07-18-2009, 10:07 AM
Part 1

I�ve never had it easy with women. It�s tough to connect with the species when you are an Indian guy, about 5�9 in height, thin, lanky, have a nose which would put Pinocchio to shame, and wear glasses to boot. When it comes to physical appearances, I would be the guy that women would click �Pass� on your Facebook dating application.

So while others in school were getting blown or laid, Guys like me were squeezing the last out of the batteries to make our walkmans belt out old �Guns n Roses� numbers. While they were bunking school to buy condoms, we were bunking to buy old Alistair Mclean�s.

One looked forward to seeing the end of school life, for we believed in the urban legend that College chicks are more open-minded. What are puny little brains didn�t figure out was that the same chicks from school would end up being with us in college. Well, the same kind anyways.
So we took refuge in alcohol. Male-bonding became the order of the day, especially since �Dil Chahta Hai� released around the same time. Of course the lack of an open-top Mercedes sports car was felt every once in a while, but we made do with our scooters and bikes.

The advent of the internet changed all that. Suddenly sex was accessible. The closest comparison would Christopher Columbus discovering America or Archimedes�s �Eureka� moment. Hours were spent in the cyber-caf� @ the rate of Rs 40 an hour going over all sorts of porn sites, corrupting the registry of the machines, clicking every pop-up featuring a buxom woman in an inviting stance. Rs. Forty which were well spent. No roses, no coffee, no movies. A few clicks here and there and you were transported into the world of wildgirls.com or nymphsindelhi.com.

As internet speeds increased and camera phones evolved, one saw a new kind of material making its way. The voyeuristic nature of man is such that something real however less graphic in nature is forever more appealing than a professional strutting her stuff. But the real revolution came with the discovery of webcams. Those little camera devices would transport you straight into the bedroom of a real person, a women who, like you, was out for the hunt. Who like you, wanted to bask in her anonymity yet get a release from geo-sexual play.

And it is then I realized that all those novels we had lapped up, those sappy stories for lack of better one was just fate preparing us for the inevitable. Maybe we were never meant to be warriors of the night-club scene. The Social Serengeti. Maybe our hunting grounds were always meant to be defined by ISDN lines and broadband speed. Maybe our romance was meant to be marked not by mush, but by emoticons and internet lingo. And maybe our physical touch wasn�t meant to be physical, our release not one of emotion but a release nonetheless.

Darwin would have been proud. I evolved from a social outcast into the hottest property on yahoo. From being a sales executive with a firm printing Encyclopedia Britannica�s during the day, changing into my identity of �TylersEverPresentGuilt�.

The nickname is more important than you think. It�s your visiting card. When you IM (instant message for those who came in late) someone for the first time, your first impression is your name. I had a set criteria for choosing my partner for the night. One, it had to be a she, not some pervert trying to get his kicks from pretending to be a she. Two, she had to have a webcam icon, for that�s what it was all about. And Three, and most important, she had to have an interesting nickname. No �DelhiGal011� or �Hot_Chick_CallMe� for me. The name had to get me interested.
One would never ever insist on a video chat the first time. That was a rule which couldn�t be violated. It wasn�t about coming on too hard, no, in fact quite the opposite. It was about staying in the game. About odds. She saw me now, she may want to move on to someone more �physically acceptable� but if we connect first on an intellectual level, if I could make her �lol� and �lmao�, the game would be in motion.

It�s not as easy as it sounds. When a woman enters a chatroom, the pack of wolves unleash themselves. Within seconds her screen is flooded with IM windows, everything from sexual innuendos to corny one liners, from �asl� to �let�s get naked baby�. You are either the first to get through to her, or you wait patiently. Let her talk to whoever got through first. If you get your timing right, the way I did, you will message her around the time where she�s realized that the guy on the other side is already sitting in his underpants and wants her to do the same. As she�s about to tell him to shove off, you message her with a simple �how you doin?� and you�re in.

And if she responds, you behave in a diametrically opposite manner than her last �suitor�. You keep your humor intact, making compliments at the right time, drop in a naughty, not dirty, innuendo every once in a while. Talk about her. No names, no locations, nothing personal. Just what she likes, what she reads, what movies she watches. And as things seem to be getting interesting, you bail. You ask her to meet you tomorrow if she�s free and add her to your list. If you�ve played your moves right, she�ll be there waiting for you.

