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I Was Teenage Hockey Message Board Jailbait
January 27, 2011 3:29 PM   Subscribe

"I Was Teenage Hockey Message Board Jailbait," by Katie Bakes of Deadspin.
posted by Avenger50 (88 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
I lost my virginity to a BBSer in the mid 90s. Should I write this up too?
posted by k8t at 3:41 PM on January 27, 2011 [18 favorites]


I was wondering if this would show up here. That 'oh shit' moment when you realize you can't hide behind a persona anymore and no you really aren't as old as you said you were or whatever else you invented because it sounded good must be a touchstone for many of us who got our Internets in the 90s as teenagers. Good times.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:42 PM on January 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


"Going back and reading my newsgroup posts from those years has been half therapy and half further trauma."

Oh my, yes. Let us not discuss my own history with USENET.
posted by clvrmnky at 3:50 PM on January 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


I read this this morning. I liked her storytelling style, although it was a bit anticlimactic, given that nothing much actually... happens.

(I never actually met anyone off Commodore BBSs, but they used to have "modem parties" in my general suburban area. And one time some kids my brother pissed off on a BBS threw what I think was a softball at the side of our house.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:52 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am so happy that my really embarrassing USENET posts appear to all be somewhere past the event horizon of googleability.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:52 PM on January 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I lost my virginity to a BBSer in the mid 90s. Should I write this up too?

I don't see why not.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:52 PM on January 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I lost my virginity to a BBSer in the mid 90s. Should I write this up too?

Totally.
posted by delmoi at 3:56 PM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


In 2001 I worked for a dotcom, programming 12 hours a day with a bunch of other nerds. My cube neighbor was... different, he was less of a nerd, way more of a cool guy with good taste in music and he would buy me beers for our late night programming sessions (I couldn't since I was only 19).

This guy started an online romance with a real pretty lady - she was in Philadelphia, and we were in Portland OR - and while I'm not sure how they met, it ended up getting pretty serious over the course of 3 months despite the fact that they had never met each other. We had the release of our product coming up and we were too busy to take a vacation... and she was in school and couldn't come to Portland.

Finally we shipped. And my co-worker got a week off, a plane ticket, and left on a monday night for what promised to be "the best week of (his) life."

He was back at the work the next day, walking in around noon. It turned out that instead of meeting his one-true-love, he met a freaked-the-fuck-out 15 year old and her very apologetic mother.

I still feel bad for him.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 3:57 PM on January 27, 2011 [52 favorites]


I lost my virginity to a BBSer in the mid 90s. Should I write this up too?

Yes.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:58 PM on January 27, 2011


I lost my virginity to a BBSer in the mid 90s. Should I write this up too?

As it happens, I lost my BBS to a virgin in the mid 90s. I think your story beats mine.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:07 PM on January 27, 2011 [30 favorites]


I am so happy that my really embarrassing USENET posts appear to all be somewhere past the event horizon of googleability.

This. Good lord, this. If anyone from my present life were to know how deeply I craved ASCII porn, well, they probably wouldn't be surprised, but I would be damn embarrassed.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:21 PM on January 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


I didn't get into forums until college - in middle and high school it was mostly ephemeral media like chat rooms. So while I lied my ass off, there was no one to 'catch' because I didn't really exist.
posted by muddgirl at 4:29 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


special agent conrad uno: "He was back at the work the next day, walking in around noon. It turned out that instead of meeting his one-true-love, he met a freaked-the-fuck-out 15 year old and her very apologetic mother."

Next time, just take the rest of the week off.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 4:30 PM on January 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Great article.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:33 PM on January 27, 2011


I lost my virginity to a BBSer in the mid 90s. Should I write this up too?

Me too, actually.
posted by orville sash at 4:41 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really liked this when I read it earlier today. She does a great job describing that feeling of trying to hold on to a small but untenable lie. Good on her for sharing, I've tried to mentally erase all of mine from my brain.
posted by auto-correct at 4:43 PM on January 27, 2011


And wow, linking to newsgroup posts she made when she was 14? Made of stronger stuff than I, she is.
posted by auto-correct at 4:45 PM on January 27, 2011


I met a girl on the Usenet and moved to Seattle to date her. That was 1995, and everyone thought I was insane to do that.

