Building a Relationship Online

(Apparently, I’m over my “hide from the world” funk. *grin*)

onlinedating I mentioned that my in-laws came over to visit Sunday.

And while catching up on family news, they mentioned that one of my nephews, M, had just gotten back from visiting his girlfriend …

… his Internet girlfriend …

… in Canada …

… for the first time, even though they had been chatting online via Skype for months.

Does anyone find that strange?

I have to tell you , I don’t.

Well, I was a little surprised that M went all the way to Canada to meet her simply because it’s Canada – hello! That’s a long way away. And M is only what, 19?

But the fact that he met someone special over the ‘net? I’m not all that surprised.

I’m about 90% certain that if I wasn’t married, that if I hadn’t met Kevin when I did and I didn’t have a significant other in my life today, I would most likely be one of those people who wasted boo-coo hours on the ‘net chatting, and flirting, with men. To me, it makes perfect sense.

First of all, it’s convenient. You don’t have to worry about looking your best, or if that huge pimple on the tip of your nose will be a turn off, or in my case, if the three inch scar in the middle of my forehead will cause a man to run screaming from the room (what, you didn’t notice my scar in the video memes? Look closer – see how my left eyebrow is sort of divided in half? Yeah, that would be my scar- long story).

And, you can chat at any time, even at work! (But don’t do that, that will most likely get you into trouble). So that means, you can connect with people outside your time zone, heck even with people from Canada! *grin*

And it’s cheaper than talking on the phone, no long-distance calls.

And another great thing about chatting online? You can edit your thoughts. You have that little window of time that you can go back and rewrite your conversation before you click on that “send” button so that you don’t sound like a total dweeb – like I normally do whenever I talk to people in real life (IRL).

But one of the most attractive aspects of meeting someone online for me? You have an opportunity to get to know the PERSON behind the BODY first. There are really no expectations other than finding some common interests to strike up a conversation – the expectations are still internal at this point, not external.

So many times, whenever you meet a person IRL, the connection, or the decision to pursue the relationship, is based solely on looks. And though that is certainly a large aspect of finding a romantic interest, just think of the wonderful people that are not being given a chance to be your friends simply because of external first impressions.

And hey, I’m totally guilty of that, too. I’ve had my fair share of dates where I knew, the instant I met them, whether they were boyfriend material or not. That’s just a natural chemical process.

But think of the people who get written off, without a decent chance, simply because of the way they look?

That’s why I think online chatting is a good thing, overall. Yes, it has drawbacks, and yes, it can get easy to get carried away with it, but overall, I think it’s a good opportunity to get to know people – assuming, of course, they are being straight to begin with. But that drawback comes with face-to-face interaction as well.

I often wonder if GD has chatted with very many girls online. He’s on there all the time, and he hangs out in one specific gaming chat room all the time. And occasionally, I hear girls talking in the room (because they get on their mics) and I wonder if he’s ever flirted with them. It’s such a strange feeling to think of my son having romantic interests, but come on people, he’s 16 1/2 now – it’s bound to happen sooner rather than later.

I also wonder how I would (will?) feel when he reaches legal age and he tells me he’s flying to Canada to meet a girl he’s been chatting with on Skype.

He already wants to go to Canada and meet a buddy of his that he’s been chatting with for over two years now. And though I’m intrigued by the idea, I’m thinking I may have to buy a ticket to go to Canada with him just so I can keep an eye on him because, well, I’m a control freak like that. (I’m going to have a heart attack when he reaches legal age and I can’t TELL him what to do anymore – *shudder*).

Of course, the same could be said for blind dating. Same risk, really. In fact, in some ways, blind dating is worse than meeting someone you’ve been chatting with online, at least online you’ve had SOME interaction with the person.

AND, chatting online saves so much time. I mean, you strike up a conversation, you find common interests, you chat for a while and then it comes time to exchange pictures. WoW! He/she is hot! Now comes the web cams (because it’s always nice to actually “see” them to make sure they really look the way they claim). There’s no getting dressed up, driving to a public place, waiting on pins and needles to see if he/she will show up – the decision to go out with someone is sort of an after thought because if someone reaches that stage, they pretty much know what to expect by that point.

