RHNK Berlin | Ä°stanbul
Ayşe Zeynep Özbay
GİZEM GÖZDE UÇAR
Paper Street Co.
Finally, I was going to get out of the disposable online market and work for an honorable cause; making books, changing lives, touching paper every day. It was a well-known children and young adult fiction publisher, a respectable institution. Two weeks after I started my new job as an editorial assistant, I was already miserable and joked about suicide more than twice. Whenever I told anyone I couldn’t handle it any longer, they would say, “This is how publishing works, Nazli. You need to take it until you make it.” So I took it.
About three years ago, I worked in a publishing house in Istanbul for three long months. It was almost the end of the summer. I had been working in a digital advertising agency, waiting for the day that a literary publishing house would take me and one day it actually happened. I got a call from a publisher I applied to almost a year ago saying that there was an opening.
It wasn’t all that bad. The publishing house made a short story competition for teenagers every year, and while I was working there, the editor touched upon something striking in her welcome speech. Almost none of the teens mentioned computers, internet, or smartphones in their stories. These kids were all born into the millennium and grew up with iPads and/or in internet cafes, yet their stories sounded as if these things didn’t even exist. Were they afraid technology would make their stories less “sophisticated”? She was a wonderful editor and had a brilliant eye for literature. It
was a successful publishing house, which is why I stayed there until I got fired. I thought my CV had to look sophisticated if I wanted to make it, and I could only do that by staying there a little longer. Realizing my dream job was never going to make me happy was devastating, but I simply couldn’t shut my eyes and pretend I was okay with working there, when I saw people crying in the bathroom and told to sit separately while the owners ate with the writers at conferences. If that was the only way to climb up the literary pyramid, I was out. (Okay, maybe more like kicked out.) I took all the money the publishing house paid me to leave in silence, booked a ticket to Rome, and left the country within the next twenty-four hours. I visited Ayşe, who was studying film and living in Trastevere. It took me about fifty kilos of pasta, and at least fifty liters of wine to make peace with what had happened. One night we were sitting in a bar, drinking our second or third bottle of wine of the day and we found ourselves scribbling magazine ideas on a giant square napkin. I was going to edit, she was going
to design. We couldn’t really decide on what it would be about that night, but we knew was it was going to be our thing. Random people were going to pick it up and read it and our work was going to be found by people who didn’t even exist yet in fleamarkets years later. Eventually I had to face the reality of my expiring visa and draining bank account, go back to Istanbul and take another agency job. I spent most of my time waiting for when I could move to Neukölln, where I thought I could maybe be happy. I didn’t care about what I had to work in to be there. I just wanted to go. I just had to wait until September to be able to enter Europe again. I had been single for a year, and there was finally a guy I kind of liked. I asked a common friend if he was seeing anyone and found out he had been using something called Tinder. Like Grindr, but for straight people. I remember my reaction like it was yesterday. Why would anyone do that? He was a cute, smart, popular guy. Couldn’t he just look around and say hi to people? I talked about him to one of my best friends who is gay and we judged him together. Now
the strangest thing here is this: my friend had been on Grindr for years, and we never thought it was strange at all – ever. A few months later, another friend of ours – a nice, smart and okay-looking guy – told us he was on Tinder before he met his girlfriend. Half of the group, including me, had downloaded the app “just to see what it was like” by the time our friend left our place. Why did we all seek confirmation from a third party to embrace tinder? Ali, just like a publisher, told us Tinder was cool, and we immediately spread it to our friend’s circle like we do with everything. As a group, we’ve probably been on more than one hundred Tinder dates in the last two years. One of us found his first real girlfriend on it, and many of us got over break-ups or failed attempts at meaningful relationships – or just got great tips from locals while travelling. I have met some of the best people I’ve known through it. Of course, there were also some creeps among the many, many dates we had all gone on around the world, but is it really fair to blame Tinder for it? Aren’t all human relationships a little awkward
anyways? Or is that only the way it is for awkward people? I guess I will never know. So here we are, two years later. I moved to Berlin, got over my publishing trauma, started writing again, and met incredible young and passionate writers who believe in what they do. In the meantime, Ayşe moved back to Istanbul and started her own paper goods company with her sister. We might have gotten a little distracted by life and Tinder dates, but we never forgot about our plans scribbled on the giant napkin. We kept our promise. We did it for you, stranger at the bar, loner in the coffeeshop, broke reader at the bookshop checking out the free corner, unborn fleamarket explorer. They say drunk plans are fated to be forgotten, they say fake it until you make it, they say people you meet in real life are more real than your Tinder matches, they say good writing is what gets into well-known publications. I say, don’t listen to what they say. Listen to your gut, do your own thing.
I dedicate this first issue of RHNK to Curth Flatow whose book 6X BERLIN I found in a fleamarket in Berlin when I first moved here and who inspired us with his books amazing design, everyone who stood by me as I did my own thing in the last two years, all of the great writers and artists who contributed to this issue, but especially our sisters who never actually went on Tinder dates because they have been in relationships for years; Asli and Ä°pek. We did it all for and thanks to you.
NazlÄą Koca Laidak Berlin, Spring 2016
PS: One last question. What do you call it if you meet someone through your Tinder match who met him through his Tinder date who is the guy-in-questionâ€™s Tinder-sex-mate? Write to us if you have any thoughts or stories to share, or just want to have some deep and meaningful conversations on life at random late weekday nights. email@example.com
HOW DO I USE TINDER
HOW DO I USE TINDER
Haha. I just uploaded my pics, it’s all good but THERE’S TOO MANY PEOPLE. Also I found Zandra
What do I do Like her if you like her, don’t otherwise. I would but I met her already! So what. Don’t overthink it. Is there no way to see the people you liked!? Nope. Nor the people who liked you. Only the matches tell the full story. Again, don’t stress it. I’m not stressing it!! Just take the impression from the pictures. And ‘like’ honestly. Nothing more to it.
