So I’ve reached some lows in my day — hell, we all have. You take them as they come. Some you laugh with your friends about, such as the countless hours I’ve spent dressed as a woman for one reason or another. Others you cry in solitude about, such as the countless hours I’ve spent dressed as a woman for one reason or another.

Sadly, however, I must lament that a few weeks back, with one quick sentence spoken to the “cute girl from class,” the perpetual subject of my classtime pastime of staring, I feel as if I’ve reached a new low. It occurred after class, when I found myself in an unexpected conversation with this theretofore unapproachable gal. Things were going well, but I had to run, and it slipped.

“Hey, I’d like to talk with you some more — can I get your IM name?”In retrospect, I must say that she handled the question well.As for me, in addition to the inherent shame in kicking game for a screen name, a long string of instant messenging politics was just beginning.

After getting back to my room and eagerly plopping “SnuggleBubbles16” into my “Hunniez” folder, I sat back and began to wonder just how long I should wait before IMing her. This is, after all, a whole new forum for seduction — normal rules of phone calling no longer apply.

Obviously, I couldn’t IM her immediately — but how long was too long to wait? Distraught, I checked the away messages of everyone on my list. I then decided that I would let her give me the green light — I would just watch her away message, which read “obv @ lib, brb” at the time — for some reference to our class, which I could then make a coy remark about. I had my strategy. Gleefully, I checked the away messages of everyone on my list.

My opportunity, as it turned out, presented itself a mere three hours later. Fortunately, I had stationed myself at my computer the entire time, mastering the art of the away-message rapid-right-click. I was tipped off by the telltale away-message-indicator “down-n-up,” a sure sign of a switch, and I employed my newly honed right click mechanics to check out her new away. Sure enough, she featured a message bemoaning our class’s homework assignment. The trap was set.

Next came the net — typing at near-breakfinger pace, I slipped her the line — “lol, our assignment is def ridic, I don’t want to do it, let’s go to Belgium instead.” Grammar notwithstanding, it was a flirtatiously inane example of pure messaging gold. Now all I could do was wait. Nervously, I checked the away messages of everyone on my list.

But rest assured that my anguish was brief, for just moments later the object of my online eye replied with a quick, “LOL, Neil?” Instantly, my heart began to race — her response couldn’t have been better. She not only made a caps-lock power move with her counter-LOL, but also admitted instant recognition of my inimitable wit with a smooth name-drop. Suddenly the dull gray of the IM box was shining with a new luster, and the level of our conversation reached that of “epic” as I pounded away at the keyboard for hours unending, interrupted only when my roommate asked to borrow my car to take his girlfriend out to dinner. We talked well into the night, relenting only when a fourteen-line string of consonants signified that she had passed out on her keyboard. Tired yet satisfied, I checked the away messages of everyone on my list and headed to bed.

The next time I saw her, in class two days later, the best I could offer was a nervous wave before running away. But that night, the chair at my computer seemed suddenly that much more comfortable as another one of our conversations raged on. My roommate and his girlfriend may have been cuddled up on our futon watching a movie, but I heard not a sound of it. I was mesmerized in the sweet words that were popping up on my monitor. Yet again the night ended perfectly, and I suddenly found myself with another dilemma: how fast should I move this relationship along? Should I close with the classic ? Dare I employ an emoticon? Not wanting her to think I was only in it for the sex, I settled for a telling-yet-restrained, “ttyl, hun.” The ‘hun’ was clutch, and she loved it. Enamored, I checked the away messages of everyone on my list and fell blissfully asleep.

We had a weekend’s worth of great conversations before I saw her again in class, and thankfully I managed a smile to her before ducking frantically behind a wall. Little did I know that just a few hours later we’d be having our most decisive online chat yet. It started out typically, but soon moved onto the subject of each other and us and just how happy we each were with the progression of our intimacy. It felt like perfect timing — like our relationship had just matured and was now really on a roll.

Finally, as it grew late and with an assignment pending, I decided it was time. I dropped a “Sweet dreams, baby” and broke out the kissy face emoticon. Then, I froze in anticipation — was it too soon? Too much? But sure enough, she came right back with the blush-face emoticon, and then a kissy face of her own. And that was that. Even though my roommate and his girlfriend were displaying their own manner of affection as they shagged on the floor behind me, it couldn’t ruin this blissful moment.

It was a moment frozen in time — a beautiful epiphany when I realized that this girl could be the one. Right then, I decreed, my online player days were over. No longer would I be Don Juanline, scourge of IM affection. No, I knew I had found the girl I could spend the rest of my life with.

As long as I never have to actually talk to her.

Janowitz can be reached at

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