We broke up in '96. I stayed in Seattle and married a Southern woman I met in the UK while working for a charity. Within about two minutes we discovered a commonality -- she knew me from my Usenet posts.
posted by dw at 4:53 PM on January 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


This is exactly why I never use my real name for anything personal online, ever ever ever.
posted by paisley henosis at 4:56 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I shall forever be grateful to Usenet for curing me of a desire to argue about atheism.
posted by Diablevert at 5:00 PM on January 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


tl;dr but from the sound of it, author probably could do better than banging 90 year old guys.
posted by cogneuro at 5:01 PM on January 27, 2011


When I was a kid I met a girl online that I later found out went to a local high school. We spent a lot of time talking to each other. We wanted to meet but my mom was sure she was a crazy pedophile who wanted to take me to do the woods and then, and I quote, "do ... well I can't even think of the things he'd do because I'm not a pervert." We had fallen out of touch long before non-mom transportation was possible. My senior year I found out she was kicked out of her all-girls Catholic school because she was blowing a boy in the bathroom during a dance and to this day, I have not forgiven my mom.
posted by geoff. at 5:07 PM on January 27, 2011 [91 favorites]


Our teenage chat board scene in the 90s was hookup central. I can't imagine it was not so everywhere.
posted by absalom at 5:12 PM on January 27, 2011


Oh, hot multilingual redheaded Usenet girlfriend, why did you wait a year and a half and keep sleeping with me before letting me figure out that your husband was not down with our thing and wanted to rededicate your apparently-now-straight apparently-now-monogamous marriage to Jesus Christ.

true story swear to god
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:17 PM on January 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


I confess, I'm not actually a thread-headed dragon from outer space.

Do I win a prize now?
posted by Ghidorah at 5:22 PM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Usenet! Ahh, the wild west of the Internet.

I think it was a black hole for self-respect and dignity in the mid-90s. It seems that nobody had the concept that somewhere everything would be stored... sometimes I have problems thinking about people who began using the Internet in the post-dotcom era as actual internet users. Their internet is a sadder, more sanitized, less interesting place.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:31 PM on January 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have forgotten my usenet nick, my slashdot nick and my first email address. I think I could remember them if I really tried flexing my google muscles, but why sabotage this wonderful thing my brain has done to protect my psyche?

I was a 15 year old highschooler when I got on the net using university computers, with no official authorization, but with the blessing of the sys-op. Back in the time where everyone else there was a college nerd or some kind of researcher. I too had to pretend to be someone else to fit in.

My biggest scare was when I talked to n older old girl on IRC about how awesome "my" university was, how well "my" research program was going, etc... Next semester I get a message on my terminal, a talk command message for those who remember, coming FROM OUR OWN NETWORK. She decided to transfer, and she was there, sitting five terminals to my left. I freaked the fuck out and flipped the switch.

It took weeks of begging the sys-op to get a new email address and months to build a new internet identity.

One really good thing that came out of lying on the internets when I was 15 was my homophobia immunization. Everyone I knew IRL was a homophobe, and the few gay people I knew kept it very secret. Many nights the only active channel on IRC was #lgbtf, and a lot of interesting links and software where traded in private messages. I pretended to be gay in that channel, and after some months I realized that most of the best people I knew where queer, and I was no longer a homophobe.
posted by Dr. Curare at 5:35 PM on January 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


I met my first serious girlfriend in a chat room in 1995. When I brought her home and introduced her to my parents for the first time they happened to have friends over. My mom (who barely knew what the internet was) introduced the two of us and squeaked "THEY MET ON THE INTERNET!" in this semi-panicked tone I chalked up to her specific fear of computers and technology in general.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:39 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. I've been using using the internet wrong from the very beginning.
posted by fuq at 5:44 PM on January 27, 2011


Oh dear, this led me to look up some of my old usenet posts. I would like very much to be able to send some IP packets back to about 1997 and make some changes.
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:51 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I lost my virginity to a BBSer in the mid 90s. Should I write this up too?