What if one pic is like: 25, hot, and the other is like, 45, not hot, THE SAME GIRL!
Then don’t like her. Lol kk so, worse picture has to be good. I ‘like’ them when I find something intriguing.
Most of them are expats from Neukölln, I swear. Shared Friends(1): Henrik harhar. Wow she hot. Juliana, 28. Pic.
WHAT IF I CAN’T SEE HER FACE Don’t like. Oh, ok . . . WHAT IF IT SAYS “JULIA, 22” BUT THERE ARE TWELVE PEOPLE ON THE PIC. Don’t like. Those are noobs.
https://www.facebook. com/xxxxx︎ — found her! What’s the age range and distance you are looking for? I went for 22-32, < 4 miles. You sneaky little bastard.
Oh. And don’t yell at me over facebook chat.
Does it ever end? like, you go through all the pics.
yes. Also, no flatrates if many girls are on the pic. But it could mean she has hot friends. So that could be a strategic like.
Some of these girls. I swear I saw them. In the neighbourhood. Yeah, happens. Check the distance. Fun indicator.
WHEN!? I can’t stand this unfinished state. Hundreds in the beginning. After that tens daily. Cool. When you’re not sure do you go yay or nay?
Usually nay, there has to be something about the girl. Right. I guess if you yay it’ll show you sooner for the girl to increase match chance. Interesting theory.
But it doesn’t matter. People are so casual and random. Nobody thinks about it that much. Only people like us do. What if I can see her gums when she smiles, yay/nay?
That’s how I’d implement it, dunno if that’s how it works. What radius did you put?
Depends if you like that.
15 miles. Wow maybe when I go through all these matches but I’m not looking for a long distance.
I usually nay. Ummm what if... If you ever wonder, what would Al do: in doubt, nay.
Haha. Also what matches?
What if the pic doesn’t show her face just the body. That’s kinda creepy, no?
SHIT I PRESSED LIKE ON A GIRL THAT I DON’T LIKE Chill bro. I’m just dramatising. I know. Still, chill.
I yay 1 out of 25 max. Yeah, I think I’m at 1/20 on average. Only 1 image: nay. No face: nay.
Lol, ok. Let me light one up. I know your thoughts and feelings.
Hmmm, yeah. No hint of the body: nay. Only pics with dogs: nay.
Girl who smiles in every picture: YAY!
It’s filtered by the < 4 miles radius. Only group pics: nay.
Omg total yay FRAUKE 22 MARRY ME
. . . Girl has pic holding a Richard Dawkins book, hot or not— Who is that guy?
Bad or boring quote in the profile: nay. Pretentious life wisdom bomb: nay.
He’s the guy who invented the meme.
Haha, yea what if she has a pic of a bridge but is hot. That’s cool, means she didn’t curate her pics well. Oh ok, nice. If she looks like an MBA student: nay. Selfies only: nay. Two selfies before the same background: nay. One selfie is ok though, I posted one but you can’t tell it’s a selfie. Yeah, if it is a kickass selfie. I think I liked about 40 already, average quality is pretty high though I would say compared to other dating sites it must be filtered somehow.
I think I’m getting the hang of this. Good. Pics show parts of her face, but never the full face: NOPE. Girl is holding baby in profile pic. Can’t tell if it’s hers or not. NOPE. Now let me know when you get your first match.
FIRST MATCH Leonard Walmsley
You read the quote again and realise that it’s actually a quote about something inspiring from your favourite movie.
while you stop listening and so you still don’t know why on earth she’s studying Web Design when she wants to be a Photographer.
You open a message window and type the name of the movie along with a :)
You take her to a movie and then a bar and then a nightclub. At the movies you kiss, at the bar you make out and at the night club, well. On your way out of the bathroom you catch your reflection in the mirror. You linger for a moment, then grab some paper towels and leave.
You press send, hesitate a few seconds, then type twelve digits, two words and another smiley. Then you press send again.
She’s a few years younger than you. Just out of high school. She’s pretty. Coffee hair, cardamom eyes, sugar lips. You tap her face and open her profile. She’s into bars, nightclubs, movies and reading. So far, so uninteresting. There is a bullshit quote about something Inspiring.
Her coffee hair is more hazel in reality. Her cardamom eyes more pistachio. Her lips really are sweet though, you’ve tried them yourself. She sits opposite to you at your kitchen table, eating the spaghetti you’ve just cooked her. She talks, you’ve lost track about what exactly. She talks a lot, but you don’t mind it. Sometimes you catch her eye and she touches her hair and smiles shyly. You smile shyly too, then break her gaze and look at your plate or her plate or the flower-pattern napkins or the half-empty glass of water. She keeps talking. She wants to be a photographer but she applied to study Web Design. You ask her why? and she begins talking again and after a
She likes having coffee for breakfast but you prefer tea. You drink it with milk and sugar because that’s what your dad taught you and she wrinkles her nose and shakes her head before pouring milk and sugar into her coffee. She talks and you listen, this time actually, and you find out that she’s saving up money to travel South America in summer and that she’s half-Chilean. You wonder for a second how it took you so long to find out this basic detail about her. You shrug and wait till she’s finished her coffee with milk and sugar. Then you get up from your seat and walk around the table. You take her hand and lead her to your bedroom. She takes off her top first, then yours. You kiss her, she unbuckles your
belt. You fuck her, she fucks you, afterwards she lies next to you with her head on your chest. For a moment everything is silent. You can hear faint bird song outside, the upstairs neighbour’s radio. Then she begins talking again. It’s 1.30pm on a Saturday. You’re sitting on the train, on your way home. You spent the night Somewhere Else. You spent the night before that Somewhere Else, too. Your lips taste of honey rather than sugar. Your crotch feels tight. You have your boxers on the wrong way round. You take your phone from your pocket. Type in twelve digits. Wait. She picks up right away. You tell her about the honey taste on your lip, your tight crotch, your boxers being the wrong way round. Except you use different words. You talk and she stays quiet. You stop talking and wait for her to start. But she stays quiet. You Say Bye And Hang Up.
