The Dating Blogger’s Dilemma

 Yesterday, a friend of mine raised the question that pretty much every dating blogger asks herself at some point – is writing about my love life actually keeping me single? It’s a question that’s come up quite a bit lately, since I announced my Nominate A Date adventure.

Two bachelor candidates that friends wanted to set me up with balked upon discovering I have a blog. Though I can certainly appreciate and understand being a private person, I can’t help also noticing how different the reaction was from men I met during my Great Dating Blitz. All of the bachelors in the eight cities I visited knew about and didn’t hesitate to meet with me and be themselves when we went out.

With that openness came an implicit understanding, I think, that I would be respectful in what I wrote — and keep identifying details pretty general so that their privacy would be maintained. Here in New York, where being guarded and suspicious is second nature, even reassurances to keep things anonymous (or even off the blog entirely) isn’t enough for some.

Perhaps the most frustrating recent example – a guy I connected with during the tail end of a girls night out. We clicked immediately.

“It figures I haven’t met anyone I wanted to go home with tonight…until now,” he said flirtatiously.

He gave me his business card, and kissed me on the cheek when he put me in a cab before heading off with friends. When I emailed him to suggest drinks, he responded—

“I sincerely apologize if my European heritage/behavior sent mixed messages, however I am not looking for dating. Believe me, if I were, those piercing blue eyes of yours, charming smile and great stories would have me flinging myself at you. But if my gallant efforts were to be successful that might put ruin to your blogging career… at least in its current incarnation. I would hate to be responsible for you looking for a new URL.”

Now, of course, he might genuinely just not be interested. Call me crazy, though, but his ‘mixed message’ seemed to continue in the above missive – with the underlying one being the blog is what turned him off.

People often say that meeting someone will mean the end of my blogging career.  These people aren’t writers. Because, as I told Mr. European, writers always have something to say – it’s simply in our DNA. I know this for sure – I’m about to finish handwritten journal #98.

As for whether having the subject of my blog be singlehood is a deterrent to finding Mr. Right, I’m not so sure about that. For all of the gun-shy guys out there, I’ve also dated some that have had no problem with being part of my little corner of cyberspace. Like adorable PR executive E, who smiled sweetly at my online accounts of our first few dates. Or hunky cop Rich, who not only didn’t mind the blog but gladly brainstormed ideas for future posts.

Bottom line – they both understood that writing is a huge part of who I am. The right guy will too.

Category: dating bloggers, Nominate A Date, The Great Dating Blitz | Tags: 3 comments »

3 Responses to “The Dating Blogger’s Dilemma”

  1. G/W

    My blog doesn’t get as many hits and as a rule, I’ve kept my identity private but a few months ago, I was actually worried that it was keeping me single anyway.
    By being a self-professed loveless virgin and constantly writing about it, I thought I’d stuck myself into this cycle. I was worried that over-analyzing my love life and my own behavior had turned me into a totally obsessive prude.
    I still haven’t figured it all out yet.

  2. L.

    I wouldn’t dismiss the idea that dating about one’s love life might be keeping you perpetually single. Take into consideration that one can be identified sometimes very easily by something you can disclose quite benignly about them, and then add to that the views of your reader (like me!) who can and will influence you. After all, if you weren’t interested in what people thought, you wouldn’t need readers, right? I’ve always believed that dating bloggers have an additional insecurity, like they somehow need a vigilant audience to either cheer them on or give them input about their lives. I think if you already know what you want in a man, how you want to be treated, what kind of relationship you want, you don’t really need an audience to follow along. People who are around you don’t always want the best for you. Your readers sometimes know you better than you know yourself, or worse, they may not like you and give you bad advice.
    Even well-meaning people will tell you someone has to love you for you, and yes, that’s true. But if the “you” you are is a person who is inflexible (I’m going to write about our dates and if you can’t get that, you’re not the person for me), then you will keep meeting that brick wall. I know some of your readers will disagree and get all pompous with me and say, “Oh well, then he’s not the man for her if he doesn’t want her to write!” I’m just trying to tell you there are many things you can write about. Personally, I’m sick of reading navel-gazing accounts. I think it’s dangerous for someone to think about themselves so much that they live in their own bubble and become self-righteous and omnipotent. We have to be vulnerable in life. Otherwise, how will we be able to share ourselves with others?

  3. Melissa

    G/W – I hear you about still figuring things out! Having blogged now for nearly four years, I’ve found that there’s a delicate balance between putting your private life out there and not over sharing. I’ve also found that blogging – much like my private journal that I’ve been keeping since I was 7 – can be cathartic. I enjoy it as an outlet rather than license to get too caught up in what I write about…

    Which brings me to L’s comments. Agreed that part of being a writer is the desire to have an audience. And also that a big part of being open to — and ready for — the right relationship means a willingness to compromise. Of course, there are many things I can write about, it just so happens that what I’m writing about at this moment in time is being single.

    As for your other assumptions, I find them a fascinating example of the tendency that readers have to play armchair psychologist and assume that a blog represents the totality of who is writing it (though to be fair, I suppose this is an inevitable dynamic between blogger and reader). To say that a reader knows a writer better than she knows herself is kind of like saying you can judge who a person is from an online dating profile even if you’ve never met. Not so much. Enjoying an audience as a blogger does not by definition translate into insecurity or the need for unsolicited advice. If it did, many blogs with loyal yet mostly silent readers like mine wouldn’t exist.

    Finally, may I offer this suggestion if you’re tired of reading “navel gazing accounts”: read something else.

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