Monday, 28 June 2010

Online Dating Progress Report: Discovering I Am Shallow

So, last week I got an email with the following subject line from the OkCupid Summer Interns...

"Fishwithoutbicycle* we have data on your attractiveness"


Good Lord can you imagine my horror at seeing that subject line in my in-box? All I could think was 'do I really want to open this email?'

I walked away, but 15minutes later I was back, curiosity having gotten the better of me. I tensed up and kind of squinted through my eyelashes at my computer screen braced for bothersome news, but lets be honest...what do Summer Interns really know about data analysis anyway?**


"We are very pleased to report that you are in the top half of OkCupid's most attractive users. The scales recently tipped in your favor, and we thought you'd like to know.

How can we say this with confidence? We've tracked click-thrus on your photo and analyzed other people's reactions to you in QuickMatch and Quiver.

Your new elite status comes with one important privilege: You will now see more attractive people in your match results.

This new status won't affect your actual match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match's answers. But the people we recommend will be more attractive. Also! You'll be shown to more attractive people in their match results.

Suddenly, the world is your oyster. Login now and reap the rewards. And, no, we didn't just send this email to everyone on OkCupid. Go ask an ugly friend and see.

How completely and utterly shallow of them, especially that crack about asking an ugly friend, but also...

Whooooooo hooooooooooooo!!!!
I make the top 50th percentile!!!!!

How very shallow of ME to be so happy that people who don't know me think I am worthy based on my looks, but I can't help it, I DO feel flattered. Is that wrong? I am not one of those people that walks around with a whole bunch of confidence about my looks, in fact whenever guys look at me when we pass on the street I always wonder if it's because I have something on my face, so it's nice to have evidence that some men do find me attractive.

Actually there's not much progress to report with the online dating so far, although admittedly my timing was a bit off in terms of joining the site since I’ve been way too busy with work, working out, watching the footie and preparing for my parents’ arrival in New York this coming Wednesday, so I haven’t exactly been what you’d call pro-active, but I’m in no big hurry.

I’ve popped on a couple of times to add bits and pieces to my profile and browse and rate the potentials via their QuickMatch browsing. I’m not sure how other dating sites work, but OkCupid encourages you to rate potential matches using a star based system. If someone rates you highly they send you an email with 9photos and a message, which reads…

“One of these 9 people just gave you high marks (4 or 5 stars) on QuickMatch. Congratulations!

If you give high marks to the same guy who chose you, we'll let you both know you match. If not, no biggie. Click anyone below to start playing or click here to login instantly. Somewhere in the first few people you rate will be your potential match.”

I’ve rated 263 men so far of which...., 60% of which I’ve rated as 1 or 2 stars -
mostly because they haven’t provided any or much information in their profile and I refuse to make a decision on a photo alone, although I also have an aversion to attractive men who post pictures of themselves shirtless. Leave a little mystery and put your pecs away please!! I know some women find that attractive, but it immediately puts me off especially if the photo is obviously posed. I've rated 32% neutrally with 3 stars because I couldn’t quite made up my mind, although I am thinking I should take the chance and rank some of these men more highly, because of only rated I’ve rated 8%, 21 men, with 4 stars and none with 5 stars....

...too picky do you think??

aybe I am a bit, I am thinking I should rate a few of the 3 star men a bit higher and see what happens.

Oh, I also added another colleague to my collection while I was browsing through the profiles this weekend. Having got over my initial shock at seeing colleagues on there I am quite blasé about it now, but I do wonder how more I will encounter since there are an awful lot of people who admit to working in advertising and I’ve only been on OkCupid two weeks now and I’ve encountered 1 client and 2 colleagues so far. Not just any colleagues either, but people who work in my own small department. Great!!

I was telling Debs about them being on the site and she asked if I would take a screen grab of their profile and email it to her as she was curious, but I most certainly will not. I don’t even read the profiles of my colleagues. I am respecting their privacy as I hope they are respecting mine. Is that a bit naive of me do you think?

*Not my OKC username by the way!!
**This may come across as dismissive of the interns, but I say this as someone who does a good amount of data analysis for a living - I'm a professional people - and have worked with my fair share of interns.

