My Cyber Valentine
It happened on a Valentine’s Day past—a weary, foggy afternoon, just warm enough to begin melting the snow. I was online. The time was 4:34. Actually, it was 4:45, but my Windows clock is slow.
I was beginning another forlorn night in the Significant-Otherless chat room, typing idle conversation with a genderless school teacher from Saskatchewan who used a semicolon after every sixth word.
Then I saw my dream woman. She appeared at the bottom of the page and began to scroll up the text display, like an angel ascending into heaven. Her screen name was PrIty GIrl. I couldn’t stop gazing at her beautiful, big, black I’s. She scrolled off the top of the screen, and I had to find her. I typed, “What’s a PrIty GIrl like you doing in an Otherless place like this?”
I waited and watched the passing lines of chat; her name wasn’t reappearing, and my heart grew melancholy, another romantic dream unrealized. But then I heard the customary ping of the Instant Message box—it was PrIty GIrl.
“Hi,” she typed. “Did you notice on the keyboard that U and I are together?”
I fell in love. “Are you single?”
“I prefer ‘romantically challenged.’ ”
“If you don’t have a date for tonight,” I typed, “would you spend your Valentine’s Day with me?”
“I’d be delighted to.”
I smiled. My eyes began to tear. My heart sang a song I wasn’t familiar with.
“Do you like Chinese food?” I typed.
“I love Chinese.”
“At 6 o’clock, meet me at www.recipesource.com/ethnic/asia/chinese. They have great recipes. We’ll cook, we’ll eat, and then we’ll see a movie.”
We bid a temporary adieu, and I went to www.virtualflowers.com and e-mailed a bouquet to PrIty GIrl—a dozen purple carnations, because e-roses are so ordinary. I logged off the Internet. I had so much to do—shower, shave, dress, update my virus protection.
At 5:59 I sat at the computer and suddenly realized I’d forgotten to put on cologne. I rushed to my bathroom and flung open the medicine-cabinet door. I couldn’t decide which fragrance to wear, so I splashed Axe on one side of my neck, Tag on the other, and for good measure I sprayed Drakkar on my mouse.
At 6 o’clock, PrIty GIrl was on my screen once more. “You’re right on time,” I typed.
“Of course. I synchronize my computer’s clock at www.worldtimeserver.com.”
We chose our recipes and we cooked our food—she made Prawn Kebobs with Peanut Sauce, I made Pad Puk Gai. The food was wonderful—except for the burnt puk—but the chatting was even better. After dinner, we went to www.metv.com and watched a wonderfully romantic film that we’d never heard of.
Then I grew anxious. We hadn’t planned for more than dinner and a movie, but I did not want the evening to end. I had to think fast, before she could type “goodnight”—Damn!, I thought, I hope she doesn’t have broadband. Then the words just fell out of my fingers onto the keyboard: “Would you like to go to www.funkypool.com for a game of 8 Ball?”
“Okay,” she typed, “on one condition: that while we’re there we can also watch the Lakers on www.nba.com.”
“The Lakers are my favorite,” I typed.
And that’s what we did. Our billiards game seemed to last forever—neither of us knew how to play.
From then on the evening was as smooth as the glossy side of a CD-ROM. We went for a walk in Sequoia National Park on www.cyberhikes.com. We surfed over to www.fireworks.com and created our own pyrotechnics show over the Statue of Liberty. We visited www.art.com and viewed paintings of the sunset in Venice, of starlight over the Rhone and of abstract random blue splotches.
The evening hours waned, and I dared to ask the fateful question that could either thrust us into new bandwidths of our relationship, or instantly crash our drives. “Would you like to … perhaps … if it’s all right … spend the rest of the evening alone with me?”
“That sounds wonderful,” she typed. “Your chat room or mine?”
We logged into my place, where we chatted until past midnight. She told me about her college days, earning her webmaster degree online, attending chat parties and regretfully exploring drugs at www.marijuana.com. I told her about my collection of rare MP3s, and about how I was putting my prize Chia Pet out to stud.
Then we embraced, and we began to kiss. We held each other and kissed for what seemed like eternity, for so long that we felt as if we were one. I feared I’d break my X and O keys.
Then I asked to see her breasts. She hesitated. But then she typed: an open-parenthesis, a period, a close-parenthesis—one breast. Then she typed a space, and then the other breast. Most breasts are in Times New Roman, but hers were Arial. They were lovely.
I wanted to caress her, so I put two fingers on the monitor. I felt electricity surge through my body. I rubbed an anti-static cloth on the screen, and tried again.
She felt magnificent. I wanted more, so I made her breasts boldfaced and increased the font size to 36. Then to 136. I was in heaven. Then I dared to try 236, but that broke the text line and her breasts were stacked vertically, which was no fun.
Then she typed, “Let’s slow down. I don’t have cyber sex on the first date.” I could respect that.
I e-mailed her a JPEG of a lit candle, which we both placed on our desktop. We tuned in to www.classicalwebcast.com and slowly danced until dawn.