Living in a Glass House

I’m usually pretty open about myself. On other online forums, I use my own real name. Now my thought is that eventually I’d like to be considered seriously for my writing, thus the use of my real name. Some people might think that is a pretty foolhardy move. There are some online who are a little off kilter, just plain weird or downright dangerous.

I started using my own real name for a couple of reasons. One, I was naive. I thought everyone did it. Two, I am very bland. You could say really boring and saccharine to the Nth degree. I can’t really think of a cutesy moniker. I even have the same email address for many different service providers, you know, *.msn, *.aol, *.yahoo, *.gmail, *.hotmail, etc. I have certain things go to certain email; for example, I use the MSN address when I buy things online. I shouldn’t say this, but I use the same two or three passwords for all the email. This is because I can’t remember diddley in my old age.

I know of people who don’t do that, for whatever reasons. Mostly, they don’t want to be bothered, and I can appreciate that. Also, if an online persona has young children, I believe that one should be careful about posting their names, ages and photographs. I understand completely that there plenty of whackjobs out there.

On the other hand, I am “out there” as myself. My children are adults (well, one is, and one is almost an adult, in two months and seven days, as she keeps telling me ad nauseaum) and I’m an adult. Last I looked, my husband is an adult. My real name is rather unique. In fact, every person on the planet with my surname has an ancestor that came from the same small village in eastern Europe, so we’re all related by blood or marriage. I figure, might as well be out there and keep my “enemies” where I can see them.

Do I have enemies? Well, I’m not sure, but I’m not naive enough to think that the Internet is one happy bubble of pleasantness and joy. I’m sure there are some who have Googled my name and found a treasure trove of information which could be used to smite me. It happened to my husband. On the other hand, I have had long-lost friends find me online, and that alone has been satisfying to have my information in a public forum where they could contact me.

I’ve been extremely lucky and greatly blessed by the people I’ve met as a result of my online world. I love all of them. As I have told MIB, the Internet is the new neighborhood. This is how we meet people with similar interests and passions. This doesn’t mean that we’re here to hook up or do something weird. This is the Brave New World.

I was just thinking about this because I called an online friend today who is not feeling very well. In our conversation, I asked him if he would be interested in meeting me or the rest of the motley crew that we’ve known in the last year. He said no. I can understand the hesitation.

The other reason I thought of this today is because of my house. My husband, who was feeling a bit randy today, gave me a grope in the kitchen and asked “quickie?” but then remembered he had a guy coming over at 7:30 to give us an estimate on repairing the old rotting wood in our sun room. We don’t have sex in the lower level of our house, because it’s all windows and no window coverings. Talk about a glass house.

That’s why God made offices and office sex.

But I digress… my point is, I’d rather have it all shook out in public online than a quickie in our “glass” house.

My Internet Girlfriends

Yesterday, I wrote a post about my internet boyfriend. I’d been meaning to do that for a long while, because I felt the compelling urge to explain the situation. In other places, I have penned rather poorly written poetry and other such nonsense singing his praises. These lame outpourings did not really address my true feelings adequately.

Today, I will discuss my internet girlfriends. I actually have a lot more of internet girlfriends than I do male internet friends. 

The first group of internet girlfriends I found in an AOL chatroom in 1998. At the time, we were all mothers of young children looking for beanie babies. This was at the height of the beanie baby craze, and at first we exchanged ideas on how to score. We traded, and then I found out smuggling them from Canada was profitable. The group had over 26 members in the beginning, and over the years, we have lost most of them. It’s now down to a more manageable eight members. I’ve met three, with four to go.

Over the last nine years, we’ve shared our concerns with our children. Some are brilliant, and some have had learning problems. Most are college-aged or close to it now. We’ve gone through marriages, divorces, boyfriends, and another marriage. We’ve shared in home remodeling, recipes and yard tips. We’ve lived through the Columbine shooting (one lives in Littleton), and September 11th (one was once a broker working in one of the Towers, and so knew many people who died that day, the other’s neighbor was one of the pilots of the plane downed in Pennsylvania). There have been deaths of parents and family members. Through it all, we’ve been supportive.

At one time, we lobbied Oprah to put us on her show. Oprah has ignored our pleas. I guess it’s not important enough for her.

