Digital Love

Sylea Sygall and Aplonis Ember in Second Life

Great Newsweek article A Geek Love Story on how folks are hooking up in virtual worlds:

getting to know someone gradually, with patience and attention, seems a whole lot healthier than a drunken proposition in a bar. There are still plenty of folks who think of the Internet as chilly and perverse, but a competing sense of that universe as warm and humane, an instrument of fulfillment, is finding flower as successive generations grow up wired.

I have a friend who has experienced exactly this kind of romantic connection through Second Life.  So I asked this now real-life couple, to share their stories.  Here’s her partner’s account first:

“We met in the Blue Tattoo club after I’d requested a song so obscure that I’d had to upload it for the DJ to play. Then this sword-dancing girl avatar I’d been noticing told the DJ she like it. So I offered to send her a copy.

On evenings to follow we traded more songs and widened our topics of conversation discovering a 90% affinity for all the same things. Since neither of us were playing roles, but rather just being ourselves we got to know one another well. Our in-world chats ranged every topic including the similar declines of our respective marriages. Shielded by distance and her own continued anonymity we enjoyed such open discussions as neither had known before even during decades-long marriages.

One night in-world she shared her photo. Not long after she called my cell. I in my turn sent a short video to her. Our in-world visits now were nightly because of never tiring to talk to one another. Yet still she still held out the 1% chance of my being an evil seductor or serial killer.

Then came the day when an email entitled “Throwing caution to the winds” informed how she’d sent me the gift of a book marked with her return address (which I would only get it if my own address were real). We were by then skirting around the purely hypothetical notion of meeting for real on neutral ground, possibly in Toronto.

Then, barely three weeks of our first in-world contact she surprised me profoundly. In my email, under the subject, “Throwing more caution to the winds” was her WestJet airlines itinerary for a round trip from her home to Toronto the last week of September. The rest, if it were to happen, would be up to me.

With the noblest intentions I had first thought to book a suite of two rooms. But costs and practicality argued otherwise. So we settled on one-bed suite at the Cosmopolis. If sparks did not fly then I could easily sleep on the couch, just as I had been doing in my marriage. Either that or just turn around and drive home. Worse than this by far would be to go on not knowing what might have been.

I drove to Toronto a day early to be sure of the room. Next day I met her at the airport. I waited while people trickled down the escalator beginning to fear that she might not show. But then I saw her and she waved. We hugged and kissed immediately only a bit uncertain how much enthusiasm to exhibit in this public place.

Our personal tastes in intimate matters were known to each other from having conducted on-line romantic encounters in text. This had been easy to do since we are both rapid touch-typists. So we knew one another’s needs and wants and that they were mutual. Our fully expressed romantic text chats, if accumulated and sequenced with some connective scenes could compete very well, I am confident, with tastefully romantic novels. But the sudden prospect of her impending reality was still a bit intimidating just at that moment. We gathered up her bags and I drove her downtown to our hotel where we deposited them. Then we set out for a walk on the town.

We took seats at a nice wine bar not too far away made a selection of white wine from their list. Since I know nothing of wine, she ordered for us both. We talked at length slowly nurturing a glass a half each of white wine. Then we walked arm-in-arm back to our room. There unfolded the most wonderful night of unhurried passion very like what we had before only described to one another in text. But not such text as you may read here. Know know however that it was just exactly what both of us had wished it might be.

Waking up together was every bit as wonderful. Of late mornings or sometimes early afternoon we would walk out on the town in search of brunch and idle amusements. Most often we’d take our first meal of the day at the Sunrise Grill on Yonge Street a few blocks north of the Cosmopolis. Twice we ended up at the “World’s Largest Bookstore” so that I got to perform the customary boyfriend’s task of carrying home his lady love’s books.

All too soon our five days and four nights were come to an end, at least for the time being. We made plans to meet again the following January at my home in Holland MI. And as I write this, that meeting too has come and gone while we look forward to another next June. Between times well still meet in-world via Second Life, and on Facebook, and by email and phone. In this we make do until come the day when we can arrange it to one day be together always.”

Continued in Digital Love, Real Love

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