I've met some people who I now consider to be good friends. I've read things that have inspired, infuriated, impressed, cheered, edified and depressed me.
One of the most interesting things for me has been the reception I've had because I'm male. I'm not talking about people who like or dislike things I say. I'm just talking about the way people react to a man going to their blog.
Being a male blogger feels like I imagine it felt like to be an early female sports reporter. That's not all that unusual now, but I remember when women really started going into sportscasting (you know how faithfully I follow sports, right?). It because it was such a major shift--women going into a traditionally male domain.
Since it was such a major shift, I think it raised a lot of eyebrows. Some of this was just what happens when someone does something that goes a little off the beaten path. And then of course, there were the obvious problems with having a female in a male locker room.
I imagine there were awkward moments for some of the earliest female sportscasters, and probably for some of the players as well.
I wonder if it's at all analogous to being a male blogger.
I've been blogging for long enough now that I think people are used to me, but for a while, the response I got was interesting. While many were very kind, some people seemed to think I was a stalker or pervert or possibly both. In fact, on some blogs, I got the distinct impression I was as welcome as a man hanging out in front of the women's restroom. Lots of weird cyber looks.
Being a male blogger has meant that there are moments when, like those female sportscasters, I avert my eyes (virtually speaking, I mean). I generally don't read or comment on posts dealing with lactation and the side effects, pregnancy, Twilight, or other strictly female topics. Part of this is from delicacy, part of it is because I have nothing productive to add to the conversation.
But there's more. I realize that blogging is generally (though not exclusively) a female domain--and I don't want to change that. I don't want people to be constrained or restrained by my presence. I want to be able to participate, but I think it's my responsibility to adapt to the prevailing norms and mores rather than trying to change them to fit my own sensibilities.
That's the trick for me, and it's one I'm trying to master.
Anyway, I mostly want to thank all my blogging friends for letting me tag along in the past year.