modern romance in three acts

[Title] modern romance in three acts
[Byline] by sean robert

It was love at first text-message, or so I thought.

The first act of the play found the two of us meeting as most modern lovers do, on the internet. He, a size-12 Times New Roman, was bold and confident, while I on the other-keyboard was relatively more modest Arial Narrow. Measuring in two-points smaller, I recognized my spacing could be a titch too tight – but knew I had the smooth edges to make up for it.

By the end of our initial instant conversation, against all odds he had managed to pass my final test: a spelling and grammar check. So I awarded him with my phone number, and as the curtain went down, sat eagerly awaiting his call.

Act II found me at home the following Friday night, ecstatic to see a text-message with his name on it. Replying back right away like any desperate gay man would, it was not long before I found myself on my first text-date. New to the technology then, he taught me everything I know. And after easing me into T9, we were well on our way to filling each others inboxes.

Curled up on the couch with a bottle of Cab in one hand, and my cell phone squeezed tight in the other, I was happy to not be alone. That was until another three hazy hours later, when I stumbled across the major problem with our first digital date. After texting goodnight I realized my hand was sore, but for all the wrong reasons.

Curled up on the couch with a bottle of Cab in one hand, and my cell phone squeezed tight in the other, I was happy to not be alone.

Taking an intermission to gather my thoughts, I pondered how the digital revolution has not only changed the way we interact with one another, but also the way we form relationships. I figured that if my text-message lover and I could not carry a conversation over the phone, then there was no chance we could shoot the breeze over Sunday breakfast without killing it first.

When the net began invading peoples’ homes in the mid-90’s, it seemed Sandra Bullock was the only one smart enough to run. Let it be said that I do not deny the benefits many individuals have experienced with the formation of online communities. For many people, small-town queer kids and closeted-folk included, virtual reality can provide the escape that actual reality cannot.

My only problem pops-up, when the lived existence of our everyday lives becomes a bit too artificial. Last year I was reproached by a boy after I chose not to list myself as “in a relationship” on Facebook, when he clearly did. I was surprised to overhear myself tell him in defense that the thought of ‘de-listing’ myself online, seemed more devastating to me, than the idea of us actually breaking up.

Returning to close the third act, the two of us carried on text-dating until it was clear our love affair would never leave the two-inch screen of my cellular phone. The real tragedy however did not come until a month later when I opened up my actual mailbox. It appeared that with no text-plan to speak of at the time, after all that I got stuck with the bill.