Sunday, January 13, 2013

thoughts from a red couch in California

I've recently been searching for some good blogs to read, and I must say it's not easy sifting through all the blogs floating around in the blog-o-sphere to find something I really enjoy. The kind of blog I like reading most is one that is slightly more personal; it includes stories and pictures, adventures and memories, fills me with hope and makes me remember all the beautiful things that exist in the world, but is also real (by this I mean I appreciate a blogger who can step out of the perfect, glittery snow globe world and recognize that life is not perfect). In some ways this type of blog shouldn't be that hard to find. I think there are a lot of bloggers that write their blogs using this mold, but the problem I am having is how these stories, pictures, adventures memories &c. are framed. I have stumbled upon many whimsical looking blogs, excited to read the content, but have been turned off after reading the bloggers "about me" section. Why? Because so many of these sections start like this:

"I am a 23 year old married to my soul mate..."

"I'm just a small town girl married to a handsome man..."

"I'm 21. I love my boyfriend, my cat, and..."

"Hi my name is ----- and the hunk in the picture with me is my boyfriend ----"

"MARRIED, I am. HUSBAND, I have a hot one. BOYFRIEND, he used to be that. MARRIED, HUSBAND, BOYFRIEND! ... Oh and this is my blog."

I am sure I have offended someone at this point, but let me explain. It's not that I hate people being in relationships or am militantly against the institution of marriage, but I have to wonder: why is it that the first thing so many woman mention when introducing themselves to a potential blog reader is their relationship/marital status? For lack of a better description of how this makes me feel I will suffice to say it makes me feel weird. I mean, that's great that you have found companionship and a person to love, but when that is the first thing you mention about yourself it seems like your definition of yourself is based not on yourself, but on your romantic involvement with someone else. This bothers me because while a romantic relationship is a deeply meaningful and wonderful thing I don't thing it should be the thing that ultimately defines a person. Yes, you might be part of a 'we' now, but you are still an 'I'. You are still an independent entity that has your own thoughts and feelings, goes to your own job every week, and wipes your own ass when you are finished on the toilet. Hopefully you and your loved one haven't merged into some fleshy pink monster with four eyes and one asshole, right?

I think a person's "about me" description really sets the tone for a blog, and so while posts about the amazing weekend get away you had with your lover or a photo dump of silly pictures of you and your hunk-a hunk-a burnin' love (woo, running out of gender neutral synonyms!) are totally great and fun, it worries me when women's blogs too often focus on or frame things in terms of their romantic relationships. After all, it is your blog and should be more about you, right? Your an intelligent, strong woman and I want to hear more about you. Your thoughts and feelings. Your memories and adventures. And, of course, your loved one plays a part in these things, but not all the time. Some things are just your own even when you are in a relationship.

Why don't more people start "about me" descriptions with where they are from, where they are going, or the career and/or path they have dedicated their life to? I feel like this description would allow me to learn more about you instead of your significant other (who I am sure is a very nice person, but if I wanted to know more about them I would go read their blog).

So, how did you go about formulating and writing your "about me"? What things do you use to define yourself? Do you agree, disagree, agree to disagree? Let me know!


  1. Hi, I found your blog through BBN and I thought this post was a really interesting observation, so much so that I had to re-read my own about/bio to remind myself what I'd written.

    My blog is primarily about being an expat (from the UK, living in the USA) and most of my description relates to that. However, as I emigrated on a spouse visa I do mentioned that too.

    It's interesting that you ask why people don't mention their career path as much and I'd be interested in that too. I think for me it's because my career path has been shaken up by emigrating to another continent, and while I have a number of passions I'm realigning what I want to do here in the USA with the opportunities out there. I wonder if many people in our generation have a struggle/underconfidence in relating the economic situation with their career dreams, whereas mentioning a marriage makes them feel 'successful' in a part of their life.

    Does that sound daft? I'm not sure, but you're not the only person who's noticed bios like this. We'll just have to keep searching for those blogs that truly interest us.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response! My goal with this post was to generate discussion so I really appreciate your comment.

      You bring up a very interesting point that I hadn't thought of before: marriage making individuals feel 'successful' in part of their lives (especially when other things in their lives are not going so well). I think that observation is spot on, and presents a way of thinking about success that is very different from my own. While I do think I would like to be romantically entangled with someone someday I don't feel like when it happens I will consider it a 'success' because, for me, considering that a 'success' would make me feel like I was in some way saying that not getting married is a failure. But, then again, that is just how I frame it, and, generally, I am sure married people do not consider unmarried people as having failed in some way.

      For me, everything just comes back to my inability to understand why people choose to define themselves by their romantic relationships. I guess if they consider it a success in their life they are defining themselves by this success, but it is hard for me to relate to people who consider their biggest success in life to be getting married.

      What if more people chose to define themselves not only by their successes, but also by their failures? I think that would offer a better portrait of the person and make them more real for me. And when it comes down to it that is what I want most out of a blog: realness, acknowledgement of life’s ups AND downs. I feel like blogs like this are difficult to find, but I will just have to keep searching.

      And now I am off to go check out your blog. I am looking forward to reading it! It sounds really interesting!

  2. I totally agree. Including your husband/boyfriend/significant other in your blog is one thing. But framing every blog post in your identity as a wife/girlfriend can become redundant for your readers and I think the people who acknowledge their identities outside of their relationships end up being the most balanced and the most real.

  3. I feel this so much! Sometimes I get annoyed enough that I just click out of a blog if the first thing they mention is their boyfriend/husband. Most of my irl friends aren't single, so it's not that... it's just the complete focus on one aspect of your (hopefully) multifaceted life! Ugh. I'm still working on my "about me" so I loved reading this! I want to make sure it reflects who I am. Great post Ari!

  4. I'm sorry I'm commenting on an older blog post, but this is hilarious!
    I feel the exact same way. My first thought is "ech, are there going to be tons of lovey-dovey posts in here?" I know about the meat and potatoes of the blog, not the meat and potatoes the blogger keeps around the house.