The last time I entered a chat room, I was fourteen years old (save for today when I was deciding what to write), in my childhood bedroom, on a telephone I won in an acne product sweepstakes. Back then, chat rooms were “party lines,” and I was a glutton for attention from strangers with deep voices. If I found a seductive voice, I’d have to call out to the moderator asking to connect us to a “private room.” Then we’d exchange real phone numbers and begin to… begin to nothing. Nothing ever came of it.
There was an older man—at least, he sounded older—who lived in Far Rockaway. I’m still not *exactly* sure where that is. We talked dirty to one another on the phone at night. It was the perfect seexual relationship for this fourteen-year-old girl until he mentioned he owned a “special swing chair for me to sit in next time.” Next time? He was saving telling me about this swing seex chair for our next conversation. And, he owned it. I never returned any of his calls after that; the mere mention of the chair was all I needed to be repulsed. Certainly he had a rubber ball and a collar, too. No, merci.
The next week, I was back on the party line. Once he heard my voice, he announced to “the room” I was a prude. I was branded, what, a prudish dirty talker? How oxymoronic. He asked for a private line, and when we spoke, he said he was hurt I was back on the party line. He thought we had something.
There are a lot of disillusioned people out there. I encounter many of them through this blog. They think we share something special because I have a blog, and they have an email account…or two… or three. They think they know me.
I’ve been disillusioned more than a handful of times myself. For starters, a long long time ago, long enough to repeat a word, I made the mistake of chatting over the phone for extended periods of time prior to an actual meeting. The problem here is people gain an unrealistic vision of expectation. They conjure images and begin to swoon and hope over someone they’ve never even met. It’s just unnatural.
There’s more disillusionment where that came from. I met an ex of mine on match.com over a year ago. Once we had “the talk” indicating neither of us wanted to date other people, I checked, you know, just to make sure, to see if his profile was still up. Indeed it was. From there, things got gummy.
The woman is the brakes; the man is the gas. If a man isn’t hitting the gas pedal hard enough, you won’t go anywhere. It’s up to the woman to put on the brakes. The woman, argue if you’d like, sets the pace of any relationship. Too many of us forget that. As women, we let things happen fast because it feels good… but in the end, sometimes, he just ends up bored… and she ends up wondering how she can slow things down. What can she take back? You can’t fix that; you’re basically screwed at that point. It’s the equivalent of pulling down your online profile prematurely… just to reactivate it while you’re still dating. It’s a no-no.
I witness a lot of this. I’ve got friends on facebook, match, nerve, eharmony, and jdate. With the excitement of a budding mini-relationship, they hide profiles, change their status to “looking for friends,” or make the boldest move of all: they give it up, cold turkey. If you do it prematurely, and then put it back up, you’re asking to sever any relationship you have with the other person. Alternatively, if things seem to be good, and you leave your profile up, people get depressed. I’ve done it all. I’ve obsessed, and I’ve not cared enough.
Bottom line: you shouldn’t have to ask. People will always find a way to cheat or get their needs met. There’s nothing you can do to stop it, and any reassurances you might get are just words. There will be other chat rooms, other party lines, other bars, other nights, other promises. You have to learn to let go of control, exhale, and trust. Trust… I’m surprised it’s not a four letter word.