Sunday 27 June 2021
Wikipedia informs us that "Single people may participate in dating and other activities to find a long-term partner or spouse".
People with schizoid personality disorder have “one of the lowest levels of "life success" of all personality disorders (measured as "status, wealth and successful relationships”... “Schizoids do not go out of their way to achieve social validation.” They show “Marked insensitivity to prevailing social norms and conventions; if these are not followed, this is unintentional.” (Wikipedia)
Human beings are born dependent. We are not independent little monads. We are born to be in relationships. We are born for one another. (Lee Weissman)
There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved. (George Sand)
People of all walks of life—no matter how socially awkward or nerdy—find partners. (slate.com)
People around me look at me weird when they learn that I’m still single at this age with no children and also no plan for it. (Slate.com)
I used to make gemstone dangly jewelry for your house. People would ask me which one would get them a boyfriend or money. I said “I’m up to my elbows in gems. Got no bf or $." (@joqatana)
A Christmas Eve custom invites single Czech women to stand with their backs to the front door and remove a shoe. They hurl it over their shoulder towards the door and how it lands predicts their romantic prospects for the year. If the toe of the shoe faces the door, the thrower is destined to marry. If it’s the heel, it’s another painful 12-month wait. (But at least nobody tells them they'll be stronger on their own – I hope.)
There are few Jews left in Morocco, and all young people leave. Why? Because there are no opportunities for further education, and also they need to find somebody to marry. (Anthropologist Roy Mittelman, paraphrase)
I want all of the other tangible benefits of a relationship: shared experiences and goals, love, emotional support, etc. (slate.com)
Shouldn’t any partner of yours encourage you? Isn’t that a pretty low bar to clear? (slate.com)
I was hoping for some encouragement and moral support. Isn’t that what husbands do? (slate.com)
If you’ve been dating for well over two years, and they haven’t proposed yet but you want that, break up with them. It takes most people 6 months to know if you’re marriage material. Two years after that? they’re wasting your time and youth. (@morganisawizard. This led to a long Twitter thread over timing of proposal, length of engagement, etc.)
I am in my late 20s and my fiancé is in his early 30s. As you can imagine, the last year was chock full of weddings and next year will be the same, culminating with our own. (slate.com)
We instinctively attribute differences between people to differences in their personality, when much of what governs our behaviour is the situation in which we find ourselves. We’re social beings: if you want to adopt a vegetarian diet, hang out with vegetarians and copy them; if you want to exercise, find an exercise buddy... If you want to be less of an introvert, you’ll need to force yourself to take up an activity that requires social contact. Change your actions and your personality may change too. (Ft.com on Be Who You Want by Christian Jarrett)
I feel that society’s default position is “you should have a baby, even if you don’t think you want to, but you definitely should!” (slate.com)
There is one type of friend almost everyone has: the buddy who can help you get ahead in life, the friend from whom you need or want something. You don’t necessarily use this person—the benefit might be mutual—but the friendship’s core benefit is more than camaraderie. These are what some social scientists call “expedient friendships”—with people we might call “deal friends”—and they are probably the most common type most of us have... These friendships are not an end in themselves but are instrumental to some other goal, such as furthering one’s career or easing a social dynamic. (Theatlantic.com)
I recently moved to a new city where I have no real support system. Due to COVID, a lot of the normal activities (sports/gym) that I would use to make friends are on hiatus. (slate.com)
She had cultivated the wealthier girls on the campus... borrowing their fur coats, their ready cash, their young men... The sickening good sense of [the standard advice]! Keep yourself occupied, keep your body fit, learn to mouth the proper clichés and you will solve all problems. They were one step removed... from the self-improvement quacks... who said kindly but firmly, Pull yourself together, man, it’s all in your mind. (Helen Eustis, The Horizontal Man)
I used to read Jackie magazine as a youngish teen and believed all of it. Once walked round taking tiny steps in platforms and smiling coz Jackie said that’s why Japanese girls were so feminine and attractive - I am not Japanese but it seemed an easy fix. (@shellstinyworld)
I’d love to see girls taught from an early age that they don’t have to be mums, they don’t need to have children, their sole purpose isn’t to get married to a man, stay home & raise kids, and that there is so much more to life than inevitably becoming mums. (@DrJessTaylor)
Men are supposed to give you bunches of red roses – one once gave me a load of manure for the garden. (Angela Carter, paraphrase. She married a man who came to the house to fix the plumbing.)
