Cyber Connections Cafe\’

Real Stories of People Riding the Internet Wave

Archive for August, 2006

Dark side of community – mob cyberbullying

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

I am learning about the scope of internet sexuality, and understanding the power of the internet to build community, one aspect of the web that took me by surprise is online bullying. Apparently this is a huge problem for kids. While we don’t yet have stories about this form of Cyber Connection, a quick search on Google turns up many sites specializing in this scourge.

For example, a story in tells about an overweight kid who was undressed in the locker room. Another kid took his picture and started flashing it around from cell phone to cell phone. By the time the boy had finished dressing, half the school knew about the picture. It’s a dark twist on community. They hooked up to hurt someone. What enormous power!! The wave can be used for good or bad, and at either extreme it can carry you along in its surge.

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International Play by J.J. Hudson

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

I play the oldest game known to the world. Ancient game boards similar to our backgammon board have been unearthed in the deserts of Iraq, though the variety the people at that time played we in modern times call the Royal Game of Ur. It’s quite a simple game and the finer points of strategy can probably be picked up in a night.

The beauty of the Internet is I now get to play backgammon with people all over the planet. Thanks Bill Gates! Geography is made obsolete with a toss of pixilated dice. I can’t see my international doppelganger, but I have some indication as to his ethnicity. Just today I’ve played the royal game with people who speak Hebrew, Norwegian and Japanese, somebody who speaks Francais, and a really angry Russian. I’m not claiming I’m a skilled player, but I’ve made quite a few self-appointed experts at the game very annoyed. I take pride in how the Russians seem to vanish, coitus interruptus, when they fall behind or even have a single bad roll. Such babies they are.

I feel like I’m learning a lot about the people of the world through my international play. I know the Russians are as temperamental as they are aggressive. The Japanese play very conservatively and take longer turns, which isn’t a bad thing if you need to run back to the refrigerator for another beer. The Norwegians are cold, hard strategists like they are generals looking over a black and white battlefield. As for those who speak Hebrew, they are clearly pragmatists about the game. They seem to understand the value of a loss. A loss is not to be taken too heavily upon the heart, because in the next game you can trick those previously victorious and overconfident into doubling and then doubling again. This is the equivalent of getting the executed to string the noose around their own neck while the hangman sits in the corner sipping an iced tea with lemon.

None of that probably made much sense if you don’t understand the fundamentals of the game.
I have one problem with playing backgammon over the internet. It’s the chat feature in the particular program I use. It only allows us thirty short and succinct messages to transmit to the opposition, inane comments like “Good Job,” “Thank You,” “I’ll be Back in a Minute,” and “Are You Still There?” This is unsatisfactory because I think a lot more could be done to expand the interactive functionality of this program.

How about these additions:

“Are you ducking any rockets?”

“How is the refugee situation in your part of the world?”

“Are you voting in the next election?”

“Do you have an election?”

“What do you think about President Bush?”

“It sucks.”

“He/She sucks.”

“I love him/her.”

“Fuck off.”

One thing I am alarmed about also is that there appear to be no players of an arabic or Persian persuasion. This is so shocking because the game originates from that part of the world. I just don’t believe Fox News regarding all the rich intellectual capital of the Middle East being pent up studying for jihad. We can do much to bring people together and fight this clash of civilizations that people at The New York Times and The New Republic keep fussing about. I would love to play backgammon with someone in Baghdad, Tehran, Karachi or Dubai.

Bill can you stop for just one minute giving away your money and get to work on that?

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From Sexual Reassignment to Finding Acceptance – Jamie’s Story

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

My brother struggled with his sexuality his whole life. When he was a young child in the 60’s he’d dress up like Diana and spend hours in front of a mirror singing “Stop in the Name of Love”.

He became frustrated with the toy trucks and GI Joes my parents gave him and when he found more of the same under the Christmas tree, he stopped believing in Santa Claus.

Fifteen years later he phoned me while I was living in Baltimore. He’d just completed his second six week rehab at Northwestern after being picked up by the Philly cops while driving in the wrong direction on I-95 whacked on meth and whisky. He called to announce that he was gay, and that he was ending years of self abusive behavior, trading it in for an openly gay lifestyle.

Ten years later he showed up at my front door and sat my wife & I down. He slid a book across the table and asked us what we knew about Sexual Reassignment – sex change surgery.

You see, my brother’s lifestyle had changed when he came out, but his struggle hadn’t ended. His low self esteem and self abuse had continued, masked by professional therapy and prescription antidepressants. He had recently been screened by a team at the University of Pennsylvania, he explained, who concluded that my little brother, now in his thirties, was a classic case of a woman born with male genitalia, and he was a slam dunk candidate for sexual reassignment surgery.

But he didn’t have the money to move forward and none of us in the family had the money to loan him.

Nevertheless, he went on from that day living his life as a woman, waiting for the day he could afford the surgery. A few years went by and for the first time in her life, my sister appeared happy.

A handful of years later I approached her with the money for the surgery. Call it a loan, a gift, whatever, I was so happy for her newfound personal peace that I was thrilled to help.

