Authors: Sandra Leiper
Least Expect It
“What’s wrong with Internet dating?”
Amanda and Hilary were out shopping for a computer, under the ruse that her high school age kids needed it for their studies.
“It just seems so, so…seedy! I’d feel as if I were desperate or something. I’m just not ready for dating, Hilary.”
Hilary glared at her older sister. “Well, you need to start getting ready. You’ve been divorced quite a while now, it’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get back into the game!”
Amanda Herrez had seen her share of misfortune. At barely forty, she had already been married twice, and was in the throes of her second divorce. The fact that she had two bad marriages blew her mind. It made her wonder who exactly had been at fault, them…or her. She knew that the fact that she kept choosing the wrong man was her fault and hers alone. Disgusted with the situations she kept finding herself in, she was inches away from throwing in the proverbial towel.
She never felt that she was a bad person. She was cute, although not a movie star by any means. Looking in the mirror, the person that looked back, usually depended on her mood. Sometimes she was adorable, sometimes sexy, and sometimes she wondered what anybody could possibly see in her. She was fun, sweet and caring, and loved to be in love. She was happiest in a relationship, the kind that swept her off her feet. But then when it fell, it dropped her with a hard thud on the sidewalk. This is why now, at forty, she’d finally conceded that she wasn’t any good at it.
She’d sworn off men on more than one occasion, but she never seemed to stick to it. Part of the reason, she guessed, was that she hated being alone. But, in reality, she wasn’t. She had two beautiful children from marriage number one, and this seemed to be enough; she wanted it to be enough. They were her world. She had friends she loved and loved her; she had a job she enjoyed. She felt she could be content with that. Men complicated her life, and even without them, her life was complicated enough.
First off, her most important role was that of mother. Being a single mother had been rather challenging, but what would life be without challenges? Elisa, the oldest, was nineteen and in college. She worked full-time and went to school full-time and had an active social life. She was rarely at home. Amanda was very proud of the fact that Elisa wasn’t afraid of life. She was very independent and eager to try new things. She succeeded at most things, but when she didn’t, she never let that deter her. She was very determined and strong willed and always had something to say.
Alex, seventeen and very much Amanda’s little boy (if only in her own mind) was a senior in high school. He was a happy go lucky kid, but with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He was a lot quieter than Elisa, mostly because he had to fight for every word he could get in. He was easy going, handsome to a fault, and nice to be around. He was the joy in her life. He was still undecided as what he wanted to do with his life, but Amanda wasn’t worried. She knew he’d soon find his way and she’d be very proud of him. She already was.
Amanda had been looking for a hobby. Knitting was definitely out, she’d feel too old. Sports? Well, she
too old. She considered going back to school, but had no idea for what. She needed something to fill up her hours at home.
After getting the selected computer home, Hilary set it up and showed her all the in and outs of it. She introduced her to the World Wide Internet and everything it held in store for her. Especially about chat rooms, personal ads, and all that crazy stuff. Amanda thought that was ridiculous and would never even try such a thing. She was forty years old, and not into blind dating at all, and to even consider setting up a classified was degrading.
“Get off your high horse, Mandy,” said Hilary as she bounced out the door, “There’s a whole world out there waiting for you to enjoy!”
She envied how positive her sister always was. The odds of her getting online for other than reading the news would be pretty slim.
One night, her loneliness got the best of her. She was just sitting around, bored, watching ‘Friends’ for the umpteenth time. Everyone was so busy in their own lives; it was hard to find people at home, even to just talk to on the phone. This just made her feel lonelier. How did she get herself in this situation? Is this what she had to look forward to for the rest of her life? What was wrong with her? Elisa was always saying ‘Mom, there is nothing wrong with being alone. What are you so afraid of?’ What did she know? She was always with friends or on a date. She had no idea. The one thing she did know, being on her own was better than being with the wrong person. At least this way, she could find peace. But she still found the lonely times difficult.
She decided to turn on the computer. Hilary had told her how to get to the ‘forties’ chat rooms so at least she could chat with people her own age. It might be fun. She couldn’t believe how many chat rooms there were. It was another world! She chose 40s4fun and in she went under the name
There were so many people in there. Each room had forty to fifty people, just talking about life in general. Although she did notice that the favorite subject was sex. Flirting was popular too. Imagine flirting with words!
she typed. Everyone greeted her like she was a long lost friend. They wanted to know where she was from. Married or single. They asked her age, sex, and location or in chat room lingo--A/S/L. Everyone was so friendly. She tried to keep up with the different conversations. Hilary had been right. Sex was the most popular subject and she was invited to cyber sex by at least three different men, or at least they claimed to be men! She politely refused. Obviously cyber sex was the international online sport, but she had no interest in trying it out. She chatted, mostly with women, laughed, and logged off finally, feeling that maybe the chat rooms were the answer to her empty nights.
