Hi I'm Julieanne, and I'm awful on the Internet. Sorry -- meant to say "often," there. I mean, I'm great.
Last week, I went briefly off the Internet to read at a friend's book party. She runs a funny blog called "STFU Parents" that was recently turned into a funny book. If you are unfamiliar, it's a collection of screen grabs from Facebook of new parents sharing entirely too much about their children.
While many of us remain divided over whether or not sharing too many pictures of your child is irritating, I think we can all agree that nobody wants to read about your baby's first erection or the manner in which you choose to consume your own placenta. That's why the blog (and Blair, the author) is so great.
At the same time, when Blair asked me to come do an old "bit" I did once about hating babies, I was kind of hesitant. One, because it was very much a joke and I don't actually hate babies. Two, because even at a party for a book celebrating the foibles of children, people don't actually find dislike of them terribly attractive, as a personal quality.
I was invited to speak as a "noted Internet baby hater," and yet I am not an Internet baby hater. But I can explain.
Back when Emily and I were just tiny blogger larvae, we used to work at a company where we did a couple of web videos. Emily's were usually about blow jobs and mine were usually about how I'm a slob who thinks jorts qualify as "business casual." We both dealt with a lot of comments that were not very positive, but I don't think either of us ever got as much backlash as I did on a clip called "I Don't Want to Hold Your Baby."
The comment here are generally pretty constructive and positive, and I read them with great relish. Especially when you guys say I'm pretty.
But this has not always been the case with comments or places I have worked. The website where I did "I Don't Want to Hold Your Baby" was owned by that company that used to send CDs by mail for you to install their software, but mostly to snap in half to make a crude shank to stab your siblings.
The people who read my stuff there were not always the nicest, and sometimes I was shocked by the fact that so many of them were even able to get internet in their filthy tin shanties.
So, there I was, working for this sassy women's blog. For advertising purposes they wanted everybody to start creating video, so they could put like a 45 second ad for watermelon water or something at the beginning and make billions and billions of "ad dollars," which I think is like real money but not. Like doubloons, sort of.
Then one morning somebody brought a baby to the office and was like, "Julieanne, do you want to hold the baby?" and I was like, "No, thanks." I don't know, it was early and this baby and I were total strangers.
But it this was so funny to my bosses for some reason. They were like, Ha ha ha, Julieanne is an asshole. Get that on tape! Sell that to some ADVERTISERS.
Now, I really hate being on camera, or talking to people in a way that involves permanence of any kind. I mean, unless we're talking about sex tapes or wearing a wire for some kind of sweet FBI sting operation. That's fine.
Despite this, I agreed to go on camera and basically say the following: I think it's kind of annoying and borderline sexist that if you're a woman and somebody is holding a baby that a) you are supposed to give a shit and b) you will probably be asked whether or not you would like to hold the baby.
First of all, babies weigh like 20 pounds. I love grapes, but if you have a 20-pound bag of those, and you ask me to hold them, I'm not going to be like, "Wow, what a great teaching moment. This will be useful if I ever have grapes of my own." I'm going to be more like, "Wow, this person's arms must be tired. Just put the grapes down."
Second of all, I have never seen somebody ask this of a dude who has not actually impregnated a woman already. It's just assumed that they don't care or will try to throw the baby in some kind of "spiral." We treat all women like potential beatific givers of life, and we treat all men like greased-up Paul Blart.
It's like, "Oh, he has a penis but no children. Don't even let that guy hold a DVD of one of the 'Look Who's Talking' films. But let's let this person who once left a curling iron plugged in for a week without noticing hold a small fragile person, because she is capable of gestating life."
I seriously like babies. I mean, not strange ones on trains or planes, but I love my friends' kids. But whenever I read a story in "Seventeen" about somebody getting her period on a waterslide and the whole of Epcot Center seeing her menstrual blood, I'm like, "Get excited, nothing that makes noise is going to come out of you soon."
It's seriously only the physical activity and the sexism I have a problem with, because I would not look at me and go, "There's a girl who looks like she can handle responsibility." I'd look at me and say, "There's a girl who looks like she can probably name everybody who has been in Motorhead."
Like, if you're holding a baby about to be crushed underneath a falling piano or something and there was me and a dude who was equidistant to you and the baby and you were like "Please! Take my baby!" I would be like, "Do you not see this leather jacket?" I'm dangerous, lady.
So that's basically what I said in this video. And so for some reason, it got a lot of traction. Then CNN and a bunch of other places linked to it. And a lot of people decided to take to the comments section to express various opinions they had, about my not wanting to touch their babies. But mostly about my weight.
The video has since been taken down because the website was not wonderful and eventually went to its sweet repose.
But I did save some of my very favorite comments -- in my head. Because sometimes when I'm lying in bed at night, sometimes instead of sleep, I want to feel really super bad about myself.
So I'll just share some of those comments with you right now.
- You seem fat and mean.
- I would let you hold my baby, but it looks like you'd rather hold a huge bag of Taco Bell nachos.
- I would hope someday you have a baby of your own so you learn some empathy, but I know about all of the complications that morbid obesity can cause during pregnancy. I say that because you are morbidly obese.
- I don't want you to hold my baby while I'm busy throwing up from not wanting to have sex with you.
- How does someone your size even have sex? Is there a special ramp? I think that world's fattest man in Mexico was able to consummate his marriage, using a special ramp.
- I make tons of money working from home and so can you! Also, Julieanne Smolinski is really fucking fat.
The best part was that my sister sent it to my dad, who thought it was so upsetting that he then forwarded it to my entire extended family, some of whom now have babies -- I'm pretty sure just to spite me -- and now at holidays they treat me like some kind of hat rack for living things. I don't know how much you're supposed to feed babies but whatever it is, my cousins are doubling it just to get that laugh at Christmas.
I had a nice time at Blair's party. Thanks for inviting me. But I'd just like to take a moment to apologize to anybody who may have thought my aversion to babies was sincere or in questionable taste. It's not cool or hip to hurt feelings, and I realize that now.
I'm Julieanne Smolinski, and OK, I'll hold your baby for about five minutes if there are no dudes around.