by Gizem Gรถzde Uรงar
IO Alex Rezdan
The jewel in Ahna’s ear woke her up to the sound of rolling waves and seagulls flying overhead. She opened her eyes and squinted at the sunlight blaring into her face. Her arms shot up with a yawn and painted a cloud in the sky to dim the brightness. As she sat up in bed, she looked around at the infinite sand and water extending in each direction. Her watch’s display powered on automatically when she turned
it upward, revealing four rows of icons. She held one and slid her finger a centimeter to the left. Transparent walls blinked into existence, caging her inside what looked like a glass cube. She took two steps before returning to the watch. The sand emulation could never get the texture right. It always felt too flat. She held the icon and flicked her eyes to swipe away the beach, cycling through a mountaintop and a park before settling on her apartment. The furniture popped into view, placed against walls that were no longer see-through. In the kitchen, metric measurements appeared against her cup to assist her in using the perfect amount of cream and sugar for her coffee. She silenced the video that auto-played on the coffee bag when she touched it and flicked the screen against the cupboard. After the ad, the most recent clip from her subscriptions began to play by itself. She watched it every morning while sipping on her coffee, but if asked what the content was, she wouldn’t really remember. During the train ride to her office job, she sat between two blurred out passengers and opposite an
androgynous figure with no face. She lifted her wrist and chose another icon on her watch. A quarter of the passengers lit up with blue auras like a character selection in a video game. “Male. Twenties.” The three syllables caught in her throat, just enough to be picked up by subvocal recognition. All but five auras vanished. She glanced at one and read the profile list that appeared next to him. Name, age, status, interests, and what he’s looking for. He listed football as an interest. She flicked her eyes to the left and the aura disappeared, blurring him out like the rest of the crowd. She glanced at another guy. Not cute. Flick, blurred out. Guy number three had an attractive smile and quoted The Great Gatsby. She winked to attract him. He turned around and looked at her for a few seconds before opening up a private channel between them. “Hello there, beautiful,” he said with a smile. A British accent. Ahna had a bad experience with a British guy before. She flicked her eyes to the left and shut down their channel.
Two auras remained, but the train arrived at her destination. She got off and walked to work. The hours passed slowly, as they tend to do. At the end of her shift, she proceeded back to the train station to repeat the trip in reverse. While waiting for the streetlight to change, he made his first appearance into Ahna’s life in that most casual way that best friends and lovers always seem to do. He invaded her peripheral vision and said something that was drowned out by the music playing from the jewel. Ahna tapped against her earlobe to silence it. “Sorry?” she said. He smiled. “Mind if I walk with you?” Instinctively, she flicked her eyes to the left, but he did not disappear or blur out at all. “I think we work in the same building,” he said. “We walk the same way pretty much every day.” Her eyes scanned him up and down. Plainly dressed, semiattractive, probably about the same age as her. There was no
pop-up with any info on him, though. “I’m Luke,” he said, extending his hand. “What’s your name?” He should have at least had that information available. Her profile wasn’t completely public, but it showed the basic info, which included her first name. She did a quick scan of anyone named Luke that worked in the same building as her. He pressed his lips together and lowered his hand. “Yeah... Okay. Well, um, sorry to bother you.” He turned his head to check for any oncoming traffic and stepped onto the street. “Wait,” said Ahna. She raised her hand to stop him.
right now.” He smirked. A small exhalation escaped from his nose. “Are you always so obedient?” Ahna narrowed her eyes. “Are you always so rebellious?” He shrugged. “What you call an act of rebellion, I call an act of freedom. Anyway, it’s just a light. No big deal.” Luke crossed the street. Ahna felt compelled to follow him but found that she couldn’t make herself move while the numbers were still counting down. As soon as the light turned green, she picked up the pace to catch up to him. It didn’t take long. He walked slowly and casually like someone who had an infinite amount of leisure time and not a care in the world.
“The light,” she said. “There’s still eighteen seconds left before we can cross.”
“What made you decide to talk to me?” she said as she caught up to him. Her heart raced as she took slow breaths to calm it down. She knew it was because of the little sprint to catch up, but looking at him kept the fast beat thumping.
Again, Luke glanced in both directions. He motioned with his hand at the empty street and said, “Seems safe enough to cross
“I already told you,” he said. “I see you walking the same way as me at pretty much the same time every day. And you’re cute, so
He looked back at her, eyebrows raised curiously.
that’s a plus, but I didn’t know you were so hooked on Io.” “Hooked?” “Addicted.” She stopped walking. “I am not addicted to Io.” He continued for two steps, then turned and looked at her. “Come on,” he said, tilting his head to the side and leaning closer to her. “When’s the last time you turned it off? Can you even remember?” “I switch it off all the time.” “No, I mean really turned it off. Not just delegating it to the background or whatever.” He imitated flicking a switch on the corner of his eyes with his fingers. “Click. Off.” “I don’t know. I forget about it. It doesn’t really interfere with anything I do.” “Hmm,” he said and rubbed his chin. “Yeah, that’s the problem right there.” “Well, what do you have against Io, anyway? It’s harmless. If anything, it makes it easier for people to connect.” “Yeah,” he said sarcastically. “Everyone’s so connected, there’s no need to have a conversation
anymore.” “I’ll prove it to you.” “What?” “That I’m not addicted to Io. I’ll turn it off right now.” Luke crossed his arms and smiled. “That’s a start, at least.” She flipped up the display on her watch and held the power button. It took ten seconds before requiring a passcode and swipe for confirmation. She looked back towards him.
monochromatic jumpsuit. Ahna herself realized that nearly all of her fashion accessories were digital. “Welcome back to the real world,” said Luke. He began walking towards the train station again. Ahna followed behind him. “Is this how it’s always looked? So... dirty?” “Not always, but it gets worse every year.”
