segunda-feira, 3 de março de 2014

How 'Lulu' the app saved me

I know it may seem a little out of place to be writing about 'Lulu' now, after the buzz and the hype over the male rating app for women has significantly simmered down, but there's a point that has been rolling over my brain for a while and it's dying to be gotten across, so why not write a blog about it now (file it under "the year in review" if it makes more sense that way)?

A couple or so years ago I got involved with a guy. It wasn't any guy though. A world-traveling, soft spoken guy. A guy who knew how to cook, who could tell tales of trips around exotic countries like no one I knew before (or since). A man after my own heart, for his love of knowledge and his intense curiosity, paired with a strong desire to be released from every mundane restraint and, once and for all, hit the road and never look back.

Obviously, I fell for him. Hard. A monumental heartache ensued (like any woman who fell for world-traveling types can attest), and a huge sense of loss over something (or, better yet, someone) I never really had, love-wise, took over me. Looking back, I believe I was mourning for the loss of my own adventurous nature, one I had all but suffocated over the years prior to my meeting him. But, by then, I could only feel bad for myself for being in love with a guy I just couldn't have - a guy who would never really be mine.

Cut to the second half of 2013. Everyone and their grandmother was passionately discussing the launch of an app that promised to empower women who thought it would be a good idea to rate guys they had been with, and let the world (or just other women) know if they were worth the consequences of ill-fated one night stands or "relationships" that never made it past the second date.

I must confess I was curious. I wanted to know how some of the guys I had dated up to that point held up to other women's scrutiny. So I downloaded the app and signed in. At first, I was disappointed that most of the guys I'd had taken any kind of romantic interest in were not there, but eventually I found a couple of them. One of them was that guy. The world traveler. The guy who had marveled me with his stories, his calmness, his wisdom, his gentle nature.

That guy, the one who was more and more starting to seem like the one who got away (truth be told, I was coming from a long streak of failed involvements with guys, and the men I was casually seeing at that time didn't really make my heart skip a beat) had a surprisingly low score on 'Lulu'. Not only that, but the comments left by other women on his profile were so demeaning, so downright cruel, but also terribly honest. They stopped short of calling him a loser. And I felt like, all of that time, I had been pining for an illusion.

My perceptions of him were shattered, right then and there, but at the same time, a strong sense of relief took over me. I still believe those women were probably just trying to show great contempt in the worst, most publicly offensive way possible - I wouldn't put it past him to have burned them badly, as he seemed like he could be the type to put on a vanishing act the morning after -, but I couldn't help but feel that those words, those tremendously straightforward expressions of disdain were also a wake up call. Their bad experiences, compared to my beautiful tale of fate, enchantment and lost love, felt like breaking the fourth wall. They made me see a side of him I was fortunate enough not to have been a "victim" of. But that side of him was what made him real for those women. And that made him seem more real to me too.

I'm thankful for all the experiences I've had in the past few years in the love department, good and bad. This particular guy was pivotal in the sense that his life experiences helped me realise what I was missing out on. His knowledge of the world, his thirst for adventure, his willingness to share were a balm to my then aching heart. I learned so much from being with him for just a short time. But it was time for me to live my own experiences. Create my own tales of adventure. It was time for me to make my own life stories.

I've since recovered from the unimpressive record of failed relationships, as I learned that being single wasn't a problem if I could accept myself as I was, love myself with all my faults, and like my own company. I traveled more, I saw things I had been longing to see since I was little. I also learned not to fall in love with impossible guys - men with an expiration date, as I have taken up to calling them. I've learned that I deserve to love - and be loved by - men who are real.

I have a lot to thank that guy for, but I'm the one writing my own life history. Like that Rapture's song, I believe my future's looking bright in all the little pieces of the people that I keep inside, that guy included. But I keep other pieces inside too. And the future looks like a million moments of intense, unspoken happiness that I have already lived, and still am about to live. The happiness I'm living as I write these words - a substantial chunk of it thanks to another guy. I can only wish the same happiness to that guy, and to all the other men that came before and after him.

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