fuckboy.

Using Bumble automatically graduates you from a cheeseburger to a filet mignon just by signing up.

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Raya has been called “the Soho House of dating apps” which if you know what Soho House is that will give you an accurate description of that this app is about. By some it is considered awesome (generally those who are accepted) and by others it is considered pretentious because they don’t let everybody join and the people who are users of the app are typically actors, writers, singers, models, athletes, youtubers, etc…normally these people have a big social media following and can be somewhat known. Most are “industry types” but not all. I’ve seen many B and C list ‘celebrities’ on there. Don’t ask me who, I value privacy and they shall not be named here. In fact, when you try to take a screen shot of a profile the app alerts you that it is not allowed and it may alert the user you are screen shotting and/or you will be banned from the app. So it gets an A+ in the privacy department.

When you first sign up a few things can happen:

  • you are waitlisted… this can be anywhere from 1 day to literally infinity. I have seen people angry that they have been wait listed for over a year
  • you are accepted but have to pay an $8 monthly fee
  • you are accepted and do not have to pay a fee
  • you are rejected

I have no idea who is on the voting squad or what the magic criteria is as I have had friends try to join that are actors or models with big social media followings that were wait listed or denied.

However, if you are accepted it is pretty cool especially if you are in the industry and want to meet like-minded folk. If you’re a groupie type, it is your paradise as some of your favorite music artists and actors will be on there. Many of the people on there are beyond society’s expectation of attractive.

However, the downside is that because a lot of these people have status or are just really, really good looking (worse if they have money) is that they treat people as disposable. They are used to getting whoever they want with little to no effort. It is a sad cycle for them because most of these people are on there to find someone normal they can connect with and trust due to their offline life being high profile or just plain nuts, but because this app is so easy to swipe to the next attractive, ‘popular’ person I think it is actually harder to find a genuine connection or even friendship than you would on a normal dating app such as Tinder or Bumble.

My experience was definitely interesting for the few months I used the app. I did meet up with more guys from this app than I did other apps. There was a lot of fuckboys, some cool guys, some annoying guys, some guys who we stayed friends, some guys whose music was on my current playlist, some guys who were older, and some who were younger. One guy even offered to fly me out to him to watch a game (I didn’t) which was a little crazy but intriguing. There is a good mix on there.

On the female side (I switched it so I could swipe men and women) there are lots of interesting, different girls…the majority model-looking types so it explains why LA men are spoiled ;). Many were extremely beautiful that even I was too intimidated to swipe them! haha.

There are two downsides to the app that I noticed:

  • It matches you with people ALL OVER THE WORLD instead of who is around you. So literally at times I was talking to guys literally in England, Australia, NYC, or even Texas and it’s very unlikely I would ever meet them. That sucks because I did connect with one guy from the UK for a bit but it dwindled out after awhile due to distance.
     If you live in Hollywood or any small circle like it, it is literally a cesspool of the same people you already know and everyone is somehow connected. Hollywood can sometimes feel like a high school to me as everyone knows each other and everyone is hooking up with each other. It’s a mess and the last thing I would ever want is someone everyone else has had.

– This literally happened to me a couple months ago when I hung out with one of my      Raya matches only to find out I matched with his roommate…AND also his brother. Yikes. After that I deleted the app.

The best thing about the app is how it is basically impossible to catfish people. All the profiles are real because they are hand selected and they link your official Instagram to your profile. You can also add music to your page. Win/win.

Otherwise, this app is fun and a cool way to meet people. Don’t take it personally if you are not accepted, there are men and eggplant (ha) everywhere… on and off apps.

— When it comes to dating apps I always sign up for fun and swipe around when I am bored without any expectation, kind of how I treat guys in the real world. I truly believe that people swipe away without really knowing what they want which makes things tricky for the people who are looking for just a hookup vs the ones who are looking for an actual connection/relationship. Go in looking for fun with an open mind/heart and it will be less disappointing if you don’t find what you’re looking for 😉 I can’t say I won’t ever go back to dating apps. It is very hard to date and meet people in LA so I understand the appeal of why so many people are on them.

Be safe and happy swiping,

— Cee

 

 

 

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How to Get Over your EX.

