We Met Online

I met my husband on the Internet,

That sentence doesn’t have nearly the impact that it used to have.  Back when we met, it was new.  It was unusual.  In some circles, it was downright scandalous.

Nowadays, everyone is meeting online.

But I’m talking about January 1997.  This was back in the days of AOL chatrooms.  Who remembers that?  Don’t make me feel old, readers!

Yep, AOL chatrooms… “You’ve got mail.”

Usually the conversations in a chatroom would go something like this:

Me: Hello.
Cyber Guy: Hi, how are you?
Me: Good, you?
Cyber Guy: Ok.  A/S/L?

A/S/L was the basic question of identity back then.  It meant what is your age, sex, and location.

Me: 19/F/USA – you?

And that is when the usual cyber guy would suddenly say…

Cyber Guy: Wanna go to a private room?

A private room meant that no one else could see what you were typing.  Basically, it was the AOL version of a blind date.  So because it was the thing to do, I’d always say ok and off we’d go.  And usually those conversations lasted all of thirty seconds.  They went something like this:

Cyber Guy: So, what do you do?
Me: I’m in college.
Cyber Guy: Do you still live at home or in a dorm?
Me: At home.
Cyber Guy: What’s your bra size?

And that is when I left the chat.  It never failed.  Every chat went the same way, yet I kept going back trying to meet someone new and interesting.  And then it happened.

Like I said, January 1997.  It started as the same conversation as always.  And, like always, it ended up in a private chatroom.  Only this time, well, this time the guy never asked about my bra.  Instead, he asked what I was studying, if I also worked, where I grew up, if my parents were cool with me chatting online, if I had siblings, what music I liked, what movies I’d seen, was I glad high school was over, and on and on and on…

In other words, I had finally met someone online capable of an actual conversation that centered around getting to know me as a person.

I always joke that my husband won my heart by not asking about my boobs.  It’s fairly accurate.  The fact that he just wanted to talk was such a turn on to me.  We met online every day for weeks, going into a private chat to just share about life.  We talked about everything under the sun, but it was never at all inappropriate, distasteful, or disrespectful.  And because of that, when he asked for my phone number, I gladly gave it to him.

Our chatting left the world of AOL and became daily phone calls.  Sometimes those calls would last for hours.  The phone bills were astronomical.  Back then, we actually had to pay for long distance calls (my mom just started handing me the bill to pay rather than opening it herself).  For months we talked on the phone.  And we also started sending letters and pictures to each other.  No, not email.  Letters and actual pictures developed in a photo lab from film.  All sent via snail mail, my friends.  Yeah, I guess I’m dating myself with all that info.

We did that for quite a while.  And then we finally met in person in May 1997.  I’ll tell you about that another time.

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