Updated: Dec 10, 2018
Since I’m considered as a man-repeller, I, a capable and dependable independent woman that people label me as formulated my own love formula and the results are astoundingly accurate as I’ve never been so well-appreciated than ever before by using a dating app. Oh, and we use Benedict Cumberbatch as an example here
BY ELIZABETH RAISA TEE
I don’t fit in the Indonesian market for date-able women.
Ninety-nine percent of friends, old friends and classmates, new opposite sex per se never really made a move on me. And, what happened to that one percent, you ask?
That very few did, and some of them surprisingly soared well. However, I have my Asian mum’s list of no and yes. They all fell into the ‘No’ List, and I didn’t want to lead them on further for I feel completely guilty – I know how it feels to be in your shoes. I politely chide romantic lines and continue conversing in a casual manner of wit and banters, hoping they’ll get the message that it’s just friends I’m looking for.
Being an Asian daughter means you have to accept all expectations and pressure, adding them into your trails of thought. Even before you get attracted to a person regardless of their gender and race, we’ll stop to think that it’ll never go anywhere in the first place – why bother begin something?
Hence, when an online match (referred as The Match hereon) still appreciated me being me from my day-to-day talkative-self to my temper at my darkest hour, I questioned it with my utmost cynicism and found out otherwise for the timebeing – does ‘nice guys’ still do exist?
A friend mentioned to me, “You, being so busy alpha-female, you’ve got a daunting list,” and by a ‘daunting’ list, she meant a sample of my man-repelling list:
I’ve planned my life until 2049. Whatever I do, it builds toward the 2045-2049 period.
I have an undergraduate degree. That’s alright.
I have a postgraduate degree. That’s… slightly Thanos-ing a slew of markets; I’ve been warned by grandma and the likes of the older Chinese generation.
What happened if I’d obtain a PhD? My grandma will faint, I reckon.
An overwhelming sapiosexual and polyglot: I speak 4 languages (losing grips of the two) and 3 dialects, give and take. (So I've Thanos half of the Earth already?) My friend fluently speaks 9, her dad and she are my inspiration).
I’m an ambivert. If I meet people and all I’m extremely outgoing and dynamic which isn’t ladylike. I’m more of that young lady from the Bronx. Or I'll be MIA for a week or two to recharge my introverted self. My mum gets frustrated of how to contact me when I rest.
I work as a part-time lecturer since age 22. Too young to be doing an ‘oldies’ job? Pretty much - I’m like a grandma. I teach fashion business, graphic design, game arts and design and creative industries. I supervised papers. I’m not going to do that again in the near future. Those kids needs a good mental beating since they're very spoiled and college is the last stage before entering workforce.
I run several projects and start-ups, including this safe hotline for females and a girl empowerment festival slated this year in tandem with managing a small family business, had supervised papers at the college I lecture part-time all in parallel.
I can piano and I used to be in the orchestra for the violin. Forget about the guitar. I was ranked 13th in my high school year out of a 100, so that’s that stereotypical female Asian kid.
I attend marketing and tech conferences, hide myself in libraries at the Asian history section and evening philosophy classes.
Also love to play video games and consoles. So there’s me being a nerd preferably just to stay at home.
I travel for research or for my clients. For a 25-year old, my highest record was to travel at least once on the 10 out of 12 months. I’ll never do it again. It looks like frequent flyer, but no, it breaks my back.
I backpack. I couchsurf. I also do 5 star hotels. I can do whatever. As long as I meet old and new friends, I’m pretty fine to go anywhere. No one can halt me from going out of the door to travel, not even my parents, and they’re the ones I listen to first by all means. I'm too adventurous sometimes to challenge life and death, plunging into solo-travelling situations.
I absolutely don’t look good when I do cardio (Readers, any of you with me? #relatable) - I end up looking like a perspiring sea dugong. I do all the modern / hip-hop / zumba classes or the belly dance and body bump or boxing class and trust me, I have no idea how Shakira or Beyonce or those girls who don't shake but there to look good (someone told me it's a thing to come to gyms just to look good in their tights and not doing anything much. Me: So much spending power you got) and looks good since they hairspray and glue those fake eyelashes like no tomorrow. They’re champs.
So nope - as you can see, I’m not as ladylike, wifey-material as the Indonesian men would like me to be, with me being so outdoorsy, so out there by being the salmon swimming against the current. You’re still asking, “Come on, why do you brand yourself like that?” If you look at me below, then you’d agree with me - who wants to get close to an oversized Asian girl, with no make-up and an army of sharp pencils ready to strike you down?
Prior to having met The Match, I’ve been on these apps to research as put myself as a study subject and a lab rat for a past commissioned dispatch.
I handled the Android apps; my research partner did the iOS. From UI/UX to Usage and the socio-anthropology of online dating apps, steps are taken to data and are processed into a general analysis for the study. I’m not there to look for a significant other.
How this year’s saga all began was when I started thinking: “what happens when this user feels like she doesn’t belong to the vicinity she’s in (we’ll use the most well-known and number one online dating app as an example: Tinder has a maximum kilometer, which other apps follow suit)? Does she pay for a premium account? Does she change phones to an iOS have Bumble because, it’s a female-first app and the quality over quantity promise? What does she do?”
For her, I crafted out a probable love formula.
Formula: You and your lifestyle + Ideal type + Where he/she originally comes from = Situate yourself there.
