On Friday the BlogHER conference, expected to draw more than 1,000 female bloggers, gets underway in San Francisco. It’s the “it” event if you’re a woman who blogs. In a sure sign of giddy anticipation, some tweets and blog posts are full of questions from women wondering what to wear to BlogHER.
For a while, I considered attending, but something stopped me. Among my reasons for skipping the conference was the realization that although some of my anonymity has been stripped away as my blog has matured, I enjoy being just a voice in cyberspace, with a tad of mystery still attached. And frankly, the fact that I still haven’t taken off “the baby weight” makes me feel self-conscious when meeting people.
Of course, I’ve reached out to some of my new bloggy friends by phone or email, but for the most part, they’ve never seen me. These friendships are pure. They’re based on a meeting of the minds, shared ideals, an appreciation of the other’s good humor, and in some cases, the kinship of motherhood.
At times, alone in my home office, I’ve wondered what it would be like to meet my bloggy friends in person. At a luncheon for local power blogger Geoff Livingston, I got my answer.
“Lynn,” my neighbor and bloggy friend Julie Power called out as we walked into the hotel, “Lynn, is my hem straight? Does this dress look okay?”
Now, if you’ve ever read Julie’s witty posts about Internet marketing, you would surely believe that this is a woman who could care less about hems and dresses. She’s got so much else on her mind!
After assuring Julie that she looked just swell, I settled in to listen to what Geoff had to say. But something distracted me. It was all the people in their business suits. I was listening to their voices, as I do when I make calls from my home office, but I was also noticing their appearance. I was making mental notes of who was old, who was young, who was slim, who was overweight, who was well spoken and well dressed and who was not.
It actually shocked me that I focused on appearance so quickly, but I know all too well that this is normal human behavior. I noticed that instead of intently focusing on the words forming from this person’s inner core, I was focused on the external packaging as well.
It reminded me of a time a few years back when I telecommuted and had met very few of my work colleagues. One of the writers I shared a warm banter with shyly confessed one day, “It would be funny to meet you, Lynn.”
When I asked him why, he said, “Well, I’ve worked with you for years but never met you. And in my mind’s eye, I’ve decided that you look just like Catherine Zeta Jones.”
I laughed and confessed that like Catherine, I’m a brunette, have roots in Bermuda, and am a Mom. The similarities stop there, but I didn’t want to quash his dream.
So have fun at BlogHer, ladies. Don’t worry about what to wear. And as for me, just call me Catherine. Catherine Zeta Jones.
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