Love on the Internet

Love on the Internet

We are so fortunate that distance is slowly being eroded by amazing advances in gadgetry. We can IM a thai fisherman or tweet a president. Online friends and relevant others are a few extra bubbles in the bargain fizz of life.

You know how it goes. You’re on a kooky forum, geared towards your interests (geeky fandom / alternative style / queer sexuality / ritual cannibalism), and getting on great with the residents. One person in particular grabs your attention; they’re eloquent, witty, mysterious. They light up chatty threads with their profound insights, deal with annoying trolls like Bond coolly dispatching an army of devious Russians, and are sensitive and wisely compassionate in the my-life’s-gone-to-sh*t part of the forum.

It starts with cheeky, yet intelligent, responses to their ponderings; declaring that, you too, have a vicar-alternative and backing up their argument on the emergence of a neo-Existentialist movement. Before you know it, one of you takes the plunge and and the wonder of private and instant messaging is discovered. Back and forth go the emoticons, the casual enquiries, the coded longing for companionship. You are amazed by how much you have in common, you thought you were the only person in the world to don a funky boiler-suit and perform shark taxidermy on the weekends! What does it matter that they’re on the other side of the globe? Clearly, this meeting of minds is written in the stars.

Soon, the friendly banter becomes loaded; you race to your inbox every morning in case they’ve sent you a beautifully-written email or relevant poem. You daydream about meeting them IRL, the slow look of joy on their face as they realise the person declaiming edgy verse in their favourite cafe / spearheading a political revolution in the rain / cradling them in their arms after a mild accident (fantasies may vary) is you.

I am doing this as we speak (indulging in online flirtation, that is – not tenderly holdling a concussion victim). I gleefully suck up the high of seeing I have a new message, devouring it with my eyes, reading possible-but-unlikely meaning into banal asides about the weather. PM-ing is an addictive sport for the drama-junkie, and I love hoarding the delicious knowledge that somewhere out there a kindred spirit is tapping out coquettish morse code for me to decipher.

The net is a free-for-all playground of flirtation; enabling contact with anyone, anywhere in the world at a click of the mouse – no wonder that messageboards and blog communities like Tumblr are rife with budding, long-distance romance; not to mention online dating sites, specifically built to connect people who would not otherwise meet.

We are so fortunate that our age of technology has enabled passionate flings that span the globe; that distance is slowly being eroded by our amazing advances in gadgetry. We can speak face-to-face with someone in the opposite hemisphere via Skype, text a friend as our sun is going down and their day is beginning, IM a Thai fisherman, Tweet with a president.

It is not good to forget the material reality outside of our apps and WiFi zones, our everyday mutterings with local humans, but don’t knock the internet friends and the online love affairs; as long as you stay safe, you might find they’re the support you didn’t know you needed, and a few extra bubbles in the bargain champagne of life.