Luke pointed at her watch. It indicated that it was still in the process of shutting off. A number counted down as if signaling an impending catastrophe. Ahna watched as it neared the end. Three. Two. One. Zero. Off.
She stayed close to him. Dark corners hid hooded people, and while she didn’t catch anyone watching them, she could feel their eyes following their every movement as if probing for a weakness to exploit. She wondered if they were always there, and if there was some way to hide from Io.
“There.” She looked up at him again. “Now it’s off and I, um, um...”
“So you’ve never been curious?” she said. “To try Io, I mean.”
Her words trailed away and disappeared, like the world she thought she knew. Graffiti replaced the flashy advertisements on the walls. Cigarette butts littered the sidewalk. People who were blurred out before now appeared normal, and those who were public and stylish now all sported the same
Luke shrugged. “Nah, I already daydream way too much.”
“See? Off. No harm done.”
She considered his words as they walked the rest of the way in silence and then sat facing each other on the train. Like with the streets, the interior of the train clearly had seen better days.
It almost seemed reckless and dangerous to keep it in use. “Check it out.” Luke broke the silence and pushed his chin towards a man leaning against the corner of the train.
Ahna’s head flinched back slightly, her face scrunching up as if she had bit into something she thought would be sweet and turned out sour instead. It amazed her how an opinion of a person could bounce between two extremes so easily, but then realized she was guilty of doing this on a daily basis. A smile formed on her lips as a soft chuckle escaped between them.
her watch, and her eyes lit up with the faint blue tint again. “What are you doing?” said Luke. “I thought you were glad you turned it off.” “I am glad,” she said, standing up. Luke stood up with her. “So why are you turning it back on?” She shrugged. “What you call an act of conformity, I call an act of freedom.” “But it’s so lame. Can’t you see everyone is becoming robots now? They don’t see anything outside their own bubble. If you keep--”
“I mean in the world,” said Ahna. “Io is used for more than just hooking up, you know?”
Luke raised his eyebrows at her. “What?” “Oh, no. Nothing. It’s just...” Ahna brought her hand to her lips to stifle a laugh. “I was just thinking that this could almost seem like a date. Us talking, getting to know each other, disagreeing on things...” “And all done without Io,” said Luke. “It’s a miracle, huh?” She nodded. “If I depended on Io, I would never have given you a chance. You would have blurred out of existence right after you said hello.” “Aren’t you glad I convinced you to turn it off?” “Yes, actually.”
He shrugged. “I wouldn’t know, but I’d say that’s part of the problem. What happened to reading the newspaper or watching the nightly news?”
She looked out of the train window at the city passing by. What seemed dark and ominous before now looked like an invitation to explore. Her finger pressed against
The man’s eyes flicked and flashed with the subtle blue display of Io. As Ahna looked around, she noticed the majority of people there were doing the same thing. “Spooky, huh?” said Luke. He shook his head and sighed. “But I guess that’s just the way things are now.” Ahna realized the people’s eyes were flicking too quickly for normal. “They’re reading something,” she said. “Something must have happened.” Luke dramatically peered over his shoulders. “Doesn’t seem like anything happened.”
His words drowned away as he blurred out of focus. The train appeared brand new again, and the monochromatic jumpsuits were replaced with the latest fashion styles. A man across the train sent her an invitation to chat privately. She turned to him and smiled, leaving the invitation open for him to engage or not. When the doors opened, she looked at the blur that used to be Luke, said goodbye, and stepped off the train.
by Beste Özdeşlik
by Gizem Gรถzde Uรงar
NOT REALLY MY CUP OF TEA Gerdi Bauer
I first heard about it when a friend was going through an intense Tinder-dating phase. I was mildly curious. I have always been rather nosy, so just looking at pictures and profiles sounded fun , not to mention seeing what kind of people I would match with. Surely I would’ve used it as an ego-booster, and it probably would’ve turned out to be quite the opposite if I didn’t get the matches I’d hoped for. Thankfully, I never did download it.
I did, however, once go on a Tinder double date with my friend. I agreed to it because they were going bowling, which was something I hadn’t done since my, say, eleventh birthday party. When Saturday came up, bowling was cancelled. Why, I don’t remember. They settled for a bar instead. Not really my cup of tea. (Why did I go there?) My friend and I spent about two hours getting ready (it might’ve also been three hours or thirty minutes; whenever I use numbers, it’s more of a wild guess), not even putting make-up on, but playing dress up and trading clothes. (I still want my shorts back.) We were giggling and dancing and singing and had the best time together. Unfortunately, we had to go out and stop doing what we were enjoying at one point. We were already more than half an hour late, which was very unusual for my friend, who is very fond of punctuality and sees it as a sign of respect. (We should have taken it as a sign.) But we went anyway, with a “let’s try out something new” mindset and the reassuring option of being able to leave whenever it got to weird (not that I expect people on
Tinder to be particularly strange, just people in general). When we finally got to the bar, this guy was sitting at a table alone. Apparently his friend was running late, too, and I couldn’t have cared less because I was in a very complicated “we’re taking some time off but plan on being together after”-relationship at the time. When the date’s friend finally arrived, he didn’t seem interested in me at all and it dawned on me that we had both accompanied our friends on their first date. I don’t think I said much. I just didn’t have many meaningless facts to contribute and found myself analyzing the strange situation in my head instead. It was an amusing night, but for the wrong reasons. I was rather surprised when my friend agreed to meet her date again and made one of my quick and highly amateurish psychological assessments; it was very obvious that the guy was neglecting to deal with some serious childhood issues. (I know we all have them. It’s ignoring them that bothers me. Maybe because I’m so incapable of doing it.) However, my opinion was irrelevant, because I wouldn’t have
to go out with the man again. I don’t think I said goodbye to the friend. I don’t think he cared one bit. It all felt rather hollow to me. And I don’t think my friend ever thinks about her date now. I’m not saying it’s impossible to find someone on there, but I don’t want to give up the exciting insecurities you feel running into someone in the street or a bar. The warm fuzzy feeling. The little tricks we got trying to find out if the other one likes us, before we express explicit feelings that could leave us feeling like a fool if not reciprocated. To me, love - or attraction - needs to be felt and approved by my gut (it just knows) and it takes a little (actually a lot of ) courage to approach someone personally. You know you are genuinely interested in someone when you are willing to take a chance. You know they reciprocate the feeling when their actions say so, not because of empty words typed into a phone to pass time while waiting for a train. Unless the train in question is taking them to you, then they might mean those words, then they might just be nervous.
