Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gossip Girl

My friend just told me about this book that is coming out, that is entirely fiction, and the characters are based on real people (housewives, no less) in Upper Arlington.  Apparently, there is a book signing soon at Scioto, and the fish are jumping.  If this concept sounds vaguely familiar to you, you might have read The Help by Katheryne Stockett.  It is one of my all time favorite books.  The big difference being that this book, supposedly, is written from the prospective of another housewife, not "the help" of the housewives. 

As I was pondering the concept of the book, it raised a lot of issues with me.  For one, isn't the book just gossip, or payback for mistreatment of the protagonist?  Is it just me, or doesn't this reek of Wisteria Lane?  In The Help, it was very clear who the victim was, and who the aggressor was, because of society's standards at the time, and the culture that surrounded it.  But, if you are a housewife in a suburban neighborhood, you are going to come across crazy people, and mistreatment of people, and of course, people who feel justified in doing both, I suppose, if there really are two sides to everything, right?  It becomes about the perspective of the side you are on, really.  And that is why The Help worked, and I am not sure if this book will.  I have not read it, yet.  I will let you know.  Right now I just want to discuss the nature of the book, I guess.

On the flip side, this book will sell like wildfire around Arlington, at least, because people are afraid they are in there, and the disconnect between how they want to be perceived, versus the person they actually are, will be exposed.  SUPPOSEDLY, that is.  I mean, is it slander, if it is true?

Brad and I recently were having a conversation about the power of Facebook and how weird it was that he knew before I did, that my best friend let her daughter and her friends toilet paper (or TP) the inside of her house during her Birthday slumber party because it was raining outside.  This was all because Alissa posted it on Facebook, and he saw it before I did.  The funny thing is, that he probably would have never even known about this, (unless I brought it up) let alone seen a picture before I did!  Isn't that fascinating?

So we started fantasizing about how funny it would be if people posted their REAL status updates on Facebook, rather than the status updates of the way they choose to be perceived.  In a way, for adults, I see Facebook as a way for people to put their own "spin" on their lives.  It is a Public Relations vehicle, really.  What if we all got real, and we posted what was really going on in our lives.  Here are some examples Brad and I came up with.

(1)I don't know how I am going to pay my mortgage this month.  I am living way beyond my means.

(So then if you press Like, are you saying that you are living beyond your means as well, or are you just congratulating the person for being genuine?)

(2)  I just put my kid in time out and forgot about him.  He was in his room for an HOUR. LOL.

(3) I wish my wife would stop spending all my money.  I mean, it would be one thing if the house were clean...

(4) I just took my daughter's Ritalin and I am getting so much done!

and finally

(5)I was so hung over this morning and then my boss came in and wanted to do my review.  Yikes!

We went on and on, as you can imagine. Perception versus Reality is one of my favorite subjects.  What do you want people's perception of you to be?  Do you want to be perceived as smart? fit? funny? perfect? nice? humble? rich?involved?  Whatever you put out there on Facebook is what you want people to perceive about you, whether you realize it or not, but I assume most of you have.  When I ask myself this question, I think the perception I try to put out there is that I am harried and disorganized so that people's expectations of me are low and then they are pleasantly surprised if I pull something off.  I also believe that my perception mirrors my reality.  I am disorganized and harried.  I always have been and I assume I always will be.  So, I've got that going for me, which is nice.  I think you just get into trouble when your appearance doesn't match your true self.   And maybe that is what the women in this town allegedly portrayed in the book I mentioned above might be worried about.  Only time will tell, I guess.

My recommendation to you is to read The Help by Katheryne Stockett, if you haven't already.  It is a wonderful book and I used the expression "Oh Law" for a month. I need to pick that back up.  I miss it.

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