The founders of Smash sit down with for casual dating tips & stories

The founders of Smash were fortunate to recently spend time with the fantastic team at to share more about the innovative casual dating concept took hold to make dating more fun and less frustrating for millions of users worldwide. Take a read of the article here where we go through the app’s concept in more detail and offer some tips on how to approach dating with the right mindset and achieve your desired outcome. is home to the web’s top dating experts.

Why Hook-up Culture Shouldn’t Bring You Guilt

Let’s speak about hook-up culture, ladies. It’s natural to feel bad after a hook-up but don’t. Society makes us feel like we’re doing something terrible, yet between 60 and 80 percent of North American college students do it. 

Yes, you read it correctly: hooking up is normal! It’s a natural part of life; we shouldn’t feel bad about it. Though not feeling guilty about it might be difficult, there are ways to ease the worry. How? With knowledge

Throughout this post, we’ll go through the hook-up culture and how you may lessen the anxiety that comes with it.

Understanding Hook-up Culture

A hook-up culture is one in which casual sexual interactions are the norm. Hooking up was formerly frowned upon, but it’s now an accepted part of the dating scene. These “Hook-ups” might range from a one-night stand to friends with benefits to anonymous sex.

An essential thing to remember is that hook-up culture is nothing to be embarrassed by. In fact, it allows young people to explore their sexuality and discover what they want in a partner.

But, as we all know, not worrying or feeling guilty is easier said than done. Typically, this culture doesn’t fit with traditional values and relationship views. As a result, it may cause guilt, particularly for women who may feel they are not living up to society’s standards.

Why Do You’ve Pre- and Post-Hook-up Anxiety?

Hook-up anxiety, as previously said, occurs. And no, this isn’t just for before hook-ups; it’s also after. Women experience this for a variety of reasons.

One of the key reasons is that society expects women to be more restrained when it comes to casual sex. This expectation stems from the belief that women should be viewed as pure and innocent, whereas males are permitted to be sexually promiscuous.

Additionally, self-doubt and fear of rejection can contribute to this anxiety. Women may be concerned about what the other person will think of them after the hook-up or whether they will be judged for being “easy.”

But keep in mind that you’re in charge of your romantic life and should not feel guilty about wanting to hook up.

Can You Reduce This Worry of Hook-ups?

Of course! Any anxiety may be handled since it starts in our minds. There are several methods for reducing hook-up anxiety. Some of the most effective are the following:

  • Don’t compare yourself to others – Everyone’s hook-up experiences are unique, so don’t compare yourself to others. It’s easy to believe that everyone else is always hooking up and that you’re the only one who isn’t. But this isn’t the case.
  • Be honest with yourself – Be honest about what you want from a hook-up, and don’t do it if you’re uncomfortable. It’s critical to understand your motives for hooking up and ensure that you’re doing it for the right reasons. And remember, a relationship is possible from a hook-up, but never the main goal, as 63% of college students get into relationships after a casual hook-up. 
  • Surround yourself with supportive friends – Surround yourself with individuals who support and accept your decisions. Having a solid social network might help you feel more confident in your decisions and lessen emotions of guilt and worry.
  • Communicate your boundaries – It’s critical to be honest about what you want from a hook-up. This may help relieve any fears you have about the interaction. Knowing your limits and communicating them to the other person might help you feel more in control of the situation.
  • Practice self-care – Self-care means taking care of yourself both physically and mentally before and after a hook-up. This might include getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and exercising. It’s also vital to take time after a hook-up to reflect on your feelings and emotions and to discuss them with a trusted friend or family member. 

These tips can help you make the hook-up culture look less worrisome. We recommend using them since they will make your experience more pleasurable and enjoyable.

Knowing What You Want Can Also Help… 

You shouldn’t only include the above tips; generally, knowing what you want from the hook-up culture can help massively. 

It can help since you will understand what you want and can communicate it to the other person. This way, everybody is on the same path and knows exactly what each person wants/desires. 

