If you’re a writer in 2016 the most savage thing a person can say to you is “So I was Googling you the other day and….”
Your mind goes a million places and you wonder what they’ve seen and how seriously they take it. Maybe I tweeted about how I like that Evanescence song once two years ago and now they think I’m a closeted born again Christian. With the sheer amount of information about me available on the internet, you could probably construct me to be any kind of person you want — most of them pretty hateable.
Four years ago I got one of my first writing jobs as a freelancer for Thought Catalog. My parents were so proud. That is, until one of my first essays was titled “How a Dick Feels.”
In the tradition of great American writers I had explored a topic of great cultural impact, to quote myself:
“I experienced something once called “triangle dick.” No one believes me but it was legit shaped like a triangle. I can’t tell you what I did with it because I blacked the whole experience out, out of terror and anxiety. I wanted to run away and then I couldn’t hold it like normal because it was shaped so weird. Yeah, the rest of this memory is blocked out. Mostly I tried to not make it a big deal while I was freaking out internally.”
A bit vulgar, yes, but I thought i’d written a pretty okay piece of writing. Oversharing is part of the internet, right? But this brings me to the other real gem of the internet: the comments section.
In what I thought was a fairly innocuous essay describing a very typical female experience with the male reproductive organ, I had, somehow, inspired quite a bit of hate.
Allow me to quote:
“Typical immature, good-for-nothing filthy scumbag hoe. Grow up slag, It’s a two way street women can’t continue to bitch about equality and then insist that a guy have a dick of a certain size, girth etc etc etc”
“Unfortunately chicks like the blogger will eventually breed and unfortunately ppl like her vote…which is why america has to deal with the inept loser named Obozo”
(the author of this comment is referencing Obama, if you didn’t catch that).
A woman chimed in with:
“Possibly the worst-written piece of shit I’ve ever read. Also, you’re kind of a skank. And this is coming from a feminist.”
It’s funny how people on the internet can know your life so well.
But my favorite comment commiserated with me on the anxiety of discovering a weird penis and not being sure how to gracefully exit the situation without making someone feel bad. She said, “I’ve seen a peen where it looked like a hot dog that was boiled for too long and like..busted open in random places????”
It’s clear that she, too, has felt my pain.
Perhaps if we met up for coffee we could have a deep meaningful conversation about what it’s like to not want to make someone feel bad about what their body is like, but also have no idea what the fuck to do because dicks aren’t supposed to be shaped like triangles or boiled over hot dogs.
So that brings me back to Google where I am forever tied to conversations about oddly shaped penises. How do you get to know someone in earnest when the deep ocean of your dick-related Google results are hanging over the relationship? These are not the girl-you-bring-home-to-mom vibes I am going for.
I think there’s something really healthy about oversharing. It definitely keeps the ego in check, I’m categorically unable to possess any kind of holier than thou attitude. I have developed a lot of patience for letting people make mistakes and waiting to see a few different facets of their personality before deciding what kind of person I think they are.
But there’s always a weird power imbalance when you meet people because you know they can go online and learn everything about you while they can dole out facts about themselves as slowly as they choose to. But god doesn’t give with both hands I supposed, and the cost of mystery in a relationship is the whole wide world of dick related humor.