The Searchers.

Somehow I have become the number one Internet destination for questions about face sleeping. My tracking statistics are filled with variations on a theme:
sleep with hands on face
sleeping on your hand
sleeping on your hands
sleeping with face on hands
sleeping with hands on face
sleep and your face

(I’m thinking of writing a book called “Sleep and Your Face,” actually. I have no doubt it would be a bestseller).

{Confidential to the person asking whether it is best to face inner demon in sleep: Yes, OBVIOUSLY.}

Reading search keywords paints an unsettling picture of Internet users in general. Someone searched for what brings you here, and then, when that didn’t garner the desired result, amended the query to what brings you TO here, (capitalization mine).

I worry when I read things like change a skirt into gauchos (WHY? WHY WOULD YOU DO SUCH A THING?) or does a messy house mean that you are a “bad mother”. You know, some of the more upsetting reactions I have gotten in my years of writing online were email messages and comments following what was supposed to a little light joke post (einekleine joke post!) about how messy my house is sometimes, and how little it resembles the photo shoots in, say, Cookie magazine. One comment admonished me, saying that its author would be “ashamed” if her house looked like mine, and the word choice made me pause. Embarrassed, fine. God knows I’d be embarrassed if someone showed up unannounced on one of my apartment’s bad days. But “ashamed” suggests something deeper, as if having a messy house is a character flaw, and your housekeeping says something about your worth as a person. I doubt many men feel like failures because the laundry’s piled up again. When will women stop DOING that to themselves, and to each other? Soon, maybe?
(The entry also generated a comment telling me to get back to posting baby pictures and wondering whether the post was my attempt to “Pit women against women in the ‘whose house is the dirtiest’ contest,” regarding which I can only say HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS CONTEST, AND WHAT DO WE WIN?)

But not all of your searches inspire tedious rants like the above. Some merely inspire confusion, like sexy prairie hat (Really?) or what tolstoy does on christmas (watches the snow blow across the dead), or grape nuts heartbeat, which has an eerie “Tell-Tale Heart” quality.

Then there’s solipsism birthday card (How about “Your birthday makes me ponder my own mortality”?), miracle blanket crocodile (I don’t see why not, just cut a hole in the pocket for his tail), long torso short legs physics (most of the same principles apply), pregnancy gin & tonic float, etiquette for rectal exam, and my personal favorite, toddler food refusal insane.

And occasionally the words that bring people here aren’t search terms at all, but rather sentences typed into the void, as if we are in War Games, and the computer itself might respond with comfort, advice, or at least a game of Tic Tac Toe. Recently I was upset to see that someone had found me by searching “i’m afraid he’s going to kill rebecca.” Probably it was just a remembered song lyric or line of dialogue, but still I felt as if I should call the authorities. Except what would I say? That there was going to be a murder, maybe? Someone named Rebecca? No, I don’t know where, but I can give you an IP address?

Others are merely revolting, like “fucking a concussed girl.” That one doesn’t make me want to call the police so much as drive to the home from whence the search is originating and smack the searcher in his delicate place with a truncheon.

The Internet is a strange and sometimes lonely place. The other day, someone spent FOUR HOURS on my site after Googling “make your own girdle.” I would like to think she stayed because she so enjoyed my writing that she got distracted, but perhaps she was just really damn determined to find instruction. I think chopsticks broken into sections and taped onto an ace bandage would work, but truthfully, I’ve never tried it.


  1. megs says:

    I made the mistake of referring to myself as a “poor-as-fuck graduate student” once, and now what little traffic I get from search engines reveals a good number of people are thinking about whether they should, or how to, fuck a graduate student.

    In response to which I guess I should warn them: you’ll probably end up getting her pregnant.

    Please keep up the search term commentary–it’s delightful.

  2. Jennifer C. says:

    Oh my word, you are so damn funny. That’ll be me catching up from I-think-I-stopped-at-April-of-’06 for the next three hours.

  3. Pictou says:

    I can’t believe you don’t get more traffic searching for craft projects for Saxby Chambliss.

    By the way, I believe the appropriate day to celebrate Saxby Chambliss is Nov. 10th.

  4. Stephanie says:

    toddler food refusal insane is my favorite too. If ever there were words that flow so naturally together …

    I’m not surprised that you had a bad reaction to the messy house entry, but that’s only because people on the internet are CRAZY, not because the entry was so horrifying. I totally got the joke, and thought it was funny.

