One subject I will never get tired of talking about is dating—or in my case, mostly awkward encounters that make for hilarious stories—my college professor, the military assassin, random men named John and so on. Turns out, I can get kind of sentimental betwixt all the ironic humor and dangerous innuendo. The truth of the matter is I kind of like this guy. And what’s not to like? He’s my Internet boyfriend.
Trust me when I say I kept this a secret.
“What’s an Internet boyfriend?” my friends joked.
“Exactly what it sounds like,” I mumbled back.
For weeks I grappled with the idea. Why do I feel this way about someone who lives so far away? FaceTime is like, real life, right?
But it’s not like real life. Nor is texting a substitute for close couch conversations or two cups of really good coffee. I felt dirty. I was spending Friday nights Skyping with a vacation fling that in my opinion had plenty of summer left to live.
This isn’t normal. And it’s not normal. It’s awesome.
What’s better than a real boyfriend? A boyfriend you can literally put in your pocket—turn silent should circumstance require. Travel sized—I can take him anywhere, talk to him anytime, and best of all, I don’t have to pick out his clothing.
It all started five months ago—after years of travel, jobs that took us very far away; we found each other, briefly, in San Diego. The rest has been recorded in more text messages, emails, Skype sessions and FaceTime encounters than I care to admit. It’s a real emotional affair—one that has brought great joy to the end of days, a time now specially reserved for him and our bastard love-child: technology.
Trust me also when I say, I never thought I was the kind of girl—the girl who gets caught up in something so fantastic, so seductively unreasonable and so impatiently void the tangible experience of entertaining a man.
“You’re an idiot. Don’t you know he is going to cheat on you?” my friend argued.
I guess that’s a legitimate concern for most people. Having a relationship dependent on technology definitely has its disadvantages. But I’ve seen people get bent out of shape over ambiguous text messages. I’ll take my chances.
“So, you’ve had sex with him on Skype?” she asked rhetorically.
I started to feel very old-fashioned the sixth or seventh time I had to explain this to someone. This question has become so popular in-fact, that I decided to write about it. The short answer is no—I’ve never done it.
“Why not? You’ve never wanted to try?” another friend pried.
“You know how you’ve never tried heroin?” I explained. “Well, it’s kind of like that.”
My girlfriends sat up straighter around the table as though I had just offended them. “Why not? It’s fun,” asked one gal.
“He’s never even asked you to try?” added a curious boyfriend. “He must be gay!”
Apparently, the only social moray that permits having an Internet boyfriend is becoming an amateur pornstar. Ergo, long distance relationships are no longer socially acceptable unless you have sex on the Internet. Could this be true?
My brain shifted through numerous books I had read, movies and experiences I had that brought this assertion into sharp focus and heated resentment.
The whole time I’m getting interrogated over how I spend my online time with this guy—who is now in Afghanistan—all I can think about is how different the world would be if Penelope, from Homer’s, “The Odyssey” was busy finger f****** herself in a letter to Odysseus who—instead of being a hero—decides to release himself onto the messenger that unfortunately happens to be a demon summoned from the underworld. Look out! Imagine soldiers in WWII texting private parts to their lovesick wives. What would they have thought? Imagine it. I’ll bet she would have been pissed—probably wondering how the hell he has time to j*** off when Nazi’s are afoot! Just another wonderful byproduct of defeating the Germans: more time to masturbate!
Everyone complains that the word becomes increasingly less genuine as technology interferes more and more with our human interactions. Does taking naked picture of ourselves and sending them to people we care about really mean we care? What does it say about who we are?
And don’t try and turn this around on me. I won’t entertain any of that quasi-feminism-sexual-empowerment-free-love-bull-s***. This has nothing to do with whether I’m sexually empowered enough to have sex on the Internet. The better question is: am I empowered enough not to?
I’ve found that my Internet boyfriend is exactly what I need right now: someone to laugh with after a very long day of work—someone to listen and someone to miss. Not so long ago, people called this a long distance relationship—a term now so passé it requires virtual consummation. I’ve never been one for labels—or Greek mythology, really.
I prefer my Internet boyfriend.