Love, Relationships

Would You Date Someone Who Looks Like Your Ex? – Vanessa Tai

Online dating website has partnered with an LA-based dating agency to find you potential partners who look like your ex. Vanessa Tai finds the idea creepy, and frankly a little depressing. 

Yesterday, I chanced upon the news that world’s biggest dating website has partnered with an LA-based “personalised dating service” called Three Day Rule, to pair people up using a facial recognition software. All you need to do is provide them with pictures of your ex and the technology will trawl through the database to search for people with a similar facial structure. (On a slightly unrelated note, I wonder if they’ll accept pictures of our favourite celebs? Haha!)

According to Three Day Rule’s founder Talia Goldstein, “I noticed over the years that people have a type, and it’s not based on ethnicity, hair colour, or body type. Their faces look very similar.”

Fair enough. While I agree that each of us may have a certain type that we go for — whether consciously or sub-consciously — why would anyone want someone who looks like their ex? Wouldn’t it be awkward, not to mention painful? Personally, I prefer to start afresh. Yes, perhaps these sophisticated computer algorithms may determine from past lovers that I have a “type” and perhaps I may even be attracted to these matches, but the idea of having a “genetically profiled partner” creeps me out on so many levels.

Maybe it’s because I still believe falling in love is a spontaneous act, not something that can whittled down to numbers or arbitrary perimeters. While I can understand the rationale behind searching for a compatible partner based on certain set rules, I still think it’s contrived to try and find a match based on a particular “checklist”. As you may already know, even if someone ticks all the boxes on your checklist, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll definitely fall in love with or even get along with them. On more than one occasion, I’ve tried setting up friends whom I thought were very compatible — in terms of work, interests, and values — but nothing ever came out of it. And almost all of them told me the same thing – “There was no connection.”

A great connection is crucial, especially when you're still getting to know the person.

A great connection is crucial, especially when you’re still getting to know the person.

Being able to connect with a person, I believe, is ultimately the most important factor in determining whether you’ll like to continue dating him or her. Of course, later on in the relationship, other factors like timing, being able to give and take, and so on will come into play. But at the beginning, a solid connection is absolutely necessary. In the past, I’ve met guys who ticked almost all the boxes on my so-called “checklist” but there was simply no spark or connection between us, no matter how we tried to force it. Then there were guys whom I never thought I would be compatible with but as it turned out, we had so much in common and so much to say to each other.

That said, I don’t deny that dating websites and dating agencies are still viable resources for finding a mate. However, my point is, algorithms can only get us so far. Love and the emotions that come along with it are capricious and unpredictable. It’s pretty impossible to use science or math to craft “the perfect partner”. And by the way, newsflash: there’s no such thing as the perfect partner. Finding and sustaining love is still about putting in work. We need to work on ourselves by engaging in activities that help us discover our identity and build self-confidence. In addition, we need to continually push ourselves out of our comfort zone to go out and meet people from all walks of life. Believe me, your dating experience will be far more rewarding than if you left it entirely to a computer software.

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 27-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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Love, Relationships

6 Scandalous Things You Must Know About Sexting – Matthew Fam

The sexting revolution is upon us all. With in-built cameras becoming the norm for gadgets and online dating applications aplenty, connecting has become so instant. Enter rallies of kinky text messages, and the hotly debated sexy snap. Ultimately, it’s one’s prerogative to send a dirty picture of herself. In the case you do, take note of these tips:

Do you really want to be sending intimate snaps of yourself?

Do you really want to be sending intimate snaps of yourself?

Why you absolutely shouldn’t do it:

1. Unwanted Appearances
When you release an intimate image to someone, you’re at his mercy. So, you either trust that your chat partner doesn’t circulate these potentially embarrassing shots, or don’t send them at all.

As of late, there have been Tumblr pages dedicated to these raunchy shots- most of which containing reader-submitted images without the subject’s consent. Unless you derive a thrill from exhibitionism, you don’t want to be making an unwanted appearance! Even if you manage to contact the web administrator to take them down, chances are, other people have already seen it within that window of time (and had the chance to save it for future distribution).

If the possibility of this happening totally freaks you out, don’t risk it- especially to a total stranger.

Uhh, I don't think he'd be deleting those photos anytime soon...

Uhh, I don’t think he’d be deleting those photos anytime soon…


2. The Psycho Ex-Boyfriend
You know those tacky Channel 8 serial drama episodes, where a crazy ex-lover threatens to release compromising photos in a fit of revenge? You get the drift. Yes, as if sexting strangers was bad enough, sending dirty pictures to your loved ones may also pose a problem.

