The problem with deal breakers is…

....just dealing in sherbet lemons?

Simon was asking me at the lunch table at work, about some of my deal breakers when it comes to going out with women. I said I have a few including my concerns about dating a woman who do not identify as a feminist.

Si pointed out that he had a problem with the term deal breaker, as it implies there is a deal happening?

A word used to describe the eligibility of a friendship or relationship based on one trait or preference of the other person. Can also be used if you don’t agree with someones views.
John: “So whats your least favorite band?”
Jill: ” It would have to be Arcade Fire.”
John: “Wait…What? You don’t like Arcade Fire? Thats a dealbreaker.”

Lots of thoughts come to mind… Relationships as deals, deals as relationships? Deal with whom? Is this how we think about postive relationships?

Can opened
Can opened!

Before dropping into the deepend of the ocean. Lots of peoples dealbreakers I hear, are sometimes just shocking in my eyes. But I guess it doesn’t matter because its not my dealbreaker, and people would say the same about mine.

However, the biggest problem I have with dealbreakers is, most of the time they are prefrences not dealbreakers.

Take the above example…

John: “Wait…What? You don’t like Arcade Fire? Thats a dealbreaker.”

Is it really a dealbreaker? Is it something which everything else is in right, you still wouldn’t even consider the person? I feel a dealbreaker needs to be something much more fundemental, not just a passing phase or fashion!

Anna and Jane a few days later, when we talked about this during lunch in the Northern Quarter… Suggested the deal could/is with yourself? This seems about right… The dealbreaker should say something fundmental about you, not I like Arcade Fire or I like Turtles…

My dealbreaker about feminist is built on many things and says plenty about the kind of relationship I want to have with another person. It rules out a ton of women but its better  as this view isn’t going to change. This is a deal I have done with myself as well as being a dealbreaker.

Undressed our experience in audio

I am assuming the last post (which you should read first) is the raw thoughts of mine, as I travelled back to Manchester on the train. It’s odd reading it now, but I don’t want to edit it, as it was quite an incredible experience and something hopefully others will consider when living their lives and opportunities come by.

Myself and Jess shared the post previously, so none of it is a surprise to her. But while thinking and wondering what the episode of undressed will be edited into, I started to think, wouldn’t it be great to hear the thoughts of Jess and mine together? I spoke to Jess and she said agreed wishing she had done something similar.

Of course I need to backtrack a little; I can hear some of you asking what happened next?

Well after going to Berlin, Northampton, London, Bucharest and Newcastle over May. Thursday 19th May we met up in London again, first time since the undressed experiment/experience. Things went well as we drank a lot of cocktails and had an italian meal near leicester square. We asked many of the everyday questions people ask including how old are you? What is your job? etc, etc… We also went into more depth over some of the deeper questions which we touched upon in the studio. Things went well and we decided although there was the attraction we are better as friends.

We have both dated in between and there is no hangups about being friends. Yes there was a lot of attraction, similar views and opinions; but to the question of accelerated intimacy… did it work? Yes it did. But like Keanu Reeves says on Speed

Sandra and Keanu in Speed

“…you know,relationships that start under intense circumstances, they never last.”

Yes it comes to something when you start quoting from films…

We stayed in touch as friend and talked about the press coverage undressed was getting, including the mix up with the nude dating show naked attraction by Channel 4. Both of us don’t have sky or cable, so have been reliant on friends views and televisions. We’re both aware, that our signed contract means we couldn’t talk about it on social media. Hence the radio silence…

All caught up?

Knowing what TV is like, we talked about recording our thoughts on the experiment/experience. We did this on Tuesday evening and it was a fun thing to do. I was actually quite surprised how long we had gone on for, and glad we had gotten some snacks beforehand. With water and snacks, we recorded a 90 minute discussion with some breaks; about our experiences and how we felt about everything.

I was unsure where to put this recording but hopefully it offers a counter view to any/some of the criticism of our undressed TV appearance. Its funny and certainly puts the whole experience into perspective, something which isn’t really possible in a 10-15min reality TV show.

To be clear this was done under our own steam. TLC and RDF media didn’t know we were going to do this or have been made aware of it. I re-read the signed terms and conditions again, and see no reason why we would be breaking the signed terms. Listening back to it, I personally feel its actually a compliment to the experiement. They did a great job with the matching; myself and Jess were very happy. I feel this all comes across in the recording.

Jessica and Ian

Alpha & beta men is such a pile of crap

Self portrait - Do I really need to spell it out for you?

