I suppose one of the signs of rapid aging is the inability to find humor in the universal human negative. First, we had the April Fool one day a year; now we have FMyLife.com — aka FML — haunting us with schadenfreude every day.
FMyLife.com — and yes, the “f” in “FMyLife” means that word — celebrates the worst of us.
The site allows people to share the awful bits of their lives for visceral titillation in others. Here’s how the project self-describes its negative debauchery:
Fmylife.com is a weird and wonderful addition to the web. It’s a collection of everyday anecdotes and stories likely to happen to anyone and everyone, sent to us exclusively by our users, which we then publish on the site. This is a space where you can let it all out and unwind by sharing the little things that screw with your day, and maybe realize that you are not alone in experiencing day to day crap. Posts start with ‘Today’ and end with ‘FML’. The site is meant to be fun to read and can be enjoyed on a daily basis.
Who’s behind fmylife.com?
Don’t laugh… French guys are. The original site’s inception (viedemerde.fr) is all down to Maxime Valette’s work, assisted by Guillaume Passaglia for web development and implementation of new functions, and by Julien Azarian for the day-to-day community management. A group of administrators are also in charge of reading and validating all the submitted anecdotes. Now, Didier Guedj and a new team are working on the development of this English-language version.
Here are some examples of the most popular stories shared on the site called “Top FML:”
Today, I received my passport in the mail. They got my birthdate wrong. Then I picked up my birth certificate that I had sent in with the application. Turns out my parents have been celebrating my birthday on the wrong day for 16 years. FML
Today, I was sitting in class and I fell asleep during the lesson. I was wearing sweatpants and had an erection. My teacher came up to me and grabbed my penis. She thought it was my phone. FML
Today, I heard my sister masturbating in her room. I took the dog around the block to get out of the house, and I came back to see her leaving her room… my electric toothbrush in her hand. FML
I read the stories, and I don’t get the attraction of the idea.
First, why would people share these stories — many of the anecdotes reek of the made up like the old Penthouse Forum “real life” sex fantasies published during my teenhood — and then I wonder why people would travel to the site to read these “FML” stories.
What is the attraction in the negativity expressed and absorbed on FML? Is there humor in creating a negative image of you for sharing across the world?
Why would anyone purchase an FML T-shirt or Hat advertising the nasty in us for public fun and private profit?
Are we supposed to find some sort of secret satisfaction in FML that life for us isn’t as bad for us as it is for others? If so, where is the quantification of contemporary human misery in that dim scenario?
By reading, or even attending sites like FML, we only confirm the loathing and the despair that presently imprisons us as a people, and when we decide to spend our disappearing time in the depths of others instead of exploring our own pinnacles, we merely confirm the least in us.
I’ve been following the site more out of curiousity – and because I’ve been trying to see what kind of sites are the ones that suddenly get book deals after a few months, and which don’t. This one apparently qualified. Recently, another shocker of a web site (this is why you’re fat) also got a book deal.
A lot of book deals for a lot of negative sites!
What sort of book will FML offer that you can’t get on the website? I don’t understand these “websites into books” and I wonder if any of them make any real money?
Most of them take submissions that only are put into the book. I also wonder about the web sites into books although it seems to work well for online comics.
Are the submitters paid anything for getting published in these books, Gordon?
I know the LOLCATS site was made into a book — were those that submitted images paid?
Nobody gets paid except for the people who make the sites. Even the post secret people don’t get paid. That site is sometimes really disturbing, too. Especially when someone more or less writes in that a postcard saved their life.
I think that’s wrong, Gordon. Publishers should not “rip off” their contributors by taking their work for free while making big money off the backs of their ideas.
I’ve never found FML to be funny, but I don’t see it as being about taking pleasure in other peoples suffering. More like a reminder that awkward and embarrassing things happen to everyone. Most of these are the kind of stories that are mortifying when they happen and funny a year later, though FML isn’t very good at conveying the humor. Just my interpretation.
I understand your point but I think the title of the site belies your kind support.
If the site were called, “Guess what happened to me today!” — your analysis is right on, but the very name of the site, “F**k My Life” — takes the whole experience to a much darker and worse human level.
I am not 100% sold that it’s a pointless site. I find it humorous the situations people get into.
thank you so much for writing about this, i thought i was the only one who didn’t find this funny in the least. and it targets people MY AGE. all my college friends find it hysterical but honestly, it’s not,it’s sad to laugh at these people’s misfortunes or to call something fml-worthy when it’s clearly just a small trivial thing that happened that sucks at the time but is just a blip on the radar. getting your period during sex or having your parents discover your porn stash, ect. are such stupid little things. there is real tragedy out there, illness, famine, causalities. FML just shows how the french people are proving that americans really are shallow vapid creatures. it makes me sick.
We appreciate your comment, Melissa, and we agree FML does feed into the American stereotype that we are bored and boring and self-aggrandizing of our failures over our hopes. That’s a bad message to propagate into the world and FML would be nothing if it didn’t churn on the desire to spread negative energy to infect others in the name of mockery and not compassion.