A Tinderella Story

I will probably be one of the only people who will ever openly admit that I unashamedly used* Tinder.

And you will probably not be the first person to judge me for it.

Please excuse me while I step up onto my dating soapbox for a moment. The stigma attached to Tinder is something I want to openly address to everyone who gives that ridiculously judgmental, mouth agape, unbelieving stare to their friends when they admit to downloading the app. The disbelief that anyone half-way normal would use a dating app is that incredulous to you? Did you know that serial killers have a disproportionately low purchase rate for smart phones? And yes, I may have completely made that up, just like most people make up the fact that only closet shut-ins and sex addicts use Tinder. Which they do, but it’s not like everyone on there is a psychopath. But here are a couple weirdos I’ve come across in my travels around the Tindernation:

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Meeting on Tinder: You download a ‘dating’ app that links to your Facebook profile. You list photos of yourself that display your attractiveness/fun demeanor and have a small blurb about you. You begin pursuing profiles of people (after selecting the age range and physical distance you are willing to go). You swipe right or left to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ based on a completely superficial profile based on looks and common interests/friends pulled from Facebook, and if both parties say ‘Yes’ then ‘It’s a Match!” and you can start talking to them. Now take a gander at what has been said:

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(What I’m displaying here is probably not going to help the case I’m arguing, but honestly some of what you see on the app is too funny not to share sometimes)

The main point that I want to make to everyone is that using Tinder is absolutely no different than meeting someone in a bar. Yet for some reason, meeting someone in a bar and going out with them is a completely acceptable social norm and meeting someone from Tinder is chalked up to be the equivalent of signing your own Missing Persons report.

Meeting in a bar: Initially, you scope out the bar seeking someone who is relatively the same age as you that you are relatively attracted to physically. Then you tepidly test the waters with causal eye glances to let them know you are interested and to see if it reciprocated. When mutual interest is confirmed, you start a conversation – attempting to find common ground with intelligence, humor, interests, or a shared affinity for the same beer. Depending on how your evening is going, you may only spend 10 minutes talking to a person who previously was considered a stranger and give them your phone number. In which case, you accept a date with them on the pretense of a drunken interaction, trusting that because you met them in public in the first place, they couldn’t possibly murder you.

I’m sorry, but that’s pretty much the same thing. Don’t worry though, I’m not fooling myself into thinking I’ll meet the perfect Tinderfella. I am aware there are varying factors that you can’t see on the internet like height, vocal pitch, and a genuine spark that can’t be manufactured over clever messages – but my core argument is the damn stigma attached to this app is overwhelming and I think it’s unwarranted. If I want to sit from the comfort of my home in my pajamas and search for the potential next love of my life during commercial breaks instead of going out to do it – I don’t want to be judged for it.

In a growing and changing generation, we are altering the way we form relationships both romantically and platonically. My friends can get to know me by quickly checking my latest Instagram posts, we can review our love interests on Lulu, and we can literally watch a newborn family member grow up on Facebook – all under the pretense that it is easier to gauge a person through a screen than in person. It’s no surprise to me that a generation of boys who grew up spending their free time playing Call of Duty with their friends using a headset, instead of sitting side by side, would choose to once again place a screen between themselves and a potential conquest.

As friend requests become more frequent than handshakes, we’re trading the Classifieds for Craigslist, and exchanging newspaper articles for 120 character Twitter posts, or worse, Buzzfeed GIF lists. Can it be so hard to believe that dating is the next form of traditional communication that we’ll bypass?

I would argue that it’s already happening.

Briana Blog

*Upon completing this post, I promptly deleted Tinder in favor a traditional dating methods, like stalking cute men in coffee shops longingly.

