Preconceived ideas and what YOU expect… Open Forum (of sorts)

Ladies, as always, please feel free to comment below. Believe it or not, I am rather curious about your answers.

About nine months ago I was goaded into putting up an actual profile picture that has the potential to induce nightmares. But, up it went. Shortly after this, one of my long-time followers (which at that time meant four months) contacted me about the picture, saying I didn’t look how she expected me to…

Alrighty then!

Fast forward a few months and it came time to meet a reader for the first time.

At first, this didn’t faze me. In fact, I was totally “okay” with it—-right up until about three hours before we were scheduled to meet. Then, my darling sister-in-law, freaked me out!

“Are you nervous?”

“No. Why?”

She shrugged. “Well, what if you’re not what she’s expecting?”

Huh. I hadn’t really thought of that before. I thought I’d made it pretty darn clear that I’m a nerd. Seriously. I’ve even announced that fact here a few times. I’ve given myself the title of “unusually unusual writer” on my website. This lady has done beta reads for me in the past so we’ve emailed a little. Surely she knows what to expect.

I turned to my sister-in-law. “I don’t think that’s a problem.” That’s a lie if I’ve ever told one.

She shrugs again and goes back to reading her book. Meanwhile, my head is racing. What if I’m NOT what she’s expecting… Not so long ago someone commented that they were surprised I wasn’t the most popular girl in school. So..so… Deep breaths!Β What’s the worst that can happen?

Uh, do I even need to answer that question?

Well, you’ll all breath a sigh of relief with me when I tell you, it all worked out okay–at least I think so. She hasn’t unsubscribed to anything (that I know of) and didn’t run in terror upon meeting a bespectacled, self-proclaimed geek.

But then today, the strangest thing happened. I got an email from an excited overly enthusiastic Β fan who lives in the Chicago area who is making a special trip to the RT Expo just to see me! I could tell she was excited, and so was I. At first. Then, the more I read, the more nervous I became. This woman has me built up nearly to sainthood in her mind, and I am anything but.

Boy is she going to be disappointed when she finds a slightly overweight, vertically challenged, brunette, who has a tendency to listen more than she talks.

But like I tell my boys, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” So either, she’ll still love me when we leave or she won’t… Not much I can do about that.

But now, I must ask, and this does not need to be about me specifically, however:

Have you ever met someone in person who’d “gotten to know” via another medium: book blogger, author, local TV or radio personality, etc and been totally disappointed? If so, what disappointed you?

If you haven’t, then feel free to share what WOULD disappoint you–other than spinach in their teeth!

34 thoughts on “Preconceived ideas and what YOU expect… Open Forum (of sorts)”

  1. Ok so when I started to get to know you the only thing I did not expect was your age. In my mind you were older. When I thought I might get to meet you in person at Chicago I was more worried that I would disappoint you then the other way around. It is all very silly we are who we are and nothing can change that. Be yourself and those who are worth knowing will love you. That would be my mantra before meeting you. Lol.

    1. To actually answer question! If the person I was meeting misrepresented themselves. The one thing that would disappoint me would be lies.

      1. Yeah, I imagine my age was a shocker for most. LOL

        I know that I have an idea of the age average romance writer, and I’m a good 10-20 years short of that!

  2. What?!? You aren’t a saint? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    I have had many opportunities to be disappointed, but truthfully I don’t think I ever really have been. Heck, I met my husband on the internet over 14 years ago. After 3 months of emails and long distance phone calls I thought I new him pretty well, but I was one nervous girl waiting for him to arrive at the airport. I was glad he looked like the one picture I had of him and was as tall as he said he was.

    I have met other people in person that I first met on the internet and was pleasantly surprised that they were what I perceived them to be.

    I have never had any personal encounters with a celebrity, other than a quick autograph, so I really don’t have a story for that.

    I guess what would disappoint me would be if a person had portrayed themselves to be someone they clearly weren’t.
    I know I am much more “vocal” on the internet than in real life, but I think I portray myself as I truly am.
    I think you have let us see the real you in your posts, so I wouldn’t be too worried. I think the biggest surprise I had with you was your age. You were younger than I thought you would be, but age is only a number.

