An interest he seems to show, it looks
as though he paid attention to the words
I said. How utterly astounding such
an act appears to me. A man who took
the time to memorise the details? God
forbid! Although, the words he uses are
not adequate to the task at hand. Compare:
an alligator lunging at his prey
should use his teeth, and yet this one instead
kills with his claws. The job is done howe’er
not in the way one would expect. In this
same way his tactless words express to me
the meaning in his mind, but not the smile.
His phrasing leaves a lot to be desired.
Yet this one seems to be trying. Suppose
I send reply to him and wait a while.
Godspeed, it flies and within hours he
has sent word back to me. Alas! Again
he tells me things I know already as
I was the one who wrote them! Though at least
this means he made a note of it. But wait.
Again the use of that same word? He has
no sense of a thesaurus! Everything
is interesting. My profile, character
and now my wit. I blame his job: he works
in computers. But this I did not find
out ‘til the message after this. And still
he tells me things are interesting. My quirk
of picture editing has drawn his eye
and this, too, makes him express interest.
What a fool. He tells me he’d like to know
more about my literary work and
says he senses originality.
Originality? I should hope so!
I did not join this line of work to steal
ideas from another, after all.
Oh god he likes commercial dance. Dear Lord,
pray tell me this is false? What is
this nonsense? And he prefers the beat
above the words? Well I prefer a chord
above the melody but I still know
the value of a single note. Likewise
the value of the words should hold a place
of higher ranking than a simple beat.
What’s wrong with you? But I will write you back
as I am a good human being. My face
may now be one with palm, yet I’ll reply.
I tell him of my love of editing
and send him the synopsis of my book.
Alas, he is a man! I did not know!
Whatever did posses me to believe
he would not ever comment on my looks?
And then his own! He wants a photograph
of me and in return I will receive
a one from him. I’d rather not, thank you.
I edit my own photographs because
my face would melt your own if you clapped eyes
on it. And even so, I don’t want to.
To top it off you tell me that you like
a certain artist more than most and so
I ask that you would recommend a song
To me. You tell me no, you have not heard
much from that person recently. Well done.
So far everything you have done is wrong.
This interchange of messages shall cease
if you don’t change. It’s not my fault: I’m a woman.
Bad grammar is one of the biggest bug bears for me. It isn’t difficult to put capital letters and punctuation in the correct places. Equally it isn’t hard to know the difference between your ‘whether’ and your ‘weather’ – and yes I did get an email on K! Dating today with this mistake. My reaction was a heaving sigh, a shake of the head, and deleting the message without responding.
Putting in a little bit of effort to figure out these simple grammatical elements can make a big difference in the impression you give to a person you want to contact. Trying to get it right, even if you don’t quite manage it, shows you give at least a little bit of a damn about the way you write. Similarly, if you repeatedly insist on not putting in the effort to spell your words correctly, or even put a full stop, it shows you obviously don’t care that much. It is such a simple thing so what does it say about you if you aren’t willing to try and get it right? I am about to give you some examples of messages I received, in which you can tell if effort has been made or not, and my reaction to them in regards to whether I chose to reply, or to facedesk.
‘hi there. fancey chatting at all’
The only redeeming point, if anything even can be redeemed from this, is the full stop. At least he remembered that he was writing two sentences. After that, all hope is lost. No capital letters, which in itself doesn’t bother me as much as other grammatical issues. ‘Fancey’? What is that? Is that like Chancey? It’s not difficult. Also, is that a question or a statement? ‘fancey chatting’. Where is the question mark? Are you asking me if I want to chat or telling me you want to chat? Additionally, you have given me no incentive to want to talk to you. Aside from bringing out the Grammar Nazi in me, you have left me no interesting information about yourself, and have made no effort to engage in the main objective of this website – reading my profile and responding accordingly. At least try and sound interested in the person you are messaging, you dilbury. Oh, and he didn’t have a photo. Helpful.
Message heading: Wanting to know an interesting charactor
The title in itself made me cringe a little bit. He spelt ‘character’ wrong.
This is the full introductory message:
Hey there Megan [Nice to know he took note of my name]. I was interested in your profile. I’d love to love to know [Wait, “love to love to know” .. So you mean you wouldn’t love to know more, but you’d love if that were the case? What? Maybe this is a simple mistake on his part, so I shall dismiss this for now] what your novel is about, as the author is definitely an interesting character [Alright. Nicely introduced the subject, got my curiosity. I’ll keep reading].
I would love to know what type of music youre [GAH. Where is the apostrophe?] into as well. I will confess to enjoying a vegetarian meal too [Confess? Like eating a vegetarian meal is a crime now?].
