Someone very sexy once told me, "Journalism is a sexy profession."
Indeed, it is.
We interview good looking people, we drink expensive champagne, we get to stay "two nights and three days" in luxurious island resorts and we get it all for free. Sexy (and smug) on all grounds, damn straight!
While it's bursting off its seams with sexiness, there's also a very dangerous side to journalism that very few are aware of. Well, apart from all the sleepless nights from unforgiving deadlines that make them crazy delirious, there's another alarming factor.
There are many reasons why journalists make the best partner one can ever have; but there are also reasons why they can be your absolute nightmare. Taking optimism by its balls, I'm here to talk you through -- and warn you -- of the latter.
- They will make money off your life: Not the gold digger way, absolutely not. Sure they earn peanuts for 70-hour working weeks, but they'll never date you for the money. If you do end up with someone who doesn't write about finance or sports all day, aspects of your life will appear in a newspaper, magazine or website. Your height, profession or skin color might be altered, otherwise it's you. And on most occasions, you won't be asked for permission, because they will counteract your argument by calling their article a piece of 'fictional' writing that's 'inspired by real events'. What, you think Bridget Jones was all pulled out of a donkey's arse? Don't stress though, this just means you are interesting enough to have left an impact in their life -- congratulations!
- Deadlines > Sex: One pays and the other doesn't (unless you're Belle de Jour), need I say more? Pulling an all-nighter for a hot date with MS Word and an avalanche of scribbled paperwork is much more lucrative than a sweaty session on your black satin sheets. Because someone needs to pay for those sheets, and that free bottle of Moët from a press event, sitting on the kitchen cabinet will definitely not do that. Sorry, but not sorry.
- They are ridiculously observant: They know when you're lying, when you're speaking from your heart and when you're goddam bored. They're trained to sense the tone of an interviewee through the phone -- they're like guard dogs at an airport -- so never think you've said or done something that's gone under the table. Chances are, it'll come back to haunt you about four months and 18 days later, with a proper reference to the original scenario. Plus, some journos even come with photographic memory -- that's a whole new level of freak show!
- They will remember your words: Whether you say it in writing or over the phone, journos don't forget words. They will remember whatever you say -- in lust or disgust -- and remind you of it. They are programmed to remember events and interviews, so to do follow-up stories, and they are fast-learners (hence amazing at their job), so be careful with what comes out of your mouth around these fellas. And while you're at it, know that they can manipulate the thesaurus a little too well; they will say words that mean one thing on face value and a crazy level of WTF when really read into.
- They will correct your grammar and spellings, all the time: A snobby trait that is really difficult to let go of -- journalists are trained writers and English language is part of their DNA. Ensure your punctuations and spellings are under a vigil eye when you text or email them, because they will pick it within seconds, and won't be afraid to correct you. On the flip side, they will be the first ones to notice if your vocabulary is better than theirs, and just quietly, that's a big turn-on!
- They are social media addicts: Just like your spreadsheet dramas at midnight, being constantly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest is part of their job. Being a "social media expert" does not equal "liking" Mean Girls memes on Facebook (don't ever say that to them, for the sake of your pretty nose). This job is rather tedious and stressful. If you don't understand terms like SEO, boost post, organic reach and retweets -- it's best you stay shut, or walk away.
- They will be picky with the bar or restaurant you choose: Journos are a little bit smug when it comes to where you take them out, especially if you end up with a lifestyle or travel journalist. If you take them for a kebab at that corner shop or Starbucks for a coffee date (eeeek!), forget about date #2. You don't have to go all Michelin star on them, but show that you made an effort in researching the venue; a quick search on Time Out is all they ask.
- They need their me-time: Due to all the small-talk with colleagues and clients at work events, journalists are suckers for moments of isolation. That much-needed time to clear their headspace and filter the army of thoughts doing the dance of agony. When they come back to the "real" world, they want to be left alone, preferably by the beach or a lake, sans any technological device. This is their time to recharge and come back with more story ideas and intellectually stimulating conversations. No amount of cuddles or spooning can replace this.
If you can handle all this, in addition to the stained cups of tea, half-eaten pieces of toast, a big pile of books and magazines on their bedside table and more bad-hair days than good, then... call me!
Ha ha. Totally kidding.
Go find yourself a journalist; it's a sexy profession aka they are sexy. A jackpot is staring at you in the face.
This piece first appeared on Shitika's website shitika-anand.com.