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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Tag: advice

Day 523: Advice to the Tinderers

In an attempt to be a social butterfly (instead of one of those irritating moths that gets trapped flying around in the lampshade when the light’s been on too long), I recently re-downloaded Tinder.

For those of you in-the-know, Tinder has been around since 2012 as an alternate to other cold sweat and anxiety-inducing online dating platforms like OkCupid. It’s much simpler and less work to manage. It hooks into your Facebook profile and let’s you choose one main photo, five extra photos and add a short “about me” paragraph. In addition to the photos and paragraph, other users see your age, how many miles away you’re located, any Facebook friends you have in common, and any mutual interests you identified on Facebook (although, I haven’t bothered to add any new Facebook interests since approximately 2007—has anyone?).

Aside from one super creepy message from someone who is apparently known for sending creepy messages (Dude. You know who you are. Stop being a creep.), it’s been fun to see who’s around. It’s really, really, really (really) easy to tell which Tinderers are looking for—erm—”short-term experiences,” and which ones are actually interested in meeting interesting people. And the ability to cross reference potential matches with mutual Facebook friends is a huge benefit.

Since Tinder users have to make most of their initial assumptions about each other based on six photos and not much text, the photography becomes extremely important. And telling. In keeping with my habit of offering unsolicited online dating feedback, I have some advice for folks (specifically guys) about how to make the most of Tinder photos.

The Advice

1. You can only use six photos, so don’t use the same one twice. Or worse, three times. This app is super easy to figure out, so it’s not a good expression of your intelligence if you don’t get how to use it.

2. Understandably, most of your Facebook photos are probably of you out and about with your friends, because that’s when people take pictures. But you with a beer in each hand and a bro on each side in every photo suggests you don’t have many outside interests. Add one of you with your dog, or your favorite board game or your roller blades. (The ladies are pretty good at sussing out staged photos, so you might as well be honest about what you like to do.)

3. Pick at least one photo in which you’re identifiable as the subject. You’re virtually invisible when all of your photos are of groups of people. Which guy are you? Trying to figure it out is like a weird Where’s Waldo game, only everyone is Waldo and they all wear sports jerseys.

4. Keep the close-up mustache shots and fishing photos to a minimum. For more information, see Day 115: Advice for Dudes.

5. Be yourself, and represent yourself as such. Per the number 2 parenthetical, don’t bother trying to trick people into liking you. This applies to more than just your images. There are so many different types of people in the world, all looking for different types of relationships. Be honest about what you’re looking for—odds are, someone else out there is looking for the same thing.

Day 115: Advice for Dudes

Okay, guys. If you have an online dating profile, I have some advice for you.

Since I can only write this from my own perspective, not all of my advice may apply to you. But I’ll try to keep most of it universally applicable.

The Advice

Do ask someone to proofread your profile.

Do not mix up “you’re” and “your” or spell “intelligent” wrong.

Do include pictures of you smiling. Everybody likes a smile.

Do not include close up photos of your mustache. A surprisingly large number of you do this, and it’s actually really hard to tell you apart. Plus, I’m pretty sure mustaches were meant to be viewed in their entirety and not as individual hairs (ew).

Do let your personality come through on your profile, whether you’re goofy, serious, shy, etc.

Do not write generic phrases that could end up on every other person’s profile. Saying that you “work hard to play hard” doesn’t mean much without the context of the actual work or play. Also, what?

Do include pictures of you with your pets, kids, guitars, drums, siblings, rollerblades, friends, etc.

Do not include pictures of you with dead animals.

Do send messages to people you’re interested in meeting. Include a question or reference to their profile to let them know you aren’t spamming everyone on the Internet with, “Let’s talk. Meet me at Perkins.”

Do not berate the person you’re interested in meeting if they don’t write you back right away (or at all). Yelling/writing, “YOU’RE LOSS!” is not a successful way to get dates. (Also, see above.)

Do write about the things you like about yourself. Are you really good at making people feel comfortable (or uncomfortable)? Are you a rockin’ math tutor? Do you always win Jenga? Put it in your profile.

Do not refer to yourself as the most attractive, hilarious, well-groomed, smart, fit and humble person you know.

Do include your actual height.

Do not include someone else’s taller height. Your date will figure it out within the first half-second of meeting you.

Do include some information about the kind of person you’d like to meet. If it’s important that your partner enjoy running two-hour marathons with you, it’s worth a mention.

Do not paint yourself into a corner by being too specific about your ideal partner. You might be surprised to find out who clicks with you, and if you require too many traits, you’ll alienate some people you might really like.

In closing, do feel free to ignore any and all of this. (Except the mustache thing.)

Happy dating!