Who’s to say that when things get sour between you two, he’ll be respecting your intimate snaps sent over the course of your relationship? Have a matured discussion over such sensitive material (I don’t recommend “Delete my photos. NOW!!”) without any hair pulling, kicked groins or screaming.


3. The Awkwardness Of It All!
Careers have been ruined over the tarnishing of professional images. Think Christopher Lee, that Craigslist congressman from New York who resigned over an exposed shirtless snap.

Considering how small Singapore is and inter-connected our social circles are, one innocent photo share can wreck your reputation. A good girl friend of mine showed a dirty snap of an ex who happened to be our mutual friend. Awkward. As. HELL. Now, I can’t look at said person in the eye without his merchandise seared across my mind, thank you very much.

Really want to do it? Then heed these tips:

4. Discretion, darling.
Fine. So you have a bangin’ bod that you absolutely have to show him, because not flaunting all those hours at the gym is criminal. By all means, snap away. (And make sure you get an eye candy of a shot in return!) But for the love of humanity, please exercise discretion.

If you intend to send your sexy snaps over, protect yourself by making them as anonymous as possible. You may strategically crop off your head, or reveal sections of yourself instead. Download censoring applications such as PhotoCensor Free to keep any unwanted bits blurred, such as a background that might easily identify yourself. Plus, it’s a great way to tease him without compromising all of your modesty.

Snapchat was MADE for sexting.

Snapchat was MADE for sexting.

5. Snapchat Is For Sexting
Sorry, I’m totally calling dibs on this: Snapchat is for sexting. It’s a smart way to send your dirty pictures without leaving behind any tracks. What’s special with this chat application is its photo-sending function. You get to set an amount of time (ranging from 1 to 10 seconds) in which the recipient sees your photo before the dirty evidence gets destroyed. Plus, you will be alerted if your pervy chat partner decides to sneak in a screenshot. Seriously. Does this not reek of sexting potential??

What if he wants it and you don’t?

6. (Sometimes) Good Girls Finish First
Don’t send it if you don’t want to. This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how the pressure to comply and feel desired can be.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with standing firm in what you believe in, even if it means a strict, no-sexting, no-dirty-anything rule.  You have control over your body. And if he insists that you send a dirty snap, he’s probably not worth your time in the first place. Ignore him and move on: girl friend, you are better than that.

At the end of the day, if you choose to sext, rock it out. Feel great in your own skin and be effing fabulous. Be responsible with who you send your snaps to and fire away!

So, what do YOU think about sexting? Share with us in the comments section!

About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and freelancer. He writes, teaches, and performs for the stage. Matthew enjoys museum visits, origami, and is passionate about Singaporean Theatre.


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Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] What’s The Fuss About Tinder? – Vanessa Tai

Tinder is a hot new dating app, and it’s looking to change the face of Internet dating. But is it all it’s cracked up to be? 

I was recently having drinks with fellow Material World co-founders Denise and Lili, when Denise asked me, “Hey, so have you heard of Tinder?” I must have given her a blank stare because she continued excitedly, “It’s this new dating app, but how it works is quite different. Basically, you’re shown profiles of the people within a set distance from you. And because your Tinder account is connected to your Facebook account, it accesses pictures from your Facebook page. If you like what you see, you swipe right. And if you don’t, just swipe left.”

Hmm, interesting. So it’s kind of like playing Hot or Not with a huge pool of strangers. (Well, they aren’t really strangers, since some of these people may be on your Facebook friends’ network.) And c’mon, let’s admit it. Don’t we all secretly play Hot or Not in our minds when we’re out socialising? No? Just me?

Anyway, I was intrigued enough to download and play around with the app that very evening. Here’s my verdict:

1.  It’s so simple

Unlike other dating sites or applications that require you to fill in long questionnaires about your personality, or where you have to sift through hundreds of “I’m juz a simple guy” profiles, Tinder cuts through all the crap to show you what’s most pertinent – how the other person looks. And it’s not about being shallow either. After all, in face-to-face social interactions, the first thing we notice about the other person is their appearance. Yes, of course it can be argued that in real-life interactions, we may look past the person’s looks if he/she is funny or interesting to talk to. But hey, if everyone had the time to go out and meet people, would we still be on Tinder?