On the whole, this wasn’t too bad. Capital letters are in the right places and, other than a few slip ups, his grammar is there. I decided to email him back, but his replies have been a little vague and almost strained since. I haven’t felt comfortable talking to him. This goes to show that, whilst grammar is important, conversational skills need to be there as well. The 8/10 for grammar got me to reply, but the awkwardness and rigidity of the follow-up conversation hasn’t left me wanting more. It is essential to get the right balance.
Now for this example, I won’t divulge too much to you – this is the one I messaged first, and his replies have been somewhat more positive than I had anticipated. The conversation is going too well to want to reveal too much at this stage. Suffice to say, he did it right. Capital letters are sometimes lacking, and he often misses apostrophes, but his conversational skills are very good. Grammar and spelling gets him about a 6, but his ability to hold a conversation means that this doesn’t matter so much. I can overlook the non-capitalised pronouns and missing apostrophes because I’m too busy smiling at the ease in which he replies. He pays attention to my profile – and thanks to the live updates I can see he has been checking back to make sure he gets the details right – and both responds to my question and gives his own. This is how a conversation should be. And he also gets bonus points for the following:
“I’m trying to make sure I’m spelling correctly and getting all my grammar in the right places for you haha.”
Before this his commented that he had looked up a word I had used on Google because he didn’t know what it meant. The fact he wasn’t afraid to admit that, and the fact that he paid attention to when I said I was an English student and so he was making a pointed effort, was flattering. This went very much in his favour. This is an example of how to do it right. We have since exchanged a few emails and his attention to detail and ease of conversation, as well as the obvious effort he is making on a grammatical front, have got my interest.
Putting in the effort counts. As you can see from my three examples, the occasions where no effort has been made at all shows a laziness which I will not look twice at. On the other hand, making an effort to type like a normal human being shows you give a damn, both about the way you actually write, and about the impression you want to make on the person receiving your message. As in the case of #3, whilst the grammar is not perfect, the effort is obvious, and the freedom of his conversation is flawless. At least someone is getting it right.
When I first signed up to K! Dating I wasn’t exactly sure how the system worked. So I decided to spend the first hour or so exploring the site and finding out what buttons did, what certain icons meant etcetera. On the face of it, it seemed like a good system. It doesn’t ask for your last name, uses your postcode to find people close to you but doesn’t give it out (instead it uses a circle of X miles to generalise), and has interesting options for your profile ie ‘are you vegetarian?’ and ‘Education: University of Life’ which I admit I have never heard of before.
But after this initial impression I started to find flaws.
I have no experience of other dating sites to know if this is something done often, but one of the first things I found creepy was the Wink At option. If somebody winked at me on the street to express their interest, I would cringe and walk away. Fast. The number of 40-50 year olds who winked at me in my first 24 hours was slightly disturbing.
I have noticed that I can limit my search for the opposite gender to an age bracket and location, but something I find could be improved is a setting which also limits the age bracket that can contact you. Perhaps this is just me, but I think it’s a little odd how you can specify, for example, to search for 20-25 year olds, and yet 50 year old men can still contact you. Surely if you are searching a certain age group, these are the ones you wish to contact you. A 50 year old may be looking for a younger woman, but if said younger woman isn’t interested, I personally think it should be an option to limit those who contact the person. Perhaps this is just me.
One limitation I noticed was the Interests and Hobbies section. Admittedly there are options on there I wouldn’t have expected to see (ie gardening), but at the same time, if you have interests outside of the arts, sports, or the environment, your options are severely limited. TV, DIY, travel and cooking are pretty much the only options left to you. It seems like a nice set of options until you realise how limited it really is. There is no option for adding your own hobbies and interests – you are given a set of between 20-30 boxes to tick as appropriate. Maybe this is a good thing because you can elaborate in your profile message, but at the same time if this is meant as a quick and easy way to relate to your Potentials what your hobbies are, it’s not a very effective way of being specific to that person.
The one thing that I have the biggest issue is this: it says at the start it is free to join. What it doesn’t tell you is in order to read your messages and in turn to reply to them, you have to upgrade to a paid account. I don’t plan on spending a long time on here so I went for a one month account – but still, I don’t expect to pay for something I was led to believe was free. I have heard from others that certain sites allow you to reply to messages you receive for free, and you have to pay if you wish to initiate contact yourself – perhaps a slightly better option. As it is, I have a one month subscription, and now my messages can be read (and are available to take the mick out of).
One option on K! Dating is to write an introductory message and send it out. To everyone. I have received a number of such introductory messages in the last 24 hours including “Ginger and proud, sporty very active, loves being outdoors” and “18 and looking for fun whos up for it?”. The grammar issues are laughable in themselves, but the idea of an intro message that goes to everyone is more ridiculous still. If you are sending a message to everyone it suggests you aren’t picky (potentially even desperate?) but the real truth is everyone is picky. You may not admit it, and it may not be a massively contributing factor, but it is still a factor. I find it difficult to believe that if you sent a message like “looking for fun” and you had a response from a beast with extra toes and a monobrow that you would be instantly thrilled. Everybody has some idea in mind – so the idea of being able to send an intro message to every member is quite ridiculous.