After being introduced to Mr Nerd Love following my thoughts on the ties between male and female liberation.

I read the Science of Nice Guys and Assholes.

One of the never-ending struggles for men is the dichotomy of the Nice Guys vs. the Tough Guys. The Nice Guy is sexually null, a pathetic being who can’t earn a woman’s affection through his own worth and so attempts to weasel his way into her heart (and pants). The Tough Guy though… he’s the dude to be, right? Adored by men, beloved by women. He’s the alpha, the bad boy, the one who pushes the Nice Guy aside and bangs his girlfriend, his sister and his mom.

The idea of the dominant alpha male as the superior mate has long been a trope among pick-up gurus, Red Pill advocates and the like, often pointing to studies that have shown the correlation between dominance and attraction. Clearly, being alpha is the key to getting chicks, right?

This is something which comes up again and again. If you are not alpha you are a sucker and you need to be an alpha. Dominate and control!

I call total ball to the whole thing. Like most things, this exists on a spectrum and is heavily based on context and other factors. If you were alpha all the time, you wouldn’t let your partner see people who could be potentially a rival to you. You would excise such dominance and lack of empathy, you would end up being more of psychopath and end up driving you and others nuts.

Alpha and beta are states which anybody can exist in and anything between. If you ask most women which one they prefer, they naturally go for alpha but how many would get tired of the man telling her what she can wear, who she can talk to, where she can go. That level of domance would get very tiring very quickly (the first date?). The red pill advocates are gearing men up for total failure. But on the flip side, beta men who have this passive aggressive nature are worrisome too. I mean these things tend to bubble over into something scary and nasty when you are least expecting it. Theres only so much holding down you’re feelings you can do before it bubbles over.

Now to be clear… this doesn’t necessarily apply just to heterosexual relationships but as its my reference I’ll stick to that for now.

I love the total debunking of the nature argument I have heard so many times in the past.

“alpha/beta” divides don’t actually exist in nature, The concept described the behavior of wolves in captivity, which immediately becomes like trying to base assumptions of human social behavior on reruns of Oz and Orange is the New Black.

Even among primates, the idea of the domineering alpha who leads the pack through aggression falls apart very quickly.  In fact, in one famous study of a savannah baboon troupe, the aggressive and violent males were wiped out after stumbling upon a garbage dump near a tourist lodge. This became their primary foraging site and, in keeping with “traditional” dominance, the aggressive males prevented the less-aggressive ones from eating. As a result: the aggressive males contracted tuberculosis from eating tainted meat and died, leaving the less aggressive males and females in charge. Not only did the troupe start displaying far less aggression and greater social cohesion, but stress levels (measured via hormonal testing) plummeted. Even new males who joined the troupe would adopt the more conciliatory and less aggressive behavior.

The whole idea of being alpha falls back to a time when collaboration and cooperation wasn’t so needed (although I would argue this was never). Like the example above social cohesion is so important now and into the future. This is partly why the EU Referendum is so frustrating. Lets not use our heads and work things out (that’s so beta man), no lets just run away like little children on our own little island. Lets all eat tainted meat together!

The performance of manhood plays straight into the fragility of traditional toxic masculinity – being alpha is a precarious position that can be taken from you at any time. Hence the renewed popularity of “cuck”1 as an insult; if “your” woman were to bang someone else, then clearly you aren’t alpha, bro. It’s the fear of having your masculinity stolen, distilled and weaponized and leveraged at others lest it be thrown at you. That core of insecurity takes it’s toll on you on a deep level. The stress of maintaining that front wears at you. It eats at your self-esteem and makes it harder to trust others or to work with them successfully. You have to guard your back at all times against challengers

At all times, as said previously this isn’t a sustainable state and turns you into a asshole or worst still a psychopath.


There are times when I’m thinking and quiet, there are times when I’m alpha and just rolling from one thing to another. For example in my secondary school you needed to be alpha with some people as they were actively looking for weakness to take advantage of you. But other times also at school I was beta in lessons, listening to teachers and trying to get along and help others. It’s also worth pointing out as I said, these are spectrums and I didn’t just switch from one to another because frankly that would also be a little odd.

The best men are a mix of both and can slide into one or the other when needed (they are also very good at recognizing when). They are a genuinely good men, not an alpha or a beta just good.