With the hook-up scene, you’ll be surprised that various “options” exist. These consist of the following: 

  • Friends with benefits – A sexual connection between two friends that is not serious. It can be a way to experiment with physical closeness without the pressure of a romantic commitment.
  • One-night stand – A one-night stand is a one-time sexual encounter with no expectation of further contact. It may be a means to satisfy a bodily craving without making an emotional investment.
  • Anonymous sex – This refers to a sexual interaction with someone whose identity is unknown. It may be a safe place to experiment with sexuality without fear of criticism or rejection.
  • Casual dating – Casual dating is when two people are casually dating but aren’t committed to each other (like friends with benefits but a different name). This hook-up type might allow you to try out new partners and experiences without the pressure of exclusivity.
  • Short-term relationships – Short-term relationships have an end date or aren’t meant to be long-term. This hook-up might provide friendship and intimacy without committing to a long-term engagement.

Knowing what you want from a hook-up might help you feel more in control and lessen emotions of guilt and worry. Therefore, if you’re feeling hook-up anxiety, we strongly recommend you better understand what you want. 

So, Is Casual Dating Bad? 

As you can see, casual dating or the hook-up culture is okay for women and men. It’s a part of life; you shouldn’t feel guilty about exploring it. 

Remember, you’re in charge of your sexual life, and you should not allow society’s standards to influence your decisions; it’s your life, so live it!

If you want to hook up with someone, then download Smash. It’s a great place to find that cheeky hook-up and is available on iOS and Android.

What’s The Deal With “Casual” Relationships?

Relationships… It’s a confusing topic. Especially nowadays, with Millenials and the upper ages of Gen Z. Why? Well, young people aren’t urgently looking for serious relationships anymore. 

The dating scene has changed from what it once was. Back in the day, men and women fought for each other because finding a partner 50+ years ago was challenging, as social media or Smash didn’t exist. 

And now, dating options for everyone are endless, and it’s possible to connect with people worldwide. You don’t need to find a “traditional” relationship quickly; you can explore other options, like something casual. 

Wait, casual? Yes, dating doesn’t need to be serious. It can just be fun, and that’s it. No commitments, seriousness, or heartbreaks, just fun. 

Sounds interesting, right? It’s a relationship style that many younger people are seeking nowadays. But what does something casual mean?

What is a “Casual” relationship? 

A casual relationship is exactly what it sounds like. It’s laid-back! It’s simply a couple that isn’t as serious as a monogamous relationship. 

Casual relationships are whatever you make them! But usually consist of one of the following: 

  • Fling – No-strings-attached relationship centered on sexual friends and enjoyment
  • Friends with benefits (FWB) – Combines two people’s friendships with an element of sexual closeness.
  • A booty call – One person contacts the other for casual sex with no other emotional connection.
  • Open relationship – Consists of a primary romantic or sexual partnership, but both partners are free to explore other relationships.

Why do people have casual relationships?

It’s clear to see the difference between casual and serious relationships. And, for some, it’s easy to choose between them. 

Typically speaking, people want something casual because:

  • It allows for sexual pleasure without a strong relationship commitment. 
  • It lets people explore their sexual or romantic interests without any long-term dedication. 
  • It’s free of the limitations of traditional relationships, allowing you to seek other romantic or sexual experiences without any concerns.

As you can see, somebody who enjoys casual relationships wants more freedom. They don’t want to commit long-term or emotionally because they might not like it getting in the way of their careers, goals, or life. 

How can you find a casual relationship on a dating app? 

Casual dating is becoming more popular yearly, with around 15% of Americans actively seeking one. And luckily, it’s becoming easier and easier to find casual relationships due to dating apps. 

When you use a dating application, increase your chances of finding a relationship of this style by: 

  • Being honest and clear with your intentions from the get-go.
  • Respecting other people’s feelings and dating desires.
  • Using a dating app’s filter features and target those looking for this type of relationship. 

There isn’t a “quick” way to find someone else looking for a casual relationship. It’s all about searching, being transparent, finding someone you like, and reaching a casual relationship agreement. But if you want it bad enough, you’ll certainly get it! 

Find your friends with benefits!

If you’re interested in a casual relationship, start searching for a partner. Smash is dedicated to casual dating and is free for Android and iOS

Why It’s Time to Consider an Open Relationship

If you want to have more than one romantic or sexual partner, it’s time to give up on traditional monogamy and look for an open relationship, which can be honest, authentic, fun, and something that can spice up your relationship.

Are you tired of the traditional model of monogamy and wondering if an open relationship might be better for you? Or maybe you’re in a relationship, and you and your partner are thinking about making things more open?

