Each week I receive email messages asking if I’d be willing to promote another blog on my website. The requests are sometimes humble:
I’m just starting out and would be so grateful if you would add my blog to your blogroll.
I don’t have a blogroll, which means they didn’t thoroughly check out the website, but I appreciate the tone of the message.
Sometimes they’re presumptuous:
I have a new blog and am willing to cross-promote yours on my site if you’ll do the same.
Um, let’s see, you have a new blog which means you’ll “promote” mine with your current followers—your ten closest friends and lonely Aunt Edna. Thanks?
Occasionally, they’re downright rude:
I haven’t had a chance to read all of your blog but I just started my own about online dating from a younger person’s perspective and mine is really funny. Would love a plug.
OK, I’m all over that, especially since you’ve told me three things: you’ve not read any of my blog (don’t bullshit), you think I’m old, and not the slightest bit funny. I’d be crazy not to help!
I do always check out their blogs. It’s not that I’m opposed to helping someone who’s just getting started, but I’m not about to stick my endorsement on mediocre anything, and that’s a kind assessment in most instances. I know many literati look down their noses at what I do. In their world, blogs are to writing what Velvet Elvis is to art.
That’s rapidly changing, but there are the holdouts smugly clutching The New Yorker magazine while refusing to share a seat at the Algonquin Round Table they’ve created in their minds.
That same highbrow group would gasp if I told them I could hardly stomach Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.
BUT, I’m not snoot-free, either. I want writing that grabs me and takes me along for the experience. My standards are the same for books, newspapers, magazines, and, yes, blogs. Sure, it’s fantastic to have material such as a man pinching a woman’s breast on a first date, but if the writer can’t tell the story properly it’s irrelevant. I work hard on my posts and have yet to be approached by anyone asking for an endorsement whose writing’s kept me reading.
That is until recently.
Last week my inbox was bombarded with requests–ten to be precise. The first few I politely declined, but by the last several the responses grew terse. This was message number ten:
I’m not sure how this is done, or what the etiquette is, but I was wondering if you’d allow a link on your blog to my blog, which I just started two months ago. I would of course reciprocate. Thanks, Amy
The newbie was going to pay for the other nine that came before her. I decided I was taking off the gloves. I would be brutally honest—suggest she take writing classes, join a writing group, or give up on blogging completely since not everyone is cut out for writing. I actually created a disclaimer in my mind that I’d add to my website. It went like this:
Please don’t contact me to suggest I share your blog with my followers in exchange for reciprocation on yours. A quid pro quo-based endorsement of your work shows zero integrity.
Pompous, party of one, your table is ready.
Then I smugly clicked on Amy’s link and read:
I thought I was there. Paradise. At the least, it was within my reach. The man of my dreams–literary, brilliant, a trifle kinky–turned out to be an insecure, compulsive porn addict with bipolar disorder and pretensions to spare.
Well, knock me over with a quill pen!
I read on.
And so I was pitched back into the purgatory of single womanhood by this yellow-fanged, shaggy goat of a self-anointed god.
Amy grabbed me with, “literary, brilliant, a trifle kinky,” and HAD ME at “goat.”
I quickly replied:
Beautiful writing, Amy. I’d be happy to recommend the blog. If you’re game I might be interested in interviewing you and writing a blog post, too. I get many requests to add blogs to my website but I’ve always declined because the writing, well, sucks. Yours does not and I think others should know about it.
So Amy and I chatted on the phone a few days ago. I learned more about the goat, whom she met online, by the way. He’s a well-respected writer of fiction. His latest book, however, is a nonfiction accounting of his sexual escapades with middle-aged women. Amy thinks her less than flattering portrayal in the book (yep, he wrote about her) is probably in retaliation for her many faked orgasms. Facts that are shared during a breakup can be devastating, especially with a man who’s a sexual legend in his own mind.
Hell hath no fury like a lousy lover scorned!
Amy thinks his motivation for the current book is to get laid and why not? What’s wrong with a man writing a book about the joys of being with middle-aged women and satisfying all their sexual needs in order to entice more middle-aged women into bed? Seems like a perfectly reasonable goal and there’s nothing lascivious or mercenary about it, right?
Amy’s blog, The Post Menopausal Paradise, is a beautifully written chronicle of her dating experiences now that she’s single again. I would highly recommend it and will be following along as she navigates the choppy waters of dating after fifty.
I hope you’ll give it a look.