I will never be able to move to New York to some impressive-sounding job in publishing or editing, because it would be unaffordable—and thus I will never be able to re-join the cool kids. (Atlantic.com)
The hardest part of functioning in society is going to a new place, encountering new people and situations, and the Minotaur suspects that this would be true even if he didn't have the head of a bull. (The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, Steven Sherrill, 2013)
The further you stray from Western beauty ideals, the less respect you’re afforded in the dating pool... Someone being upset by their date being plus size is really just “someone’s insecurity being impacted by another person’s stigmatized body and how that reflects on their social standing.” (Teen Vogue)
Some men prefer big women but are embarrassed to be seen with them. (Marion Pitman)
The one thing I'd say about religion is that gives you a social framework. (JP)
My neighbour on the staircase had a nervous breakdown because the change from his previous life as a schoolboy to being an undergraduate was too much. (TC)
She’s shy and doesn’t know how to go about dating. (slate.com)
Take away every circumstance in which love might begin: work, sport, college parties, festivals and clubs. Young people ... try to fix up dates online: “But it’s pretty hard to generate a romantic spark walking stone cold sober with a stranger around a park,” I’m told. (Janice Turner, Times 2021-02-13)
All around us an adult world was revolving quite indifferent to us; we didn’t realise that it existed, much less that it excluded us. Exposed to nothing but the classics and confined to a provincial campus until now, we knew very little about the latest books and artistic trends... A few of the women in our crowd were sleeping their way up into more sophisticated spheres, and if I’d been handsome or socially ambitious I might have done the same. (Edmund White, The Beautiful Room Is Empty)
We lived a very small, contained family life... and we didn’t entertain much so my social skills were really nil. (Elaine Paige, who has “never married”)
Parents take for granted the many networking opportunities available to them. It’s similar to businesspeople who play golf. (Not Mom summit organiser Karen Malone Wright)
The remarkably fine, cold rain which had been chasing me around since early morning, like a tireless and determined spinster. (Ivan Turgenev)
'Men indicated a strong influence of ‘cultural’ ‘societal’ ‘family expectations’ less so ‘personal desire’ ‘biological urge’ in decision to parent. (@psychreg)
My wife was pregnant, and my days of gallivanting in pubs and clubs were over. It was time to settle down. I bought a cocker spaniel puppy and took him for walks. (Gareth E. Rees, author of Unofficial Britain)
From the day we’re born, we’re formed by the opposition and support of others, and by the ongoing stories we share. (Psyche.com)
Speaking as someone who did move, despite people saying stupid things like "you take yourself wherever you move to". Yes, oh idiots, but I am not the problem. (MM)
I was in the last all male undergrad year. I don't actually recall any black armbands, in fact from what I remember all us mathematical geeky sorts all liked the idea of having women too, on the logical lines that this gave us a greater chance of getting a girlfriend. (FT)
Q What’s really capitalism that people don’t think is capitalism?
A Toxic self-help books trying to convince you that you can make it if you just use more uplifting self-affirmations, take cold showers in the morning, and practice mindfulness at work. You're not downtrodden by the system, it's just you that need to step up. (@GhostlyJorg)
Telling someone to stop being anxious never makes them feel better. But asking someone how you can help them could change their life. (@ChloeBellerbyMH)
You have to actually address the root problems of suicidal people and meet their material needs. I am so tired of saying this. (@DepressedWBlack)
Suicide hotlines frame a societal problem as an individual one. (@TraceyEOBrien)
Having no friends can be as deadly as smoking. (@qikipedia)
Why are people unhappy? It’s a real puzzler. (@Inhumansoflate1)
They used to tell me "You're better off as you are".