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One of the most common questions friends, family, and followers ask me is:

How do I get over or stop thinking about my ex?

Most of them say, “I have no idea how you got over that. I can’t even imagine. I would just be a mess.” I suppose they ask me because they think  I have super human powers to get over my exes quite easily considering the traumatic circumstances I’ve been put through but that is far from the truth.

I’ve been through two significant break ups in my life. One where I was the dumper and one where I was the dumpee. One happened in my early 20s and one happened in my late 20s, but both had something in common: they hurt like hell and I thought I was going to disintegrate into a pool of heartbreak and DIE. My heart was shattered and I was reaching new lows of desperation. Each time felt like I had been diagnosed with an incurable disease that had no cure. “I’ll never get over it! I love him!,” I would yell to my best friends on the phone while wearing the same pajamas for the third day in a row, sprawled out on the couch in a cesspool of cat hair wondering how the world could still expect me to function when every single thing outside my apartment reminded me of him. The nerve of my boss wanting me to work, can’t he see I am heartbroken? I can hardly get out of bed today. I can’t even drive without hysterically sobbing. This was serious.

I didn’t understand why I could NOT forget this person…it almost became an obsession, an addiction. Even though they were no long in my life they were still part of my daily routine –  I would wake up and stalk their social media accounts, start to envision about them moving on without me, finding someone way better than me. When the love of my life finally got a girlfriend just weeks after we parted, it hurt so bad one day I was crossing the street and contemplated walking in front of a car but I have lost a family member to suicide so that will never be an option for me. I just wanted to stop thinking about this person and feeling this ache. Get out of my head already.

The pain hurt so bad often it manifested itself into my body in a physical way (loss of sleep, appetite, weight loss, backaches, stiff neck, headaches, etc.) and emotionally (depression, confusion, loss of self esteem, and even suicidal thoughts.) I was a tragic mess, often throwing myself into a heap of atoms on the floor wishing I could bleach my brain of their memory or at least a higher power could put me out of my misery. Unfortunately none of these options were attainable, so I had to suffer through it and make all my friends suffer too. BTW, shout out to true friends who stick by their friends during their break up. You’re the MVP in their life. I know it is miserable and annoying for you, but you’re so appreciated.

First off, let me say…I get it. You LOVED (or maybe even love) so and so. You loved them soooo much and no one will ever understand how much you loved them and how they were your best friend in the whole world. If you ended on okay terms, you may think you’ll NEVER find someone as great as them ever again. However, your friends and family who truly LOVE you don’t give a DAMN about how much you loved your ex or how great you think they were. They really don’t. And if they were shitty to you, then they REALLY don’t.  What they do care about is your happiness and sanity moving forward. I care about your sanity too because I remember being in a place so low I was constantly questioning my entire existence based on this one person and I would never wish anyone to get to the place that I was.

If you were the dumper, you may have feelings of guilt, remorse, or even want the person back (this is assuming they don’t want you back.) I’ve dumped someone and just because I did doesn’t mean that I was exempt from the heartbreak cycle. It was still shitty. It still hurt. I still wanted to die and that relationship actually took me triple the time it took to get over the one where I was cheated on because I knew I was setting free a great prize back into the world and he was going to make the next lady very lucky.

So how do you move on from the grip of seemingly never-ending despair?

If you follow these steps I have great faith that eventually you will get over it. I am not just being hopeful here, I am seriously that confident to to promise you this. Of course this is based on my personal experience, but I truly believe this works.

Step 1

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UNFOLLOW AND BLOCK.BLOCK.BLOCK.  If you don’t want to take it from me, take it from Spongebob, block them. If you are truly through with the relationship and still cannot get over your ex, there is zero reason to have their face as a reminder on your twitter, instagram, linkedin, facebook, tumblr, yelp, phone (no excuse iphone users, it’s easy for you!), email, etc. I don’t care if it is Pinterest, you block that ex from everything. If they are toxic for you, you block and unfollow them immediately. This not only stops you from seeing their face and feeling that fleeting pang of wanting to text them after too much tequila, it also stops them from contacting you to ‘fix things’ or suck you back in for the 100th time saying “we’ll make it work, I’ve changed”. And they must stay blocked until you no longer feel that pang of hurt. There is no being just friends after a break up if you are hurting, sorry. If they were toxic to your well-being, they shall be blocked forever. No exceptions. Send them to BlockLand.