My more recent internet girlfriends were met through common interests on another site. Through discussions, we’ve found that we shared other passions and pasttimes. I’ve met several of those girls “in the flesh” and all have been sweet, smart and interesting to be with. While our relationships haven’t been very long in duration of time, they’ve been fulfilling in other, deeper ways.

What I find most interesting about meeting my internet girlfriends in the real world is that we bond and react as though we’ve known each other forever. I met a couple of them in Las Vegas once, and we all dragged our kids to the restaurant for our first meeting. My kids thought it was completely strange that we would be laughing and joking as though we were old friends. The little ones took a liking to my son, who was just becoming a teenager. They hugged him around his legs, and looked like little people ornaments attached to his thighs.

I’ve recently met a couple of women in California, and both are thoughtful, intelligent and strong women. Again, the familiarity was comfortable. I could honestly say, “I know you!” Meeting these special people is like looking into a mirror and seeing your true friend.

In some ways, it doesn’t seem strange to befriend people this way. The internet is the new community. It’s the new town and the new world. I’m a half a world away from the physical communities where I grew up, detached by miles of land from my family members. My internet girlfriends give me the gifts of their strength, their humanity and their creativity.

I’ve Followed My Internet Boyfriend Here

I’m deliriously and happily married, and yet, I have an internet boyfriend. How, you might ask? Why? Aren’t you satisfied with the home fires? Are you looking around for something better, something different? Something else?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Like I said, I am very happily married. Witness the fact that my husband and I are having office sex on a very regular basis. And I am  in the throes of menopause, too! Oh, I had about two months of hot flashes and a month of depression, went to the doctor, and she prescribed some mother’s helpers and urged me to start using Estroven. After a couple of weeks, I was back to normal in both body and mind. In fact, I was better than normal. I’m not one who likes to take drugs, but in this case I would highly recommend it.

Back to the internet boyfriend: I happened upon him purely by accident. It was another place (online) and another time (last year). I had read his posts and found that he was weirdly humorous. I say “weirdly” because my sense of humor is definitely left of center. This person touched my funny bone in a way that is indescribable. When I read something he writes, I usually have a resulting laugh that originates deep inside my stomach and bursts out like a volcano.

Meanwhile, my interest in this person was that of “Oh, nice,” and at the time, I wasn’t looking to make new friends. Actually, I’d been out of the friend-making business for some time. The last time I tried to make a male friend online ended disastrously. He, too, was very funny in a biting yet witty way. He was a major talk personality on local radio. The reason it ended disastrously was multi-leveled. For one thing, he was too close in proximity. Yes, I met him. I shouldn’t have, but I was flattered that he wanted to meet me. However, after the second meeting, I sensed what he really wanted and it wasn’t friendship. It was difficult to extricate myself, but I finally did. So, as you see, I was in no hurry to make another male friend again.

Several months later, my internet boyfriend and I were playing a game on this other site. Okay, it wasn’t a real game, but it was one which he devised and I followed along. This was a fun diversion over the course of a weekend.

I can’t remember when, but shortly thereafter, I would leave more intimate comments on his posts. “Hi, I’m stalking you.” turned into “I adore you!” “I love you!” “I worship the ground you walk on!” Now, at the time, I didn’t know this person well enough to make such proclamations, but they seemed in sync with the game we were playing. So, my persona on that site developed that I had a crush on this guy. Other women there had snagged their personal “boyfriends” so I thought I would grab this one before anyone else could claim him.

Back in March, a bunch of us from the other site decided to hunker down (online) and discuss our future with regard to posting and having fun. At this time, we exchanged email addresses, and more personal mail. Only then, did I realize what a really nice fellow this man was. And I am proud to call him my internet boyfriend.

My boyfriend is also happily married and he has children, just like me. We share a wide variety of discussions, most of which I couldn’t have with my husband. (That’s okay, my husband thinks my mind is severely twisted. I think he appreciates the fact that I don’t burden our home conversations with my wackiness.) The best part of the relationship likes in the fact that MIB (my internet boyfriend) or MIL (my internet love) lives in another country. The likelihood of us ever crossing paths on a physical tangent is that of an ice cube lasting more than a moment in Hell.

MIB told me about WordPress. I’d been following him around here for a couple of months, and so voila! Now I’m here, with him and others.