Like we all are.
I argued that at least I was doing (pretending to do) something productive. What was she doing? Part of me wishes I didn’t ask.
From the moment we met, I could sense the comical malevolence. She was a juggernaut laying waste to everything in her path. Fortunately, I was not on that path, just parallel. I was sitting at the bar, scribbling away and putting away as many pints as is possible within the two hours that happy hour lasted. Halfway through a sentence, the girl sat beside me asked if I was a writer and I nodded. She went on to call me a cliché, sitting at the bar, hunched over pieces of paper in a gloomy pub. Was I trying to prove something? She asked me that with a mix of bluntness and sarcasm that was hard to gauge.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s wondering where life went wrong. They were just trying to meet a nice person. Just trying to find someone they had something in common with and someone that made them feel they weren’t as alone in the world.
Showing me her phone, the eHarmony app flashed up. She had several messages from potential suitors. She revealed the messages; a sly pride in her grin. I soon understood why. They seemed heartfelt and sincere. Although, as she rolled through them, there was something wrong. It was the first time a girl had willingly shown me her dating profile and not accidentally revealed a dick pic in the first minute. On further inspection, the messages raised even more questions. Each message was a man looking for love, companionship. Yet the replies from the girl were so surgically venomous that I couldn’t help but feel the sting of the burn she had provided to each person that engaged her.
Then it hit me. How many women had to put up with this on a daily basis, dick pics and chauvinism, catcalling and perverted stares, thirsty Tinder matches and human beings that held a sense of superiority just because of a difference in gender? The men weren’t problems as individuals; they were problems as a whole. After the 55th broken creature unfortunate enough to wander into her trap, I began to see that she was a necessary part of the online dating scene. In a world striving to break down the walls of sexism, she was the great equaliser. Helping the males of the species get their shit together one dating profile at a time. So a message to men the world over, next time you find yourself struck down by a girl into old-school rap and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and wonder what you did to deserve such a response, don’t take it personally. Men have had this coming for a while now.
Like a Venus fly trap, she lured unsuspecting males with charm and a pretty face and then devoured a chunk of their heart, leaving them broken and emotionally crippled in a dark room nursing their wounds with Häagen-Dazs while watching
Linda Martin Kallin
About dating apps I can somehow say I’m an expert, but it is also the biggest joke, considering my only Tinder-date ended up with my date chatting to other guys on Grindr right in front of me. Although some mistakes were made, becoming an expert takes experience and lots of time. Luckily, I started early.
Being eleven years old and in the midst of all the pubertal arisings, I was experimenting with a new hobby with my childhood friends; to make calls to the ‘’Heta Linjen’’, literally translated, ‘’The Hot Line’’. The phenomenon originates in Stockholm’s telephone booths in the 1980’s, and basically is calling other telephone booths. The result was huge group discussions with strangers that later led to meetings. In 2005, the line had gone into the cellphone world as a haven for horny, thirty-something men dying for dirty talk with a supposedly horny woman while touching themselves. The line’s age limit was 18+, so using the pre-puberty voice and adjusting it to something more deep and feminine, and adding the bad word vocabulary was the trick among the kids to be taken for as an adult woman. It really started as a joke. We would listen to men moan and tell us dirty things, then hang up on them and laugh for minutes. For us, raised with adults as authorities, the opportunity to be in control of a full grown man, in some kind of subconscious age play, was disgustingly exciting and hilarious. For others, the competition became to be as
disgusting as possible, unlike us, who pretended to be real women. As our calls became more frequent; during weekends, after school and even in school, we became braver, rougher and tougher and succeeded to make the guys hornier and hornier. The thrill of getting busted made us stay in focus and we had to start to be strategic. In order to take it further and see how far we could go with the men, we had to go outside of the ‘’Hot Line’’. Back then, the queen of communication was called MSN Messenger. The idea to start up a fake account for the men from the Hot Line to add became the key idea to our curiosity, so, we went online and created a girl called Linda. Used so frequently I still remember the password. On different beauty rank pages we found pictures of beautiful twenty-year old women that we sent to the men as proof we were real girls. In exchange, they promised to send us pictures or live stream their penises. The pictures became Linda and she was irresistible. A few months and she had around thirty contacts, all of them men. All of them willing to show their penises. (For the record, this was before I found
out I’m gay and I don’t blame my best friends for suspecting my sexual orientation at this point, as I would always encourage the men to show the most.) To watch these guys get naked was for our entertainment only, but it could also be really gross. Some guys we were in contact with for a time, even opened up their hearts and believed us to the extent they wanted to meet up with us non-sexually, as friends. To hear about broken hearts and leaving wives wasn’t thrilling or even fun for us. Then, we got offered money by a man, and we were starting to realize what was going on. The guys were spending money, (the cost was 50 cents/ minute for men to girls and 0 for girls to men) on our calls that could sometimes take an hour. Eventually our compassion turned the scale, and we broke Linda’s viral heart. We abandoned her as we became teenagers one by one. Being twenty years old and seeking, I was writing to a guy on Tinder, too cute to be close to my hometown in the Swedish forests. Whatever our conversations would be about, he responded perfectly, too perfectly. I believed my doubts of his perfection and I
made some background research. To later find out that this guy was just like Linda, had another gender and name. The pictures of the guy, belonged to a French photo model, and I laughed my disappointment away. Since then, I’ve always been careful about whom I am speaking to online, doing my research like an expert and ironically to this expertise, I work in social media, removing fake profiles every day. Because you never know whom you might actually be talking to. It might be Linda, the modern-day heartbreaker.
by AZ Ã–zbay
cell phone screen for light. Your mom locked you out of the house because you were an adult who needed to find her own place after college, but was letting you sleep in the basement. The rain was pounding the sidewalk outside. My lips were reading the text, waves of sleepy letters undulating across the white screen, black on white like footprints in snow, black on white like the ink on skin, some regrettable tattoo of an appropriated Chinese character, some figure that meant destiny, or luck, or it didn’t even matter because you were young and drunk.