If they blocked you, don’t panic!!! You’re in luck. They made getting over them 10 times easier and you’re already ahead. Hopefully they block you for eternity so you have no way to snoop and stalk them which will delay your healing.

Yes, I understand this is super hard. But until you get through Step 1 completely, you cannot move on.

Step 2

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No contact. Seriously, none. This is actually more important than blocking. If you followed step 1 it is going to be extremely hard to have contact unless you are going out of your way to find your ex, you unblocked them, you run into them out, or you have children. If you have children, keep it limited, cordial, and vague and only talk when you need to. Otherwise, none. NONE.

Start with a 2 week challenge. No stalking social media, talking to them, asking family/friends about them, etc. If they contact you from a new screenname or number, block asap. No explaining, no words. It is funny how we will cut a friend off who constantly disrespects us but we will give our significant others who do the same a million chances. Treat them no differently than a toxic friend.

If you slip up, start over from day 1 and try to get to 2 weeks no contact again. Once you complete the 2 week challenge, add on 1 week, then another week, then another week. Each week reward yourself with a manicure, massage, beer, sporting event tickets, or bottle of wine. By the time you get to a few months NO CONTACT you should start to feel some relief from the heartbreak. Trust that this relief will come in due time if you truly go no contact.  First will come feelings of immense emptiness, sadness, depression, desperation, and anxiety but once you work through that stage you will find great peace.

This stage and all other stages also include not bashing your ex on any public social media unless it’s witty or vague 😉 but no one needs to hear a paragraph about why Jimmy cheated with Kelly down the street and now she’s pregnant with twins and you hate him sooo much! Like, there’s a fine line here on what’s acceptable to post about your ex. Figure out that line.

Step 3

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Mourn. Give yourself permission and time to grieve the relationship. Only a fool would expect you to be over it the next day. Mourn your ex as if it was a death. If you’ve spent years together a break up can be extremely traumatic and you should treat it as a death. After all my serious relationships I treated it no differently than when my best friend died. I stayed inside alone for days and weeks to allow myself to be a crumpled mess on the floor, eating mochi ice cream, UN-showered for DAYS, asking the universe “why me!”. Even my cats were disgusted with me.

In my experience, I find the mourning stage to be done best alone. When you are alone you can ugly cry, scream, and react however you feel without judgment. You are forced to sit with your feelings. This is extremely important especially for men who are conditioned to not feel vulnerable or sensitive because it makes them look ‘soft.’ Do not be afraid to FEEL the hurt. Too often we don’t heal properly because we shove these sad emotions down into our guts letting them take up space that could be used for good energy. Let it out. Do whatever helps you feel ‘free.’ Write, record music, take hot baths, binge watch a TV show, order self help books.

If you are suicidal, you should not be alone. You should be around people who absolutely love you. This isn’t a time to write a desperate, sad facebook message to get fake sympathy from acquaintances who are happy to see your relationship dissolve and see you unhappy. This is a time to gather the people you trust that love and care about you deeply and truly around you. If you feel suicidal you should reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1 (800) 273-8255.

Yes, your friends are sick of hearing about your ex but if they are true friends they will listen to the same story 10 times until you get it out of your system. But for your friends sake, keep it to a max of 10 times.

There is no certain time frame for the mourning phase, although if you’re still sobbing to sleep after a few months, perhaps it is time for more professional therapy. Some people have PTSD from traumatic relationships, and if you are one, don’t be ashamed to seek a therapist or psychiatrist. Humans absorb so much energy from others they sometimes don’t realize that the experiences we had are bigger than handling it alone and we need to seek help. Don’t put a time frame on when you should be over it and don’t let others tell you either. Each break up is unique and can take years to get over especially if it was abusive. The sooner you learn to FEEL these feelings, the sooner you will start to accept the break up.

