Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's Hard Out There For a Blogger

When I first started dating my ex-boyfriend back in November, this blog had really just begun, and it verged more on criticism of media and culture than personal. So when the guy I'd been dating started reading it, I was perfectly fine with that. We both fancied ourselves writers so it seemed something we could share. I also wasn't worried about him knowing things about me that I might not want him to know.

But now, that's kind of an issue. It's safe to say this blog is 50% cultural analysis and 50% me and Josh bitching about our "problemz." The personal blog throws an inevitable wrench into the beginnings of a relationship. There are a few scenarios in which your personal blog can really complicate dating:

Scenario One: He doesn't know about your blog.
This is probably for the best. If, like me, blogging and online media are a huge part of your life (i.e. take up the majority of your time because you're a tech/new media geek obsessed with checking e-mail), then it might seem kind of strange to keep that part of your life relatively hidden from someone you're just beginning to date. But this way you can decide when you want to reveal to him that all the secrets you probably wouldn't share until well into the relationship are online for anyone to read. The problem with this is that, if he's a Millennial, he'll probably just Google you, and if you haven't told him about your blog, he'll probably be super freaked out.

Scenario Two: You tell him right away.
This will inevitably lead to him going straight home and reading it all the way through, at least if he's super interested in you. Now he will have an advantage. You won't be able to tell if he's saying that his favorite show is Mad Men because he knows that it's yours, or because he actually likes it. Inevitably, the dynamic of the relationship shifts from organic to sketchy, and if you're paranoid like me, you get really suspicious really fast. (Though I'm probably not the only person in New York who starts every conversation - romantically twinged or not - with "off the record.")

Scenario Three: You start dating because of your blog.
He e-mailed you as a fan. You hit it off. Now the trouble is he knows every single thing about you - including what you look like when you're drunk and sick and standing next to Rachel Maddow - and you know absolutely nothing about him. The next few dates revolve around you trying to figure out the kind of person he is beyond the fact that he looks hot in his Facebook picture and has a witty screen name. If you try to mention something about yourself he gives you a knowing look, because he knows.

The trouble with blogs is that they take away my favorite part of the beginnings of relationships - mystery. A blog is supposed to be a repository for you to put out pieces of yourself, and you have total control over what you choose to share with people. But as the entries collect, and people are more inclined to read them all at once, you lose the ability to control that information. You don't get to choose how people view you. You don't get to decide which pieces of yourself you'd like to give away first. It is right there in front of them, for them to accept or reject. In some ways this is good: no bullshit. They know what you're like - or at least the persona that you've developed online, which in some ways has become a significant part of who you are - and there's no room for lying or pretending to be someone you're not. But ultimately you lose the agency that caused you to start a blog in the first place. And in a world where finding a meaningful relationship is inherently difficult, it kinda sucks to think that me writing this isn't helping at all.


-Jess

1 comment:

LOLSAM said...

This is such an issue for me right now. I wish the guy I'm seeing didn't know I have my blog. Blarghhhhh.