Monday, February 25, 2008

non-academics like me, they really like me!

so i survived the Northern Voice blogging conference 2008. my first non-academic audience. i didn't expect to be so nervous but all i kept thinking was, what the hell are these people gonna say? i mean, with academics, you know you are going to be stared at, evaluated for levels of smartness, and then criticized. i can handle that. i have practice at that (as a girl growing up in catholic school, i actually excelled at coping with this at a young age. i think they even give out awards for those who don't crack by age 9). but non-academics? real peeps? what can you expect from these people? i, for one, had no idea. and that's why i almost hyperventilated.

i made my usual jokes. i threw in a few slightly off-colour ones to appeal to my unknown crowd. i think i may or may not have said something about penises being pink (in response to a woman in the crowd reporting the high incidence of penis pictures being sent to her in the context of one online dating site in particular. i acknowledge that this is a racialized comment. it is like saying pink coloured pencils are "flesh"-toned when they in fact only represent one colour of flesh. for this, i am sorry). i also may or may not have encouraged divorce for those who feel missed out on online dating. what can i say? i was frenzied. hopped up on starbucks new skinny lattes (which i used to have to describe but now i can just say a hazelnut skinny latte! the ease! and now the baristas don't laugh at me. um...did i just out myself as a starbucks douche? methinks i let the cat slip out of the bag. don't judge. unless you are an academic).

anyhoo. overall, it went well. i spent too much time on academic-y stuff which was to be expected. about mid-way through my ramble, one audience member was like, "so what were your conclusions?" and i was like, "okey dokey, let's just get down to business then." apparently non-academics are interested in conclusions. who knew? i am used to just talking a blue streak, throwing foucault out there a few times, and calling it a day. i realized, only after, that the best part of my talk was relaying how dating is dating no matter what. isn't that friggin' profound folks? i didn't know i had it in me. an audience member was like, "so is it different or not?" (okay, they were actually really polite but in my hadn't eaten, skinny latte, nerves-induced state, they all looked like horned devils spitting fire at me, okay?). and it was kinda liberating to be like, you know, it's not. well actually, i digressed and said that theoretically, there are significant differences, like the gendered patterns of dating in particular, but when it comes right down to it, dating is dating. so thanks horned devil with the immaculate insight. i might just have a dissertation here.

or a article for O magazine. whatevs.


Boris Mann said...

good stuff. I have been spending years talking with friends who are horribly split on online dating. About half refuse to use it and other social tools (e.g. Facebook) because they figure anyone they connect with will be someone they DON'T like, because they use the Internet. And this is not people who don't use th Internet, just folks who use it mainly for work and search.

Thanks for presenting at Northern Voice. Next those non academics will be asking which dating site they should use :P

jacks said...

hi boris! as if i just got a random unsolicited comment! (i usually have to solicit pretty hard for them. seriously).

i love the divisiveness surrounding the question: "to online date or to not online date?" it is probably the no. 1 question i get from non-academics - that is, whether i would recommend it or not. either because i am a sucker for love, or because i can't keep my opinion to my myself, my answer is always YES. i'm here to advocate for online dating as a "normal" everyday activity that is not somehow the property of the internet. so send your friends my way. i'm dying to give advice. i really, really, really am!

thank you for inviting me to present at northern voice. at the end of the conference i didn't know who to thank so THANK YOU! also, i have officially added you to my reader. anyone who gives me an unsolicited comment deserves some in return. thanks for reading and for the great experience at NV!