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Last week, I received an email from a writer at The Sun. He wanted to feature me in an upcoming article–This Article. I’m American. I had never heard of The Sun. I did what any clueless millennial would do, I asked Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia–the expert on everything, ask any millennial–“The Sun is a tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom…” Now, I’ve taken a class or two on journalism, so I’m familiar with the textbook definition of tabloid. As a matter of fact, I think anyone who has stood in a supermarket line behind a coupon-wielding grandma is familiar with the term. (No offense to any coupon-wielding grandmas. I totally envy your thriftiness.)
What interest would a tabloid have in metal detecting? I asked myself. I decided to investigate further and I plugged the email-sender into Google. Google turned up a sampling of articles from the journalist. These articles included, “Rapper ‘dying’ for his music gets Anne Frank face tattoo” and “Forget vampire facials! Vampire BREAST LIFTS are the latest bloody beauty fad.” My first thought was, any publicity is good publicity right? My second thought was, where can I get a vampire facial and how many teenage vampire books do I have to read to get one?
I decided to entertain the article and provided the following responses highlighted below–which I’ve edited for typos and misspellings because I never intended for public distribution:
How I Got Started: When I was a teenager, I
used to spendspent a lot of time in old “tips” looking for bottles and stoneware in New England. (I think you call them tips over there? Here, we call them trash dumps.) I loved uncovering these old treasures because they connected me with a time inthe past. It was almost like touching history. A few years passed since I was rooting around for bottles, but I had such fond memories of the experience that I decided to give metal detecting a try in 2014. My first metal detector was a Garrett ACE 250. Before I even took the machine out of the box, I started an online blog to document my journey as a hobbyists. The blog turned into a column with American Digger Magazine. The column turned into a YouTube Channel. And the YouTube Channel turned into a sponsorship with Garrett Metal Detectors–the same company that made my first detector.
The Metal Detecting Community: For the most part, the detecting community is helpful and inviting to newcomers. Once you’re submersed into the hobby, you catch a glimpse of the uglier side. There’s a lot of competition and the hobby can be cut-throat at times. It’s especially rough being a woman in the hobby. I feel like I have to prove myself even more, because everyone is so focussed on what I’m wearing or what color my hair is. (It’s purple at the moment…) I’ve noticed a lot more females joining the hobby. They reach out to me because I think they feel a certain connection. We are the minority and we have to stick together.
My Favorite Find: Hobbyists are always asked about their best find. I always have a tough time answering this question. I’ve found some really cool treasures over the last three years, but I think my favorite find was this past September in England. I was outside Shropshire on the site of a Medieval Village that had been wiped out by the plague. I had a deep signal on my Garrett AT Max and just kept digging and digging. The deeper I dug, I suspected I might just have a deep iron horseshoe or chunk of plow. (Sometimes deep iron gives a good signal on a detector.) So I threw my last shovelful beside the hole and a huge silver coin was just sitting there in the dirt. It wasn’t my oldest coin, but it was a rare 1553 French Teston.
Advice to Potential Hobbyists: I was hesitant to start metal detecting. I was twenty-six years old and far from your typical hobbyist. Most people envision a man in his sixties sweeping the beach for spare change. Granted, there are hobbyists who enjoy the tranquility of beach detecting and there’s nothing wrong with that. For me, it was about the history. It’s hard to explain, but holding a piece of history that has been lost for 200 or 500 years, it’s almost surreal. I think this hobby needs more young people with an appreciation for history. There is still so much out there to discover.
Detecting in the UK: I detected in the UK for the first time in 2017. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel internationally and domestically, but I have to be a little selective on my international travel since I have two youngsters at home. As for 2018, I might be returning to the UK but I’d also like to check out Germany.
Women and Metal Detecting: I can’t necessarily speak for all women in the hobby. Being in the spotlight, I’ve really opened myself up to criticism and I get a LOT of criticism–especially over how I dress. In the summer months, I wear shorts and a tank-tops. The male hobbyists sometimes have a hard time taking me seriously when I’m not decked out in camo from head to toe. (It’s easier to sneak up on the relics when you’re wearing camo.) I think normal women who abide by the dress code deal with more important issues like figuring out how to pee in the middle of an open field or avoiding creepy men who appear from out of no where. I’ve had a few close calls when I was detecting by myself–men stopping lure me into their cars or back to their hotel rooms.
I was leery of the article at first, but I warmed up to the idea as I read through the questions. Admittedly, I became enchanted by the article and the platform it provided. This was my opportunity to encourage other women to join the hobby and maybe, just maybe convince the boys that us girls are just as good as them–if not better. Regardless of how we dress, whether or not we wear make-up, or dye our hair… we have the same passion and enthusiasm as the guys.
I waited all weekend for the article and received a link this morning. I expected to see some familiar women diggers: Dominique Ivy Da Silva (Silverslingers), Dawn Chipchase (Digger Dawn), Sonya Harshman, SheDetector, or Gypsy (Zero Discrimination)… but all I saw was someone who won’t be linked here. My entire message had been overshadowed.
From a marketing standpoint–and those who know me KNOW that I’m a marketing queen–I totally get it. I can’t really blame the writer. Do I like being lumped side by side with her? Absolutely not. She is the reason I have to work so hard to be taken seriously. But the purpose of these tabloids–whether in the supermarket checkout or on the internet–are to tickle your curiosity and garner attention. What better way to garner attention than use her?