Fort Worth, I Love You.

fort worthWhen I first decided to stay in Texas sometimes I would catch myself wondering why I was still there I’d graduated past my initial reason for coming here in the first place. I chose Texas Christian University based on the close proximity to my longtime boyfriend and because I looked good great in purple, but the least appealing feature of school was it being in Fort Worthless (as I used to call it). While I was a student I assumed the level of conformity necessary to survive at TCU. Joining a sorority and having a general care for the football team became staples, yes, but I was getting an amazing education I wouldn’t trade for the world – which was clearly how to handle myself at the beer pong table.

Kidding. Sort of.

Then, I found a man who introduced me to another side of this lovely town. He helped me to reacquaint myself with the very massive world outside of the TCU bubble. I found a love for the local music, for the mom-and-pop shops around town, for the plethora of amazing people who choose to live here because they like a city and not a campus. I stumbled upon a network of people who filled me with a satisfying joy because they were individuals who saw Fort Worth as a fast-growing opportunity for fun and personal growth. clearforkFort Worth has a hometown vibe that is undeniable. Fairmount, where hipsters run-a-muck between craft beer paradise and dive bars full of familiar faces. Jukeboxes full of melodies handmade down the block from the bars in a home with a fully functioning front porch. A tightly knit community, clearly evident from the literal knitted decorations adorning the bike racks along the street.

coffeeThen cruise on down to the Stockyards where tourists come and go by day, and locals swarm the same spots every weekend. See the same cowboy hats and know exactly which dance moves they’ll be spinning out on the dance floor that night. Get asked the same questions, like where to eat or what to see and give the same generic answers, knowing deep down you’re a little proud of the kitschy culture down here where the smell of cow pies litters the air with the sound of plucky guitar strings and country twang accents.

sundance sqaureDowntown is a beacon of Fort Worth, with Sundance Square the center jewel among the glittering tree lights that line the quaint streets. Local stores dot the cobblestone street of Camp Bowie, reminding us  that everywhere in this city there is a collision of history, while forging onto new frontier. The dirty Trinity River glides throughout the city, but who can care less about cleanliness when you can watch a free concert from a tube at Panther Island Pavilion.

tube trinityOn a fortunate day off, I can wake up and grab locally roasted coffee from a barista who knows my name. I can go and sit in the Botanic Gardens or the Water Gardens. If by chance it’s a rainy day, I can go to one of the three museums nestled next to each other in the Cultural District and spend the day admiring a well-curated collection of artists from around the world. I have the option of going to a brewery tour, the zoo, bike riding, paddle boarding, or an outdoor concert on a small patch of green. The craziest part? The majority of these options are free because Fort Worth loves it’s people just as much as the people love it. It’s a mutually satisfying relationship that contributes to the friendly smiles, generous conversations, and general happiness you find threaded throughout this lovely city.

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Now, I realize it’s a no-brainer why I stayed. But somehow I still get questioned for my choice. This post is for those of you that don’t understand the wonderful nature of Fort Worth. Hopefully you don’t realize it is, in fact, terrific.

We don’t need it turning into Austin. I hear Dallas is nice.

What I’ve Learned Working at a Winery

I graduated in May 2013 and since then I have not really made any progress towards getting a job relating to my degree. But it’s due to a lack of effort or desire rather than rejection.

I started working at winery while I was still in college and I fell in love with it. My co-workers brought me joy, my customers made me happy, and my product made me drunk. What exactly was there to complain about?

But like any job, people come and go, procedures change, and customers cycle out over time. It’s inevitable. I still love my job, but since becoming a college graduate and then taking on a role as an assistant manager I’ve come to look at it from a very different perspective.

The set up of our winery is a bar and we are located in tourist part of the city. I’ve seen people from all over the country and world walk in. I’ve met people who know about vineyards and wine regions to those who deem Moscato and Boone’s Farm to be the ultimate wines. Ultimately I’ve begun to judge people based on how they walk into the winery. Do they look confused and lost? Do they look thirsty? Are they wearing anything bedazzled? Is there hair teased? All these check marks mentally run through my mind as I causally greet them and introduce our little business model.

Boones Farm: Your virginity never stood a chance.

