Friday, October 28, 2011


When I first met Dante, he was just a bunch of words on my computer.  I met him through the Live Journals of some friends that actually knew him.  He lived hundreds of miles away and consisted of some ideas and icons on a screen.  I was at the end of my marriage, which was crumbling beneath my feet, and this stranger provided support as I typed out some of my heartbreak into my own journal.  We continued to interact, moving into emails and into IM chat, which was new to me.  I was in awe of the ability to type with someone in real time, having a conversation back in forth through writing.  We logged in many hours and many more words together, typing late into the evenings and nights, philosophy and creative expression flowing naturally between us almost effortlessly.

We continued and increased our level of conversation over the months.  My marriage ended and he was there to read my writings and comfort me.  Our language started to become very poetic and intense.  We poured emotion onto each other, each one of us longing for the attention the other had to give.  See, Dante didn't realize it, but his marriage was in trouble too, and I think he was desperate for interaction. I felt rather confused that I was developing feelings for a person that I had never met, it was so intangible.  How could I become so infatuated with someone almost solely because of their words?  How does that even happen?

Dante and his wife planned a trip to my city for a long weekend that summer to visit my friends and to meet me.  The weeks and days leading up to the meeting were filled with so much fear, anxiety, and nervousness.  One of the things that plagued me was this idea of being intellectually and sexually attracted to this idea of a person, one I had never met in the flesh. I was concerned that perhaps I might not be sexually attracted to him upon meeting him. I wondered if I didn't find him sexually appealing, would the feelings I had developed over the months getting to know him be cancelled out?  And if they were, would that mean I was shallow?

Upon meeting him, I was immediately attracted to him.  But there was a period of several hours of adjustment that took place, probably for him too.  When you develop this fantasy about a person: how they look, how they speak, how they move... it is a strange and somewhat confusing feeling to see the reality of the person for the first time, and it takes a while for it to settle in.  At least, it did for me.  And I wondered if I would have been attracted to him if I met him for the first time off the street, or if I was attracted to him because I had already fallen for his mind, or if I was just flat out attracted to him upon sight, regardless of the intimate history we had already shared. And how would I ever know? And did it matter? Because damn it, I was really deeply infatuated by that point.

That relationship crashed and burned for a variety of reasons, but I learned a great deal from it.  I am reminded of this early encounter and the confusing and exciting days filled with New Relationship Energy and all of these remembrances about falling for someone primarily because of their mind and then later because of their physical presence.  I am reminded, by the way, because I have been having a similar experience lately with someone new.  It started with liking this gentleman's FetLife profile full of exciting wordy thoughts and later meeting him at a Munch, and then spending more time getting to know him by chat and email.  While I very much liked what I saw when we met in person, I am much more overcome by that familiar feeling of words washing over me, feeling pulled under into a sea of ideas, desire swirling as thoughts are shared through computer screens.  The difference this time is that the waiting has not been so long between the idea infatuation and the physical meeting, so perhaps I have been less inclined to over-think these things, but I am certainly reminded of those early conversations with Dante.

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