More here, and links to the rest.
Black Lives Matter is not an anti-white movement. Feminism is not an anti-men movement. This isn’t about you. (Lisa Simpson)
If you can say "Tchaikovsky", you can pronounce our names. (Bilal Harry Khan)
Then again, the only reason this is even an issue is because as a society we are so ignorant that the only exposure many Americans get to other cultures is when those cultures are being mocked or used as vessels for comedic purposes. (Timmy Stromboli @wranglerOfGeese This account is anti-Semitic, but he’s got a point. Someone else singles out the "nerd" stereotype.)
No, you don't 'make your mind' up whether the holocaust happened. You can have your own opinions but not your own facts. (@BylineTimes)
What Alistair Stewart tweeted was racist
What Danny Baker tweeted was racist
Offence is not a prerequisite for racism
Offended or not, they said racist things
Don't say racist things and you'll keep your job
I got into boxing to defend myself against racists. (Sadiq Khan)
If this is “of its time” well then excuse me but its time stinks. (RB)
JVL is an organisation established for the sole purpose to obfuscate and apologise for anti-Semitism within the Labour party. (Richard Horton)
My sister’s dad is black, so when she was little she had a head of huge, gorgeous natural curls... we would be stopped umpteen times by people telling us she had “lovely hair” and then, unprompted, and without permission, sticking their hands in her hair... Admiration of a black person’s hair is like the one free pass a racist will give them. (Web)
Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch says any school that teaches children that inherent white privilege is a fact, rather than a theory, is ‘breaking the law’ (Twitter trending topics Oct 21 2020)
Elite Lowell High School in San Francisco will no longer have merit-based admissions because it was admitting too many Asians. (Sfist.com)
The truth is that it is entirely possible to love and care for one Asian American—"your" Asian American—and not see other Asians as equally, fully human. (Nicole Chung, time.com)
Black women have “started writing what hairstyle they currently have in their dating profiles because they get different kinds of responses based on different types of hair.” (Teen Vogue)
There was a sea change in cultural attitudes around race in Britain in the 80s which I think is underappreciated. (@bat020)
More here, and links to the rest.
Sunday 20 June 2021
People stick to conspiracy theories because they don’t want to fall out with their family or group, says an expert.
Jan1: First sight of “Easter eggs are in the shops too early!”
Some Americans think black votes shouldn’t be counted.
Drive-through cafés proliferate.
I’m always fascinated by the emergence of vogue words. Two years ago everyone... had “charisma”. Then last spring, a friend announced she’d been “ripped off” at the Hilton... This summer saw any old foreign tat being glorified as “ethnic”, and everything from collapsing marriages to senescent washing machines described as “terminal”. Now, the word “machismo” is creeping in... being dropped rather gingerly at cocktail parties by people who aren’t sure how to pronounce it. (Jilly Cooper, early 70s)
The vicar wanted to build modern houses in the churchyard... “Gin’s £4.67 a bottle now.” ... I realised what a dictatorship we are becoming – ‘Danger, Keep Out, Penalty for Dogs Fouling the Footpath’... rocketing food prices and prohibitive taxation... all anyone seems to discuss at parties these days is where one could live abroad when this country gets impossible... gradual erosion of privacy... right-wing extremists... everyone’s getting very edgy about Scotland and Wales... Is the tide about to turn, or is there still worse to come? (Jilly Cooper in the early 70s. Plus ça change, plus c'est le meme chose.)
2021 A poll shows that a worrying number of people don’t understand the following political language: Spad (special adviser), sunlit uplands (mirage), Mandarin (civil servant), culture war (woke versus racist), levelling up (impossible), One Nation (surprisingly enlightened Tory idea that we are one nation, rather than nice people like us versus the submerged tenth), tariff (import/export tax), deficit (in the red), level playing field (other things being equal).
“Freight-hopping videos” are a thing. (American freight trains.)
Anyone who talks about “shackles” is a Brexiteer.