Regardless of these seemingly pre-programmed questions, I’ve also been taught and re-taught not to judge a book by it’s cover. The woman with the thickest redneck accent is the wealthiest and most generous customer who I’ve encountered. The rough looking bikers who have become close friends who encourage adventure and portray a beautiful image of high school sweethearts 20 years later. The loner male wearing sagging jeans who wandered in on a Monday asking for Chianti with an impeccable Italian accent who wanted nothing more than a glass of wine and for someone to listen to his time stationed in Naples, Italy. The woman who just spent three weeks away for work, whose first place she wants to arrive is the winery because it literally feels like home to her.

These people remind me daily how many beautiful individuals there are in the world and how lucky I am to serve them and help them bring a bit of blurriness to their rather hectic every day lives. Moments like these punctuate the day in and day out at work and remind me why it matters that I am here. Strangers: I recognize you, I listen to you, and I deeply care about how your day was when no one else really gives a damn that you had an eye infection that caused you to lose your dog and now you are crying into your glass of Merlot and I’m bringing you a napkin to wipe up your tears.

On the flip side, there are those individuals who make you feel ashamed for being a server. These people relish in the idea of being demanding and ordering someone around, dangling a tip in your face in exchange for a smile, a glass of water, conversation, three glasses of wine, endless questions about how the wine is made, and two bags of bottles later they scribble in the tip line a measly two dollars and scurry out after turning the receipt paper over to hide their gross injustice to you. These people are small and weak in their every day lives and want to make someone, just for a moment, feel as insignificant as they feel daily. I feel sorry for them because they see me as a pair of hands holding a bottle, rather than for a person capable of being much more to them.

Throughout the myriad of tasting glasses, empty clanking of bottles, spilled wine, drunken laughter, and handshakes I hope that I’ve made a difference in someone’s life even if it was for a moment. I hope I am part of story later on down the road. I have faith that I am more than just a lowly wine-tress because I believe that I am.

More importantly, however, is the fact that I allow people to become a part of my story. I enjoy seeing their faces and hearing about their lives just as much as they enjoy the wine I serve them. At this junction, over a year into working here, I have come to love the people more than my co-workers and the wine. When my time comes to a close here and five years later I am applying for a job and I’m asked to explain a gap in my resume, I want to simply reply, “I was busy learning how to treat people they way we all want to be treated deep down by strangers.”

And I truly hope that’s sufficient because I’m not sure that, “I was busy being a wine-o” will be.

2014, Come at Me Bro.

It’s four whole days into a new year and I finally have a little perspective on my last year in the world.

I graduated college. I traveled 3,000 miles across the Western coast of America with my best friend. I moved into my first one bedroom apartment alone. I was given my first promotion at work. I fell in love and I broke a couple hearts at the same time. I finally shed some of the anxiety and stress that was haunting me daily last year, so much so that most of the people in my life describe my default mood as ‘ridiculously happy’. I went to Montreal, Canada for a couple days. I fulfilled my college goal of being the Creative Director for our university advertising team. I finally got a cat. I grew/am growing my hair out. And even though I didn’t get to travel outside North America this year, I was still able to host a few traveling Europeans on my couch, fulfilling my cultural thirst.

Overall, 2013 was a wonderful year.

729da6db8843a2252de972f690b13b00Just a refresher, I posted this blog almost a year ago and outlined what I wanted to achieve in 2013. Below are the resolutions I made to myself last year:

  1. Treat others how you want to be treated.
  2. Don’t let others define your happiness.
  3. Start believing that everything will work out and stop stressing about what could happen.
  4. Have the courage to trust myself and be confident in myself. Commit to actions that push me forward, instead of holding me back.
  5. Be happy and healthy.

I wrote these down on the very first page of my journal I bought and looked at them fairly frequently, enough so that I consciously kept to my goals throughout the year. Daily, I challenged myself and for the first time I’ve been able to clearly look back and say that I actually stayed true to my resolutions for the most part.

