Our Internet flirtation starts when my crush sends me a link to a song he wrote. I listen to it and, of course, it is awesome. I mean, really awesome. Not just “I think you are cute so I like everything you do and send to me” awesome, but genuinely good music. I write back a long, thoughtful message about everything I like in the song. I talk about the length, the lyrics, the singing. I’ve always thought that insightful commentary is sexy. So I try to explain why I like what I like in a meaningful way. I reread the message and feel slightly foolish about how long it is, but eventually, he responds. We start chatting every day. Between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, you can find us sharing stories, trading music and watching videos in Facebook chat. After weeks of the back-and-forth, he asks me what my plans are and invites me over to his house to hang out.
I change my clothes after work. I put on mascara. This is the real deal.
I show up to find that he has invited 10 or 15 of his other friends over. I am a little disappointed but not too worried – honestly, I’m great at parties. I walk over and talk to him. He obliges momentarily and moves on. I make nice with one of his friend’s girlfriends, but soon enough realize I have been there for two hours and barely talked to the guy I spent seven hours chatting with online that day…
I am 14 years old again sitting in my dad’s study. It is 10:30 pm and I am watching The Real World: Las Vegas. The background of my computer is a still of Heath Ledger from 10 Things I hate About You, an image of him sitting on stone steps singing to Julia Stiles from a microphone. I am bundled up in my favorite GAP sweatshirt and flares. I am sitting in our oversized desk chair when I hear “buh-duh-loo.” It startles me and I look over at my computer screen.
I have an away message up.
“sleep with all the lights on/ ur not so happy/ ur not secure. bbs”
HockeyGuy1987: U there? I know u r.
Oh, HockeyGuy1987, my first Internet crush. We went to school together. In one yearbook, we exchanged AIM SNs. Sometime over the summer he had started IMing me and we soon learned that we had everything in common.
HockeyGuy1987: Come on. I rly want 2 talk 2 u.
So123Pink: im here. what up?
(Yes, that was my first AIM screenname.)
You see, HockeyGuy1987 used to make me LOL all the time. I’d be ROFL-ing all over my parent’s study at our late night convos. Sometimes we would stay up until 2:30 in the morning talking about our siblings and our biggest fears. Sometimes he would send me song lyrics without any explanation, and they were always romantic enough for me to interpret them as his true feelings for me, hidden under 14-year-old boy angst. School had started a few weeks before and I just knew that we were going to have so much fun that year.
However, much to my surprise and hurt, when I would see him at school, he would barely acknowledge me. I’m not talking about completely ignoring me. A small “hi” or “hello,” always, but then he would quickly retreat to his friends and make his best attempts to not look at me or anyone who knew me. It hurt my feelings. I was 14 and didn’t understand boys (because now I’m 24 and totally understand them! 100% get them! Everything they do and say makes sense to me!).
One time he told me to have lunch with him. I was beyond excited. The next day, I showed up at his usual table and there was a seat open for me. However, he was at the other end of the table. I was forced to talk to his friends about class and other, normal 14 year old things. He said “hey” and he cleared his tray and walked to his next class. I decided to stop talking to him, because if he wouldn’t talk to me at school he didn’t deserve to keep me up late talking every night.
It had been three days.
HockeyGuy1987: where u been?
So123Pink: busy n stuff
HockeyGuy1987: me too
HockeyGuy1987: I jus kinda liked talking to u a lot. So…
So123Pink: Yeah… me 2
And with that, I was done for. We talked until 3:00 a.m. He even called me on my home phone, something we had to plan precisely so my parents wouldn’t hear it ring. Once we hung up, I sat in bed unable to sleep for another hour. I was miserable in the morning, but ecstatic. We continued this dance for most of our freshman year.
Have things not changed at all? I thought I had moved on from the boys of my past sometime between my college boyfriend and my first adult relationship.
I may have been wrong. I am 10 years older, but the man I have a crush on is still chatting me online. Granted, the medium has changed slightly. Facebook chat is the new AIM, my away messages of song lyrics have been replaced by Spotify tweets and my “Top Friends” from MySpace and I now just group text. I now cringe at the use of LOL or replacing real words from the dictionary with letters and numbers (although, I’ve been known to still bust out an occasional LYLAS).
The technical aspects of my life have changed drastically since my 14th birthday, but encounter after encounter, I am slowly realizing that many of the plot lines have stayed the same: Boy meets Girl. Girl talks too much and makes too many jokes because she is smart, witty and probably a little self-conscious. Boy may think it’s adorable, or may just be bored, and talks to Girl all the time. Girl swoons and creates unrealistic expectations that Boy can never meet, even when they finally do take it offline and try to date.
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