Coming Out & Owning It

9 Apr

Yesterday’s post by New York’s Single City Guy was from a city close to my heart and, interestingly, it was the first EVER guest post by a man on The Single Filez! Today’s guest post also takes me to another city that is very close to my heart. Toronto aka T.O. aka The T-Dot  is somewhere I call my second home.  Half of my family live there and I’ve been going there since I was 11 years old, so in a way, I consider myself an honourary Torontonian. Today’s international guest blogger is extra- special because I’ve met her, like really, in the flesh! The last time I was in the T. Dot we met up, we ate pizza and we drank many (many) tasty Martinis. We had an absolute blast and now I’m happy to say I’ve got a new friend to add to my little black book of who to call when my plane touches down at Toronto’s Lester B Pearson airport. Today’s international guest blogger is….  Simone of Skinny Dip!

Coming out & Owning it

When The Single Filez approached me to write this guest post, she asked me to speak about what its like to be “out” as a blogger in the dating/relationship/sex blogging community.  So, I’m here today to talk a little bit about anonymity online, or lack thereof.

I wouldn’t really classify Skinny Dip as a blog exclusively about sex & dating – I like to think it’s more just about my life in general as a 20-something turned 30-something woman – but, it does get pretty up close and personal at times.  I write about everything from sex, my past relationships, fashion, my social life – even my tragically comical bikini waxing mishaps. Unlike, a lot of the fabulous bloggers out there in blogosphere, my blog has never been anonymous.  I don’t advertise my blog to everyone I meet but, I also don’t go to great lengths to hide it.
When I started my blog I could have chosen to identify myself as “Toronto Girl” or merely “Skinny Dip” but to be honest – I didn’t want to. Maybe its because I’m a bit of an exhibitionist but, I wanted people to know that the words on the screen were mine.

One of the first things that people ask me when they find out I blog is: “What’s it like putting your personal life out there on the internet? Aren’t you worried that someone may actually read it?” The answer: sometimes and lets just say…it can get interesting. A few weeks ago I was at a conference for my work. I was in a suit & heels, talking to a prospective candidate who was interested in the professional degree program I was representing. I was in the middle of giving him my sales pitch when he stops me and says:

“I know you from somewhere”

{The funny thing is that he looked really familiar too. Is it possible that he and I made out in the early 2000’s? Is one of my drunken nights out finally coming back to bite me in the ass? No, wait. He’s blonde. Not my type. We totally didn’t make out}

Me: “Maybe we know each from University of Toronto?”

{That’s when he tells me that he has a degree in Math}

Me: “Oh I know a few people who did Math at U of T. Do you know _________ or _________?”

Him: “No, I’m sorry I don’t”

{Ok, well that’s good. At least I haven’t slept with his friends. What? I like guys who are good with numbers}

Him: That’s weird. You just look so familiar.

{That’s when the bells started to go off and I started to sweat in my pant-suit. Oh god…he knows me from the blog! He follows me on Twitter and recognizes me from my tiny avatar photo. He’s probably read that post I did about Vagazzling. Oh god. What do I say now?}

Me: I don’t know how we know each other then. {smile. shrug}

Him: You know what it is? It’s that you look like Cate Blanchett. Yes that’s totally it!

Me: Um?

{Even he didn’t look convinced}

Him: I mean, if she was a brunette or you were a blonde.

Me: ?

Him: Don’t worry. It’s a good thing.

Me: “OK THEN….. Let’s talk about that Math degree…or more, specifically your GPA”

***I never figured out how we knew each other. The point is I’ve realized that these are the kinds of situations that can potentially happen when you straddle the territory between being anonymous and fully “out” as a blogger.

When I started Skinny Dip in 2009 my main audience were my friends. I wanted a place where I could write & tell stories, and hoped that if people liked what I had to say it would grow into something much bigger. I’ve been blogging since 2001 but, Skinny Dip was my first public blogging venture. I was nervous. It took me six months to post my first photo of myself (!) But, as the blog grew so did my confidence. I decided “What’s the point of writing a blog called Skinny Dip if I am too afraid to even show my face?!”. The number of photos grew and I went from posting THIS:

……to THIS (heyoo!)

When my blog helped me score my first professional writing gig for an online Women’s magazine, I had this long back and forth email conversation with a journalist friend about whether I should use my real name in my articles because, after all I would be writing about stuff like sex. Her response was “If writing is what you really want to do, you should be proud and own it” So, I did. I used my real name and proudly placed my blog URL in my contributor’s bio.

I was officially “out” as a blogger…sort of.

Aside from one or two people that I’ve become friends with, no one at work knows about the blog and I’d like to keep it that way. Eventually I’d like to get to the point where what I do to pay my rent is somehow linked to my creative pursuits but, I’m not quite there yet.

My full name is no longer attached to my blog but, if you Google me hard enough (no, that’s not a euphemism for something) you will find me. I tested this out after I received a few emails from exes who told me they’ve been reading my blog – another scenario that pops up when you write a not-so-anonymous blog.

By writing about my life online, I leave open the possibility that people may find my space.Whenever I start to think about this too much I tell myself: If someone stumbled across my blog, what’s the worst thing that could happen? They would discover that I am a girl who likes to write & enjoys talking about sex & has dated people & has made mistakes but tries to see the humor in most situations & maybe is actually kind of funny. In other words, they would see me for who I really am instead of whatever preconceived notion they had of me. If that happens, I’ll own it.

___________________________________________________________

Skinny Dip is a blog about sex, love, relationships, life, and what happens when all of these things collide with comically disastrous results.

Check outthe awesome Skinny Dip and follow Simone on Twitter @by_simone

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2 Responses to “Coming Out & Owning It”

  1. justmewith April 9, 2011 at 2:50 PM #

    Very cool. I’m a new blogger and not ready to be “out” but I find your thoughts very inspiring and thoughtful. I’ve often thought about what will happen when someone puts two and two together, but I figure I’ll deal with that later. Having lectured on social networking and employment, I know there are dangers but on the other hand you get get paranoid about everything. Anyway, thanks for the great post. If I ever run into you, I won’t say a word — ha!

  2. singlegirlie April 10, 2011 at 3:38 AM #

    Wow. I sometimes think about coming out of the closet but am not sure I would write with the same candor if people knew who I was. I’m actually a very private person and am afraid I would edit myself if my identity were revealed. And work… well, that’s another matter. I’m fairly sure they wouldn’t approve. Still, some day I may come out. Maybe…

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