In 2014 I want to continue with these same resolutions and building a foundation for a better life for myself and those who interact with me on a daily basis. I’m challenging myself to write down one thing that makes me happy each day, whether it’s something small like drinking coffee in my sun-filled living room while listening to reggae or if it is a wonderful memory that I’ll always remember like dancing in the new year to my favorite band and pulling a neck muscle. Regardless of who, what, or where I find myself in the next year, I want to be mindful of how happiness is threaded throughout my daily life. It will be a nice obstacle to the negativity that can sometimes overwhelm us each day, to try and find the joy hidden beneath the unnecessary daily evils.

26e95b6b654e1f63d66b9498f6e7aca5I hope everyone else is setting attainable and positive goals for the coming year as well! I hope to travel abroad once more- hopefully teaching English somewhere (more on that later) – and travel within America to Nashville, Charlotte, and Washington D.C. on another cross country road trip, complete with camping and debauchery laden stories. But most of all I want to continue to grow into the badass bitch that I finally know I am meant to be. Cheers to everyone starting off the New Year right for you!

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2014: The Year of the Badass Bitches

My Last Hundred Bucks: Normal Texas Stuff

Where’d your last hundo go, Briana Wucinski?

$4.93: Starbucks large venti soy latte. It worries me that almost every one of these begins or contains an unnecessary coffee purchase. Then I realize how essential caffeine is to the world and I once again understand.

$15: Gas, because you can’t get anywhere in Texas without a car. Thank you wide open spaces.

$4: I chipped in for tacos with a friend. You also can’t go a week in Texas without tacos.

$25.98: Two bottles of wine I bought for our group of friends. Luckily this was paid back in copious amounts of cocktails at the next bar(s) we attended that evening.

$10: Brewery tour on a Saturday. This was possibly the best money I’ve spent so far, because not only did I get three fancy craft beers, I also got to keep the pint glass. My entire glassware collection has been cultivated from brewery tours’ free pint glasses. I consider it a thrifty bonus to getting day drunk on a Saturday afternoon.

$19: Splitting a very, very large pizza that ended up feeding me for my next three meals.

$24: Spent at various bars on booze that fuels my young 20-something blood. I ended up $4 short at the final bar and my friend had to spot me. Guess I’m out until my next payday.

Worth it.

Briana Wucinski lives in … Texas.

*Originally posted on The Billfold as part of their It Was Here and Then It Was Gone series.

Pope Francis: Church can’t ‘interfere’ with gays

bwucinski:

This interview with the new Pope gives me hope that once again the Catholic Church can mature and move forward in this new age of spirituality.

Plus, he digs on feminism. You go Pope. You go.

Originally posted on CNN Belief Blog:

By Eric Marrapodi and Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors

(CNN) — Pope Francis said the church has the right to express its opinions but not to “interfere spiritually” in the lives of gays and lesbians, expanding on explosive comments he made in July about not judging homosexuals.

In a wide-ranging interview published Thursday, the pope also said that women must play a key role in church decisions and brushed off critics who say he should be more vocal about fighting abortion and gay marriage.

Moreover, if the church fails to find a “new balance” between its spiritual and political missions, the pope warned, its moral foundation will “fall like a house of cards.”

The interview, released by Jesuit magazines in several different languages and 16 countries on Thursday, offers perhaps the most expansive and in-depth view of Francis’ vision for the Roman Catholic Church.

The pope’s comments don’t…

View original 977 more words

Somewhere Outside of New Mexico

110 degree truck stops and nights sleeping on a ground so cold you felt like your nipples would freeze off. Cities of millions to towns of barely a hundred. The coast of the pacific to the flatlands of Texas. Every mile in between filled with a sense of limbo. In between one place and never quite fully in another. Blue skies that are littered with the clouds you see from old world paintings. Empty nothingness stretching out for an endless eternity with nothing to look at but the paved road ahead. This is a road trip.