And you do the same dance the next day and the next. Drawing her in closer to you every day.
She laughs at your jokes, and goes �awwww� when you tell her the heart wrenching story of how your girlfriend became an �ex�. And that is where guys like me, who never had stories about our libido driven exploits in school, score. You could be whatever you want on the internet. Just keep it real. No one would believe you if you went �oh I�m a model for Maxim� or my ex girlfriend is that �x� actress. Keep it real and keep track of what lie to which girl. I maintained logs. Going over old chat transcripts to remember what I had faffed about last time and figuring how my fictional life would have progressed in the meantime.

Each night, you make one calculated move. Reaching closer to the goal of a visual intercourse. An electronic orgasm.

I went through this entire routine with �WhiteSkin_BlackHeart� too. It was a Thursday I remember. Scanning through the user list to see all active female profiles, I saw that WhiteSkin had been idle for a while. Maybe she too was surveying the digital landscape for her prey. I waited another 10 minutes before I sent her an IM. There was no response.

I continued with my scanning when another 5 minutes later an IM window popped up.
�So is life really ending one minute at a time?� referencing my nickname from the movie �Fight Club�

And so the exchange of messages started. I wouldn�t like to boast, but I felt at the time that I was a pro at this. But she was better. Every witty reply to her would return with a wittier retort. In all my experience as an online predator- this woman was my Everest.

But she was drawn in towards me. That kind of vibe you just can�t fake. Over the next two days we met every night at 11 and would talk into the wee hours of the morning. We didn�t know each other�s names or what we looked like, but I would venture a guess that based on the questionable honesty of the internet, I probably knew her better now than her closest friends (IcyBitch and DragQueen)

As our talks ventured into forbidden territories, the desire of the sight of flesh was as raw in me as it was in her. Beating all limitations posed by geography and disease, we clicked the little webcam icon under each other�s profile picture. Those 10 seconds as the connection was made was what it was all about. Not just the sex or lack of it, but the pinnacle of intellectual masturbation. Two minds connecting, even though they may be based on a fabric of half-truths. Overcoming the boundaries posed by physical appearance. The excitement, not just in the body but also in the circuits of the mind.

And then she appeared. Movement jarring in slow frame rate of the webcam. Her eyes meet mine as she looks in her camera right above the monitor and I in mine. The connect is now complete.

Webcam sex is not like real sex. You talk on the mic with a delay of a few seconds, interrupted by spurts of static. The frame-rate of the cam brings the delay which just heightens the excitement. A support-driven shag. I ask you what to do with yourself and you do the same to me. Dirty talk driven actions, while you remain more conscious about how you and your body appear on camera. Does the camera really add ten pounds? What would that look like on your naked self?

But none of that mattered with her. She drew me into her sexually with the same ease with which she did so intellectually. Real sex couldn�t have been better. And sharing the post-coitus cigarette, talking about vibrators and lotions, topics I wouldn�t dear discuss with women in real life, made me realize the advantages of an online �relationship�.

It was so good, that we made rules. A mutual agreement not to fall in love. To avoid addiction of the skin and mind. So we would meet once a week, talk for hours, engage each other physically for more, and despite the accepted anonymity, we got to know each other more and more.

It�s strange to know what color a person likes or what brand of lingerie she prefers but not know her name. You�d know her favorite sexual position but not know whether she was married or not. But in that lack of information lay the foundations of an online relationship.

And then one Friday, the designated day for WhiteChick, I eagerly logged in into my yahoo account. To my surprise she wasn�t online already. Sent her a few offline messages, writing sweet nothings with the idea of flooding her with my �affection� as she came on. The windows clock in the corner of my desktop ticked away as hours passed and there were no signs of her. And at 3am, just as I was about to log off she appeared. An invite to view her webcam, a first because we always chatted first. Realizing how much of time had been wasted, I clicked yes thinking that meaningless sex is not unheard of in a real relationship, so why should this be any different.

There was no real �conversation� that day. Not just because she didn�t want to use the mic but because I could sense that something was wrong. It was too mechanical, not that I didn�t enjoy it, but there was something missing. As we reached the climax of the evening, with our bodies convulsing in excitement, there was an odd movement on her cam. Her eyes closed, her naked body shining with a gleam of sweat in the light thrown by the monitor and behind her a shadowy figure moving closer to her. The blood rushed to my veins as my body responded to the excitement being generated by the sexual tension in the room while the mind was operating on double speed trying to make sense of what I was seeing. Not once thinking of asking her, wondering If it would violate our rules. Maybe she got her kicks by having her husband or whoever watching her get off with a stranger halfway across the world. Maybe this was the first time I got a glimpse of that person.