  5. amanda says:

    i heart you and i, for one, have always thought that your site was naturally most appropriately described as THE resource for sexy prairie hats.

    thanks for making me smile today.

  6. eden says:

    That post was one of my all-time faves. My seven year old just walked and and said “MUM! Did we get robbed?” I said no sweetheart, the house is just messy.

  7. Geohde says:

    I shall never forgive google for the twenty hits I get a day on the permutation of >insertional activitywomen’s heeled footwearorifice<. Usually a urethra.To the best of my knowedge, I have no sage advice on the topic.

    Also the bazillion searchers for pregnant with a negative quant beta.


  8. Mary says:

    Our blog is about parenting, specifically a child with autism. One of the ways I cope (and this is something I did before I had kids, so having a child with autism isn’t a prerequisite) is by having meals in the freezer for those days when you just don’t have the energy to cook. Once every few months (or, you know, when the freezer starts looking bare), I spend a weekend cooking. I detailed one of those weekends in a post I titled “The Big Cook.” Obviously I wasn’t thinking.

    You can imagine how disappointed those “unable to spell but probably looking for pictures of male genitalia people” are when they get to our site and realize I’m telling them how to actually… cook.

  9. Normally, I live a quiet, sheltered life on the big prairie wearing my sexy hats, but last night, I flipped on Ye Olde Television, and now I know why two separate people thought you were on Dating in the Dark.

  10. Deborah says:

    Wow, am I glad I was in a private place when I read this, because I was in tears laughing! I always like Geohde’s Agony Aunt, but I think yours is even funnier (hers is pretty funny too).

  11. cindy w says:

    Wow, I love these. Mine are mostly just creepy porn searches (tip: don’t write about potty-training on your blog – eww eww eww), but you have very creative freaks, not just run-of-the-mill freaks.

  12. Heather says:

    “Toddler food refusal insane.”

    Guess I won’t be using that combination of search terms. I already read this site.

  13. Jennifer says:

    I smell a coffee table book! They have a certain haiku-like quality, don’t you think?

    Anyway, I emailed this to you, but I’ll post it here as well.

    Thanks to sitemeter, my eyes have been permanently opened to a facet of life I think I would have been perfectly happy remaining unaware of: someone reached my blog by googling “diaper love story.” It turns out to be, um, a fetish thing. :-0 (My completely innocent post was about babies and loveys, btw, not about people with fetishes for wearing diapers. Just so we’re clear. ;-)

    Had. No. Idea.

  14. Lori says:

    This is hilarious! and if you notice me lurking here for hours on end some day soon it’s because I’m a newcomer and am catching up. And I’m trying to figure out how to make a girdle. but mostly the catching up.

  15. Suzanne says:

    Your searches posts are one of my very most favorite things and they make me glad the Internet was invented. That’s right, the whole internet. Just for these posts. That’s how much I love ’em.

  16. Leslie says:

    Yay! I love the search term commentary posts – they are so funny. Now you’ll have to excuse my lameness – I know that the terms you use to label your posts can determine if you’ll pop up as a result of some random search, but how in the heck can you tell who found you and why?

  17. Ms. Jazz says:

    i wonder how google is affecting your search results. i’ve noticed, when searching for something, that blog posts from my reader pop up as the first few results; even if they have less in common with the query than results further down the page.

    ironically, the first time i noticed this was when your “nipples nipples every where” (or whatever it was titled) came up as result #1 … and i’m pretty sure i wasn’t googling nipples.

  18. I was once incautious enough to include in a blog post “well, spank my bottom and call me Susan” which was perfectly fine in the context in which it was written, but the number of hits I get looking for spanking-related content is staggering. They don’t tend to stay long.

  19. Helen says:

    I enjoy reading this so much. I got your book a few years ago (advanced reader copy, I love having friends who work in bookstores) and have been determined to look up your blog. And I will admit that, even though I’m just a high school student (I know, I should be studying, but she’s just so FUNNY), I have very much enjoyed all that you have written that I have been privy to. It has gotten to the point, recently, that I will be laughing out loud in the library at school, which is frowned upon. But as a babysitter, Simone makes me smile, and the rest of your life makes me fill with anxious glee. Namely, the anxiety comes from thinking “Oh my God. Am I going to be this woman someday?” which is quickly followed by “I hope so!”

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