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curiosity life philosophy poetry self-improvement

Reclaiming Curiosity

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curiosity human-experience illumination philosophy science

Science and Philosophy: Two Sides of the Same Coin

A coin just trying to make sense of this crazy world we live in…

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curiosity dogs fiction life-force old-people

Three Old Guys

Yesterday afternoon when I was leaving my job I met three old guys.

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childhood curiosity dads girl-power poetry

Question Marks In Her Hair

A walk with Dad

photo by the author

And when she had spent the entire afternoon

painting her tiny nails,

The floor was left blotted;

A sweet smell of varnish

Hung in the air for a long time:

Dad took her out

And taught her

Not to pluck flowers

But to pick question marks —

The question marks she decided

To adorn her hair with,

Because she liked them;

They revealed mysteries to her

most of the world hadn’t known.

She wore those ‘whys’

Like a secret talisman

For it was known to upset the herd.

“Pretty little girls don’t ask so many questions…”, they would convince her.

“But why? Would growing up change things?”, she’d think.

“Good, gracious women needn’t use too many question marks…”, they would again be at her.

“But why? Do questions evoke fear?”, she’d think.

While on the walk,

She was counting the stars;

Dad had prodded her on —

“Dear, you’d need a gallon of dare”

She picked each question mark

And put them in her hair!

NV©


Question Marks In Her Hair was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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creativity curiosity imagination life self

Imagine that you will live 120+ years: What would you do?

A short reflective exercise unleashing the virtues of reflecting on longevity and unlimited imagination

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creativity curiosity hobbies-and-interests life self

Cultivate four kinds of hobbies in your life: Hobbies for learning, creativity, movement, and money

A short exercise to enrich your life — one hobby at a time

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curiosity dating-app exploration loneliness

Dating apps During a Pandemic: Not my Cup of Tea… But… I Think as a Scientist…

Photo by satria eleazar on Unsplash

If you’ve read my introduction on me, I’m one of possibly thousands, tens of thousands or more, who have slowly poked our heads into the online dating realm, looking for a conversation to curb loneliness, or looking to find our possible significant other. I joined since I was a bit curious about the dating apps (and dating), but as the two months (almost three months) of self-isolation and communication with people of the opposite gender, I’ve come to a few observations from this personal adventure, being someone who sticks to a scientist mindset.

1. It’s a bit mind-numbing…

So I ended up using the “Coffee Meets Bagels” app since I seem to enjoy the format of it. To me, it feels aesthetically pleasing and you can pick and choose prompts (although limited to three or four prompts as well as word count) to describe yourself or your thought processes. But once I jump to the section/tab of the “swipe-left-for-reject”/”swipe-right-for-accept” (which in this case, it’s a “message/chat bubble” button, a “heart” button (for a like), and an “X” button (for a dislike/reject), I feel bombarded with descriptions or even the lack of descriptions from the opposite sex, plus many “interesting” pictures of sorts or lack of thereof. My neurons may have overloaded in the presynaptic terminal as they were about to release neurotransmitters to the post-synaptic terminal…

2. The profiles of many

As I swipe right (press “heart” button) and swipe left (press “X” button) or receive likes, I view the many pictures but will read the descriptions of the person carefully, no matter how cute/handsome he is. If they don’t offer much or any description, then I’m sorry, but I will dislike you, unless you message me, read my profile (since I’ve written a lot), and strike up a conversation, not just the boring every day “Heyyy”… without anything else. (Psst! Also that’s spelled wrong… and I like men with proper grammar and spelling!) I don’t seem to understand. There are many profiles that are appealing (I have an age limit though… go beyond that age limit of five years, then no. Pass. But I will do my best to be kind and tell you I’m not interested), but why is it that people don’t seem to put any effort in their profile? It’s a curious thing. Sure. It feels like a job interview in writing, but in my personal opinion, it doesn’t hurt to write just a little bit more. (Just a bit more? Pretty, pretty, panda please?)

༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

3. Respect

I don’t like to block people. I really don’t. Because it doesn’t feel polite to me.

I definitely DO NOT ghost people (friends), because (also since I’ve never been ghosted before, but I’ve read about it) it’s hurtful, and it’s not polite. Although friendships may fallout with time since life happens, that may depend on the individual though.

But if you cross/disrespect the boundaries in which I have already set (as well as warned you about), then I will tell you along the lines of a straight-forward rejection and then block you. I have blocked someone for the third time already, ( 😅 I like numbers, and yes I’ve been keeping track). I had told them previously I wasn’t interested. And they decided to not only cross the line, but also use some harsh words (not cursing or anything, but slight sarcasm that was rude). So I blocked them. Two other times that I’ve blocked people was because they used the word “K”. I understand that people are busy. But, if you constantly bombard me with texts that have no value like, “How’s studying?” (Um… don’t ask every second of the day… please don’t! 🤯) “Hello? You should answer me?” every one to two hours, that personally feels a bit overwhelming to me. (Also… how do you reply to that?). So I told them to try to text me less since I had exams to focus on/research to focus on, and they reply with “K”. … Um… Well… sorry, but maybe an “OK”/“Okay”, would have been better (since ‘K’ felt a bit rude to me). A guy friend of mine, who is a brother to me, had told me many times that if anyone who was a potential for dating texted that to him, he wouldn’t be happy. He would feel extremely disrespected. And in a way, I guess his words kind of affected me as well. So… no… pass.