Me too, actually.
"

Mnet or Grex?
posted by klangklangston at 5:56 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a teenager who had a disability, being legally blind, being able to talk to people and be able to start from square one with nothing about who I am getting in the way of how people reacted to me, I finally learned how to actually interact with people. Before I was just unfailingly polite but had no idea how to get to know people or be anything but a doormat. Partly this is because my parents were rather religious and always overtly friendly to everyone and I never observed a normal back-and-forth between strangers when I was growing up. But online I had to figure out how everyone else would start conversations, or figure out how to parry insults that I didn't have a ready-made comeback for because it was all anyone ever went for.

I got to explore my identity as a person separated from the one obvious thing that most people couldn't get past in junior high, and I'm really happy about what I got out of selective anonymity. The first couple of times showing up at BBS meetups I was scared to death that people would just go straight back to treating me like everyone in school did, but when that didn't happen I eventually got used to the fact that I could just be more open and act the way I did online with people in real life and they would react back in a more normal way.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:56 PM on January 27, 2011 [21 favorites]


I shall forever be grateful to Usenet for curing me of a desire to argue about atheism.

I shall forever be grateful to Usenet for showing me that other atheists existed.
posted by DU at 6:00 PM on January 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Man. I always like reading things from old TC ops, although I dont' think I ever ran into a KatieCCC.

I'd love to hear from one of the ones I remember better, but I .. I've forgotten their nicks.
(I looked up one nick I remember, and all I found was a memorial for someone who had died. I believe it was the same person)

Thanks for putting up with me when I was 10 though, TalkCity chatters.

(I've never been one for lying online. The best protection I could've ever had was the fact that almost no one on-line lives in Arkansas. At least not where I chat)
posted by rubah at 6:03 PM on January 27, 2011


I lost my virginity to a BBSer in the mid 90s. Should I write this up too?

And yet another. Worse, it was at a major regional Ren Faire. Later we even did it during the faire in costume. Once or twice in the open like filthy little peasants. To this day I appreciate period costume and long skirts. (It gets even more nerdy and teen-angsty than that, but I'll keep some embarrassing secrets, thanks.)

If it wasn't for BBSes (and later, internet) I would probably never get laid. The number of past dates, lovers and partners I've met via typing into a computer vastly outnumber the ones I've met through more traditional social channels, and I don't know if I would have it any other way. Back in the BBS days you were pretty much guaranteed to be both a pretty huge nerd as well as some kind of freak to want to spend all day in a crude, rudimentary chat room or deal with the limitations of being "online" in the early days.

Which meant meeting some really intense, interesting people. It was an uncommon intersection of Venn diagrams. Where else would Deadheads, electrical engineers, Rocky Horror cast members, goth/industrial kids, HAM radio nerds, writers, hackers, BDSM weirdos, total social outcasts and much more ever mix and meet? Much less meeting regularly for pizza and beer? I've watched a foam-flecked drunken shouting arguments between someone who unironically wore pocket protectors and short sleeve button down Oxfords with too short Chinos and penny loafers with white socks and a fully-jacketed biker neckbeard sysadmin who stank like a Klingon about the finer points of Hedonist philosophy and then shortly after watched them smoke pot together in the parking lot of a strip-mall pizza joint using an improbably large and overengineered four person hookah-bong.

That kind of crazy shit and overlap created solely by the early adoption of a particular kind of open communications technology just doesn't seem to happen anymore, and I wonder if it ever will again. Maybe someday in the not so distant future a bunch of weird early adopters will be experimenting with telepresence or neural links or something, and it'll happen again. The last time I saw anything remotely like it was during the very early days of CUSeeMe reflectors.


Anyway. Katie Bank's expose about the shifting ethics and reality of life on a forum would probably be more interesting or shocking if it weren't for the fact that so many Metafilter members remember BBSes and Usenet back before the web was even available. To an outsider it may seem terribly risky or exotic, but to many of us it's what we've known all along.
posted by loquacious at 6:06 PM on January 27, 2011 [45 favorites]


If anyone from my present life were to know how deeply I craved ASCII porn, well, they probably wouldn't be surprised, but I would be damn embarrassed.

I remember my first porn .jpeg as if it were yesterday. Pro-gress-ive sc-a-a-a-n....
posted by phaedon at 6:08 PM on January 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Thank you, anon.penet.fi.
posted by benzenedream at 6:13 PM on January 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Today I found out that my half-remembered knowledge of wild USENET flamewars about the super-slashy subtext of a certain mid-1990's geeky TV show (eventually leading to a separate spin-off group in the alt.tv.* hierarchy) may actually help my husband's career in the next few days. True story. Don't stop believin', people!
posted by Asparagirl at 6:17 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The first cyber-relationship I saw was ~1989. The mother of the my best friend was pretending to be a teenager and was seducing (online) a teen that was despised and hated in the local BBS scene.