Step 4

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When you start feeling better, get some new hobbies and interests. I know this is so cliche when people say this. But if you are like me, you want nothing more than to make your partner happy and it can consume you. In my last blog entry I stated that I lost my identity.  This included doing certain things that I loved or wanted to do because I wanted to do everything my partner liked and approved of.

After my break up I booked a ticket to Austin, TX to go to a music festival with some girlfriends. I always wanted to go to Austin and it was nothing short of everything I imagined. I came back feeling refreshed. I also started volunteering…I took part in a blanket drive handing out over 100 blankets and sandwiches to the homeless. Nothing makes you feel as good as when you feel like the world is ending and no one wants you but you realize somewhere somebody on Earth still needs you. I literally have gotten over so many traumatic experiences in my life by going to the gym…it is a win-win, you have a goal AND reap a great reward. It is a fantastic stress reliever as it increases your dopamine levels which is a chemical that is necessary for feelings of happiness and pleasure.

You can learn a language, try new recipes, work towards a new career, travel, read empowering books, volunteer, join a sport, skydive, dye your hair, get a pet, work out, whatever it is you have always wanted to do that will keep your mind busy and active.

Step 5

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Work on building up your self-esteem and confidence. If you’re like me and had been in a relationship for years, you get so used to a routine with your partner and feel lost when you embark back out into the world solo. It’s SCARY.  It is why I always recommend people not date for a good 6 months to a year after a break up.  The dating world is a clusterfuck of people whom you are not used to and it will feel foreign to get back out there. If you’re not ready, it will be a disaster.

Step 5 does not mean rebounding to use other people and their feelings as part of your self-esteem boost and recovery. That is cruel to lead others on only to experience the same pain you are trying to escape from. Step 5 is about YOU. And it should literally be the longest step out of all of these. In fact, if should be ongoing for your entire life.

I recently told a friend of mine that after my most devastating break up I sat in front of my mirror naked and just stared at myself. You would think after applying make up everyday that I would feel at ease. Wrong. It was very uncomfortable to sit still and stare at myself for 10 minutes in silence with no distractions. Eventually, I started to talk to myself. Sure, I probably looked crazy, which is why I suggest you do this cellphone off, kids away, pets away (seriously my cats were imprisoned in the bathroom), and be completely alone.

Talk to yourself as if you were your own best friend or mother. We often hear these words of encouragement from outsiders, but never ourselves which once again conditions us to rely on outside sources to feel loved. Love yourself.

I specifically spoke to myself out loud that I would never ever allow someone to treat me badly ever again. That I deserved respect. That I am flawed as everyone else, but I am a good human. That I am beautiful. That I was worthy of a healthy, unconditional, faithful love. That I was enough. I kept repeating these things while staring back at my reflection until eventually tears streamed down my cheeks (ugh, I am getting teary-eyed now) because I believed it. I cannot express how powerful this exercise is. We are so busy loving everyone else, that sometimes we forget to love ourselves.

If nothing else, in this stage you need to work on knowing that whatever happened was not your fault. Partners can condition you to feel as if you are to blame for the failed relationship and that is not always true. Please know that no matter how perfect you acted, how great you looked, or whatever else you were made to believe was wrong with you…is not. It is not your fault.

Step 6

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By this step you’re basically already thinking you’re too cool for your ex. It’s no longer word vomit, when you say it you believe it, it’s their loss. You have gained back your confidence because you’ve taken the time and put in the work to become whole again. You don’t need anyone elses approval or love because you love yourself. You’re no longer living in the past but looking forward to what is next for you. In other words, you’re the shit! You now are wiser, smarter, and will now see your failed relationship not in anger or sadness but as a MASSIVE learning experience. You know how many people haven’t experienced true love or true heart break?  I don’t believe you can appreciate true love without the heartbreak. You won’t be as grateful.

If anything else, your past has shown you what you want, don’t want, how you can do better, and maybe you even looked back and realized lots of red flags you missed. When we’re excited about someone new they are easy to look over until we are in love and it is too late. If you take the time to heal, all of these revelations will come very easy to you and you will have an introspection into yourself the majority of people on this planet will never possess. Be grateful. You won the self-awareness lottery and will come out well-rounded on the other side.

