In three months of dating online, Maria has been asked by a stranger if she likes spankings and watched a man whip out his johnson, unsolicited, in the midst of a conversation on Skype.
The kicker was a guy Maria started crushing on after they’d emailed a few nights in a row. During an innocent chat about favorite films and restaurants, the guy suddenly wrote, “I want to lick you from head to toe.”
Maria recoiled and started typing out a livid response. Then she got another message, saying “I am into kink, rope and bondage. I’m learning and enjoying putting women into rope, playing with bondage and learning many newer things BDSM related.” In a snit, Maria instructed the guy never to contact her again.
“Pity,” he typed. “You’d look delicious in a rope dress.”
I know Maria. I see how men react to her. They talk about how cute and shy she is, how sweet and dare I say, wholesome. There’s nothing about her demeanor or even her flirting techniques that say, “Tie me up, big boy.” I’d call her personality more “prom gown” than “rope dress.”
Maria and I pored over her online content and pics to make sure there was no veiled raunchiness she’d inadvertently included in her profile. But after talking to other friends who date online, we came to an important realization. It’s not us, it’s them.
“Them” being the weirdoes, pervs and fetishists who dwell online. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being weird and pervy, though I’m lukewarm on the fetish thing. But judging from my friends’ experiences, the chances of coming across a deviant quadruples when you meet him or her on the Internet. Seems the freaks come out online.
Like the girl who sent a nude picture of herself to my friend Corey after their first coffee date. Or the guy whose initial email greeting to my colleague Rose was “so, you’re from the Caribbean. Does that mean you know how to back that thing up?”
Then there was my friend Carla, a black woman who started communicating with an older white gentleman on a dating site. Sensing a possible connection, Carla agreed to meet said gentleman for a drink. When she arrived, the guy told her he’d brought her a gift. Nervously, the guy reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, dark, strangely shaped chestnut.
“What’s this?” Carla asked.
“A chestnut,” the man answered. “It reminds me of your black booty.”
Carla, needless to say, was speechless.
Arguably, the upside to these premature announcements is the certainty their dates can have about intentions. If all you want is someone to chain you to the bed, why not put that out there tout de suite?
It’s also kind of interesting to see what manifests in yourself and others when hidden behind the anonymity of online communication. If you’re commenting on someone’s blog, you can call her every name in the book without having to look her in the eye or let her identify you to retaliate. If you want to relieve yourself of your erotic fantasies by spewing them at strangers, it’s much easier if you’ve got an outdated photo and sign off under the name “KeepItFunky69.” Be offensive, be disgusting, hell, create an entirely new identity. Online, there are no repercussions.
People ask why I’d never date online. I say I’m too much of a romantic so don’t like the coldness. Besides, I can’t even stay on top of my email inbox, let alone manage winks and pokes and whatever else online daters do. But now I think the best reason not to date online is to avoid having freakazoids ask whether I’m naughty.
At least until the first date.