When I was slowly creeping my way out of the closet in the early '90s, the Internet was still only an embryo of what it is today. I found it fun and interesting, and I knew that someday it was going to be more than a just a hobby to me. I'm sure there were some geeks back then installing winsock and using it for sex, and I'm sure a subset of them were attractive. But for me at that time, all the boys were on AOL and private bulletin board systems.
|What the...? Did I dial the right BBS?|
For anyone who as a kid ever tried publicly buying gay porn in a book store, the promise of being able to download it at home was compelling enough to drop $400 on a 1200 baud modem. Today when it's common to download entire movies on a whim, it's funny to think how it used to take minutes just to download a single photo. I remember seeing that first naked stud slowly depixelating on my Mac LC and coming before I got to his navel.
If there were any gay bars where I lived at the time, I would have been too chicken to venture anyway. So when I was finally ready to actually hook up with a guy, I started with AOL. My first crush was a nice young dentist over a hundred and fifty miles away who was so closeted he made me park down the street. I was shocked when the sex was over and, knowing how far I came to see him, he ushered me to the door. Did I mention his tiny penis?
When I moved to Atlanta in 1993 I found a local gay BBS and the bits started flying.
The pattern that established itself was making contact, exchanging stats (rarely photos), chatting and maybe a phone conversation or two. By the time we made plans to meet I was in love. Or was it just lust? On one of my first rendezvous I came in my pants in the parking lot between my car and restaurant. Try explaining that to the guy waiting at the restaurant bar matching your date's description. Then, when he finally shows up, to your date. Ugh.
I discovered that even though I'd be so into these guys online, when we finally met in person there wasn't chemistry. Shit, Union Carbide couldn't make enough chemicals. Or else they were so uptight about their sexual identity they could only bring themselves to meet guys on a BBS... ouch. A moment of stinging self-realization.
It hit me that my goal wasn't just sex, but to have a real relationship. I wanted a boyfriend. There was a whole gay world out there but, out of fear and shyness, I was limiting my exposure to a tiny, distorted fraction of it. Time to grow a pair, take a risk and start putting myself out there, face to face. On my second trip to a gay bar, I met Joe. (That would be Joe #1.) And the sparks started flying.