Jan 17 Will nothing stop civilians criticising newspaper headlines? The President of the United States incites armed insurrection and supporters storm the Capitol, and people on Twitter complain about the size of the NYT’s headline. Headlines for Pearl Harbour were much bigger, they say. Yes, they had to be seen when the paper was on a stall, or in a newsboy’s hands. Online headlines just need to be searchable.
People insisting on picking the “best” vaccine.
There are meme-manufacturing sites. You can probably buy memes to attract likes, retweets and followers, and raise your profile. That’s when you say “How about contributing to my Patreon?” It's the American idea that you can somehow make money out of thin air.
Don’t pop the bubbles in bubble-wrap – the air inside is contaminated with Covid.
The Cheesy Wotsit (We don't miss him.)
“Banning Trump from social media will only make things worse.” He’s been banned from social media, for good. Are things worse yet? And many of his cabinet have resigned over the failed coup.
“The Trump supporters who broke into the Capitol were just eccentric oddballs – there have been far more destructive protests by left-wingers.”
1 in 4 Brits admit to impulsively buying a dog in lockdown. They are also having plastic surgery because they can recover in secret.
Levelling up is popular – but it seems to mean “better education”.
What happened to: “HDTV is so high fidelity that anyone who appears on it will have to wear spray-on makeup”?
You can get backdrops (actual curtains) for Zoom calls on Amazon.
When did book tokens become “gift cards”?
Women with shaven heads are becoming normal. And some of my old friends have emerged with beautiful white hair and look fabulous.
Sea shanties, Wellerman, TikTok 2021-01-15
Salisbury Cathedral is now a vaccination centre.
“Divisive” is the worst thing you can be. Or is that a refusal to be “kind”?
“Radicals” are now extremely right-wing.
Socmed enables users to steal others’ ideas and publish content as their own.
We’re “cowering” at home, according to Quentin Letts in the Times. Boo!
Really, fronted adverbials are so five minutes ago.
“On the right side of history” is popular in Jan. You can’t tell if you are until more history has happened. Though you could force a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Early Twitter was klaxon this and klaxon that. Now the klaxons have fallen silent, no bad thing. (@BrynleyHeaven)
When did chunky become chonky?
Trump supporters are now looking forward to the Second Coming – he’s going to be inaugurated in March! (Joe Biden became President.)
“Flexibility” and “adapt” popular with Brexiteers. (Like "the right side of history", "Get with the programme" is meant.)
You can get Valentine’s Day “meal kits”.
“Educate yourself” means “get in line”. (You have to do it yourself because otherwise it sounds like brainwashing...)
There’s a lockdown baby boom, but worldwide, birth rates are falling.
Puppy and kitten farms are flourishing in lockdown, but 50% of animals are returned.
The EU and the Remoaners have stitched us up proper. (I wondered who they’d blame.)
Snow not snowy enough. (2021-02-07)
“Chains” means “retail chains”. (2021-02-08)
Many jobs are moving to the EU. Exports down 68%.
If you have one of the “foreign” vaccines you’ll be genetically modified. Medics are obliged to tell you that you’re taking part in an experiment. (Both urban legends.)
“Look forward, not back,” say Brexiteers.
It seems increasingly prevalent that harassers keyword search. They look for someone discussing X topic, only so that they can pile on. Humans, eh? (@bogiperson)
Churches offering services from the Book of Common Prayer are seeing unprecedented engagement with hundreds choosing to ‘tune in’ to more traditional offerings. (Churchofengland.org. Few turn up in person, but hundreds join online.)
The people who are going to get vaccinated but think a “vaccine passport” would be a curb on our freedom – will they cave in quite quickly once they find they can’t go to cafés, restaurants etc without a passport?
“Stain” is popular this year.
I hear that “women are awful drivers” is still a joke on the internet.
Whingeing about Tiger Woods’ car accident being on the news.
Some think that “decolonising” the history curriculum means removing stuff. (It means adding stuff.)
Radicalised now means “brainwashed into any unacceptable POV”.
Chilli and cheese hot cross buns spotted (75% off – perhaps everybody loathes them).