She waited far longer than I expected before breaking his heart by revealing her age and who she was (their first RL meetup, which was quite cruel). I learned to have sympathy and empathy for someone I previously despised (for whatever reasons, I honestly don't remember).

A couple of years later I got my first real girlfriend. We met on alt.(I'm not telling). And like others telling the story, it was alien and not supported by my 'real-life' friends (a distinction that seems to be melting away). The relationship lasted several years.
posted by el io at 6:26 PM on January 27, 2011


@klang local dial up
posted by k8t at 6:28 PM on January 27, 2011


This is exactly why I never use my real name for anything personal online, ever ever ever.

This is actually why I've almost always used my real name. You think twice.
posted by Jahaza at 6:29 PM on January 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


SEE? THE POPE WAS RIGHT

well, not really.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:30 PM on January 27, 2011


A sysop made an ASCII of the network of hookups based on our local bbs scene. Super interesting.

(One of) our local popular BBSes was run out of the apartment of 2 20 something dudes. They'd occassionally break into your forum reading to chat (gossip.) Their apartment became a hang out too.

Anyway, everyone I dated in high school as well as my good friends (from neighboring schools) were BBSers. They were/are good people. Nearly 2 decades later (since I started BBSing) and I'm still close with many of them. Many more than my school friends (Basic Facebook communication notwithstanding.)

Dating BBS guys allowed us to communicate virtually - publicly on forums and via chat - before f2f. That was novel then. Nice way to get to know people.

It was great.

Virginity losing? Meh, but glad it was with a nerdy BBS boy verus the other options in my shitty hometown (shudder.)
posted by k8t at 6:41 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fairytale, you need to write that up!
posted by lumpenprole at 6:42 PM on January 27, 2011


No one knows your a dog on the internet
posted by pianomover at 6:51 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Me too, actually.

Likewise.
posted by Phlogiston at 7:05 PM on January 27, 2011


I'm only a little surprised to find that the sex chart is still being maintained.
posted by hades at 7:07 PM on January 27, 2011


I remember being on the old Mac the Knife message boards with Nick DePlum, who then went on to found Think Secret. We all knew he was 12 going on 13, and really didn't give a good goddamn, because he was witty, fun, and hellfire if he couldn't actually sneak out a scoop just from persistent email to contacts he methodically cultivated. Kid had the best nose for news I had ever seen or even heard of. (He's kind of spinning his wheels over at the Daily Beast, now... he needs to get back into dirt digging, analysis and punditry isn't his strong suite.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:20 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yay, the sex chart. :) I am in there. I consider it my little bit of sad, niche, internet fame.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:21 PM on January 27, 2011


A nice old MeTa thread about BBS usage.
posted by Mid at 7:27 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mnet or Grex?

Oh SHIT, dude. Mnet here.
posted by pjaust at 7:34 PM on January 27, 2011


I was already out of college at the dawn of the internet. But a friend introduced me to a private BBS that did wonders for me --

I'd just broken up with my only-second-ever boyfriend, after being with him for about 4 years. And I was kind of in a tailspin of "what the hell do I do now". My (male) roommate turned me on to this private, adult-themed BBS, one kind of locally-based in New York, which was free for women to join.

After about a month of both of us hanging around on the site -- both of us sharing my roommate's computer, and taking turns who was the account we'd use (but still huddle in front of the computer together, taking pains to say "oh, it's Sid saying this, not me" whenever one of us had to say something for the other) -- the owner held a big "Meetup" for members, and my roommate and I met some of the actual people we'd all been talking to. Somehow he and I ended up in a side room with seven other members, all of us bonding with this very weird game of "blindfold yourself and guess who's giving you a foot rub".

We all became the nine-headed inner-circle Rat Pack for the board for the next several months; we were the Cool Kids at all the rest of the meetups, and would have our own meetups, and would all talk amongst ourselves on the site. We ended up being one big, happy, incestuous family (yeah, lots of hooking up).