Love in the Modern Age: Tinder Alexandra Kopel
Love in the modern age is dark. And cold. It’s lying on a bed in the pitch-black basement of your parents’ house with only the ethereal neon glow from your
It was three in the morning. I’m texting with a boy who I don’t know, who I’ve never met in real life. Two strangers not touching, just lying there in the dark alone, asking each other questions through screens. Just the white light of a phone, questions back and forth for hours. Maybe this is how it feels like to die and have your mind uploaded, transcend place and time, go to some ray-less eternal realm where consciences go to communicate through screens. I had gotten trapped in the black box of the internet, a room without
windows, alone with a stranger. It had been different with other men that I had started talking to via Tinder. We never stayed in the room. We would come and go, taking turns entering the room when we felt like it, when we were bored or on a whim, responding days or weeks at a time, believing that the person would still be there when we were ready for them, when we finally stopped hooking up with that other person or when work got less hectic or we got more bored, not necessarily waiting for us to return, but just always available when we did. 3:38: if you’re tired why don’t you sleep? 3:39: I just like this conversation. I thought I should see where it goes. 3:42: I’ll still be here tomorrow. 3:45: You never know, you could delete the app. Each question was adding a line, fleshing out the color in the drawing of each other. We were characters in our own story. Only a few carefully chosen pictures, a few carefully chosen answers that were enough to tell us everything and nothing. It was projection
at its highest form, a hybrid of fantasy and reality. 3:51: How are you conceptualizing me? 3:54: Hmm independent, one sister, close with your parents, has tried psychedelics, good in bed. How about me? 3:56: Nice, articulate, very white. Likes acoustic guitar and Dave Mathews. 3:57: lol true 3:58: I just don’t want you to lose sleep over a girl you won’t likely ever meet. 3:59: We won’t meet? 4:00: I’ve found that I rarely meet the people I talk to on Tinder. I met up with people a few times and it was too disappointing. 4:01: Bad experiences? 4:01: Yea sort of… There was the physics PhD student, seemingly normal, who turned out to be the most bizarre person I had ever met. As soon as I turned the corner and saw
him sitting on the bench near the metro, my stomach dropped. I wanted to leave. You see, once you enter reality, there’s no more swiping the screen. There’s no next available option, just a real life 3-dimensional person, one who had commuted two hours to meet me. He was sickly pale like he had never seen sunlight or he had just been released from a cellar or an insane asylum. I know, I know, we all want to be weird, the special millennial snowflakes, all unique, not normal, not basic, with the tattoos and the piercings and the colored hair and half-shaved heads, half-cut bangs, but this guy had one of those auras that exuded a strangeness that extended far beyond the degree of peculiarity that one could interpret as endearing or charming, special or cool. He was weird not in a hot way, but in an itching to leave the situation way. As we entered the dim-lighted bar, he told me he had a unique eating disorder that prevented him from eating foods that weren’t white, for the first twenty-five years of his life, most foods besides pizza and rice were of limits. He had recently gotten over his disorder, and was now trying all sorts of foods and other substances too. He had just
tried alcohol for the first time a few months ago, and had also tried weed and crack, which he liked and smoked in his Stanford grad school physics office on Sundays. He had been a grad student for a decade and lived in his office to save rent money. He used the gym facilities to shower. I spent the date watching him from an amused distance. I watched him take out a plastic card that he twirled in his fingers proudly: a membership card to a Cryonics Organization, insuring that his body would be frozen when he died, one day resurrected, so that he could live on forever. He told me a two-hour long anecdote about his first love (Anna), which involved math camp, Italy, a hike to the beach, and his fear of going into the ocean because he was embarrassed that Anna would see his erection through his swimsuit. He was still telling the story of Anna as I walked him to the metro, so lost and captivated in his own narrative, that he seemed unaware of where we were going, unaware of how I was feeling, and appeared stunned when I turned around and left him there at the entrance, with his mouth hanging open as if he still wanted say something, still wanted to finish his story.
