the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Because I Know

I’m getting a real kick from reading tweets and blog posts about BlogHer.  So many women are anxious about the conference!   Women are worrying about looking fat.   Women worrying about being ignored.   Women worrying about cliques.   Women worrying about standing by themselves while everyone else squeals with joy and dances in a conga line.

What a relief.    I don’t have to worry AT ALL.   I’ve been blogging for almost five years.   I know tons of people in this personal blogging arena.   I am a man at a woman’s conference.   People like me.   They like my blog.   I have been invited to parties.   My biggest problem will be finding the time to talk to all the bloggers who seem to think I am the cat’s meow!    I am feeling so confident and sexy about this event that I laugh at the anxiety at the others.   How silly you are!   What worrywarts!   It’s a stupid blogging conference.   Grow up.

But the laugh is a nervous one.   Because I know.

God help me if I was a blogging newbie.   A Mack truck could not drag me to a blogging conference.   I wouldn’t know what to do there.   I would either bite my tongue or chatter endlessly like my mother does when she gets nervous.   I would latch onto one person and spend the whole weekend talking to that person.    Or, more likely, I would retire to my room early and watch TV.   I would then mock you as a bunch of assholes.

Over the years, I have wimped out of attending many real-life parties and events out of fear of being exposed as unimportant or a loser or not successful enough.   I didn’t go to my high school prom. I was afraid of asking the girl.    I didn’t go to a networking event just LAST WEEK because I was insecure about meeting someone from school who just got a big movie deal.   I am not a brave person.

Of course, I do not want to show you that part of my personality.  I want you to think of me as confident.   And — I’m excited about going to Chicago.   Things will be different there.   Beautiful women, popular women, extremely intelligent women all want to meet ME!   Some newbie is going to ask a friend, “Who is that?” and her friend is going to answer, “That’s Neilochka! I would go say hello to him but he probably doesn’t want to talk to someone like me when Redneck Mommy is practically bowing at his feet like a Canadian Geisha girl.”

I am looking forward to that.

BlogHer is going to be a breeze for me.   Blogging has been good for me because it lets me write my way into your consciousness, allowing me to use my creativity to get into your pants.   This assertive part of me is becoming more and more a part of my real life, but change is slow.    I’d still rather chat on Twitter than go to a bar by myself.

I have never been to an event before where I will be known by so many people — even before I walk into the room.   While I won’t exactly be Tom Hanks of the blogging world, I will at least be the Richard Simmons of the blogosphere, known by name by at least 168 people.   It does not require any bravery on my part to attend BlogHer.   I am way more impressed by the new blogger who walks into this viper’s den without knowing one single person.   You are a better man (or woman) than me.

Good luck to you nervous newbie! Maybe we will get to talk together.   Maybe not.   But I will tell you one thing.   If I see you standing by yourself, biting your nails, drinking a beer and making believe you are enjoying yourself when you aren’t, I suggest that you… well, I don’t know what to suggest.   Do something crazy?   Expose yourself?   Throw a drink in someone’s face?   Whatever.   I know that I won’t be looking down on you and your anxiety.

Because I know.


  1. Tara R.

    As a relative newbie, and a conference neophyte I’ll be the nervous one in the corner. I’m hoping to glom onto a few of the wonderful bloggers I know and try not to look too stupid.

  2. Beautiful Wreck

    I plan to go next year. I will be that newbie! I can’t wait to read all about it.

  3. Maura

    Interesting. I have some thoughts about the whole BlogHer anxiety thing that’s swirling around, but I haven’t decided whether or not to write about it. Given the pace at which I blog, I probably won’t. 🙂

    I’m not the least bit nervous about going. But I’m also not excited…yet. Maybe in the next few days I’ll start to get there.

    Picturing Redneck Mommy bowing at your feet may very well help.

  4. anymommy

    Did you just give me permission to throw a drink in your face? I’m kidding, I’m looking forward to meeting you, even if I have to push my way past other adoring fans.

  5. Megan

    I’m a total newbie. I had no idea what BlogHer was just last summer. I write a blog, but I don’t have a big readership. I know 2 other people who are going to the conference. I do not have a seat at the cool kid BlogHer table. I really have no idea what I’ll do there, but I’m not anxious because I’m ignoring it. I’m ignoring BlogHer until my plane lands in Chicago. I’m not picking out sessions or reading about parties or planning to dress to impress Tim Gunn. I’ll just wait until I get there and then the big ol’ ball o’anxiety can drop on me like a grenade of outsider-dom. I mean, why stretch out the pain, right?