Eventually you’re going to want to start dating again unless you’re like me and would enjoy a future with 40 cats. I kid I kid. When this happens — MAKE SURE YOU’RE READY. Let me say it again loudly for the people in the back — *make sure you’re ready.* If you want to have fun or have a friends with benefits make that clear to every guy or girl you meet from the get-go. Don’t be a fuckboy or fuckgirl and lead them on. Don’t use people as disposable items to fill your void. Too often I hear people who were used as rebounds get into a relationship with people who didn’t heal beforehand and they get crushed. Treat them with the respect you will learn to demand from others. Don’t hurt people just because you were hurt.

It is also important not to compete with your ex…if they moved on quickly to a new relationship or have slept around with multiple people it will NOT make you feel better or help you in any way to do the same. I do not believe in the saying “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” That’s only suppressing all the negative feelings and delaying your recovery. This is only done to satisfy the ego in a way that says, “HA! See ex, someone else wants me too. I am desirable. I don’t need you either. Take that!” Most of the time your ex is rebounding to attempt to fill a void or trying to provoke a jealous reaction out of you so really you’re just competing with another unhappy, broken person who is NOT who you want to be. But that doesn’t even matter because you aren’t going to be concerned with what they are doing. Ignore what your ex is doing because you already mourned him in step 3…bury him and create your own path.

The healing process is about YOU and YOU only.

When you start to seriously date *know* what you want in a partner and relationship. That’s the number 1 reason why half of us don’t know what we’re doing and get into the wrong relationships. We think we want one thing, but we are going after another. We rush into love without getting to know the person we are giving our entire being and energy to. Figure out what you want prior to seeking out a partner. If you messed up in your last relationship, learn how to be a better partner this time around. When you start going on dates pay attention to red flags. People often show us who they are right away and we shrug it off. Listen to your gut and instinct. It is not by accident we are given these life tools. Hopefully by now you have connected with yourself enough to trust that it is always right. Seriously, always.

Step 7

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Forgive your EX, if you can. If you never got closure or an apology, don’t wait for one. It is not required for you to heal and move on. You don’t need their permission to do that and you’re delaying your healing by hoping they come around. If you’re granted an apology and it is genuine, it is your choice to accept it. You do not need to reply if you don’t feel the need to. I found myself holding on to unnecessary anger towards my exes and the person it affected most was me. After allowing myself to wallow in anger for a short time, I chose to sincerely forgive all of my exes. I never notified them, they don’t need to know. And If you can never forgive them, that is okay too. The point of forgiving is to release negative emotions for you, not for them.

Trust in the universe that your person is out there. They will be ready and waiting for you once you get over your ex and become at peace with yourself.

Happy Healing.

– Cee

 

What does 28 look like?

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Lately there’s this thing that’s been happening, a lot. And when I say a lot I truly mean it happens at least 3 times a day. People ask my age for absolutely no reason. No biggie right? I mean, who cares. Age is nothing but a number, they say.

However, when you live in Hollywood…EVERYONE cares. The guy at the bar, the casting director, your friend’s aunt, your customers, the cashier at Target, my cats would probably ask my age if they could…actually probably not, cats only care about themselves.

But the point is – once people find out how old you are age in Los Angeles is actually a stamp of expiration that lies solely printed on the middle of your forehead. Since I moved here 4.5 years ago from a small town in Michigan at the age of 23 (do the math) I realized that a certain age here was not the same as a certain age (ex. 23 in LA vs 23 in MI) in other states or even countries. I’ve traveled to big cities in different continents and states and I will tell you there is NO place like the utopia, unicorn, clusterfuck that is Los Angeles.

Now there’s a few things I want to talk about when it comes age and some of it gives me massive anxiety on a day to day basis because people are always asking my damn age and usually with a certain age comes societal expectations.

In fact, when someone new approaches me in LA the do-I-want-to-know-you interview typically goes like this:

  1. What do you do here?
  2. Why did you move here?
  3. How old are you?
  4. Where are you from?
  5. Where do you live now?
  6. Are you vegan?
  7. How about gluten free?
  8. What is your name?

