No, I'm the Other Jen

A couple of weeks ago I saw Jenny Lawson post on her Facebook page that she's always surprised by how many people recommend her own book to her. Wait a minute. They do???

Actually, I'm not surprised.

You see, I possess one of THE MOST popular names of the 70s and 80s. That means millions, no BILLIONS probably, of little girls were bestowed with the name JENNIFER. If it wasn't Jennifer, then it was some kind of variation: Jenny, Jen, Jenifer, Jennafer, Jenapher, and my favorite, Jenni with an adorable "i" (dotted with a heart, of course).

My whole childhood I was referred to as "Jennimann." All one word, because I was one of many, many, many other Jen-types and none of us were allowed to be called by our first names only. When I went to college, I decided Jennimann was too babyish and I needed a more grown up name that would stand out. So I became Jenmann. Muuuuuuch better.

With all of these Jen-types running around, I shouldn't be surprised that many of us grew up to be funny, loud lady-writers. But we did.

There are a lot of us and I thought I was the only one who couldn't stand out in the sea of witty Jens. It was so wonderful to hear that Jenny Lawson (the patron saint of all funny bloggers) can't stand out either sometimes!

Suddenly I didn't feel so bad about all the mail I get for the other Jens out there.

Yes. Seriously. I get their mail. Easily once a week I receive an email or PM from an excited reader thanking me profusely for writing Let's Pretend This Never Happened and inspiring them to buy a giant metal chicken. I get emails telling me that Bitter is the New Black was the funniest book ever written and we should all wear pearls more often. I agree with them all whole-heartedly and then break the news that I'm not the Jen they're looking for.

I think my favorite was a private message exchange that went a little something like this:

Reader: OMG. I love you so much!!

Me: Thank you.

Reader: The pictures you post are so funny. My husband and I almost die from laughing every time.

Me (Hmm, I don't post many pictures, but I don't want to be rude): I'm glad you're enjoying my work.

Reader: Yeah! We're going to have a cake made for my birthday that looks like one of yours.

Me (HUH?? What? Ohhhh....I see what's happened): Yeah, I'm sorry. I think you have the wrong person. I'm not Jen from Cake Wrecks.

Reader: Really?

Me: Yes. Really. That's Jen Yates.

Reader: She does cosplay too.

Me: Yes, I know. I don't do that.

Reader: Wow. I really thought you were. Sorry.

Me: No problem. Bye.

Reader: Wait. I know who you are! I got you confused. You're the lady who wrote about Beyonce.

Me (Actually, I did write a very popular post about Beyonce once): I wrote about her a couple of years ago.

Reader: Yes! I know! I read that one out loud to all my co-workers and we howled.

Me (Howled? Uh oh. The Beyonce post I wrote was not funny): I don't think that's me. Maybe you're thinking of the giant metal chicken Beyonce?


Me: Yes, I know, right? It was sooooo funny. I only wish I'd been the one to write it.

Reader: That's not you either???

Me: No.

Reader: OK, this is getting kind of embarrassing.

Me: Only for me.

Reader: I'm going to figure this out. I know I know you. You write funny memoirs, right?

Me: Yes.

Reader: You were a blogger first.

Me (Thinking she's on to something now): Yes!

Reader: Yeah! You live in Chicago. You lost your job and you write all those memoirs about you and your husband Fletch and your dogs.

Me: No. That's Jen Lancaster.

Reader: Damn it!!!

Me: Yeah. Do you want a hint?

Reader: Hang on. I know who you are. You get in fights on social media.

Me: Kinda.

Reader: You wrote that book about the big girl who found love.

Me (Thinking that could be my People I Want to Punch in the Throat book):  Maybe?

Reader: You get in Twitter fights with Jonathan Franzen and you live-tweet "The Bachelor." That's you, right!!??

Me: No, that's Jennifer Weiner. She wrote Good in Bed.

Reader: Shit. OK. I'm ready for my hint. Who are you?

Me (I'm too afraid to give a hint and have her guess wrong again, so I just tell her exactly who I am): I'm Jen Mann. I write "People I Want to Punch in the Throat." I wrote some books and a blog ... I'm the Elf on the Shelf lady.

Reader: OHHHHH YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!! I got you? You're the one who I'm talking to? You? YOU'RE my favorite.

Me (Grateful that she's a good liar.): Thank you and now I'm going to go and die alone.

Want to try and figure out just which Jen I am? Then get my books here and follow me on Facebook


Anonymous said...

As a Jennifer, the commonness is exactly why I never hear my name. You want my attention, call the name of the person I'm with. If I'm alone, you better walk up to me. I know the hostesses in restaurants look at me funny when they say "name" and I say "ah..." while I think of what name I'm likely to hear today.

Unknown said...

Jennys are awesome! I love you all. If you do a signing in Houston at the Blue Willow Book Shop or Katy Budget Books or Books a Million in Katy - I will be there with a big, blue walker because I have arthritis. I will be a total fangirl and I won't bring my Jenny Lawson books for you to sign, because she already signed them. If she can make it to Houston, why can't you?
Also, can you get ALL of your books on Audible? I never learned how to read.

Me said...

We all went by our last names. The Michelles and Jennifers ran in packs. It was the only way. Or as I am affectionately called by a few of my friends now JenKen.

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