Have any of you been using the chat function on Facebook? I tried it out for the first time last week and, if I can be honest, it’s the first time I’ve “chatted” in a couple years. I know. Let me explain.

To me, online chatting means only one thing: perversion. Let me back up. I’m the sort of person who’s generally level-headed. I appreciate directness, honesty, logic, not wasting time. In fact, I hate Halloween because, as I’ve always said, it’s the one night of the year when people can get crazy, when they can do or act a way that is contrary to his or her very nature. So if it’s the one night when regular ol’ folks get crazy, imagine how much more crazy that regular ol’ crazy people gotta get?

I’m comfortable here in reality. I guess that’s what I’m saying. Yet when that small window comes up, sometimes with the face of my recipient included, sometimes not, I just start thinking coy. I start thinking dirty things.

And it all started because of my first experience chatting online. I don’t know if it was men4sex or … well, I guess that was it, since I can’t remember any others right now. Anyway, as you all know, folks are almost entitled, obligated to be coy in that situation. And I tell ya: I adapted fast.

I’ve always found it entertaining to imagine the frustration of someone who can’t type fast, or type at all when they’re trying to communicate this way. Perhaps that’s why we don’t terribly flinch anymore when we enter into a conversation that flows something like this:

HIM: sup

YOU: Not much.   How ‘bout you?

HIM: same

HIM: I’m horny

YOU: ok

HIM: u top or bottem?

Perhaps Facebook wants to civilize us with that “buy a drink” function so many of us have now. (And isn’t it sad that we’ve reached the day when buying someone a drink online is civilized?)

I’m uncomfortable with chatting anyway, because typing is inevitably slower an exercise than talking or even exchanging a knowing glance when you’re not talking. The faster typist tends to be the most “talkative” online. When I’m not being coy, I feel like I’m in a high school freshman keyboarding class. You remember (or at least I do): the way we all tried to be first finished.

Like I said, my first online chat was pretty much cut and dried. After a few “hi I’m horny” exchanges I was blown away by the conversation I had with a guy who was both a quick typist and seemed relatively intelligent, too. I was out of a job at the time – and isn’t that worst scenario – so it seemed, like clockwork, that I’d get out of bed and, instead of turning on Regis & Kelly, I was online waiting for my new friend to join me. Inevitably he would and we’d spend the next few hours chatting about everything from the effectiveness of Nashville’s gay volunteer community to … well, filth.

I remember thinking, “how is it possible for this guy to think, then type, all this nastiness so fast? At work, even!” We’d take a break for lunch and then resume an hour or so later, if for a shorter session.

This went on for about three weeks and, let me tell you, when you’re doing nothing but that for three weeks, those weeks stretch out to feel like months. I’d learned that he’s in a relationship, a long-term relationship for over ten years – or was it that his partner was ten years older than him, and was running low on “love” (if you know what I’m saying)? I grew resentful and reminded him at every opportunity how uncool I’d find it if my partner was spending so much time online just because I’ve forgotten how to “love.” Of course, I was single at the time. (OF COURSE I was single … have we met?)

Well, then, one day, I’m sure after I’d nagged too much, he called it all off. Oh no, now I remember what happened. I kept pushing about how inconsistent it was for him to be playing like he’s part of some fancy integrated couple with all their straight friends, and how proud they were about their “welcoming” church and that everyone there just loves them, all the while sneaking around online, posting pictures of his “love.”

I don’t even know if the innuendo I’m using is making sense.

So then, one day, he was all “we shouldn’t chat anymore.” I told him, “you’re going to be all good until the urge hits you again and you know what? I’ll be right here.” He cancelled his screen name, and thought that I’d go away. Lo and behold, one week later, guess who shows up online with new pictures of his you-know-what, pretending like he’s new.

You know what? I’ve lapsed into just some straight-up gossip, so maybe I should stop. Long story short: I figured out his name, his address, his employer, his job and I came THIS CLOSE to figuring out his partner’s name. I dreamed up scenarios where I’d reveal it all to everyone. I’d show up at church and make eyes at them both. I’d be in the parking lot when he went to work. Then I realized, “wow these are some crazy thoughts. If I keep this up, it ain’t gonna end well.” I think it was about that time I found a new job, and I lost interest.

So if you bump into me on Facebook and I immediately respond with either of these two responses: “leave me alone, trash!” or “I’m horny” – well, now you know what was the cause of it all.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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