People can ask how old you are before your name. And because age is such a ~thing here, 75% of those people lie.

And they lie because society is not kind to aging, especially for women. UGH, it is so unkind to women that last night I saw a guy tell a beautiful 34-year-old woman she looked way older than her age but in the most condescending way and when he went to the bathroom I apologized to her for his rudeness. We ridicule women for getting plastic surgery to look younger yet we bash them for looking ‘old.’ Society can’t make up their minds. But we can all agree we all want to look younger. Look at the commercials, ads, or celebrity endorsements thrown in our faces. But even I am guilty of it… “gosh, Jennifer Lopez looks so good…for her age.” Why can’t she just be beautiful?

And forget it if you’re in “the industry.”. If you’re an actress, singer, or model you better not be telling anyone your age and even better you should lie about it. It is a big part of the reason why I am leaving the industry and lost interest in pursing it. I will not deny who I am and if I am made to lie about my age at 28 (which I turn in exactly 7 days), who will I be at 40? useless?  It actually started to get to me and most of all make me stressed…as if in two more years my life would be over because even though I look better than I ever did when I was younger, it is still the big dirty thirty. Modeling agencies started saying I was too old and my last manager told me I need to lie about my age. Imagine if I live until 80 and I feel like I am an senior citizen at 28. Even worse, I don’t even qualify for their discount. FML. Wait, am I allowed to say FML at 28..or am I too old?

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This is me on St. Patrick’s day last month, at 27.11 years old, drinking a cocktail in Santa Monica, CA at a bar. This exact night after drinking 3 of those drinks I was on the dance floor breaking it down to Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” with my two best gay friends when a group of early 20-somethings I did not know dragged me into the middle of their polygon shaped enclosure and gave me no choice but to drop it to the floor. If you don’t know what this means, it’s basically a dance when you attempt to be sexy while your ass sweeps the floor and then everyone claps and cheers for your white-girl effort.

Afterwards, a guy helped me up and asked me my age (see what I mean about people asking your age before your name.) “I’m 27.” The look on his face looked like I just told him a tidal wave was coming from the Santa Monica pier and we were going to have to die together. He -could not- believe my age. “You look SO young, there’s no way.” He asked to see my ID as if I didn’t already feel like a fossil. More shock, “I just thought you were so much younger.” As usual, my response was “everyone says this.”

Now believe me, I feel blessed to have good genes. Thank you to my mother who is Puerto Rican and Dominican because the melanin in our faces is real. But it is WEIRD when someone says you look young, while implying that you are or should look old. And for someone who feels very young and admittedly, acts very young, it is strange. The way it is implied when people use this certain tone is that basically I should retire from having fun. My kind of fun.

What is 28 supposed to look like anyway…physically, mentally, or accomplishment-wise?

So many of us mid 20-somethings to mid 30-somethings feel so much pressure and disappointment if we aren’t on the same path as the majority of our peers. So many of us are dreaming in the future instead of living in the moment because of what society says we should be doing. We don’t want to be left behind and seem like something is wrong with us because we haven’t found ~the one~ yet. Whether we admit to it or not, there are expectations that by a certain age you should have kids, be married, moved out, have a budding career, traveled the world. And everyone, if they choose (don’t get me started on people who believe all women want to procreate, I do…but some SERIOUSLY don’t), reaches those points at different times. THAT’S OKAY.

A few months ago my mom ran into one of my high school peers mothers at a store. She asked about me. My mom told her I was single and childless living in LA. This woman’s daughter is my same age, has 3 kids, and has been married for years, which by the way, is absolutely amazing. But this woman told my mother that she felt sad for her because my uterus has been vacant (different words, obviously) so she wasn’t a grandma and if she ever were to be, she would be an old one. And she felt sad for me because I didn’t have a husband…or even a boyfriend…or even a friends with benefits (ok, she didn’t say this hehe) at my age. I had no idea why this lady felt so sad for my mother and I when we didn’t feel sad about our own lives. I realized that 28 means different paths for different people. THAT’S OKAY.

