Intellectual curiosity is a required trait if you want to be in my world.
I Google anything and anybody that I find interesting, This is meant as a compliment. I like being able to obtain instant information on almost any topic in existence. Knowledge is power, and being able to access knowledge in 4.5 seconds on a smart phone is ultimate dominion. Yet, a surprisingly large number of people lack this type of general intellectual curiosity. I have a hard time believing it, but many people do not think of Googling interesting individuals that they come across, or even searching for their own name to see what might come up.
Let me explain why I want potential dates to Google me.
I had a rare date a few months ago with the only person I’ve ever met through an online site. We will call him Mr. First Date. The evening was nice enough and so was this normal American white guy, but it wasn’t great enough for me to call him back. What can I say? When it comes to first date follow-ups, I’m like man. I’m not in touch unless the guy is something spectacular. No offense to nice boys, but I have too many things going on to be bothered with courtship rituals.
Because I am a writer, I know how to get people to tell their stories. My date, in return, did not ask me one single question about my life. He wasn’t arrogant or pompous – he really did not know the art of discoursing.
“So, is there anything you want to ask me?” I inquired.
Mr. First Date paused. “I’m sure there is. I just haven’t thought of anything yet.”
How do I break it to him? I’ve written some books, I have a lot about my life online, I’ve lived abroad. Oh, and I’m a Muslim. Some people get really freaked out about that last part.
I looked at him and asked, “Have you Googled me?”
His face contorted like the idea of Googling a date was like FBI surveillance.
“No, I haven’t Googled you. Why would I do that?”
“Well, you might want to. I’ve had a pretty interesting life,” I mentioned.
I read somewhere that dating etiquette suggests that it isn’t wise to reveal to a first date that you have actually checked them out online. But in my case, I highly recommend to any potential partner that you Google the hell out of me.
Writers like it when people take time to find out about our work, for the writing we put out in the world in an extension of our personalities. This is our art. If you want to love a writer, you really need to read what we write. You can see our good, bad, and ugly on the page – or online. It takes profound bravery to be a writer. Only special people are able to embrace the form of nakedness that writing requires.
My writing, at this particular moment, is autobiographical. If I found myself interested in man who had as much memoir-themed material out in the world as I do, this would be like winning the lottery. Yes, it might be scary reading about his past heartaches and insecurities, but his vulnerability and willingness to publicly share would indicate transparency, bravery, and emotional maturity. I mean, aren’t these coveted traits in any potential partner? What better litmus test than someone who has an online life signature that extends beyond Facebook and Twitter.
Sometimes – but not always — I write about the raw stuff, like insecurities, fears, loneliness. If a man can’t approach me about that, he is going to be clueless about the rest of me. I’m at the point that if someone doesn’t want to know my complexities, they aren’t worth my time. I have a big story, and if a man can’t swallow the whole of it, (or if he can’t even ask me a little bit about it) then I don’t need him around.
Let’s go back to another date about a year ago. This individual is a personal Facebook friend and someone who met me at one of my speaking engagements. He already knew about my published books. At one point, I asked what is probably the most egotistical question I’ve ever uttered:
“Are you a fan of my official Facebook page?”
I immediately felt awful for asking something so self-centered, and I promised myself that I’d never again inquire of such a thing.
In a way, however, I’m glad I brought it up. Every post on my personal Facebook account got “Like” mark from this guy, yet he responded to my question by saying:
“I didn’t know you had one.”
This was pretty clear to me that he wasn’t really reading my work. The idea of dating me seemed compelling perhaps, but he did not have an ability to know me.
It is true that most people in the world do not have personal websites, nor do they publicly write about intimate life events. Social networking is pretty much the extent of their online profile.
Writers, however, want people to discover them.
I dare potential dates to astound me with the phrase, “Well, I was reading your article at ________ and I have so many things I want to ask you!” Dammit, boys, learn how to hold a conversation with a smart woman. Grow some banter balls.
I don’t want to share my existence with people who aren’t page-worthy. If someone is in my life in a meaningful way, there is a good chance that I will write about that person. This is a scary and weird realization for anyone who wants to be in my world. Yet, the most intimate parts of my life remain private. I keep a lot of stuff for myself. There are some things, particularly in committed relationships, that should remain sacred and off the public grid. That right person for me, however, will be able to locate me on the grid, and the only way to do that is by wanting to know my story.
So, Google me. I dare you.
Mr. First Date eventually emailed me. He wrote two sentences. The first said, “I Googled you and I read your blog.” That was it. No comments, no questions. His second sentence:“You have some really beautiful pictures up online.”
Apparently, the pictures impressed him most. That is why he became Mr. First –And –Only Date.