Sometimes, I feel lonely. Loneliness can have the effect of exaggerating my negative qualities, life’s negative qualities. And, as a result, I can end up taking desperate measures to feel better.
To deconstruct what happened, as mortifying and sexually objectifying as it is:
I started chatting with someone online, on Plenty of Fish. I belong to this website primarily for self-esteem and entertainment purposes, although I can’t deny that I’ve always wanted to meet someone from it in real life.
I was on Christmas break, sitting alone in my childhood bedroom at my parent’s house, surrounded by overwhelming mess, clutter, and floral wallpaper and feeling like an outcast. It was New Year’s Eve, which happens to be the night I’ve never had plans with friends — instead I usually spend it sitting at home feeling shitty.
I was pouring over hundreds of messages from Plenty of Fish with the dual goal of boosting my self-esteem as well as distracting myself from thoughts of social inadequacy.
A box popped up with some guy asking me to chat. I usually automatically click ‘No.’ Chatting online has never been my thing, and the conversations are typically pretty painful. But given my sad state of emotional well being, I clicked ‘Yes’ and proceeded to chat with this guy. Shockingly, chatting with him wasn’t stilted or foreign, and his spelling and grammar seemed to be above a grade 3 level.
So we continued chatting, and inevitably, things started getting sexual. I thought back to friends talking about sexting so casually, and how the thought of sending someone a “sext” made me feel embarrassed, even with a few drinks under my belt. I thought about my general social anxiety with messaging people online. Hell, I thought of my general social anxiety point blank. And then I thought, fuck it, now or never, and started clicking send on some nasty-ass one-liners.
Clicking send on these dirty messages made me feel liberated and in control and like a piece of trailer trash pond scum… but I was getting turned on.
Hormones and loneliness were casting their spell, only to be helped along by the adrenaline rush of all this happening in my childhood bedroom amidst the floral wallpaper.
Not sure precisely how or when, but soon, things escalated to Skype. At first we were just chatting, my heart beating loudly in my chest. In my mind, I was daring myself to go on cam. My mom was in the bedroom across the hall playing Bejewelled and my dad was downstairs watching TV — close enough parental proximity to add extra throngs of excitement to the idea, but far enough away to allow me to realistically follow through.
So I did. And I’m not going to lie, it was exciting. It gave me an adrenaline rush. And a rush of endorphins. It made me feel a whole hell of a lot better — like I wasn’t among the biggest losers on the planet, that my presence served some kind of value.
Of course I know rationally that those things are very untrue, but those old feelings of hopelessness and outcasted-ness like to pop up and manifest themselves from time to time.
I went to bed that night immediately after the call, around 10 p.m., feeling generally content. He was a decent dude — decent looking, decent package, decent age, made me laugh, lived near me in the city, whatever.
I also felt dirty and disgusting and embarrassed and ashamed, but I had done worse.
The next morning I had a fear that my parents somehow knew, and struggled to get out of bed. I didn’t want to face the subtle motherly disappointment and disbelief that I fear most.
I did practically nothing that day, which isn’t atypical for me during vacation. But once nighttime rolled around, I found myself wanting to repeat the previous day’s escapades.
So there I was, spread eagle in front of my webcam, getting my fix of excitement in a day that had had none.
He was cute, I decided. He wasn’t trying to manipulate me, so what’s the harm in a couple nights of fun, right? And the prospect of meeting him in real life sounded exciting. Risk taking, that’s what I struggle with — so why not take a (theoretical) consequence-free chance on actually meeting this dude? The thought scared me shitless, made my heart pound, and made me want to do it.
I arrived back in the city with a feeling of optimism coupled with a feeling of anonymity. Four days ’til school started and there was no one in this city that I talked to. Except the one guy who I had come to associate with those two pleasurable nights in my hometown lonesome.
I didn’t specifically seek him out, but I did log on to Skype, testing my psychological barriers. We chatted for 3 hours, and I genuinely found this guy funny. He proposed coming to my place to visit and said he wouldn’t have sex with me. I told him the prospect of a stranger coming to my apartment scared the shit out of me, but on the inside I was thrilled by the danger, excited.
He Skyped me in his car the whole 35-minute drive downtown. I was shitting my pants with fear, adrenaline rushing through my veins. I felt like I was playing with matches. But I told myself everything would be okay — he wasn’t a weirdo. If he was a weirdo, he was impressively good at hiding it. So how bad could things be?
But then he showed up at my door. And I saw his face without the flattering filter of a cam. My mental image of him immediately disintegrated. And I was thoroughly, thoroughly disappointed.
Part of me wanted to just shove him back outside and close the door and forget the whole thing had ever happened. But it all happened so fast, and obviously I let him in, I’m a pushover. Besides, we had such great conversation. He seemed so smart and funny online — I was probably just overwhelmed that he was 20 pounds heavier than I thought, his nose was 30 degrees to the left more than I expected and he wasn’t good-looking, period.
I was practically shaking when I sat down on my couch, trying to avoid looking at him while trying to act like I wasn’t completely disinterested. He made jokes about how awkward it was. I would have loved to blurt out that it was not what I was expecting, but I was kind of overwhelmed, because there was a strange man sitting next to me on my couch.
He was wearing a grey-on-grey sweatsuit — an Under Armour shirt and Roots sweatpants. I saw the Under Armour shirt on cam and unknowingly thought he was fit. He wasn’t fit.
I don’t wanna explain what happened next.
Yeah, making out. Yeah, him making out with my vagina. Multiple times.
There I was, alternating between successfully imagining it was someone better and catching a glimpse from a bad angle and wanting to vomit.
We also got to chat more in person, at which point I realized something — online chatting is a lot like reading a book before it gets made into a movie. You read the words, and its up to you to imagine what the character is like. Then you watch the movie, and your image of the character is shattered and replaced by the Hollywood actor’s portrayal.
Pretty much sums this up. Turns out this Hollywood actor portrays an ugly, overgrown spoiled kid with a Jewish accent and plenty of whiny entitlement. I’m not sure how he has managed to be on this planet 8 years longer than me yet maintains the life perspective of an 18-year-old.
I was quite relieved that good fortune had his dog eat his parents’ housekeeper’s jumbo Toblerone bar. After fussing with the veterinarian over the phone, he decided that he needed to rush home to feed his dog tablespoons of peroxide to induce vomiting. I couldn’t bear to kiss him on the way out, so when I showed him the door and he reached back for a fist bump. Lol.