The Bachelor Australia 2017: Episode 6

I’m not a competitive person. If life were a game of Bachie Monopoly, I’d be Michelle, chilling in the Go Go Cage Jail, sipping wine and judging people. No, I’m not competitive. But I really do enjoy being right. So when we returned from the loathed TBC to Matty asking Sian if she could talk outside, basically so he could send her home without the indignity of a rose ceremony elimination (because honestly how much can one girl humiliate herself in one night?), I felt a little smug.

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He returns to the rose ceremony to let them know he’s sent Sian home and to bitch about her behind her back: ‘My main issue is that she was questioning what was real and what wasn’t’. He wants the girls to know that he’s not a puppet. He calls the shots around here. He decides who will go on single dates (note, he did not say group dates),  he decides will go home.
Congratulations Matty, you just confirmed that you’re an idiot. I mean, which is worse? To admit that you’re open to influence from the people paying you an estimated $200,000 to date a bunch of women on TV, or to admit that you’re so dense that you are blind to the fact that you’re being blatantly manipulated by both Leah and Jen? I’d take puppet over muppet any day.

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So anyway suffice to say I’ve really gone off Matty. But I’m very glad he finally made a good choice, because next we find that this week’s single date recipient is Tara. Our wise bogan queen.

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With Tara, Matty wants to laugh the whole time, but also see her serious side. I hope her serious side doesn’t involve any personal trauma because he’s going to feel pretty bad about laughing.

You’d think that riding on a tandem bicycle in adorable stack hats would be a good start to the laughs, but it ends up being another episode of Matty Terrifies Unsuspecting Women. Turns out Tara hasn’t ridden a bike in years, and she’s not really digging not having control of the bike either. The amount of screaming is…substantial. And honestly, Tara is extremely loud this entire date and while we love her for her rambunctiousness, I think I will respectfully bow out from the competition to be her bestie, because my introvert self would find her exhausting. I’d still like to follow her on Twitter though for the hot takes.

They slow down the pace a little with some pasta-making. Often on these cooking dates there’s someone there showing them how to cook things, but it’s just the two of them and Tara takes full advantage. And I do mean full advantage. First there’s the recreation a Ghost with pasta dough:

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Does anyone…wanna go to Pottery Barn?

And then Tara notices The Arse. It turns out Tara is an Arse Woman, and she is not going to rest until Matty really truly knows how spectacular his arse is.

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Matty does not seem wholly comfortable with this blatant objectification, but he does accept a ‘Cheers to your arse’ as they down some wine.

They sit down to eat the pasta which is weird because no-one’s actually meant to eat the food on the Bachelor franchise. I have a strong suspicion Tara would not have been up for making pasta for the crew to enjoy. As they dole out the parmesan Matty tells Tara ‘I like a woman who likes cheese’ to which she responds ‘Then you’ve found your perfect wife’. The fun never lasts forever so eventually talk must turn to how quickly Matty can start interfering with her birth control families. Yes, Tara likes kids (she’s a nanny and is very fond of her charges) and wants kids, although she thinks that you need a very strong bond to have them. That’s basically what Liz said, in other words, but oh well. Suddenly Matty stops seeing her as a ‘quirky, funny kid’ (his words) and as a beautiful fertile woman. As they talk about her insecurities, and how she didn’t think he’d be in to her, he interrupts her with a kiss. It’s a move that I don’t mind in a romance novel but just seems kinda rude when you see it happen onscreen. Or maybe that’s just because I dislike Matty now. Anyway they have a nice pash and she gets a rose.

Meanwhile back at the mansion, a group date has been announced. It clearly involves heights judging by the clue, and Simone, who is terrified of them, is upset that she’s on the invite list, which upsets Jen, who is not. Anything that upsets Jen is a-ok with me.

The next day Leah, Elise, Elora, Laura, Natalie and Simone are in cars on the way to the group date. As soon as they pass a sign for skydiving, Elora and Elise are the middle of trying to talk Simone out of a panic attack. Tearily she tells the camera ‘I’ll do anything, but not this’. Long story short she jumps out of the plane but not without moaning and crying ‘No no no…’ when she and Matty are the last ones in the cabin, because this guy really knows how to organise a romantic encounter. The whole theory of this date is how much he wants a girl to step out of her comfort zone, but I think a plane is a perfectly reasonable comfort zone. After all, unlike humans, it was designed to fly in the air.

Can you tell I also have a bit of an issue with heights?

Matty’s the last to jump, and once he hits the ground all the adrenaline-filled girls conduct a stacks-on, as this might be their only opportunity to touch him all week. Matty chooses a girl for some one-on-one time, and it’s Simone, as it bloody well should be. They have no chemistry, but he can’t send her home for at least two episodes after her admirable showing of not shitting herself while strapped to another human. As he reflects on the way he got her jump out of the plane, he wonders aloud ‘What else could I make you do? while doing Doctor Evil fingers. We know what he’s thinking.
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At the cocktail party, Jen makes sure Matty knows she loves the same things as him in the most bitchy way possible ‘I’ve just been sitting here saying how much I love skydiving…thanks, Matty’. Yeah girl we’ve seen how much you like your hair, no-one believes that.

Elise finally gets a bit of screen time after yanking Matty aside to “go fishing”. While I wish that was a euphemism, they do actually use a fishing rod to grab some stuff out of the pool, clues about Elise. Did you know that she was a Hockeyroo, and her family dress up as tacos for Christmas? It gets Matty’s attention, so good for her, but she probably could have just got her ovulation calendar out.

There’s more incessant arguments about who gets access to Matty when during cocktail parties and honestly if I was here for this I’d just go and hang around outside the Family Court. It’s another opportunity for Jen to be an incessant moll, however, as she eggs Michelle on to interrupt Matty’s chat and then swoops in when the other girls get caught up arguing about it.
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Meanwhile Natalie has been fearing she’s been put in the ‘friend’ zone. You may remember Natalie as a fruit loop and hand-sniffer.
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Unfortunately Natalie’s time as provider of delightful reaction gifs comes to an end at the rose ceremony. I think that’s fine, as it looks like Tara’s going to be around giving us the gold for a while yet. In the car, she tells us: ‘Rejection always sucks. It might not mean he doesn’t like me. He might like me, he just doesn’t want to date me’.

Maybe he just didn’t think you were fertile enough. Enjoy seeking your own reproductive destiny, Natalie.

The Bachelor Australia 2017: Episode 5

Here’s all you need to know about the end of this episode, from my running notes:

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(Okay, I make a lot of typos while I’m trying to take notes and simultaneously livetweet. That should say TBC). But we’ll come back to that.