She smiled and shook her head when I slid the envelope across the table. There would be no surgery she explained. You see, she had met a great guy – a regional director for a large chain of convenience stores, and together they’d bought a house in Delaware. Life had never been better for her and the best part was, her partner was happy with her just the way she was.

It turns out that my little brother, now forty years later my little sister, had gotten access to the internet through her home computer and found that people like her were not alone. She discovered other men and women in the same situation – living happy, satisfied lives in a gender middle ground, but no longer in limbo, loved for who they are, the way they are, by good people.

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Redemption Station

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

Somewhere out there in the nether reaches of distant space there is a crew manning the space station, Redemption Station.

The Redemption Station’s mission is to monitor the Gamma Quadrant and answer any and all threats to the United Federation of Planets. Or as the team of players say “Tell a few stories and have a few giggles”

Redemption Station’s eight member crew, from the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Australia, the United States and Canada, have joined together to form a bond known only by those who have served together – who have struggled mightily to achieve what others only read about, see on television and dream of.

And they accomplish all this from the comfort of their easy chairs, in cafés and on breaks at the office. That’s because Redemption Station is a virtual spaceship suspended in a time/space continuum on the internet through servers and routers all over the world. It’s the stories of Redemption Station’s crew that provide the real life pulse, drama and minutia that comes along with the operation of their unique vessel.

The crew of Redemption Station is an international group of online role players whose virtual bond has formed flesh and blood friendships.

Romany ~

I have had the pleasure of working with and having friends in some of the best story tellers I know. Over time we have become a family to each other helping with problems and offering help, a shoulders to cry on and laughing together.

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When Profiles Lie: Wait ’til you meet ’em face to face!

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

I scanned the photos eagerly, excited about trying this online dating which seemed to be pouring fish into my net. Can too many men ever be a bad thing? I found a photo of a fit, tanned guy standing on a mountaintop looking like king of all he surveys, he casts a cheeky grin in my direction and I’m hooked. “Scientist who loves to read and has to have his fill of sports, keen sense of humor”. Perfect. I run 5 miles at least four days a week and read everything from the Science Times, my favorite part of the NY Times, to Dave Barry and Hemmingway. Fit, intelligent, athletic and funny I couldn’t wait to meet him and flashed off an email immediately. He was a relatively long drive away but he looked worth it and we arranged to meet for dinner at a restaurant I know in a town about halfway. I was so psyched and with great deliberations I dressed to kill, I was not going to let this one get away.

I took a table near the window, watching with anticipation as an overweight, sweaty guy parades in followed by a young couple clearly in love, will that be me soon I wondered. I can barely wait to meet Steve in real life and struggle to stop craning my neck to see further down the street. “Carrie?” A deep sexy voice whispers near my ear catching me off guard, how did I not see him enter? I turn around coolly trying for a sultry smile, desperate to keep my excitement under control, and there he is, that sexy grin which is mirrored time and again in his rolls of double chins. How old could that photo have been? I try to keep the smile pasted in position. Sweaty Steve. “Steve?” I squeaked weakly and had to cough to clear my throat. I stand up and tower above him in my summer sandals. 5 foot 8 inches? Was that standing on top of the mountain? I am tall so I find it easier if guys are at least the same height as me. Are there more surprises to come?
“Wow, you’re just like your photo,” he murmurs huskily, as though this is a huge surprise.
I stifled an embarrassed laugh, at the thought of returning the compliment, and invited him to sit down because I couldn’t think of anything else to say and I couldn’t immediately think of an excuse to get up and run away.
I stared at the menu, it was the first time I have ever based my food preference on what would be the fastest thing to order and eat. I order salad, no cooking involved, and a glass of Evian. He orders buffalo wings and an entire pig of spare ribs to be washed down with a pint of Bud, “might as well bring the whole keg, ha ha.” Well, I guess he isn’t planning on looking like his photo anytime soon.
“Okay,” he starts awkwardly, “I guess I don’t look exactly like my photo anymore, that was me back in college, a few years ago, I’ve got a few crowsfeet since then,” and he shows me some tiny wrinkles besides his eyes. I laughed enthusiastically, at least he had a sense of humor. I looked back up from my salad still giggling to see him staring confusedly at me. Did he really think that was the only change in the photo? I stare back at him equally confused.
He grins his cheeky grin, “Okay, so I’ve lost most of my hair since then, it’s a genetic thing, my mother’s family all bald as vultures by the time they’re 25.” I smile more gently this time, at least we’re getting closer to honesty.
“Sports?” I asked curiously. “You said you couldn’t live without your sports?”
“Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, don’t know where I’d be without ‘em.”
That explained the bellies and chins, my fault I guess, I presumed too much.
“Scientist?” my voice is weakening again.
“Yeh, work in a research plant.”
“Oh, really, that’s interesting, what do you do research on?”
“I don’t, I look after the lab mice, cute little critters really, it’s important they have a good life while they can!”
“Ahh. And what do you like to read?”
“You know.”
“Mags ’n’ stuff.”
“Ahhhh.” I didn’t pry any further there.
“But, you know you have to put that kind of stuff on your profile so women know you have a brain!”
I wondered if my outfit was good enough to kill him at a glance.