Men who demonstrate – not tell, show –  that they’re agreeable and friendly are also showing higher levels of social intelligence and a greater ability to work well with others. On a strictly selfish level, somebody who demonstrates greater levels of prosocial behavior is someone who will benefit the group overall. It also shows that they’re someone who can be trusted, relied upon and who values others. Being a genuinely good guy – rather than a Nice Guy – makes others feel valued, and that makes them want to spend more time with him.

I understand the frustration of seeing the centre of your attentions heading off with another person, we have all been there (fear of rejection)! But chalking up to you not being alpha enough is total bollox. Theres a million other reasons like hey maybe she’s just not into you (no matter what people say, there is no way to force someone to like you! or they would sell a ton of it).

Be true to yourself, don’t try and be someone else.

If you want to be the kind of guy women love, then don’t try to be the Alpha guy. Don’t be the “nice” guy. Just be the good guy.

Accelerated intimacy & relationships?

There is something which happened last week, which I can’t talk about publicly (yet!). But it has me thinking quite a bit about accelerated intimacy and intense shared experiences.

It’s that swept of your feet feeling, which is amazing; but the question remains if it can turn into something more sustainable and longer running? I’m always reminded of that scene at the end of Speed (1994) with Jack (Keanu Reeves) and Annie (Sandra Bullock).

Jack: I have to warn you, I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.
Annie: OK. We’ll have to base it on sex then.
Jack: Whatever you say, ma’am.


Block, delete and forget the past?

Black mirror does Block in real life

Had a really interesting conversation at a party about block and delete. It reminded me of previous friends who I had dated who would deal with the end of a relationship by blocking the other person. Luckily I haven’t been on the end of a block and delete too many times (only a couple to mind).

I do understand why people block and delete but I think its used too easily and quickly instead of dealing with conflict or be honest with your feelings with the other person.  I feel like its almost in the same category/area/orbit as another blog post I wrote about simple answers to difficult questions. Rather than even try and work things out, just block them and delete their details. Its so easy (like swipe left and right?) This makes ghosting look positively fair as a result.

Forget it happened, ignore the past and ultimately not learn from it? In the 7 stages of a relationship breakup, there is something important about facing your partner and being honest in the healing process. Something about block and delete directly cuts across. I compare it to the way prisoners sometimes are forced to face their victims – Restorative Justice.

Face-to-face meetings between victim and perpetrator bring relief to both parties….

Restorative justice gives victims that chance to reframe the story and heal in the process

I get it, if you are shouting at me about someone whos taken it too far, they have become a  pest, stalker or worst. It so much easier to just block them and forget them. But I say that ease comes at a high cost over all. I imagine long term use of block could lead to changes in the blocker or growing resentment from those blocked (wish there was research on this)

I tried to use the example of last years Black Mirror White Christmas to start to illustrate the problem with blocking.

I got blocked once, by @Lord_Sugar as it happens. I’m not sure why, maybe he saw me as a threat, in business. It wasn’t actually too upsetting, but then I wasn’t in a relationship with him – hardly knew him at all, to be honest. And he only blocked me on Twitter, not in real life, as people can do here sometime in the future, in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror: White Christmas (Channel 4). So they can’t see you or hear you, nor you them: you’re both just muffled silhouettes, digital ghosts. That’s what happens to poor Joe (Rafe Spall).

Unfortunately the person I was talking to at the party had not seen it before. But this really hits the point I think I’m circling.

Brooker’s drama urges caution here and elsewhere in White Christmas. ‘Block’ someone social media-style in real life and you end the conversation. Any potential for redemption or growth ends with it. These are real people we’re dealing with, they’re not disposable.

Human feelings and relationships are messy and using a binary system of block, feels like hitting a nail with a sledgehammer way to initially end a relationship. (I say initially, because if they are not reasonable or abusive, I totally get the block.)

I guess I’m calling for more of a human approach to the way we think and end relationships. Without that, we could end up in the middle of a black mirror episode for real.

White Christmas’ nightmarish tales of isolation might be dark, but they show sage concern about the kind of world we’re building for ourselves. They ask us to consider the humanity of how we treat people online and in the real world. An extreme reflection it might be, but underneath it all, Black Mirror may well have the most charitable heart of any of this year’s seasonal specials.

Charlie Brooker had this to say when asked about White Christmas’  blocking plot point and would he block someone…

I think people do that, don’t they, when they’re commuting? If I sit on the tube I put headphones in and I stare at a book or anywhere but another human being. I think when you’re commuting you just do it psychologically to get through the day in a city.