“What Harry and Meghan said was all lies – I know because a body language expert says so!” (She confessed she hadn’t watched the interview, just seen clips. She hadn’t read the transcript either.)
“Supposably” is now included in dictionary.com. Cue moaning about irregardless and pacifically.
Cancel culture: right-wing voices being silenced.
Sadly, some of the shops will never reopen: Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Top Shop, Top Man and Burtons. (JP in Cimes shopping centre, Uxbridge)
Has “face contouring” gone out yet?
After Sarah Edwards’ murder, someone digs “chivalry” and “door-opening” out of the trash. And almost immediately, people are talking about “hatpins” and telling “funny” anecdotes about witty put-downs they delivered to flashers.
Vatican says Church can’t bless same-sex unions, and homosexuality is a “sin” and a “choice”. It also says “No, you can’t become a nun – nobody can change their sex.”
We’ve solved the problem! We’ve written an app!
Deep dive (rise from 2003)
Late March: Lots of flags and “if you hate this country feel free to leave this is a democracy”. (Time to revive “flag-wagging”.)
“Delicious” for “delightful” is spreading.
Feminism is now a movement for “equality for all marginalised people”?
In April, foreign workers are leaving Britain at the fastest pace since WWII.
Joe and Jill went up the hill
To start to heal the nation.
Trump went down, that evil clown,
To face incarceration. (Anon)
RIP Prince Philip. Twitter responds with “Swan-eating Greek immigrant.” Also the usual “fawning, cringing and sycophantic”, and “Did they have to cancel Sounds of the Sixties?”
Oddly, “transition” is being used metaphorically for “transfer” or “move”.
Rendition and detention without trial "extremely effective"; tackling white supremacists is "overreach" driven by "political correctness": the views of the man the government has appointed to head its Commission on Countering Extremism revealed in new Private Eye.
hybrid services: religious services partly in person, partly on Zoom
soft regency: not a décor trend, but Prince Charles’s new role
Conservatives still having conniptions when anybody wants to mention British involvement in slavery.
Oh yes there’s racism but not institutional or systemic racism.
End of April: Boris is doomed! Brought down by John Lewis-gate! Betrayed by Judas Cummings! (It ain’t over till it’s over.)
“Done some work to educate myself” and “my truth” are popular.
“Queer” now seems to mean questioning, or gender non-conforming.
People calling Keir “Keith”. Oh, ha, ha.
Vintage now means “sort of bohemian”.
May: Lots of “Boris is British to the core!” and “Only Boris could have got us all vaccinated!”.
Companies instituting “Zoom-free Fridays”.
People who say they voted Remain, even campaigned for it, now saying “Brexit is done. Let’s move forward. I really don’t want to talk about it any more. We’ve got to get on with our lives." Oh, and “It wasn’t about xenophobia”.
“As someone who considers Brexit as a thing of the past and who is engaged with Britain's road ahead in the world, I am finally persuaded that Brexit still remains a factor in UK politics - albeit cultural Brexit as an expression and message of identity.” (The "road ahead" is heavily influenced by Brexit. And what's this "spiritual Brexit"?)
Right-wing anti-vax, anti-masker on Twitter says she’s “doing it for the children”. When people protested, she told them to “Go and prune your bonsai”. Probably part of narrative in which it’s vaccines that kill people, not the virus, and that schoolchildren are being “experimented on” without parental permission.
full-court press: an aggressive basketball tactic in which members of a team cover their opponents throughout the court and not just in the region near their own basket.
Latest internet sensation: newsletters.
This bad boy, these bad boys are back. Please can they go away again?
Loving the current popular opinion is that because Bashir was a cheat and a liar, as were the Tabloids, and, of course, all journalists, that whatever Diana said in the Interview can now be disregarded. I'm still searching for that clip where Bashir holds a gun to her head and forces her to say her husband cheated on her and the rest of the family backed him. (MB)
silvopasture (planting trees in fields)
@MatzoBalling I just saw a thread about “decolonising professionalism” and it listed things like punctuality, deadlines, goal oriented planning, “measurable goals”, writing down notes and decisions, and “logical thinking” as examples of “colonial white supremacy culture”. (But isn’t all that “executive function”? Everybody has read The Emperor Has No Clothes by Tema Okun.)
tenderling: Has it taken over from “woke snowflake”?