Johnnie Walker sure is getting their money’s worth in product placement this season. Given Matty’s a marketing dude I do wonder if maybe he’s just a fan and he suggested a sponsorship so he’d get plenty of opportunities to drink it. The sweetest #sponcon of all. After prominent placement in his post-horse-washing chat with Cobie last week, here it is again, pulled from Osher’s nether regions to offer some ‘Dutch courage’ to this week’s single date recipient – Florence
(there was some speculation as to who would be going in the date, given the Scotch. Someone Scottish? Jen: ‘I’m Scottish!’. No you’re not, you’re from Albion Park. Probably Albion Park Rail #nicheillawarrajokes)

Matty whisks Florence away to exotic Homebush, where they shall rappel (which appears to mean ‘jump’ in this context) down the side of a 26 story building.

Florence is not-at-all-lowkey not in to this whole idea.

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Despite her to-camera protestations – ‘Am I really jumping off this building? Is it worth it?’ and the realisation that maybe she should just ‘Go back to Melbourne and live your life’, Matty weighs in with some philosophy: ‘Jumping off the side of a building is a lot like falling in love – you just have to….give in to it’

If I were to think of my metaphor for falling in love it’d be a bit more like this:

leslie

Nonetheless, his speech seems to do the trick and they jump off without causing any grief for Channel Ten’s insurers.

The only thing you need to know about the next part of the date is that it involves plaster and tragically is not at Plaster Funhouse. Also the moment they get stuck taking a mould of their clasped hands provides great joy for screencappers everywhere:

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During their one-on-one chat he is mostly keen to interrogate her about her plans to stay in Australia, as she’s only been in the country for 5 months. He tells her ‘Very well answered’ when she says she’s happy to permanently abandon her siblings, because he’s very family-oriented, y’see. They have a little flirt and a nice pash.

Back at the house, everyone screams and claps when she comes back with a rose in hand and shares that they had a kiss. It’s kinda weird that they’re so excited. Tell you who’s pasting on that grin though? Cobie. This is the only other kiss he’s had (to her knowledge).
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Seriously though, bit worried about Cobie. She knows it’s silly but she ain’t reining in that jealousy at all.

The next day (or, whenever, in Bachie Time), Jen wants us to know she was baking brownies because she’s a very caring person. And so relatable. More likely she knew Osher was coming round and was aware of the age-old wisdom that you should always have something in the oven when a boy comes over.
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Everyone flips shit because it’s a Thunderdome Date aka two women enter, one woman leaves. We have one every season. Jen is mortally offended when Liz suggests she may be on the date: ‘Way to throw me under the bus, babe!’. Jen, Liz has no control over what names are on the card. Anyway it’s Jen and Liz. Leah thinks Jen fakes getting emotional here, to manipulate the other ladies, but I’m pretty sure it’s just because she’s butthurt. Anyway, in her own words ‘Liz doesn’t matter to me, she’s not a blip on my radar. Let the best woman win’.

Spoiler alert, she doesn’t.

A series of awkward events ensues, as Liz and Jen enjoy a car ride to go meet Matty at a creepy abandoned barn in the middle of nowhere. I feel like there could be a great twist here with Matty being a serial killer and it is literally a ‘who survives the night’ test, but unfortunately no-one dies. Everyone considers dying of embarrassment when Matty asks each lady the other’s best and worst qualities, but it’s generally pretty civil (Liz likes Jen’s dirty humour but thinks she’s quick to judge, Jen likes Liz’s quick wit but thinks she’s abrasive).

In solo chats, Jen chucks a Pig Catcher and creates the impression that she is showing Matty her softer side, talking about how she can’t wait to wake up next to the person she loves, but we know this is fake as hell. It’s weird how much she believes it though. She actually says to camera that she believes she has a better heart than Liz.
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This idiot Matty seems to fall for this crap just like he did with Leah. ‘Right now Jen is an open book. There is that deeper part of her personality’. I gotta say if he is really that dumb then he does not deserve my perfect cinnamon roll Tara.

And honestly, if I wasn’t going off on him enough from that, the conversation with Liz is enough to put me off permanently. Why is he such a creep about having babies? He is in full-on Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction territory, and that did not end well. Neither for Glenn nor for that poor bunny.
I’ve got to admire Liz here for staying true to herself. Someone as manipulative as Jen, when asked about her desire to start a family, would have said whatever Matty wanted her to hear. Liz just told him the truth. While I don’t want kids (don’t @ me, I’m sure your kid is great), Liz’s views on having my kids lined up with my ideas on marriage. It’s not really worth worrying about until you meet the person you want to be with for the rest of you life. If you make those decisions in the abstract, you’ll potentially end up making the wrong choices with the wrong people, just so you can achieve your goal. Given this is Liz’s first proper conversation with Matty, she can hardly give him a definite answer.

Anyway, it’s enough to get her booted, and good on her for getting away from this baby-obsessed weirdo. Jen, as you could imagine, is very gracious in victory:
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She’s seen this show enough to carefully check that Liz is the only person being sent home, though. She’s also clearly been watching UnREAL also, as she refers to herself as ‘wifey’ material. Girl, at least have the self-awareness to know you’re a villain.

At the cocktail party, Matty pulls Laura aside for a chat in the Secret Garden and we don’t even get to see it, but she comes back with a rose so presumably that’s a reward for a sneaky blow job.

More importantly, the Fourth Wall gets fucked hard as Sian has a meltdown over the fact that Matty hasn’t spent any time with her. She’s in her room muttering to one of the girls ‘I don’t like him. I’m better than him, I’m better than this’ which doesn’t seem like a very good sign. And then most exciting thing that’s ever happened for someone who’s seen UnREAL happens. One of the producers appears onscreen. We all hope she’s the Rachel.
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Rachel convinces her that Matty would be bummed if he knew she was upset, so she should go and talk to him (with the cameras on, obviously). Sian tells Matty that it’s definitely not him (‘I don’t like him. I’m better than him’) but she can’t handle the cameras and the process. She’d like to go home. He respectfully accepts her decision and she somehow interprets this as him asking her to stay, and says she wants to stick around, and what will be will be.

She should have just left on her own terms. Matty immediately questions if he should keep her around, given her doubts.

Suddenly it’s rose ceremony time. Sian feels confident since her talk with Matty, which only shows the depths of her delusion. Tara, Sharlene, Leah (this may have been Lisa, can we eliminate one of these similarly-named ladies please?), and Elora are called up to receive a rose. Matty picks up the next rose. And pauses. And puts it back down. TO BE CONTINUED.

Bachie, can we please not start on this bullshit? The Bachelorette US did it incessantly in the latest season (causing many howls of frustration between Tegan, Alex, Rick and I on our Skype calls), and generally pushed the rose ceremonies to the start of episodes. It completely interrupts the natural flow of the program. The climax should always be sending another girl home.

Also, come on show. We know Sian is going home.
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Let’s see tomorrow if I’m right.

