Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Bit of Ointment for Those Problem Areas

You all know Facebook, right? Fun little place, where we can all interact and have fun together in a way we can't really do here? I have 1152 "fans" on my blog's Facebook page, and I'm not absolutely certain how many of those people actually read this blog or even know it exists.

There is this phenomenon on Facebook where people can start a page called, oh, I don't know, "Mayonnaise is AWESOME!", and if your friend clicks "like" on that page it shows up in your Feed. "Megan likes 'Mayonnaise is AWESOME!'" And you even get to comment on her liking: "I know, right? Mayonnaise IS awesome!!!!!! LOLOLOLOL." So, naturally, being the mayo lover you are, you go right on over to that page and click "like" too, so all of your friends will know that you are an unapologetic aficionado of egg-n-oil emulsions.

However, what neither you nor your hair-trigger clicker finger friends have noticed is that Mayonnaise is AWESOME! is actually the name of a thrash metal band from Cleveland that paints penises on kittens during their live shows and promotes the penis-painting-on-kittens lifestyle on their Facebook page. Now, you wake up one fine, sunny morning and open up FB only to find your feed filled with posts like "WE WILL PAINT WEENIES ON ALL TEH KITTEHZ AND MAKE YOUR MOMMA CRY!" And you are, naturally, horrified.

Some people will take this as an opportunity to belatedly edify themselves as to what the holy hell Mayonnaise is AWESOME! is all about with perhaps a quick Google search or a look-see at the rest of the info on the band's Facebook page. And then, determining that the mission, aesthetic, and philosophy behind Mayonnaise is AWESOME! is not for them, will boldly, but quietly, unlike the page. Others, however, unwilling or unable to do this, will feel the need to comment instead, with such gems as:

"What does this have to do with mayonnaise?"
"Miracle Whip is so wrong! Am I right?"
"What is this band everyone is talking about?"
and, of course:
"You know, I'm no prude, but all this weenie talk is just too much!"

This is what happens to me a lot. Apparently, lots of people have "liked" my page because they like the name "The Bitchy Stitcher" so I guess they feel like it's something they can identify with. And then I share some photos that a reader sent me of knitted boxer shorts with some very clever appendage-pouches built in and I get someone saying, "I'm no prude, but no more pictures please." Or a reference to something that was on the blog gets commented on and somebody pipes up, "This blog sounds great! Can someone give me the link?" And I'm not a naturally kind and diplomatic person, so I have to dunk my head in a bucket of cold water, take a couple shots of whiskey, and count to 100 very slowly before I can answer without being rude.

So, quilters. Please. Before you click like on that page called "The Slutty Sewist" or "The Patchwork Puta," please take a moment to be sure you are actually going to like what ends up in your news feed and whether you do indeed like what those people do outside of Facebook. And, by the way, if you ever have the notion to say, "I'm no prude, but..." — you're a prude.

I'm new to the whole swap thing, but the few times that I've mentioned it, the response from readers has always been, "I HATE swaps and I'll never do another after I quilted an entire Cadillac DeVille - life size - and my swap partner sent me a used tissue and a severed ear." So when my GenQ cohorts were all hot to sponsor a swap, I said, "Okay, but everybody tells me they hate them!" But others among us had participated in swaps and had no issues, so we forged ahead.

For any newbies out there, this is the basic idea behind a swap: someone gathers names of people who want to participate and then matches up everyone into pairs. Those pairs exchange contact info and agree to make each other something according to the theme or guidelines of the swap. However, the laws of swapping apparently dictate that what you will receive from your swap partner will be in inverse proportion to what you send. So, if you work your butt off to make something awesome, your partner will take a dump in an envelope and mail it to you (first class).

The obvious thing here would be to advise people that unless they are going to put some effort and creativity into it they shouldn't bother, but I'm thinking beyond that, because I still think they seem like fun. Maybe, in order to participate in a swap, you should have to provide references. "Yes, I did a swap with Arlene and she made a hand-pieced hexagon mini-quilt that is also a relief map of Bolivia. Plus, she added brownies." "Oh, Barbara? She sent me the paper she tore off a lint roller. I'm pretty sure it had pubic hair on it." If your references don't check out, you can't participate.

The only other way that I can see to prevent Swap Sadness is to include some form of public humiliation, like a special blog where people can post pictures of the shit they got in a swap. Swap Flops, or something. (Note to self: this could work. Nab that URL now!)

So, quilters. Please. Before you sign up to participate in a swap, ask yourself this: Am I an anal retentive over-achiever who says at least once a day, "WHY CAN'T OTHER PEOPLE JUST DO THINGS RIGHT? LIKE I DO?" Or, are you a lazy, shiftless ass munch who does everything at the last minute and doesn't give a crap about anyone else? Because, if you are the latter, the rest of us will see you on

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