Sunday, 16 December 2012

Integrity in Writing... And Internet Dating: Part 2


The first question was: should I blog about men I meet when they are trying to share themselves privately with me and I’m looking at them for what I can make public?

What about if they know that I'm a writer? Isn't that like a get out of jail free pass?

Sadly, no.

From thinking about my rights as a writer, this led me to my obligations.

When I sat down to write the initial post about internet dating I realised I was immensely uncomfortable at first even just admitting that I had signed up for internet dating. Oh yes, it’s all okay these days, everyone is doing it, it’s a great way to meet friends. But I know, and you suspect, that the real reason is because I’m desperate. I have despaired of actually meeting someone in my everyday life. I have realised that the world I have created for myself is too small, and I need some way to break out.
And if you realise that, then you must realise other things. Obviously there must be men in my world. I don’t live in a convent (though it has sometimes appealed). I go to work, to the gym, to writer’s conferences (though to be fair to myself, those are generally populated by women) to church, and the list goes on. What about all those men?
In signing up for internet dating, I’m also saying silently to the world ‘yes, all the men that actually met me reject me.’ And that is harsh. Also possibly a bit self-pitying as some of the men I’ve probably rejected first, but work with me here. 
But why was it so hard to say? I’m a writer, I lay my life bare for my art, every novel has a little bit of me in it, every character has emotions I have felt. So why is this different?
Because I can’t hide behind the fiction. I might be able to hide behind some amusing quips and self-deprecation, but as a writer, do we have obligations to speak the emotions no one else is game to say? Not just the sex, the swearing, the being confronting to challenge people’s views. That, that is easy. I’m talking about the laying yourself on the table and saying ‘looking at my private parts, compare, see that you are not that strange, it’s just that no one has shown you this before.’ But instead of talking about the physical body, I am talking about the private parts of my soul and ego. The little wounds and gaping holes, the bit that thinks everyone else has it worked out and it's just me alone in here.
Of course I could do this with an arrogant swagger, and pretend that I didn’t care, that being so on display was fine because I loved my private parts just the way they are. But is that really helpful? Helpful to someone who feels they are strange and weird,  to say to them 'you can look but if you feel uncomfortable about it, there must be something else wrong with you'?
Being a writer is harder than I thought. Not just the writing, obviously, but the obligation to be honest, to admit pain hurts and laughter is not always enough.
So I’ve joined internet dating, and I’m a whimp. I’ve met some men who have been funny and sweet. I’ve tried to be entertaining, because when I am with them, I’m a woman and have no obligation. But when I come back to my computer, when I am with all of you, I’m a writer, and here I admit… I’m scared.


  1. I love the way you express yourself :)

    Just wanted to encourage you - I felt the same about internet dating. In "our day" it was considered desperate and embarrassing... but these days its really not... a lot of people are working professionals who are too busy to get out there and meet people! Anyway, thats how I met Damien and he is wonderful - everything I'd ever hoped for :) So it CAN work, so don't let people say it can't! Also, people say lots of things and it's embarrassing saying you met on the internet, but hey if you're happy in the long run, people will forget (and not even care) where you met! :)

    On a side note, I did have a couple of good friends go on internet dating and one had a really really really bad horrible experience... so be careful, let your family or a good mate know where you will be, and don't let your emotions get too involved too quickly (and cloud your judgement). So glad you're on the net looking, some guy is gona be on there wondering where all the gems are and he will be pleasantly surprised when he finds you!!!
    Have fun, getting to know people is what life is all about, and who knows - you may go to a party with a guy from the net and he may have a friend there who you click with haha!!

    Love Catherine

  2. I concur with Catherine. Well said! And I think you're very brave. Love Jay