If you wish to send a message to somebody, find someone you are interested in, read their profile, and then respond accordingly. I have had one like this, and I will admit I sent a message out myself. Both of these read my profile – specific examples of the details on it are mentioned in their emails. Some people are getting it right. It’s nice to know – some faith in humanity has been restored.
One option I do like however is the ‘live updates’ – while you are online, whenever you receive a new profile view, wink (blerghh) or message, the bar at the bottom of the page updates instantly.
Time to check my page.
Let’s see what today holds for us.
I recently joined Kerrang! Dating (as in last night) for the shits and giggles. I am planning on doing a short series of posts about my adventures on said site for two reasons:
1 – It could be really funny.
2 – I loved Euphonic Charity‘s blog series about her Plenty of Fish journey and thought I’d give it a go in response. By the way, her blog is definitely worth checking out.
I plan on being quite satirical, taking the mick out of the stupid ones, cringing with you over the creepy ones, and (potentially if things actually take a turn for the unexpectedly positive) praising the good ones.
Sometimes I might just regale you with my tales, and sometimes I might make miniature Mock Epic pieces about them.
I have a feeling this is going to be quite entertaining.
I shall start tomorrow.
Oh what fun we shall have.
Today’s workshop task was to take a biography, or an autobiography, and turn some of the content into poetry. It could be ‘found’ poetry or ‘shape’ poetry. I chose ‘shape’. ‘Shape’ poetry does what it says on the tin: it is poetry that looks like a certain shape on the page. One good example of this is Ruth Padel’s ‘The Tell-Tale Tongue’ (from Darwin: A Life in Poems). In this she describes the effects of Scarlet Fever. At the close of the poem she gives the reader the image of the swollen tongue resembling a strawberry – this becomes a ‘shape’ poem by being laid out on the page in the shape of a strawberry, or (as can be interpreted) a tongue.
‘Found’ poetry is more difficult to describe – mostly because I didn’t get it at first and so tuned out whenever it was mentioned again. I won’t try and define it here because I’ll just get it wrong.
The biography I chose was My Chemical Romance: This Band Will Save Your Life. This title is, in itself, true for me. They did save me. But that is besides the point for this post.
In today’s workshop, I ended up writing two poems based on events that are described in this book – the recording of the demo for Skylines and Turnstiles, and Bob Bryar’s injury during the filming of the Famous Last Words music video. Now, I must admit I haven’t read this in a couple years, so I may have the details confused, but the basic idea is there. Below are the two poems (hopefully) in the shape that I originally wrote it on paper.
‘Skylines and Turnstiles’
Yong man, hair in ringlets
like an afro trying not to be.
Guitar in hand, he stands
in the front room playing
his part hoping that he’s playing it in time with the younger man.
Black fringe flying in a
head-bang while he strums
from the bedroom. He can’t hear the drums beating
in the basement.
The one who’d later
leave not concerned
This one loves the Pumpkins and he takes it as
The tape recording all of them in separation
and one man with his microphone
singing in anticipation
of the finished product.
His comic books abandoned,
here he stands;
one foot in the bathtub,
the other on the sink,
holding on to the shower rail
while the tape records:
Demo Tape One: ‘Skylines and Turnstiles’.
Recorded in completely different rooms
but done in one.
The tape went in the next day.
They knew it would be big.
If I remember my facts correctly, while they recorded the demo for Skylines and Turnstiles they were in Gerard and Mikey’s house. It was not a very large house, and so in order to record the track, the band members were scattered around the house, Gerard himself recording the vocals from the bathroom. I wish I could have seen that in action. The ‘shape’ of this poem is quite complicated, but I shall explain it thusly: I assumed that as all the components were recorded together, there were wires crossing all through the house, connecting the equipment. The longer lines were a representation of that. Also, the height of the poem is a further illustration of the height of the house, an emphasis on the members being stationed in various rooms throughout it.
‘Famous Last Words’
And the red float
From their last video,
‘Welcome to the Black Parade’,
Burning up behind him. The heat
Was getting to him but the camera
Kept rolling and the song kept playing,
“Nothing you can say can stop me going home”.
Instruments fading. Now he could speak: ‘I can’t stand
This fucking heat anymore”. Lifting up his trouser leg to look.
Taken in to hospital to treat the burn before it had a chance to
Become infected. Two shows cancelled. Bob really hated fire.