‘The Big Sick’: The Victorian Values Review

This may come a shock, but I haven’t actually started reviewing every single movie I see. I go the cinema quite a bit, particularly at this time of year when lots of the big US summer movies are coming out. But when I went to see Spider-Man: Homecoming and Baby Driver in one day (the official hashtag for this event was, of course, #ManBaby), I didn’t feel the need to weigh in. When movies are as hyped as they are, the mainstream and social media coverage can be pretty overwhelming. You’ve probably decided months in advance if you’re interested in seeing them, and unless the early reviews are dire, you’ll probably stick with that plan. What I’d prefer to do with reviews is to see if I can encourage people to go see films that get less attention. That often ends up being movies that are ‘female-focused’ – like a period drama (My Cousin Rachel) or a romantic comedy, in the case of a The Big Sick. It’s a pretty straightforward set-up – boy meets girl, boy and girl are torn apart by cultural differences, girl gets sick and ends up in medically-induced coma. You know. The usual stuff.

In a fictional film, when one of the lead characters is in a coma, part of the tension should be whether she will recover and our leads will get (back) together. But because the story is based on the real-life tale of couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, reality sort of ends up as a spoiler. Due to her appearances on the promotional trail (and the retelling of their story over the years in places like Dan Harmon’s podcast), we know Emily’s okay and they’re still together. But the genre of the film works in their favour here. It’s a rom com. We know they’ll end up together in the end, because that’s what happens in the end of a rom com. All we have to do is enjoy the journey.
Somewhere between Kumail’s 65 IMDB acting credits, you’ve seen him in something. For example, I have most recently seem him in the dire 2010 Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel vehicle Life as We Know It, because sometimes I truly should not be left alone Netflix. But it isn’t until you see him play himself that you realise how consistent his deadpan characteristics are. It’s a fun script and a real star vehicle for Kumail – it can be hard to make the deadpan style charming, but the character of Emily (played by Zoe Kazan) softens him to a great extent.bigsick

One of the main settings of the film is the Chicago comedy club that Kumail gigs at, which helps to maintain the ‘com’ tone when things turn serious. This is not only from the snippets of stand-up routines, but also from the backstage banter between Kumail and the characters played by Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant and Kurt Braunohler (all accomplished real-world comics). If you’ve seen any other movie that producer Judd Apatow has had a hand in, you’ll have an idea of the humour in their interactions.
The real opportunity for the dramatic chops to come out is when the families come in to the picture. When Emily’s parents meet Kumail they’re immediately hostile – Emily had told them about their reasons for breaking up. We can see through their relationship to their daughter, and to each other, why Emily found it so hard to understand why Kumail had not told his parents about her, and why this was so hurtful. It’s important to have the right actors in the role of Emily’s parents, as we watch them slowly warm to him while going through their own struggles. I don’t need to say anything new about Holly Hunter (apart from, maybe, I want her to be my Mum?), but Ray Romano. Man. I cannot explain how begrudgingly I give respect to the star of Everybody Loves Raymond, but he earns it here. Both Holly and Ray get to have some great comedic moments here too, particularly when they witness one of Kumail’s live shows.

The endless parade of potential Pakistani wives for Kumail is also played for laughs, but their is some dramatic tension in it. Kumail knows he stands to potentially lose his family over choosing an American girl. And if you’re wondering where you’ve seen Anupam Kher before as a kind-hearted Muslim father preaching the importance of keeping marriage within your own culture, let me do you a favour: it’s everyone’s favourite (well, my favourite) early 2000’s British girl’s soccer movie, Bend it Like Beckham.

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I have no idea how he feels about being typecast in this way, but he carries a fair bit of emotional weight in the family scenes.

Lastly I come to Zoe Kazan. It’s a real shame that the mere fact of Kumail and Emily’s story requires her to be sidelined for a significant chunk of the film, because she simply lights up the screen. If you’ve not seen 2013’s What If (also known as The F Word) then ignore what I said earlier about Life as We Know It and fire up your Netflix. You know how she wrote and starred in the fantastic Manic Pixie Dream Girl takedown that is Ruby Sparks? Well, What If is essentially the Friend Zone version of that, with bonus Daniel Radcliffe and Adam Driver. It is a rom com though, and remember what I said about the one thing we know happens at the end of a rom com. Zoe really gets to pull out her dramatic chops in parts of The Big Sick – it feels awful to say, but god is that woman good at crying. However she also gets to maintain her constant charm, and she can play it for laughs like the best of them (like when she doesn’t want to shit in her new boyfriend’s house).

All in all, I have to say that The Big Sick is fairly light on the ‘rom’. We like and root for Kumail and Emily to overcome their obstacles and get together at the end. But with one half of the couple off-screen for a good chunk of the movie, it probably verges more on dramatic comedy territory. I really hope that people who might stick up their nose at the genre will give it a chance – even if it’s just for date night.

 

The Bachelor Australia 2017: Episodes 3 and 4

Life (work) happened Wednesday night, so it’s a twofer recap this week. I’m gonna try and make it as snappy as possible, because when I’m as tired as I am right now, my jokes get even weirder than usual. And when you’ve got pig-catching and cream pies, there’s not a lot of value-add in the jokes.

Episode 3
Laura is first up with the single date. Everyone on Twitter is sure Laura looks like Georgia Love, but is it possible she just has brown hair? I don’t know. I grew up in The Whitest Town On Earth, so I may just be finely tuned to the minor facial differences of white girls. Laura and Matty board a series of increasingly large boats because it’s not a Bachie Date without some transpo porn I guess. Laura chatters away nervously, and I find myself going off Matty even more (after his weird focus on Lisa not being fussy about her hair or makeup) when he tells her ‘You don’t have trouble talking’. In fact if I didn’t have her in the sweeps I may have voted for her to walk out of the entire competition when in response to her question her had to confirm that he does not in fact own any of the boats. They pull up to a waterfront property with easels set up – their very ill-advised will involve drawing each other! It goes a bit like this:
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During the course of this, it’s pretty clear that Laura’s a bit uncomfortable with the situation – she responds to Matty’s genuinely attempts to flirt (calling her beautiful) by leaning heavily on the banter and sarcasm. I find this relatable af, but it might show that she will struggle with having a heavily filmed romance down the line. They retire for a cheeky cheese platter and some serious chats, mostly about why he chose her to go out on a date. She finally sneaks a compliment in, telling him that he makes her feel special when he looks at her, but all in all their conversation feels very human and kinda awkward – the giggling and head-shaking to break the tension a realistic prelude to….THE FIRST PASH. They seem to have a thoroughly good time. I’m still grossed out by other people’s tongues. She gets a rose.

Meanwhile back at the mansion, a group date has been announced. Leah hopes it’s competitive, because of course. Jennifer says she would actually fear for her safety being on a competitive group date with Leah, which is a great thing to say about your friend and also means it’s good that she’s not on the list for the date.

