A mate is nutty about surfing, so that’s much of what she posts about online. Another uploads great pictures of his artwork in progress, one links to interesting articles about innovation and creativity, and another posts photos of the obscure town in Korea she just moved to. For a social and nosy beast like I, this information is heaven.
There’s much to be found that’s good on the Facebook. There’s a bunch of mates overseas I’d never see or hear about otherwise, and as a freelancer I have very little contact with actual human beings during the day, so it does give me a social milieu, of a kind (albeit like Rupert Pupkin’s cardboard cutouts in The King of Comedy). Alas a little poison has crept in over the past few years – for want of a better phrase – the baby-oversharer.
This character is now responsible for about 50-80% of all posts I read on the Facebook. Cute expressions. Pregnant bellies. Drool-soaked rompers and – in even worse taste – ultrasounds. Some of these pictures are so graphic I can almost smell the stench of unchanged nappies hovering off the screen, like the shimmer of tar on a desert road. The worst of it comes thankfully from people I don’t know who comment on an ‘announcement’ with some idiocy like “OMG you’ve never experienced anything until you’ve experienced the joy of being a parent you are only half a human being without it!!”
An overview of this syndrome is on STFU Parents, a site that sensibly breaks it down into sections called ‘Mommyjacking’ and ‘Woe is Mom’, and proves that I’m not alone in this.
I think if you were to read all your friends droning on exclusively about one topic, say Mississippi steamboats of the 1860s, or nose flutes, or the oeuvre of Harvey Keitel, then you’d think that something was Up.
So I was very pleased to read this piece on The Hairpin today, a piece written by a new mother, but minus the lies and bullshit one is generally force-fed. Here’s a quote:
“She’s LOTS of fun, but I … have not really been emotionally transformed? God, this sounds bad. I love her so much, but I love her like I love my parents, and my husband, and my best friends, and my 15-year-old mixed breed dog. Incredibly! Delightfully! Fiercely! But it’s not a whole new feeling. She’s like having a really high-needs roommate that you just couldn’t picture living without. You know, the kind that would have a chore wheel.”
What is more is that all the commenters on the piece were in hearty agreement, most of them parents. The readers also address the maddening ‘you’ll never experience life properly without babies’ syndrome. I think this is similar to that of people saying that Paris is the best city in the world – when said people have never travelled anywhere outside of Canberra, Shepparton or Gumbaya Park.
Can you read it? I think you should read it. The article addresses what I think to be one of the most common BULLSHIT FIBS of our days – in much the same way that no-one dares speak of the fact that being in a couple is in no way more or less superior to being single. But that is a rant for another day.