    1. Sadly, I think I missed the mark for sainthood when I told my son that sometimes words are like a punch in the face. LOL

      I, too, am more vocal online and I think that’s what concerns me most. I mean does she expect me to just spout off jokes or quick remarks the entire time or what?! If she does, she will certainly be disappointed as while it’s easy to do that in books or on a blog post because I can control the situation, and create a way to add in a joke.

      Now about my age… For some reason I thought you were around already when I wrote a post (that I’ve now set to private) about how I was both a teenage bride and a teenage mother. I think that’s the bigger part of the surprise in connection to my age. But yea, I could certainly see how someone would think I’m older.

      1. I was around for that post which was surprising, but I still think I was most surprised to find out that you were younger than I thought you would be. Of course I used to get the same thing. People used to tell me when I was a teenager and young 20 something that I was an old soul. I still am, but now I am an older old soul.

  3. Oh yes the dreaded first real life meeting. I’ve done enough online dating to have that experience more then I can count. And since I have yet to make it anywhere with any guy I have met online pretty much says either he or I or both were not what the other expected. Oh and I totally know the feeling of wondering who the other person thinks they are going to meet when they build you up so much. As horriable as this sounds I actually broke it off with a guy I was talking to online because it was becoming clear he was falling in love with the fantasy he built up of me and not the real me. I’m sure if we had ever met in real life it would have been disapointing for both with all those expectations. Although that is probably to much info LOL.

    Rose I think that just comes with sucess that people will start to come up with ideas about who they think they are. But what is the worst that can happen, they realize you are human like everyone else and maybe not be so quick to buy your books? Enjoy this little bit of sucess and realize that the people the matter already know you and love you for you. Besides I have a feeling with your sense of humor you could find something amusing from the preconcieved ideas or reactions that may result. Althought that might just be my idea of who you are LOL.

  4. I just realized I really didn’t answer your question. So if I was meeting someone, not from a dating site, but someone semifamous from the internet I think what would disapoint me most is if they came off as stuck up and stand offish like they didn’t really need their fan base, and was just tolerating their presence if that makes sense.

      1. Yeah I’ll just tell you right now if you have a book signing in my state you will probably meet me. So you need to come to my state hint hint hint.

  5. I often think that people don’t fit their names. I know it, I’m weird. Just the other day at the dog park I finally asked Lightening’s owner his name. He said it was Chris and I told him he looked more like a Larry. Odd, that’s me.
    One of my Love Inspired Goodreads lists is talking of all meeting next year when one of the gal’s from Australia comes out. I’m scared to death. On the computer I can back up and erase words. In real life my foot is mostly in my mouth. Plus I always feel fat and frumpy. I’m so brave behind the keyboard. And yet I really would love to get to meet these folks I have known for several years and some of the author’s who have become friends.

    Shoot, I would be afraid to meet you Rose. More that you would part not liking me at all rather than vice versa.

    1. The delete key is one of my favorite buttons on the keyboard! In fact, I used it at least twice on this comment alone already…

      When I first signed up to go to these things, Bob asked me if I was sure I wanted to let people meet me… He then proceeded to sing a song titled, “So Much Cooler Online” by Brad Paisley… Do you think he was trying to tell me something?

  6. Many years ago, I was living in Las Vegas and going through a significant change in my life. A co-worker wanted to introduce me to someone, at which time I had zero interest in meeting. But on top of that, when she described him to me, not one thing about him even remotely piqued my interest. And her description was dead-on and genuine! LOL. I wasn’t keen on blind dating, so she had this huge party at her house with mutual friends so I wouldn’t have to hang out with him if we didn’t hit if off. Needless to say, I married that wonderful man 10 and a half years ago and we have 2 beautiful children.

  7. I talk to LOTS of people on the phone (18 years a legal asst) and try to make faces to go with voices. Can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed, but I sure have been surprised!