“Oh, by the way,” he said as we left the restaurant, “What was with that really odd smile you gave me when I said hello? Just a tip but it made you look really weird and you’re really not so bad!”

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Is the Proof in the Profile?

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

It always starts with a profile. You browse, you read, and if you like it, you connect. But how much does a profile really tell you about a person? Well, some profiles are more complete than others, but I don’t think any really get to the heart of things. A case in point:

I read Stefan’s profile, and it looked promising. Well-educated, a world traveler, a chef – a lot of great qualities. The phone call went well, so we met. Chemistry right away – he was cute and funny and a great conversationalist. Our first kiss was natural, none of that awkward feeling. Several dates later, things were buzzing along great!

And then we were talking on the phone one day. I don’t remember what it was about. But all of a sudden, Stefan’s ranting – Jews, gays, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims… His hatred was non-discriminatory, I’ll give him that! Anyone that wasn’t like him – off with their heads!

Well, I was stunned. I would have never guessed from his profile or our other dates that this homophobic racist existed. Since I have no room in my life for that sort of prejudice, I told him where to go, and that was that!

So how helpful is a profile? How much can you trust it? Do people lie on purpose, or are they lying to themselves when they fill them out? And do we date the actual profile, or the fantasy we impose upon the profile?

How about you out there? Ever have a date that looked good on paper, but went up in flames in person? Funny, sad, scary – let’s hear it!

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Widower finds love: Strange Forces at Work (Andrea’s Soulmate)

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

Alan was a 30 year old widower. I was an overworked nurse, whose options for meeting men were running out. I worked in a hospital with mostly women. I ran a support group for battered women. I belonged to a gym that was for women. It wasn’t looking too good for me in the dating department. I had had multiple bad relationships — many of which noncompatibility was the issue.

But online dating seemed scary to me. It took me awhile to consider it. My own mother had stated to me don’t meet anyone in a bar or online. You hear those horrible stories on the television and in the newspapers. My parents and my brother and his wife had such happy relationships and both couples met early on in college. That isn’t the norm anymore. Marriage seems to be happening later in life. We can actually take the time now to try and figure out who we are and want we want first. I just had felt strange because the marriage deal didn’t happen for me early as it had for others in my family.

So I finally took the plunge in September of 2003, and I was on 3 online dating services at one time. I emailed back and forth to different people and had dated one man from the internet before Alan came into my life, in December 2003. His conversation didn’t revolve around sex and actually had intellectual content to it. Someone I could communicate with and actually understood me. Alan had some experiences with online dating and had dated some women prior to meeting me. His wife Laura had passed away from a rare form of cancer and he was trying to move on with his life, as hard as that was for him. Her dying wish was for him to find someone else and be happy. That’s how wonderful and selfless she was.

Alan and I hit it off from the start. He was very intelligent and interesting to be with. He helped me to forget some of what I was dealing with working at the hospital and I was helping him to try to live life again. We both knew that life was short. Not too many people our age would put focus on that, but through our experiences we did. We had a lot in common. We both graduated from the same high school. He was in my brother’s class and I was in his brother’s. None of us knew each other, but we had similar friends. So did our parents.

Things got stranger. His wife had ended up in hospice – the same hospice I later worked for! It had been a dream of mine to be a hospice nurse even before I met Alan. He was very supportive in that endeavor. I came to know and work with people that knew and knew of Laura and Alan. I found out that Laura was admitted to hospice on my birthday and died on my Grandpa’s birthday. These things are very special to me and make me feel that there exist other forces that we can’t explain. Alan is my soulmate. He is the male counterpart to me. I am very lucky and would definitely suggest online dating to people. It worked for Alan and I.

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Dating Dilemas

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

I was widowed suddenly, at the age of forty, with four children between the ages of 9 and 17. After a couple of years I decided to make a clean break and move south to be closer to the family and to try and start afresh in a new place.
I joined a hiking club and did evening classes but it was hard meeting enough new people. I tried the local widows and widowers groups but found them to be full of predominantly older women who were not the most warm and receptive people, particularly when I was the youngest in the group by twenty years and attracted the attention of the few men that were there.
I tried but I didn’t want to post a photo for fear of meeting people in the grocery store that I had met online, it would be too embarrassing. But, without a photo, it seemed the contacts were limited. Finally, I settled on trying The joining process was extensive, with seemingly endless questionnaires, but soon I was emailing with a variety of possible guys. I liked that the contacts were private, I could email through eharmony until I felt I was ready to give out my email address or cell phone number and I didn’t have to exchange photos until I wanted to; eharmony also posts a page of safety concerns.