It happens, and more than ever these days… YouGov did a survey in 2020, and only 56% of the people who answered said that complete monogamy is what they want in a relationship.

Yes, you did hear that correctly! 44% of people want more than one partner. So, don’t be scared by the idea of an open relationship; it’s becoming more and more common every day.

But the question is, “do you want it?”. It’s difficult to answer, so in this post, we’ll discuss why you might want to switch to an open relationship and become polyamorous.

What is an open relationship?

First things first, you need to understand what an open relationship is:

“In an open relationship, both people agree that they are free to have romantic and/or sexual relationships with other people.”

As you can see, a polyamorous relationship is about more than just sexual encounters. It could be in a romantic setting, such as going on dates with different people, and so forth. 

Even though an open relationship has a clear definition, each can be different. You don’t have to follow any “rules.” Instead, you and your partner should discuss what you want and what’s not okay in the relationship.

For example, a couple could call each other their “primary” partner. However, they’re allowed to hook up with “secondary” partners. 

That’s the way most open relationships work. But there could be rules and limits, like not hooking up with each other’s friends and only seeing secondary partners on Sundays, or Mondays, depending on how fruity you feel!

Even if your relationship is open, you and your partner should make a set of rules that you both agree to follow. Undoubtedly, it’ll remove many problems during the open relationship because both people will understand what is and isn’t respectful.

Monogamy vs. Polygamy: What’s the difference?

Great, you now have a fundamental understanding of an open relationship. That’s perfect, but around this topic, you’ll see two phrases appear: “Monogamy” and “Polygamy.” 

Like open relationships, it’s essential to understand these two phrases when deciding whether to introduce this type of relationship into your life. 

And, trust us, it’ll help in the long run. The last thing you want to do is approach a monogamist individual and ask them to hook up because you’re a polygamist. Yeah… That would be awkward. 

Luckily, the differences are easy to understand. Briefly, monogamy is a type of relationship in which two people agree to only be sexually and romantically involved with each other, while polygamy is a type of relationship in which each person has more than one spouse at the same time.

Why open relationships don’t work… Or do they?

If you use social media, such as Facebook, TikTok, or perhaps Reddit, you’ll find that open relationships are a hot topic. 

However, it has a 50/50 reaction online. You have some people who love the idea and others who don’t. But does that mean a polyamory relationship doesn’t work? 

Simply, no. Some people might prefer a non-monogamy relationship. It all depends on who they are and their preferences.

“If you really love someone and want to build a successful relationship with them, be open with each other, be real to each other and give each other plenty of space, time apart, and freedom.” – Mouloud Benzadi 

Typically speaking, most people believe that open relationships work because of the following: 

1.   Flexibility and freedom

People in open relationships can have other sexual and romantic partners, which can make the relationship feel freer and more flexible. Without question, this can appeal to people who want to feel free of the rules of traditional relationships. 

2.   Getting rid of jealousy

When people in open relationships are honest and open about their other relationships, it can help to lessen jealousy and feelings of insecurity. This is because both partners know about their relationships with other people and agree with them; No secrets or lying is happening.

3.   Exploration of sexuality

Some individuals feel more at ease exploring their sexuality in an open relationship than in a monogamous relationship. With this ability to explore, people can use this to satisfy their curiosity and discover more about themselves and their desires.

4.   Alternative to exclusivity

Some people may need more time to be ready for or interested in an exclusive relationship. However, they still want to feel committed to one person and work together. An open relationship can be a good compromise because it allows both emotional and practical support within the relationship while having sexual and romantic freedom outside of it.

5.   Strong communication and trust

For open relationships to work, there must be good communication and trust. Partners must be able to talk about their wants, limits, and worries openly and honestly. This level of talking to each other can help the relationship grow in trust and understanding.

6.   Long distance 

Those in a long-distance relationship usually put themselves on one another. Depending on the individual, this might not be healthy. We all need romantic and sexual relationships. As a result, while our primary partner is away, many use open relationships for long distances. It ensures that you have a supportive relationship even when they’re not there. 

Should you be in an open relationship?

If the above sounds like something you want, then an open relationship might be for you. However, you can’t do this alone. For a polyamory relationship to work, you need a partner that also agrees to the type of relationship. 