    BTW…I would love to meet you face-to-face. In the correspondence we’ve had, it sounds as if we have LOTS in common! πŸ™‚ And I thought you would be older also! πŸ™‚

    1. Oh, the age again. LOL

      I used to work a phone job and was never very good at imagining the right face with the voice so I was ALWAYS surprised. And believe me, some surprises were better than others…

      We do have tons in common and I’ll try to update here when I go places so you’ll know if I’m ever in your area.

  8. Oooo… a fun question. I love any question prefaced with “honestly, what do you think?” I think I’m pretty prepared for you… you’ve shared enough stories about standing on chairs to search for things and climbing a step stool to kiss your tree of a husband that “vertically challenged” is not going to shock me πŸ™‚ I can’t imagine being in your shoes… at least we have a picture of you… you don’t really know what any of your fans look like or probably even ages in most cases. You also have the advantage of an introduction through your books. You have a unique sense of humor but for most of us, that’s what we love. I think I’d be disappointed if you tried to hide it. My biggest peeve is a pretentious person. Can’t stand it…

    I think it would be interesting to find out what you expect of us? Am I tall or short? Blonde or brunette? Thin or plump? Stylish or frumpy? You have my husband pegged… you’re description several posts ago was dead on. This discussion has raised questions for me. I’ve never met anyone after “meeting” them online. Great, Rose! Now I’m feeling insecure! LOL

    1. Darah–you have me nailed. My real life sense of humor is riddled all through my books, along with some weird facts and stories. Sometimes my husband will be reading one and say, “Are you sure you want to put this in here where anyone can read it.” I generally shrug it off because really, nobody but me (and him) knows what’s true to my life and what’s entirely made up.

      So my response to that is, if you like my books, you’ll like me. If you don’t like my books, you won’t like me.

      Yeah, there’s that awkward picture of me on my website (and here) that everyone can see to give them a pretty good idea of what I look like. But you’re right. I have NOTHING to go off of for all of you.

      So, in playing your game, here’s what I have in my mind for what you look like:

      Thinner–not beanpole thin, but not thick either. Probably a size 8 at most, and going beyond that, maybe a 4-6 range. (I say this because you mentioned having your dress resized from when you were heavier…)

      Dark hair.

      Stylish/high maintenance –sorry you asked… But there actually is a logical choice for why I say this.

      1. So should I confess the differences and confirm the correct conclusions or would you rather be surprised??? I’d hate to burst your flattering bubble πŸ™‚

        Since I opened this can of worms I suppose I should tell you: I’m 5’8″, a size 14 (though I’m an 8 at heart. I know there’s a skinny girl inside me just screaming to get out but I keep her quiet with cookies :)), and I’m a natural blonde. Just to be objective, I asked my husband what he thought of your idea of me. He laughed and said, “well high maintenance is totally true”. One day you’ll have to tell me what made you so sure of the fact…

        You know, the person you met could have meant “you weren’t what she expected as a compliment”… maybe she thought you’d be mean or snooty and you turned out to be really easy to be around and super nice. I’m going to assume this is what happened πŸ™‚

      2. Okay, now it’s my confession time.

        But first–the cardinal rule on the trick question of thin or thick is to be realistic. I knew you couldn’t be less than a four. Very few women who’ve had kids can pull that one off. So I knew you had to be 4+, however, I wouldn’t dare guess LARGER than what you could be potentially, so I picked an 8. Really, that’s not an offensive size, I don’t think.

        So since you posted your measurements, I’ll take a bravery pill and do the same. I’m a size 10. After I had my second son, I settled at a size 8. This was comfortable for me for a while, but then I lost some weight and got down to a six. But then, I abandoned my exercising and couldn’t figure out why things were not fitting any longer. Well, that green dress I bought a few months ago was a size 10 as I refused to buy a 12 because I never had before.

        Truly, nothing is wrong with a 12, 14, 16, etc, except when it comes to me. Because I’m so short (5’0″) and hold all of my weight in one place: my stomach, it doesn’t look right. Were I taller, I wouldn’t be so worried about this, but since I’m shorter, it’s very, very noticeable.

