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Lexis and Logos

FORM VS CONTENT

Webcamming with a senior man from a distance of 6000 miles is not exactly dating — but wait. The plot thickens.

WEBSTALKER, as you know from my previous post, is a Greek from Corfu. He lived in Philadelphia for 16 years, so his English speech is okay, but his first email contact was nearly unintelligible.  This made me wary about where the relationship could go — this and the fact that the last time I saw him he was wearing the same cabana set my Uncle Reuben wore in 1954 at the opening of the Fontainebleau Hotel. 

 swimsuit1958

When he got home to Corfu, WEBSTALKER wanted to communicate by webcam. He sensed that he could lose out with a few misplaced strokes of the keyboard. I signed up for Yahoo Messenger and emailed WEBSTALKER that I was ready for his call. I didn’t have to wait long. The little video screen popped right up, and I wondered what had happened to the good looking senior man I had encountered in a party atmosphere.

He appeared against a black background, wearing a black sweatshirt. The only light came from the computer screen, which bathed his face in electronic green and made his large liquid eyes look ghostly.  Of course, it was one a.m. in his part of the world, whereas I was just getting home from work. He was pleasant and in a jovial mood, but as minutes ticked away I sensed that the conversation wasn’t going to end unless I ended it, and I did.

 The young man inside broken TV

The next weeks were not the romantic interlude I had hoped for. They were more like a siege. Imagine a shadowy presence curled inside your computer so that any time you turned it on it was lurking there. As soon as I signed on, that little Yahoo Messenger face was there to direct me to our next video encounter.

At first it was energizing. He was SO happy to see me, so full of compliments rendered in his charming accent. Luckily I had watched a YouTube video on how to apply makeup for a webcam appearance. Hint: use extra eye shadow and mascara, and don’t forget the eyebrows – they fade to nothing on low-resolution video.

 THE TYRANNY OF PROMISED PLEASURE

After a few days, the urgency began to wear me down. At the end of each conversation he required a promise that I’d be back at a certain time the next day. I began to invent excuses. The birthday party of a grandchild was okay, but a concert or a theater production brought about passive aggressiveness. With whom was I attending these events? 

Ah, jealousy– it’s flattering at first.  A woman loves a man who aspires to possess her (though not one who thinks he actually DOES). I loved this side of WEBSTALKER for about 2 days. After that it was burdensome in the extreme.

Of course you want to say, “D-U-M-P-T-H-I-S-G-U-Y.”  What?  And miss the chance to sail the Ionian Sea with a man extolling my charms in the language of Eros and Aphrodite?  It wasn’t all bad. When we did settle in to a chat he told me how beautiful his island was, how steeped in history and culture. 

You should come here, he said emphatically and often. We’ll eat native fish pulled from the sea only minutes before it comes grilled to our table. We’ll dance all night, go swimming and yachting all day. I’m not sure why I grabbed at this.  Because I badly needed a fantasy? Because I actually thought I’d go? 

bathing suit 

Should I make the trip?  I wasn’t sure being with him in person would be any better than the webcam experience.  In the midst of my vacillating, a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived at my office.  There was a note that said YOU ARE MY CELESTAL (sic) STAR. PLEASE COME. Not my idea, grammatically, of a compelling invitation, but I found it touching, and the office staff was just blown away.

SAFETY IN NUMBERS

That I hardly knew this guy was a deterrent, but I was due for a vacation and I had a plan that would allow me to be both daring and decorous. I have friends who live in Crete, some 60 nautical miles south of Corfu. They thought the whole adventure was a hoot, and agreed without hesitation to meet me, suggesting the Dassia Chandris, a hotel with a great view of the sea and the mountains.

Announcing an intention to stay with friends in a hotel would avert the awkward possibility that WEBSTALKER would want me to stay with him. And if things didn’t work out, I knew I’d have a great time with Vic and Lena. If things DID work out, Vic and Lena know how to disappear.  What really happened?  Oh, boy. Check out my next post.

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