In everyday life I think it would be really destructive, that’s kind of what happens. We can’t say too much about the story but [to Rafe] you’re involved in a blocking incident. I think there’s no way back. If you were to block someone, the conversation has ended, it’s not like you can build bridges. I don’t know that I would block anyone particularly in person. I’m on Twitter, but I don’t tend to block people unless they’re just unrelentingly unpleasant.

This ties in the alone together, ambient intimacy and human contact posts.. Hopefully this makes people think before they block and delete?

Being ENTP, dyslexic and there effect on relationships?

The Breath of God

I have drafted this blog for a while now and rewrote it a few times, then I read Chris’s blog post about Aspergers and decided it was time  to post it and be done thinking about it. I’m going to split the big post up. This one about relationships. The other about what its like being dyslexic and daily life. Of course they both intersect.

Now to be absolutely clear I’m talking for myself, but doing some very basic research online, its clear there is a trend. But, outside peoples first hand written accounts I can find little academic research.

I’m also going to refer to the myers briggs personality indicator later, feel free to rant and rave about how much bollox it is but I see it as a useful frame for reference purpose.

I’ve had a lot on my mind. Some of it was slightly upsetting, some best ignored and some best forgotten. But out of it came the thoughts I’ve been thinking for a long while.

  1. Do I actually want to meet somebody and settle down (or similar)?
  2. Being incredibly social, confident and regularly meeting new people how am I still single? (said without sounding like a douche bag)

The answer is yes I do want to meet somebody and maybe settle down (if thats how you want to put it) but being very social seems to get in the way of  love, some say to me. This is why I kind of went with the sapiosexual term (although I do appreciate, its not really a sexuality – thanks Tom Morris for the long blog hammering this home – I hear you).

Ian Forrester

About me (cheers Adewale for the picture)

I am quite extroverted, charismatic and a slightly charming ENTP. Looking at the traits which seem to be associated with dyslexics who have made it into places and positions which best suit them, this seems quite common. Its hard not to fall for the charms of someone with such traits. Most people only know, dyslexia traits in relation to learning, education and perceived notions of intelligence. There seems to be far less about other aspects of being dyslexic.

My hypothesis is there is a strong link between dyselxia and the personality types ENTP and INTP.

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crack-pot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.

– Thomas J. Watson

Being extroverted, I enjoy the company of people a lot. The feeling of connectedness is comforting and enjoyable. I feel enriched by people. I can spend time alone but I feel bored after a while, maybe this is why I spend so much time in the bar/cafe downstairs and work best out of a busy environment like a coffee shop.

This is why my holiday in Tokyo was always going to be amazing for me. Even with its culture shock, I loved it. Somebody at work went to Tokyo at the same time as me and described it as one of the most loneliness places they have ever been. I was slightly shocked by this although I can understand where they were coming from.

People have commented that maybe the reason why I don’t need/can afford to be so picky, is because I  fill my time with the company of other friends. For some reason the percentage of female friends is higher than most men I know too. Don’t ask me why, but I have thoughts (for another blog post maybe)

So what about intimacy? Of course I would argue the time shared with certain friends can be pretty intimate, but if you mean sex… well thats a different kettle of fish and been redacted.

The fear of missing out

My life is a blur of work/personal/social, I couldn’t really imagine it any other way. I’m unsure if this is a dyslexic trait or a personality type as I haven’t seen this in a lot of other dyslexics. But its clear I tend to get bored if I’m not working on one of many personal/work projects. There is a slight fear of missing out but really its about as Jason Silva comments, about choice collapsing possibilities. I love and work in abstracts and linked possibilities. This practically makes me slow to pick from a menu (a very basic example) as collapsing the possibilities is a pain.

I fill my life with stuff to do because I really do enjoy it. I know for others it sounds like a nightmare. But I admit there has been times when its impossible to get a date in the calendar because I’m so busy.  I did try and leave spare time in my calendar as a new years resolution one year, but failed.  It wouldn’t be totally wrong to say I might too busy for love but not in the crappy way that article says. Heaven knows what would happen when/if I have children. Although I’m sure things will just change as they do.


Defining my own reality

ENTPs enjoy the mental exercise found in questioning the prevailing mode of thought, making them irreplaceable in reworking existing systems or shaking things up and pushing them in clever new directions.

I define my own reality, this can be seen as quite arrogant but frankly I have tried to live by what society and others suggest. I  recognise patterns which work for a while then breakdown. This isn’t to say I’m not willing, can not compromise or change. But there are some things which I know can’t be easily changed from previous experience.

