Friend Friday: My Private Parts

It’s Friend Friday and this week Modly Chic has some thought-provoking questions about blogger privacy.
And I have another picture of my boots.

Do you think privacy is something we should worry about as bloggers?

I think it depends on what you mean by privacy. This is a public forum, one that is given to discussion, so I think if I were truly worried about privacy I would not blog at all. I do, however, take certain precautions to hide my “real world” identity for various professional reasons. And I feel fully in control of that. That said, anyone who knows A-Dubs and me well in real life would know it was us immediately. And I’m in control of that too.

Do you use your real name or a pen name? What was behind that decision?
A pen name, though it winks at my public profession, often good-naturedly derided by the cool kids. Little do those Early Modernists know,
we are the cool kids, yo.


My work is also very public. A twerpy little man from mine and AW’s grad school days would often stress the importance of our job as “public intellectuals” and I remember thinking he was overstating the case. He was not. I am very much under scrutiny by students, by university administrators, by colleagues at work and by colleagues in my field and I need to maintain degrees of professionalism that adhere to the standards of decorum of the most conservative of those eyes. So I do not blog under my own name, which is an essential part of my professional identity.

How much personal information do you reveal about your life beyond the blog?
This blog is about our profession, and our professional dress sense, so this blog is very much a part of my “life beyond,” though that life can be tricky to navigate, especially as early-career scholars and probationary faculty members. As a result, I feel much more comfortable working on this blog anonymously. None of my colleagues know about this blog and very few of my friends know about it. At AW’s urging, this was an exercise for me to step away from my work with something fun and frivolous. It says a lot about our profession that “fun and frivolous” for us is still, in some ways, tied inextricably to our work.

And it has, I think, become something much more than just our teaching outfits, and much more than frivolous and much more fun, which has been an excellent, excellent surprise.

What will you never reveal?
My nipples. They’re pretty nice, but we’re not that kind of blog.

As bloggers, we have to an extent made ourselves ‘public’ figures. But still there are things that are intimate to each of us that does not need to be known by anyone that stumbles across our blog. How do you determine what is appropriate for public consumption and what is private to you?
As you may have noticed. A-Dubs and I do not show our faces in photos. For me, this is partly about remaining relatively anonymous but it is partly (okay a big part) about vanity. One of my friends (an early modernist cool kid) has observed about me that I am “much better-looking in real life”: a polite way of pointing out I do not work my angles in photographs, i.e. I am NOT photogenic. Not even a little bit. And since picture-taking is already a bit of a chore (I know, I need to get a tripod) cutting off my head is the best solution. Also, on those days I work from home, it means I don’t have to do my hair or make-up just to take horrible pictures of myself.

To demonstrate. This is my hair in public-consumption mode:


Clean, combed, jaunty.










This is my hair in early-morning-surprise mode:

Unwashed and insane. (I’m a restless sleeper.)



I feel it is best that I don’t subject Blognation to Early Morning Surprise Hair on a regular basis. Best for both of us. You’re welcome.

And, in case you are wondering, here are my boots.
I’m wearing them with my nightshirt.

Do you have private parts you keep from the internet?

18 thoughts on “Friend Friday: My Private Parts

  1. Ha ha, LHdM! I knew you would disagree. Actually, I've been to the RSA and I have to say that early modernists are better dressers than medievalists. Grudgingly.And thanks for your kind words all. I really am not photogenic but every once in a while a good photo sneaks in. How awesome is it that digital photography means I can delete all photographic evidence of my on-camera awkwardness? Very awesome.

  2. Yes, Wendy, the Chaucer blog updated briefly at the start of the summer though less so now. He just published a book of the blog entries (with Palgrave) and as a result he "came out." No one knew who the Chaucer Blogger was until the book was published. I love that blog and I hope it continues. My students get bonus points for commenting on blog entries in Middle English.

  3. I keep a lot of my opinions off the internet. Is that Chaucer blog still updated? I'll have to look. Last time I checked it was all so old but I used to love it.

  4. Awesome post! I do not reveal my last name, my city, my profession or company name (duh), my husband's name (he goes by L), face (I use my Mad Paint Skillz to paste George Clooney's face over his in pictures) or profession (he works in a field that is extremely publicity-sensitive). All my friends know about my blog, and at least two regular followers/commenters are people that I know in real life. Most of my coworkers that I'm friendly with know about my blog. I don't think I'm highly photogenic – I've just gotten used to what I look like! – but I only take 3-6 photos on my timer TOTAL. I call it "efficient" but admit it smacks of laziness. Heh.I like to think I am open in a shallow way. My mom reads my blog to find out what's superficially going on in my life, but I don't post about most stuff. I like keeping it light for the most part.

  5. this is my first ever rendezvous with your blog and am wondering why this is my first. i was on laughing out loud at this brilliant post! nipples! that's just awesome. and i totally relate to the photogenic issue. style bloggers say they take 30-40 pics and sort through them for the post-able ones. if you use a timer method, this is a total pain in the arse. i totally hear ya, hon. great blog! :o)

  6. Holy Smokes! There is so much to comment on today…jaunty…well played. morning surprise hair…I have the same look in the mornings, we call it bedhawk.nipples…heehee you wrote nipplesphotogenic…I don't know if you are or aren't, this is the most I've seen of your face. My daughter is photogenic, I am not, hence the sunnies.I'm very jealous of your public consumption mode hair, jealous in a good way, of course.As for privacy, I use SU because of my kids.Last, but not least, thanks for the new photo of the boots. It's been, what, 2 post since we've seen them. I was beginning to get concerned.

  7. There's actually something kind of cool about your headless photos (although I love the early-morning hair shot!). It's like how when you read a book, you just imagine what the characters look like in your head. Although in that analogy, the movie version of characters is always way off from what I picture. Is that all weird? Because I'm having a weird kind of day, so it might be.I'm pretty open about a lot of my life on the internet, and I happily exploit my dog and my boyfriend. But to be fair, they're more photogenic than I. The only thing I will never reveal is my real last name.Oh, and my true hair color. And my weight (I actually saw a weight loss blog where someone posted pictures of the scale reading EVERY DAY – that's way too much, even for me).

  8. Great tee shirt, and please keep posting photos of those boots! And from what I've seen, you look pretty darn photogenic to me (from someone who is decidedly not).

  9. I cannot tell you how many times thechemist-coture and I used the word jaunty while we were loading my moving truck! I'm always happy to see that word!As an early modernist, I do object to your claim to the medievalists being the cool kids. However, I disagree with my early modernist colleague. You are photogenic!

  10. No! I think Blognation has seen this much of my face before with the Pink Hair post. Haven't you Blognation? But this is as far as it goes. No one needs to see that outcropping on my face called a nose.

  11. Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod! You showed a LOT of your face. Does this mean I have to do the same? Because the camera loves me even less than it loves you (and, um, because of the professional reasons you state so eloquently above), so I REALLY don't want to.Also, I'm not sure E-Jo knows. I've seen some good pictures of you, for sure. But when they're bad, well, enough said.And finally, gawd, I love the morning surprise hair. LOVE it.

  12. Man, Early Modernist Cool Kid needs to learn how to have an opinion. He's so wishy-washy on things. Importantly, however, I think he's wrong here. Your ratio of unphotogenic photos to photogenic photos is absurdly high. Even in your death photos you've got a good handle on your angles.

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