And what’s the best way to express ideas? To Talk! Sit down, discuss your values, needs, and desires with your spouse, and see what they think.  

You never know; perhaps they’ve also been thinking the same thing. If so, you can create rules around your open relationship and slowly trial it, seeing how you both like it. 

But what if my spouse doesn’t want this? Of course, this can happen. And, again, that’s totally fine. Only some people like this type of relationship. However, from here, it’s your decision to respect your spouse or move on to another partner that wants this type of relationship. 

In the end, you and your partner should decide if you want to be in an open relationship based on what feels genuine and satisfactory to you both.

Even celebrities have open relationships…

Many think that open relationships are taboo. However, they couldn’t be more wrong. This type of relationship can appear in all lives, even well-known celebrities! 

Yep, you heard that right. There are many celebrities with open marriages and relationships.

One of the most notable relationships of this style in the world of celebrities must be between Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith. 

Wow. We remember this like it was yesterday. The couple was monogamous during their earlier years of being together. However, in a 2018 episode of Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook show “Red Table Talk,” she revealed they’re in an open relationship. 

As both celebrities were highly known, it was a shock to many. However, it comes with good reasoning, as explained by Jada:

She said that they have an “abundance mentality” in their relationship, which means that they believe there are enough love, success, and resources for everyone and that they don’t have to be possessive or territorial with each other. 

It’s a perfect example of two individuals coming together and agreeing to the “T&Cs” of their open relationships. You can see that both feel like they have a “grown” understanding of each other and know they have a “different form of exclusivity.” 

And this isn’t one in a blue moon. Many other celebrities choose this relationship style, such as Mo’Nique & Sidney Hicks, Nico Tortorella & Bethany C. Meyers, and Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie. 

What is the moral of the story? It’s very normal to be interested in an open relationship! 

Is it time for you to consider an open relationship? 

We can’t tell you whether it’s time to think about an open relationship. Undoubtedly, it’s a decision only you can make based on your values, desires, and circumstances.

But we can definitely help you find the answer…

You should consider what an open relationship means to you and whether it fits your relationship goals and expectations. If yes, you must move on to the most important step, communication! 

Yep, then you need to tell your spouse what you think. When you do this, talk to your partner openly and honestly to find out if they’re interested in an open relationship.

Once you have spoken to them openly, you may seek a secondary partner. Smash can help you find that somebody. Download from the App Store or Google Play today and find that partner you’ve been looking for. 

6 Tips to Take a Great Selfie on Smash 

Ever taken a selfie and thought, “Do I really look like that?”. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. 

Selfies are difficult—unless you’re an A-list celebrity spending thousands on makeup and digital designers. But for the everyday “Normal” person, it’s usually a cringy thought and something we want to avoid. 

Are you that “Normal” person? Great, Smash can help! Smash takes selfies and dating to another level. Instead of uploading your best photo (we’re all guilty of this), it requests a new selfie every few hours. 

“But, Smash, why would you do this?”. We wanted to reduce the number of catfishers on dating apps (which is a whopping 40% of users) and provide you with a more realistic experience. 

However, that does leave us with one issue. You need to know how to take a great selfie. 

How to take the perfect selfie 

1. Camera quality

What’s the number 1 way to ruin a beautiful selfie? Well, poor camera quality. Trust us, ladies and gentlemen, it isn’t appealing.

Luckily, most of us have a good-quality camera. Experts suggest a somewhat “Decent” camera is around 6 megapixels, and, conveniently, our trusty little iPhones X’s (and newer generations) have higher megapixels.

But wait. That isn’t all. You can generally make your photos appear higher quality by:

  • Using a light source behind the camera that points toward your face. 
  • Avoiding flash, as this can make your skin look shiny and greasy. 
  • Balancing your camera on something stable or invest in a tripod, as this can help with focusing (more about this below)

Great. You know one of the six tips on how to take a great selfie, meaning you’re now 16.66% more likely to get a match! 

2. Focus

A camera’s focus helps bring attention to an area in a photo. And what’s the most critical element of a selfie? You! 

Luckily, focusing on an image is somewhat simple. Why? Well, 85% of Americans have a smartphone, which generally come with two photo-focusing features: 

  • Auto-focus – The smartphone will automatically focus on the larger object in the frame. 
  • Manual-focus – You will need to tap on your screen before taking a photo to get the camera to focus on that particular area. 