        I’ll have to email you privately with what gave away high maintenance. It’s probably not what you’re expecting me to say.

        Oh, I haven’t yet met the person to know if I’m what she expects or not, but I can pretty much guarantee you, that we’ll both be shocked to some degree. LOL

      3. I’m 5’2″ and a size 22-24, depending on the clothes. *hangs head in shame* I put on weight everywhere. I was a size 16 before my husband left for South Korea for two years. I keep telling him the stress of having him gone had a horrifying effect on my body. Surprisingly, he’s back and I’m finally starting to lose weight, but it’s a very slow process. After dinner, I only eat fruits and salads (no dressing) so part of it is watching what I eat.

        I do think it’s a rip off that I chase kids around all the time and all that exercise has done me no good. LOL

      4. My husband has the opposite effect on me, I’m afraid. Since he stopped working to go back to school he’s home more–a lot more and I swear I’ve gained at least two sizes since he started being around here more. LOL

        Oh, and exercise only goes so far with me. I can lose several pounds initially, then I can’t–no matter what I do. And I’m actually a vegetarian and I try not to keep sweets in the house, but still I gain weight.

      5. Rose and Ruth…

        I’m surprised you are a vegetarian Rose, not that it’s bad or anything just surprising.

        Ruth…I thought you were taller and I have no idea how you could gain weight when you seem to be writing every spare moment you have!

      6. Exercise worked very well for me 4 years ago when I went from a 10 to a 6. Which was smaller than when I got married. Then I had baby #4 gained 40 pounds (thw most of all my pregnancies including the Twins). After he was born I lost about 20 of those pounds was back to a 10. Two years later I gained 10 of those pounds back and am a size 12. A year ago I did a 6 week exercise/diet challenge and wound up gaining weight and inches and no, it was not muscle. Needless to say, it was quite depressing. I have had numerous blood tests run and everything checks out. Doctor said it is stress (which I have tons of) but stress used to make me lose weight. The joys of being in your mid 30’s, I guess. I would like to get back down to at least an 8. I still have my skinny clothes hanging in the back of the closet. I am between 5’7″ and 5’8″ depending on which doctor you go with.
        Now we are all off on a tangent aren’t we?

      7. Well I must say that is so nice to know I am not alone. I am 5’2″ and until I turned 35 I was a size 6 or 8. Then I went to a size 16 overnight. I found out I had a problem with my thyroid and was able to get down to a size 14 only to find out at 40 I was pregnant. Two years later I have a beautiful little girl and my dress size is a 12. I am still about 40 pounds overweight it seems no matter what I do it just will come off. I guess it would not be so bad if the weight did not all go to my face and stomach. Lol.

      8. I hear you on all of it going to your face and stomach. Most of mine went to my stomach, a little to my face and much to my husband’s delight, a little went to my bust. I actually have a little cleavage now. I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked in the past year if I am pregnant again. It doesn’t even bother me anymore because I know I look like I am about 6 months pregnant. Unfortunately, I had toxemia (and some other things) with my first pregnancy with the Twins. In a span of a week I put on over 30 pounds(I don’t count that as baby weight) and my stomach was stretched beyond capacity, my stretch marks were cracking and bleeding. I really looked like I could have had 4 or 5 babies in my stomach. I was left with a lot of excess skin because 48 hours after they were born I had lost 40 pounds. My doctor told me nothing short of surgery would make it go away. So even when I got down to a size 6 my stomach still could look pregnant. I could say a whole lot more about the condition of my stomach, but I don’t want to gross you out.
        It is so nice to know I am not alone in this battle.

      9. Yeah it is nice to know we are not alone. And as for grossing me out well I work in a hosital so there is not much I haven’t seen.

      10. Oh, poor Sarah! I gets asked on a regular basis when my baby’s due. I’m pretty good about that though and take it stride, telling them I’m not pregnant, just healthy!