It was absolutely exactly what I needed. It burned itself out after several months, but it gave me some incredible stories and got me past that big breakup and taught me a hell of a lot about myself. And it all started on a BBS.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:34 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, hot multilingual redheaded Usenet girlfriend, why did you wait a year and a half and keep sleeping with me before letting me figure out that your husband was not down with our thing and wanted to rededicate your apparently-now-straight apparently-now-monogamous marriage to Jesus Christ.

You had one of those too? Did yours involve you in all sorts of international intrigue with psychic spies, rogue NSA operatives & sociopathic genius virus writers who smuggled themselves across the Iron Curtain in an effort to find you in America & kill you for stealing their One True Love, only to lose their way in the Nicaraguan jungle & turn back in discouragement?

I'm betting that bit's just me then. Trust me, you could've had it much worse than you did. Redheads, I tell ya.
posted by scalefree at 7:42 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also got 90% of my practical real-world sex ed at age 18 or 19 from a nice group of ladies on the AOL Pearl Jam message boards, who cheered on my conquest of my then-SO and made sure I knew how to use a condom correctly. I was raised dual-class Anglican/ Catholic, so it's a good thing someone stepped in there.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:47 PM on January 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Today I found out that my half-remembered knowledge of wild USENET flamewars about the super-slashy subtext of a certain mid-1990's geeky TV show

You hung out on alt.tv.xena? I'm not sure I can look you in the eyes anymore.
posted by Justinian at 7:53 PM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thank you, anon.penet.fi.

Umm, yeah. About that. You know those rumors about it being compromised, before it got taken down that is? Yeah, not so anonymous.
posted by scalefree at 8:01 PM on January 27, 2011


I lost my virginity to a BBSer in the mid 90s.
Well, I lost my virginity to a BSer in the mid 80s!
posted by Joh at 8:17 PM on January 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was too young and too far out into the boonies to ever have any real contact with the BBS scene, and while my posts to newsgroups were amply embarrassing, there were (mercifully) few of them.

On the other hand, once my home town got dial-up Internet access in the middle 90s, I spent a lot of time on IRC, much of it on a tiny, out-of-the-way server hosted by a certain low-rent basic cable institution.

I was a scrawny, antisocial dork in high school, with only a handful of good friends. But for a couple of years I had this parallel social life full of these smart, funny, interesting people who had somehow decided that I was one of them. I suppose better than half of us were just kids back then, and there's no way we were half as clever and interesting as we thought we were, but that wasn't how it felt. It kind of felt like we were Changing the World. There was something electric and full of almost unbearable potential every time I heard that modem lock in a solid connection. I'd stay up 'til sunrise in the summers, and kill the rest of every day until it was time I could log on again.

I don't think I ever told many outright lies back then. It was enough that nobody in that environment knew me as a hopeless dork, and that I could act like this version of myself I wanted more to be just by talking and writing like I wasn't scared of life. But I know for a fact that at least one person in that scene pretty much fabricated an entire offline identity, and in retrospect most all of us were making something up as we went along. That electric potential in things that I think we all sensed was not easy to control, and I think acting out a personality you wanted to own went a lot further for some of us than for others.

Anyway. I guess I just wanted to say that I recognize this. I didn't exactly live it, but I knew people who did.
posted by brennen at 9:05 PM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am so happy that my really embarrassing USENET posts appear to all be somewhere past the event horizon of googleability.

I envy you. I have to make due consoling myself with "Well, at least the Google Groups search option isn't super easy to find".
posted by cmonkey at 9:38 PM on January 27, 2011


Which meant meeting some really intense, interesting people. It was an uncommon intersection of Venn diagrams. Where else would Deadheads, electrical engineers, Rocky Horror cast members, goth/industrial kids, HAM radio nerds, writers, hackers, BDSM weirdos, total social outcasts and much more ever mix and meet? Much less meeting regularly for pizza and beer? I've watched a foam-flecked drunken shouting arguments between someone who unironically wore pocket protectors and short sleeve button down Oxfords with too short Chinos and penny loafers with white socks and a fully-jacketed biker neckbeard sysadmin who stank like a Klingon about the finer points of Hedonist philosophy and then shortly after watched them smoke pot together in the parking lot of a strip-mall pizza joint using an improbably large and overengineered four person hookah-bong.