It doesn’t matter which is supported by your smartphone; make sure the camera is focused on you. If it’s focused on another object in the frame, it’ll make you appear a blurry mess—not ideal for a dating app. 

3.   Physical appearance 

Have a good personality? Great. But right now, that doesn’t help. Users of Smash will only see an image of you and nothing else. Therefore, physical appearance matters the most. 

When you get noticed about updating your selfie, prepare yourself. Don’t sit on the couch and take a selfie. Instead, freshen up. Even if this is a quick 5 to 10 minutes makeover, it’s better than nothing. 

4.   Background 

A good background can make your selfies on dating apps 10x better. For example, it could be a plain white background with good lighting or somewhere more “Fun,” like a beach. 

Wherever you might be, make sure you:

  • Have good lighting – Whether you’re indoors or outside, prioritize lighting. If you’re indoors, use natural lighting, and outdoors, try to take selfies in shaded areas.
  • Take a photo at the right time – The best time to take a selfie is outside, an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset. 
  • Move to the side – If you want the background to stand out, move a couple of frames to the left or right. 
  • Getting the angle right – The best selfie angle for a woman is slightly above their head. For men, this is below your head. 

Want the match of your dreams? Make sure you use these tips the next time you need to take a great selfie on Smash. 

5.   Additional extras 

Selfies can always be more than just your face. Think outside the box and potentially use some additional extras. 

These can vary based on your interests, hobbies, or personality. However, it’s been proven that images with additional extras, like dogs, have a 60% higher rate of getting a match! That’s a lot! 

Don’t have a dog? No problem, this could also be a guitar, a flower, or even a cat (Yes, a cat…).

6. Be yourself

Nowadays, online is all about being someone else. But be yourself! Perhaps you like tacos, dancing, or even windsurfing; show it! Doing this will allow viewers of your selfie to better understand who you’re as a person. 

Great, you now know the 6 tips on how to take the perfect selfie. With this knowledge, you should be able to get 100% more matches on Smash.

What to avoid when taking a selfie on Smash 

Now you know these tips, taking selfies is a breeze. However, there are still common mistakes we see tonnes of people making. Don’t be like this, and avoid the below at all costs: 

  • Nudity – Smash has a no-nudity policy, so cover yourself up! 
  • Strange angles – When taking a selfie, think “Kim K’s” angles, ensuring the camera isn’t too high or low. 
  • Too much face – Your face is great, but don’t show too much! 
  • Ignoring your audience – Use selfies to attract the person you want. Like footballers? Then don’t post on a basketball court! 

Selfies on dating apps must avoid the above. Doing this will make you appear much more attractive to the potential matches. 

Are you ready for a date? 

Now the time has come… Are you ready to start dating and finding your dream hook-up? 

Start putting these tips into action today with our hook-up app for casual dating, Smash. Smash doesn’t require lengthy bios/profiles, personal information, or forever-lasting unwanted matches. 

Instead, we offer a fresh way to find casual dating companions without all the unnecessary effort. To start today, download Smash on iOS or the Google Play Store

Tips for staying safe on Smash

Welcome to the wonderful world of Smash, the casual dating app where sparks can fly and connections can be made! While we’re all about spreading love and creating meaningful connections, it’s crucial to prioritise your safety in the online dating realm. To ensure you have a blast without any unpleasant surprises, we’ve compiled a list of 10 suggestions on how to stay safe while using Smash. Let’s dive in!

Keep it Mysterious: No Sherlocking Required

As tempting as it may be to divulge all your personal information to your match right off the bat, remember that a little mystery goes a long way. Avoid sharing sensitive details like your full name, address, phone number, or social media account details until you’ve established trust.

Be our BFF

While we understand the urge to take conversations to other messaging apps, sticking to Smash’s platform can be a wise move. By staying within the app, you ensure that the spam-detection algorithms are working their magic to protect you from unwanted attention. Be wary if your matches make hasty suggestions to move to Snapchat or other platforms. Let the Smash team be your trusty wingman!

Gift Cards, Money, and Gas—Oh My!

