While attending a Christian conference for young pastors—and by “attending” I mean that a coworker and I were vendors representing the publishing company we work for—I struck up a conversation with a customer. He’d asked me a question or two about the Bible study series he was examining on the table in front of me. His nametag identified him as a pastor of a church I hadn’t heard of in a city I had. His thick, plastic-framed glasses and navy blazer over grey slacks and a lightly plaid shirt suggested a preacher, as opposed to the polo-wearing youth pastor crowd.
I explained features of the study in his hand as he skimmed the back cover. Then he asked, “So what do you do? Not at the company, just, what do you do?”
Huh, I thought. He recognizes that I’m more than my job. At events like this one, I usually don’t even get to attend worship or sessions. Thus, people only see me in the context of my nametag behind a line of the company’s tables, our name embossed on the front of the thick tablecloths.
Pleased, I answered him. “I’m a writer.”
A corner of his mouth curled up, his curious countenance dropping into a sneer, “So you have a blog.”
Confused by his apparent blog-hate, I said, “No. I write books. Novels.”
“Oh,” he retreated half a step, then took a full step forward, a Bible study still in his hand, leaning against the front edge of the table between us. “I thought, like, all Christian woman in their twenties had a blog.”
Oh. Millennial hate. Millennial women hate from a fellow millennial. Grand.
“Well,” I said, trying to be tactful behind the company’s logo, products, and nametag. “Blogging does seem to be popular these days, but not everyone has one. I don’t have one. Only a few of my friends do.”
I glanced at my coworker/friend/fellow female Christian millennial. Noticing my expression, she stepped away from the far end of the exhibit, approaching us slowly.
The pastor-guy hurrumphed. “It just seems like all these women are doing is blogging about themselves. Their clothes and kids and stuff.”
So, I’m thinking, watching my coworker drop her eyes as she comes within hearing distance, all twenty-something women are self-obsessed mothers with nothing better to do than blog?
I only have one friend—of everyone I know from my church, from college, from work, from the blog I manage at work—who is married, a parent, a blogger, a twenty-something, and a woman.
Trying not to sneer myself, I said, “I haven’t had that experience.”
My worker straightened stacks of studies and pretended she wasn’t following our exchange. “Well,” he said, “it’s cool that you write. Just don’t get a blog.”
Thanks, no thanks for your unsolicited command.
He ran his fingers over the covers of the studies as he read their titles, unconsciously sliding the top book of every stack a few centimeters to the side.
My blessed friend stepped forward. “Did you decide which ones you’d like?” she asked.
He hadn’t noticed her. Now his eyes pinged to her curly red hair, the smile only I know is pinned in place.
“Yeah, almost,” he said. He looked down, back up at her. “Do you have a blog?”
She cocked her head at him, feigning confusion. “No.”
“Wow. Two of you,” he said as he flipped a study over to read the back cover. I took the opportunity to glance at his left hand.
Married. Poor woman.
When he finally handed his small stack to me, stuffing his other hand into his back pocket for his wallet, my coworker opened her hands to take the studies from me. I gave them over and she politely led the man to the other end of the table to ring him up.
I started re-straightening stacks.
Her voice came to me as she swiped his church’s credit card through the reader. “I don’t see anything wrong with blogs as a way of expressing yourself. Blogging is free and easily accessible. Our company has a blog.”
She handed the card back.
“Oh, there isn’t,” he said. “Just, all the women’s blogs I’ve seen don’t seem to be useful.”
“Maybe not to you,” she offered as she bore the weight of his hand signing the iPad. “But then, you probably aren’t the intended audience.”
This hadn’t occurred to him, so he harrumphed again.
When he’d gone, my coworker and I met in the middle of the length of tables.
“Thanks,” I told her. “What a deeply unpleasant man.”
“You’re welcome,” she said.
“Heaven help his congregation,” I said, meaning it literally.
She smiled past me, nodding to a new customer approaching. A smile shot to my face and I turned.
“Maybe he’s only an associate pastor,” she murmured.
“Did you see the ring?”
She nodded. “His poor wife.”
We shared a look of pity, then I moved away to greet the new customer.
Hey, jerk. I blog now.