As the SALON Doors Swing
I have determined that change is good, especially if I am only on the fourth installment of As the Salon Doors Swing. I decided that “saloon” had connotations that implied we were having a little too much fun, and whereas I do enjoy myself immensely, if I’m going to get blamed for the dirt, I’d like to have had the pleasure of wallowing in it first.
Henceforth, the doors shall swing from the door jamb of a salon, and not a saloon. My [brand new] New Oxford American Dictionary gives the historical definition of salon as “a regular social gathering of eminent people (especially writers and artists) at the house of a woman prominent in high society.” That sounds grandiloquent enough for me. There’s nothing like a smidgen of pomposity to lend credibility to our lounge.
I have no problem classifying my writing colleagues as eminent, and I have no problem with the setting being at a woman of high society’s home. Having worked in the field of education, predominantly female in our district, I am familiar and comfortable in this environment. I choose my battles wisely, and prefer to be a “community contributor,” rather than a leader.
In looking up the etymology of salon and saloon, it does not surprise me that they share the same origin, nor does it surprise me that the word is French in derivation. It has always seemed to me that the French culture has found the most efficient manner to blend the best qualities, of both the saloon and the salon, in her history.
Having dispensed with this critical logistical piece of housekeeping, I will now move on to the grist of today’s post, which is there are more women blogging than men. I know that that will come as a shock to you, but research indicates that, whereas men may have a lot to say, they generally keep it to themselves. Gals are more sociable, and tend to put the word on out there.
It’s all good with me; I mentioned that I worked in a field which easily had a five to one ratio, of women to men. I found out that if I had a disagreement with a gal, the battle lines got drawn up in a completely different manner, than that to which I was accustomed.
I want to digress for one minute, while we visit Tangled Lou’s site yesterday morning, and Sebtown asked, “What is it with 12-year-old boys and their need to put up their dukes and fight like a man? Answer me that one Marcus Vespuci.” [One of my nick-names] My response was to say that I was never that guy.
Though I do not fit the normal pattern, I do believe that JT has pegged it. When two dudes square off, in the non-workforce world, frequently one punch to the face settles the issue. When two women square off, battle lines might be clear, but the behind-the-scenes maneuvering is intense. I had two different conflicts with two different-and very powerful/influential women on staff, and I learned that I was completely out of my league, and not even within shouting distance of theirs.
In both instances administration opted to let us solve our own differences, the first time because of inexperience, the second time because of too much experience. The principal at that time, was a guy I had teamed with for ten years in the classroom, and the gal was a colleague. I thought of it as a squabble between siblings, with another sibling being asked to moderate. Right. That always works.
By the time we actually got to the point, where we sat down and hashed it out, using direct, even, and respectful language, the sides were clearly delineated: me against the universe, because I did not get my ducks in a row. That did not prevent us from resolving our issues, but it made it a far more daunting prospect, than if we had just gotten it over with immediately.
I do not mention differences in dealing with conflict, because conflict exists, but merely as one difference between the genders. The similarities are striking and consistent though, and I see evidence of these consistencies everywhere. Therefore, I am going to make three impartial observations that seem to form a foundation for our blogging community. There are countless more to be made, but at a later time.
To begin, all posters are equal, be they first-time players, or have 200-plus followers. Reasons vary why writers begin posting, or why they are suddenly able to elevate their game. Why does someone go from posting two or three times a month, to writing every day? Or conversely, why do some writers have so much to say, that they post twice daily? Writers post for a variety of reasons, and no one reason outweighs another on the validity-meter. If a reader is not interested in today’s offering, it’s hit the back-space key, and on to the next site. No harm-no foul. Don’t shoot the waitperson because you do not like the menu.
All posts have validity; everyone has the right to make an observation, pose a question, insert a photo, or simply announce today’s plan of action, without having to make a disclaimer. Of course, the fun usually comes in the form of that disclaimer, because we know the personality involved, and the humor is usually wry, and at the expense of the poster. It inevitably produces smiles all around.
Finally, as Judy pointed out, posters are non-judgmental, one of the most key components, because of the two reasons stated above. If all posters are equal, and all posts have validity, then there is no forum for criticism. What this combination of theorems produces, is an environment that encourages a healthy exchange of ideas, in a non-threatening environment. And top-shelf entertainment.
This has worked out well, because we are saving ourselves the salary of a moderator; maybe we should take the loot we are saving, and throw ourselves a party. I know just the place, in the salon.
I see that I am going to have to name my salon. I’ll get back to you on that.