I was immediately drawn to the concept of date blogs. At first, it had the appeal of stumbling across an exhibitionist and I’ll admit to having a bit of a voyeuristic streak. As I read through her blog posts, I came to feel like a sneak combing through someone’s diary, except with tacit permission. And then I came to realize there was a real and talented person behind the words, albeit one who experienced a lot of drama.
She had a twitter account of her own as @DateMeDCBlog and I started folllowing her to see the live updates between her blog posts. Very shortly after that, she followed me back and we began to chat online.
A few things came clear to me very quickly:
- Katie is human. That means she’s passionate, imperfect, and vulnerable.
- Katie is clever. Sometimes it’s a bit blue, but she puts together her posts in as punchy and readable a fashion as any veteran editorialist, I think.
- Katie is social. She wants to connect with people to a degree that almost frightens me. (Of course, I’m somewhat antisocial so…)
- Katie feels a LOT. If I experienced any one of the bad things she’s gone through, I might think it sucks and hurt a bit. She gets battered by it.
- All of the above combines to make her need a creative outlet. She NEEDS it. If she didn’t have some way of expressing the ideas and feelings inside her, I fear she might have a nervous breakdown.
You know what she’s not? She’s not fake.
She didn’t start her blog to make money and then start looking for guys to date so she would have material to write about. Rather, she hit a point in her life where she underwent massive changes and that need to express herself drove her to create the blog.
As far as I can tell, she blogs for herself and for her readers. She dates for the prospect of connecting with someone in a real way. Those are two separate things that she’s just put together. This is not someone who’s opportunistic, this is a capable woman who has combined some things she wants in her life in a cleverer way than most of us.
I do think it’s possible that knowing she has a blog helps motivate her to keep going on dates, even when she’s had some crap ones or a dry spell. But how can anyone judge her harshly for that? When I’ve had bad dating experiences, I’ve wanted to hide in my room for months! (not recently. I swear. mostly.) The idea of making something that you can use as your own encouragement system to conquer social obstacles is one that I wish I’d thought of years and years ago.
And from the gregarious face she exposes to the blogging and twitter communities, she’s formed friendships and networks with some amazing people. I’m lucky to be one of the lesser folk she’s added to her following. And I’ve followed her lead to try to be more social, myself! I think I’ve probably made dozens of pretty friendly acquaintances who I might have missed out on if I hadn’t learned from Katie’s example.
Plus, when Katie makes friends, she makes friends HARD. I’ve tried to be there for her just because I like her, but I have no doubt whatsoever that she would be there for me. Do I agree with everything she thinks and blogs? Nope. Sometimes I worry about the way she looks at dating and the choices she makes. But I worry because I know, as she herself has said, that she invests in those dates and the people she meets. I worry because I think of her as a true friend.
Later today (September 20th), I’m going to go to the launch party for the Doing The District blog, which is a collaboration of Katie and four other impressive yet dissimilar women who go by the collective label of Gamma Girls (of DC). Do you want to know how many meet-new-people get-togethers I attended before I met Katie? I honestly can’t remember any since university.
She maintains anonymity yet exposes herself not for fame & fortune but to connect with people and to help other people connect with each other. She gets hurt because of that exposure but she keeps going. I don’t know if I’d be strong enough to handle all the stuff she goes through. I sure as hell couldn’t throw a party after it.
But Katie can. She and most of the other dating bloggers I’ve had the fortune to encounter (see my friends’ blogs for more) are amazing. Not because they write up a date or two, but because unlike many of us, these public people keep getting back up and keep trying to connect–while under scrutiny! They all motivate me to keep trying, as well.
But none maybe quite so much as that woman behind Date Me, DC. I heart her so.
P.S. I didn’t ask for permission to write this, so I hope Katie doesn’t mind.
P.P.S. Come out and meet these amazing women at the Doing The District Launch Party.