The stranger came closer, she lay there, shaking with the delight of her own physicality. And then there was that movement. A string. Maybe a shoelace. He throws it around her neck, her naked body is rudely jostled out of the sweet sense of sexual involvement, realizing, taking stock of the situation. As she struggled, I sat frozen, naked on my computer chair, with the lights dimmed. I could see her screaming, but couldn�t hear it, my speakers only belting out numbers from �Erotica Vol � Music for a night of passionate lovemaking�.

I could see her life escaping her body and I couldn�t scream for help. I couldn�t type �What the hell are you doing?� for that made no sense. And I could see her look straight at the webcam. Our eyes meeting for one last time. Maybe she wanted to leave looking at the only thing which has semblance of a relationship. Maybe she wanted to look at my helplessness.

And then she was gone. I was shivering, not because of excitement anymore, but fear. And as the shadowy figure pulled WhiteChick�s limp body off her chair, he looked into the webcam. Those eyes making contact with mine, burning a scar deep inside my naked body and soul. His hands reaching out to the keyboard and the status bar on the IM window saying �WhiteChick_Black Heart is typing a message�.

BRB :)

And I exit my messenger.

I deleted my yahoo account and never went online to chat again. My dual identity was retired. I scoured Wikipedia to read about how IP addresses can be tracked, and how yahoo id�s can be identified, down to the address of the id holder. I have been ridden with paranoia, sitting up in the night wondering when the shadowy figure would fulfill his promise of finding me.

Part 2

Why WhiteSkin_BlackHeart you ask?

That�s what Javier (my ex) screamed when I broke-up with him. I found the reference to my skin color a little ironic, since this Hispanic clich� I had been dating for over 6 months had begged me to go out with him. In his twisted little mind, banging my white ass was a conquest. I chose to ignore that because in all fairness, the man wasn�t really a slacker in bed. But after a point, his wannabe gangster trash talk, calling me �puta� in front of his �homies� just tipped the scale in the favor of letting him go. Especially since he would do all this wearing an apron full of smiley badges, plastered with little signs of �may I help you�, and the large embroidered golden arches at the back.

I slept like a baby that night. And not just because his Big Mac and fries smelling ass wasn�t anywhere around, but more because of the sweet temptation of hope. The chance to be free, to meet a better man. But that wasn�t to be. You see, I�ve never been a night person. And that can be quite a deterrent when it comes to having an active social life.

As I felt cobwebs grow between my legs, I decided to do something about it. And going back on the promise I had made to myself, I logged on to the internet in the search for love. Or was it gratification? Either way, as I traversed the electronic alleys of the internet, registering, filling out forms- What turns me on?What�s my idea of a perfect first date?If I was alone on a desert island, what 2 objects would I like to carry?Copy-Pasting answers from one corridor to the other, uploading pictures. Sexy but stern. Naughty but Serious. The NymphAm I sounding witty enough�Should I use emoticons�Do I need to fill out the �What Friends character are you� quiz? Taste in men, perfume, lingerie, movies, food, music, books. Eeeks�am I dangerously close to sounding prudish? What�s playing on my iPod right now? BEEEEP, you�re outta here. Rihanna is so yesterday.

You start out with a certain degree of honesty, and the more questions they throw at you, the more you want to sound right. You want that image to be projected however tattered your inner soul may be. Just that hope of finding that right man, glance at your profile, read that one sentence and fall in love. But who am I kidding. They�re probably married, seeing someone already, pervs, fat, thin, premature ejaculators. They�re here to get laid. They come to get their release� Who the fuck am I to judge...so do I.

With all the forms filled out, one starts the search, going over the same questions you just filled out in the profiles of others. More often than not, you�re thinking�damn that�s a better answer than mine. But once you�ve gone through a few profiles the realization dawns upon you that these answers are as calculated as yours. Thinking two moves ahead, inching closer to the elusive checkmate. And you decide that you really can�t possibly take any of this seriously.

Hmmm, so craigslist is ruled out. As are friendfinder.com, adultfriendfinder.com, datinglife.com, singles.com and blinddate.com. Just as I was about to give up on this failed online attempt, one day I walked in to my super-dandy flat mate Jerry perform a steaming striptease in his empty room. Highly embarrassed he rushed to his computer, typed out a few words and shut down the system. However hard he tried to change the subject, I kept teasing him till he opened the doors to the Yahoo phenomenon.

