Because neurotic is the new black....

Ann Nichols

Ann Nichols
East Lansing, Michigan,
December 31
I write, I read, I clean up after people and I worry about things. I have a chronic insufficiency of ironic detachment. My birthday isn't really December 31; it's March 22 but it won't let me change it.


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JANUARY 26, 2011 9:38AM

Facebook Slut

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A few days ago I received a message from an old friend, in which he called me a “Facebook Slut.” He was joking, and he was right. He was responding, specifically, to this status update: “What is the question, the answer to which is ‘yes?’”  This status shared no information, opinion, or anything else of substance. I was not offering any kind of long-term relationship for anyone’s heart or mind. I was shilling for attention, plain and simple (and I got it). In other realms, those of quickened hearts and moistened lips, that kind of behavior is called being a “slut.”

I am not a slut in the traditional sense. I have always been a Serious Girl, a person so riddled with agonizing and paralyzing self-doubt that I imagined strangers were laughing at me when I walked by because I was so lumpen and hideous. I have always believed that any man I was speaking to at a party was surreptitiously looking past me to see if there was someone more attractive and interesting to approach as soon he could make a polite escape. It traditionally took tremendous perseverance for a man to convince me that he was interested in me; I still ask my husband every single day if I look awful, and if he thinks I’m attractive enough to leave the house without wearing a large plastic trash bag. He is a good-looking man, my husband, and I also wonder whether people see us in public and wonder whether I acquired him by means of a large trust fund or the implementation of some secret, sexual trick like the apocryphal “Venus Butterfly.”

With that array of pathology, I was never slated to be the girl with the low-cut top, the glossy lips and the Jovan Musk in the back seat of a different car every Friday night. I did not find myself particularly appealing, and (I think) that sense of oneself as a ripe and juicy fruit dying to be bitten is a necessary part of slut-dom.

There is another slut characteristic, however, that I possess in spades: insecurity. Like all who beg to be chosen and desired, I have the “Look at me! Look at me!” thing that is never sated, and is (in my opinion) my fatal flaw. I may never try to get attention with cleavage or the swish of my caboose, but I am addicted to the adulation that comes from a well-placed bon mot or the “thumbs up” for a snarky observation.

On Facebook, I have found a place where I am separated from the ball and chain of my actual, physical self, and I can flaunt what God gave me between the ears. Like Mae West working a USO hall, I can comment, “like,” hunt for the juiciest morsels of pop culture to share, and beg, shamelessly for approval, attention, and response. In my desk chair, sans makeup, hair wet from the shower, feet encased in heavy winter boots, I feel myself transforming as I open the blue and white page – everything I loathe about myself is hidden and subdued as if by narcotics or magic, and my inner Facebook slut, as silken, long-limbed and wide-eyed as Sofia Vergera, comes out to play. She, that resplendent replacement for Me, comes up with witticisms and words of advice that speak of self-confidence. She is unburdened by thinning hair, pudgy cheeks or the fear that she is merely tolerated. She licks her virtual lips, pushed up her virtual breasts and locks eyes with a world that wants her. Even if it’s just a temporary thing. It’s the wanting that counts.

Is it strange, is it a form of Dissociative Identity Disorder, do other people do this? Lord knows that if I put the hours spent as a Facebook Slut into some serious psychotherapy or meditation, I might emerge with a more integrated body and mind. Ideally, I guess, I would come to some kind of understanding about the relative normality of my physical self, and stop seeking constant virtual “thumbs up” from other people. That sounds so good, so very, very good, but it would mean giving up the voracious, sensuous and promiscuous Facebook Slut, who has only to cast her smoky eye on someone to captivate them.

 It’s a lot to lose; I’m kind of attached to her. What if I do all this integrating stuff and end up with no slutty adventures of any kind, just a middle-aged woman in mom jeans, driving kids around and popping in to Facebook only occasionally, to see what’s new. Until I figure this out, I’ll be frazzled, buttoned-up and insecure in my body as my Facebook Slut slams another martini and sways lasciviously over to the hottest guy in the bar.