First date: Terry
Terry and I had long email chats and a couple of phone conversations, he had posted a photo, and he looked great, very athletic like the runner he claimed to be. I sent him my photo and we agreed to meet.
I was so nervous at the first date that I arrived too early and was then awkward about taking a table in case he didn’t show. I was so embarrassed about the whole idea and I felt sure the waitress must know I was meeting an online date that by the time Terry showed up, bang on time, I was completely flustered. However, he turned out to be charming and social and we had a pleasant evening eating dinner at a small restaurant conversing over commonalities and, naturally, about how eharmony was working for us. Terry mentioned some of the women he had dated and I, not wanting to admit this was my first date, talked about some of the interesting men I was talking to online. But, I found myself analyzing his words. Did all these women he mentioned mean he was just intent on dating numbers, a commitment phobic? What was he really looking for in a woman? Was he boasting or just filling in the conversation? I tried to relax and focus on the actual conversation and soon realized the evening had flown by. Terry was good looking and charming however he had one flaw I struggled to get over- he reminded me of my Dad! Which was just too weird. Not much either of us could do about that but apart form that he was great.
As we parted ways at the end of the evening there was a difficult pause, should I shake his hand and say ‘nice to meet you’, give him a quick hug goodbye or perhaps a peck on the cheek? Fortunately he closed the gap with a quick, warm, hug and the comment that “it certainly looks like you have them all lined up!” I walked away baffled. Had I really made it seem that way? I had only been trying to keep up with the conversation. I waited for sometime for a follow up email, we had had quite lengthy chats before the date but nothing came. Absolute silence. Finally, the reason for closure: ‘Other’! What does that mean? ‘Other’ can make you paranoid. There are a whole list of reasons from ‘Too far away’ to ‘Too busy’ but ‘Other’ doesn’t tell you anything and I certainly wasn’t going to ask!
I chalked the date up to experience and was kind of glad he looked like Dad anyway because I don’t think I could really go for someone who reminded me of my father.

Second date: Jim
Jim posted no photo, I wondered why but as I hadn’t posted one I couldn’t complain! We began to email and he seemed a pleasant guy, his emails where short and to the point, no slick comments like Terry here, but soon we swapped photos and decided to meet.
Despite his brevity on the emails Jim turned out to be a really great guy, he was divorced with one child, whom he adored, and he spoke respectfully about his ex wife which I liked, he seemed genuine and honest. He had said in emails which company he worked for but he explained at dinner that he hadn’t posted a photo because he was the CEO of the company and he was embarrassed about anyone from his company seeing his photo online. That made sense to me and we had a great evening, he seemed like a really decent man. But, between these two dates and the slow progress of the whole process I had met a guy at work who I was now seeing on a regular basis. I had turned up at this date not expecting too much and now I was stuck, did I see Jim again and in effect cheat on them both. I just couldn’t do it. It’s not me and Jim was just way too nice to be messed around. I ended up sending him an ‘Other’ closure message. How ironic is that!

Third date: Tony
By now I felt like a pro at this. The guy at work was turning into an ‘on again, off again’ thing so I couldn’t resist another try. I scrutinized Tony’s photo looking for clues to him, his mode of dress, the dog in the photo, the outdoor look, the tan, everything seemed to be giving away little clues to his life. I read each email over and over again looking for the meaning between the lines and I analyzed his voice on the phone.
We met at an Indian restaurant and I was a little surprised when he turned up in a cowboy hat and boots, somehow it didn’t quite jibe with my idea of a N.J born, Italian American lawyer, unless perhaps he was trying to curry favor with the Bush family somehow.
However, he was smart, witty and well mannered and the evening flew by. We hit it off so well that we were the last ones in the restaurant and then he insisted on lingering over dessert. When we finally left the car park was deserted with a dull street lamp outside and my car parked in the far corner. Tony insisted on walking me to my car, despite my protestations, and kept up a steady chatter. I opened the car door, hinting that I was leaving, but he noticed a scientific magazine on the front seat and leant in to get it commenting on interesting it was. By this time I was feeling uncomfortable and keen to get going, I gave him a quick hug goodbye and I tried to slide past him but it was difficult with where he was standing. He then noticed my dress and began to comment on it, while I tried to smile and look confident, I was feeling more and more uneasy and was wondering whether there was more to this than just polite chatter.

Was he hoping for more, was he waiting for me to suggest something else or was he just having such a great time he didn’t want to leave? Finally, half an hour later, I managed to maneuver myself into the front seat and shut the door quickly and waved goodbye cheerily but I was so spooked at his behavior that I drove home via a circuitous route checking for a following car as I went. That will be the last time I leave a place that late at night.

The follow up: Nothing, I never heard a peep from him again! What does this mean?

I have talked to a few others online, one was really interesting and said he was a pediatrician but when I mentioned I had four kids I never heard a thing from him again!
Another guy sounded great and we communicated at length for sometime but after we swapped photos I never heard anything from him again. I’m in great shape and have been told I’m very attractive so that was truly crushing!

This stuff can get to you. For now I’m taking a break!

