It’s like a flashback - I touch the Home Row…he touches me.
I type my first letters, unravel my first thought, layers of emotions are peeled off, leaving me as vulnerable and naked as the first time. It’s so unfamiliar yet exciting, spine tingling and painful.
This is a big step for me. I’m still hesitant to expose myself.
I’ve spent the first few awkward moments wondering if my body was fit enough. Then I realize he’ll never see it. Great! Now I’ll spend the next few wondering if he’ll be attracted to me, without the perfect abs, the designer clothing, the makeup and everything else we mistakenly use to seem ideal in another persons eyes.
AAUGHH! What is it about sending out the first email to someone you have even the remotest feelings for that makes you so nervous? I mean, it’s not as if I’m trying to convince him to procreate with me. I’m just looking to come across as smart, sassy and funny.
Not too much too ask for, right?
So why is it that with every keystroke I feel like I’m putting on more layers than taking off? Brick by brick, I’m building a wall to protect myself from what might be waiting for me on the other side of a @dot-com address.
This is precisely why we ask for email addresses – it’s easier than speaking face to face and you can avoid those deadly silences that occur during your first phone conversation. Personally, I appreciate the freedom that comes with emailing. If I were left without its saving grace, I’d be reduced to relying on my menu of stupidity to guide the way. Believe me, those choices don’t exactly paint me in a flattering light, they make me seem, how shall we say, special, and not in the ‘rare/extraordinary’ sort of way.
I instantly become that android from a sci-fi flick; suddenly as I come across an obstacle, before my eyes appear a screen with well-calculated options based on the probabilities of a good outcome. Got this picture in your head?
OK, now knock out the words well-calculated and good outcome. We’ll keep probabilities but let’s crop it down to probable, because it’s more than probable that these options will appear instead:
c. stutter like Rain Man
d. all of the above – guaranteed to be the floor show option
What is that! It’s as if I confused the emergency procedure on what to do if you’re on fire with meeting a guy - Stop, Drop, and Roll!
I’m witty! I’m intelligent. All I want is to convey that in this email. It should all be so simple. I’m trying to keep some perspective here - after all they’re just words, sentences, paragraphs and maybe a Love, The Politics Chick thrown in somewhere at the end.
The reality is that if you say something stupid in your first email your chances could be blown, forever. Face-to-face advantages are lost in realm of cyberspace; a person can’t just overlook your mistakes and focus on you. When you’re face-to-face, you might be thinking… “God, he pronounces that word wrong one more time, I’ll scream.”
But, you could become oblivious to this if perhaps the words are accompanied by an exotic accent. Maybe it works better for you if you have the ability to focus in on their beautiful face. “Yeah,” you keep telling yourself, “stare at their wonderful face and I’ll get through this dreadful, ungrammatical conversation.”
But with email, accidentally misspell a word (or oftentimes, words) and the person on the receiving end is thinking, ‘Well, she never won any spelling bees, did she?’ If you put your commas and semicolons in the wrong place, you could have meant to convey your feelings one way but you now you’ve goofed, leaving the receiver ample opportunity to read something else into it - now you’re being served with a restraining order.
Factor in the time you’ll spend waiting for a response back, while you try not to obsess over the reaction and conclusions the other person will be drawing from your email, and now you’re dealing with a person a little less stable than before they had pressed SEND.
It’s completely mind-blowing to know that our personalities are out there; traveling through cables, sitting in in-boxes, waiting to be opened, judged, and sentenced. Come on! Look at what it’s doing to us! Here we are sitting in front of our computers chanting these crazed mantras: “Come on, baby…save my email…save me, baby…press save…don’t delete me…file me in your folder.”
I once received an email that was so dorky, I just have to believe that the pressure of the first email got to him and caused him to write: “Yes my little sunflower. Do you like that? Because that’s what you remind me of. You will wilt unless you let me water you (I suppose that means let me take you out on a date and feed me. God, I hope that’s what it meant). Sunflower, your petals are so pretty.” Hey, I’m sure he didn’t mean to sound psychotic. But that night, I had a nightmare about some rabid gardener ringing my doorbell, trying to coerce me into going out with him.
I’m telling you this because you need to stop and think. Please stop and think about what you about to say! You can’t bring that email back after you’ve pressed send no matter how you cry and repeat over and over ‘No, no’. There is no second e-mail virginity! At least not a legal one. You know what I’m referring to. So if you do have his/her password, please remember that it is a violation, not to mention somehow very morally wrong to pry into another persons email without permission.
I’m stressing now. Somewhere in the world, things more pressing than my first email are taking place. But I’m not aware of them, I’m too busy being intimidated by the sins my keyboard has yet to commit. But then again, his email address is burning a hole through my pocket, and I get all tingly just knowing that I can make direct contact with him. Perhaps he’ll like my message so much that it compels him to read it over and over and over again. This could spawn continuous emailing, relating, online laughing, late night chatting on instant messenger. Somewhere in between breaths, when my fingers are close to pressing SEND, I want to forget all the worrying and end it all with a press of a button.
You wait and wait until you think the right one has come along…but is he worthy?
Will the return email live up to your expectations? Will he? Everything’s so clumsy, exciting, spine tingling and painful in the beginning…but you’ve just got to keep on going…right? I mean, you only lose your virginity once.