Sometimes life isn’t about chasing love. It’s about creating it. And that’s what I’ve got to do now. I’ve got to create my own love so that future love has a fighting chance. I owe myself that much…

I certainly think this is true hence why I persist. I’m carving out something unique by spreading some love around by sharing my reality with friends and family, you only have to look at the amount of parties, BBQs, etc I do and have done. My hope is I’ll share it with someone who understands and loves the way I view the  world.

one thing ENTPs are good at, it’s coming up with a never-ending stream of innovations and ideas to keep things moving forward, and this is evident in their romantic relationships as well. For people with the ENTP personality type growth is key, and even before they’ve found a dating partner, they imagine all the ways that they can experience new things together, to grow in tandem. This can be an overwhelming process if their partner doesn’t match up, but when ENTPs find someone who shares their love of intellectual exploration, watch out

Limits of growth

Continuous growth comes at a cost

Continuous growth is something in economics I’m unsure about because of the sustainability of it. How ironic I worry about the sustainability in economics when the endless learning and intellectual exploration is a goal I pursue.

ENTPs see either growth or stagnation and don’t buy into the idea of a happy status quo, making them demanding as much as they are exciting. Some may tire in the face of this constant improvement – while ENTPs’ vigor can be attractive, it can also wear down even the most patient partners.

I’m consistently doing, trying, achieving new things/projects and to be honest I can see how tiring it is for some of my past partners. Heck its even tiring for me sometimes (rarely) It takes a lot make me super excited but the idea of improvement, sharing and exploring ideas certainly excites me no end (literary! )

…ENTP personalities may even ignore their partners’ feelings altogether, instead immersing themselves entirely in some distant idea or opportunity, inaccessible.

I am known to be distant or too busy doing something else, not only physically but mentally. I’m unsure why but I just seem to disappear elsewhere. Like when I was young, I would daydream about linked concepts and opportunities. Its weird because I seek the flow state but its like I’m bored or something? This obviously seen as a reflection on the partner and therefore you can only imagine the chaos this causes in relationships.

Of course I battle with myself to try and turn things around but honestly I have tried so hard over time and its just me, I accept it as a weakness and my greatest strength. We all have our issues, deep down that nobody wants to talk about. I try to be up front and honest about stuff but so far its not really worked out.

Rumi - What you seek is seeking you

What I’m seeking?

Knowing myself, I tend to look for something quite different in potential partners. Its certainly not about the looks, with a understanding of how I think, its hardly surprising I’m about what goes on in the mind. Lots of my friends laugh as I tend to pick personality over beauty. Not to say beauty doesn’t factor into things but its not my primary focus. Confidence, independence and geeky passion for growth and improvement are super sexy to me.

I need lots of space and freedom to explore, I would hate for my partner to be waiting for me to get home, especially when I get into something. The ideal partner would be out doing her own thing too, when we come together it would be special. This isn’t what everybody sees as a healthy relationship but looking around, I know it can work. I have friends in serious committed relationships who spend much time apart for various reasons.

There is a theory that the ideal person for a ENTP would be a INTJ

The ENTP and INFJ were meant to be together because the ENTP shares his intuition all the time. Most people do not like to hear intuitions and theory they don’t understand in conversations. The INFJ has the same skill at idea generation that the ENTP has. When the ENTP talks, the INFJ can listen and understand his very advanced intuitions. INFJ’s and ENTP’s both like systems. The INFJ finds people systems more interesting; the ENTP systems of things. When they communicate something special happens. The ENTP talks and the INFJ comprehends and listens automatically. That means the ENTP feels listened to and completely understood.

I have no idea if this is really helpful as its unlikely that I would ask women for their personality type. On top of that, as we already know, love is far more complex and unquantifiable.

Flowing memories

So why am I sharing this all?

I don’t know, I guess there is a feeling that being open and honest may explain some of the relationship breakdowns or why I’ve been dating quite a bit. I of course hope it will make it easier for others to come to terms with there own quirks and intricacies.

It certainly feels like the longer I wait the easier it is to be honest about this stuff. Although I’ve already said maybe too much. However its worth noting this post was about twice the size with many more spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Its hard collapsing all those possibilities, taking opportunities to flow with people and balance them with traditional notions of relationships. I say traditional because I’m very happy to see things changing for the better, changes which reflect the diversity of the people within it. Maybe one day I won’t be that unusual, till then I guess I live up to my personality type and hope some lovely independent, geeky, feminist women read this and think oh yes I the sound of him (I joke).

