Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mastering Online Dating: Part Three

Mastering Online Dating: Sending a Message

My research into rival men's profiles was making me a top expert on the whole online dating thing. My conclusion: men don't really think about how their profiles will be understood.

Okay, so that was lots of fun, but it was time to get back to MY adventures.
Having chuckled myself to sleep after posting my profile, I woke up and messaged a couple of hot babes before breakfast. My research told me that women don't often make the first move by sending the first message. What was more likely is that I'd write to a girl, and she would check out my profile and write back. Or not.

So how to get their attention with my introductory message?
Tsch! Too easy!

I sent this to a fiesty girl whose profile pretty much said 'Don't write to me unless you're awesome.'
Hey, I don't think we're a match, but I thought your profile was cool. I love how picky you
are, and wonder if it will stop all the horny guys trying to waste your time... Good luck with
your search.
Huh? A guy is writing to ME and telling ME I'm not a match for HIM? My female brain is exploding!

I sent the same thing to another woman, but adapted to her profile. Both women came across as totally awesome people I'd love to meet. In fact, there was a huge disparity between how thoughtful and mature and interestingly self-aware the women were, while men came across as lame, inarticulate, and apologetic.

The site allowed me to see who had read my profile. Unsurprisingly, a couple of days into the project, only two women had looked at it - the ones I'd written to. So I'd cracked the secret of getting women to read my profile. The profile was maybe probably too obnoxious as it stood, as neither responded to me (although as only 1 in 3 dating site messages are replied to, my sample was statistically irrelevant). However, I was already way ahead of most guys.

Interestingly, another woman later checked me out - I had added her to my 'favourites' list so I could write to her when I had more time. Presumably she checked her favourite thing too, to see who was stalking her. She was smoking hot.

Next - expanding to more sites.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

True Love: Better, Stronger, Faster

When I was a boy, I dreamed of making comics. But instead of taking art lessons and working hard at my draftsmanship, composition and understanding of the medium, I instead decided to play Championship Manager and watch rap battles.

But now, thanks to the internet, I can plug hugely talented Chilean artists directly into my imagination and produce...

...the next in my series of True Love comics...


True Love: Better, Stronger, Faster
by Andrew Girardin and Gonzalo Muñoz


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mastering Online Dating: Part Two

Mastering Online Dating: My First Profile

Time to set up my Plenty of Fish profile.

First I needed a username. This was huge. The right one might not generate a lot of interest, but the wrong one can be a dealbreaker.


I wanted to use sexy words like 'discover' and 'imagine'. Or maybe something romantic like 'Shining Knight'. I stared at the screen for about fifty minutes. It's harder than it seems to think up a name. Part of the problem was that everything had already been taken, even 'hot_teacher4u', so I had to be over-creative or use lots of numbers at the end of the username, as in Hot_Guy8888888888888.

I finally chose 'better_than_perfect' and also set up an email account with that name.

NOTE - you will get thousands of spammy mails from these websites, so set up a separate email account for it.

Surprisingly, the site wanted to know my income range and whether I was the oldest of my siblings. They claim it makes better search results. Porn sites give pretty good results without that info, but maybe it's different when finding true love.

I had to choose the headline that people would see, and write some info about myself.

looking for gud relationship
am look for a virtures woman
fishing for my cousin (amazingly, the profile is dedicated to finding a date for his 'cousin'!)

I finally went with:

Headline: I'm too good for you
Profile: I'm a selfish jerk. I look good in a shirt or a hoody. Young enough to do it. Old enough to do it right. I don't smoke. I'm lots of fun. I don't have time for petty drama or emotional hysterics. I'm intelligent and well-educated and don't care what anyone thinks of me. I do what I want, when I want - but you probably figured that out already.
If I had to write a newspaper personal, it would read something like this:
Handsome, cultured intellectual with perfect body and perfect technique seeks beautiful married woman to make her husband jealous. In return, I want diamonds, fast cars, and expensive meals.
If you think you could handle me, think again. But if you really insist on taking on a challenge you can't handle, get in touch.
(The text was based on a 'be a jerk' video that came up in my research - can't take all the credit).

Next, the photo. I chose one of me looking hot and emphasising the blueness of my eyes. It's me next to a hot girl, but I cropped her out. Nevertheless, you can see part of her face - enough to know that she's smoking hot. Ace psychology!

Then the site gave me a 40-question personality test. It didn't take long to do and the feedback was pretty 'accurate'. Things like, "You sometimes feel like the most attractive person on the train." Having said that, I recognised a lot of cold-reading material in there, so I was dubious about whether it was going to work or not.