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They tenuously link this Henry VIII-themed date, complete with dress-ups, to Matty spending some time in London – although I have to wonder how much of that time was spent touching himself while watching The Tudors to make this link.
(No judgement there, we’ve all had Special Thoughts about Natalie Dormer watching that show).
The most tenuous part of the whole thing is somehow linking It’s A Knockout challenges with the Tudor period. I’m not even going to try and explain that. First, there’ll be moving some piglets in to pens. Cobie, Akoulina, Simone and Leah are the lucky ladies participating in the first challenge. Akoulina tells us ‘If I can handle a piglet, I can handle Matty’ and I’m sure I could dig some sexual innuendo out of that…but she can’t handle a piglet, it turns out. It’s mostly a shit show – except for country girl (there may be an unnecessary ‘o’ there) Leah. Matty tells us ‘I didn’t think it would be something she would be in to…but she is quite the pig-catcher’, and… welcome to Leah’s new Recap Nickname. Cobie also proves herself adept at tackling small animals so she and Pig Catcher are through to the end-of-night banquet.

Lisa, Sharlene, Michelle and Belinda have to do a combo sackrace/quoits game, and the main thing we learned here is that Twitter thinks it’s spelled coits and when Lisa wins she will tell the camera ‘I literally have sweat from my neck, back and crack’ but she won’t mention this to Matty, which seems odd given how keen he is for her to prove that she’s no-fuss. My notes don’t tell me who else got through so just presume it’s Sharlene, Michelle or Belinda and they do very little else this episode.

Now it’s time for Ye Olde Soccer for Alix, Elora, Elise and Stephanie and I can see no problem playing football in a full-length gown against a bunch of incredibly competitive people. Nope. I think Elora actually goes for the shins at some point. Matty: ‘Football is sometimes referred to as ‘the beautiful game’. These girls have given us….something else entirely’. Elise and Alix smash it.

So now we have our six for the ‘banquet’ where it’s apparently appropriate for everyone to sit on the same side of the table. A producer makes Matty ask how things are going in the house, and Pig Catcher jumps in tell him her suffering because she’s ‘protective’ and takes other people’s emotions on. Every other lady in the room has to physically fight to stop their eyes from rolling back in to their heads. Drunk, bored Pig Catcher then interrupts Elise as soon as she gets a solo chat, to further plumb the depths of this sob story (she’s open about how fake it is in interview). She even drags her Mum under the bus by explaining that she thinks she gets her instinct to take on other people’s problems from her mother, who is a nurse. Matty, who is….surely…not that stupid, says he is glad she is ‘here for the right reasons’ which elicits a direct-to-camera reaction from Leah which is strongly reminiscent of another person who’s familiar with pigs:
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It’s all for nought however, as Alix (who pulled the classic ‘does my bum look big in this?’ in her bustle gown) receives the rose.
There’s a ‘surprise’ rose ceremony at the end of this date, which means only girls on the group date are up for elimination and we have to put up with Jen for another episode. Osher rubs in how little time you can end up having with Matty, which seems mean for poor old Elise who got to chat to him for approximately 30 seconds.

Akoulina is eliminated and presumably ribbon dances in to the night.

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Episode 4
Guys did you know that just like the Hems, Matty J was also in Pony Club?
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I’d forgotten that it has come up in Georgia’s season, but I’m SO glad the show has given me another reason to have the Saddle Club theme song stuck in my head for the next 40 years. It truly is…fun for everyone.

Matty has decided to take poor unsuspecting Cobie to Sydney Polo Club where she’s greeted by rain and the stallion that Matty rides up on stopping for a deeply intrusive wee, and honestly it’s 100% too much horse wang on my TV for a Thursday night. You’d think it would help break the ice but Cobie also is low-key pissing herself because she hasn’t really been pursuing equine fun since she rode a pony as a kid. Everyone back at the house debates Cobie’s ability to be ‘sexy’, given she has been giving off a very goofy, sweet, vibe so far. Jen is quite confident in her own musk, as per usual ‘I know I give off sex appeal. But for me that’s just quite natural’.
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In other mansion scenes, Tara re-assures the rest of the girls who have not had a one-on-one ‘When I’m eating I save the best for last, I eat my veggies first and save my schnitty. We’re the schnitty’ which is probably going to be my new Tinder bio. Jen refers to herself as the ‘crème la de crème’ which is probably a sign that she needs some Extremely Basic French lessons from Elora.

For some reason after their ride the show cannot pay any sort of stable hand, so Matty and Cobie have to wash the horses themselves. Matty’s a bit of a control freak with the hose, but Cobie (who works in the mines), confidently asserts ‘I wash coal, I’m sure I can wash a horse’. Everyone relaxes once they head inside and devour some lovingly product-placed Johnnie Walker, in fact Cobie is so very relaxed she decides to recite a poem she has written for Matty.
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It doesn’t rhyme aggressively so I guess we’ll all live. Matty is flattered by the thought that went in to it and gives her a rose. There’s a bit of awkward to-and-fro-ing when she tells him she wants to kiss him, and they forget to tilt and once again I am  not pleased with seeing non-fictional heterosexuals kiss on-screen. She gets the same vehement ‘endgame’ string  music that Laura got for her pash, which is worth keeping in mind as we consider who’s a contender for the long run.

Quizzing Cobie about her date the next day, the term ‘Our boyfriend’ comes out again which I honestly think was funny about two times. I mean, if you can’t approach a situation where a man is dating over a dozen women at once with their full knowledge and consent with some humour, then you’re screwed, but it just comes off as a bit overplayed. Unsurprisingly this term is used most often by Jen, who has never had a conversation of any significance with Matty.

Everyone is on the ‘surprise’ group date that Matty pops around to invite them to, which is nice because it stops me trying to note down everyone’s names. It’s a giant board game which is a version of the ‘how well do you know me/how compatible are we?’ competition they do around this point every season. Except, there’s not usually cream pies. That’s right, there’s opportunities to smash each other in the face with banana cream pies and if you don’t know what one of those looks like, please use SafeSearch in your Google journey. Surprise surprise at who’s delighted at the idea of some cream pie action – it’s Pig Catcher. She’s lucky not to catch a one in the face when Simone (who she and Jen bullied in episode 2 along with Elora) lands on the lucky square. Simone instead decides to go for Liz, after out the corner of her eye she saw her ‘face who never smiles’. Give her something to smile about, Simone.

Michelle (the cop) doesn’t mind getting sent to ‘jail’ (which is got all intents and purposes a go-go cage) as, in her words ‘I got to drink, I got to observe’. Give her a phone to Tweet from and she is all of us watching Bachie.
Stephanie gets the immense pleasure of delivering a cream pie to Jen’s face, although Jen uses this as an opportunity to draw attention to herself.
surprised

Florence manages to impress at the question rounds, but Michelle wins (there seems to be no prize except hugging Matty). But Flo isn’t done with Matty, and Bachie isn’t done with being sponsored by RedTube for the evening. At the cocktail party, she pulls Matty aside for a little Dutch lesson, complete with sexy school teacher outfit (Alix: ‘It was very sensual’). This includes teaching him to say ‘Will you accept this rose’ in Dutch, which he cutely pulls out during the rose ceremony.