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But Facebook is the debbil!
I visit my Facebook account once every couple of months, when people send me nasty email about why I am not responding.
Cranky is slow today. Ann, I have a hard time picturing you as "lumpen and hideous." Nothing to add to this wonderful piece except for Bossy Joan, telling you to *never* stop writing. ~r
And the “Venus Butterfly” is? I'll take my answer off the air.
I'm much more cautious in my approach to Facebook. I think of our online personas as being something that leaves a foot or fingerprint everywhere we go. If you want to read a VERY interesting post (which I think should have gotten an EP), go here (sorry, I don't know/remember/refuse to learn how to do links):
"that sense of oneself as a ripe and juicy fruit dying to be bitten is a necessary part of slut-dom."wow you've been thinking about this for awhile, haven't you.. if I were your facebook friend I would follow you around, like the popular girl in HS. :) R
I do that here. Things I would never say to people directly I do so indirectly. Heck, I don't think anyone in my real life ever listened to a single story about my San Francisco trip but on the internet I told the entire tale complete with photos, something else people in my real life kept saying "we are going to have to come over and look at those some day" but never did. So rock on with your internet personality, I like it.
Facebook fufills another need in me, the need to acquire "things."
I just have to get the latest item in my favorite app, lol. Better than window shopping.
I share the same brothel. The problem with being a FS, at least for me, is that I imagine I've so thoroughly delighted my johns that they wouldn't like me in the flesh. Occasionally when my invisible cyber friends talk about meeting up, or when I myself imagine it with a few of my regulars, I get a strong and immediate sense of certainty that they will be disappointed.

But about you: Given that I'm not *in* your real life, I vote for keeping the slut. As one of your johns, I couldn't live without her.
I have seen your Lugnuts play and that is why I made you a friend. (Ok, I know that has nothing to do with the above post but I could not resist. I am going to have to send you a PM now.) Thank you.
So you have an alter-ego at FB. Good for you.
I have noticed--and admired--your FB sluttiness, your wantonness and your come hither looks...Damn, I think each time, why can't I be so clever and witty instead of lamenting about not taking down my Xmas tree??

I am well aware of my online personna versus my real personna. It was so fun yesterday to sort of dash my image around a bit, to make me real to the collective you.

I think it was Bellweather who did a piece yesterday on the anonymity of online: the how it used to be, but truly as you have written, it's still that way. We create ourselves, if not with outright misrepresentations (a 'la Tink) to subtle shadings to suggest we are something a little more "somethinger". I think we all still do it: project our innermost me.

Loved this Ann. You did it again! :)
on FB i leave coded status messages to my best friend who only uses myspace.
That explains the wonder woman ! Nah, I think you're neither crazy nor a FB slut - just a tad imaginative and a lot honest.
Ha, one prominent fellow OS person is actually one of those. It is even practiced in the person's blog. I don't mind it, it can be very amusing. Glad to see this though. Never thought of you that way, thought of you more like the witty, intellectual type looking to spar on line or share some fun, this other person, sorry, it is kind of about getting some particular kinds of attention............ Great post.
Tell your friend: they prefer to be called "Facebook Ladies-of-the-Evening."