That was my rebirth. Reborn into the most active social platform in the world. Born again as WhiteChick_BlackHeart.

It was disconcerting at first. The minute you log on and your female icon wrapped in a virtual webcam appears in the right-hand column, you get flooded with introductory instant messages. Ranging from the classic �hi� or �hey� to the more direct �what�s you cup size baby� or �are you naked?�.

It was a cultural shock to say the least, but one learns to get over it real quick. 9 out of every ten names on the contact list are the real twisted perverts. I say �real twisted� because I guess I count myself as part of the other side. A pervert, just not a real warped one.

Once you�ve identified the right person to hook up with, it�s pretty easy. It�s funny but you can almost see the careful calculation with which the text flows from the other side. Not wanting to come across as an online predator, the slight hints at dirty talk, the sexual emoticons. As time passes, the so-called trust grows and that�s when you get some action.

Not that I�m averse to the idea of �doin it� the first time we chat, but for a generation grown up on reading Hustler and Penthouse letters, you wanna make sure that the being on the other side has some imagination and can hold his own when it comes to the English language.

But when one did find the right partner for this virtual dance, it gave a release like none other. From hiding my face, but showing my body, I grew the confidence to be more open. To build a foundation of honesty in this otherwise lie-riddled electronic organism. And the day I was able to muster up the confidence to show my face to the single serving prince charming of the day, the orgasm went beyond my fingers working the magic. It went beyond the ergonomic contours of the latest Loveboy 2009 Black vibrator. It was a taste of freedom, the shedding of fear and of embarrassment. Suddenly it did not matter whether I�d be recognized as the slut who struts her stuff on the internet. This is who I was, and you would be lying if you didn�t want to be a part of the action.

The more my �friend� list grew, the more this life felt right. And though every once in a while there was a craving for that fading emotion called love, one just weighed the baggage that came along with it and the realization made you rush back to the IM window, pink, hearts falling, my temporary lover buzzing (Ctrl+G) like a primitive mating call, his manhood craving, over the jungles of wires and cables.

It became an addiction.

My pleasure dome was my room.
My tools were my fingers.
And my lovers had the strangest names!

For some strange reason, every time I would talk to a man over a extended period, he would broach the topic of a relationship. I didn�t quite understand the desperate need of man to own, the need to mark his territory. Jerry couldn't help either, in making me understand this inherent need of man, despite the hours we spent dissecting every inch of my virtual relationship(s), pouring over the chat transcripts trying to figure out if I ever did come across as someone looking out for a relationship. Reliving the chat, as he scanned the recordings I kept of my long list of lovers. (Maybe he was doing just to get his hard-on, but not once was his analysis wrong) However, I was grateful for those late night conversations, Jerry kept me grounded and in touch with the only real thing in my otherwise make-believe world.

And I really wasn�t stupid enough to think that �RockHardDingDong� would suddenly turn into husband material now that we had seen each other naked and I had e-licked his pecker. So there was no choice but to move on.

It was like letting a good friend go, but it had to be done. However much my body ached, Jerry�s single point note defined which one of my �friends� would be removed from the list every week. An mere formality which became an elaborate exercise. A twisted thing to do but a sacred ritual nonetheless.

Around that time I met two very interesting men. �Roll_It_Like_Its_Legal� and �TylersEverPresentGuilt�. Both were complete opposites of each other. Not just geographically but also in technique. �Roll� was from New York too, not that he mentioned it directly, but the little hints gave it away. And he was rough. He made me do things I would have never thought were possible, the extremes that a body could go through. One dirty chat session with him, and my heart would ache with desire to have his hands breach the virtual borders we had created and engulf ourselves in the foggy interiors of lust.

�Tyler� was the other end of the spectrum. A lanky speco from India. The exact image which bursts in my mind everytime I get a call from Bang-a-ho for a delayed payment on my credit card. The stealin-american-jobs-curry-eating-flying-carpet-cow-loving-geek Indian. But his choice of a nickname intrigued me. And the more I chatted with him, the more I was drawn into his poetic take on good-ol doggy style.

