The Mysterious World of Dating

I am single in real life. Heck, I am single in all lives. It doesn’t bother me much, but I have those rare days where I feel lonely. Rare, but they exist. I used to believe that I did not need to kiss a bunch of frogs in order to meet Mr. Right, because a good man is made for a good woman, but oh how naive!

Dating is something I find mysterious. I don’t know what topics I should talk about on date 1 or  20. I don’t even know if I’m supposed to talk. Are we supposed to eat? Drink? Watch a movie? I also don’t think I’ve dated the same person 20 times in the past 4 years.  So because I don’t know how shit works, I will share with you a few things I actually know.

(Of course you might not agree)

(Especially when you are my mother, and a product of a different generation)

Online Dating

Last year I went on this app which would match me with someone new every lunch time. I found very little success on the app, as I did with every other dating app such as Tinder and OKCupid.

On Tinder last year I matched with a man and we hit it off. However, it’s really hard to sustain the interest through text because over time I’d run out of things to say (I GET BORED, BUT I HARDLY RUN OUT OF THINGS TO SAY), and it was obvious we would not meet. He wrote and published a book before we made acquaintance, and he would share with me the writing he had been working on. For a while the process was fun, because I too had wanted to write books. And then I got bored because he’s not as funny as he thought he was, and I couldn’t really bring myself to read his writing.

So online dating did not really work for me.

Actual Dating

Actual dating meaning we put clothes on and meet someone or ten. I suck at this because I usually don’t know what to wear and how to behave around new adults. I am OK with work friends and friend friends and my 20-something-year-old students, but put me in front of some guy I’ve never met and either one of these two things would happen: 1) I eat a lot because I don’t like the person, or 2) I eat a lot, because I like the person. 

Other Things I’ve Learnt

  • Everything is accessible with a few clicks. You can see photos. You can know information such as the industry in which they work, what they like to eat, drink, read, and fuck, and the math doesn’t lie; if you have similar tastes, chances for a match are higher. But this is where it gets challenging. Matches are based on answers you provide on the app. Sometimes people lie. Sometimes liking the same things does not equal to liking the person. Sometimes people don’t message back.
  • Dating is tiring. No elaboration necessary.
  • I cannot date someone who does not have interests or hobbies. I am all about ikigai, but I am mature enough to understand that not everyone is philosophical or wants to ponder about life or their purpose in life. I am not philosophical most of the time. However, if I ask what you do after work and the sorta stuff you’re into and you say ‘mmmm I don’t know‘, I find it difficult to want to continue talking.
  • I keep thinking it’d probably be easier if I lost a ton of weight and just looked pretty. But tough luck. I like to eat and be fat.

Current Reads

I am currently reading a book on how to trigger the hero instinct in a man. I am on page 48 out of 213, but I think it’s better I get to know more people before I actually continue reading the book. This is because currently there is no man whose hero instinct I want to trigger. Hahah.

Dating is still a mystery for me.

I’ll let you know when I’ve learnt more things.

 

My Aunt

I hardly write tributes because I don’t know how they go, but I will try. I will preface this.. My mother is a 2nd-generation Singaporean Javanese. She knows some words here and there, but no way is she fluent in the language. My dad is Malay. Javanese people behave a little different from Malays, and I am saying this based on my experience being raised by a Javanese mother.

Yesterday we buried my mother’s older sister. She had diabetes, and then cancer, and after battling it for 20 months, she died on the morning of 31st May.

I am very close to my mother. I tell her most things about my life but I had a second mother in my wak (what we call our parents’ older siblings). My aunt and I shared the same Chinese zodiac sign (she was 36 years older than I am), and maybe the same fiery temper (and we like/d spending money!).

When I was really young she would borrow me for a few days. She always bought things for me. I didn’t want Reebok shoes when I was 4, but she bought them because they looked cute on me. I wanted prescription glasses for whatever reason when I was 7 and she got them for me (they were really adorable!). There was an overalls craze in the 90s when I was 8, she bought them for me and told me to stop staring at the price tag (it was super expensive). 

We went on holidays a few times; a couple of times without my mother. She liked buying fabric on those trips. I’d sit and tell her I needed to shit, and fabric shopping was boring can we go nowwww (but now who’s always staring at fabric) but she’d tell me to shush while she quickly browsed. 

I got excited over birthdays with her because she sometimes made my cousin bake the black eggless cake I REALLY LOVE. I still remember, and will treasure all these moments and memories.

And she loved taking pictures of me. I always complained I looked gross but she would always insist NO YOU WERE SO CUTE!

