Full disclosure: Jessica Grose is one of my good friends. She’s also a fellow online writer and editor (formerly of Slate and Jezebel) whose first novel, Sad Desk Salad, was just published. It’s a fictionalized account of a young woman in her early 20s named Alex who blogs for a site kinda like Jezebel.
Her life sounds pretty familiar. For most of the day Alex is glued to the couch, hunting for posts, with traffic goals looming over her head. She even takes her computer with her to the bathroom. She wears the same dirty “blogging muumuu” day after day. When someone leaks Alex a salacious video of the daughter of a Tiger Mom type doing drugs at her Ivy League school, she decides to post it, and shit gets crazy.
Most of Jess’s book is fiction. But I can tell you that the part about Alex's “blogging muumuu” is true autobiographical stuff. We had a chat about what we wear as workers of the internets. It ain’t pretty, especially since Jess is about to have her first child and “muumuu” has taken on whole meaning for her.
Leah: So, Jess. When you were a blogger--like the character in your book--what did you wear while you were chained to your couch/toilet? (OK so maybe just Alex was once chained to her toilet--but it does not seem so improbable.) Jessica: Hahaha. Um, no comment on the toilet. But almost every day in the summer of 2008 I wore the same dress from the company Velvet. It was black and had cap sleeves. A-line--very Twiggy. It hid stains Leah: Mod is so in right now! Jessica: Yes! Also I could wear it outside of the house and you couldn't really tell if I had a bra on which was key. So I would run out and get food for lunch without wasted moments for undergarments. But can I tell you about my new blogging muumuu? Leah: Yes, please. Jessica: It's from Splendid. It started out life as a summer dress. Leah: Is it splendid? Jessica: Eh, marginally. It was until I stained it with bleach--then it was demoted to a nightgown. And then when I got knocked up it was elevated to a writing schmatta. Leah: So pregnancy can really change a garment's wearability from night to day! Jessica: Ummm...sure. But I can't leave the house in it unless I want to look like a crazy person with the floppiest boobs this side of the Appalachians. ... Jessica: What is your preferred blogging outfit? Leah: It generally goes like this: I wake up in some kind of pajama outfit (either a striped set of men's PJs or a t-shirt and sweats) start looking at emails and news from my phone in bed around 7 a.m. Then I stay in this outfit while working from home until the last possible minute when I have to leave for a meeting or get my ass in the office. And depending on how many people must see me that day, I either make some kind of half ass effort with a skirt and comfortable heels, or if I only have to see the Fashionista crew I wear a sweater and jeans and flats or chucks. Sorry guys! Leah: There's this widely held notion that being a “blogger” means you sit in your pajamas all day. I guess I have just proved that that is partly true. What do you think? Jessica: Well I think it's more of a "person who works from home" thing than a blogger thing. I think I would make more of an effort to bathe in the a.m. and get dressed if a) I saw people during the day or b) I wasn't nine years pregnant and only wanting to wear soft pants. (P.S. Gap maternity leggings are the greatest thing anyone ever invented.) The last time I worked from home I made more of an effort to change into something semi-presentable. My mom, who worked from home as a shrink, used to describe her trip through the laundry room to her home office as her "commute" and she used to dress up real fancy for work. It was like she was putting on her work face--which I really admired! But, uh, do not, as of yet, emulate. ... Leah: So is there anything else readers should know about this book, about blogging, or about being pregnant and blogging? Jessica: About the book, they should know that it is very entertaining and funny! Also potentially relevant to their lives even if they do not write on the Internet for a living. The heroine is faced with a choice between her sense of ethics and her potential career advancement--that's something so many people deal with early on in the working world. About blogging, they should know it is not as terrible as it seems in the book. About being pregnant, people should learn the word snissing because it's funny and it will happen to you. (Snissing = pissing when you sneeze) Incontinence! Leah: I think that is a good ending note Jessica: Always end on snissing.
Or buying the book. Which you can do here.