After spending a good chunk of my 20s in a relationship and then it ending abruptly 8 months ago, I had this looming doom that I was single and almost 28. After years of family members asking when we would get married (ugh, annoying) I now had to be the ONLY cousin at holidays explaining why I was single. It seemed like such a negative thing to happen to me. but really I stayed so long with someone I was incompatible with because I was afraid to be alone. I wasn’t even as upset that we had broken up as I knew it was for the best but more so that I had to start over at 28!  I cried about all the wasted years and sobbed about how I had lost my identity during them. The first thought I had was that I was alone at 28 while my friends back home were engaged, married, or going on their third child. There is something to be said about breaking up with a guy  you loved so much after years and your first thought is not even about him but about OTHER people and their lives. I was so sold on the fantasy of my future with this person and came out of it not even knowing who the hell I was. I felt so confused and empty…who was I on my own? I had to find out. I vowed to be single no less than a year to dedicate myself to this journey.

A couple months after my break up I became extremely content with being alone and eventually then my age. Almost too much to the point that I started hanging out with guys much younger than me so it had little chance to develop into anything serious and just like everyone else, they also just couldn’t believe I was not their age. Yes, literally, some even joked that I was a cougar, some even checked my ID. But instead of responding with a gloomy “Yeah, I know” when they asked my age and feeling slightly ancient, I started to feel sexy. I didn’t just feel sexy, I truly believed that I was. I am now more confident, independent, smarter, in the best shape ever, have an amazing family and friends, and know what I want. I’m traveling to all my dreams locations and crossing off stuff on my bucket list. I am working towards goals I should have started years ago, focusing on me. This time in my life is a blessing that I will not take for granted or ever forget.

And please, if you’re in your 20s or 30s can you STOP saying you’re old with the most melancholy, unenthusiastic, Eeyore tone. Even 40s isn’t half of your life expectancy. I have to give people the biggest eye roll when they say 24, 28, 31, or 37 is old. You don’t feel fucking old, some of you are running marathons and slaying at life. You only say this because society has made you feel like you are old. Poor you, you have lived to 34 lucky years, have your health, and want to feel sad about it. It’s weird, stop it.

Last thing, even though my parents think they wasted $40-50k on me for my bachelors degree, hope is not all lost, mom and dad. I don’t remember algebra, history, or any English book I was assigned, but I do remember one valuable, and quite expensive lesson from college that has stuck with me as one of my favorite quotes to this day that I heard in a psychology lecture hall my freshman year:

“Growing old is not a right, it is a privilege because not everyone gets to.”

Old me is just grateful to be turning 28. 🙂

– Cee

 

The internet: a breeding ground for creeps

Today I was on DailyMail.com wasting countless hours of time as I usually do reading their insane headlines that are so dramatic you would literally think they stole it from an OK magazine article.

I came across one of the worst stories I’ve read in long time, enough to make me physically cover my mouth and have tiny droplets develop in the corner of my eyes. If you want to get an idea of how unaffected I am hearing about horrific occurrences, my DVR is 90% ID channel shows and 5% 20/20 and 5% Dr. Phil.

I read a story about a 40-year-old mother of 3 named Ingrid Lynes who was murdered a few days ago by a 37-year-old man she met online after a Friday night baseball game date. He hacked her body into tiny pieces in her bathtub and stuffed her body parts into a random guys recycle bin (poor dude who had to find that).

If you’re already disgusted without me sharing the worst of the details, good. That’s why I am sharing it. There needs to be a shock factor here that cannot be sugarcoated and let me tell you why.

My friends, myself, my brother, the 10 people who stole my pictures to catfish guys on Tinder, all have used or are using dating apps or sites. Some of us are still on them and when I read these stories it terrifies me. In a perfect world, everyone we swipe or match with would be beautiful, sweet, and respectful human beings but we don’t live in that kind of world. The closest we got to that world was before the internet existed and people could better hide who they were.

People can be WHOEVER they want on the internet. Most of us, minus that one person whose always having a public meltdown via their status,  fabricate our lives online. We post our best photos, happy moments, our engagements, our weight loss, vacations, our kids, our airbrushed pics. No one is going to write their favorite hobbies is to hack humans like sashimi, that they got divorced because they cheated, that they’re a deadbeat dad, or just a pathological liar. Bottom line – we show our best face.

