A few days ago I went to a bloggers’ event at work. I wasn’t invited as a fellow blogger, but rather as the person who manages the PR for the restaurant. But I had another goal in mind: to check out other bloggers and see how I compare, perhaps to meet an inspirational mentor or two.
I’ve always assumed that what I write about is too mundane for anyone to care about. Why would anyone be interested in the day-to-day life of little ol’ me? Not that I write for anyone other than myself, but I’ve always figured that it would be nice to be at least a little bit interesting; to have someone say, “hey, that Nikki sure is a hoot!”
I expected to find all kinds of intriguing, brilliant, morose and quirky people. But really, they were just a bunch of regular guys and gals, ranging from the totally dorky to the intimidatingly beautiful to the weirdly cool to the seriously normal. I chatted with a few, and every time I asked, “so, what’s your blog about?”
What’s funny about that is that not once did someone have a direct, “elevator speech” answer, and pretty much every time the response started with, “Well, um…”
One guy wrote spiritual stuff about the events going on around him. One just tried to write positive things about what was going on around her. One wrote about being a mom but didn’t want to be considered a “mommy blogger” but rather a “lifestyle blogger”. One wrote about his life as a Wall Street-man-cum-ski bum. I found it all very interesting and reassuring. But with one guy, the conversation actually entertained and tickled me in an unexpected way. It went something like this:
Me: “So, what do you blog about?”
Him: “Well, it’s kind of complicated.”
Me: “Oh, really? How so?”
Him: “Well, I don’t actually have a blog, per se. I pretty much blog on facebook.”
Me: “Oh, really? You host your blog on facebook or something?”
Him: “Well, no, not really. I pretty much put commentary on facebook.”
Me: “Oh, commentary? What do you comment about?”
(Isn’t that pretty much what everyone does on facebook? But that’s beside the point.)
Him: “I write commentary about all of the things that are wrong with this world and things that annoy and bother me, pretty much.”
Me: “Hmm…like what?”
This led him to an entire diatribe (which, with the goal of keeping your eyes from bleeding and of preventing early-onset arthritis in my own fingers, I have to paraphrase) about how beautiful women don’t have to face the same challenges that unattractive women or average men have to overcome. How, women may run their own businesses and consider themselves “life coaches” or “entrepreneurs” (said with a smirk) but they’re not qualified to tell anyone else how to live their life and be successful. That they’re only successful because they are pretty and they don’t have to jump the hurdles that he himself has had to jump.
I interjected, “Well what about the fact that beautiful women have their own challenges to face? Like how, if a woman — beautiful or not — is at the top of the corporate ladder, it’s automatically assumed by her male counterparts that she either a: had the opportunity handed to her by her daddy or b: had to sleep her way to the top, stepping on every other woman doing the same thing along the way. Or, what about the fact that just because a woman is beautiful, every man she faces is going to automatically assume that she is stupid and incapable of doing anything other than chatting her way into free drinks at the bar and sleeping herself into opportunistic situations?”
He totally agreed with the stupid part and took the moment to expand the point a little further. The conversation then went something along the lines of:
Him: “Take your bartenders here, for instance.” He waved his hands toward our two most beautiful, blonde, skinny, busty bartenders in a sweeping gesture similar to something that one might see on a game show to emphasize his point. “These girls are gorgeous and extremely sexy. They probably couldn’t…”
I interrupted. (FYI, I very seldom interrupt anyone…ever.)
Me: “These girls are gorgeous. But that doesn’t mean they’re stupid. Each of them has a design degree and is smart enough to know that there is great money in bartending.”
One of the girls coincidentally flung her blonde hair and smiled at us over her shoulder, as if to punctuate my argument.
Him: “Well, maybe they’re an exception to the rule. But really, most of the beautiful women aren’t very smart. They don’t have to be. They don’t even have to try.”
What he said next completely took me by surprise.
Him: “But then, there other women who have to work for their success. Take you, for instance,” he said, casually and absently looking me up and down, “with your black glasses and short hair…”
I laughed out loud. One might even go so far as to say that I guffawed. I may have even had a little wine come out of my nose. It’s a very, very rare occasion that I laugh out loud. Honestly, other than my daughter doing something hilarious, it’s generally something related to farting or burping that makes me laugh. But it’s when I’m taken completely by surprise and shocked by a comment so disgusting, witty or downright offensive that I have to laugh audibly.
Me: “Um, did you just imply that I’m unattractive?”
Me: “I think you just called me ugly.”
Him: “…” …sip.
Me: “…” …sip.
Him: “Well, I mean, I once went out with a woman who judged me for being Asian. Can you guess what she said to me, something that a woman would never say to a black man or a Mexican or even a white man?”
Me: “What, let me guess. She said, your penis isn’t that small?”
Him: “Yes. I’ve had several women tell me that I have an attractive penis.”
Me: “Hmm. Interesting…”
The conversation went on from there about all kinds of things, but the point is that, as far as I can tell, people blog about — or write facebook commentary about — just about anything they want to. And they’re pretty much all amateurs. And that’s a huge relief to me. It’s possible that nearly all of them may be amazing writers, but the majority of them have “real” jobs, many including the real job of being a stay-at-home-mom. Apparently, depending on whom you ask, either none of them or just about all of them make money blogging. What’s up with that?
But it’s not the money that I was concerned about. It was my own self-confidence as a writer…um, blogger. I’ve always written this blog just to have a record of my amazing experience of becoming a mother. I haven’t ever really expected for it to be interesting to anyone else. But now, I understand that not only do I not need to write a terribly interesting blog, but I don’t really even need to know what the heck I write about.
You want to know why? Because I’m too damned beautiful to actually have to work to be successful as a writer, that’s why! Just kidding. I realize now, thanks to the man who shall remain nameless, that yes, I’m average. I’m average looking, I’m an average writer, and I have a pretty average career. I’m an average (or maybe below-average) conversationalist, an average yogi, an average wife, and average friend, and an average person all around. I’m what my dad might call “severely average” at just about anything and what my mom has called “a jack of all trades but master of none.” But really, that’s okay. (Isn’t it?) At least now I know that, because I’m apparently not a super hot and sexy knock-out, that people most likely don’t assume I’m stupid.
Perhaps, if I just tell people I’m a blogger, they’ll actually assume that I’m smart…and a brilliant writer. Even if I don’t know what I write about.
And on a side note, I am an average mother. I think that the majority of mothers are. Every mother who does an average job raising their children is an amazing, strong, beautiful and brilliant woman. So, here’s to being average!