Dear god, what the hell were you doing in my teenage years, and how come I don't remember you?

Seriously, though, there really is no modern equivalent of BBSes. It was so weird and hyperlocal; there wasn't even an idea of what online communication was really for yet. Anyway, yeah, I dunno, I can't imagine what it would be like to see some of my postings from those days. Probably a lot like my stuff on metafilter, only more clueless and a hell of a lot angrier. But as angry and wounded as I was in those years, BBSes were my first taste of the joy and randomness of life. It was the first time I really had the chance to meet people who didn't go to my school, and thus my first chance to make real friends. People who had my interests! All that Monty Python Rocky Horror Dead Kennedys Douglas Adams Kurt Vonnegut Illuminati Homemade Bong Pink Floyd D&D stuff. It was such a part of my development, I literally cannot imagine what my life would have been like without it.

Oddly, I skipped the whole chatroom and early internet thing. I spent pretty much the second half of the 90s on acid, and when I came back down in 99 or so, the internet as we know it had pretty much been invented.

Shit. How do outcast kids these days even meet kids at other schools?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:39 PM on January 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


WWIV Net. I used to troll the hell out of the Computer Shopper sub as a Mac zealot. Actually, all of Southern RI had a bad, bad rep on WWIV as trolls, flame-warriors and smart-alecs. The parties were beyond epic.

98 lb pencil-neck to 6' teenage amazon: "Women, of course, being the weaker sex..."
6' Teenage amazon to 98lb pencil-neck: "I could step on you, and you'd die."

On the TV? Bootleg copy of "Heavy Metal" followed by a bootleg copy of "Rock and Rule."
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:06 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was the 90's, and there was time for Klax. There was also time for flirting on the college server using the talk command. The internet wasn't even ppp, let alone www. I got to know a girl by looking through the files in her /home/ folder (I looked through everyone else's, it's what qualified me as a hacker at the time) and would chat her up when she was online.

One day we realized we were chatting while sitting in the same lab and promised not to look at each other. We made a deal through friends to exchange childhood photos to maintain the furtive nature of our relationship. Her photo was of a cute girl in a soccer uniform, let propped up on a ball.

My love for double entendre and the #hottub irc channel meant that our conversations eventually became flirty, then progressively dirty (oh undernet, you were my first true cyber-love). One afternoon after class we met up downtown, I took her to a rooftop so she could consumate a long standing oral offer. I was giving high-fives to the other buildings! Computers! BJs! Yay!

But the awkward social paranoia of an 18 year-old quickly set in, I got weirded out and a week later I had to call the cops because she wouldn't stop screaming at me from my landlady's front yard.

I too, am an internet social failure.
posted by Null Pointer and the Exceptions at 10:27 PM on January 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


s/let/leg
posted by Null Pointer and the Exceptions at 10:27 PM on January 27, 2011


I'm glad I lost my virginity long before there were personal computers. Otherwise... well, let's leave it at that.
posted by Splunge at 11:28 PM on January 27, 2011


Haha it's wonderful hearing that the hookup chart is pretty common. I got into the being-romantically-involved-with-someone-online game relatively late, 2003-2004 while I was at college. I can still remember the long nights chatting on the phone in my dorm room and my friends blasting me for avoiding hanging out so I could talk on the phone or sit at the computer with the webcam thing going. It was mostly fun and without any noteworthy drama, but while it was the first time I had gotten "involved" with someone I had met online, it was like her 50th time (though I was supposedly only the third or so guy she actually met and supposedly the only one she slept with). So at some point she shared with me a jpg that she and another of her female IRC friends constructed showing all of the intricate links between people that had "hooked up" online. It was fascinating if only to see how the people in the channels I frequented branched out into all these other channels I'd never come across. But of course the fascinating, troubling thing will always be the Internet-enabled bending of truth. I used the word "supposedly" in this post because you never really can be sure that someone you know primarily through the Internet is everything they claim to be. It's far easier to maintain untruths if you only see someone face-to-face for a week or two every couple months. But of course, trust is an issue in any relationship, online or off.
posted by palidor at 11:38 PM on January 27, 2011


Yeah, so... I'm thinking that maybe I left some of potential of 90's BBSes and USENET untapped, as it were.
posted by XMLicious at 11:57 PM on January 27, 2011


