Saturday, March 17, 2012

Okay Digital Age Ladies - What About His WIFE?

I recently found myself in an awkward situation that left me in a sort of inward-kerfuffle with myself without any real clear answers.  This situation also forced me to realize that what I grew up with and what has been common, societal norms in the category of pleasantries and courtesy and modesty for a really long time (pre-digital age so, around 6,000 years among civilized societies?) is no longer the case and what's more, they're changing faster than I think I can keep up with.  This is going to be way longer than a 140 tweet or a snippet status update so I hope you'll read the whole thing without getting bored and clicking away.

I'll explain the situation and maybe someone reading can offer some insight on it.  For all I know, there are other women out there who have been in the same situation and found themselves wondering what to do as well?  Here's what happened:

An aquaintance of my husband sent me a friend request on FB so I accepted. Technically, he's a singer in a band that my hubby and I both actually love to pieces, so I felt okay accepting the request.  After I did that, I did what people deny doing and I creeped his profile.  You know how it goes, you look at status updates, pictures, friends & stuff like that.  I confess, I creep profiles - and I don't care who knows it.  I'm pretty sure everyone else does too.  In any case, I noticed his wife also had a FB account and almost without thinking I moused over her name to send a friend request - then I stopped.  This was where the kerfuffle started.

I thought, on the one hand I feel like I should send her a friend request since I'm friends with her husband.  Then I thought, no I'm not friends with her husband I don't even know her husband!  Then I thought about how much I hate the way social networking has obliterated the true definition of friend and essentially turned it into a meaningless thing.  Then I thought, well I will send her a request with a note saying my hubby and I are friends with her hubby and I thought it would be nice for her and I to be friends too.  Then I thought, she's going to get this and think "who is this freakbag and why is she sending me this request?"  I mean, those who know me well already know I'm sorta silly but I don't want strangers to think I'm a freakbag. Who does??  I was at a total loss with what to do, so I did nothing and I've been stewing over it ever since.  This has been about 2 months now and I still don't know what to do - or if I should do nothing at all.

Now I realize for most people this is a complete non-issue.  However, for Christian men and women who are interacting with men and women online, it's not a non-issue but I don't want to give the impression that it's a HUGE issue, because it's not (but it is an issue and should be for adult Christian men and women, married and single, that want to keep themselves accountable, out of trouble and not give anyone the wrong idea about anything, right?).   In other words, I desire to keep it real without making it a big deal.  The problem is, I don't have any clarity on what that should look like.

Online, I am "friends" with several married men.  Essentially what that means is that I know them from chat or forums or blogs and when we crossed paths on FB it was just sort of automatic that we'd be friends there too.  Among those married men, if I actually interact with them, and if I know their wives are on FB too, I am friends with many of them as well.  It makes ME feel better knowing that I'm not just friends with their husbands, while ignoring them (or giving the impression I don't care to know them, or interact with them).

On the flip side to this (sort of?) there are single & married women that are friends with my hubby.  They know he's a married man (you can't be his FB friend without knowing it, we goof off there all the time) but a handful of them have never sent me a friend request and almost never interact with me on his wall/timeline.  I'll be honest, I find that uncomfortable - and something about it seems bizarre.  And when I thought about that, I wondered how many conversations I've had with married men online who's wives I'm not friends with - and if they find it uncomfortable and bizarre as well??

Kev and I were talking about this a few weeks ago and I translated it all for him (the way I see it anyway) into a face-to-face situation like neighbors who lived on the same street.  Imagine if a married man were walking down the sidewalk with his wife, and some woman came up and struck up a conversation with him.  She liked his new jacket, laughed at what he said, and talked about her recent shopping trip to find a new jacket herself.  Then the wife speaks up and says "yes, I like it too", then the husband thanks the wife and the other woman just stares at her without  saying a word - like she's invisible -  then goes back to her conversation with the husband.  In a situation like that it seems pretty bizarre  and terribly awkward, but that's exactly what goes on online, and everyone seems to think it's just normal and/or okay.  My inner sense of "funky and strange" says it's not okay, that there's something very blatant and obvious being disregarded.  From where I sit, I most certainly do not want to be a blatant and obvious disregarder of someone's wife!