Dear Spain

Please please please please please do me a favour play amazing footie against Portugal tomorrow and wipe the smug smile of Cristiano Ronaldo's face. I REALLY don't like him one bit. Xabi Alonso on the other hand....helloooooooooo!!!


Sunday, 27 June 2010

Mu(e)llered :-(

Dear oh dear oh dear!!!

Well, I knew it would be a tough game against Germany today, but I didn't expect them to defeat us quite so spectacularly!! 4-1!! Well, 4-2 if truth be told, but still!!! As the saying goes in England we were most definitely mullered today.
Where was your defense England?? Upson, Terry, what was going on??? Honestly it was shocking, even if we were robbed of our second goal by the pillock of a Uruguayan referee - Strategy Hottie has Uruguayan roots so I may well glare at him tomorrow - we were outplayed and Germany deserve to go through.


I'm looking forward to seeing the headlines in the British tabloids, the sun already has "Franks For Nothing" over a photo of a stunned Frank Lampard!!

Looking on the bright side I did pick Germany in the office pool, so let's see if they can win me $160!!

Okay time to sort out some lunch before settling in for the Argentina vs. Mexico game!! I'm craving the delicious tacos from Cascabel Taqueria, so I guess my belly is rooting for Mexico!! ;-)

Monday, 21 June 2010

Cheesy Tune!!

I can't help but dance when I hear it this song at the moment, which admittedly earns me a few funny looks at the office, but whatever. The song is called Kickstarts and it's by Example. Enjoy!! It's quite big in England right now I do believe, it's what the kids are listening to ;-)

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Madness Magnet & 2010 Mermaid Parade

Hope you are having a lovely weekend. I had a bit of a busy day yesterday, but today I am in the office, which isn't great, but it's horribly humid outside, so not so bad to be here in the air conditioning as I would only be lounging at home watching the footie. While Sunday may be a bit of a bust Saturday was a good day; it was the perfect blend of me time and time with friends. I worked out like a demon in the morning - I'm ultra-motivated to exercise at the moment, specifically trying to tone my obliques for an upcoming beach weekend through regular use of the muffin top machine. See below.

Well okay, technically it's called something like the back raise machine as it's intended use is for strengthening the lumbar spine, but a personal trainer once had me stand on this machine side ways with my feet stacked on top of each other and do side bends over it and let me tell you it doesn't half work out your waist. I encouraged Megan to try it the other day while we were killing time before Pilates class and she tentatively tried 10 reps each side - I usually aim for between 30 and 50 per side - and agreed with me that it's a tough one when she was still aching 2 days later.

"That was a killer, I'm never again going to do any exercises you recommend. You always say 'try this it really works your abs or whatever' and I try it and find myself incapacitated for 2 days."

Honestly you try to help and that's the thanks you get. Some people are just so ungrateful eh ;-)

Admittedly while I am pretty used to using this machine I often find that for the couple of days post workout even breathing in too deeply can wake up those achy muscles in my exhausted obliques and make me wince and I've developed a habit of instructing my team not to make me laugh on Monday if I've had a weekend session on the muffin top machine.

After the gym I walked down to Union Square* to meet Megan and take the 45minute subway ride out to Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade, which has happened every year since 1983 on the Saturday closest to the official start of Summer.

Anyone can register for the ocean themed parade, so it's similar to the annual Halloween parade in that respect, and pasties are a popular choice of um...attire (are pasties considered clothing???) for many a mermaid. I'm not exactly sure where the ocean theme fitted in for these two save for the tenuous link of fishnets.

Photo via bigrob1970 @flickr

Despite many scantily clad participants the parade is very much a family affair.

Each year they also have a king and queen of the parade and this year it was Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed did NOT look happy to be there when he passed by Megan and I watching from the boardwalk. I fancy that Laurie strong armed him into it against his will and that there were strong words exchanged in the Reed household on Sat evening ;-)

Look....some fish DO have bicycles!!!

