Recently, I’ve noticed that the exciting direction my career has taken might have its drawbacks.
When dating, conversations around work and career inevitably crop up and when I tell people I’m a writer, they usually want to know what I write about.
And so I tell them. I tell them I write about teaching and learning, business consultancy, trends, erotic scripts, website content and learning articles for a CBD and hemp company, this blog (sex and dating), articles for a sex-ed company and I’m ghostwriting a book for someone, as well as writing my own.
What happens next is the sticking point: they hone in on the sex writing (and who can blame them? I’d prefer to hear about sex writing than articles about teaching and learning), but I worry this gives off an impression. Not the wrong impression (after all, I am open-minded, creative in my sex life and value sexual connection), but one I’d like to not plant too soon.
I’ve considered not mentioning the sex writing, but I’m not embarrassed by this blog. What’s more, is that I’ve worked tirelessly to shift careers (from primary teacher to writer and editor) and have managed to secure the writing gigs that not only will I succeed at, but also that challenge me and give me fulfilment. (Writing about sex education for O.School and scriptwriting (for the audio-erotica app Emjoy) are two such gigs.) If I leave these roles out of my career profile, I’m ignoring a huge chunk of my professional identity.
I spoke about this with my best friend and he used one of his own dates as a comparison; he went on a date with a woman who sold (perhaps still sells) dildos…
and that was all he could tell me about her. His point was that her job in the sexual wellness industry obscured all other facets of her personality. (Please make no mistake, my friend is a truly lovely man). ‘It’s like a red flag to a bull,’ he said, ‘the bit that appeals to the primal man encompasses the whole personality of the woman.’ Sweeping generalisations, yes – and it’s important to know he’s in the middle of reading The Chimp Paradox which has somewhat focused his attention on evolutionary biology – but he may be right that primal desires have a role here, just not in the gendered way he thinks. (In fact, I’m halfway through ‘untrue’ by Wednesday Martin for Skirt Club book club and I feel an article coming together – watch this space.)
Of course, other factors impact the outcomes of our dates. My friend and this woman may not have had any chemistry, maybe things fizzled out, maybe he was more interested in her (dildo-related or otherwise) than she was, perhaps my friend was only telling me what I wanted to hear.
What this has taught me is, rather than alter my behaviour, I’d like someone who finds my writing path an exciting facet of who I am, as opposed to this all-defining feature.