There have been two conversational incidents of late that have given me personal pause for thought. The first came during Fantasycon in Brighton where I was Master of Ceremonies. It was the lovely (and tall – just check out Kim Newman’s picture of the two of us on his Facebook) Maura McHugh who stopped me the day after the (endless) raffle and said, ‘Why do you do that? You’re smart and funny and talented. Why do you make yourself the butt of the joke?’
Let me put this into context. The previous evening, author Guy Adams, who is one of my best friends, and I, had hosted the raffle. We have become a kind of double act on these things, and much of our humour depends on me being blonde/dumb and him pointing it out. It kind of works. People laugh anyway. But what I forget, amidst the laughter, is that a lot of those people DON’T KNOW ME like Guy does. The parody has become my failsafe. It makes people feel comfortable, and I like people to feel comfortable. What I didn’t realise until that conversation with Maura, was how much I liked the feeling when people ‘saw through it.’ Because it isn’t me. Not really.
Anyone who was at World Fantasy last week has probably heard about the weird guy who ended up getting his membership taken away from him and evicted. (Oh yes, we are totally rock n roll in the genre.) The other day I went for lunch with a producer friend, Ray, who is also in LA currently, and a partner of his. We were chatting and I started telling the story about how this guy had stalked me, harrassed me, and then my good friends Paul and Marie had walked me back to my room because they were worried about me. My version of this events had lots of jokes and laughs in it (as you do), but when I’d finished, Ray looked at me thoughtfully and said, ‘The thing is, these people think they know you.’
This reinforced something that struck me after the fiasco of this years BFS awards, when some has-been soap actor who was a dinner guest of the then-chairman came on stage to present an award and said I’d look better with my dress off (he’d never even spoken to me before) and then afterwards tried to join in a conversation I was in by referring to me as ‘This tart…..’ (Trust me -he won’t ever do it again.) I remember being shocked that he thought it was okay to speak to me like that, but then afterwards I thought, what exactly is it I allow? I don’t draw a boundary, so how is anyone supposed to see it?
That’s the weird thing about the internet/public persona, I guess. Am I flippant? Yes, of course. Otherwise, I couldn’t be the ridiculous person I am in front of a microphone or in a tweet or a FB update. I play for the laughs. Look at my Twitter or Facebook and that’s what you get. Blonde in a nutshell. It’s all part of who I am. But is it who I am?
I’m serious. I believe in true love. I work really, really hard. I think too much about everything. For all my talk of wine and men, I’m normally in bed by midnight and on my own. I don’t do one night stands. My standards are high. I like kind people more than I like successful ones. I want a man who is talented, stands his ground, makes me laugh, makes me feel safe, and doesn’t make me want an audience. My friends are the most important people to me. I cried for days when my cat died. I’m scared of everything. I like to sit outside on warm evenings and think about everything I will never do in my life and feel okay about that. Autumn makes me think of death. Only if I trust someone will I let them touch my neck.
The people that know me know that. Probably about three of the people reading this. See?
I used to joke that my flippancy was my judge of character to see who could see who I really was or not. However, I can’t help but wonder if, as I get older and wiser, the joke has fallen back on me. Maybe I should ease back on the flippancy and be happy to just be me. Or maybe we should all remember that a public persona is never who the person really is…
Or maybe my persona is me, and I just don’t like to see myself that way because I’m afraid of becoming Patsy…;-) Who knows…it’s only me..and I’m a blonde..and I’m rambling…
SPx (under the influence)
PS. But the pope is still a cunt. Just in case you were wonderin’….