After a couple of hours we'd had our fill of the parade, which seemed quite poorly timed and we felt so there were long gaps where we didn't see anyone, and decided to head back to Manhattan around 3.30pm, however we were somewhat stymied by the cops refusing to let anyone cross Surf Avenue to get back to the subway station. Typically at these events there are crossing points every few blocks and the cops will let people through every 15minutes or so, but the Mermaid parade seemed more than a bit disorganized and we must have waited 30minutes in the blazing sun and I have a nice sunburned forehead to show for it despite the SPF 45 cream I'd applied. The crowd got a bit unruly after a while - and who could blame them, the cops were idiots to be honest - and I was slightly concerned that things might get out of hand and I have to say it wasn't a pretty sight when they finally allowed us to cross as they didn't move the saw horses out of the way and so when the crowd behind me surged forward I was propelled into the older woman (60s-ish I'm guessing) in front of me, through no fault of my own, and she got caught on one of the barricades, although I couldn't see that she was caught from where I was because there were so many people. Anyway she got through okay, but then turned back and shouted at me "my pants, my fucking pants" - I am not sure what happened, they looked fine to me, no noticeable rips - as if it was my fault and not the fact that we were both being pushed from behind by 50 or so people all equally keen to reach the subway. Whatever lady!!**

To be honest this has been a bit of a weekend for run-ins as I had an encounter with a deranged bloke on the subway this morning. He was sat on the end seat with his arm through the rail at the end of the seats and I was stood by the doors next to where he was sat. As the train pulled into the next station I turned to move away from the doors so I could make room for people to get off the train and my bag accidentally brushed against the arm he had extended through the rail and he went mental with me. I told him to grow up and appreciate that it was an accident, but he wasn't having any of it, so I walked to the other end of the carriage. I stood there for a couple of minutes and the next thing I knew he followed me to tell me off. He was tall I told him to leave me alone and repeated it was an accident, but he wasn't having any of it and then declared he had 3 knives in his bag. I walked away again and he followed me, but thankfully a muscular tourist came to my aid - and not the burly young bloke standing at around 6ft 3 who just stood back and enjoyed the show I noted. Pillock!! - and told him to leave me alone or he'd have him to deal with.

"But she started it" he sputtered. What???? Clearly deranged!!

"I don't care, leave her alone" Mr. Tourist responded, holding him back from following me.

Fortunately the train had stopped one station from where I needed to be so I got off, thanked my rescuer and decided I would walk the rest of the way, even though the shoes I had chosen to wear were reasonably new and were starting to rub.

The whole experience was upsetting, although I was more angry than tearful at the time, it was only after the fact that I felt a bit shocked by the whole thing, but I suppose it's just one of those things that happens and I'm lucky to have lasted 10years in NYC without anything like that happening before. I hope it's not a sign of things to come. I was cheered up a little when I rounded a corner to the street where the office is located - I'm in work writing my team's performance appraisals - and an attractive older man sat on the stoop reading the New York Times smiled at me with a twinkle in his eye and told me I looked gorgeous, so I'm trying to think of that moment to negate my upset from my encounter with the subway psycho.

I think I'll walk home from the office this afternoon, humidity be damned. I'm feeling a bit of a madness magnet today and I don't want to risk some mentaller trying to push me onto the tracks.

*I paid attention
to some of the guys I saw out and about on the 4mile walk - 260 calories burned. Yes, take THAT muffin top. Of course I ruined it later with a humongous Spanish Armada sandwich at Saltie in Williamsburg - down to Union Square and couldn't help but wonder if the guys I considered attractive when I saw them on the street would come across equally attractive on OkCupid. Somehow I don't think so and this is one of the reasons I am not a fan of online dating as a way to meet someone, since there's something about the way a man carries himself in person that can't be conveyed in a photo and although I always consider someone's profile as well as their photo it's just not the same, but beggars can't be choosers I suppose.

**Tip for attending the parade - take the Q subway train to or from West 8th Street/NY Aquarium instead of the busier Stillwell Avenue as there is a footbridge over the street so you don't have to worry about trying to cross,

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

It's Official, I'm A New Yorker

Today marks the 10th anniversary of my move to NYC. According to lore I'm now entitled to refer to myself as a New Yorker!!! Hurrah!!! I believe I'm also legally obliged to start asking for "a cup of cawfee" of a morning.

