The Over-Share

Pee Zine issue 36 front coverThis column can be found in the latest issue of Pee Zine, along with interviews with Bouncing Souls, Away From Now, Stretch Armstrong, Small Arms Dealer, Aditf and more including free stickers and a free Pee CD sampler!!

“Hi, how’s it going?” is kind of a rhetorical question; it’s not an invitation to tell me your life-story, and it’s definitely not a cue for you to start telling my about the symptoms of your irritable bowel syndrome. These days, too many people seem to lack that internal censor that stops them blurting out waaaay too much information.

Just the other day a woman on the train decided that my non-committal reply about the weather meant that it was the perfect moment to take a big emotional dump on me and share the news that her children had been taken away from her by the government, but it was all really her mother’s fault for not loving her and showing her how to be a good parent. I think there was some more after that, but my ears had shut down in self-defence from the piercing whine in her voice.

I’m starting to think that this is the decade of the over-share. Where too much information is the norm, and being honest and open is considered the same thing as saying whatever pops into your head no matter how uncomfortable it might make your audience. And “audience” is really the appropriate term here. This is not an intimate one-on-one sharing, with a close friend or therapist. This is just exhibitionism of the worst kind…the kind without nudity.

For a while I thought that it was just that people didn’t know how to edit their stories to make them interesting and suitable for public consumption, but it’s almost as if they gloss over the actual story and jump straight to the gory bits. It’s like they all went to the porn movie scriptwriters’ school of story telling or something.

It’s possible to get away with saying just about anything as long as you can wrap it up in a funny story but, trust me on this one, your stories aren’t as funny as you think they are. The last time a random guy I’d been talking to at a BBQ for five minutes tried to tell me a “funny” story it was about his visit to a dominatrix that ended with her dildo in his butt. Not the sort of thing you want to hear when you’re half-way through your fourth sausage.

Now, if someone sounds like they’re about to launch into some kind of personal anecdote, I give them my storytelling rule of thumb: If your story involves a list of your medical symptoms, some sort of emotionally traumatic event, or the words “in the butt”, then I don’t want to hear it.

You would think that a story-teller needs an audience, but I think that the world of Internet blogging is proof that people are prepared to share stuff that’s way too personal even for the slightest possibility of an audience. This attention seeking behavior is made even more tragic by the fact that probably the only people who read their blogs are people who accidentally stumble on it after doing a Google search for the Adventures of Dickman and Throbbin. It’s just like reality TV, except no-one is watching.

It would feel wrong to end a column on over-sharing without doing some of my own. Last weekend I was snuggled up in bed with my girlfriend. I was feeling all loving and affectionate; and my brain was clearly elsewhere, because I said “Tell me something you’ve never told anyone else before.” She thought for a moment, smiled lovingly at me, stroked my cheek and whispered “I don’t always wash my hands when I go to the toilet.”

That was either overshare or really funny. I’ll let you know which it was after I’ve spent the next couple of months checking that the soap is wet whenever she leaves the bathroom.

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One Response to “The Over-Share”

  1. Chai Says:

    Hey, I was looking for the phrase “2 pot screamer” to see if I got that right and it led me here. There you go.