Next - My first messages.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mastering Online Dating: Part One

Mastering Online Dating


Online dating is weird and odd and strange and wrong. Or is it? I decided to rethink my attitude to the whole internet dating thing when I realised that two of the hottest girls I know met their boyfriends online. Hot women are cruising for men online! The future is now!

I decided it might be fun to conquer the world of online dating and write about it for your amusement, and to serve as an instruction manual for lonely, horny men who don't have access to the quality of babe that I do. 
I had some funny ideas to try. But it wasn't totally a joke - maybe I'd meet a lovely fraulein to settle down with. And we could raise sheep and make hot chocolate for each other and argue about who should bring the bin bags outside, and everything else involved in true love.

To find out how to get women to reply to me on websites, and ultimately, to meet one of them in real life.


First thing I did was try to find my copy of Freakonomics, because it had some interesting data about online dating. I lent it to someone, and couldn't remember who, but this site here summarises the info.

In short, on your profile:
* You must have a photo
* Everybody lies
* It's best to 'overestimate' your income - women care about it when searching (I'm genuinely surprised.)


I had a look at the Plenty of Fish website, which seems to be one of the main ones in the Anglo-Saxon world, at least, and searched for men my age. Wow. If these guys were my rivals, I'd be overrun by female attention within days:

Username: Stew
Heading: Shrek's brother

Profile: im honest (honestly. lol), im cheeky, im fearless, i may look like shrek on the outside but i also have his heart of gold and have all the love in the world to give to the right person

My reaction: Actually, that's not too bad. "What you can't fix, feature." And it's kind of funny. But still, he looks like Shrek and I'm way hot.

Username: BigMan
Heading: looking for good woman

Profilei am tim i live alone have 4 kids i seen all time work for me self have few cars because i bye and sell them i like to do my own think and i like makeing money i dont drink or smoke

My reaction: Women like grammar and spelling. And kids, but not four kids, probably from four different women.

Username: LonelyHeart
Heading: Oooooosh!



My reaction: If I had you locked up in my room I'd steal your identity and credit card info, buy torture equipment on the internet, and use it on you until you stopped being such a lameass. And what is 'oooosh?' anyway, and why should a girl like it?


And so it went. Every guy positioned himself as a nice guy. Half included the word 'genuine'; few the word 'fun'. Most had weird stretchy photos that looked shit. If I had a uterus, I wouldn't look twice at any of them.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The 40 Saddest Songs in the Universe

York, 2006

The two-week summer language programme always ends with a disco, and the teenagers always end up crying. I'm walking around watching them blub into each other's shoulders. It's fun. But there's one Italian girl who isn't crying. It annoys me. I take her aside and ask what her problem is.
"I no feel so sad," she says in rubbish English. She hasn't learned English, and she isn't crying. Well, there's only one of those things I can fix right now.
"I know what you need," I reply.
"No," she says, seeing my intention.
I take a deep breath and do my sad face. "Bright eyes," I sing. "Burning like fire." Her lip wobbles. "Bright eyes, how can you close and fail?" I see there's a lump in her throat. "How can the light that burned so brightly suddenly turn so pale?" She's weeping now. "Bright eyes," I add, unnecessarily.
I doubt she's understood many of the words, but it doesn't matter.
Bright Eyes is the saddest song in the universe and its power transcends language.

Zurich, 2011

Cecile is in a total mood, which is amazingly annoying. Isn't it her boyfriend's job to put up with that? What's in it for me? I decide to make the most of the situation and see what songs make her cry.
Naturally, I start with Bright Eyes. It doesn't work, because somehow she's worked out what I'm trying to do. So I turn to plan B - Somewhere over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.
"It's not working," she says, although I can see tears streaming down her face. "My eyes are crying, that's all."
"Yes, but your eyes are connected to you. You haven't outsourced your eyes and tear ducts. Anyway, it's okay to cry. First, it's healthy. You get better blood pressure and stuff. Also, no woman can resist crying at those songs. They're infinitely sad."
"They aren't that sad. I know sadder," she sniffs, wiping away tears from the eyes that are crying for their own reasons.

Later, in a better mood, she asks me if I want her collection of songs that made her cry.
"Yes," I say, with as much calm as I can muster. "Yes, I do." My head is already spinning with the possibilities. They're bound to be lame! I can make fun of them on my blog! Don't show too much enthusiasm or she'll suspect!
She leaves a USB stick with 40 songs on it in my locker. It also has instructions for use: run a bath, light candles, etc. She's such a sweet, thoughtful person that I almost feel bad about making fun of her.