When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing. -Enrique Jardiel Poncela
As usual, great (and very witty) post…I checked out Amy’s blog-you’re right, she’s a wonderful writer as well! Thanks for the link!
You’re welcome, Annette. Glad you enjoyed the post AND Amy’s blog!
Great post! I am busy laughing at Amy’s blog. Separated at birth or what?! She is as funny and irreverent as you are. Amen 🙂
It’s a good one, Tracy. Happy reading!
Thanks so much for the tip about Amy’s blog. Have been catching up and loving every minute. I haven’t been in touch lately because I found the man of my dreams-NOT! I was seeing a fellow for most of the summer and let’s just say it ended badly. As in a strange phone call about a week after he unceremoniously dumped me for another chick. I heard my phone ring-I was at work and had forgotten to silence it (Freudian or weird coincidence) and answered it-completely catching him off guard. In which he apologized, and said ‘goodbye’. Twenty-four hours later……..wait for it……..I was at the hospital sitting by his bedside as he hallucinated and ranted post suicide attempt. Yes, Melani, I had come full circle and was visiting the local hospital’s ‘spa and psych ward’ as a good friend and former “special friend”. His parents were confused, his current lady love was annoyed but the psych nurse didn’t even blink when he introduced us as “the girlfriends”.
So anyway…..thanks for hooking me up with Amy. The three of us really should do lunch.
Cindy, please forgive me but I just about fell off my chair laughing when I read your comment. I know, hallucinations coupled with a suicide attempt shouldn’t be funny, but you do have a way with words. I died (inappropriate word, I know) at the “special friend” reference. Don’t get me started with “the girlfriends” either. You are so funny and if you ever decide to blog, I’ll be endorsing it with a bang-up blog post. Yes, lunch would be perfect. I’m in!
Just checked out her site. Great read. Thanks Melani!
You’re welcome, Jenny!
Kern L says
Hi Melanie – Thanks for your latest, I definitely like the visual punctuation and look forward with anticipation to your next installment. And I think that The Post Menopausal Paradise is quite captivating and well written, albeit somewhat confusing to an “age appropriate” man who has not yet come to terms with the concept that no trace of sexual desire survives menopause. Be this as it may, women and men continue to find each other and hope springs eternal for the simpler sex as we seek love on the far side of the half-century mark. Thanks for the fun and games and entertainment. All this continues to prove that the proverbial pen is mighty indeed.
Thank you, Kern. I’m glad you enjoyed Amy’s writing. I would like to clarify, though, that menopause doesn’t have the same effect on all women. Sure, hot flashes seem to be SOP for everyone, BUT waning desire is not automatic. I’m happy to report the libido is alive and well in this menopausal woman. Nothing like over-sharing, right? And if it weren’t I would be looking for a solution. There are many things that have left me with age: bikini abs, firm under eye skin, taunt upper arms. Sex will not be added to the list, dammit! Thanks, again, Kern.
Hi Melani and Kern. Re: libido. A lot of women do lose their libidos, but I don’t think mine is so much gone as hibernating. It needs a little inspiration, and so far I’m not finding it online!
Thanks for clarifying, Amy. When you wrote, “It needs a little inspiration and so far I’m not finding it online!” I immediately thought, men find libido inspiration all the time online–porn.
Laura L says
Thanks for sharing Melani. I need all the witty effluent comrades in arms I can get.
I know, Laura. There’s safety in numbers!
Totally Agree about The Year of Magical Thinking
Thank you, Magrooder. I kept waiting to be blown away given the critical acclaim the memoir (or memoirist) was given. Never happened. I’ve often wondered if people pretend to “love” certain books because the literary community tells them they should. One of the things I’ve learned since trying to weasel my way into that world is often the blurbs (and sometimes even reviews) are written by friends of the author or other authors who are represented by the same publishing house or agent. It explains a lot. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased a book based on blurbs, only to find nothing inside that comes close to the “brilliance” described on the cover. Total bullshit.
You can’t believe the blurbs. If the blurb-ist has any connection to Fox “News,” go straight for the hand sanitizer after placing the book down. I thought you might be interested in this comparison of Joan and Nora Ephron: http://bookforum.com/inprint/020_04/12469
Loved the essay comparing the two. Thanks for sharing, Magrooder! I agree about blurbs. I wonder if I’d feel the same way, though, if I had a book out and some famous author was coerced into blurbing :).