“The by women, for women approach is a thing of the past,” says someone on Twitter about women’s refuges. Oh, really?
munch box: takeaway box of deep-fried snacks
content farm: Oh of course they exist, silly me.
Pro-vaxxers just “believe everything the government tells them”.
The Queen is dead, but it’s a secret.
Actors quit Equity over anti-Semitism, women quit Labour Party over self-ID.
Football fans having conniption fits over teams “taking the knee”, and changing channels in disgust.
The Queen, fortunately not dead, meets heads of state and cuts a cake with a sword.
“Porous” seems to have gone out.
Eric Clapton has come out in support of Enoch Powell, and Roger Daltry is a Covid conspiracy theorist.
St Paul's Girls' School changes "head girl" to "head of school" because calling someone a girl is "too binary" and "not inclusive enough". (Have they been got at?, asks someone.)
More here, and links to the rest.
Tuesday 1 June 2021
Downside to aging: people sometimes imagine I am a little old lady who has just got her first tablet. I've been using social media since before you were born, dear!
I’ve heard the urban legends but it finally happened; my grandmother printed and mailed me a Facebook post. (@_carolinebones)
My son once bought me a Kindle; I didn't even know how to turn it on! (via FB)
It’s 2021 and...
We’ve been Zooming for over a year, but people are still using a tablet, and laying it down on a table so that all we can see of them is their double chins.
Someone just thanked me for telling her she could open two Word docs and position them side-by-side. (Some people don’t know you can resize them, either.)
People are complaining that they lose their place on Twitter because it keeps “refreshing”. Go to the top, click on the star, and switch to “Latest Tweets”. Keep your eye on it, because Twitter keeps switching you back “Home”.
In the mid-80s I realised I could earn £2,000 a year more “operating a word processor” instead of pounding a typewriter at a book publisher, as nice young girls were expected to do. I didn’t care where I worked or for whom, but I did a week's course, almost immediately landed a word-processing job at the Financial Times, and never looked back.
It was sheer snobbery – people thought computers were beneath them, and the people who operated them were lower down the food chain. I was the only posh bird doing that job – and was probably hired for that reason. Well, never mind.
In the 80s, I read the technology pages in the Guardian, looking for the next thing and working out how it was going to affect our working lives. Also I was fascinated – technology was going to make everything easier and simpler. People complained about a new terminology of "bits and bytes". I bought a dictionary of computing. But most office workers back then took no notice of technology at all. Computers or electronic typewriters were introduced at their place of work, they had some brief training, they whinged about it, and then they used the technology to do only what they’d been shown. The revolution happened, the devices converged, the internet and wifi and satellites put us all in touch with each other. But now there’s a weird backlash, and technology is talked of as if it was somehow contaminating.
Facebook and Twitter are part of our lives, as is buying and looking up stuff online, but the old Puritan ethic means we have to claim we “take breaks” from it all. (Remember those 15-minute, hourly screen breaks that were going to preserve our health?)
“I only use FB over my wife’s shoulder.”
“I don’t normally do Twitter, but...” before reposting something. (Also “Perhaps I should get an Instagram”, as if they were going to buy a hoover.)
"I try and take FB breaks so I can retain a sense of normality." (Via FB.)
People are still recommending taking a “two-day break” from Twitter. Someone on Facebook still calling it “Twatter”.
Could this meeting be a Zoom?
Could this Zoom be a phone call?
Could this phone call be an email?
Could this email be a text?
Could this text be unsent?
Could we in silence retreat to the forest?
Could we, by game trails and forgotten paths, vanish into the trees?
(But would it buy the baby a new bonnet? And what are you going to do when you get there?)
I have no desire to write in haiku sentences, really! (CM on FB)
My partner has no social media accounts, except for an Insta where she posts one single photo a year. (@trillingual)
More here, and links to the rest.