(ANDREW iN A BATH) SAD + crying

The 40 Saddest Songs in the Universe

By coincidence, I'd planned to have a bath that night anyway. So I started the playlist and got in.

It started pretty well, with Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. It starts with slow guitar plucking, which certainly sets the mood. Then a husky voice comes in and wonders, 'So you think you can tell Heaven from Hell; blue skies from pain?' The logical side of my brain quickly said, 'yes, I can tell the difference' but it didn't make me less sad, because the emotional side of my brain had fixated on the word 'pain' and all the many kinds of pain I've experienced in my life.

Next up was Wind of Change by The Scorpions. It starts with a haunting whistle, like the ghost of a worker, which is quickly followed by a husky voice. This voice sings some of the saddest lyrics of the modern era. They praise David Hasselhoff for defeating Communism, but warn us never to forget that socialism leads to oppression and suffering and sad babies. "They've never had bananas," croons the main Scorpion, "Until now. And that's a good change of the Wind of Change." A poignant guitar solo reminds us that while capitalism has its faults, it's better than the alternatives.

The next song, If You See Her, Say Hello came on (link takes you to Hurricane because there are few original Dylan recordings on Youtube and I liked that movie. It's by a million miles the best Dylan song, anyway). Husky-voiced Bob Dylan starts singing. I'm starting to think that husky voices are inherently sad. "If you see her, say hello," he warbles. So far, so sad. It's obviously going to be a song about lost love. Everyone can relate to that. It's a genius opening line, in fact. I've already got my line ready for the blog - HE HAD ME AT HELLO. But there's more to the song. "If you see her, say hello. She might be in Tangiers." Huh? Tangiers? Why is she there? That's weird, isn't it? Why does she want to go there? How does he know she's there? Why does he say might? She might be in Tangiers. Is that based on her credit card activity? Did she have family in Morocco? He could have said, 'she might be in Africa'. That'd be more likely, statistically. So what's all this uncertain specificity? Perplexity dried up my tears.

The next song was Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm by the Crash Test Dummies. It's easy to see how people are affected by the song. It's deep and dark and the lyrics are at once staggeringly specific yet movingly universal. "Once there was this kid who got into an accident and couldn't come to school. But when he finally came back, his hair had turned from black into bright white." Has any other lyric ever made us more aware of the immediacy of our own deaths?

I wasn't crying - it was just the bath bubbles stinging my eye. Many other songs came and went. Most were legitimately emotional: I Just Can't Get You Out of My Head, I Kissed a Girl, Smile, Hollaback Girl, Reading a Book, and every Bob Dylan song ever released in France.

But then came the sucker punch: NSYNC's Bye Bye Bye. At the start, keyboards swell for just a moment, but then it's BAM! Right into the beat. Right into the words. "I loved you endlessly when you weren't there for me, so now it's time to leave and make it alone." My tears dropped into the wispy foam of my peach-scented bath bubbles. Why was I crying? What did this song stir inside me? Obviously, like Cecile, I'd had to walk away from dysfunctional relationships before, and it's always sad. But not sad enough to make me cry, surely? Then it hit me - this was the song that presaged Justin Timberlake's departure from NSYNC and his focus on a solo career. "Time to leave and make it alone." For me and Cecile, hardcore NSYNC fans, truly the day the music died.

"Don't really wanna make it tough
I just wanna tell you that I had enough
Might sound crazy but it ain't no lie
Bye bye bye."

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Who Won? Einstein vs Stephen Hawking

Epic Rap Battles - Einstein vs Hawking: Who Won?

I have recently become obsessed with this video:

It features a rap battle between Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Choosing the winner of a battle of this magnitude needs a judge with the wisdom of Solomon. Maybe even someone wiser than Solomon, since he was all about slicing babies in half. I have appointed myself as that judge.