At home she always had the radio on (Malay channel 24/7 and sometimes sang along to the songs while I asked YOU KNOW THIS SONG ALSO WHERE YOU LEARN?), insisted I took a shower before breakfast, told me to please stop touching the cat while I ate whatever she had prepared for me. She was an excellent cook and always fed me. She made the best nasi ambeng (which is why I am amused whenever people want to recommend me places serving this delicacy because I really had tasted the best!). When I was a teenager she told me to help her out in the kitchen once. I’d groan and start blending stuff and whine for my mother and she would keep a watchful eye on me and I’d get stressed out. Because that’s how she was. Everything had to be just right. But she was usually nice about it and let me off the hook.

She used to tease me because I whined a lot. And always asked for Milo! Because I don’t know how to make Milo until now. I make but usually it tastes funny so I delegate this task to my mom. And dad. And sister (my sister is merciless towards me!)

When my friend Shikin turned 28, my dad chaperoned us to Batam (because my parents still think my grasp of Bahasa Indonesia is weak) and I kept reminding my dad to buy pempek for wak. My dad adored her to bits too, so he woke up early before we went back to buy whatever we could.

When I got older and started becoming increasingly busy with school we hardly saw each other but my mom made me visit her relatives and although I didn’t understand the point then, I just went along. Now I wish I’d spent more time with her. 😦

Also, when we were burying her, my mom wasn’t there, and at one point there was a confusion about flowers and I thought to myself if wak were here she’d know what to do, and I got sad because for a moment I forgot she was no longer with us.

I had her in my life for 29 years. For some people, that is plenty, but I am selfish and want her forever. Through her I learnt about love. I also always wanted to do all the things she knew how to do (like sewing! Making ketupat! Cook like pro!) I saw how she fussed over my cousins and secretly enjoyed it when she fussed over me. She always bought things and fed me (and then call me fat!) like a good old-fashioned Javanese aunt, to demonstrate all the love she had for me. I also learnt about doing things properly and trying my best because she held the belief that everything must not be short of fantastic.

When I am at work, I usually think of my mom and Ollie (my cat) but there were moments I think of my aunt.

I will miss her forever, and always. She may be gone, but she’s never over. ❤

Metamorphosis

I realised I now find blogging challenging because of various reasons:

  • I am older now, so whatever free time I have would be spent on reading, catching up on sleep, and meeting social obligations (I’m bad at this, but trust me I would make the effort sometime)
  • I am older now, so I try not to tell everyone what I’ve been up to on a real-time basis. This is why you hardly see me checking in to places on Facebook or posting photos of this and that. Simply because I don’t want you to know
  • I am older now, so I am starting to not care about irrelevant things. Irrelevant things such as who got married, who’s pregnant, who’s more successful, who got married again, who posted what-with-whom on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter

Having said all that, in the beginning of the year I told two friends I wanted to make improvements to my life. There were certain things I wasn’t happy with, such as my weight, my seemingly dull life, my overthinking, and my inability to sustain relationships. I no longer go for talk therapy, and I don’t particularly enjoy reading self-help books, and I don’t listen to anyone anyway, so I was at a loss. I didn’t know what to do.

But four months later, here are some things I have learnt so far, and the list might change (or grow) because life is always a work in progress:

  • Selecting what to change

I have to be realistic. I am approaching my 30s and my health should be prioritised because I hear stories of people suddenly dropping dead and I don’t want to be them. I also wouldn’t be able to do the thousand things I want to do in life if I were sick. So I went to a clinic for tests, I tried to find fun exercise activities to do with friends, and I consciously took note of my sugar intake. I don’t try to smoke less though, because that’s for 2018 (let’s be realistic, come on).

  • Stop victimising myself

This was a bit hard to do. In order to take control of, and improve my life, I need to stop assigning blame to my environment or other people, starting with my dad (I blame him for everything, especially my entire existence). Still working on this.

  • Overthinking or ‘decoding’ 

I worked in government service for almost 6 years of my life (which is more than half my adult/working lift) and maybe I was unlucky, or young, or both, but those jobs forced me to interact with people who weren’t forthcoming. As a result I had to decode body language and snark to understand what they really wanted, and I brought this habit into my current life. I would not say the by-products of those interactions were 100% negative, though. The experiences made me less naive and more wary.

In the earlier part of the year I liked someone from work and he did this thing I really didn’t like. When he didn’t agree with things I’d suggested he would keep quiet and hope I’d shut up. My brain automatically translated this into ‘lack of interest’ (on his part) and other negative thoughts. I talked to him a few times about this and to be honest I cannot remember even the gist of what we argued about but sometimes you have to trust your instinct. Also, why would I consider dating someone who cannot be honest with me? If you don’t want to go out with someone just tell them lah.

  • Sustaining relationships

I don’t mean just romantic ones. Even platonic or familial. I am so bad at this. I made the decision to cut irrelevant people out of my life and although I second-guessed myself a lot in the process, I think it turned out OK in the end. I did this not to be un-Islamic, but as a form of self-care and self-love.

