Anyone remember Meredith Brooks? She had a solitary hit in the late 90s with the song “Bitch”. In case your memory needs jogging further, this is the chorus, rendered phonetically to provide some extra help:
Ahm a bitch, ahm a lover
Ahm a child, ahm a mother
Ahm a sinner, ahm a saint
Ah do not feel ashamed
Ahm your hell, ahm your dream
Ahm nothin’ in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way
For those of you who don’t have a masters in literature, I think what Meredith’s saying is that a woman is not a mere cardboard cut-out stereotype; she’s lots of cardboard cut-out stereotypes. And men, apparently, “wouldn’t want it any other way”.
I am pondering this as I start to examine which stereotypes I exemplify in this blog (yeah, it’s one of those up-its-own-arse posts. You’re welcome to look away now). The fact is, a few days ago I mentioned the sex positive parenting blog to some friends I know from “real life”, and I’m now freaked out they may have looked at some of my blog posts there or, worse, here, and be thinking “what the fuck? She’s nothing like that!” (btw, if you are one of my “real life” friends reading this, you’re confused and this is written by someone else. If you’re not, well I am like that in real life. Don’t believe my so-called friends; as noted above, they’re confusing me with someone else).
To be honest, I am terrified that the disjuncture between who I am in “real life” and who I am on this blog will be exposed in a way that makes me look like a complete and utter twat. It won’t be like with Brooke Magnanti/Belle de Jour, with everyone going “wow! She’s a prostitute and a scientist! That makes her a nice prostitute! And a sexy scientist!”. It’ll be more “she doesn’t even wear that much makeup and her tits aren’t even that big. What kind of tell-it-like-it-is blogger is she?” (although I’m not even sure I’d fall into the category of “tell-it-like-it-is blogger”. Probably more “tell-it-like-her-bizarre-imagination-says-it-is”, but I suppose at least no one can challenge me on that).
In addition to this, though, I’m also terrified that my blogger persona will infiltrate my “real life” self and start taking over, making me rather like Anakin Skywalker going over to the Dark Side (with both of us doing it for much the same reason: it’s just way cooler). Obviously on a blog I’m much more uninhibited; I write what pops into my head (I say “obviously”; I am aware other bloggers value and use a thing called restraint, in order to make their blogs more meaningful and readable. I am a bit lazy on that score. And my head is very persistent with its “poppings”). I now worry that since I started blogging I’m more uninhibited at work, but not in a good way. A good way would be if I were more confident in telling others what to do. My not-good way involves making more puns and innuendos than are strictly necessary when updating the asset management system (ooh, assets!). And sadly, it gets worse.
This week I bought a tub of M&S mini teacakes to share with my colleagues. Once a sufficient number of people (i.e. one) had toddled over to get theirs, I went to get my share, taking two because hey, they’re only little. As I walked back to my desk, I was taken by the powerful urge to place a mini teacake on each tit, like a chocolatey nipple tassle, and do a comedy “sexy” dance. I fought this urge, and thank god, I won, but man, it was powerful. And I totally blame the Glosswitch persona for this. That, and the Good Men Project small-breasts article. I mean, I’d like to think this blog isn’t just the verbal equivalent of me dancing with teacakes on my tits but let’s face it, I’m too close to the whole thing to know.
I imagine lots of bloggers are tormented by the thought “shit! What if my colleagues found out?”. Because we’re not sure quite who we are on the blog, and we’re not quite sure who we are in “real life” either. Probably, in some metaphorical way, as Brooks observes, we’re each and every one of us a bitch, a lover, a child, a mother, a sinner and a saint. And we’re probably all those identities listed at the end of The Breakfast Club as well (the jock, the princess, the basket case, the criminal, and the one who made something in technology class that didn’t work and had a cry about it but he came in useful in the end because they got him to do all the written work). That’s us, in both environments, real and virtual, but in different ways. How do we manage it? Well, here’s my first top tip: don’t, whatever you do, do the “teacake dance”.*
* Unless you work at a fetish club and are paid to do this. Or it’s something your partner really likes. Then go ahead and do it. I recommend also branching out into Jammie Dodgers – they give good strawberry-flavoured nipple.