Diss Quality

Einstein: Starts well with 'Take a seat Steve, oop, I see you brought your own.' The next part, about being schooled and being Hawk-ward, is weak. He comes back strongly in round 2, landing huge punches with 'if you could stand', and 'bigger than the hole in your black hole theory was.' The 'back of my hand' mocks the alleged abuse Hawking suffered in the care of his ex-wife. A cruel but well-aimed diss.
Hawking: Starts poorly with 'moustache on a troll doll' and the 'TI-82' gag ensures he finishes with a big whimper instead of a big bang. However, in between is the most epic diss in history: 'There are 10 million, million, million, million, million, million, million, million, million particles in the universe that we can observe. Your mama took the ugly ones and put them into one nerd.'
Score: Einstein 10 Hawking 9

Bigging Up Oneself

Einstein: Alby scores well here, reminding us of the things he's most famous for - relativity and that equation. The Albert E equals MC squared lyric is smooth as silk. He also points out that he's one of the giants of scientific history.
Hawking: Claims to be the Snoop Dog of science, and if he's standing on the shoulders of giants that would make him slightly taller than a giant. Admits his work is based on Einstein's, though.
Score: Einstein 10 Hawking 9

Real-world Application

Einstein: I tried to diss a Finnish woman by saying, 'You can't destroy matter or me' but she just blinked at me. Einstein's raps are too specific to be used in polite society.
Hawking: I sang the 'your mama took the ugly ones and put them into one nerd' bit at two different German women (long story). One gave me the finger, the other laughed so hard she stopped breathing.
Score: Einstein 0 Hawking 1

Rap Skillz

Einstein: His German accent adds to the percussive nature of his distinctive voice, but his harsh timbre and screechy anger could get tiresome.
Hawking: The Professor scores highly through his innovative use of autotune. The extended 'You' in 'You've got no idea' and the long pause before the 'particles' line show an impressive sense of flow. He sets these moments of liquid mellow against his opponent's constant abrasiveness, but 'like gravity stretches time' shows that he can staccato with the best of them.
Score: Einstein 8 Hawking 10

Teachin Da Kidz Da Science

Einstein: Einstein whomps out an ace rhyme: 'You can't destroy matter, or me.' Do kids understand the law of conservation of energy? They do now.
Hawking: Tells us how many particles there are and that gravity stretches time. Also, 96% of google searches for 'Carl Sagan' came from the rap battle video (bake raps from scratch refers to Sagan's quote - 'If you want to bake a pie from scratch, you must first create the universe' - which is why I never learned to cook). Add 99.6% of searches for p-brane (related to string theory) and Hawking edges this one.
Score: Einstein 8 Hawking 9

Dance Moves

Einstein: Sometimes goes over-the-top with his moves, and throwing an apple at a man in a wheelchair isn't cool, even in the heat of a rap battle. But when he's on, he's on. Forget splitting the atom - Einstein has his own way of doing the splits:

Einstein does the splits

Hawking: At first, Hawking doesn't seem to do much more than roll around. Fail. But wait! On closer inspection, a face which seemed as wooden as Keanu Reeves' is as subtly expressive as Campbell Scott's. A twitch of the eyebrow, a roll of the eye, and a sly grin - it's enough.

Score: Einstein 9 Hawking 8


Einstein: Speak and Spell brought back memories of my childhood, but didn't make me laugh. And referencing Brief History of Time was amusing. But in general, he comes across as too angry to score highly.
Hawking: Hawking finds a good balance between dissing, self-aggrandisement, and playful self-deprecation. 'Dropping mad apples' brings Newton to mind, and there's a nice pun on pea-brain. The particles joke is amazing. But my favourite is '12-inch rims on my chair, that's how I roll.' While Einstein takes himself too seriously, Hawking's humour shines like a supernova.
Score: Einstein 8 Hawking 10

Who Won?

Final Score: Einstein 53 Hawking 56


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Asterix and the Cauldron: Latin Jokes Explained

A bigger, better version of this article now appears on my new Asterix site - click the white link just above this article. The one that says 'Everything Asterix'.

The new site is extremely beautiful, by the way. It's probably going to win an award and be preserved by UNESCO.


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

True Love : Too Much Work

I love comics and graphic novels and always wanted to make my own. Problem is, I can't draw. But other people can! So I've drawn first drafts of a bunch of comics and commissioned more talented artists to make them pretty.

Here's the first one, drawn by a 12-year old French girl. She's French, which explains why she didn't follow my clear instructions that there should be no text, and why the text she did include is in French, and thus incomprehensible to 99.99% of human beings. 

And don't ask me why there's a rabbit in it all of a sudden. That was her idea. She also changed the main character from a man to a woman. It's great, though, and captures the essence of what I was shooting for. Who'd have thought the French would be such good collaborators?

TRUE LOVE : Too Much Work
by Andrew Girardin and Léa Pertuiset

"Honey, can't come, too much work"

"And a bit more rabbit"  (?!)

You're very welcome to leave a comment. The nice ones will be passed on to the (12-year old) artist.