2. There’s less risk of rejection 

Although it’s hardly a taboo for women to make the first move anymore, we gotta admit it still stings a little when you “wink” or “wave” at a potential mate, and don’t receive a reply. Or worse, if you crafted a witty and thoughtful message, only to receive … stone cold silence. With Tinder, you’re only taken to the instant messaging feature if both of you swiped to the right. That way, at least both of you are already mildly interested. In the spirit of full disclosure, I only got matched with two guys during my one hour of fiddling around with Tinder, but we didn’t message each other in the end. (My excuse? It was 2am. I couldn’t think of anything more witty than a “Hi,” so I decided to roll over and sleep instead. Very romantic, I know.)

3. It eliminates the creep factor

Any woman who’s put herself out there on dating sites will know the horrors that lurk on the interwebs. From obscene pictures to persistent messaging, there are some really creepy men out there. I like the fact that on Tinder, the only people who get to message me are people I’ve already sort of “approved”. As an added security measure, you get to see if you have any mutual friends with the dude before swiping right or left. In fact, there were a couple of guys I thought were cute but because they were mutual friends with people I don’t really care to associate with, I swiped left instead.

"Hmm ... cute or not?"

“Hmm … cute or not?”

4. It’s mindless fun 

Because you’re just swiping right and left, it becomes like a game that you whip out any time you have a few spare moments. I downloaded the app onto my iPad, which I hardly bring out with me, so I don’t check in much. But for people who have it on their phones, it becomes something they do to pass time. In fact, some articles indicate that the average user checks the app 11 times per day for seven minutes at a time!

5. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, Tinder probably won’t work for you.

As fun and convenient Tinder is, it’s definitely not the best platform for those looking for a serious relationship. I mean, yes, you could be one of those exceptional cases where you meet the guy offline, hit it off, fall in love, the whole works. But this “swipe, swipe, swipe” style of browsing through potential mates feels more like an online shopping experience than an earnest search for a life partner. I guess Tinder is a nice-to-have tool for our hook-up culture. That said, like a casual hook-up, it’s fun and stress-free but ultimately not very fulfilling.

What are your experiences like with Internet dating? Share with us in the Comments section below or Tweet me at @VannTaiTweets! 

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Vanessa Tai talks about navigating the often-confusing world of singledom. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. 

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Lifestyle, Love, Relationships

How To Win At Online Dating – Vanessa Tai

material-world-singapore-online dating-top

According to dating agency Lunch Actually’s recent survey results, online dating is on the rise in Singapore. 51 percent of the 788 respondents from Singapore said they used online dating platforms to find a potential mate. This is a huge jump from a mere 26 percent in 2009. Considering how upwardly mobile and tech-savvy society has become, these results don’t come as much of a surprise. However, even with online dating becoming more prevalent, it seems there are many people who haven’t quite figured out how to make it work for them.

Now I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but my few months of dabbling with OkCupid have given me some insight into the Do’s and Don’ts of online dating.

DO … have an interesting profile.
There are a gazillion profiles out there with same-ish bland introductions that read, “Just a simple guy,” or “I enjoy hanging out with good friends but I’m also comfortable being alone.” Online dating is similar to being at a party … how are you going to stand out if you present yourself to be just like everybody else? You don’t have to go on and on about your likes and dislikes; honesty and a good dose of humour would work better. Here’s a screen shot of what a more interesting profile looks like:

material-world-singapore-ok cupid-1

DON’T … be a creep/be corny.
I once received a message from a guy where the subject header was, “10 reasons why we should be f- buddies.” Just no.

As for being corny, I’m just going to leave this self-explanatory screen shot here:


DO … make the effort to come up with an interesting introductory message.
Too often, people get caught up with “dating being a numbers game,” so they mass-send the same message to scores of profiles, hoping a few will reply. Not only is that insincere, the recipient will know he or she is receiving a mass message and will be less likely to respond. A better idea would be to comment on an interesting point (or photo) on the person’s profile and ask them about it.

DON’T … put all your eggs in one basket.
Online dating is now just not confined to the web. It has gone mobile through different mobile dating apps like Singapore Singles Around Me and Lovestruck. With this added convenience, it’s easy to become addicted to scrolling through the seemingly endless profiles, hoping you’ll click on The One. However, it’s probably healthier to view online dating as just another avenue to get to know new people. If you really want to expand your network, go out and join interest groups, sign up for new classes or attend singles’ parties!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. She loves reading about people’s hilarious online dating fails. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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