If your match starts asking for gift cards, money, or gas, it’s time to hit the brakes. Be cautious of anyone who seems a little too interested in your wallet rather than your wonderful personality. Remember, love doesn’t cost a thing (except maybe some ice cream on the first date).

Location, Location, Location – But Not Too Precise

While it’s thrilling to connect with someone nearby, resist the urge to reveal your exact whereabouts. Sharing your general city or neighbourhood is enough to gauge compatibility without giving away too much. We want to foster romance, not a real-life Where’s Waldo game.

Red Flags? Wave Them High and Proud

If your match raises any red flags—like being evasive about their own personal information, acting suspiciously, or exhibiting erratic behavior—trust your gut. You’re a skilled flag-waver, so don’t be afraid to unmatch and move on. You deserve someone who respects and values your safety.

When in Doubt, Google It Out

If your date seems too good to be true or sends your intuition into overdrive, embrace your inner sleuth. A quick Google search can provide valuable insights and help confirm their identity. Just don’t go overboard and end up in the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. We’re here for love, not a thriller movie.

Chat, Chat, and Chat Some More

Before taking the plunge and meeting face-to-face, make sure to spend enough time chatting and getting to know your match. Engaging in meaningful conversations can help you gauge their compatibility, values, and intentions. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to unleash your best jokes and witty banter!

Friends to the Rescue

Your friends are your ultimate safety net in the dating world. Share the details of your plans with a trusted pal and keep them updated throughout the process. They’ll be your virtual cheerleaders and can provide a reality check when needed. Remember, two heads are better than one when it comes to dating!

“ABC” Always Be Cautious

In the wise words of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, “I will not be ignored.” If your match is too pushy or disregards your boundaries, it’s time to take a step back. Your safety and comfort should always be the top priority. Don’t be afraid to assert yourself and set boundaries like a dating champ!

Trust Your Instincts!

The Heart Knows Best Ultimately, you hold the key to your own safety.

Smash or Pass: The Game Everybody Has Played!

Let’s go back a few years… Who remembers “like for looks” on social media or “Ping for rating” on Blackberry phones, or even “Spin the Bottle”? We can remember this like it was yesterday and what a time it was. 

Playing these games allows you to “rate” the looks of people participating. It was the perfect opportunity to flirt or give someone a hint that you’re interested in them while having some fun.

We all played or participated in these games back in the day. However, it only became popular when smartphones started getting released. 

If we go back even further, there was another game called Smash or Pass; an absolute classic! 

Smash or Pass meaning 

The meaning behind Smash or Pass is what you think. In this game, players are shown images or ask their friends about a particular person and will be asked whether they would “smash” (meaning, whether they would be interested in pursuing a romantic or sexual relationship with the person) or “pass” (meaning, they would not be interested). 

What makes Smash or Pass interesting is how it can be played and how it evolved over the last few decades. In the earlier days, the game would be played amongst friends. 

A group of men or women would ask their friends, would you Smash or Pass this person (this person could be a friend, stranger, celebrity, etc.)? For example – “look at him/her; would you Smash or Pass?” A person or group of people would then give their opinions. Of course, this is usually about visual appearance rather than personality, interest, etc. 

However, nowadays, it isn’t played like this. It’s 2023 people; we have digital devices and unlimited fast internet almost worldwide. Now, it’s played on a digital format, giving us unlimited Smash or Pass enjoyment. 

The Smash or Pass game has changed over the years… 

Moving forward a few years and onto the digital world, the Smash or Pass game has changed massively. It doesn’t get played a lot in real life; now, it’s played online. 

The funny thing, you might not even know you’re playing it. Nowadays, it’s played on dating apps like Smash, and you don’t even realize it. An application of this type will show you a picture of a man or woman; you’ll then swipe to like or dislike the individual. 

Does that sound familiar? It sure does! It’s the same concept as Smash or Pass, just played differently. 

Should you Smash or Pass?

Smash or Pass will always remain a classic. It was an excellent game to play on road trips, at sleepovers, or even in-person at a bar. 

However, the concept has now moved online. And, truthfully, there’s no issue with that. Smash or Pass is perfect for dating, as it can indicate to someone whether they’re physically or romantically attracted to an individual from the get-go. 

Maybe you knew about this game before, maybe not. Either way, re-introduce it and start bringing it back into the real world!