Elsewhere at the cocktail party, Leah stirs up shit by implying to Cobie that the other girls (aka Leah) will be annoyed if she tries to get time with Matty, already being in possession of a rose. This comes up every season and everyone seems to think it breaks some sort of code, despite the fact that their time with the Bachelor is incredibly limited. Cobie feels she needs to clear the air with Matty after passing up the opportunity to kiss him during the game – and given one of the girls in the mansion had earlier mentioned she hadn’t seen Matty in two full weeks, any sensible person could understand her motivation. The execution isn’t ideal – she approaches him when he is talking to Simone, and asks to speak to him when they’re done… but loiters right next to them in a way that doesn’t really allow them to continue their conversation. So Simone understandably is upset when he leaves to talk to Cobie, but given Simone’s long-standing beef with Jen and Leah, you know when those two leap to her defence, it is only to insert themselves in the drama. And do they ever. Leah marches in to the room Cobie is in with Matty, announces she is ‘playing Devil’s Advocate’ and informs Cobie that her actions have upset others. Cobie is beautifully dismissive of Pig Catcher’s attempt to stir up trouble but it is of course horrifically awkward. Leah tells everyone that Cobie told her she ‘doesn’t care’, and Jen, taking her word as gospel, tells Laura that she can’t defend Cobie as she ‘wasn’t there’, ignoring the fact that she also was not there.

As Cobie and Matty re-enter the party, Jen is shouting:
‘She’s in the in the hallway SMILING….Hi Cobes’
himark
It institutes a period of silence so awkward it can only be broken by a rose ceremony.

We farewell another person who has received no screen time since she made Matty stare in to her eyes and touch her boob for a full minute in the premiere. Farewell Belinda, who I was so unfamiliar with I wrote the name ‘Bianca’ in my notes mere seconds after her name was spoken onscreen. I hope you meet a fan of eye contact.

 

 

The Bachelor Australia 2017: Episode 2

Gather your flock of drama llamas, it’s time for more bachie.

First up this week, Osher arrives and once again whips out a date card from you-really-don’t-want-to-know-where. The clue? Matty felt a ‘spark’.
Usually the (always dumb) clue cards have something to do with the actual date, but it’s indicating to us it’s Elora because y’know fire.
elora

They’re off on a yacht date. They make some vaguely awkward but banter-y small talk, she threatens to teach him some extremely basic French. Elora then asks how old Matty is, which he pretends gravely offends him. He tells her that she ‘look great’ for 27 years old. Which is ridiculous because…well, first things first, she looks like a baby. In addition, at 30 years old Matty probably should have realised that between the twin wonders of lifelong sunscreen use and the widespread use of AHAs, if a woman can dodge the total physical exhaustion of raising a child, it’s a lot easier to look young for a long time these days. I don’t think anyone knows that I am a decrepit 31 year old when they meet me, until I start making frequent references to Man O Man (which I do a lot these days, as I’m hoping it will eventually reach the ear of someone with the power to reboot it).

They take a dip in the ocean and admire some dolphins the producers probably stole from SeaWorld, then retire inside for a little wine and chat sesh.
Except it’s less chat, and more awkward staring.
bachiestaring

It just went for so long.

Matty eventually says some nice things about Georgia Love, and gives Elora a rose. She’s safe for this week, and she fancies Matty even though he doesn’t know when to go for the pash.

Group date time! If you’re a Bachie newbie, towards the start of every season they do a group date that’s a themed photoshoot. Nothing will ever beat the Mills and Boon covers from Georgia Love’s season, but nonetheless we persevere.

illsa

This time it’s an 80’s-themed ‘firsts’ shoot for Woman’s Day. Florence and Jennifer will be doing a pool-themed set of photos with Matty.
Jennifer, out loud, to the group: I feel like we’re going to be fighting for this
Matty: I feel nervous
Jennifer: You should be

Nothing like a threat to really charm a man. Jennifer’s been showing some extremely possessive qualities (over the course of the episode show goes from jokingly referring to him as ‘our boyfriend’ to frequently, not-jokingly calling him ‘my boyfriend’) so the producers decide to really prod her savage instincts and send Florence out in a sexy bikini while she is sent out….like this:
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Perhaps problematically or just nonsensically, Florence described this look as ‘a Jewish banana’.
It takes all of about five minutes for Jen to declare ‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner’ (do not besmirch the name of Dirty Dancing, please), rage-strip to her swimmers and dive in the pool, somehow ending up clinging to Matty like a limpet. Our terrified but diplomatic Bachie declares ‘Jen doesn’t like to miss out on anything, and I’m definitely getting that vibe off her’. Indeed.

Laura: I feel like she made herself look like a baddie
Elizabeth: I don’t think she’ll mind that
Double indeed.It’s time for the school formal. Laura, Elizabeth, Natalie and Sian are gamely dressed in 80’s prom gear. Jennifer, who has formed a sort of Mean-Girls-cum-Statler-and-Waldorf crew with Leah and Sian, stands on the sidelines and announces that Elizabeth’s dress is ‘putrid’, pausing for laughs that never come. Girl, Elizabeth did not choose her own dress on this occasion, please move on with your life and from this show ASAP.
All the girls are up some for silliness, Laura gets a little dip (and this from Matty: ‘She’s that beautiful, confident, chatty girl who’s keen to have a laugh”) while Sian for some reason pulls out The Worm, a guaranteed move in the playbooks of many I’m sure.

Tara, Simone and Cobie, dressed as cheerleaders, make a game attempt at a fairly uncreative cheer which mostly involves successfully spelling his name. Simone makes an attempt to bond with Matty, but it’s pretty awkward with the other two just standing there.

coolrider

Lastly, Leah has a solo shoot with Matty. The costumes seem to be based on Grease, but given the original came out in 1978, we’ll have to assume the shoot is based on the cinematic brilliance of Grease 2. And boy, is Leah about to take this to heart.
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The theme is ‘First Kiss’ and Leah is an awful attention seeker (all the other girls are standing mere metres away watching from a balcony), so you can see why she goes for it. But she is completely rebuffed.
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Yeah so in to this
Tara on the balcony legitimately howls with laughter. Cut to interview ‘She pashed, and he dashed. You’d be devoooooooo’. The women take a lovely bath in wine and schadenfraude to wrap up the long day.

Daytime, the mansion. Matty tells us ‘I’m constantly trying to figure out the girls’ which for some reason means he has popped by for an unexpected muffin-delivery (not a euphemism). In fact, one girl in particular has got his attention and he wants to whisk her away to ‘find out what passions they share’. It’s Lisa, who he wants to take out for a game of tennis (ALSO not a euphemism, somehow?). She tells us ‘I’m nervous, I’m excited, slightly shitting myself a little bit’ – which is a bit of a break in the Cool Girl routine, until Matty insists he didn’t think she’d want to put the top down in the car and she assures him that she’s not worried about messing up her hair. Being worried about her hair would be very unCool. Those barrel curls just came naturally. At the court, she somehow resists roasting him to the core, despite the fact that he is very bad at tennis. They retire to the pool for more banter and playfully shoving strawberries in each other’s faces (???). When it’s time for Serious Chats, she manages to clearly establish that he is the kind of guy she’s looking for while also making it seem like she came on the show entirely for shits and giggles. And this is why her emotional reserve is going to be Their Thing.

