Friday, July 07, 2006

Emailing With Boys (With a Long Tangent into 1994)

  1. Today I was emailing with two boys. One single and one married. I had no choice but to end one of the conversations with a few direct sentences that reminded me of a time, eleven and a half years ago, when a similar tone was spoken to me.

  2. During the summer of 1994 I was emailing back and forth with a boy who I'd been friends with for a few years, and I am sure that the NSA was reading our email. We both had summer jobs -- his in Europe and mine in Maryland -- and we wrote back and forth to each other from our work email accounts over lunch hours and while on breaks. Him from the Swiss bank where he worked. Me from the NSA.

  3. I'm hoping that the government employee in charge of determining that I was not sending America's math secrets to the Swiss was amused by my pride in having a summer fling with a coworker, his tales of sleeping with a Swiss woman who loved someone else, my hints at hoping to find a fall fling when I returned to Dartmouth in the fall, and his suggestion that we hook up when we were back in Hanover.

  4. It was a good fall: He was starting his senior year, and I was finishing up my last three courses that I needed to graduate (real analysis and two electives). He still pined for the Swiss woman and was waiting for another woman (a junior in computer science) to become single so that he could date her. They eventually got engaged. In the meantime we had our fall fling. He gave me mono which served as a fantastic excuse for me to take incompletes in two courses giving me the time I needed to do the work to pull out the grades I needed to finally graduate and be done with Dartmouth College. Of all the guys I just slept with (with no pretense of dating), he was my favorite. He offered to beat up this guy on my behalf.

  5. One night during that fall I was lying next to him and he said, "Don't get attached."

  6. At the time I was confused. What did he mean? Of course I said, "I'm not." Still, all these years later he is on the short list of guys who I wouldn't mind getting back into contact with. Maybe just a few emails?

  7. Today one of the email conversations I was having crossed over from mild and meaningless flirting to inappropriate directness. This was the second time that a line had been crossed. No way could I let this continue to a third strike.

  8. I would have liked to have had this conversation in person, but I wasn't up to trying to "just run into" him so that I could deliver a decisive sentence. Instead I sent a short email stating: This can never lead anywhere.