This whole couple trap (Dialectics, no. 6)


Cathy and Ella have been talking on the phone and Ella, who is happily engaged, is trying to arrange a date for Cathy.

-Come on, we could all go out to dinner together and you’ll meet him there. Don’t say no! How long are you planning on staying single?
-I think it’s rude to mention my being single every time.
-Frankly, I don’t feel like falling in this whole couple trap.
-I think you are the one being rude now. What trap???
-I’ve come to realize how you couples operate. Your motives. You want everyone else to be a couple so you can compare your relationship to them. So you can arrange to go out with other couples just to brag about how much you’re in love with your dear one, all the trips you take together, your holidays, your breakfast in bed, how he takes care of you.
-This is insane!
-Is it? You guys know it’s impossible to compare your relationship with a single person, that’s why you all wish for us to be like you. Couples, couples everywhere, let’s compare ourselves to other couples, let’s see who’s better off, see who’s going to win the race.

At that point Ella hangs up the phone. It’s been three months and they haven’t talked since.

The Social Media Network with the long name (Dialectics, no. 5)


This time, in our hypothetical situation, it’s Tom and Emma, longtime friends in their late-30s, who have met up for their lunch break on a weekday. The café is bustling with people on this cold winter day, people who rush into its warm cosiness for a hot drink, wearing their colourful scarves and heavy jackets. Emma, who’s got a cold, keeps blowing her nose. Tom, more reserved, who used to have a crush on Emma some time ago, is just happy to be with her at this moment and willing to try her new ideas…


Emma: You should create an account on SuperUltraMePhotoCosmeticEnhancementAlternative, the brand new social network everyone’s talking about. Mark and Alex from work have already signed up. My boss too.
Tom: Don’t be stupid. You know I’m having a hard time already trying to keep up with my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn accounts. Why on earth would I sign up for a new one, which I can’t even remember how to pronounce properly?
Emma: This one’s different. You upload a photo and it automatically beautifies it, no need for filters or anything. You just input a list of your friends — the ones you find most attractive — and the app makes sure to analyse their face and body shots and make you look even better compared to them. You remember Samantha from the PR department, right? Well, check out this picture of me… Who’s hotter now me or her?
Tom: Oh my God Emma, this doesn’t even look like you.
Emma: What do you mean? It’s me, look this is my blue dress, the one you like!
Tom: But you’ve got blue eyes here!
Emma: Are you retarded or what? Of course they’re blue in the photo, Samantha’s got blue eyes, that’s what makes her so sexy among the staff.
Tom: But in this photo you’re Caucasian!
Emma: So?
Tom: Well I guess this is your dress indeed.
Emma: Yeah, see?
Tom: OK. Well, what if Samantha sees your new photo and decides to use it as input to improve her existing photos? Like, haven’t you thought about it?
Emma: Oh Tom! Here’s the good part. Once you’ve suggested a person you want to out-beauty (that’s the term), that person can’t pick you as a model to out-beauty you. It’s a first-come first-served scenario. You get penalised and then you get your first sticker.
Tom: A sticker?
Emma: Yes a sticker with your photo saying “Bitch”. This is sticker no. 1, as a warning, and if you violate the rules and try to out-beauty someone else who has already out-beautied you then you get sticker no. 2: “Slut”.
Tom: I see, and is there a third sticker or does it go on like that forever until the system runs out of profanity?
Emma: No, you get the third and final sticker. “Queen bitch!” Which is a huge accomplishment in itself! Anyway, are you going to sign up or what?