  6. V-Grrrl

    This is why BlogHer is so weird to me. Is it a social event masquerading as a “business” event? If it is supposed to attract “thinking” women and men and be an idea exchange, why do the attendees seem to treat it like a big (expensive) party? Why is the coverage always on the social “girly” aspects and not on the content? From the outside it looks like camp for upper class bloggers. There are people I’d love to meet, but I wouldn’t pay to do that at a conference.

  7. Kymberli

    Whenever I DO manage to make it to a BlogHer, I will most certainly be the unknown doob in the corner who is trying to look cook and relaxed (and failing miserably). I can be the life of the party and outspoken at professional conferences, but only when I feel like I know my shit and someone will actually listen.

    While BlogHer in and of itself isn’t new to me, I’m only now learning of the politics and no-how of all things BlogHer. Corporate sponsors for some bloggers? Business cards? Invitation-only side parties? Oh, yes. Methinks I would most certainly be a loser, unless I could attach myself to the hip of Stacey (Anymommy), who herself was once too shy to email me via my blog. Just the thought that THE Anymommy was once too shy to strike up dialogue with me just might be enough to make me put on my big girl panties get my flowered back off the wall.

    Great post, Neil.

  8. Kymberli

    Correction to the above: “no-how” should have been “know-how.” Damned usage errors. And I call myself an English teacher.

  9. Elisa Camahort Page

    Bloggers are more open about everything they feel, and maybe particularly women bloggers, or at least “personal” bloggers.

    When I go to any business event, I walk into those dreaded mixers and welcome receptions etc. etc. and die inside. If I make it 45 minutes, it’s a triumph.

    But there is no outlet for that anxiety that I feel, (which I feel even though it’s a business event full of thinking people).

    Why do people begrudge the bloggers who are sharing that anxiety inside? isn’t that what blogging is about? Aren’t we just being honest?

  10. amy@ bitchin' wives club

    So far, I am only nervous that I won’t get my turn at the karaoke mic. 😉

    I am thrilled to meet some of my favorite bloggers, meet some women whose blogs I never would’ve found on my own, and see which of these lovely single bloggers has to do the walk of shame from your room in the morning…. 😉 W00t!!

    Failing all that? I’ll still stoked to just be there hanging with Maggie and Ann and attending all the panels.

    p.s. And finding out what Maggie’s karaoke ringer is will be a treat, too!

  11. Miss Grace

    I have every intention of buying you a beer. But I might be drunk, or (worse!) vainly not wearing my glasses, so I hope I can find you 🙂

  12. Avitable

    How is Tanis going to be bowing at your feet when you’ll be bowing at mine, hm?

  13. maggie, dammit

    I agree, it’s a hundred times easier to not be nervous when you know people know you. Except that in a way can be even more nerve-wracking because nobody really “knows” you, you know? And you worry about disappointing.

    My husband has basically been telling me I need to be more social than I’m comfortable being or people will think I’m an asshole. The man has no faith.

    Not sure what my point is here. Just… Yes.

  14. OHmommy

    Shit. You wrote exactly what I was set out to write tonight. Now what do I write about for tomorrow?

  15. Denise

    I have no anxiety because I am not attending. I can’t wait to hear your perspective on the whole shebang! Oh and if I was attending I would try my hardest to just be me, in a toss my hair and bite my lip nervous kind of way.

  16. Marinka

    OMG, I can’t wait to meet you! Yes, I know we already met, but won’t it be fun to pretend it’s out first time?

  17. Redneck Mommy

    Dude. You buy me enough booze and I’ll be anyone’s bitch. I mean, Geisha.

  18. Alison

    I’ve never been able to go to BlogHer, so I plan to live it vicariously through you. Yes, YOU, Neil.

  19. headbang8

    As a total outside observer, it strikes me that rather a lot of drinking goes on at BlogHer. Would one be correct to assume so? Is this an entirely good thing?

  20. sarah g

    I’m glad you’re going. Is Sophia going with you?
    So…if you see the nervous newbie; why don’t you go and talk to them? Wouldn’t you like someone to approach you? What does it hurt to approach someone else, especially when you know how it feels.

    You have a great opener “stinks to feel like youre sticking out, doesnt it? To think. I almost wore the same dress. Whew”. 🙂

  21. SciFi Dad

    I am now off to email everyone I know that is going to BlogHer to tell them that when you introduce yourself to them, to respond with “Neil who?” until I get a video of you losing your shit.

  22. always home and uncool

    Please God, I hope you have never been in my pants.


    Canadian Geishas don’t bow darling, we lick.