You wouldn’t think that two girls in a white convertible stuffed to the brim with anything and everything you could imagine would get a lot of looks. Well. Maybe you can. Maybe that’s why we bought tacky hats at roadside gas stations to obscure our red lipstick and blatant disregard for the standard look of a weary traveler.

We zigzagged between cities bustling with people, friends we were heading towards full throttle or strangers that would eventually meander into our journey. After a city we would nestle ourselves into the abyss of nature, huddled around a campfire that we built barely by the skin of our teeth and helluva lot of ingenuity and old business cards. In the darkness, we’d eventually come face to face with the startling fact that we were the only ones around for miles. Along the way we stopped by abandoned roadside diners that remind you how easy it is for life to come to a close. We’d screech the brakes to a halt to take a picture of a sunset, train tracks, rainbows, or a row of mailboxes so out of place that we had to document them. We would sit still in the night and look out onto the mountains or trees or oceans and just listen to the natural noise of the earth. This was our road trip.

If you want to hear the most stifling quiet on earth, stop along Route 66 in the Mojave desert around the edges of California. You won’t hear a thing. Not a bug, not a car, not a voice, not even a shriek of wind to break the unbearable silence. Just stifling quiet.

If you want to feel the enormity of nature, go to the Redwood Forest, where trees make skyscrapers seem manageable. Hundreds of years of growth, corralled in by mountains making them that much more unattainable. You look up and you realize no matter how low you ever feel, you have the memory of these trees to encourage you to keep growing up into the confident and magnificent person you were planted on this earth to be.

If you want to feel close to the edge of the earth, look down into the Grand Canyon. But don’t just look down, look out into the vast expansiveness of formation. See colors of gravel you didn’t know existed. Throw a rock down into the cavernous earth and relish in the reverberation of its noise. Drive into the campground at 1 in the morning and confuse a statue of a moose for a real, monstrous-sized elk moving into the woods. Allow yourself to wander alongside the canyon during the midnight hours and feel terror at the darkness. Allow yourself to feel bewildered. Allow yourself to feel the majestic nature of this world and feel bliss in knowing that you are witnessing it.

“If you want to see everything awesome and terrible about America, go to LA.” Stay in a house that reeks of weed with homemade art littering the walls. Lie on the ground of a bedroom that’s only decoration is an LED candle illuminating the emptiness of the room. Meet people you may never see again and reunite with those you can’t imagine never having met. Sit in traffic and still hate every waking moment of being there.

If you want to get to know someone, drive with them in a car for 9 days straight. Hear horribly pitched notes to your favorite song. Laugh uncontrollably at the most awesome rendition of Don’t Stop Believing you’ve ever seen. Feel someone looking at you with eyes that don’t judge, but rather know how your feeling without speaking a word.

But hear the same spoken words a thousand times. “Where are the jalapeño chips?” “What’s the exit? Fuck you Siri!” “I have to pee.” “Can we listen to Colors of the Wind again?” “Is your phone charged yet?” “I’ll have a latte with an extra shot.” “How many beers are left? We need another six pack.” “I have zero bars.” “Does Amaro or Lo-Fi look better?” I need to buy this.” “We should check out the Goodwill here.” “Of course we’ll make it.”

Spend hours looking at America together, listening to the same reggae CD on repeat, eating in the most unladylike way with the most grotesque food and smile because you have shared something together that will transcend a period of your life into a timeless memory of youth.

If you want these things then take a road trip. Go. Flee your life for brief moment and get perspective on what matters in life. When you return, everything will still be waiting patiently for you. See America for everything that you’ve never known it could be. Witness what the world looks like with nothing shining down on it but the moon and the stars. Escape your responsibilities and troubles, knowing that you’ll eventually have to come back and scoop up up the littered remains of your life. Feel the lightness from being in a moment so free from attachment. Realize you have nothing holding you back from such a trip but the life you yourself have created. So if you want to see creation, leave what you have manufactured to witness what the world created of itself.

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