So yes, I hope GD meets someone online. I think it might be an easier process for him than the traditional route.

Just as long as she lives close, and not in say, Canada, for instance.


Fiction Fix

Fiction: Unpredictable Destiny

whats_your_story_off Paige juggled the baby on her hip while blowing strands of sticky, blond hair out of her eyes. Her flip-flops slapped against the hot pavement as she hobbled across the parking lot while trying to keep the handle of her bag from slipping off her shoulder. She had forgotten to zip up her purse, again and she knew that if it fell off her shoulder and crashed against her leg, all of the contents would spill out onto the burning asphalt.

And that would mean she would be forced to put her daughter down so she would have a hand free to pick up the contents.

Even though it was a warm 80-degree summer day, the thought of having to chase her darling daughter through a busy parking lot brought goose bumps to the surface of her flesh.

“You’ll be a good girl, right?” she asked the chubby, curly headed baby in her arms.

The baby squealed her answer and smacked a clammy hand against her mother’s mouth. Paige could smell apple juice permeating off her daughter’s fat fingers.

“I’m guessing that’s a no?” she asked weakly and concentrated on making it through the grocery store doors and into the relative safety of the building before she lost her grip on the baby, her bag and her sanity.

Her purse slipped a few more inches down her shoulder and she bit her lip as she hurried toward the entrance; she was virtually walking sideways by the time she stepped through the doors. She snatched a nearby cart and carefully placed her daughter into the seat. As her thick, diapered bottom plopped into place, the handle of her bag slid completely off her arm and crashed against the cart. Several diapers, her wallet, a small, stuffed purple dinosaur and two tampons scattered across the floor.

Her daughter clapped her hands and chortled in delight as Paige scooped up the items while simultaneously dodging incoming traffic. Several customers walked past her, but none of them offered to help her pick up her belongings.

Paige swallowed her irritation and stuffed the items back into her bag, save for the dinosaur, which she absently handed over to her daughter. She wasn’t sure what she was more annoyed with – the fact that no one helped her or the fact that she still didn’t have this whole mommy routine down.

She sighed and looked down at the wide-eyed little girl staring back at her. Her face was perfectly still and her moist mouth was slightly open as if she were about to ask a question, only she had forgotten what the question was supposed to be.

“Destiny,” Paige sighed, addressing the baby, now happily swinging her legs at the mention of her name, “it’s a good thing you’re cute or I would be wearing a strait jacket right about now.”

The child offered a wide smile and a large spit bubble in response to her mother’s exasperation.

Paige chuckled and shook her head while carefully maneuvering the cart out of the corral and into the dark recesses of the store. She glanced at her watch – she had exactly 45 minutes to get her shopping done and drive to the elementary school to pick up her nephew. She had agreed to watch him every week day so her sister could work in the afternoons. Tony, her sister’s husband, had been laid off from work two months earlier and they were struggling to make ends meet.

She gently worried her lip. She was glad she was in a position to help her sister out, but she had her own stresses to deal with, too. Her own husband, Lane, and just been deployed to Iraq and she missed him terribly. She also worried about him, and she prayed for his safe return constantly. And she was scared, not just for him, but for herself as well.

Destiny’s quiet babbling brought her back to the present. The baby was content to hold and cuddle the dinosaur for several aisles. Whenever they passed anyone, the child would hold up the animal and proudly show it to the other patrons and babble nonsense, as if she were trying to explain what it was. Most of the customers smiled and responded, one man patted her softly on the head and an older woman gently pinched her cheek.

“She’s adorable,” the woman said with a nod in Paige’s direction, though her eyes remained fixed on Destiny.

“Thank you. She’s a handful, though,” said Paige.

The woman laughed and gave her a knowing nod and a wink before moving past them.

“Okay Destiny,” Paige muttered ten minutes later while she stood in front of the baby food display studiously studying the 101 choices of every pureed flavor under the sun. “Which will it be, prunes or bananas?”

The cart suddenly jerked and Paige turned her head just in time to see a strange woman catch her daughter just before she toppled out of the cart.

Continue reading “Fiction: Unpredictable Destiny”