Not all my experiences were that bad. I had some burgeoningrelationships with men that I met through the app for a few months. I was attracted to them at first and they had all seemed so interesting on paper, had done all the things, had the degrees, had the qualities, the interests of people I thought I would like, but I just didn’t. I wanted to like them so badly, but I just didn’t. I thought maybe it would grow if we had more sex, if I gave it more time, but it never did. Looking back, I knew that I wouldn’t have considered them as more than friends if I hadn’t met them online. The creator of Tinder claims that Tinder emulates real life, that it is no different than meeting someone in an elevator, but I found that just isn’t true. I liked people for reasons that were intangible and untranslatable to apps like Tinder, yet this happened over and over, the awkward dates, the fizzling romances, and I never did learn my lesson. Tinder was easy and I was lazy, introverted, a prisoner to my habits, held captive in my house. The University of Michigan released a study that showed that couples who met online were three times more likely to end in divorce and more likely to split up
with their partners after the first year. Could online dating mislead you, send you in the wrong direction? I always knew that I was attracted to a person instantly; a full believer in the power of newage-hippy “intuition”, going so far to use words likes “auras” or “energies.” Intuition is often a word we use for the science we can’t explain. There is evidence that, in face-to-face meetings, the body is subconsciously picking up clues about the suitability of future partners based on their DNA. We emit pheromones that give clues about our genetic compatibility to someone else. HelloPhero: I could already see the future app that will match us based on pheromones. Maybe there is another reason that couples who meet online are more likely to fail. The Internet gives you the impression that there is an unlimited surplus of potential partners. Why not get a divorce when you know there are so many others out there, others who always text back, never wear socks with sandals, and definitely don’t have an Aunt Susan who is literally the worst woman on the entire planet? Online dating makes you hyper aware of just
how many people exist and therefore hypercritical. You’re talking to each other and you both know you’re still talking to other people, still looking for other people. It doesn’t matter what you’re saying. It’s nothing personal. As long as you’re two-dimensional, you’re just a potential; you’re a baseball card with a picture and some facts, disposable, transferable. We just want options. It’s emblematic of our generation, of technological progress. We have more options than ever before, things have never been easier, more convenient, but we aren’t happier, we want everything. We see each other all the time and yet feel more alone. The other day I had asked my grandmother how she had met my grandpa, her second husband. She turned to me, vines of wrinkles growing from her eyes. “Oh we met at Denny’s.” Denny’s, an American chain diner, and one of the least romantic places on earth. “So he just came up to you like I’ll have the pancakes you wanna get married?” “No, not quite. Well, don’t tell anyone.” My 81 year-old Grandma, the woman who had just asked me to remove a foot long hair from her chin, was suddenly
embarrassed. “I answered an ad. He had posted an ad in the paper.” I smiled. If only she knew about the world of Internet dating now. In ten years meeting a stranger online would be the new normal. “I didn’t think it would work when I first met him, but I kept trying.” My grandma didn’t even have a picture, didn’t even have hours of meaningless texting . All she had was a tiny blurb in the newspaper. If my grandma had met my grandfather now, inundated with other faces on a screen, would she have given him the time, the chance? Does technology feed into our delusions about romance? Are we swiping looking for a type of connection that we believe should be instantaneous, perfect? Does technology lead us in the wrong direction or does it just make us more critical? Why hadn’t it worked out with all those Tinder dates? Was it them or me or all three? 4:04: Are you tired yet? As it grew later into the night, as we kept talking, I began to crave the intimacy that we were simulating. I wanted to touch him, to talk to his face. More than anything, I wanted him to be the
person I was imagining. How did I get here? I didn’t want to be stuck in between the cracks of reality and virtuality, stuck in a halfway house between intimacy and unfamiliarity. I wanted to meet people, but I didn’t want to be disappointed. I wanted to be in a relationship without sacrificing my independence. I wanted something casual, but intense, passionate and intimate, I wanted everything all at once without giving up my time or freedom, the freedom of time. The world of online dating had reduced us to body parts, to torsos and heights, measurements, massacred limbs. The world of online dating had reduced all men to the same few pictures, a man posing with a lion on a safari, a man jumping off a bridge in South America. How I wished I could be that lion and eat that man to make the picture worthy of photographing. For a generation that prided ourselves on our uniqueness, Tinder had a way of blending away our differences, making us appear all the same. The world of online dating had made me more afraid of approaching people in real life and always left me wanting
something. Looking at someone through a screen was like looking at someone through a one-way mirror, looking at them through glass. I kept waiting, wishing, tapping on the glass, hoping that they would see me, touch me, but they could only see the reflection of themselves, the shadow of their own egos. 4:05: Are you a romantic? 4:06: I think I am, but I try to fight it. I closed my eyes. I could see us together on some beach, the sun scintillating, blazing high in the sky. The crashing waves were white foam fingers caressing the sand over and over again. His eyes were not still like in his photograph, but they were moving, alert and sporadic. The waves were breathing; time wasn’t passing. All was sound and all calm was healing as we melted deeper into the ground. He was touching me, his hands soft like sand. I opened my eyes: 4:10 AM. Time had been passing. Time is always passing. You can’t kill time with a daydream. 4:12: I’m getting tired do you have any more questions?
When did my house get so quiet? When did suburbia get so dead? I listened in the rain beating against the roof. I had always thought of the rain as singular instead of plural, as one entity instead of millions of individual drops. I never thought of all the drops colliding at once, all moving in rhythmic chaos, one after another, and how hesitant, how terrified, each drop must be to fall. 4:16: Are you lonely? Does technology create more problems or does it just lead to the same ones that have always been there? Would I give him the chance, end up meeting this person in real life? Dating is vulnerability, discomfort, is disappointment, is hit and miss. Maybe these things just take some time, just take some risk.
4:21: Are you scared? 4:20: Are you happy?
Waiting for Godot in Silence on Tinder
The conversations I have over Tinder are usually pretty lacklustre. There are three scenarios usually.
I’ve found out that some people have problems distinguishing the difference between confidence and disrespect. Despite this too often experienced encounter, however, I saw that Tinder is teaching us humans some valuable lessons. It encourages us to talk to strangers. Despite our moms and the society raising us to not talk to strangers over the internet, here we all are doing the exact opposite. Not just talking to them either, but with the intention to meet some of these strangers. With the expansion of the internet it is quite amazing to see how trusting humanity has actually become. We pick up things from strangers’ houses from craigslist, we surf on strangers’ couches, and we have sex with strangers we meet online. If you told someone these things would be happening ten years ago, I’m sure they would have scoffed in horror. It’s great to see Tinder and the internet expanding the way we interact with other human beings. It expands our experiences, conservations and even our friend circles. We get to meet people who in any other lifetime we would have no idea existed. However, there is a dark side to this connection that I believe the anonymity of Tinder
Conversation 1: Him: Hey. Me: Hey. Him: DTF? Me: I wish you would respect me and women everywhere.