So which city should I become a resident of next? San Francisco maybe?? I did read today that, along with San Diego and Las Vegas, San Francisco has the heaviest viewer interest in the World Cup, so that's definitely a point in Northern California's favour. In fact I was thrilled to hear that World Cup viewership in the US has doubled compared to 4years ago. Go USA, you're FINALLY getting what the fuss is all about. How about those North Koreans today? Amazing ;-)

Monday, 14 June 2010

The Smurfs Movie Perhaps???

There was a shed load of filming equipment in Times Square this morning and lots of film crew types getting in the way of harried commuters. I wonder what's going on?

The last film set I came upon was about a month ago for Bradley Cooper's The Dark Fields. Of course I couldn't stop to gawp as I was in a rush to meet Megan at Delancey and Clinton and I was running late thanks to the ineptitude of the MTA. We had plans to walk across the Williamsburg Bridge for brunch at Egg and coffee at BlueBottle and I'd had one of those mornings where nothing seemed to be going right, so I wasn't best pleased to find a film crew blocking my route at Spring and Lafayette and sadly I missed out on the loveliness that is Bradley in the flesh, although to be honest the mood I was in that morning I would have gnashed my teeth at him.

You can get an idea of what's currently filming around NYC via The Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Taking the plunge

So after finding out last week that my latest crush, Tom, was with girlfriend - of course he is, have you SEEN him? - and as a result having the small flicker of hope I'd been harboring extinguished, I decided that enough was enough with the unrequited crushes and that I should get back out there in the real world and give the old online dating malarkey another try, so last week I signed up for OkCupid - or OkStupid as a friend of mine fondly refers to it - and this weekend I got down to the business of completing my profile.

Now admittedly I am not a 100% comfortable with dating this way, but since meeting someone organically has not exactly worked like a charm I decided I may as well give it a go, for a little while at least. My friend Nigel - an old pro at internet dating who goes on at least 2 dates a week - has been enthusiastically egging me on with the expectation that I can at long last reciprocate and share a few entertaining war stories with him over brunch for a change and at the very least I am hoping it makes for good blogging fodder.

Unfortunately my general reticence at engaging in dating this way was not helped at all when not only did I come across a co-worker today - from my own department no less although he sits on a different floor so I don't see him on a daily basis - but also a CLIENT!!!!


The worst thing is that I find both men to be extremely creepy, the co-worker is one of those guys that invades any woman's personal space - if a woman is sitting opposite him having a work related conversation he likes to get close enough so that his knees are touching hers. Ugh. I don't have too many dealings with him these days, but when I did I remember I would scoot my seat so far back I was practically sitting in the hallway. - and the client frequently makes inappropriately suggestive comments, so neither of them are the type of men I was hoping to come across online, unlike say Tom or Strategy Hottie for example. I would be more than happy if I never came across their profiles again, but I suppose creepy guys are entitled to look for love too. Honestly I was so shocked to see their photos that I shuddered and hit the skip button each time to get rid of them as soon as possible and it only occurred to me later that I should have looked for a block or hide option so that they wouldn't see my profile the next time they logged on.

"There's something wrong with OkCupid's matching algorithm if you are coming up as a match for either of them," said Debs soothingly.

I certainly bloody hope so!!

To be honest I am not sure what percentage match I was to either of them since I was pretty sharpish on the 'skip' button and OkCupid doesn't seem too stringent on the match rate of people they serve up as potentially compatible, but I was more than a little freaked out to see them, especially my creepy colleague. My first instinct was to flea, to delete my account from the site and never darken the doors of online dating again. Being single really isn't that bad!! I quite enjoy it for the most part in fact, but then again it would be good to have someone around who could help change the light bulbs and other such gubbins - yes, I admit, I only want men for one thing, household chores that I am too short to do easily* ha ha!! Besides, it's not that I think either of them would message me, they are probably equally freaked out if they've come across my profile. No, it's more the embarrassment factor of them knowing I am on there. Fortunately I had to retrieve my forgotten password before I could act on my instinct to delete my account and in the time it took to do that sense had prevailed. I got to thinking that maybe I should stick with it just a teensy bit longer than 4days - could this be a sign that I am commitment phobic do you think? - and just ignore the fact that they are on there and hope they will extend me the same courtesy.