So, is it just me, or have you ever had these same thoughts and/or do you struggle in any way with all of this?  If yes, I'd love to hear from you.  If no, I'd love to hear from you too so you can tell me why you're okay with it all.  I think whatever insight anyone has to share on this might be more helpful than you realize, since the digital age isn't going anywhere anytime soon (unless the Mayans were right!) and we all should have a better handle on how we interact (or, do not interact) online.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Status Update: March 2012

Most of the monthly status report was actually sitting in my draft folder for weeks and never made it to the blog for February.  I have no idea where the time goes or how I used to find time to blog every single day, sometimes more than once a day!  I guess that was before twitter, FB, and working nearly full time in design.  In any event here we go, with new stuff for March:

Sitting… in my kitchen, see?  Pots and pans on the wall there on one side behind me, and fridge on the other side.  I would have preferred to be on my way home from church this morning as I wrote this part, but being a Midnight Shift Wife prevents me from doing that.

Wishing… sometimes I had a magic wand that I could wave over people (or pop them in the head with it, depending on their level of need) that would help people understand things that they don't understand.  But I don't have a magic wand, all I have are words.  Which brings me to my next thought - why does the Bee Gees song "It's Only Words" pop into my head all the time?  I mean, I liked the Bee Gees and that's a nice song and everything but for some weird reason, that song tends to pop into my head when I haven't even heard it and wasn't even thinking about it.

Feeling… frustrated after reading all the Rush/Fluke hoopla.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I'll link you HERE and let you read that before I go on.  Okay, you read all that, right?  Good.  Now here's the frustrated part:

I think both Fluke and Rush are in the wrong, with qualifiers of course.  On the one hand, why in the world should free birth control be provided to women who choose to engage in recreational sex? Seriously?  Do the words responsibility and accountability and common sense mean nothing anymore? On the other hand, Rush went WAY OVER THE TOP with his comments saying if "we" have to pay for BC then we want something for our money, i.e., videos showing proof. Good grief buddy, NO, we don't want that at all.  Granted, he did apologize but the barn door is already open and there's all sorts of fallout.  Everyone knows you can't push a bullet back into a gun after it's been fired. Everyone also knows that the dictionary definition of a woman who engages in recreational sex (not to mention the Biblical definition which matters more than any dictionary) is a ________.  Use whatever word you like, none of them are flattering.

Reading… a bit more in the Christian blogging community lately and really enjoying it.  I'm still a horrible comment-leaver (meaning I tend toward not leaving a comment when I've read something) but it doesn't mean I'm not grateful and thankful for the information, insight and wisdom that Christian bloggers are still providing.

Thinking… that there is something magically soothing about a tumbling dryer.  I know that sounds silly but for most of us it's a sound we've heard our whole lives, like a heartbeat.  Sometimes when the dryer is running, just for a flash of a second I have a memory of being a little kid in my kitchen and hearing the dryer running on the inside back porch.

Also thinking… how weird it is that I haven't made authentic, deep fried chimichangas in probably more than 15 years.  I'm thinking about this because I plan to make those for dinner tomorrow night, complete with all-day-slow-cooked seasoned beef and refried beans & guacamole with a layer of shredded cheese and a sprinkling of toasted, slivered almonds.  YUM!  The funny thing is, when I took out my Mexican cookbook I found a page marker with a chimichanga seasoning list on one side of the paper, and on the other side of the paper was some notes in my own handwriting that made no sense at all, at first.  The notes say "2-3, 2 coming down, stop on stair - bounce on turtles w/out stopping".  I had to read that several times before it hit me what it was.  It's a strategy note I wrote for the kids when Super Mario Bros. was hugely popular for the Nintendo back in 1992.  Sometimes I'd play it during the day when they were at school :o) and discover things that they had missed, so I'd write them down.  That was 20 years ago!

Heading… out to the store now, as I just realized I'm out of coffee cream.  Ugh, I'll have to find some other things to pick up since going to the store for 1 thing, especially when I'm on zombie midnight shift is completely unacceptable.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe