Daughter. Sister. Friend. Believer. Warrior. Writer. Voracious reader. Shoe Lover. Car Accident Survivor. Quasi philosopher. Prone to circumlocution. Beyonce stan. Retired cynic. On a quest to make a dent in the universe. Impossible to summarise in a few words.
1) If you have some spare time over Christmas, please sign up to volunteer with Crisis at one of their homeless shelters. I volunteered last year and intend on doing so this year. Well worth the experience!
2) I was recently part of the "What Women Want: Blogger Special" over at “The Style King”.You can read about my Kanye obsession, tan brogues fetish, dislike of trainers and other stuff by clicking here.
Right…. today’s blog entry!
Ever since I started blogging the statement, "Please don't blog about this evening”, is the phrase I’m most likely to hear at the end of a date. Normally I respond with “Do you think you’re that interesting?” History has proven that’s not to be the best thing to say following a pleasant(ish) evening.
Funnily enough bar a few exceptions I’ve never felt the need to base a blog post around a single date. I may allude to a disastrous or spectacular date in passing, but it’s rare that I dedicate an entire post to one man.
For me dates are to be endured rather than enjoyed. They’re an overrated social exercise where we behave like the version of ourselves that we’d like people to believe we are. Dates are perfunctory with limited utility and unless they involve Thai food and cupcakes, I despise them. I also despise chronicling them (sometimes).
After reassuring the gentlemen I wouldn’t blog about our evening, he sat back in his chair noticeably calmer. I did ask if it was ok for me to blog about his request not to be blogged about. He obliged, clearly more comfortable with inspiring a blog post, rather than being at its epicenter.
The “please don’t blog about this” request has got me thinking about social media and how it impacts our relationships, specifically how we date. Social media is a recent phenomena and I think many social commentators are overvaluing its significance. Some claim social media has transformed who we are and how we live, I disagree. It’s quickened the pace by which we can access and broadcast information. On a superficial level it’s enhanced our interconnectedness. Though this interconnectedness is overestimated and deceptive. We are no more (inter)connected, than we were 10 years ago. We’re just behaving in a way that mimics genuine connection so frequently we believe that our ties are authentic.
People are confusing “interactions” with “connections”. All we’re doing is interacting, not connecting. Our interactions create weak ties (at best), but we’re not forming the connections necessary to develop real bonds. If anything the illusion of (inter)connectedness is disconnecting us from “real relationships”. Fundamentally we’re the same people we were before the social media explosion. It hasn’t changed us. Social media has simply revealed who we always were and given us a stage to perform in all our flawed glory.
What social media has done is to make us extremely exposed. We are probably the most overexposed generation ever. Most of us signed up to this exposure voluntarily. However what about people being exposed involuntarily?
I've watched women "live tweet" during disastrous dates. It makes hilarious viewing but blurs line between the public and private. There’s no malicious intent behind the tweets, sometimes a date is so crap you need to share it with someone to stay sane. On the other hand, no matter how disastrously the other party behaved, they didn’t sign up to being publicly scrutinised or ridiculed.
Asking what we can or can’t say about our love lives on social media platforms is a redundant question. There is no internet police. It’s a realm of complete freedom where we can say what we want. However what should we say? Well that’s tricky territory.
I remember once reading a blog post a young woman wrote about finally leaving an ex-boyfriend who had apparently cheated, lied and been the kind of human being you’d freely give up for a human sacrifice. It was obvious that the woman found writing the post therapeutic and empowering. The comments alone demonstrated her readers found the post empowering.
In my opinion, no matter how useless her ex-boyfriend was/is, the one-sideness of the post and the addition of pictures, made that blog post borderline slanderous. I know if someone had written that blog post about me, I would have sued. Actually who am I kidding? I wouldn’t sue (unless you can pay for your legal fees in clothes). I’d threaten to sue for dramatic effect and then leave them to the universe.
So what’s the solution? Do we gag ourselves? No. Self-censorship in aid of being sensitive to others is overrated. Furthermore it stifles creativity and individuality. It would also make the internet a really boring place.
However we should be careful. Not because you might write a blog post about a crazy ex and he turns up at your door naked carrying a whip and a box of red velvet cupcakes. (Not that that’s a fantasy of mine or anything….) But simply because though we’re young now, one day we'll be old. And on than wretched day, when we're able to tie our (saggy) breasts around our necks to use an emergency scarf, we may wish we hadn't publicly chronicled so much of our love lives.
So the next time someone says to me “I’d rather you not blog about this evening”, I think I may just respond with “No problem”.