A little note before I say bye

The decision to improve my life did not come randomly. The hardest part of the journey was to look the problems in the eye and ask myself whether I wanted and was willing to make those improvements. I think challenging experiences exist in our lives so that at the end of it all we come out as stronger and kinder people.

But of course we must do the work.

 

 

New York City

Let me just begin this by saying I am not interested in traveling. My disinterest is equal parts lazy and equal parts lack of money. I am not broke, but I am not exactly sitting on a pile of money. I like to spend money. I also don’t particularly enjoy doing 3-airports-in-24-hours things, therefore when I landed in JFK I was ecstatic. Plus I had to shit so bad, but the Singaporean in me forced my rectum to behave because I did not want to re-queue. I also think maybe it was because I would look suspicious and any US airport is not the place to look suspicious.

I had no problems with the immigration (yasss!!!) but I had a serious case of jetlag. I sleep a lot normally so when you put me on a plane for 14 hours straight (and 8 hours before that) I tend to want to sleep more, regardless of how many hours I slept on the plane.

I have been to NYC once for two weeks in 2015, and I stayed in Brooklyn then. It’s not that scary but I remember I had to be alert all the damn time and I was always ducking into delis. This time I stayed near Times Square, so moving around was easier.

The second day I was there I went to Strand (the bookstore) in the evening and spent maybe an hour or two browsing. Ended up buying 11 books, stopped by a cart to get dinner, and took the subway back to the apartment. I bought two Tennessee Williams plays (one I am using as a mouse pad now heh), a few books on writing, a Neil Gaiman, and a James Patterson.

Highlights of the trip: I went for my third play of the year, I went to MoMA, and I was mistaken for a Filipino at least 3 times. It doesn’t bother me now. I also went to 54 Below for ‘Broadway Loves Kelly Clarkson’. I took videos, but YouTube has a bunch of videos, so I will link to those, instead.

One of my favourites (it is one of my favourite KC songs anyway, plus I have a similar jacket hehehe!!!):

We said Hi to the singer who sang ‘Miss Independent’ after the show (I liked this song as a teenager because Miss Christina Aguilera wrote it)

And my favourite:

If you are interested, you can view the rest of the videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_tl7Dl6pOJOt8nJ2HjevvRlX4YGAYMn2

Before they dimmed the lights, this is what Feinstein’s looks like:

f54b.jpg

We of course got booth seats (had to share with a couple) because New York. 

We went to MoMA on one of the days. Some pictures:

Lessons I learnt from this trip:

  1. Don’t buy pet food unless you’re OK with dogs (I am not! I am terrified of dogs)
  2. People work hard to get where they are (i.e. they work multiple jobs while going for classes when they want to make it somewhere)
  3. Maybe it’s time to learn about your own history (I know nothing about Singapore or being Malay and I am embarrassed sometimes)
  4. Speak louder and be confident

Good night! 🙂

Introduction

I’m bad at introducing myself and I hadn’t blogged in a couple of years so I am really rusty. To make this less awkward for all of us, I will do it in bullet points! I love lists. This is the get-to-know-me post, so I’ll try to keep it short:

  • I started (or am starting) this blog as a way to amuse myself and share with you the things I’m working on (this, at the moment, means ‘nothing’). I like Facebook and all but I need to take a break from social media.
  • I have a cat. His name is Ollie. You all know him. He is three years old. I don’t know how old that is in cat years so I just tell everyone 25. He has been 25 for 2 years now.
  • I am turning 30 in 7 months. I am pretty nervous about it and a large part of it is personal pressure; I just think it’s that age you have to stop making excuses for being a dumbass and I have a lot of anecdotes to confirm my dumbassery.
  • My mother will probably read this so I will try to not talk about sex. Or alcohol. Or alcohol-fueled-sex. Or anything bad about her relatives. Or her helicopter parenting. Maybe I should not tell her I have a blog.
  • I like all kinds of things. Except coleslaw. And dogs. And stories of people eating dogs. Actually I like dogs. I am just scared of them. Not the same way I fear God, but it’s God > Getting old > My mother > lizards > my phone dropping into a drain > dogs. I like reading, Reddit, music, and movies.
  • I hadn’t switched my computer on for the last two months because my Microsoft-everything expired, and then I stuck my tongue out when I realised it was expensive (100+ a year!) and then I had an ah-ha! moment because I work in a school I get stuff free helloooo 
  • My favourite Miley Cyrus song is ‘Adore You’. I attempted to karaoke it in February 2017. I did OK. My favourite Elton John song is ‘Rocket Man’. I still cannot decide my favourite Mariah song.
  • I spend whatever free time I have on Netflix (the ‘chill’ part is needless to say), reading, and watching standup comedy.