They return just in time for the cocktail party, Lisa carrying the rose she’s just received from Matty and looking appropriately model-gorgeous in a sparkly dress. The faces fall around the party as Tara tells us to camera that the rest of the girls are basically peasants compared to Lisa (I know who I’d rather have next to me at a dinner party, Tara).

During the night Jennifer continues to show herself to be at the centre of the vortex of all beef, as she sips from a greasy glass to match her personality

greasy
She and Leah vehemently attempt to gaslight friends Elora and Simone, who frankly aren’t having a bar of it. Jennifer acts horrified when she is accused of being ‘dark’ and insists she is ‘bright’ and ‘vibrant’, which is genuinely only true when she’s wearing a lifesaving uniform.

Somehow*, neither of our resident Heathers are sent home, instead we wish a fond farewell to Kim Kardashian lookalike Laura-Ann. She received zero screen time in this episode, but also escaped the current hazing ritual atmosphere of the mansion in good time, so big ups to her.

*we all know how

The Bachelor Australia 2017: Episode 1

I’ve taken over The Bachelor sweeps at my new work so I thought I’d write some commentary to go along with it. The blog will contain longform recaps before I condense it down to something a bit more pithy for my workmates (who will probably just want to know if they’re still in the running or not) on a weekly basis . No promises every episode will get its own recap, I may combine depending how busy I am! If you want my running commentary on the episodes I’ll be livetweeting at vic_values.

Memorable entrances
My general feeling is that anyone who gets shoved in to the montage portion of the evening is probably not a long-running contender. You don’t need to have a gimmick, but if the editors aren’t working to get us invested from the start, then that’s telling us something.

michelle
Michelle is a 31-year year old cop who in a gross misuse of police resources has apparently driven her patrol car to the Bachie mansion from South Australia. Matty, secret kinkmeister that he is, asks Michelle to faux-arrest him. He is…quite in to it.

akoulina
Akoulina is a 29-year-old gymnastics instructor who apparently never got over that thing you did as a kid any time the Olympics was on, where literally any piece of fabric could be your ‘ribbon’ if you twirled it enthusiastically enough. Walking out of the limo with ribbons going full force makes her look like a complete fruitcake, but at least she shows off her career without gross misuse of taxpayer dollars like Michelle did. She also provides entertainment to drunk girls at the cocktail party with her ribbons so all in all A+

tara
As a self-confessed complete and utter bogan, I must say that Tara really did our people proud tonight. She struggled to find the right words upon meeting Matty, and eventually landed on calling him ‘mate’. And really, who amongst us hasn’t accidentally called the object of our of affections ‘mate’ like we are the oldest bloke at a country pub? I must rewatch the episode on Tenplay at some point but I solemnly swear her reaction when Matty called out her name for a rose was to enthuse ‘sick’. And she’s going to pull out ‘devo’ next week according to the preview. All of this may not make her seem like the most charming paramour – and Matty’s a marketing guy, so he’ll probably appreciate a bit of polish – but she seems genuinely charming, PLUS she’s a nanny who finds kids are ‘attracted’ (hmm) to her, which will undoubtedly appeal to our family-orientated bachie.

Elora
An incredibly odd choice from the producers here. Elora was born in Tahiti and is the only non-white woman in the entire cast… because diversity is not apparently something we worry about in the year of our lord 2017. Already marked by her difference, Elora does not arrive in a limo with the rest of the girls but arrives for some reason after the cocktail party has already begun – while fire dancing. It strikes an odd tone as this woman, already marked in her difference, is then treated as an ‘intruder’ by the other contestants. We’ve got at least five more episodes for that, ladies. Matty sweetly devotes some extra time for a chat with Elora due to her not getting a limo entrance like the others.

The beef
The real juice of the first episode generally has little to do with the Bachelor himself. Yeah yeah, maybe he’s meeting the love of his life that night. But more importantly, a bunch of women who are all competing for the same goal are going to meet each other for the first time and be continuously plastered with champagne. It’s a recipe for one thing, and that’s beef. Drama. The good stuff. One could almost say no reality TV show has really kicked off til someone says ‘Game on moll’, and The Bachelor episode one delivered the goods.

So who’s got beef?
Leah + everyone
leah
She’s a classic reality show villain, and even pulls out the ‘I’m not here to make friends’ card in the very first episode. She proudly announces that she’s not wearing any underwear, a comment made redundant by the fact that anyone that looks at her largely-transparent dress can see it quite clearly for themselves. She’s not really an interesting villain, just a drunk, attention-seeking 24-year-old who’ll hang around and screech for half the season at the behest of the producers, until Matty decides they don’t have a ‘connection’.

Jennifer and Elizabeth

 

There always has to be someone who cries on the first night and this time is was old Chest Tatt Jennifer. She’s got a real look of the Real Housewives to her and the attitude to match. This drama starts up when dark horse Elizabeth decides to openly declare Jennifer’s (totally not a wedding dress) dress to be ‘putrid’, and then when immediately called on it declares this to be ‘social commentary’, an excuse I will now also use any time I get busted bitching about someone. It later emerges that Elizabeth was actually doing a bit of the old Caroline Bingley and commenting on the mud on the hem of Jennifer’s dress, but either way this fight and its teary aftermath were juicy enough that some of the girls literally fetched popcorn to go along with all the other salty goodness.

Cue the strings
Matty did seem to have some clear favourites on the night. Michelle (of the cheeky role play) received the first impression rose – not always a great indicator of success in the end, but she sure as hell got his attention.

lisa
He also pulled aside Lisa for a chat to tell her how much she – a model by profession, apparently – doesn’t know she’s beautiful. As much as Matty managed to fall for boundary-setting, emotionally-open Georgia Love, it’s no great surprise that one of the girls that caught his eye on the first night was a quintessential Cool Girl. I’m bouncing around a bit of a post about the Cool Girl, but you’ll be familiar with the idea if you’ve read or seen Gone Girl or are basically aware of the existence of Jennifer Lawrence. The Cool Girl’s two most important qualities? She’s hot, and she’s chill. Lisa had some serious calm confidence in her chats with Matty, and she’s got hotness in spades. I can see her going a long way, but the challenge for her will be opening herself up emotionally. You don’t get the Bachie without being a bit effusive with your feels.

laura
I can definitely see Lisa being in the final two with someone like Laura. At 30 years old (to Lisa’s 24), Laura offers a different kind of confidence and warmth, and Twitter (as well as the rest of the contestants) seem to think she also bears a pretty strong resemblance to a certain Bachelorette who has captured Matty’s heart before. There wasn’t a lot to go on from this episode but there definitely seemed to be some sparks! Or maybe I’m just biased because I got her in the sweep.

If we judge by the order of the roses, then Lisa and Laura are both strong chances, along with Alix, a ‘professional body painter’ who I have dubbed Manic Pixie Cool Girl, and Elora.

