My boyfriend hates the internet.
No, really. He likes it for email and gchat and the occasional peek at something like Texts From Last Night or I Can Has Cheezburger (yeah, he just discovered that – I guess periodic trips to Iraq sort of impede pop-culture awareness). He has a Facebook profile but barely uses it, and I’m not sure he even knows what a blog is.
We’ve had good-natured (…sort of) tiffs about the merits of online dating. I say that – while I’ve tried it and it’s not for me – it has its good points. After all, when you’re a twenty-something, particularly in a place like Seattle, how else do you meet people? He says people rely too much on technology to make connections, that people should just “get out there and meet people.” I once asked for suggestions on how, exactly, I should get out there and “make friends,” and he suggested I go to a bar alone. So, you see, we just have differing opinions on things.
But here’s the thing – he has no idea that I blog. He has no idea that the internet has been, in some ways, my lifeline since 1997. He doesn’t know about the connections I’ve made, the friends I’ve met, the fact that I am who I am in part because of the internet.
Not long ago my Long-Lost Soulmate Bestie came to Seattle for work and of course we met up. The boy joined us on LLSB’s second night in town, and we drank beers in the tiny bar up the street from my apartment. They took to each other quite well, and later he said to me, “You claim you can’t make friends, but then you end up with an awesome friend like that!” I had to laugh a little – he knows how we met, knows we were matched by Bright Pink and talked on the phone and emailed for months before we met. But what he doesn’t realize is that, hello, that’s the internet’s doing, and it’s not much different than meeting someone through a blog or networking site.
I’ve always been a little weird about sharing things with people, and for years my internet life was a huge secret from everyone. My previous boyfriends knew about it, at least a little, but it was nothing strange to them. One was enthralled by World of Warcraft, another a huge fan of Digg and Reddit, and a guy I dated briefly used to be active on Ben Folds forums. No strangers to the internet themselves, they didn’t think me all that strange for my casual dropping of the “I used to have a secret online journal/I blog/I have internet friends/I used to hang out in a military girlfriend forum” bomb.
But this boy? While I know he’d never judge me or fault me for something that makes me happy, I can’t bring myself to broach the subject of blogging. I don’t even mind if he wants to read what I write here – he’s more than welcome to, although I’m not sure he’d want to. I wouldn’t mind if he asked me not to write about him.
How have you handled combining your “real life” with your blogging life? How do you make it not sound weird and freaky to someone who doesn’t spend their time poring over websites, someone who doesn’t write, or someone whose recipe for making friends is to strike up a conversation in the grocery store and who would never need the internet?