It looks simple, but in fact, you need a lot of metadata and understanding gathered from each three entities to give the maximised outcome. There’s a lot of vertical in it.
Here is the formula I used, step-by-step:
1. You must have an ideal type to work with. You want it to be as close as you’re hoping for. Don’t lie to yourself. Let’s use Benedict Cumberbatch as an example.
2. You analyse your ideal type’s background. Examples are: Cumberbatch is English, he resides in Hampstead Heath area in London, he comes from the UK, and he’s got English parents and not particularly of mixed race. His interests are x, y, and z and he advocates these social causes. The more knowledge you know about all the attributes on a semiotic level, even better because you know the exact details you’re looking at.
3. Reflect the qualities he possesses that you truly love the most about him. If you like a funny person or because of their smouldering look, consider this trait as your number-one priority. You’re astutely aware of what you’re searching for.
4. Now, let’s take a look at you. You always picture you and your ideal type to get along well together - that’s why you fancy the person very much, right? What’s your vice and what do you love most about being alive? Please note: If the match doesn’t like that you’re totally in control of your happy life and he or she degrades that, please unmatch. You deserve much better.
5. Could you see yourself living where your ideal type is at, if your lifestyle and habits fit in? If it’s a yes, then it means you, with a complete bio you fill in and pictures that just reflect you without overexerting anything will be the best profile you could create.
6. Are you feeling the math now? The chances are that if you truly like your ideal type based on his personality and including his looks, then where he comes from will have a bigger chance to have resonating personalities of the same kind as your ideal type.
Humans are shaped through their environment, parents, peers, family, and habitual lifestyle, so one should know its socio-anthropological aspects of where you’re placing yourself.
Finally, using the app, whenever your profile is ready, you’re going to ‘fly’ to the place where you ideal type is at and be there.
7. Wait for a day. Let them swipe or like you first to see whether your energies resonate within the area you have chosen.
8. Open your app. Did the formula worked well, and quantity-wise, did you receive a lot of appreciation, and by that I mean likes? Match them if their bio intrigues you to say hello. And there, you begin your qualitative journey of selection. Craft an alibi to why you’re there and see how you get along.
So you then ask: How was I able to measure my success?
In comparison, I situate myself in Jakarta and the formulated city. The former had almost no likes and it was quite fair since the app I used isn’t too popularly used in Indonesia, or I’d slam them down within the half hour to castoff “your place or my place” invitations. Not many users are there either (although I have to say there are a few decent bios in there, but they didn’t like me either). The latter was, if not an understatement, a smashing success.
Why was it considered a qualitative success? Allow me to explain how my bio is constructed. For one, I don’t have those beauty-filtered selfie pictures posted. I don’t take selfies. I displayed a picture from my behind looking at a KAWS statue; an eating-a-hefty-amount-of-dessert with my ridiculous eating-reaction face picture; me and my jetski with a long face picture; me at a conference picture.
And, the longest bio you’ve probably ever read on dating apps.
Those are pictures that should be a put-off by the Indonesian market.
With that in mind, for the first time, I felt very much well-received and loved without the sleaze and typical judgements one can expect from an online dating app, for I received a maxed number of being liked per day at that place.
They’re all those boys-to-men type where deep down, females I know, are all looking for - the ones that just treat females as they are, an equal partner and gives a good conversation which could just give you the nuance of being themselves, stability, security as some level. No one is sugarcoating anything; everyone is being themselves, including their equally outdoorsy and relaxed or business profile pictures.
I also didn’t expect an actual outcome from this experiment except data and conclusion. Nevertheless, as skeptical as I am with these apps being the master ‘scientist’ behind these observations, came along The Match that turned my tables, abruptly concludes my 3-year voyage of hacking the way one utilises these dating apps because it was that overwhelming with my own formula.
The formula didn’t take long to work its stuff either - I was on Day 10 with the formula when The Match appeared.
The Real Ending (for those who are nosey including my customer if he reads this)
Right readers - for the ones who is super kepo on how he first broke the first wall, how did I start to see the match in a ‘New Light’ - not - from ‘Day 1’?
It was me remarking how comfortable he was with his unicorn t-shirt on a picture and then my possession of a pair of unicorn heels.
Do your semiotics analysis here, and you’ll find an ongoing answer why he has won by jousting himself to get out of the friend-zone and I had to say I have admittedly lost in this duel and my days has been hilariously ‘Unlonely’, all done just by texting from an entirely different continent. He smashed my defence wall like a hurricane but it’s all been for the better.
I shall turn it to you, readers, you let me know as well if this formula has worked for you?
This story is part of the #PTTMerdeka18 Stories Series.
Every August P#T will celebrate our Independence month by inviting you to submit your Self-Liberated Stories Of The Year to us to help empower the rest, in English or Bahasa Indonesia. We're announcing our self-independence along with our national spirit. Merdeka!
The author would like to personally thank Narjas Zatat for helping with the drafting process, and you, The Match who has unprecedentedly made this self-healing moment, possible.
About the Author
Elizabeth Raisa Tee is the founder of Perempuan Tagar Tegar (P#T) , a non-profit movement and online hotline for all your female toxic issues and also currently serves as assistant producer of It’s A Girl Thing Live, the first international girl empowerment conference in Jakarta after Singapore and Manila, among the many other things she’s done and still runs in several cities and countries. She is aged 25 at the time of writing.