The Neanderthal(ic) nature of �Roll� reminded me of the grittiness of real sex. And the more I was with him, the more I wanted to break free from my self-set rules and meet him. Make him translate all those words into physical action. �Tyler� provided a quaint romanticized version, a Merchant-Ivory black and white version of internet sex.

�Tyler� drew me in intellectually, and under his garb of control, he loved talking. I�m guessing his cultural restriction never gave him a vent to talk about sex-toys and masturbation. I gave him that vent.

I was already on the edge with �Roll� willing to give up my control with him/ for him, despite the flashes of warnings by Jerry. And getting drawn in by those puss-in-boots eyes of �Tyler� at this point would have been a disaster. I liked him, neither love nor attraction figured in the equation, though I wasn�t too sure about his feelings.

So we set a few rules. Meeting each other only on Fridays, engaging in the most elegiac sex possible in the circumstances. And every other day was for �Roll�.

When God made the earth, he worked hard for six days and took rest on the Sabbath. �Tyler� was my Sunday.

So when I decided to throw off the chains, and meet �Roll� in the real world, there was a strange sense of guilt. I wasn�t really cheating on �Tyler�, yet it felt that way. Maybe because it was Friday. Jerry was very unhappy about my decision and he made me promise that I�d not let out any personal details to �Roll�. One beer and that�s it. He made an elaborate plan which involved two taxis, the subway and a bus for my commute, removed all identification documents from my purse, and purchased a use-and- throw cell phone for the date.

Once his �Commi� paranoia was laid to rest, I left� my brain tingling with the excitement for the unknown. Hoping, praying that that lingering doubt in my heart would be laid to rest.
They weren�t.

�Roll� turned out to be as big an asshole as there could be. The sex-God imagery dissipated into dust within the first 5 minutes, and as I shunned his advances, the stalker in him revealed itself in the ugliest of forms. Had it not been for the bouncers at the club, my getaway would have been difficult, if not impossible and I thanked the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for all the paranoia exhibited by Jerry earlier in the day.

The �I told you so� look of Jerry was easier to deal with, but the fear that had seeped down to my soul, wasn�t. Jerry and I sat down and he made me go over the events of night with a fine toothed comb. He lost his shirt when I told him that I didn�t take the precautions he had wanted me to on my way back. However much I tried to give an explanation, the return of Jerry�s paranoia was electric. He rushed to double check the locks on the door, closed all curtains and set 911 on speed dial.

Around that time it suddenly struck me. �Tyler� must have been waiting for me. As I rushed towards my room to log on and meet my Indian prince, Jerry blockaded the door. The look in his eyes laid out the entire conversation to be followed.

Those �Puss-In-Boots� eyes of �Tyler� had set off sirens in Jerry�s mind. His take was that �Tyler�s was on the verge of falling in love, and If I didn�t take corrective measures immediately, we may have another mess besides �Roll� to deal with. I begged and pleaded for just one night. Next Friday it would be off. Just for one night, I wanted my fix. But the dandy just wouldn�t relent. Whether it was his paranoia acting up, or whether he was just acting protective, or both� I don�t know and I didn�t care. I pushed him aside, switched on the computer and switched off the lights.

He was there. For the first time since we �hooked up�, we didn�t speak. I lead the action, taking off the layers of clothes. I could see the surprise on his face. And I saw the subsequent acceptance. That experience was intense. More than it had ever been with �Tyler�. Maybe like real life, I was at some metaphysical level fantasizing about �Roll�- the internet avtar, not the jerk I met a few hours back.

As the intensity of our experience reaches climatic levels, I heard the doorbell ring. Thoughts criss-crossing the circuits of mind, what if �Roll� had followed me home, what if he really was a stalker�what if?

In the frenzied excitement of the moment, I never heard the door open, or felt the presence of another being in the room. And as my body convulsed in the throngs of passion, suddenly I felt something squeeze my neck, jerking me off the chair. The grip tightening. His crazed eye, with a glint, releasing that bundled up energy. And then the grip loosened.

He got up and typed off on the keyboard as �Tyler� sat frozen. Shaken out of his trance, his name suddenly disappeared of the online list and the IM window closed.

And Jerry turned around.
�that was fun�one john we�re never seeing again.�
And the sacred ritual was complete.
I screamed, "You son of a bitch, All I asked was for one more day. We could have done this next friday."
That was me, dying every few weeks.
Getting resurrected the next day.
And Jerry just smiled as I lay there sobbing on the floor, naked, hollow.
And single.