my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?


Write What You Know

There is nothing scarier than being on the wrong side of a group of women. And I stand to place myself in exactly this position if I write what I'm thinking about what's going on in a certain fragrance board which I frequent ... I ask that you please forgive the "non-global" nature of this post -- but, actually, human behavior being global, maybe it is. Because it's all about human behavior in general, women's behavior in particular.

For the past two years, I have enjoyed learning about perfume and making friends with some of the most open-hearted, sensitive women on the planet. We're a multinational, multicultural group and the miracle of cyberspace enabled us to transcend economic, social -- even language -- differences to talk about something about which we shared an interest: perfume.

I have learned more about perfume than I could have imagined possible. I learned about houses and noses and notes and effects of biochemistry ... and on the way, I learned about the women themselves. And learned to love a few of them. I formed relationships off the board that are extemely important to me and that I hope to continue for years to come. Those relationships are real, not cyber. Although we conduct them via email, mail and phone now, I know we will eventually meet and continue them IRL ("in real life").

Sure there were those whose posts irritated -- and I'm sure I sometimes irritated others with the approach I took -- particularly when I once posted about the prevalence of "off topic" posts, wondering if the board was losing its focus.

Many pointed out that the OT posts were a primary way of learning to know each other, and that they were valuable in that regard, even if the prevalence of posts on television shows, emotional hardship and every other imaginable topic seemed to sometime dominate the board. They pointed out there was an ebb and flow to the board content, that it was self-regulating, that the golden mean would reestablish.

It had seemed that the mutual love of fragrance drew together a very knowledgeable, intelligent group of women, women who shared a commonality of wit and good manners, who moderated their online behavior to accomodate others' opinions, women who were willing to learn as well as teach.

We're having a hard time with moderation of behavior on that board right now. There seems to be an unlucky confluence of intolerance of others' "weaknesses" and an insistence on being heard, even if one is bullying others -- overtly or covertly -- to make certain their voice rises above all others. And this has had a sad, damaging effect.

Some -- I'm one of them -- react by withdrawing from the community discussion. And maybe that's not a bad thing: one less voice to exacerbate the tension that seems to surface so often right now. Others remain, attempting to reestablish the board's equilibrium by continuing to make their good-humoured, well-informed posts on relevant topics.

I have such hope that those who said the board is self-regulating are right ... and that the board will regain its balance. I haven't lost the women who are dear to me -- but I do miss the congenial sense of community we shared on that board. I hope we get it back.


Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Hey M. LOVE the Joan of Arc poster.

I have written 3 other responses & deleted them all, so I guess I'm afraid to place myself on anybody's wrong side too!

Have a great Sunday evening :-)

3:01 PM

Blogger Annieytown said...

Hi M,

I made the mistake of posting a few weeks ago during a MUA drama thread. I was promptly cyber slapped...hard. I have learned my lesson. It was scary and opened my eyes to see people's true natures. In fact one of the loudest people in today's thread was the person who scared the crap out of me. I always have to remind myself that MUA has been good to me. I have met some fantastic ladies on the board and in real life. It can be a wonderful place. Hopefully it will settle down soon. In the meantime...I plan to blog and work on raok purchases. Have a great sunday M! Thanks for posting this. It made me feel like I was not alone.

4:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmmm....I like the Off Topic thing. As much as I love fragrance (and you know I do) I have to admit I do get bored with fragrance talk. I like to read silliness. There, I've said it. I'm a silly-head. Come and get me. Haul me off.


6:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

post script:

I wanted to say...but was too busy being silly, I'm also one of those who takes breaks from my friends (and foes) at the Perfume Board. The caustic and the furious ruin the board. There are those who love the brutality, love to bully others, or who get a thrill from the drama of an argument, but most of us (maybe most?) are just like you and we wish for common good will. I hope that comes back with strength. Thank you for taking this space to explain your own feelings about it. Can't imagine anyone being able to take offense at the sensitive way in which you stated it.


7:06 AM

Blogger Kyahgirl said...

I thought I left a comment on this earlier but some reason it has vaporized in cyber space. No matter.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts M. There is nothing offensive here. After all it is YOUR blog!
I have been abstaining from that very same fragrance board because the nastiness and upheaval are too hard on the spirit. I will never leave completely though, the price is too high.
I truly have come to love many of the friends I've made there I feel its a community I belong too, come hell or high water!

Regardless of the outcome, I will continue to torment you with e-mail and phone calls, as any good friend is required to do. :-)

9:06 AM

Anonymous mamiesb said...

I have decided to create my own personal "nice-smack the cruel poster" campaign. Whenever this garbage starts up -- regardless of who starts it, or why -- I will post a random "happy fact." items such as: "Hey, did you know that crime is down in Baltimore this year? Soemthing to be proud of, I think," or "Man, I just had the best apple pie ever this morning for breakfast. Makes you glad to be alive." I'll establish my own secret identity (well, not that secret since I've just revealed the plan to all and sundry) and have at it. Sooner or later,this unkind garbage needs to stop; we are the sum of all small deeds, after all.

You can join me -- there will be several of us on a personal quest to bring civility back to the board. (I have a co-conspirator, but all are welcome....)


3:48 PM

Blogger mireille said...

Mary -- I'm with you, sister.

4:35 PM

Blogger Atreau said...

I too noticed the attitude on the board has changed. It makes me sad to hear people say one then and do another. I hope in their hearts they find peace and happiness in some way. I love Mary's idea by the way and hope to incorporate that more!

10:28 PM


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