You know, I was just thinking, if you want to be ambitious about it, just pick a city you want to visit and troll some online messageboards somewhere until you can stumble your way into a romantic relationship with someone living there, and boom, you can hang out in that city and stay there for free! Repeat for as many places you want to visit, breaking hearts along the way. But seriously, I think I got lucky with my IRC romance because she lived in NYC. Being from a small town in Ohio, getting to spend a combined total of a month+ in NYC was pretty awesome, even if youthful libidonous (favorite word I just made up) urges kept me inside a lot.
posted by palidor at 12:14 AM on January 28, 2011


Oh god, #hottub.

Remembering #hottub is like losing the game.
posted by Dr. Curare at 12:15 AM on January 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have forgotten my usenet nick, my slashdot nick and my first email address.

Strangely, I've never had that problem.
posted by mikelieman at 3:20 AM on January 28, 2011


I didn't get on the internet until 2008, when I was dating a kid with wealthy parents. I did manage to troll someone on Bolt.com into hanging round the DJ decks in HMV Reading, waiting for Madeline the ~PlUr CaNdY rAvEr~ to show up. The hardcore board on there was hilarious, as there'd end up being fights between rock hardcore kids and happy hardcore kids and they could never agree to disagree, those crazy kids.

I missed the USENET thing - I was still messing about with CB radios when I was 16 - but god, as a teen outcast the internet would have blew my mind. Being able to speak to actual real Americans was cool enough. I discovered Livejournal in 2004, got a pretty good network of friends, some of which I still have - but also met someone who was very strange and manipulative at a time when I was pretty vulnerable (I mean, head not in the right place enough that someone breaking into my house to see if I was OK seemed caring rather than creepy) and that taught me that open-ness online was more than a writing exercise.

I found my first London flat through LJ - otherwise I wouldn't have been able to move here with £120 - and [redacted as my SO is a MeFite].
posted by mippy at 4:30 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favourite activity in early interweb days was to play along with cybersexers and then slowly reveal that I was a pre-op transexual [nb. I'm not] :

'What do you look like?'
'Blonde hair, blue eyes, 36dd, eight inches uncut'
'??'
'I'm hard for you baby'
'FUK U FAGGIT'

Oh, it kept us busy on those long cold winter nights when you could buy a Mars Bar with 50p and still get change.
posted by mippy at 4:36 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Memphis had a hook-up chart, as well. Someone should collect them - is bbshookups.com taken?

Wait, hmm. maybe a different domain name.
posted by absalom at 4:58 AM on January 28, 2011


alt.drugs.hard representing!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:33 AM on January 28, 2011



Mnet or Grex?


M-net, dude. M-netters knew how to party. Grexers were lame like what.
posted by orville sash at 6:12 AM on January 28, 2011


My internet chat boyfriend sent me a bunch of rare Nick Cave mixtapes from whatever country he was from (can't remember now...so hazy!), so that was cool. And one of my still-friends-today friends -- we originally met on a Morrissey board ca. 1991. Yay internet!

But the greatest thing ever was a story an OG internet nerd friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday which started with "always worry if your child starts a conversation with "you know of the internet site 4chan right?"", and went on to carefully probe what he was getting at, then -- PUNCHLINE:
"Well," he explains, "Apparently a lot of the 4chan people are currently griefing the crap out of the minecraft server I play on."
I told her I was coming to HER for parenting advice when we reproduce someday and create an uber-nerd like us.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:16 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am so happy that my really embarrassing USENET posts appear to all be somewhere past the event horizon of googleability.

Yes, I was relieved as well when that happened; all those TMI self-revelations and pointless flame-wars with feckless trolls, posted under my real name Judas Priest WHAT WAS I THINKING. Of course, one of the reasons why they were buried is that more people with my not-terribly-common-but-common-enough name were coming online or being written about by others, so the first several pages of Google results are for doppelgangers who have been, or are, quite successful and well-known in their fields. Oh, well.

not really a David Bowie character in RL



except in my dreams

posted by Halloween Jack at 8:59 AM on January 28, 2011


yeah. alt.tasteless kept me sane for a couple of years, but i'm glad the rest of the world can no longer read adjective-laden descriptions of my menstrual flow.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:19 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blimey. I'm glad I only got online in time for rotten.com.
posted by mippy at 10:05 AM on January 28, 2011


If you know just the right search terms, you can still find my slightly embarrassing posts (under my real name, no less) on a certain set of Usenet boards. I dread the day someone who interviews me for a job goes deeper than the typical "check first page of google results for her real name" exam.

