Are blogs real? How accurate a representation of a blogger is one’s blog? Could I get to know someone just by reading his or her blog? How well? Well enough to fall in love? For that matter, how well could I get to know someone in the non-blog-world, the “real world”? Is there any guarantee that the person I meet out there is showing me his or her true self?
If I say I have a crush on another blogger, is that simply pathetic?
Here’s the thing: I get crushes pretty easily. I go goofy over a girl at the drop of a hat. There’s a certain physical type I like, but what I really go for is brains. I really like smart women. So, all my life I’ve had crushes on teachers (including law professors), women in the grades ahead of me (having another year or two of classes meant they knew a little more, I figured), and women in my class who were smarter than me, regardless of what the class rank said.
Now, a couple of minor points. First, the intensity of these crushes varied dramatically. I’m not talking about stalking or sending flowers for every one of these women. Um, and I’m not talking about stalking for any of them….darn ambiguous phrasing. Some of these women I just thought were nice, some of them I pined over a bit more, and some I even dated. Second, I’m not saying that smarts are the only thing I look for, or that I like all smart women. It’s just a big factor for me, is all.
Anyway, this still happens to me. There are a couple of women at work I am smitten by. They’re both married, naturally. (My tendency to get crushes on unattainable women merits a post of its own.) But the other way it manifests itself is via blog crushes. (Technically, that might ought to be hyphenated: blog-crushes. But I don’t want to do it that way; it’s unwieldy.)
I get blog crushes.
I’ve been talking a lot about this with a friend of mine. My friend confesses to a blog crush here and there, too. But my friend’s position is that the crushes are on the blog, not the blogger. I think my friend believes that the image of bloggers we get via the blog aren’t “real,” and my friend would rather have a crush on the idea of a person, based on what one sees on the blog, rather than the reality.
Because, after all, how much do we really know about even the most exhibitionist blogger. Most of you reading this don’t know my real name, where I am, what I look like, etc. Okay, I’ll clue you in a little bit. Warning: spoilers ahead. When I blog, it looks a little like this. (Just kidding — I don’t have a Mac. And just kidding, that’s Kevin Smith. But my co-blogger Fitz and I did once go to a Halloween party as Jay & Silent Bob. I had to grow a full beard, and then shave it the next day for a clerkship interview. I’m dedicated that way.)
So, you don’t know much about me, but you know me better than any of my co-workers and most of the people I went to law school with. And the same is true for me and the bloggers I get crushes on. Because I definitely get crushes on the bloggers, not (just) the blog.
Because here’s my point (and I really think I have one this time). The people I meet in real life are just showing me their best selves or only what they want me to see, no different than bloggers. When you’re around somebody in person, you might get a better sense of certain physical characteristics or quirks or bad habits. And of course no one has a “backspace” button in real life. So maybe blogging can’t give me a perfect sense of what the blogger is all about. Maybe I’m cynical, but I’m not always sure I’m getting a perfect sense of what a person is all about when I meet him or her in person, either, especially with some of the phonies I went to school with. People “reinvent” themselves all the time, and let’s just say that I take 90% of what I read on Match.com with a grain of salt. And maybe I’m naive, but I really do think that the image I get of most bloggers I read regularly is as good as I could get from meeting them in person.
Alright, I admit it. Even though I had a point when I started this, I think I’ve lost it by now. So, I’ll close with two things. First, I’ve been trying hard to think of ways in which I’m different in person than on the blog. People who know me should feel free to mention them in the comments. It’s not that I can’t think of any, it’s just that I think they are differences only because of the nature of speaking in blog. For example, writing multiple posts instead of weaving multiple stories together with a “What was I talking about?” transition. But I don’t think it will suprise any of my readers to find out that I’m kind of disorganized, a procrastinator, and a little bit of a whiny navel-gazer (but I don’t think I’m obnoxious about it). I’ll leave the rest of my faults to others. But I’d be pretty amazed if they told me that they don’t think the picture I present on the blog is the “real me.” I don’t know if that’s worth anything, other than as an admonition to anyone who might be getting a blog crush on me that what you see is what you get.
The last thing I want to mention before I go is the two women who have inspired this post, my two blog crushes. My first blog crush was on Scheherazade at Stay of Execution. The first time I found her blog (when I saw the title, I thought it was about the death penalty; I’m not sure I would have read it if I had known it was a bankruptcy term too), I sat down and read the entire archives, about five months at the time. It was crush at first sight. Anyone who writes this beautifully is beautiful to me. True, there are things I don’t know about her. She doesn’t write much about her love life on the blog, for instance. But does a client of hers know her as well as I do? The client probably doesn’t know she blogs at all.
My other blog crush is more recent. (Sherry’s still got a place in my heart, even though she spurned me — I didn’t even make her top three!) My newer crush is a young woman who calls herself Larry and writes a blog called Lone Star Expat. She’s bright and witty and wild and I just know I could be a good designated driver for her.
Oh, and here’s my point. I wrote long enough to remember it, which happens a lot with me. My point is that people don’t think it’s automatically crazy when I say I have a crush on a woman I work with, or the woman who sat next to me in Property. (My right side, if the woman who sat on my left is reading this. Wait. I had a crush on you too, just not as big. Never mind.)
So, why would people think it’s automatically crazy if I say I have a crush on a person whom I know only though her blog? My point is that I don’t think I know these women so much less than most women when I first get crushes on them. I see a side of them a lot of people who know them personally don’t. Maybe it’s true that if I met them, I would see something that turned me off them and destroyed the crush. But I’d sure like to have the chance to cross that bridge. You never know….