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Too Good to Be True

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

I met a guy online who lived in California. (I live in Ohio) His profile sounded nice and his pics were great and when we started talking he said the sweetest things to me and got me all excited – the way I wish my husband would. Eventually he gave me his number and I bought a prepay cell phone so I could call him without my husband seeing a phone bill. So we spent a month talking. We even started going further than that, but over the phone if you know what I mean. It was exciting. He described his house and how big it was and how I could move out there and not have to cook or clean for anyone. And he would make me feel like a queen.

So I started saving every dollar I got my hands on – even moved some money out of our joint checking account without my husband noticing. I planned on leaving him and moving to California. We have two kids. I love them but they’re so much work. I could stay here and get lost in motherhood, or I could go out there and be spoiled by someone else for the first time in my life. I must have been crazy or having a midlife crisis or something because I actually did it! One day I bought a plane ticket and I did it. I moved to California.

He met me at the airport, but when we got to his house, it was a nasty little trailer! And he took all the money I brought with me and he made me do all the cooking and cleaning. I felt so stupid. I had to scrape up money again to find my way back home. It took a long time because he wouldn’t let me control a penny. After a year, I made my way home again but my husband filed for divorce. Now I live alone and my kids hate me. I only have to clean up after myself. I’m still online (obviously) but I don’t meet men this way.

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Young Widow Finds Love

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

My internet experiences began shortly after my first husband Walter or better known as Jeff died very unexpectedly and young (he was 49 …I was 39) in June 1994. Needless to say I went into a deep depression and cut myself off from family and friends. It was just me and the dog (Ivan) eating popcorn and beer for dinner against the cruel world. It was then that one of Jeff’s good friends decided maybe if I had a computer I could stay in touch with the world that way so he hooked me up.

I found a chat room for widows and widowers and thus started my life on AOL. The group ended up being a lifesaver for me and we started a Jersey group who often met for dinner and other social events. In fact my 3 bridesmaids were all from the group. I met many good friends who were all going through or had gone through the same emotions and feelings. A few of them I still keep in touch with and several have met new partners and are moving on with their lives.
I am attaching the file from David’s and my first chat that we put on a disc as our wedding favor. Just as little prelude…..

The story of the chance meeting….. or was it really destiny??? Many
of you have probably heard the story of how we met and know why there
was a computer on the top of our wedding cake, but for those of you who
have not heard the whole story or read the exact words of that chance
encounter November of 1996, we thought you might enjoy this little
story. It is truly a tale made for TV….. hey, maybe we should write a screenplay!!!!

It was a typical autumn day last November 11th….. the leaves were
falling, the wind was blowing, and two people in different states, miles apart, were both sitting at their computers “surfing” through the chat rooms on America Online (AOL). It was a weekday and normally both of them would have been at work, but it was a holiday for one and the other was on vacation.
Catherine was speaking to some of her widowed friends in the Widow and Widowers Room, and David was checking out the screen names of the people in the numerous Big Beautiful Women (BBW) Rooms.

For some reason (destiny perhaps??) Catherine decided to venture into a
BBW room to check out what was happening. There were a few interesting
people but the one that caught her attention the most was a man by the
screen name of Decay (maybe he was a dentist!!!) or better known
as David in the real world. He was a little down as he had just
returned home early from a weekend trip to Massachusetts, where the woman he met there ended the weekend early. Catherine, who despite her own reasons for being down, always liked to help cheer others up and starting to converse in the room with David. Ahhhhh alas … she had a little bit of competition, as some other female was also flirting with Decay. Once again for some unknown reason, Catherine who usually backed off from in room battles over men, decided not to let this one go so easily. She put on her best “flirting” hat and went to work.

She asked David why he didn’t stop on his way through New Jersey from
Massachusetts. He said that he didn’t see any sign indicating that he
should stop. While David joked with all the women that their signs were not out for him to see them Catherine worked on developing hers. She told David that of course hers was out… it said an Exit off the NJ Turnpike. The “other” female who was from Maryland, was trying to convince David that she was closer to him. But Catherine didn’t give up and was able to convince David that her sign was bigger and was up first!!!
Soon Catherine’s flirting abilities paid off and David agreed to meet her for some private conversation. And so now… here for the first time for the public to view is the actual words of their private
conversation that night when two lives were changed. Now, please don’t think that we are about to share everything that was said between Catherine and David, but we did think you might enjoy getting a flavor for the conversation……