“I can’t believe after all the grief you gave me, you went into a chat room,” laughed Hilary. “So how did you like it? Did you have cyber sex?” Hilary had stopped by on her way home from work, and Amanda was clueing her in on her night online.
Amanda was shocked. “Of course I didn’t, Hilary! I’m not the kind of woman who has cyber sex! EW!
Hilary looked at her smugly and said, “Don’t knock it until you try it, sis.”
Amanda’s eyes opened as wide as saucers. “You have not had cyber sex? Have you? No wait. I don’t want to know.”
Hilary was her baby sister. She was married, but still, fun was her middle name. She was daring and full of life, almost the opposite of Amanda. She was small and adorable; most people would refer to her as bubbly. With big brown eyes, long, flowing brown hair, and a smile that stopped traffic, Hilary was definitely a people person. Ever since their parents had died, they had been the best of friends. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for her sister, and vice versa.
“Have fun, Mandy, but be careful. There are a lot of weirdoes on the net.”
“Oh Hilary, you know I’m always careful!” Then in a more serious tone promised Hilary she would.
Amanda was chatting almost every night. She had met people from all over the country.
were two of her favorites. They were two women who, like her, had been burned and were hesitant to get out there in the dating scene. They loved talking about the men online, their children and jobs. She enjoyed laughing and flirting with the people on the net. She found it filled the lonely times rather well.
One night she was in the room talking to the girls when she noticed a new name on
was the name. He said all his pleasantries, then, didn’t say too much after that, so Amanda forgot about him. Then he popped up on her message box where people could talk privately.
Amanda was surprised but replied
. “Hi. You must be from Maine?”
“What was your first clue?”
How rude, Amanda thought. She ignored him.
I’m sorry. Yes, I’m from Maine. What about you?”
“What are you doing up so late? It must be really late in Maine.”
“I’m lonely and bored,”
he typed, “
and looking for some fun. Are you up for it?”
"Up for what; good conversation?”
She didn’t like where this was going.
laughed, or typed LOL, which stands for “laughing out loud”. “
Not at 3 a.m.”
Uh, oh, thought Amanda, he’s into the international online sport. She blushed in her own living room. She was so embarrassed. Then she thought, why? No one is here. No one will ever know. She certainly wasn’t going to tell anybody. As long as he didn’t get too raunchy, what harm would it do? She decided to live dangerously.
”Ok Maineman, what exactly are you up for? Are there some things I should know? Like age? Better still, what do you look like? Can you tell me that?”
“Lol, Mandy40, let’s just cut to the quick, huh? Let’s see, I think I should ask you first who you most admire…do you like Tom Cruise? Or are you more the Jack Nicholson type?”
“I think I’ll have to say Garth Brooks. Being from Texas, I like the cowboy type. Are you a cowboy?”
Amanda was enjoying this. It was kind of fun. Who knew you could flirt like this just sitting in your oldest pajamas?
Well, yes I am. I’m a cowboy who looks like Garth Brooks. Just for tonight anyway. How about you?
“Hmmm…I am more the Betty Boop type myself.”
She was rolling on the floor. You really could be who ever you want to be on this silly computer. Why did she say Betty Boop?
She didn’t really participate in the whole cybersex thing. She had told him since this was her virgin experience she’d just have to follow his lead. She just read what he wrote. It was kind of sexy really, like a trashy novel. Some parts were even kind of romantic. Amanda allowed herself to get caught up in what
“…kissing you long and hard for hours…”
She realized that she was sweating! She laughed at herself. It had been a long time since she had been with someone. She missed it. Her body reacted to his words. It made her uncomfortable, and made her feel a little vulnerable.
Then she noticed
was asking her something nonsexual. “
Tell me something about you, Mandy40?”
So they let down their guard and opened up a conversation, talking about everything under the sun. What kind of music they liked, their work, where they lived. Silly things like their favorite songs and their top five favorite movies of all time. She was tickled to find out his was
His favorite color was yellow, and hers was pink. It was nice. He was interesting, witty and smart. Amanda found herself strangely attracted to this man, although knew that was ridiculous.
She then asked him, “
Have you ever been married?”
assuming, of course, that he wasn’t. He didn’t answer and changed the subject. This really disturbed her, and although she was hesitant, she tried again. “
Ray, are you married?
They had exchanged first names earlier in the conversation. He simply replied, “
Amanda stayed off the computer. She’d decided not to talk to Ray anymore. This was sad, because she really found him interesting. They’d gone back and forth on whether or not what they did was cheating. He said no, after all, they weren’t touching, just typing. She said yes, because, if it were her husband, she wouldn’t want him to be having cyber sex with strange women on the net, in the middle of the night. Whichever the case, it felt wrong to her and she was not going to be the ‘other woman’.