Ian and Tara

But seriously, some of this sounds quite emotional? I’m really fine with everything, I edited out a lot. This is more an acknowledgement of the tricky reality I will always face when it comes to having a long meaningful relationship.

Growing worries about our tech driven culture from Aziz

Friendly Conversation

You can add Aziz Ansari to the growing list of people reconsidering the effects of our technology on our culture. He joins Sherry Turkle and Andrew Keen with his latest book…

Modern Romance, an interesting book full of interesting research about how people meet, and mate, in the modern world.

First heard about on the Freakonomics podcast

I’ll be checking it out soon… as it looks like a good one.

…The rest of the book deals with online dating, dumping, sexting, cheating and snooping on your partner, all of which have been made easier by the rise of the smartphone and the private world we create behind its screen. This is territory already explored by theorists such as Danah Boyd and Sherry Turkle and OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder, but Ansari helpfully masticates their findings down for a general audience. He is neither a tech evangelist nor a luddite: the gadgets might be constantly updating, but human nature is slower to change.

Stop following stupid dating steps, get some advice

Ah Valentines day, the day when us singletons are meant to feel crap about the fact we are alone and unloved? Bollox, I feel great and to be honest it feels like any other day, except I imagine most restaurants will be overpriced and booked up? Brunch in Pimlico, London wasn’t… (I even said to a female friend I would love to meet up for brunch while I was down in London, forgetting it was valentines day, thats how much I care about the moneymaking day)

And its the whole, how you should be living you’re life which slightly winds me up, just like the follow my steps and this will work for you.

Just like a while ago somebody (sure it was Mancnewgirl) sent me this from the New York times. How to fall in love with anyone.

More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his technique in my own life, which is how I found myself standing on a bridge at midnight, staring into a man’s eyes for exactly four minutes.

I already had enough problems with most of the 36 questions and the setup…  For example.

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

What? Seriously when would you bring that up? Why would you bring that up? What would you ultimately learn from it which isn’t a binary state?

Now I admit some of them are pretty good and I have been known to ask at speed dating, of my own mind (I knew nothing of the 36 questions)

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

Which I ask as… Tell me the last time you cried?

The problem with most of these is the context and the answers will sometimes be almost useless. If it was more about picking and choosing from a few of these questions or a general guide it wouldn’t be so bad. Frankly besides the science (yeah I can’t believe I said that too, but bear with me) its not exactly much more than another buzzfeed list, which funny enough got the force of the community against it.

Just like the buzzfeedy list… there was always going to be trouble around the corner.

I had enough of this frankly bollox advice things… The problem seems to exist not because the science is wrong, although I could argue they are trying to quantify the unquantifiable. Nope its taking the science and then trying to boil it down to a easy to digest list for us common folk to follow. F-that! and F-them for doing the science a great injustice!

If you start the experiment with …

Let me acknowledge the ways our experiment already fails to line up with the study. First, we were in a bar, not a lab. Second, we weren’t strangers. Not only that, but I see now that one neither suggests nor agrees to try an experiment designed to create romantic love if one isn’t open to this happening.

Then whats the bloody point? You might as well just pick and choose the questions, modify some and do you’re own thing. Yes I understand it doesn’t sell adverts/papers but frankly I get sick of these pre-subscribed nonsense. Say this and you will get this, if this then that, because humans are well known for acting exactly the same to the same input.

Its worth saying I’m not against advice but there is a big difference between

4. Keep it fresh – Avoid the Yes/No game with light-hearted open questions. Chat matters know “who, what and how” yield greater results than “me, myself and I” But tread lightly, nobody wants a grilling.
– All bar one’s guide to flirting from Flirtology

and ask this question:

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

Generic pointers are far more useful when dealing with the unquantifiable. Directed or rather specific advice will get you specific results and only work in specific conditions. Unless you can recreate the whole experiment then why even bring it up? Plus if you go back to the start, don’t tell me exactly what to do! That is no way to live life, feel the joy and energy of life in the opportunities which arise out of mistakes and being adventurous.

Quantified relationships?

Tony asks my view on pplkpr.

pplkpr is an app that tracks, analyzes, and auto-manages your relationships. Using a smartwatch, pplkpr monitors your physical and emotional response to the people around you, and optimizes your social life accordingly.

Its a interesting project/art project. I don’t think it would work so well but I seen it all before in QSEU13 with Fabio who records every single person he talks to.

Well at least its not a complete system, it works with other wearable devices.

pplkpr has been extensively tested with the Mio wristband, but any Bluetooth LE (also called Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth 4.0) device that transmits heart rate in real time will work. This includes the Polar H7 chest band and the Zephyr HxM.

