Flavor of the Week: Digital Dalliances

Written by Jay Cleary on . Posted in Posts.


SHE PEERED AROUND the paneled door, then shut it, her belt already undone. Bending forward, she let her jeans inch down to expose a thong, her hands now fingering its waistband, pulling it out and letting go (snap!) now tugging it lower, lower, a little tuft of hair just visible and… frozen. Her hands shattered into pixilated squares and her face turned copper, then sepia, then black. I hit my laptop. A pop from Skype: Did I want to reconnect?

My girlfriend Laura and I were separated by a bad connection—and the Atlantic. We had met abroad studying Portuguese in Coimbra the semester before and our casual fling soon reached an intensity only possible when culture and language conspire against you.

Our program had no other Americans and the few we had met were exhausting: dipsomaniacal Greeks or pedantic hipsters. For two months, we lived in an orbit of two, and in this hermitage a romance—the first for us both—had thrived. We decided to stay together after leaving the Iberian Peninsula. Since she was working in Portugal past graduation, this meant a period apart and without something which two horny kids in love need very much: sex.

We relied on Skype dates. Because of time zone differences, what was for her a late-night tryst was for me an afternoon delight. Or rather, afternoon terror. From my centrally located bedroom at my parents’ house, I jerked off with eyes on the screen and attention on my mother’s footfalls. Close calls required jamming a swollen erection into my pants, and a breathless “Don’t come in!” The summer heat caused me to sweat through my clothes. Just like it did yesterday and the day before.

Laura’s experience was no less stressful.

She had moved into an older family’s home; their one webcam was located in the den. At night, she snuck downstairs to turn it on. While she made sure everyone was asleep, I analyzed the room’s décor. Crucifixes and portraits of Jesus, statues of Mary and a gilt reliquary; a photo of religious graffiti: 1 cross 3 nails = 4 given. She would position herself, conscientiously, with the chair against the door, where she fingered herself stoically—never fully nude, often just with underwear slightly lowered. For all that I typically saw, I might as well have been masturbating to a young nun with a particularly bad itch.

When Laura’s job ended, she went backpacking around Europe and Skype sex ended. Chats all came from crowded Internet cafés in hostels or near kebab stands. The most I would get was a stealthy flash, her face always blushing red. We exchanged emails detailing our forlorn lives along with the lewd things we’d do at our impending reunion. And we Gchatted constantly using our phones. That’s how I ended up masturbating in a movie theater.

While sitting through previews for a film (that I’d mostly miss), I received a series of Gchats, which sent me to the bathroom. It was nearly empty, only a pair of sneakers visible beneath a stall.

I started to type, when we I realized there was a problem: timing. How would we make our sexting simultaneous? I was getting close, and had no clue when she would finish. So, a few agonizing minutes later, she texted “OK”—and I finished.

“So this is ridiculous but I’ve just programmed ‘I’m coming’ into my phone to send to you when I’m almost there.” Honesty seemed cruel at this point, and I kept with the bizarre chats until she reached what she assured me was a good finish—

Sent at 10:28 pm on Tuesday made great by knowing we did it together. Only when I heard the man next to me flush as I cleaned up did I realize the absurdity of what I’d done: that I had prematurely ejaculated while fucking my girlfriend through text in a public bathroom.

I guess I have one cogent, if obvious, contribution to the post-Weiner discussion on what should be done to those who sext: Nothing. Trying to complete the act with any dignity is punishment enough.

Eventually neither of us could take Gchat sex seriously, and we started giving it some realism. “I want you girl.” “Want to go down on me?” “Nope, going straight in.” “Ow.” “No foreplay.” “Starting to get into it.” “Just came.” “Still grinding on your shrinking dick.” “In massive pain.” “Almost there.” “Three inches now.” “About to come.” “Slipped out.”

My other relief was a series of videos she let me film during our melancholy final week together. I had saved 10 or so of our sessions (with varying degrees of success), and she encouraged me to edit them into one short film.

It was a strange sensation, combining pillow talk and foreplay, excising unflattering shots—and unflattering performances. When I finally finished, I had created a digital video of two lovers with limitless stamina and polished sexual skills at odds with their recent virginities.

And where is that video today?

No idea. After we broke up, I got a new computer. It didn’t feel right to transfer the film to the new laptop, nor did I have the heart to delete it. Eventually I forgot about it, and the hardware went to charity.

Have we become participants in a needy boy’s fantasies? Possibly. Will it ever matter?

Christopher Hitchens recently wrote that part of the pleasure of sleeping with an Oxford student is the knowledge that you might be fucking a future member of the Prime Minister’s cabinet. When I read that, I thought about Laura. She graduated from the American equivalent with honors and always had a passion for politics. She’s now studying contract law in Chicago and seems destined for success, unless a newly discovered video makes the country take issue with a multi-orgasmic Secretary of Labor. 

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