The Sad Ballad of Josh and Emily, or: No, You May Not Read My Blog, or: Broken Condom = Internet Gold

So, have you heard about Josh Stein and Emily Gould?
Don’t worry. You will. And soon.
The New York Times Magazine is running a cover piece by Gould this Sunday. It’s ostensibly about “the dangers of oversharing on the Internet,” and is actually the culmination of a breakup sadder and less significant than anyone could possibly imagine. The story goes like this:
Josh blogged. Emily blogged. They blogged together on Gawker. They screwed. She blogged about them screwing. He read her blog about them screwing. He wrote an articleabout her blogging about them screwing. She wrote an article about his article about her blogging about them screwing. Gawker blogged about her article about his article about her blogging about them screwing, and so the whole universe devoured
itself, as in the end of Southland Tales when the two Seann William Scotts finally meet, thereby creating a rift in the time/space continuum.
This, by the way, is why my boyfriend is not allowed to read CollegeCandy.
I am not shy about using my intimate life as fodder for my blogs. I will tell you which vibratorI use, what kind of birth control I prefer, how I deal with breakups (hint: drinking), which arguments I’ve had recently and why, who I’ve slept with, and what I’ve regretted about those experiences. I like to think that I’m not the focus of these pieces, and that I only incorporate personal anecdotes when they serve to illustrate some larger, more important point. I also don’t use real names, because I am not an insane person. Nevertheless, if you know me, you know who I’m writing about, and you know why.
Of course, I’ve gotten myself into trouble. Back in the days of LiveJournal, I wrote that my best friend’s boyfriend “lied a lot.” I was not invited to their house for several months. (To be fair, he said that he had been an astronaut; this claim has never beensubstantiated by NASA.) More recently, an ex learned about my pregnancy scare via CC; he e-mailed me to say that he would “never read my blog again” and informed me that I had “wrecked his image of me.” His image of me, apparently, included a womb barren and untouched by man; what this says about him, or me, is open for debate.
We don’t even need to talk about the time that I inadvertently placed my diary on the “shared files” portion of my hard drive, thereby making it accessible to everyone on my college campus. Do we?
Okay, we do: I transferred three months later. Some wounds just don’t heal.
As I’ve come to know more writers, I’ve realized that I, too, am blog material. For those who have never found an unflattering description of their dating choices online (or read the pursuant “right on!!!” comments), let me assure you: it is a harsh realm. Yet it’s only fair — and, to be honest, no more than I (or Emily Gould) ought to expect.
“My only advantage as a reporter,” Joan Didion wrote, in 1968, “is that… people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does. That is one last thing to remember: writers are always selling someone out.”
That, really, is the point — the point of Josh and Emily, of me and my (nameless) boyfriend, of everyone who writes and lives and writes about living, on the Internet or in print. Relationships are a delicate balance of listening and speaking, revealing yourself and helping the other person feel safe enough to be revealed. Writing is about laying your mind bare, relentlessly, without regard for the people who might dump you or yell at you or hold you in contempt. Being a writer, or dating one, is a paradox. You have to establish trust and intimacy while simultaneously acknowledging that, if an incident makes for good material, it may very well become public knowledge in the near future.
So, yeah: my boyfriend doesn’t read CollegeCandy. There is no way in hell that he’s going to hear about my drinking binges or bad hookups or the fact that I repeatedly and insistently compared an ex to Kevin Federline (with image links!) before I am ready to tell him. I may, however, e-mail him this piece before I post it.
He writes. He might understand.

Invisible Children: Find Them, Help Them
Invisible Children: Find Them, Help Them
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