This one is based on the video for Famous Last Words. At the end of the video you can see Bob say something, then he gets up from his drum-kit, checks his leg and runs off camera. The biography tells how he had been burnt rather badly during the shoot, and his wound had to be treated to avoid infection. I’m a little hazy on the details, but I’m sure they had to cancel a show or two to allow him to recover. If it wasn’t cancelled for the band, it at least was for Bob – the band may have found a stand-in for the show(s). The ‘shape’ of this poem was supposed to represent a flame – obviously because of the fire.
I challenge you for the Monday Workshop to find a biography or an autobiography, take a section that interests you, and attempt to turn it into a poem, shape or otherwise. Link it back here so everyone can see them together. I’m excited to see what comes up!
Also, don’t forget to find me on Facebook, my page is looking lonely and could do with someone to Like the poor thing.
Neon LED’s flashed 5:40 at him. Today was the day.
“Are you comfortable?”
The eyeballs moved in his sockets to face the speaker. She appeared as a deformity; a Cyclops with an extra eye beneath, nose where the ear should be, hair falling sideways in an abomination against gravitational law. No, he wasn’t comfortable. He smiled anyway. There was no point in complaining today.
“Can I get you anything?” He twitched his head, no. No shaking it now: his neck would not allow it. She got the message. She always seemed to. That was the one good thing about his Cyclops Lady: she understood him when nobody else could. She had an unattractive face and the oily voice to match, but her bedside manner was top-rate.
In fact, he was in significant pain and would murder for a glass of scotch, but that would only kill him faster. He didn’t mind that scenario, but his Cyclops Lady would never hear of it. Back before his voice-box mutinied against him he had joked about it and she had scowled most ferociously, index finger waggling at his lack of humour. He had thought it was funny.
“Did you sleep well?” No, he hadn’t. The morphine had made his dreams trippy. Around every corner was a new obscenity. He had been in between dozing and waking all night, one moment stumbling down a corridor walled with bones and Comedy masks, the next being sucked into the mattress as he stared into the dark, both mental and quite literal. All was dark that final night. He smiled at her again.
Soon she would ask his family in. One set of feet would walk through the door. Any that were still alive had forgotten or abandoned him long ago. Like that bothered him now. He had told them what was going on, had informed them of the time-bomb his life had become, but they hadn’t batted an eyelid. Only his little sister had appeared affected. She doted on him. Poor sod. What would she do when he was gone?
“Are you scared?”
His eyeballs drifted to the black stripe across the ceiling. His Cyclops Lady had disapproved when she first saw it, but his sister had understood his intentions and had painted it herself. It was a timeline. It began at January 1st. It ran through to January 26th. Here, was a thick vertical line. Here, the timeline stopped. That vertical stripe was so small, yet so final. Along the timeline red crosses indicated his final treatment: January 13th, his release from the hospital: January 22nd, and the date his Cyclops Lady had moved in to the spare room: January 23rd. Today was January 26th. After this line were more crosses, floating in the blank expanse of the white-washed ceiling: his little sister’s birthday in two days, his little sister’s due date in seven days, and his own birthday in eight days. He would not see these come to pass.
He closed his eyes and twitched his head, no. He hated that he could lie to his Cyclops Lady even now, but it was easier than the truth. Footsteps padded away from him. A click, a creak, another click: the door. Fabric shuffling against itself, two sets now. The presence of his Cyclops Lady reappeared at his side. A shadow passed over his lids and he knew a second presence had joined him. He opened his eyes and saw his sister.
“Hey, you. How you doing?” He smiled again. All this pretence hurt his face. His hand lifted from the bed and floated toward his nephew: his sister’s doing, of course. There was no way he could have made the distance alone. His nephew beat his protest against his palm. His nephew’s slumber had been disrupted. His nephew wasn’t ready to see the world yet. The irony was not lost on him.
“It’s time.” The whisper sledge-hammered him.
‘Well, here we are. I told you: your days are numbered at twenty-six. Twenty-five have been and gone, and the only thing you have to show for it is one black line above your bed. You fool.’ At least he had been able to write his little sister and his unborn nephew into his will while he still had control of his motor functions. At least he hadn’t left it until he could no longer tell his little sister he had provided for her son. At least ..
“Are you ready?” He wasn’t. He had never been ready. But what choice did he have? He smiled goodbye at his Cyclops Lady. He smiled goodbye at his little sister. He twitched his fingers goodbye at his unborn nephew. His eyes gravitated to the little vertical line on the ceiling. Today’s the day.
The cancer had been too violent, too sudden to stop. It had bypassed his major organs and gone in for the kill, direct to his spinal fluid. There had been no warning. One day he was running the office, the next he was on his back in hospital receiving his death sentence. He had been given 26 days to live. Today was the day.
His eyes fluttered closed, the way they would remain.
His sister squeezed his hand.
His throat clogged with a sob.
His Cyclops Lady pulled the plug.
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