Begin IM – 11/10/96 11:32 PM
Decay: How about dinner, maybe some dancing? Or romancing??
Coco: All of the above is great with me…
Decay: No preferred order?
Coco: Dinner….dancing …with romancing fit in along the way!!!
Decay: OK, I don’t know what restaurant, type of food, dance
club, what do you want in a date?
Coco: I don’t have any high expectations…quiet romantic
dinner….maybe near a fireplace…and I like old rock music….fast and slow…
Decay: Oooo, finally, a classic rock fan……..what CD’s
should I bring?
Coco: what do you have???
Decay: From Allman Brothers to Yes (no ZZ Top yet….:o(
Coco: I am not fussy…whatever you like…
Decay: Any good restaurants with fireplaces there, that let you
play your own CD’s?
Decay: That would be too much……
Coco: LOLOL the CDs is what is tough
Coco: funny though….I just bought a new CD boom box
Coco: and have a fireplace……but no restaurant here!!!!
Decay: Well, if you cook dinner we’re all set…..
Coco: nah… isn’t my idea of a date!!! LOL
Decay: You’re right, I’ll have to find a nice place……eat
first, music and firelight later……
Coco: LOL
Decay: I have been on the sidelines for years…..
Coco: why on the sidelines???
Decay: Had a broken heart at age 13, and a couple of strange
girls along the way threw me off the dating bus…..
Decay: But I’m breaking down the walls to get into the game
Coco: How old are you???
Decay: going on 41, next December 8…..
Coco: oh okay…
Coco: but I do not understand how you could not date in 20
Decay: There’s just me, wanting to meet a nice person and maybe
turn my life around….
Coco: what do you do for a living???
Decay: I work for a land surveying company in Clinton,
MD…..last 19 years or so….
Coco: any brothers or sisters???
Decay: Born in Texas, left in ’56…….lived in Minot, ND,
England, mostly DC area…..yes, 2 of each….
Decay: Mom and Dad live nearby, most of my relatives too….
Decay: I’m 5’9, 228, brown hair (still have a lot, unlike my
dad), hazel eyes (nearsighted)
Decay: slightly diabetic, not dependent on insulin, just
Decay: Live in a 1-bedroom apartment in Waldorf, since
Decay: No lady friends, not too many prospects yet, but I’m
working on them…..
Coco: well quite a biography!!!
Decay: Just didn’t want to be hurt like I was when I was real
young……I was in puppy love with a girl in
England…..when we came home I had to say goodbye, broke my heart to
do it…
Coco: You were really scarred not to date for 20 years…
Decay: Scarred or scared?
Coco: both!!
Decay: You might say that, although I don’t feel
scarred…….just frightened of being hurt again…..
Coco: yeah but for 20 years??? that is a long time to be scared…
Decay: Well, I dated a little, never clicked with anyone, so I
just ignored that part of my life…..till this year..
Coco: oh okay..what made you decide to move forward???
Decay: The best man thing, last November…my friend asked me
to participate, and I didn’t want to decline…..
Decay: so I had to do the whole best man duty list…
Decay: toast the happy couple, I’m not much on public
Decay: dancing with all the ladies, all the silly dances
Decay: and I had such a great time, I realized what I had been
missing for so long……..
Coco: oh…
Decay: So, I’m out looking, am willing to travel to do it,
Coco: what are you looking for??
Decay: Not the perfect mate, just someone to share time
with…..watching TV curled up on the sofa, travel when I can
take time off……shopping for things I can’t afford and gifts for the
lady, of course…just sitting and talking, or out on the town…
Coco: not interested in marriage???
Decay: yes, with the right person, if she is willing…..
Decay: Whatever the lady wants is OK by me…..
Coco: you are a very interesting and accommodating person…..why
did your date chicken out this weekend??
Decay: I wish I knew….we had talked for a week by phone
beforehand, she sounded so sincere….we told each other our life stories…
Coco: and what happened….you met, right??
Decay: so nothing was a surprise…..Yes, we met in the lobby
of my hotel, I gave her a dozen long-stemmed roses, maybe that scared
Decay: I wanted to make an impression, she could have
interpreted it as a serious overture to a relationship……
Coco: hmmmm should have sent the roses here….
Coco: LOLOL I wouldn’t have thought any thing by them…other than
a really sweet gesture…
Decay: Do you like long-stemmed red roses boxed ? What a dumb
Coco: actually…like pink roses better…but willing to take
Decay: She liked lavender roses, sterling she called
them…..but I couldn’t get them in time……..
Coco: hmmm yes they are pretty!!!
Decay: I’m a traditionalist at heart, and a perfectionist at
Coco: you sound like a very nice guy….did you find out what
Decay: I tried to find out if I had done something to upset her
plans, and it all came out….
Decay: the age difference, the long distance between us, our
differing ‘agendas’
Coco: how old was she???
Decay: She thought it best that we cut the weekend short, and I
was in no mood to deny her that right….she is 29, I’ll be 41 next
Decay: I didn’t consider it important, perhaps I should have,
in retrospect…..
Coco: what, the age???
Decay: Yes, and no one I spoke with seemed to think that an
11-year difference was too much of a gap to bridge…….
Coco: no I wouldn’t either…
Decay: Well, she apparently did…..and I wasn’t looking to
sweep her off her feet and carry her off to Valhalla, just wanted to get through the weekend without putting my foot in my mouth….
Decay: After all, I’d never been to Boston…….
Decay: had never been north of PA turnpike before……..
Decay: I just wanted to meet a new person, was willing to take
my vacation in her backyard and be shown the sights….
Coco: oh well…maybe she just got nervous…
Decay: But she canceled all her plans… candlelight
dinner, no jacuzzi, no Cape Cod…she had brunch
reservations at a swanky restaurant in downtown Boston, then canceled
them, too….
Decay: She’s willing to be a good friend only, and that’s fine
Decay: I need more friends……
Coco: well maybe she had such a nice time….that she could feel
herself falling….and got scared…
Decay: Well, I still would have liked to have finished the
weekend….1000 miles was a long trip to be so short a time together….
Coco: hmmm well ..I am sorry…did she pay you any compliments you were cute…or sweet…???
Decay: Yes, she said I had lots to offer, she loves my smile,
thinks I am genuinely sincere and sweet…….just not right for her…
Coco: hmmmm well I don’t know….it’s got me stumped too……don’t
know why??
Decay: No, she could still be scared of men, she said she had a
bad experience
Coco: well maybe…maybe she wasn’t ready..
Decay: Well, I wish she had confided a little more before I
went all the way up there, but I had a good time and I’m glad I went……
Coco: You wouldn’t have known unless you went…
Decay: That’s true, that’s why I’m glad I went and found out
the way she felt….
Decay: But I’ll keep the travel a little closer to home next
Coco: so am I closer to home???
Decay: Oh, much closer…..Exit 9 is a hop, skip and a jump
Coco: LOL
Coco: I have a great sense of humor….think that is important…
Decay: Mine is dry wit, quick and sometimes funny…….
Coco: well okay….
Decay: You’ll have to judge for yourself…..
Coco: yes I will…
Decay: Well, strike while the iron is hot, I went to meet this
lady only a week after first speaking to her………maybe that was too
soon for her, but I’ve waited long enough……
Coco: no…it wasn’t too soon….
Coco: you need to find out…
Coco: so time to move on to a new one…
Decay: Resetting sights on Central New Jersey……targeting
scanners locking on…….
Decay: scan incomplete………target location
Decay: More input required…….
Coco: you mean directions???
Decay: Directions, instructions, suggestions……what have you
Decay: need directions to point nose of the Pontiac…………
Coco: LOLOL also need to know more about me…
Coco: you may not even like me!!!
Decay: Now the cat is out of the bag…….
Decay: well, we should talk more…..and discover….otherwise
we’ll never know…..
Coco: LOL what cat???? my cat is on my lap!!!
Decay: You have a cat? I like cats, much more than dogs…..
Coco: sorry I have one of each…
Coco: But Ivan (the dog) is a sweetheart…you can’t help but like
Decay: Do they fight or were they brought up together?
Coco: neither…
Decay: They tolerate each others presence……OK
Coco: yep…
Decay: Well, the ball has been backhanded to your
court……don’t reveal anything you’re unsure about, I don’t want to pry or make
anyone uncomfortable… can call me, if you want………
Coco: well whatever you want…
Coco: want me to just start rambling…or do you want to talk??
Decay: what have you not told me…..age? stats (not if its too
personal)….hair, eyes?
Decay: likes in food, music, ………thoughts on world events?
Decay: hobbies?