Love, Sex & Alienation in Manchester

I heard about the Manchester Spring through Facebook (via Josh R) of all places. I guess he saw the topic (Love, Sex & Alienation) and decided I would be interested.

What are relationships? Why do we seek them out, and how can they enrich our lives? Spring invites you to a thoughtful matinee discussion on the borders and nuances of human interaction. From anthropological, biological, social and philosophical perspectives this event will explore the sticky and personal terrain of love, sex and alienation. What do human relationships have the potential to be? What do they look like when they’re going well?

The speakers were… Rosie Wilby and Don Milligan

It was the first time I had ever been to a spring and to be honest first time I had really heard of them. The subject reminded me of geekstalksexy event we put on years ago. Rosie talked about her experience and feelings about non-monogamy, as she did for BBC Radio 4 and elsewhere a while ago.

This view point on non-monogamy didn’t go down quite as smoothly as I thought it would with quite a left leaning audience. To be fair the spectrum of non-monogamy was boiled down to pretty much cheating or poly (we all know theres so much more to this field). The conflict was moved up a level when someone suggested that there was no way you could get the same level of love from multiple people and that you maybe poly people might be wasting their lives trying.

This was seriously upsetting and as a non-poly person, even I was slightly shocked at this. Thankfully a lady passionately responded and made the person rethink their narrow view.

Rosie then made the excellent point that even if you don’t think its for you, we must be supportive of peoples choices. She compared it to what people said in the 80’s and 90’s about queer people and the feminism movement right now. And she was dead right!

We must support peoples rights to make well informed decisions about what works for them. If that be serial monogamy, non-monogamy or anything else. As long as its not harmful to others and everybody involved are giving informed consent (something we talked a lot about on LoveGrumps yesterday which you unfortunately won’t ever hear due to the bandwidth issues we experienced).

Rosie was full of good points and she made one about communication and having the confidence ask for what you want and don’t want. I was going to make the point that its usually a relationship break up when the people involved stop communicating.

Then the talk turned to children, logical families, emotional faithfulness, assumptions about relationships and what we learn from media about relationships. A lot of ground was covered and likewise Manchester Spring looks like a interesting place for these types of conversations.

Who Cares?

Something Rosie said stuck with me long afterwards. It was the nature of love affair friendships. She made the point that she has a friend who she only watches films with, a close friend she goes out with, another one she knows is really into something she loves, etc, etc. The instant answer is… “yes but those don’t involve having sex/sleeping with them?” But is a relationship not complete without sex? Who are you to say the relationship I have with my friends and family doesn’t count? Point is, could it unrealistic to expect one person to fill all those roles. Maybe Helen Fisher is right? lust, attraction and attachment can be/is better achieved by multiple people?

I am personally not poly, into open relationships or anything on the map of non-monogamy but know quite a few people who are and considered what it would be like for myself personally. Could I really cope, would I end up jealous and twisted, do I have the maturity to really say what I want? Its a interesting one. Maybe we are more non-monogamous than we actually think?

One thing for sure is I wanted to talk about what a interesting weekend I had, but found it difficult to talk about it in a frank and open way. The idea of non-monogamy is still cast in the murky world of the unknown, maybe its time to be honest with ourselves and stop living the hollywood dream. Maybe we’ll feel so much better for doing so?

Does online dating work?

"Does Not Work"

It’s a simple question and a common one — one whose answer could determine the fates of both a multi-billion dollar industry and millions of lonely hearts. It’s a question that seems distinctly answerable: we have user data, surveys, clear metrics for success or failure, entire books full of colorful charts.

And yet, just this week, a new analysis from Michigan State University found that online dating leads to fewer committed relationships than offline dating does — that it doesn’t work, in other words. That, in the words of its own author, contradicts a pile of studies that have come before it.

Starts the Washington Post article… This is the start of much of my thoughts dotted throughout my blog. A while ago I stood up at a conference and said

There is no compelling scientific research indicating online dating algorithms work.

Well the new analysis by Michigan State, leads nowhere new. The answer to the question is complex…

We don’t actually know.

Some of the reasons for that ambiguity are clear in this latest study. For starters, there’s this greater cultural issue of how we define relationship success: Is it marriage? Is it monogamy, a la Patti Stanger? Is it what OkCupid’s data team calls a “fourway” — four messages back and forth between two semi-interested parties? That’s a tough one to parse, and different studies have defined it different ways

So the success criteria isn’t clear but if one thing was clear it would be around matching algorithms.

