Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

My Blind Date With A Blogger

There has been a lot of talk lately about whether you can be true friends with fellow bloggers.

A few weeks ago, one of my regular readers let me know they were coming to Calgary, where I live part-time and am slowly, slowly, slowly trying to live full-time.

This blogger didn't actually come out and say, "Can we meet?" But it was obvious there was that implied suggestion. So, of course, as someone who never looks more than three hours into the future, I was the one to throw out, "Let's meet!"

I mean, it would be so many weeks before this blogger actually came to Calgary, and, surely, I'd either forget about it, or they would.

After you've been to 3259 cocktail parties, where people air-kiss you and say, "We should get together!" you really start to believe that no one ever actually gets together. Because no one ever gets together!

But that didn't happen this time. "I'm coming to Calgary next week," went the e-mail I received last week. "Are we still on?"
So, of course, I wrote back, "Of course we're still on." (Apparently, this blogger doesn't travel in the same cocktail party circuit as I do where "We should get together," means "See you at the next cocktail party.")

The day before we were to meet, I told The Fiance I was meeting a blogger for lunch the next day. He was all like, "Are you friggen crazy?"

So I was like, "Um, duh. Yeah I'm crazy. But what does that have to do with me meeting a blogger for lunch?"

I'm quite naive about people. I really do believe the best in people and that everyone is nice. I'm always shocked when people are mean to, or about, me. "Why are people so mean?" I'll ask the fiance, when, oh I don't know, someone sends me evil (but often hilarious) e-mails.

"Because in the real world," he always tells me. "People are not nice. If you put yourself out there, people will be mean."

And I'm like, "But where do people find the time? When I have even two minutes of free time, I'd never spend it sending evil e-mails to strangers."

And then The Fiance will say, "And that's why you are who you are," which I take to mean that when I have free time, I'll use it to work and make $1500 doing a freelance assignment (Check out this month's Chatelaine - it's actually a pretty good mag), while other's spend their time writing about me, or sending me evil (but hilarious) e-mails, instead of focusing on their own careers.

But that's just me. Maybe there are people out there who prefer sending evil e-mails to strangers than making money.

But I'm getting off topic. The fiance thought I was "friggen crazy" to meet a blogger who I knew nothing about.

"That's not true!" I said. "I know this person has two dogs, a cat, is 23 years-old and married." (I read this on her profile.)

"How do you know it's not a crazy stalker man who is pretending to be a female blogger only to lure you to meet them?" he asked. "How do you know they are who they say they are? You better have your cell phone on THE ENTIRE lunch."

His freak-out gave me pause. It was true. How much really do we ever know about bloggers? We see their profiles, the movies they like, and the books they read. But it would be very easy to lie.

But, because I'm naive, I take blogger's profiles to be true. If you say your favorite movie is The Princess Bride, well, I'll believe your favorite movie is The Princess Bride.

But The Fiance freaked me out. I really did know nothing about this blogger. In fact, I didn't even know what she looked like (The photo of them was from when they were a kid.) I only knew that this blogger went by the moniker "How Did I Wind Up Here?" I wasn't even sure of this bloggers name.

But the day arrived. I kept my phone on. I walked into the very public restaurant I suggested at the very public hour of 12:30 p.m. I had pepper spray in my purse. Ok, that's not true. But, suddenly, the fact that this blogger could be very boring and that I'd waste 2 hours of my time, was the least of my worries.

Here's what happened: I met this blogger, who was female (phew!) and I had an amazing time. It was super fun. She was super nice, very interesting, and very funny. In fact, it turned out to be one of those lunches where the waiter came back to ask, three times, "So are you ready to order yet?" when we hadn't even looked at the menu. That's how fun the lunch was.

Meanwhile, my cell phone kept ringing and ringing to the point it was embarassing (The fiance making sure I was still alive) I turned it off because I was enjoying myself so much. I felt like I had met a new friend, who seemed like an old friend. And, the best part of meeting this blogger was that it restored my faith in human nature.

Because, sometimes, a blogger is just a blogger.


Blogger J's Mommy said...

Wow sounds like you had a great time. I wish I could meet some of my favorite bloggers!

12:33 PM

Blogger Sheena said...

Good for you. Online discussion groups have opened some interesting social doors for me over the last few years, quite to my genuine surprise. Met people all across North America from walks of life I'd never get a chance to see in the normal world.

Changed my life in several ways both positive and negative. Met the new shackup partner on a forum where we had common interests couple of years ago, but also have crossed paths with psychos and weirdos that actually required intervention.

Don't be afraid, but the Fiance is right to approach with caution and an exit plan.

3:33 PM

Blogger Jenn said...

There are a tonne of bloggers out there that I'd love to meet for real (well, maybe not a tonne, but a few), but I'm not all that brave.

Hey, if you ever venture 3 hours north to good old Edmonton for a cocktail party, let me know!

11:33 PM

Blogger Mega Mom said...

Yeah! I did one Bloggie Blind Date and it worked out very well! Good for you two!

One of these days I'm going to make it up to Toronto b/c there are about 10 very cool bloggers there that I enjoy reading. In the meantime, you all should get together and videotape it for the rest of us!