Conversation 2: Him: Hey. Me: Hey. Silence. Conversation 3: (If you are lucky) Him: Hey what’s up? Me: Hey! Nothing really, how are you? Him: Well I’m pretty good. What do you do here? Me: (Blah blah blah, and a conversation begins) Now obviously the third one is the best option, but even that gets boring after the first hundred so I’ve begun using it as a sort of Tinder test. If my matches are able to break out of the traditional responses and make me laugh, they pass. There is however a fine line between breaking the social norms of a boring conversational exchange and skipping right to conversation example one above.
I have the same conversation all the time and I’m getting quite good at it. No - I don’t work at a call center and nor do my friends have short term memory loss, but like many others out there I have tried to experience the world of Tinder.
by Gizem Gรถzde Uรงar
and the Internet is encouraging in humanity.
Have you taken action in any way after reading these things?
Tinder conversations tell us that it’s okay to ignore people to make them go away (see conversation number two). If you don’t like someone, don’t answer their text messages. If you don’t want to see someone, don’t answer their phone call. It’s the simplest way to get what you want without hurting anyone. That’s how this is justified. “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings”. No. All I feel that this does is make ourselves feel better. It takes away the psychological damage from us but instead inflicts it upon others. We have all been on both sides of this particular ‘conversation’. The one sided exchange that ends in “Well, I guess they didn’t like me” or “Well, I guess they finally got the hint”, everyone’s happy right? Ignoring other humans, pretending they don’t exist, then justifying and getting away with this and even having it be socially accepted is terrible and it’s creeping into other aspects of our lives.
I bet you answered yes to two of those questions but the majority of you probably answered no to the last one. Because somewhere deep down inside we think that maybe, just maybe, if we don’t think about it or acknowledge it, these terrible things can’t exist. Out of sight, out of mind. Procrastination and silence have become the motto of our generation. Maybe it’s from becoming paralyzed by the globalization of the world – (hey, let the other seven billion people on the planet deal with climate change – I’m busy swiping right and ignoring people’s responses!). But maybe it’s also because of the widespread practice and more importantly, the acceptance of not answering someone you aren’t interested in are encouraged by the general system of Tinder.
Have you read the news lately?
Being blunt and honest is hard but it’s something that I take pride in. Maybe you might offend someone by saying, “Thanks, but no thanks” but at least you won’t torture them psychologically for hours and days while they wait for your response.
Have you felt strongly about what you read?
I think the world could be a more human place if we started
responding to someone we aren’t interested in with “hey, thanks for talking to me, but I just don’t think we really get along” or “Hey, flattered by the conversation but I’m just not feeling it.” Fill in the blanks; whatever the situation calls for. “Hey, wish I could talk, but I’m busy” is not a worthy response for someone who just put themselves out there to try to date you. At least, maybe, you will get a reaction from the passive generation that we find ourselves a part of.
Tinder is Dead Eyerine Radler
After a long cold winter, finally the flowers were blooming and the sun was shining. Nature was ready to be reborn, unlike me who was curled up in bed. I only enjoyed myself in darkness, I was even too afraid to open my curtains. I wanted to sleep for days and wished that this nightmare was soon to be over. Reality and the outside world were just too scary.
My friend called to check if I was still alive. I said “I wish I was dead”. She wouldn’t understand how it felt to truly love someone and thinking they were the one. Someone who in the beginning was only a casual fling, because you’d just moved into a new city where you knew no one, where you were bored of your life routine and needed a challenge. Someone you’d met on Tinder. “Hey! The only remedy for a broken heart is to go after other guys,” said my friend. “Go wild and have fun!” Was she even aware of the fact that after someone dumps you, your confidence is severly damaged, your self-esteem becomes your worst enemy, and even your redlipstick-smile cannot cover your pain? “Who cares about your confidence, who cares about your self-esteem, fake it until you make it,” she said. The next day, I finally decided to move my ass, took a couple of selfies, uploaded them, reactivated my Tinder account, and was ready to go back on the dating market. “Maybe Tinder will be a better friend and help me find the one”, my heart said. “But ah, don’t be naive”, said my head.
“Tinder is just an app to have some nights fun. Who will read your profile anyway? No guy! They just care about your look, about how much fun you look like.” One month had passed and I was busy having Tinder dates all the time. I felt my self-esteem increasing rapidly, and that I was back in control of myself. I liked being adored. I liked being wanted. Until I saw him on Tinder, too. I had these cold hands. The superficial confidence I had built in the last two weeks fell apart like porcelain hitting concrete. Had he already forgotten about me? What kind of woman was he looking for? Was he looking for sex or a serious relationship? “But no, no, do not think about him. Just continue swiping right and left.” my mind said. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Match. Marcel, 30, psychologist who loves English philosophy. He was very different from him. But whatever, the guy seemed nice. After two hours of chatting, we
agreed to meet for a drink. He was nice, and he said he wasn’t looking for either a relationship or friends. “Neither am I”, I said. I just wanted to forget about him. Six hours of talking was enough to make me go to Marcel‘s place. He didn’t have his sarcasm, his silly jokes, his smell, his touch. But I just wanted to forget about him. And I couldn’t. I still missed him. His face, his smile, his laughter were stuck in the back of my mind. And I was wondering whether he missed me the way I missed him. If he still remembered my perfume. If he missed my special cola chicken. If he missed me picking his pimples. Or if my drawing was still up on his wall. Was he sad finding an empty house after coming from work? No matter how good the evenings went with my Tinder dates, I still woke up feeling as hollow as I had felt a month ago. Even though I’d met him on Tinder after a quick swipe, I had slowly felt comfortable with him, slowly opened up to him, and slowly built up my trust. I was and maybe still am in love with him.
So even though we were suddenly torn apart, I should give myself time to grief and to heal slowly. I should slowly learn to keep the sweet memories about him. I should give myself a chance to be content without him. And I should slowly start to love myself again. Even if it means having to kill my Tinder account and dating myself.
There once was a girl on Tinder, Who found love at the swipe of a finger. She met with her match, And thought: ‘He’s a catch’, Now they’ve got a mortgage and three kinder.
Berlin | Ä°stanbul