And a hearty ‘we barely knew ye’ (because you received no screen time) to our first eliminated contestants, Monica and Stacey.

Next time: actual dates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tinder Trends Part 4: The Big Study Epilogue

A few little bits and bobs to finish off The Big Study this week. I mentioned in the last post that I had a few more data points I wanted to tease out, mostly regarding age.

My first point was a bit surprising – does Tinder want me to be a cougar?

ages

More than 50% of profiles shown to me were aged in their twenties. I’ve been looking to see if I can find some solid demographic data – to see if it’s just reflecting the age of users, however the only stats I can find break it down in to large groups, like age 25-34. Anyway, it’s always flattering once you’re in your dotage to know that plenty of men in their twenties still look at a woman of your age as a viable option, and not just a candidate for the nursing home. I just found it odd the relative dearth of men the app seemed to be showing that were my own age.

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“When?”
“Someday!”

bio
Breaking down the bio features stats by age revealed that they were really pretty close. I was wondering if the data was going to surprise on the ‘looking for’ front, but it didn’t. Men who have had a little more time on the earth have a better idea of what they’re looking for, and are more inclined to tell the world. Where they seem to be a little more shy is adding information about themselves, with the 25-29 age group having the best showing here. As stated in the last post, the height factor wasn’t really much of a ‘thing’ – about 15% of all profiles listed it – but the 30-35 age group was more than twice as likely as the 25-29 age group to list their height.

onesormore

Moving on to photos, rather than looking at each photo type as a percentage of all photos, I also wanted to see how each was represented by percentage of profiles. I think faces are kind of important, so I was very pleased to see over 90% of profiles have at least one photo where the subject’s face can be seen in full. I am vaguely astounded that only 40% of profiles have a travel photo – I have used the app on and off since the study and they are absolutely still a mainstay.

photosage3
Alright, no-one’s surprised that the 25-29 year olds are dominating the meme game, nor that the 30-35 year olds have maybe had the best opportunities to travel. Nope, the biggest surprise was the 36-40 year olds having the highest average number of gym selfies. Older dudes be taking care of themselves, and they’re not afraid for you to know it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of blog posts looking at Tinder from a data analysis perspective. I’m shortly starting a new role so I’ll have to turn my Huge Nerd Brain to other, less frivolous things for a while. I have a couple of pieces that will by published off-blog in coming weeks, but Victorian Values will return in some non-Tinder-y form. If you’ve got any suggestions for subjects that you think are under-sassed and under-charted, please send them my way!

Tinder Trends Part 3: The Big Study

Okay, this is Part 1 of the Big Study. But having a Part 1 of Part 3 seemed a bit ‘Hunger Games’ of me. Or even worse, ‘The Hobbit’.

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In late March I committed myself to my largest data collection to date. I set my age parameters to 25-40 years, and my distance parameters to 50km. Over a few days I swiped through 200 profiles without discrimination, recording 13 data points on each profile. I managed to find one person worth matching with (and then quickly found myself bored when I realised I was asking all the questions), and once again questioned why I like men.

And then I stared at the data – for weeks. I plugged it in to visualisation apps. I attended an Excel Bootcamp, sure that if I just understood VLOOKUPS, or heard about a different chart type, I could get this data to tell the grand story I thought it must.

footage
Actual footage

What I mainly discovered is that Excel really doesn’t like that part of my data is text (four data points are Y/N). So what I’m going to do is slowly tease out some insights. Maybe there isn’t one big story to tell, but there are some smaller ones. And they’re not necessarily the stories I thought I’d be telling (surely the most fun part of data analysis – when the data tells you something unexpected).

In my last Tinder Trends entry, I talked about the infamous bios. It got pretty macro, so in this case I only looked for a few data points. I wanted to tie it back to the idea that you should:

  1. Have something to say for yourself
  2. Know what you want and what you like
  3. …I didn’t concern myself too much with fuckwittage this time, but I did have one more bio feature I was curious about…

Height. I felt like it comes up a lot, and I sort of scoff every time I see it. For one, it’s only ever tall guys who list their height, which feels kind of like boasting. Also, I don’t think height’s a personality feature. During my data compilation, I ran a (very small) poll on Twitter to see if other people felt the way I do – that it’s probably not that important to know during the very early stages:

tall

I didn’t get any in-depth responses, but I do wonder if the two women who responded with ‘Yes’ are of non-average height themselves, as I can understand the relevance if you yourself are very short or very tall. Just for avoiding potential neck strain issues.

So what did the data actually say?
MenofMystery

This larger sample closed the gap a bit on the old ‘I will rely solely on my appearance’ brigade, with only 23% represented this time rather than 35% in the last sample.

Obviously, the following figures are from the remaining 77% who had something to say for themselves.

Features

This chart doesn’t really represent the crossover of these three data points – I did some unnecessarily fancy Excel formula work to find there were 30 profiles that featured what they do, what they’re looking for, and height (i.e 15% of the total sample).

So, first observation: the height things isn’t really too widespread. It’s noticeable, but not exactly endemic. Can we even call ‘about 15%’ a trend?  Look, if a girl has nicknamed you The Mountain and you’re not keen to go through that again (or….you’re really keen for that to happen again), chuck it in there. But just know it doesn’t make you better than anyone else.

People are better at expressing what they’re looking for in another person than discussing their own selling points, clearly. It’s still not a great amount, but it was pretty heartening to read people express what they’re on Tinder for, and mostly without being too prescriptive. Lots of men just wanted to meet some new people. I think that’s something that’s got to come from the heart. You know what doesn’t require an excess of soul-searching? A little of information about you. I treated jobs and interests equally under the ‘what I do’ section, because I think both give insight in to a person’s character in different ways. If you’re extremely passionate about your chosen career, please put that in your bio. If your job just pays the bills. but you live for mountain biking on the weekends, chuck that in instead! Either of those things gives the other person an opening for conversation, which is important.

You know I love analysing photos, as it was the subject of my first column, but I decided to look outside the animal kingdom this time. My subjects posted an average of 4.5 photos each, which meant I had a wealth of potential data points.

Pictures

Note the scale on this one – no data point represented more than 20% of all photos. What I may pull out at some stage is the percentage of all profiles they represent, but I think this is something I want to explore more in the next part.

Travel photos are god. You’ve got to feel bad for the guy on Tinder who has never travelled overseas. How will we ever know where all the money has gone for the house deposit that will never be? I think travel is a common interest for a lot of people in the 25-40 age group, so it makes sense (real talk, I’m guilty of it myself in my own profile), and I also suspect there is simply the reality that we take more photos when we’re on holidays.
And, apparently, when we’re drinking in bars. It overwhelms the animal photos by far. It was extremely rare to find one these photos where the subject wasn’t red-faced and well on their way to inebriation. There’s a certain honesty to it, but it’s not putting your best foot forward.

