Jenn assuaged last night’s fretting about the implications of my nascent blogging career: namely, that I will have to maintain an active dating life and be, interminably, single. She assured me that I shouldn’t panic, that I can enter into a relationship and blog about that, get married and blog about that, etc etc.
I appreciate her wisdom. And I appreciate that it brings me quite conveniently to the next meta-blogging issue I wanted to raise: I have a hard enough time finding someone that I am attracted to who is also willing to date me, and now I have to find someone I am attracted to who is also willing to date me AND be blogged about while doing so??
I know we all like to think of our lives as somehow paralleling Sex and the City, and I will confess that at times I like to fancy myself a darker, less wispy and less rich Carrie Bradshaw. But the other issue on which the show gave little guidance–besides how, on a writer’s income, she could afford all those designer shoes along with a non-shoebox-sized Manhattan apartment–is this question of how she managed to write so freely about her love life without destroying it.
It seems all the more problematic for me since, as I’ve indicated, I tend to be drawn to men with a minimal online presence: men who, unlike me, have some sense of privacy. There might be a bit of self-loathing going on here: I cannot deny that I am an extreme oversharer, and yet it is not a quality I find attractive in others. In other words, all I want to do is write about my sex life, but I’m generally not inclined to sleep with people who would very much like their sex lives written about. (My Last Hiccup, aka MLH, was an exception: my dear, internet-and-relationship-savvy friend S had to talk me down from near panic when I Googled him and stumbled upon an actual blog in his name.)
But the real problem is that, despite my complete lack of regard for my own personal privacy, I do respect other people’s. Or at least, I want to respect other people’s: especially those I care about. But as any nonfiction writer knows, it is difficult to be honest–not to mention entertaining–about one’s own life while also being respectful of others’ experience. The closest thing I’ve heard to a solution for this dilemma is to advise potentially miffed family, friends or partners to “write their own book.”
Realistically, though, they probably won’t write their own book, or blog, or essay. (And again, if they did I likely wouldn’t want to date them). Emily Gould wrote elaborately, and provocatively, about this in the Times Magazine in 2008: about a whole cascade of events in her life that begin with being a blogger while in a serious relationship with someone who hated having his name published. The relationship didn’t work out.
There are no easy answers to any of these questions. But maybe that superficial tidbit from Gould’s experience is important to keep in mind: maybe I need to take the attitude I took when I sent those brave emails, and realize that I can only enter a relationship as the person that I am, and with a person who is comfortable with that.
Perhaps, though, I do need to broaden my perception of what sort of person that might be.