4. The guy who says “Heyy” every day…

Um… I suppose that’s just how some people are? I guess? 😅 But to me, that’s a waste of my time, and also I don’t think my neurons that need to make new connections with its neighboring (short- or long-distance) neurons would appreciate it. I like to have conversations with people about travel, about science (brains, viruses, pathology, genetics and some topics that I need or can learn more about), culture, or maybe something new they learned at work/teleworking, about their passions, what they like to do/ what they’re cooking, or maybe exchange recipes. Or talk about if they have pets, what are they, and what their pet’s/pets’ personalities are, and what sort of schedule they have for the week, or what “exciting” or normal thing are they doing? Okay… maybe that’s a bit boring for some people, but I’m still learning how to communicate? (I think? Although my mom says otherwise…). But just “Heyy.” It doesn’t warrant anything. It’s not engaging, and its a waste of time to me. Have a question in mind. Have a goal as to why you want to communicate with me. We’re adults, not children who just poke around and laugh and repeat the same cycle like trials one, two, three and so forth.

5. Men are shocked that I’ve never dated before nor been in a relationship before… 😱

So my parents have always told me “No dating! Dating is a waste of your time. You need to focus on school!” So that’s what I did. Although I’ve had a crush on someone before, but that’s normal. I’ve just focused with school and worked hard. Until I started graduate school, then they started asking the once in a while question of “Do you have someone you’re interested in? 😏” (My parents… They are silly sometimes…)

So when I tell people I’ve never been in a relationship before, they tend to be shocked. I’ve had people flatter me. And it feels a bit strange, almost cringing, when a stranger who’s just connect to me on the dating app and the first words that come on the message screen is “Wow. You’re beautiful. I’m surprised you’ve never dated before.”

Um…*Slowly backs away as she stares at the phone for a second,trying to process the sentence. Her cardiovascular system may have just induced a slight arrhythmia that leads to a heart attack…* Ruth has died.

😑 I personally don’t do well with compliments nor flattery. It makes the ends of my hairs stand up. Since I’m not sure if the person on the dating app has good or bad intentions. Unless we’ve talked for some time and I’ve chatted with you and gotten to know you better and then you say “Aw! You’re cute!” Then I’d definitely blush as if I were a princess from a Disney movie or some individual from a Korean drama.

6. Please read my profile!

This is the last point of my observation and is directed towards many who may approach me (or might have approached me on the dating apps). It’s a bit frustrating for me… especially since I like to read before I approach anything… well… with some exceptions to the rule…

Please read my profile. Don’t just look at my pictures and think I’m either catfishing you (although… Isn’t it possible that many will be catfishing each other once we’re finished with quarantine? Since some may have had some physical changes to their body, like weight/health changes or maybe even hair (one of my friends says he needs a haircut…) or eyesight (I think that might be me… from reading or staring at the screen for too long… facial care too). And also don’t just think, “Aw, she looks cute!” *Presses ‘heart’ button* or “Oh… she looks… horrible!” *Presses “X” button*. And then proceed to asking me “What are you doing on this dating app?” (Once again… please read my profile 😅). Yes… The saying “Pictures are worth a thousand words” is true. But that’s also not the whole story, since some people may not have the best pictures, but have amazing personalities and are kind, even if you do reject them. I tend to be a quiet person most of the time, but I’m straight-forward, can text better than talk sometimes and I like to write a lot… Although… my thesis… that’s a challenge… but I’m working on it…

I’m quiet and I’m an introvert too, but I love listening to conversations and pick out intriguing details to discuss. My friends can all testify to this.

But really. Read as well as give some details too… Isn’t that why there’s a dating profile?

So my conclusive results thus far?

It’s a bit (just a bit) exhausting for me. My neurons seem to be constantly firing summation action potentials because of it since there’s so much information for me to process. I have spoken to a few interesting individuals, from topics of fencing (the sport where you poke people or… brutally rush at someone, screaming and slashing to get a point), to their occupations or what countries they’ve lived/traveled to, and its an eye-opening experience. In a way, it’s nice, since I’ve met two people whom I’m interested in, and am looking forward to meeting them both in person (one of whom I’ve been texting for almost two months now since quarantine started, and he seems to be a very kind, silly and supportive individual and has two kittens). Also, dating apps have taught me how to kindly reject people/leave strange conversations, and learn that some people, may not respect your rejection kindly. But that’s just human. We’re just such complex beings. (And yes.. my parents were always the over-protective type.)

Well… Once the final month of my subscription on the dating app ends… I think I’ll take a break and see what happens! It’s been interesting thus far. But I think I need to just step back… just for a moment…


Dating apps During a Pandemic: Not my Cup of Tea… But… I Think as a Scientist… was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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