Day 93: Advice for Artists

Towards the end of my graduate school career, I was well-prepared to create meaningful work, teach at the university level, articulate the vital connections between dance and societal growth, make the world a better place through art, and push the boundaries of collaboration between dance, technology, cultural studies, philosophy, science and a host of other fields.

But I didn’t know how to make a living.

Lois Welk, Director of Dance USA, came to my Producing Dance class during my final semester and gave the class some wonderful advice. I recently dug up my notes from her visit and think all artists (all humans, really) could benefit from her logic.

She drew a quadrant on the board that looked something like this:


She then told us to view every opportunity in terms of those quadrants. In gig + money terms, here’s how the opportunities shake out:

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 6.59.04 PM

What became immediately apparent to my class of uber-smart dance academics is that we should not pursue opportunities that don’t whet our artistic appetites or pay for sandwiches (in graphic terms, we should stay away from the lower left quadrant). This should have been obvious before Lois came to visit, but most of us had been saying yes to everything. Every show, every choreography request, every plea for an extra stage hand—all in the name of serving the dance community and increasing our personal visibility.

Lois addressed our misguided actions by reminding us that we continuously brand ourselves based on the decisions we make. Consistently agreeing to do mundane work for free would let the community know that we do mundane work for free (duh). Eventually, we’d all be flat broke and faced with more mundane, low-paying opportunities than we could handle.

Conversely, she gave us a life-long challenge to only consider opportunities that:

  • stimulate our brains and pay well
  • stimulate our brains but don’t pay well (or at all)
  • don’t stimulate our brains but enable us to buy food, pay bills, and rent apartments and rehearsal space

In terms of job and artistic growth, nothing else is worth pursuing.

Day 89: Taking Advice

Remember all that great advice you’ve dispensed throughout the years? Maybe you recommended living in the present moment or focusing on the positives. Or you advised resting, smiling, breathing, trying harder, trying a little less hard, eating healthy food, turning off the TV, dancing, exercising, sleeping, talking, not talking or telling the people you love that you love them.

You should totally take your own advice.

Tonight, I’m taking my advice to take one’s own advice and I’m shutting down the computer for the evening. While I crawl into my warm bed and sleep for the next 100 years, please enjoy this photograph of the magical woods in Lutsen, Minnesota.

See you in dreamland.


Day 51: Stuff To Know About Flying

After 20 hours of flying time (and an unexpected 14 hours of airport time), this first post from down under is actually about the up and over. I promise that prettier pictures will follow.

I learned a lot of good airport/flying stuff, so I chronicled what I think you should know based on each leg of the trip.

A note: I’m operating on a really old computer with really spotty internet, so apologies if the formatting is a bit messy this week. 

Minneapolis International Airport

  • Try not to get salad dressing in your hair before you’ve even left the country. Even when you rinse it out, your locks will still smell like dressing 30+ hours later.

Flight 1: MSP to LAX

  • If you’re seated next to someone with a cold, periodically holding your breath is not a good germ-avoidance maneuver. It mostly results in lots of gasping for air, usually right after your seatmate sneezes.
  • If you think you discovered a secret military/UFO observation base while flying over the mountains, you probably didn’t (or did you?).
  • When offered peanuts, pretzels or cookies, go for the pretzels. They’re adorable and delicious.

tiny pretzel

Los Angeles International Airport

  • Get to your international flight ridiculously early. You never know when your airline will be “transitioning to a new boarding system” and you may have to stand in multiple lines for multiple hours.
  • If you do end up standing in a line longer than the one you ever stood in for Space Mountain, make some quick friends. It will be fun to chat with them and you’ll appreciate their willingness to watch your stuff while you run to Starbucks and get lost on your way back to the gate.

Flight 2: LAX to SYD

  • Sleep when everyone else is sleeping and take full advantage of all the blankets, pillows and free eye-masks available.
  • Adjusting your feet-to-butt-to-head angles will enable you to plan for the direction your head will loll when you’re out cold. For example, squeezing your feet to the left of your backpack and moving your butt slightly forward and to the right on your seat will direct your head back and to the left. Then, you won’t risk lolling forward and drooling all over your lap.

Sydney Airport

  • The free wifi will work for a magical five minutes and then you might be out of luck. Don’t send any emails requiring immediate attention (i.e. “I’m not on that flight! Pick me up at 5!”)
  • If you’re going to wash your face in the airport bathroom, you might have to dry your face using a super powerful hand dryer. Be prepared to experience 400 mph (approximation) air rushing into your nose and mouth. And if you accidentally get any water on your neck, just plan on having a wet neck.

Flight 3: SYD to CNS

  • This is a good time to look yourself over and see if there’s anything you can do to hide the fact that you’ve been wearing the same clothing for 36 hours. Scrape off the chocolate stuck to your shirt, double-check your hair for that salad dressing smell, etc.


And then you’ve made it!