In defense of the lemming mindset, I have found that being a lemming is fun and rewarding. (And if you don't click that link, you'll have no clue what I'm talking about. So click it now. I'll be here.) For more than a year, (it was once part of Television Without Pity's Off-Topic Blather forums) I've found this online community to be warm, supportive and fun. The concept that we're lemmings is both a joke and pretty serious. We do have a tendency to heed each others' advice on good bargains, methodology and experiences regarding everything from makeup to workout schedules to home improvement projects. I feel comfortable saying that we are generally more concerned with our own (and each others') insides than outsides. Like Morpheus tells Neo, "The body cannot live without the mind." All that is to say, I enjoy the Looking Good forums immensely.
And, here's the but ...
Why must we all agree on everything all the time? For example, we're planning a LolaCon. Some people are working very hard behind the scenes to create some really fun and amazing opportunities for us to enjoy. I doubt I'll be able to afford a trip to New York City this fall, but I am saving my pennies. (It seems so greedy to want another trip just months after a two-week vacation in Italy, so I try to brace myself for disappointment. But I still really, really want to go.) The current issue is that, apparently, some lemmings want to bring significant others or friends. Other lemmings do not want any outsiders allowed. Both points of view are equally valid, which is why I can't figure much of a compromise. The moderators of the Looking Good board have insisted that a definite decision regarding non-posters be reached. So, just allowing a each individual to make her own decision is out. I disagree with that approach, but it's valid. Not to decide is a decision. I also understand that the moderators, who have taken on a great responsibility in paying for, running, coding, designing, organizing, etc. the board are probably loathe to make any one lemming feel alienated from the rest of the group.
The high-maintenance aspect of this gathering is foreign to me. I've attended two out-of-town BuffyCons. At the first, I knew no one. I had developed relationships via email and AIM, but I had met no one. Almost three years later, and now I count Saucy, Kariyaki, Boliver and Gorimek among my friends; Dynagirl is easily my best friend on the planet. She's the (bad pun ahead!) Dynagirl to my Electrawoman, Sars to my Regina, the Ben to my Matt, the Willow to my Buffy. The second far-away BuffyCon involved 15 hours in a car with five other people who I had only met in person once or twice before (but we had all gotten to know each other really well, I must admit) and then hanging out among a crowd of 40. That's right! Forty. I met and chatted with one girl, whose screen name I didn't even know, and liked her a lot. It was months later when someone commented on my use of the phrase coined by this fantabulous person, "the gaymaker," that I figured out the great girl from RedneckCon was NancyDrew! Oh? I've also hosted two BuffyCons in my home. So, I'm all about nervousness, anxiety, stress and fear of the unknown. I've also really, really enjoyed myself.
To my way of thinking, huge gatherings of people who share interests are fun when you make up your mind that you're okay with being out of control. One attendee cannot reasonably expect to get to decide what another attendee says, does or who she brings. I have found, as mentioned previously, the most wonderful people amid a sea of strangers. I have found that some people who are brilliant online lose a bit of their luster in person. I've discovered the brilliance of silent lurkers, and startling insecurity in self-appointed leaders.
I was hoping that writing this lengthy diatribe would help me sort out my thoughts, boil them down to a few bullet points, and hopefully offer some constructive insight to other lemmings. Sadly, I have no conclusion to share. I feel no differently about the issue than I did before I started writing. Pooh.