A weird and windy path
In 1992 I returned from abroad. I was alone in NYC and had always been attracted to technology. I was working at a bookstore on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and I bought my first laptop computer--all 16MB of RAM and 30MB of hard drive of it. Oh! and I had a 2400 baud modem (a box that would allow me to get on the Internet by "dialing up."). I immediately joined online services like Prodigy, Delphi and AOL. I was mainly trading Grateful Dead tapes and other bootleg material but was also getting into the chat room scene.
Flirting is easy online. No one really knows who you are and back then you couldn't even upload pictures. It was all about your head, and you could leave your body and all the insecurities that you have about it behind you. Being short and usually plump that was a VERY good thing for me.
Flirting, though, almost always fell into innuendo. Innuendo is fun, as it increases all the titillation of the flirting, right? This isn’t exactly rocket science. Well, I’m sure you can see where this is leading -- cybersex. I had a good steady stream of regular cybersex with a host of people I can only presume were nice lonely women of various ages.
I remember what I would consider my first. (For the rest of this, being straight and hopeful, I’m going to assume that all these encounters online were with women.) She lived in Texas and was somewhat older. She even had 2 kids. We would chat about each other's lives and then as it would get later and we would let ourselves flirt a bit more the sex would ensue. What was so interesting about her is that she kept inviting me to go on a cruise with her. I found it odd, but hell, an all-expenses paid trip in the Caribbean for sex sounded pretty neat to this lonely boy. I forget why, but it never happened.
It still amazes me how many times these fantasy meetings would be suggested -- almost always by the woman -- and how there was always a slip up somewhere, usually on their part. Oh well!
After that there was always a new regular cyber meetup happening. None led to actual meetings. Until “Jessica”. She made it clear that she was not interested in sex, but she came over to my place (I do admire brave women) and this was in NYC. Our first meet up was pretty darn innocent. We sat up late and talked and didn’t even kiss, but cuddled a bit till she left. But this got me hungry for the “real thing”.
Then I met “Deloris”. Deloris was more than just flirting online. We would always move to the telephone. We became really good friends. She hated the whole cyber/phone sex thing but was very accommodating to my needs.
Anyway after a few weeks of this, we decided to meet. She lived near my mom so if things didn’t work out I had an escape route. She sent me her picture. She was very big. But by the time I saw that picture I had already imagined this beautiful soul so it didn’t matter.
She met me at the airport and we spent a weekend together at a hotel along the shore. The weekend was splendid and very exciting. I even took her to meet my mom and I met her mom as well. We got together another couple of times, but broke up fairly soon.
Some online communities were pretty tight. Some so tight that they would start having local meet-ups. It was cool. We had drinks and talked in person. During one meet-up this woman and I were in the middle of a great semi-intellectual conversation that we didn’t want to end after everyone else went their own ways. Well, my place was around the corner and hers was in Brooklyn. So “Sasha” (yes, she was Russian) came over. We headed into my room and were just chatting. And the way I remember it, “Sasha” made a pass at me. The next thing I know we were undressed and she was being pretty aggressive.
I have to admit in an odd way I felt a little violated from it, as my wishes were not respected. Anyway, it was a 1-night stand. I got tested and she never came knockin’ saying she was pregnant.
The stories aren’t always bad. I met “Maya” online. She sent me an email because she liked something I said in a Jewish discussion group online. We began by emailing a lot and then instant messaging. She and I would talk online and on the phone for hours. She was truly friendly and our conversations were very special. Finally she was going to be in the city so we had a very simple date. “Maya” had the cutest smile and I fell in love w/ her right away. We had a long distance relationship for about 8 months. Then she broke up with me. It was my first love to be honest and I think my horrible addictions were what ruined it. We would talk on the phone and online all the time (I would work some pretty late nights) and the conversations would be amazing. But when we saw each other it was all about the sex. And, oy! the sex was very good. But we never knew how to be with each other and it was also clear that I wasn’t going to move to where she was and she wasn’t going to move to where I was. I’m only sorry that we didn’t figure out how to stay friends.
