You know what they say about opinions…Well, it seems like nowadays everyone has a blog as well. And we should be able to say what we want. After all, this is America—home of free speech, the First Amendment. That said, is it OK to blog about a date? Can we? We’ve established we can. But should we?
Sure, we’ve all had funny, tragic and unbelievable experiences while going out (and staying in), but do we have the moral right to write about the other person involved? What if the stories that entertain and drive readers to our pages steal away the privacy and well-being of another?
Dating may happen in public places, witnessed off and on by other people, but it is still a private matter. The very nature of a date is two people coming together in a mutual atmosphere of trust, letting down their guard and attempting to get to know one another. Most daters don’t broadcast their conversations beyond an intimate circle of two or gathering of close friends.
When we know we’re being watched, our behavior changes. We say things we wouldn’t otherwise and don’t say things we might in a different situation. In a dating situation, such a barrier becomes one more social hurdle to overcome. And it just may doom any chance for romance or a relationship if your date has any expectation that you will be essentially gossiping over the world’s largest fence to millions of neighbors about what transpires.
Goofy date movies may have hardened some of us to the feelings involved, but these are real people we’re talking about. People with families and jobs and self respect that could be shattered by an unflattering post. No matter how thoughtless or stupid a person’s behavior, it all stems from experiences and lessons learned along the way. Some of us haven’t had the best teachers or the best classrooms. Even for those among us who are purposefully dense, there are better methods than abject humiliation to suggest they change their ways.
Blogging about an unimpressive date may be the worst kind of Mean Girl behavior because adults should know better, be able to predict possible consequences of their behavior and choices. Dating and love can be very raw subjects–the emotions involved, issues of self-confidence and ego. You don’t hurt another person for your own gain. That is a lesson we’re all taught as kids, though some of us don’t quite absorb the information–or feel the empathy.
If you must blog, there are a few guidelines which may temper any ill-effects or bad feelings:
Let your dates know you keep a blog and the typical information you disseminate through it, specifically if their lives may become fodder for your statistics. It’s only fair. Be aware that your dates will likely alter their behavior if they know they’re under scrutiny, if there’s the potential that their every word may be shared with the world at large. Wouldn’t you become more circumspect?
Change the Names to Protect the Innocent
Leave out names, innocent or not so much. No matter how tempting it may be to call out that guy for his boorish behavior or the girl who recounted for you such awesomely bad choices, it isn’t quite fair to do so. Tell the story if you must, but allow the subject the protection of anonymity, at the very least. Maybe they’ll learn from seeing their actions in print, but no one deserves to have him/herself put out there to become the object of scorn, ridicule or stalking.
Let Your Subject Have the First Peek
To be nice, if possible, run the telling by the other person before you publish. Maybe they will see the humor in it, maybe not. At least you will have the opportunity to hear any objections before the story is out there and difficult to get back.
Don’t Mention It
If the tale mentions your date’s children or other innocent parties, either find a way to leave them out or omit the tale altogether.
Don’t Get Personal
Revealing details about your date’s anatomy or inner landscape not readily on view to any bypasser on the street should be out of bounds. Our private parts are private. If we share them with you, regardless of the reason or situation, you shouldn’t shame us for it.
I love a good story as much as anyone, but I also know I have said and done things in the past that I am glad are not written down in the public record for anyone at all to come along and read. I’m fairly sure every single one of your readers out there has similar tidbits floating around in their history. Before you self-publish, ask yourself, if someone was writing this about you, would it be as funny? What if your mother had to read it? Your children? And then decide if you still want to hit that Enter key.
Photo by twenty_questions @ http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=2508576