Coco: well I am 41 yrs old….born and raised and have lived within
a 40 mile radius of NJ….only child…parents
Decay: a homebody, eh….no desire to visit new parts of NJ?
Decay: I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters myself……parents are
well, live nearby…….
Coco: I was married for 16 years….husband died in June 1994 very
suddenly…had a few tough years at the beginning ..but we finally had
our act together and were having a good marriage
Coco: has been a difficult transition but trying to get my life on
Decay: Sorry to hear that……..keep it up………
Coco: it has been difficult…hate the single scene…he was very
much in love with me…and I miss sharing my life with someone
Coco: I am a romantic, sensitive, generous (sometimes too) , good
sense of humor, have 2 masters degrees, have a state job and teach part
time a Grad School
Decay: Two masters? Impressive, I’m studying to take the State
surveying exam, but doesn’t require a degree, but it helps though…..
Coco: I do drink …but reasonably….don’t smoke…used to
occasionally when out drinking…
Decay: Well, I’m not judgmental in those matters, haven’t ever
cared enough about someone to try and get them to change their
ways……except relatives, of course…
Coco: have you ever drank???
Decay: Not since Grandma gave me whiskey at age 2 or so, can’t
stand the taste or the odor myself……
Coco: that also is very unusual…
Decay: No smoking, no drug use, no running with loose women, no
life, basically…….LOL
Decay: No enhancements required……..
Coco: were you a priest by any chance???
Decay: LOL! No, not involved in the church, although we were
brought up as Baptists………
Coco: do you have a picture online???
Decay: Yes, mine from last November’s wedding, I was the best
Decay: but she married the other guy anyway……..
Decay: Had never worn a tux, I thought it was the best I had
looked in a longtime……..
Coco: LOLOL will you send it??? ….. any way I enjoy…watching
football, boating, reading. quiet times in front of the fireplace,
candlelight dinners, walking with the dog, movies…..
Decay: Not done much boating, I like all the others (Redskin
Decay: Do you have a boat of your own?
Coco: Miami fan…we did 21 footer…gave it to a friend….when
Jeff died…
Coco: so have rights for boat rides…LOL
Decay: That’s good, you still get to ride……do you water ski
or just cruise?
Coco: cruise….also like to swim..have inground pool in backyard
Decay: Parents have a pool too, that’s where I go, Dad had a
bass boat for years but sold it some time ago, he’s a landlubber
now…….like me….
Coco: I also bowl on a league once a week….enjoy dancing….and
listening to music…
Decay: I missed my league tonight…..because I was
traveling…….I have about a 162 average….
Coco: I have a 134…bowled a 169 last Wednesday..
Decay: Good for you!…..bowl on Sundays too?
Coco: who???
Decay: You, do you bowl on Sundays like me? I like lots of
music types, mostly stick to the classic rock
variety…….light classical………..
Decay: My dancing is rusty………..
Coco: No, I just bowl late Wednesday nite…
Coco: sounds like our taste in music is close…
Coco: dancing is like the bike…you never forget..
Decay: I have a friend who does the same, he doesn’t get home
till 1 am or so…….
Coco: yes ..same for me!!!
Decay: I like Allmans, Beatles, Clapton, Dire Straits,
Eagles…the whole alphabet…
Decay: Also Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss waltzes, Rossini
Decay: not much on operas, country is OK, but not my first
choice when searching the dial…….
Coco: not too much on classical
Coco: I do like the others
Decay: Well, we have a lot in common, but a face-face meeting
has to be a joint agreement………
Coco: I am open to it…. as long as there are no expectations…
Decay: Well, you have my phone number……..and no
pre-conceived notions expecting to be fulfilled, dinner and conversation is
Decay: Trust comes with familiarity and takes time to
Coco: yes how true…..would you like my #
Decay: OK, are you still awake to call or shall we wait till
the sun comes up?
Coco: LOLOL whatever …I am a bit sleepy….but could talk for a
Coco: my name is Catherine…
Decay: Lovely name, very dignified sounding……shall we talk
awhile offline?
Coco: if you like….
Decay: OK, allow me to call you, saves your phone bill…….
Coco: that would be fine…and very nice..
Decay: OK, have to get offline, I only have the one line
here……..I won’t keep you from sleep too long…….
Coco: okay….talk to you soon…
Decay: OK, bye for now…….
END IM – 11/11/96 02:52 AM