And yes. There was two profiles where the person’s partner was clearly in their photo. One was explicit about their open relationship. One….was not.

My final point for this part was actually my greatest bugbear:

Faces (1)

In only 52% of pictures could you see the subject’s face in full. What was happening in the other 48% of photos?

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  • Group photos – I saw profiles where every single photo was of a group, making the person whose profile it actually was indistinguishable.
  • Sunglasses. Yes, I know you think you look hot in your sunglasses (it’s because they obscure part of your face). Once again, entire profiles could go by with only photos in sunglasses. Limit yourself to one only, and make sure your entire face is visible in another – preferably your main – photo.
  • Photos taken from so far away they might as well have been taken on the international space station (strong crossover with travel photos here).

Have you ever felt a genuine connection with someone whose face you couldn’t see? ‘The eyes are the window to the soul’ is actually a phrase for a reason, and not just because some houses look like faces.

 

 

As I set my age parameters far wider in this sample than they would usually be, in my next set of analysis I’d like to see if I can tease out some age-related data. Are you more likely to know what you’re looking for when you’re approaching 40? Are the 25 year olds vastly over-represented in the gym selfie department? I actually have no idea, so let’s go on a journey of discovery together next time.

 

 

A deviation: Art has all the nudes you need

On Wednesday I knew I’d have some time to kill before heading out to Hawthorn to watch Colossal (which is quite the take on the monster movie, if you’re interested!) so I decided to stop by the National Gallery of Victoria. Having read a little about it when it opened at the end of March, I wanted to check out their new free (don’t worry, this ain’t #SponCon) exhibition Love: Art of Emotion 1400-1800.

Truth be told, I’m not really an ‘art’ person. I’m more of a music/words/theatre type, but I don’t mind the occasional gallery visit. I’m very much looking forward to their Van Gogh exhibition which starts in late April, but I’m fairly awful at appreciating contemporary art. The Love exhibition is a bit of an odd bunch. It mostly consists of works from the Gallery’s existing collection, somewhat loosely connected to the idea of love. I knew a few pieces from the promotional material, but my main thought process was that if I was bringing together some early modern European pieces around a universal theme, I would do what I could to relate it to present day. And that made me suspect I could probably tie in some of the artworks on display to my writing on love, dating, and Tinder.

Turns out there’s a reason I’m not running a gallery. However, I found no shortage of amusement, mostly in the ‘Anticipation’ section. This section revolves around flirtation, seduction and danger. In the section I learned that the language of a fan could be just as direct as a right-swipe, mansplaining is found to be the truth universal, and everyone has always loved a nude.

My apologies for the photo quality – they were snapped on my phone, and the gallery keeps the light quite low. Also I’ve mined the labels as much as possible post-visit – there may be some wonkiness with translations or attributions.

Selfies are nothing new

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  1. Anthony van Dyck, Self-portrait, c. 1645
  2. Elizabeth Louise Vigée le Brun, The artist at work, 1830

Feeling a bit embarrassed about spending half an hour taking photos at slightly different angles to find the perfect profile photo? Some people like to think we have reached the depths of vanity with our selfie culture, but honestly, how long would it take to paint a self-portrait? Consider how many hours you would spend obsessing over the curve of your shoulder. Or whether you would look better in a diaphanous gown of blue or pink.
Who’s vain now?

Well, actually…

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  1. Cornelis Bega, The young hostess, 1650-54
  2. François Boucher, The music lesson, c. 1745
  3. Peter Paul Rubens, The Garden of Love, mid 17th Century
  4. François Boucher, The enjoyable lesson, 1748

Large parts of this exhibition was just representations of bored women on terrible dates – or just trying to do their job, hey.

I’m willing to admit that maybe it was just François Boucher who was fixated on women not being able to play a goddamn flute with their own hands thankyouverymuch, but golly, the ennui of these women. Every one of these men sounded like such a promisingly cute geek in their profile, and then gave you an 45-minute spiel on Star Wars lore when you confused Darth Malgus for Darth Nihilus in passing.

No one can make you a third wheel unless you let them

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Unknown, The Cradle of Love, c. 1816

Odd one out?
It’s time to get creative, and think of a group activity where no-one will notice you’re a little extraneous to their needs. Bowling is good, theme park visits less so. And everyone loves dancing – until a slow song comes on.

Pls send nudes
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Unknown (Deruta manufacturer), Dish, 1520-1530

A large part of what I learned touring this exhibition was that artists have long loved using ancient mythology as an excuse to paint some tits. This one’s a little different.
The label for this item discussed the production of pottery to celebrate marriages and romantic unions, sometimes forming part of the dowry (the markers on this particularly item doesn’t entirely explain the context of it’s creation). The exposure of the breast in this item is unusual, but it’s a fun idea to make him wait for nudes until he puts a ring on it.
(Don’t mess around with your digital security, ladies. For trusted folks only)

Never date a musician
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Jacques André Portail, Young man seated, playing a lute, 18th century

They’re moody and mysterious, sitting around on rocks and throwing you cheeky looks,  until they ruin the mood by playing Wonderwall at your best friend’s birthday party. And then there’s the constant fear of the Taylor Swift treatment when you break up.

I didn’t tend to take many photos of the devotional section of this exhibition, as I’m not really one for making fun of religion – particularly not on Easter weekend. This is but a small taster of the over 200 works on display for free in this collection at the NGV.
I hope you enjoyed this slight deviation, while I continue to sort through my biggest sample yet. I collected 13 data points on 200 subjects, not considering that I didn’t necessarily have the skills to mine that data particularly well as yet. But I will be back – with charts!

Why I Call Myself a Romantic Realist

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*I attended a data analytics and visualisation workshop this week, and have been expressly forbidden from continuing to use pie charts. Bubble charts are where it’s at.

A quick note to explain the term

Sometimes my writing on Tinder can come off as a little cynical, but you’ll note underneath it all, I want people to do it right, because I want them to find love (even on a hook-up app). I am a romantic.
People expect women to be romantic. By no means is it always true, but there is an assumption. So what I’m saying is – I’m the kind of romantic who reads romance novels. I watch When Harry Met Sally… with alarming regularity. In fact, you can hook the Nora Ephron directly in to my veins, thanks.
But real life is infinitely more complicated than the happily ever after. The background I come from is not solely my story to tell, and given I write under my own name I don’t  want to expose real people, who still exist in a real marriage. But suffice to say that as I grew up, the friends I gravitated to were people a bit like me. For us the norm was divorce, single parents, step-parents and endless other domestic complications. Visiting a friend’s house and finding two parents who were loving and affectionate, who bantered instead of bickered, was like stepping in to an alternate universe. Why was no-one calling each other stupid or unreasonable?
So I’m a romantic. But I’m a realist. What does that mean? It means I truly believe in love, and believe it’s worth fighting for when you find it. Personally, I think it’s worth waiting for. But it also means that I know love can be fragile, and hard to find. And most of all – when it comes to love, actions speak louder than words. All the pretty words mean nothing, if you don’t act like it.