I suppose the issue is that I still attach a stigma to online dating even though I know plenty of people who openly do it so I'm trying to shrug off my own prejudices and go with the flow.

Wish me luck!!

*Seriously changing a light bulb is like Cirque Du Soleil in my apartment since I have to drag my small dining table into the middle of the living room and balance a folding chair on top of it to reach comfortably. Maybe instead of going through the torture of dating online I should just invest in some step ladders??

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Sick With Nerves

I may have lived here a decade, but there's still only one team I could even imagine supporting today.

The US are my back up team, but still, I'm hoping we completely and utterly thrash them today!!

I'm watching the match on ABC, thank God US telly had the good sense to have Martin Tyler commentate, I don't think I could have listened to an American. No offense intended. I'm enjoying a cup of PG Tips - in my St George's Cross mug - and a Cadbury's mini flake in a nod to the mother country!!

C'mon boys, you can do it, I put my lucky red and white knickers on special!!!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Womanly Wiles

Phew, it was hot as Hades in New York this weekend, whereas today is an absolutely stunning day now that I am cooped up inside working. Well, I say working....I am waiting for my 371,493 data records to finish extracting from my client's database and it is going to take about an hour, so rather than do something productive work wise I am keeping my promise to blog a little more often instead ;-)

I went out shopping briefly on Saturday - treated myself because it is my birthday week afterall and a couple of savvy shops had sent me discount coupons as a gift - and after about 2 hours I was even more irritable than usual so I went home and luxuriated in the air conditioned bliss of my apartment. I was successful though in buying 3 flimsy cardigans - I like to be somewhat covered even in the height of Summer, I think I must have worn a burqa in a previous life. Either that or I was a nudist and suffered severe sunburn on my sensitive bits - from J Crew and a couple of tops from Anthropologie. I am tormenting the young hottie opposite me today by wearing this top in green, always a good colour on me.

The top is very pretty and flattering, enhancing the bust while flowing over other areas - cough muffintop cough. I have a navy cardigan over it since it's kind of boobilicious I'll admit - 'too tits out for the office?' I asked Megan this morning, but she gave me the thumbs up and said she thought it was fine as long as I kept the cardigan on. I did purposely wear lingerie that was less 'lift and separate' to tone it down a bit and people wear far far more revealing clothing in this office, but I'm usually relatively covered, still I am happy to note that Tom keeps glancing over at me and of course I know it's only because he's admiring my chest, but hey sometimes I enjoy a little objectification if it's from the right man ;-)

211,334 records down 160,159 to go!!!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Wow....June already!!!

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post. I had all these good intentions to write more and had been trying to stick to a writing exercise called 'morning pages', where you pretty much write 3 pages of anything that falls out of your brain, in the hope that it would result in an inspiration to post more on my blog, but that lasted a whole 2 days and only resulted in one post - the one before this - before work commitments interfered.


I used to be able to write so easily, but that's not the case anymore. It's hard to find the time, although oddly I find it easier to write on a weekday even when I am exhausted from working all day, than I do on a Saturday or Sunday, because there's something repellent about sitting in front of a computer on a weekend after I've spent the last 5 days doing the very same thing, that stops me from writing even when I'm doing nothing more than lounging around on the sofa watching reruns of Law & Order that I've seen at least twice before.

I can't exactly pinpoint what changed that's made it so hard to write, but I strongly suspect becoming a manager of a team last year had something to do with it. I manage 4 people, a small team in the scheme of things, and they are fantastic, but 3 of them need a good amount of guidance and it's not easy to manage them effectively as well as keep up to speed with everything that's going on with the clients I'm responsible for. It also doesn't help that one of my client leads - someone who was tough to work with, but who I developed a great relationship with over the last 7years - resigned a couple of weeks ago which was a big loss for my team so now I am having to try and schmooze for business with new clients, something that doesn't come naturally to me, I'm not a natural born schmoozer, but I am good at building relationships with existing clients and keeping them happy so that they stay with the Agency, but unfortunately schmoozing is the priority right now.

Quite honestly I'm exhausted, I don't know how people with children do it, personally I'm praying for a lottery win!!