Well, whatever it was, (it was hard to tell after 3 hours and twenty
minutes) maybe the tone of David’s IM’s (instant messages) or the way
Catherine LOLed (laughed out loud, the two of them were attracted to
each other. That night they talked until the sun rose and they agreed to talk, both online and on the phone again…… and again …..and
again, and as their phone bills showed…. again!!!!! Finally David took the bold step and decided to ask Catherine if he could meet her …. in person. He wanted to come to Jersey that next weekend, but Catherine had plans for part of the weekend. David insisted and they decided to meet Friday night. Well, we won’t bore you with the details…. but arrangements were made and Catherine set up a marathon day of bowling, dinner, dancing, and drinking (some of her favorite past times). She even invited a girlfriend to meet them to go listen to a band she knew just as a precaution. After all who knew what kind of guy anyone who calls themselves “decay” could be!!!

Well, the evening went well with lots of laughs and good conversation
and to Catherine’s surprise a dozen Maryland roses!!! It was early
morning when they parted company (with a goodnight kiss that Catherine had to initiate because David was too shy). The two agreed to meet for
breakfast before Catherine left for her other weekend activity with the
widows and widowers. They met early in the morning for a dip in the hotel pool and breakfast, and before 11am Catherine was on her way to Long Island while David was on his way home to Waldorf. Catherine thought about David as she drove the 3 hours and knew right away that he was a romantic, sincere, nice guy. David had 5 hours to think about Catherine as he drove home and although the weekend had been hectic, he knew that she was a sweetheart!!!!!

Despite the nice encounter, Catherine and David continued to talk to
other people and even date a few. But…. there were also numerous phone calls, and e-mails, and nights of talking online into the wee hours, and the more there were, the greater the attraction. For David it was his birthday (Dec. 8) weekend that he knew (or thought he knew) that Catherine was the one, however no one told Catherine!!!! Catherine on the other hand was playing hard to get and resisted the thoughts that maybe she had met someone serious.

There was a quiet New Years Eve celebration and a romantic trip to
Cozumel, Mexico to celebrate Catherine’s birthday in February and weekend trips back and forth to Maryland and Jersey, and more phone calls and e-mails. It soon dawned on them that they didn’t want to spend any more time apart. And so some discussions were held and some decisions were made and by June of 1997 David had left his family , friends, and job in Maryland and relocated to New Jersey. Those close to him questioned whether any woman could be worth all that and Catherine’s supporters said that she was. And in the midst of moving and job hunting David found time to pick out a beautiful ring and plan a romantic proposal scenerio.

Catherine accepted and the rest is history…… David found a great
job that he really enjoys, they were able to plan the wedding they
wished for in 3 months and they are building a new home together. And
building a new life …. together…. forever.

An update: Catherine and David have been very happily married for 8 years now, grateful that the internet allowed them to meet because without that they would still be searching.

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