I seem to forget this — even having encountered many creep crawlies on the interweb.

Just a side story…

My last year in of high school and throughout college I had a man my father’s age stalk me relentlessly. He had found a public journal I had written in (much like this) and became a fan of my writing. His infatuation went from my journal, to my myspace, to offline. At first I didn’t think much of it and kept blocking him until he eventually sent a letter to my parents home with a calling card inside (at the time I was dating a Canadian and often wrote about the expensive long distance calls), saying it was a gift. I had no idea how he found my address and asked him to stop communicating with me. This went on for YEARS, this guy making new screen names or finding my new screen names. As an inexperienced teenager, it was scary. I didn’t tell my parents because I didn’t want them to ban me from the web or cause him to react anymore than he was. He would disappear for months at a time and then resume contact. It was frustrating.

Eventually I went to college and he followed me there, not physically but was STILL sending gift cards to my dorm for the university bookstore, etc. I never used them. After about 4 years of stalking me, he finally gave up. And it has been at least 5 years since he has contacted me. You just really never know who is out there and who will take their infatuation too far.

This is why I truly am flattered when strangers send me messages on my social media outlets saying they enjoy, relate to, or crack up at my snap chat rants or Facebook statuses but I also barely respond. Because the internet, while an amazing public forum to be open and share, can be scary and you don’t know others intentions. And sometimes when posting you forget you don’t know who is seeing it.

Anyway, after reading this article I was just floored. I recently had been on a dating app (this is a whole other entry) and this story reminded me that you could meet someone  heinous and cruel. If you’re someone who uses those apps to find love, the worst thing you think to encounter is a what they now call a Fuckboy/girl, or someone who leads people on to get laid or maybe someone who ‘ghosts.’ However, those could be the least of your disappointments.

I haven’t been dating seriously. I’ve met a few people and made a few mistakes, but after being in a long term relationship I consciously made the decision to stay single for a year to get myself together. But I am still a human and enjoy male companionship, and living in LA it is much easier for a lot of us who are busy or have trouble meeting people out to mindlessly swipe through an app. So when I HAVE met people off apps or sites these are usually 3 protocols I tend to follow (there are always exceptions of course):

1. Always Google a person before you go out with him because you don’t know what you will find. Men, you tend to tell us girls we are ‘crazy’ for doing this if we tell you we did. It is normally not to expose your social status, your salary, or anything else of why I can think you would think this is ‘crazy’ and not smart as hell. You should be googling us too, not just insta-stalking our cute photos. Only a pathological liar or someone with something to hide should think this is ‘crazy.’

As in Ingrid’s case, Google could have saved her life. Her guy had criminal records in not 1, not 2, but 6 STATES!!!! Theft, battery, assault. I have found men on the sex offender list (seriously), have extremely questionable articles written about them, and even found someone I was seeing pop up on some escort websites. Fucking google, who cares if you are crazy, as long as you are safe.

2. This is a no brainer — Always tell somewhere where you are, what time you’re leaving and could be home, and if you’re spending the night etc. Don’t be ashamed of looking easy, if you can’t tell your best friend about a one night stand, they aren’t your best friend. I am always in contact on the first couple dates with a bestie when I go to the bathroom. You better believe I am in there telling her/him all about it went, where we are, and keeping them updated to let them know the guy isn’t a serial killer (yet.)

3. I normally uber to meet him wherever we are going so he doesn’t know where I live…hardly EVER do I let a guy pick me up before 2 successful dates. I’ve had classy guys want to send me an uber and I will give them an address a couple doors down and get picked up over there. Obviously there are exceptions, like if I’ve known the guy a bit or whatever else, but normally I follow this rule. Sometimes I am down with chilling afterwards at their place, but this is ONLY if I am extremely comfortable as you are on their turf and you just never know.

One of my guy best friends always says I am too paranoid and that could be true, but maybe this woman wasn’t paranoid enough. There are literally 10 people out there in the world pretending to be ME right now on an app, do you know how bizarre that feels? In a world where people lack integrity and can be whoever they want to be, you need to be self aware that not everyone is Mr. Rogers.

– Cee