And let's not even get into how I spent my time on Yahoo chats - on a computer in the center of the house, with parents constantly threatening to look over my shoulder.

Come to think of it, did you guys all have computers in your rooms back in the day, or are we a whole generation of people who were shameless enough teenagers to carry on our internet flirtations+ right out where where our little sisters and brothers could stroll by and laugh at the screen at any moment?
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 10:54 AM on January 28, 2011


"M-net, dude. M-netters knew how to party. Grexers were lame like what."

Oh, Gawd, I still remember Peter and Julia's terrible nascent romance over M-net. Grexers did have the neckbeards, but they were also the ones always playing Mao at NAC and had way better drugs.
posted by klangklangston at 10:55 AM on January 28, 2011


Come to think of it, did you guys all have computers in your rooms back in the day, or are we a whole generation of people who were shameless enough teenagers to carry on our internet flirtations+ right out where where our little sisters and brothers could stroll by and laugh at the screen at any moment?

I eventually had a computer in my room, a Gateway 2000 P5-75. (Which is, in fact, currently sitting in a place of honor next to my desk at work.)

It is probably not possible to express sufficient gratitude for my dad cosigning on the loan that bought it...
posted by brennen at 1:54 PM on January 28, 2011


Come to think of it, did you guys all have computers in your rooms back in the day, or are we a whole generation of people who were shameless enough teenagers to carry on our internet flirtations+ right out where where our little sisters and brothers could stroll by and laugh at the screen at any moment?

Our family computer was in the "home office", which was separated from the family room by most of a wall - quite secluded actually, considering that I do most of my home-computing on the couch with a netbook in my lap.

I do remember that for a long time we only had one phone line, so my mother would come home from some evening meeting and be like, "I tried to call you but the line was tied up! I KNOW you've were on the internet the whole time I was gone!" Eventually she stopped fighting and got a second line for the modem, and I could download X-Files stills in relative peace.

Thankfully my brother was a comic-book-and-D&D-type nerd, so he didn't use the internet until he discovered computer games and LAN parties.
posted by muddgirl at 2:14 PM on January 28, 2011


OH HAI ALT.TV.X-FILES!
posted by ersatzkat at 3:12 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought I grew up with the internet, but now I'm realizing what a latecomer I was. My first memories of the internet are AOL chatrooms and "keyword"s and "unsend"ing email, followed by a lot of games. For these games I had to "download" "plugins" to help run the game. I remember being afraid they were viruses at first, then giving up and "download"ing them anyway. But my adolescence was spent on myspace, in chatrooms with people way older than me, never pretending. I felt very mature and cool. I had a "romance" with a man I'd never meet starting when I was a teen and lasting until a year after I graduated high school. I was an idiot.
posted by Night_owl at 4:15 PM on January 28, 2011


"I tried to call you but the line was tied up! I KNOW you've were on the internet the whole time I was gone!"

"The receiver must not have been on the phone base, mum!"
posted by ersatz at 7:38 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread delights me after a really long week.
Brings back memories of my own youthful frolics when modems actually had to screech and squawk to get you to the Internet.
I learned to touch type at insane speeds within weeks of signing on to AOL. Ran a writing group for my fellow high schoolers in a chat room. (My cofounder lived across the country. We were official AOL contractors for doing this!)

And then there was the Red Dragon Inn.
Freeform online gaming. Like... D&D meets Cheers. All ages, all character types. Puns. in-character nonsense from multiple genres. Swordfights mediated by a dice-rolling code someone had hacked together.
And some surprisingly real conversations and friendships I value to this day.
posted by SaharaRose at 7:53 PM on January 28, 2011


Yeah, the internet went to shit when you stopped having to pay for games by the hour.
posted by Justinian at 9:08 PM on January 28, 2011


hanging round the DJ decks in HMV Reading

If that HMV was as crummy as it was when I lived in Reading, that's truly mean.
posted by dw at 12:34 AM on January 29, 2011


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