But then there were 3 meet-ups that were quite different. These are women that I never remained in contact with at all and to be honest, I barely remember their names. My best friend and roommate had moved out, and I was between roommates trying to figure stuff out (or not figuring stuff out as the case may be). And I was back on the chat rooms after a long break.
I always had a hard time meeting women the “regular” way. The advantage of the Internet is that women got to know me before they saw me and it generally worked.
The first was “Carla”. She and I would meet in a chat room from time to time. We never were much into cybersex with each other but we soon learned we were a short cab ride away from each other and that lead to 3 or 4 one-night stands.
Then there was “Rivka”. Rivka and I were flirting in the chat rooms one night and it turned out that she was a nice Orthodox Jewish girl from Rockland County who wanted to have a good time.
And finally there was “Lilly”. Lilly was from the South. She and I would talk online and on the phone all the time. She was fun and because of a weird medical condition she was up ALL the time. Literally. We were friends, well sorta. I just liked flirting all the time. She liked that I was a night owl. Anyway, she came to visit me in NYC and we had touristy fun and cuddled a lot.
I thought “Lilly” was a last straw for me. Or at least that's what I told myself. . But I met a girl online whom I became serious about. Her name was “Sam” and we dated and slept with each other for about 5 months. “Sam” had some freaky stuff going on. It turns out that I was being used to deal with her husband, who was REALLY crazy!
That relationship took me for a fall in many many ways. So within a year I was back online looking for, and finding, women.
I developed something of a relationship with one of the women. We went on road trips together and I introduced her to my friends as a friend. Eventually, she went to Europe and I was on the skids that summer, but the fall changed everything...
I was online doing that thing that I do and I was chatting it up on Yahoo and private messaged this girl without any profile and -- dig this -- she said “hi” back. We had a nice enough conversation. Oh! and it came out that we liked the same band but I was missing their first CD. So she sends me a CD in the mail with a picture. Well, I thought this girl was serious and stuck with her.
I will admit that during this time I was doing a lot of cybersex and phone sex. I was still trolling chat rooms, but none of these led to meetups in person. (more on this below)
This went on for 2 months. She was living in upstate NY but knew she was moving to the city all this time. And after 2 months she moved to the city. I offered to help her move and she said that she had no intention of us ever meeting. I was totally surprised, because to be honest, I was really looking forward to meeting and see what could happen.
Then about 2 weeks after she moved (it is now Xmas time) we end up on a phone call from like 10 p.m to 5a.m.. At the end of the call, i say, “Let’s get breakfast in 4 hours.” She says, YES! and meets me at Around the Clock, around the corner from my place. We hung out some more and had a great time.
For the next 2 weeks I was in Spain learning classical guitar and well getting to the cyber cafe whenever I could would send her messages. Before I was due to come back we were already set to go on what till this day we consider our first date. I arrived back home at 9 a.m. that day and at 7 p.m. that night we had our first date. The most horrible movie but nice dinner.
Then we dated for another month and I was gone again, this time to Morocco to visit family. We were emailing the whole time I was away and my last day or so there, waiting for me at my dad’s apartment was a bouquet of flowers but with no card. I found out hours later that she figured out how to contact a local florist and ordered me a bouquet of flowers.
“This girl? She’s a keeper,” my dad said.
And I have! We got married 3 years, 3 days after our first date.
So how has this all changed me?
To be honest, its hard to codify. I think I believe now more than ever the importance of meeting people in person as a means of developing relationships. I have learned to always treat every online relationship (and I have many due to my business & hobbies--it’s all clean) with a grain of salt, but at the same time let people be themselves and take them at face value.
In the end, it was a weird and windy path that after a VERY long time finally got me what I wanted most--my wife. I love her so and I love the life that we are still creating together 7 years later.
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addiction cybersex redemption
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