(smiling and nodding in agreement, Ann.)
I am obviously missing out on a great deal with my nonchalant approach to Facebook!
You can get all this on Facebook? Perhaps I am misguided in my avoidance of all that is Facebook. In the meantime, thumbs up on this post!
I prefer the scented trash bags when I go out. Saves the shower.
Walk in the world with that FaceBook soul inside you.
Take her with you with you leave your chair.
Walk out the door with her glowing inside you.
Smile at everyone with FaceBook light in your eyes.
Cracking up at mental image of Bea wearing scented trash bag!
Careful..or you'll go down the road a friend of mine did. She did the Yahoo 360 thing, moved with the rest of us to Multiply--then she discovered Facebook and had an experience similar to yours. Next thing we all knew..we had a status posted from her saying she was leaving us for Second Life..and no one has heard from her since..I assume she is leading a Tron-like existence at this point!
Second Life is awesome. It is FaceBook/OpenSalon/LinkedIn/YahooChat in 3D on steroids. It is not a game because you create the experience you want. I exist simultaneously in Second Life and FaceBook and Open Salon. I play therefore I am. Ludo ergo sum.
Great post. Most of what I see on Facebook appears to be pretty dumb. I mean who cares if you went for a walk and now you're going home to cook a roast for dinner, and 4 people like this. These people are so easily entertained. -R-
I love this post; I'll have to think more about the why of that, but mostly, I think I know exactly what you mean. And it is very, very funny.
Excellent! You have spoken my thoughts so much better than I ever could. I love when that happens.
To what question must one answer "yes". . or. . not at all?

Are you awake??????

Are you alive?????
Haha! This is great!
I can't say it better than Cartouche...xox
True I am the same, now I moved and in the new year I cancled my internet connection to save money and do wifi. I am on FB and Open salon less but it is a escape for me. In real life I work in retail, I see enough people and have to "act". Facebook and open salon is more real to me for it is the real me. Love your post! P.S. Don;t you hate two things about F.B. one they are not your friends in real life just on F.B. and two facebook game requests. Let me farm on my own time lol.
True I am the same, now I moved and in the new year I cancled my internet connection to save money and do wifi. I am on FB and Open salon less but it is a escape for me. In real life I work in retail, I see enough people and have to "act". Facebook and open salon is more real to me for it is the real me. Love your post! P.S. Don;t you hate two things about F.B. one they are not your friends in real life just on F.B. and two facebook game requests. Let me farm on my own time lol.
Brilliant. And you've no idea how closely this aligns with my 'distortion of the month' agonizing of late. I just love you to pieces:)
Here's to Slutdom. I too have an alter-ego (in my workplace), i.e. Strumpet. My close friends are Tartlet and Jezebel. Loved this! ~R
Here's to Slutdom. I too have an alter-ego (in my workplace), i.e. Strumpet. My close friends are Tartlet and Jezebel. Loved this! ~R
Here's to Slutdom. I too have an alter-ego (in my workplace), i.e. Strumpet. My close friends are Tartlet and Jezebel. Loved this! ~R
I loved this so much I had to read it a couple of times.

Facebook sluttiness (the way you describe it) sounds like so much fun!!!
Wow, simply fantastic, spot-on navel gazing. You're describing your personal experience with what we used to call "community" in the early days of online social interaction. Chat room sluts were the belles of the balls, so to speak...

It really is all about intelligence, imagination, wit and desire for positive feedback. I offer three secrets:
1. That Inner You is equally appealing no matter the packaging.
2. The more you assert your attractiveness IRL, actively or subtly, the more appealing you become... i.e. stop asking your husband if you look like a lump and give him a glimpse of the Facebook Slut instead.
3. LISTEN UP, BOYS AND GIRLS: the Venus Butterfly (aka the Butterfly Flick) is NOT apocryphal. I've done it, I do it, I can assemble affidavits. (Hmm, should I write a post about it?)
Loved this piece, you Facebook floozie! It's your kind that keep the place hopping.
I'll have a drink too.
Guess I'm a Faceook Rake. I do stuff like that. I have no idea what I look like, even after all these years of scrutinizing my own photos. Zip. But I do like to pose provocatively vague things on FB like "Is it now yet?" which to my astonishment resulted in a thread 37 comments long. Today I committed the faux pax of wondering where the sudden, unexpected gut punch of profound sadness came from earlier. I can't seem to stem the tide of kind-hearted replies to that either. And yes, I am gratified to have had them show up.