  24. Black Hockey Jesus

    Throwing drinks in faces is a good plan. Or no! Call Dooce a hobbit. That’s how to get a party started.

  25. Mik

    Don’t forget to heckle Avitable on his panel.

  26. debra

    I’m not coming to BlogHer this year but whenever I do make it there, you are on my list of ‘must meet’ people. I hope you have a great time and of course, am looking forward to the subsequent posts.

  27. slouching mom

    Now I’m sorry that I’m not going. If only because I’ll miss Tanis bowing at your, uh, feet.

  28. Jack

    The question is will you be attending the “Mommy Bloggers Suck!” seminar or not.

  29. C

    Wow cool a blogging conference. I am sure I have heard of it but did not realize it was such a big deal. Have fun! Maybe one day I will consider going to one.

  30. Annie

    I think it would be fun to go and meet other bloggers, but really you could not pay me enough to go to blogher. Too many bloggers and too much pressure. The only way I would go is if I could latch on to you for the evening :-).

  31. Lisa @ Unfiltered Insanity

    I’m with the Redneck Mommy on this one! Enough booze and I’ll lose my shit over “Neilochka!!!!” I could totally do a Beatles thing and pass out. But wait! I’m not going! Oh well. Maybe next time!

  32. kelly

    To the newbie, I say FUCK IT! Anyone who thinks they are hotshit because they are a blogger is a loser. When I read all the dumb ass posts about worrying about feeling fat, and worrying about cliques, I wonder why the heck I’m going to this thing. But, I’m speaking about how blogging can transform your life, and it can. I just hope at least one person in that room realizes that their value should not be wrapped up in the stupidity of this online culture, but instead in the value on their words and their history.

  33. JanePoet ~ JP/deb

    Hey Neil – I hope you have a blast! May you have a 3-days of sex-crazed, boozy wonderfulness like David Duchovny in Californication. Live the dream blogger boy! xx, JP/deb

  34. p.huong

    I have a lot to learn about this blogging business. I’m still surprised at how this all sounds like high school.

  35. Elisa

    I’m not worried about looking fat – I have a mirror, I already know I’m not skinny.

    I’m more worried about getting drunk and getting a tattoo while drunk. Or flirting with people while drunk. Will I be standing in a corner? Probably not, or not for long at least. With 1300 people there, I’m pretty sure even the corners will be taken.

  36. sizzle

    Just for this I am going to actively ignore you. And you can’t pinch my tush either.


  37. apathy lounge

    If only–back when I was a new blogger- I had known someone like you. Someone who was more jazzed to meet the unknown and unknowable…than the already famous. I might have gone. Have fun.

  38. vodkamom

    Yeah, I’ll be the newbie. I’m sufficiently nervous, thank you very much.

  39. vodkamom

    wait, you were in my pants? WHy don’t I remember?

  40. Nics

    It’s been ages since I’ve been online properly Neil and I am seriously impressed that you are going to BlogHer! Thank you for the birthday wishes x

  41. Long Story Longer

    Oh my.

    When I met you at Tequila Con ’07, I was all – No way! That’s Neilochka! You were just like Richard Simmons to me. 🙂

  42. Twenty Four At Heart

    Will the real Neil please step forward?

  43. Lee of MWOB

    Oh dude. Geez. It’s my first time and NO ONE will know me. Well maybe like three people will know me and hopefully I’ll friggin’ find them in that massive sea of bloggers. I didn’t think I was brave for going being a nobody blogger and all….but maybe I am. 🙂

    Hope to see you. And give you a hug. 🙂 (Yes, I read your hug tweet.)

  44. Loukia

    I’m not going to BlogHer, but it amazes me how many people who are going are so concerned about going. I feel like people are thinking with their high school brain on again. Why is this such a big deal? Don’t people go to events, parties, social gatherings, meetings, conferences, etc. throughout the rest of the year? What’s so different about this? You’re a blogger – great – so many of us are. There is, in my opinion, no one who is uncool who blogs – people blog because they love to write, period. Some are more popular than others, in the sense that, they have been doing it for a lot longer, but really? Why is everyone concerned and worried and anxious about this event? I don’t get it.

  45. baronessvonbloggenschtern

    Ooh, my, sir. You certainly have a distinct way of stirring the pot. Will you be offering relaxing back-rubs to offset the anxiety? Savvy!

  46. MajorBedhead

    I really should have spoken up when I saw you. I was a bit of a chicken, though. Next year.

    And to those who wonder, yes, there is a lot of drinking, if you choose to do that. But there’s also a lot of good conversations and chances to meet people you’ve only known online. There are random people you meet that you might not have otherwise and it’s great.

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