How to Attend BlogHer as a Dude: Updated for 2011. Now with more cargo shorts.07/18/2011 By Shawn Burns
In the next
month two weeks you will read post after post about OMG BlogHer I Can’t Wait To Go! or Damn BlogHer I Hate Those People Why Can’t They Shut Up About It?
You will read tips on how to interpret apparent standoffishness as shyness, snobbery as insecurity, hilarity as drunkenness. You will read about all the parties you will rock or feel outcast at. You will read…no, maybe you’ll just delete these posts, because they will become boring and repetitive.
But only here at Backpacking Dad will the MEN get the insight they’re looking for. Only here will the MEN attending BlogHer receive the reassurance they need to engage comfortably in a setting of a thousand women.
So, a list.
1. Figure out why you are there. Seriously, why are you there? Why? It’s called BlogHER, man, so what the hell are you doing there? And no, it isn’t enough that you take it seriously as a social media conference, or that you are interested in pro tips from the panelists, or meeting up with readers or friends or networking with powerful and influential people who happen to have vaginas. No. You are a dude. You have no business going to BlogHer despite how open and lovely everyone in the BlogHer organization is about including men. You have no business because someone in that room you are standing in will think you are a skeevy perv. So, unless you really are a skeevy perv you are going to have to do some thinking about yourself: Are you comfortable with your reasons for attending? Good. Haters to the left.
2. Do your best not to hang out with other dudes. It’s BlogHer, man, and the point really is to interact with, and learn from and about, women. No matter how tempting it might be to form a circle of guy friends and hang out with them for three days in a sea of female writers and PR folks, this is a recipe for disaster. First, because guys have a tendency to reinforce guy-ness when they are around guys, and that inevitably means that your attempt at finding a safety zone will result in creating a permanent Dome of Awesome Hotness that the women won’t be able to breach. And then you’ll have spent all weekend in a Dome of Awesome Hotness and you could have done that at a bar at home. Also, guys in a Dome of Awesome Hotness have a tendency to start to whip “˜em out and pee on each other to reduce the hotness. You will start showboating, peacocking, competing, and generally turn into a dick, Shawn. Find female friends to hang out with and engage with other men as opportunity allows, but do not rely on them for comfort and inclusion.
3. Bring a nice shirt. (Updated: Bring two nice shirts.)
4. Make sure you really really really have something valuable and original to add to a conversation before asking for a microphone during a panel and putting in your two cents and your balls. Maybe the room has something to learn from you, but be certain that you aren’t just talking to hear yourself speak and to look cool in front of everyone, Shawn.
5. Take lots of pictures, but do not allow pictures to be taken of yourself. (Updated: Unless you look awesome, in which case, the more pictures there are of you, the better. Also, make sure to upload pictures to Twitter immediately so everyone can tell you how awesome you look while you are looking like that instead of later when you no longer look like that. Feedback in the middle of social situations will help you get through social situations.)
6. Always be more sober than the person next to you. Because it’s completely awesome to let them go on and on and start to say insane things, but odds are there is a video camera around somewhere and you don’t want to be the star of Dudes At BlogHer Gone Wild.
7. Do not wear your cargo shorts, Shawn. (Updated: FOR THIS YEAR ONLY, SINCE IT IS IN SAN DIEGO, CARGO SHORTS ARE PERMITTED.)
8. You will be memorable. You will not be able to remember everyone. The disparity will fuel your ego while also spiraling you into despair. Forget about it. It’s not about you. That is, you aren’t memorable because of how awesome you are, but because of how male you are. You might also be awesome. But so are a thousand women in the room and I’ll give you odds that you get more attention than 75% of them. Don’t let it go to your head. Also, don’t let it go to your head. And don’t let it go to your head. Behave like someone who deserves to be a rock star, not like someone who is a rock star. Be cool, man. Just be cool. It’s not up to you to be the life of the party. Find someone else to pressure into being the life of the party.
9. Do your utmost to give unsolicited advice to other male BlogHer attendees. It will endear you to them and they will want to be your friend. They don’t have any influence, though, so make sure you spurn them for someone who does at the first opportunity.
10. Write a post-BlogHer post about all the people you met, but wait until six or seven months have gone by so that you can really strain your memory.
Any other advice for the guys going this year?
Ladies, feel free to offer up your “skeevy dude” stories and then feel utterly remorseful about assuming that about him. But yeah, I saw that guy. What a perv. (Updated: Seriously. What was that guy thinking?)