This was really quite a fine post. Caused a fine discussion, too. Glad I'm not alone in being a slut/rake/whatever it is I am. Rated
hmmm: more than 500 million active users of Fbook, 50% of whom are logged on this very minute.
And I'm not one of them.
Who knew?
-The average user has 130 friends
-Over 700 billion minutes are spent on Facebook every month.
-More than 30 billion pieces of content (links, news, stories, blogs, posts, notes, photos and albums shared each month.
You may consider yourself a FB slut, but those of us who get to enjoy your copious, clever output there, are all the better for it. And thinking about it, aren't we writers lucky that we are so engaging and appealing in this social-media age?
I only have time enough to be an OS slut; couldn't work two virtual bars.

Oh, and those strangers walking by weren't laughing at you. It were I.
i was so entranced by this that i just set off to my own blog early this morning and forgot to rate or leave a comment. but i came back to read it, every delicious word, again, so i'm making up for it late this afternoon. i *love* this piece, ann. it's just about perfect.
I for one, greatly enjoy your Facebook presence. And I'm sure I would enjoy your in-person presence, were it not thousands of miles away. We all take on differing roles with different friends anyway...
This post is hilariously funny... and the comments are almost as good.
My dear, if you're riddled with self-doubt, I should be comatose. On these pages, your caboose has the most alluring swish.

(And tell Joanie I'm slow every day.)
Integrating is highly over-rated. And anyway, you're a Buddhist, you should know better. Stay a Facebook slut. At least there's no danger of STDs....
This is so honest and so well-written, Ann (as are all of your posts). Maybe we can boost you up a notch to FB Tease (it's much nicer than slut).

I am FB dull. I only use it to keep up with my nieces and nephews and kids and grandkids who apparently have way more time than I do. I am more addicted to OS. I'm only allowed an hour a day reading. If I go over it, my cat has instructions to rip my hands from the keyboard. Naughty, kitty.
Interesting, entertaining post Ann. I can't relate on the FB as I now use it only once or twice a month. But it could apply to OS as well. After almost a year here I've come to realize I'm not by nature introspective, at least not by OS standards. But it's food for thought on the diff between online and real world personalities. hanks for writing this.
"Sluts R Us"

Friends 4ever!
I don't know much about this Venus Butterfly, but I have heard of Joni's Butterfly.
I like the fact that you are in touch with your inner slut, that you don't completely define yourself by the mom jeans and garbage bag. We all have that hidden side of ourselves (the "if only you knew" side that's too risky to let out). How did oppressed people express that side before facebook? Probably with very unhealthy habits (like in that movie, Belle du Jour). Thanks for the good read!
I hear you and it speaks volumes because on certain days we are one and the same. I do not have the same relationship with Facebook though. I think it ruins alot of conversations and makes alot of people write stuff to keep timely. Whatever the case thanks for sharing the old self doubt because it is out there and we all share in it's debilatingness.
Ann this is perfect, just perfect.
Love it! As I recover from surgery I seek out Facebook for people to agree with me or delight in my wit or adulate my amazing Open Salon posts. Unfortunately my friends don't FB much so I'll post something hoping to garner attention and am disappointed.

Meanwhile, find your inner Diva at: http://open.salon.com/blog/divinemsjen/2010/12/20/how_to_be_fab_its_not_narcissism_its_realism
Honestly, I admire your slutty ways. I'm way to censored to put myself out there like that on FB. The attention is good and all, but I also never know what to say. There's those people that spurt their life stories and all the details and get a million comments. I love and loathe them. I guess that is you. Embrace it!
When I log in onto facebook and read all those status on culture and news my friends post I am woefully aware of how much I don't know by virtue of being lost on historical records of value to almost no one.

I cannot possibly concoct an online persona, I lack the creativity for that.

Remember that post you did on which you posted a pic of yourself? I so enjoyed that post.
You are a gifted writer. I am quite certain many people would give anything to write like you.
And beauty is just that, beauty. An expiration date waiting to happen. And when beauty is not accompanied by anything else, simply an empty shell.
It dawns on me now... I'm really missing something in the FB experience.
I'm thinking your computer must smell like Jovan Musk even if you don't. I was always more of a Love's Baby Soft kind of girl.