Publisher’s note: This article contains adult themes and language.
Let’s get this straight… Any length of time spent in hospital is lonely. After the honeymoon period during which friends and family visit on a regular basis, familiar faces are fewer and further apart. Mates and medical staff you get to know can only go so far. For me, with my girls – my wife and daughter both living in far off Tokyo – it’s been doubly painful.
So about a week ago, in search of human compassion, empathy, whatever, I fell (actually, I more stumbled via some weird Facebook posting, the likes of which I’d sworn never to trespass upon) into an online dating service called MyFling. My novelist side kicked into gear even if I’ve sworn off writing books, thinking of potential research, while the journalist part of me tripped up on the notion of a part-time exposé while sealed away in hospital. I’m not searching for a replacement bride (she may not continuously realize this, but I adore my wife), but instead have started talking to some of the other lost souls there.
Life isn’t easy for a lot of other people on so many levels I never dreamed about. Of my “friends” there, one has an amputated leg, another is a heartsick pole dancer and a third is going through the slow process of gender re-identification. As a writer and former journalist, this poses a minefield of social commentary and inspired characters.
Having waded through forbidden waters, the gonzo journo in me kicked in, not so much thinking an exposé, but a quick glance at this strangely popular new realm. It’s an eye-opening place.
Some monikers boggle the imagination. Doctor Love, for goodness’ sake? Or FillMyStock’s blunt, direct missive,” Do you want me? Yes or no?” The angry, yet oddly triumphant – “I had to live with that f*#kwit for three months before I finally moved out but I did it!” (OuiAlice), and the more direct, “listen! :: !!!! I WANT SEX!!!!” (TopTara).
There are also some heartbreaking comments like this one from SexyDoll813: “It’s all fun and games until someone recognises you on here –I have to leave this website and delete my profile because someone is trying to blackmail me,” and this instructive one from Lickin’ Lips: “Sex ONLY wiht [sic] a CONDOM!!!!I have enough kids, as a mom of 3. I don’t want any more!!” A demanding note in all caps from KissMeKarin: “I AM NOT GOING TO BED BEFORE I FIND A DATE FOR TOMORROW!!! DO YOU WANT TO GO TO LUNCH WITH ME, PLEASE SAY YES!”
If your thang is waking up to missives from older dames bearing monikers like CrazyLoopy, dressed up in her avatar pic like Audrey Hepburn on a bad hat day, saying “Hello my love, how are you?”, or being asked to “Put on your Indiana Jones and crack that whip baby!” (Dusty Diana), go ahead.
At times it’s too bawdy for Shakespeare! I swear I’m no prude, but here’s one of the lighter entries, from HoneyB: “Is your d–k too big for my tight p—y? Maybe you could just finger me and stretch out my p—y first?” Yowsers.
The proclamations that most scarred me? Sub_Nova with “What I am looking for here? I am looking for my own ’50 shades of grey story’ ” and “I hope my boyfriend doesn’t find out about my sperm addiction” from the suitably titled Sperm Fan.
There are many problems here. One being the fact I’m unconsciously sub-editing everything said, and resisting my compulsion to pass off nuggets of advice to help some of the poor people here who’re dealing with abuse, neglect and terrible lives.
Thing is, I have enough on my plate without running a voyeuristic Dear Abby session everyday, and there’s something terribly wrong about trawling other people’s dysfunctional lives, and then using that as fodder for an article. These are human beings with an equal amount of angst to what I’ve experienced over the past 18 months, so what gives me the right to waltz into their lives, acting like the Undread Doorman Moo (actually a legit character in our upcoming comic book story ‘The Undying Man’)?
When you also get messages like, “Am I expecting too much or do you think we’re a good match?”, you realise you’ve maybe overstepped the line. It’s not right to prey on people’s emotions for whatever the cause, rhyme or reason.
So I’ve pulled the plug on this silly research project before I’m tossed back to the wolves across the road. Heh.
Next time you get grumpy with some buffoon on their smartphone, well maybe they’re in the middle of a major dating debacle. Heh.
Meanwhile I continue pottering with a few of our artists on the more vital Magpie anthology zine.
Art credits from the top:
Andrez Bergen by Danny Zemp
Bullet Gal vs. Smart Phone User by Danny Zemp
3D Man vs. smart phone users on a train from Magpie, episode 1 by Frantz Kantor
Troll by Danny Zemp