        The day I went in to have my second son (he was induced) the nurse looked at me with all the seriousness of a doctor telling someone that they have cancer and asked if I was here to deliver my triplets. Then, before I could answer, she continued asking questions to make sure that I’d at least made it to 34 weeks because sooner than that and they may not survive, on and on. She was pretty embarrassed when I told her there was just one baby in there. But I did find it funny, especially since while I was pregnant with my first son I was constantly asked if I wasn’t sure I wasn’t having twins. Nope. Just a single birth each time with some very, very large babies!

        By the way, I, too, have to have surgery due to the condition of my stomach. But I need to be a size 6 first–so I’m hoping for this fall since I won’t be able to ride my bike for a while after having it and I’m currently training for a 150 mile bike ride in September.

        By the way, no grossing out here. If there was an unpleasant side affect to pregnancy, I got it, so I completely understand.

      11. Yeah, I live in a beef state, and I’m a vegetarian. Believe me, I get a lot of weird looks–especially when I go to a rural town and have to ask them to leave the meat out of my dish. LOL

        I, too, imagined Ruth taller! But Judy, it’s very, very easy to gain weight while writing. I do. The majority of my weight has been gained since I started writing more often. I think it’s because I’m sitting down more and it’s easy to go eat something while writing, and especially when you’re stuck for an idea and need a minor distraction… the fridge beckons…

  9. Honestly, I worry a lot more about what someone will think of me. In real life, I’m clumsy. I bump into chairs and desks and (God help me) even doorways. My kid ran into a doorway the other day, and we all know where he got that gene from. πŸ˜‰ I tell stupid jokes. You know the comedies where the idiot is trying to be funny but no one else in the movie thinks so, but the audience laughs because the person is a moron? That’s me. And I’m not trying to tell the stupid jokes. They just come out, esp. when I’m nervous. I also stumble over my words. And I am overweight, frumpy, have thinning hair (I’m wearing a wig in my picture, though in real life I don’t because the thing itches like crazy), and my smile is lopsided when I talk (don’t know why). So I hate meeting people in real life. Romance authors are supposed to look like Barbie, right? I mean, the heroines all look like Barbie.

    Right now, I can say meeting Mark Coker in a couple weeks gives me anxiety when I think about it. I worry that I’ll disappoint him. I think I’ll come off sounding like an idiot who has nothing interesting to say. And I think part of it is because (to me) he’s a celebrity. Logically, I know he’s human, and yet, he seems so much higher than me that I’m just a little peon. I share this because I suspect this person who is going to meet you might feel the same way I do about meeting Mark Coker. πŸ™‚

    But is there anything that a person can do to disappoint me? If I saw the person treating someone like crap, then I would be disappointed. How they look doesn’t bother me. If they trip on their shoestrings, I’m not disappointed. I overlook a lot of things because I’m far from perfect, but if I saw someone push someone else out of the way to cut into a line (or something like that), I’d be disappointed.

    BTW, I met my husband online like some others on here, and I was relieved when I was physically attracted to him. By that, I don’t mean he was drop dead gorgeous. But I had that spark with him. We’re both nerdy types. πŸ˜€

    1. Your first paragraph is me to a T. I have awful vision, so I’m constantly walking into stationary objects. When nervous, or excited, I trip over my words. And I get weird looks a lot when I don’t laugh at jokes that other people think are hilarious, but I don’t. But then, when I tell jokes, people either get them an laugh, or they don’t and give me strange looks. (Sometimes I worry about this in my books. As I write I think, “am I the only one who thinks this is funny?”)

      My mouth isn’t lopsided necessarily, but my teeth are pretty big and my eyes are misaligned.

      I don’t think you have anything to worry about with Mark, but I do understand your anxiety. I beta read his eBook Success Secrets book and almost wished that I hadn’t because when it came time to give him my candid thoughts, I thought, “What the heck am I saying? I have only 14 months experience selling eBooks. What can I tell him that’s of value?” Then I read and reread everything I wrote to make sure I didn’t sound like too much of a dolt, but probably did anyway.

      Hmm, I’ll have to be careful not to push someone out of the way in the dessert line, darn it all! LOL

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