4:44 AM

Blogger sunshine scribe said...

What fun. I'd love to through a big blogger dinner party and meet all the cool women I've read for real.

Happy Mother's Day to you Rebecca!

6:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm moving (with my 2 year old daughter) from Toronto (Annex) to Calgary in 4 weeks. Care to make this a regular service to your readers? ;) Trish

9:04 AM

Anonymous CJ said...

I've met a few blog friends in person, one turned out to be a real dick head but the others were decent human beings. In my experience the blogers that couldn't stop talking about themselves (in a profile, etc.) usually were the decent ones, whereas the ones that didn't have much to say on their profiles were hiding, lying or contemplating carrying your head home in a duffel bag when they tracked you down. (yeah, that bad) ;)

Anyway, that's super that you had a loverly lunch with a blog buddy and will have nothing but fond and happy memories.

Happy Mother's Day to you!

9:53 AM

Blogger Cindy said...

Well I am relieved that you had a good time. I was kinda worried I was talking too much and babbling... I guess i did have the advantage of knowing you really were who you said you'd be, not some crazy stalker man.

5:29 PM

Blogger Jenn said...

Thats great that you had such a fun time!
I myself have met a lot of people online, who happened to be real life cool and funny people too - One such person and I agreed to meet at Markville mall - in front of the very public Old Navy store, and now since we only live 30 minutes apart, we've become great friends. Oh she blogs too - we both started blogging after we'd already met each other via another site. We promised each other we weren't hairy old perverted men, but it's true you never know in the online world. Glad to see your faith in human nature hasn't been destroyed. Most people really are genuine online - it's a shame that the trolls have to spoil everything and make us overly paranoid.

6:08 PM

Blogger ninepounddictator said...

If you need a Calgary welcome wagon, I might be convinced. But first we'll need to e-mail..and of course, the first meeting will be in a very public place...ha ha...
Seriously, if you find yourself down and lonely in Calgary, let me know (And trust me, you will at first...I think.)

6:51 PM

Blogger JennC said...

Holy Rodeo, Batman. How about that? Here I thought you were in Toronto and 'lo, you're in my hometown. Small world.

I had no idea that "chic" cocktail parties existed in Calgary though, the last time I was there, my mom took me to a Chickwagon cocktail (it was mildly corny: Stop with the cowboy hats already).

A couple of months ago I went to a blog party at a blogger's apartment in Montmartre. An area I didn't know during the day. I admit, that that could have been a really stupid thing to do, but it ended up being an amazing evening.

8:20 AM

Blogger Fidget said...

I'm glad you had a good experience. I've met several bloggers in person and it is amazing the great friendships that have developed. There IS the occasional nut job but I've had far great sucess metting bloggers than i have meeting people out in "the real world". I must have some sort of I Love Stalkers sign tattooed on my forehead because damn, teh people i meet in real llife are terrifying. Your fiance should be more concerned about the person who randomly strikes up a conversation at Starbucks... 3 days later you spot them in your bushes with your favorite latte, binoculars and some handcuffs (shudder).

10:20 AM

Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

How great is that?

(And, SS? And other TO mamas? Why are we NOT all having that dinner... or drink... or whatever?)

R - can I link this in my mommyblogger-love post?

12:14 PM

Blogger thethinker said...

I've just started blogging and I would love to meet a blogger someday. I'm glad it went well for you.

2:10 PM

Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

When the whole internet communities thing started happening I thought it was incredibly odd to be making friends online. Now it doesn't seem that odd to me at all and there are a lot of bloggers I'd like to meet!

1:14 PM

Blogger Maddie's Mom said...

Hey Trish
Congrats on your move. There are lots of really fun, young and hip Moms out here with the OIL and BEBE boom! I am from Montreal with 4 years in Vancouver and love it here-and you know that us Montrealers are pretty loyal to the Island...

I am former 'workaholic' 5 months into my MAD/MAT leave and have met many moms who also like to shop (no PST at HOLTS!), do stroller walks (it was 29 degrees yesterday), do movies with bebe, have lunches (with margs!), ski(not as great as Whistler but not as cold and icy as Tremblant-the daycare is incredible at LLouise), trips to zoo and work out with trainers who keep bebe busy while we lose the weight (Maddie has a crush on Brett the trainer)! We also like to do lots sans a girlriend just had a poll dancing party. (I've learned that Dad doesn't mind to babysit if there is a future lap dance involved.)

We are always happy to include someone new! So, if you are interested, drop me a line when you get into town, and you can join us or depending on what part of the city you live in we can hook you up with some fun moms (we are NW and Kensington)!

Regards, Maddies Mom

PS Stampede is like nothing you've been to matter what you say now, you will wear a cowboy hat at least once in July!!

PSS Rebecca-been a fan forever! MY FINANCE wonders why we now subscribe to the Globe and Mail...HAHA. Loved the book and cant wait for the sequel..please keep us up to date on where we can find your freelance articles as well. THANKS!!

10:10 AM

Blogger Kristin said...

See, I inhabit the same party circuit as you... where "let's get together" = "I may never see you again".

I am a bit on the fence about real life blogger meetings...

3:46 PM


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