Most paid sites claim, for instance, that it’s their highly scientific matching algorithms that lead people to serious relationships; in his 2013 book on the subject, however, the journalist Dan Slater concludes that most of those claims are bunk. (“Everyone knows that all personality profiling is bull****,” a former Match executive told him. “As a marketing hook, it works great.”)

And as I’ve been banging on about for years… Why pay for online dating? They simply make bumping into random people more likely, just like most social networks.

In reality, dating sites are most effective as a kind of virtual town square — a place where random people whose paths wouldn’t otherwise cross bump into each other and start talking. That’s not much different from your neighborhood bar, except in its scale, ease of use and demographics.

Hence the popularity and rise of the social dating apps and services.

Paying the Price of Admission

It was my ex-wife Sarah who introduced me to Dan Savage many years ago. She use to listen to his radio show and podcasts about life and relationships. Ever since I have kept a ear out for his insightful notes on relationships and life.

Paying the price of admission is a fascinating idea.

…the personal sacrifices, large and small, that make long-term relationships possible. For some, the price of admission—what it costs to ride a particular ride—includes “taming one’s sexual desire for the sake of another.”

I would say this is the compromise, but it always sounds like a negative thing. And to be fair theres a lot of negativity towards compromises.

The price of admission sounds a lot more like a neutral and when ever I hear it, I think roller coasters and that can’t be a bad thing…. *smile*

The other thing I find fascinating about the price of admission is the notion of act as if or fake it till you make it.

…the idea is to go through the routines of life as if one were enjoying them, despite the fact that initially it feels forced, and continue doing this until the happiness becomes real. This is an example of a positive feedback loop.

Its makes clear sense when thinking about one person but is really interesting when thinking both people in a relationship is doing this for the benefit of their partner first and themselves secondly.

Dating, lies and algorithms the primeconf talk

The short talk I did for Primeconf is now live like most of the talks on the site. I blogged about the conference here already but its funny looking at the talk from a audience point of view. Not only because there is a 3min section which is dropped in to cover some technical problem, but also because I now notice the lack of smooth transitions between sections. Putting in the books as reference was somewhat missed too, which is a shame.

I didn’t know I was running over, as the mac timer said 6:50 mins when I finished. I certainly wouldn’t have elaborated on certain areas if I knew the time. Its always best to have a countdown clock somewhere very visible for speakers. Must remember to never trust a mac with keynote…¿

So as a whole and based on the fact it is a subset of a much deeper talk. Its not bad. It would be good to explore in more detail some of the sections and bring in some of the video evidence I have. But alas that’s for another day maybe…

Thanks again to Thayer and the prime team for the invite, the amazing venue and recording the talk. The other talks are well worth watching.

The tainted eyes of the beholder

GeekGirlCon_2013 132

At breakfast today with Chris and Kat, we were talking about previous people we’ve been out with and the question of chemistry. I mentioned the eye of the beholder and how everyone has a different things they like. Therefore the chemistry is going to be different too.

Kat agreed and gave a great example, which I hadn’t ever thought about.

Do you think people who you found attractive become almost ugly at certain times? Like if they cheat on you…?

And she makes a great point. Perception is a interesting thing. Someone which seems great, then becomes tainted because of their actions. And I think Tainted is the right word too, because it becomes impossible to see them as attractive again ever after. No matter what people say or think.

Automated messages with feelings

Josh and a few others introduced me to BroApp today…

BroApp is your clever relationship wingman. Select your girlfriend’s number, create some sweet messages, and set the time of day when you want those messages sent. BroApp takes care of the rest.

The android only (at the moment) app will send your partner sweet nothings on an automated schedule. It has some nice features like it can use geofencing to not send messages when your too close to your home for example. As a whole, its a very cut down version of tasker or locale. Both can be setup to do this and a whole ton of other things.

I won’ t lie when I first came across it, I laughed out loud and the video makes it sound even worst!

Its easily laughable but i wonder about how far off is broapp from FB or G+ suggesting you say happy birthday to a friend? Automation of human relationships is uncomfortable but a interesting point. No one likes to know they are part of an automated process but maybe once we get over ourselves? Or maybe its just the way things are? Human relationships can’t be boiled down to an automated process… I hope.

Reminds me of the question of can you match people with an algorithm? And my post about technology assisted dating. If its even slightly possible for them, maybe it could actually work. But hopefully not so you can spend more time with the bro’s! Have a bloody heart!