Ben gave me the link to the New York Times Magazine article about teenage gays turning to the Internet to find information, reflections of themselves, etc.
"Lonely Gay Teen Seeking Same: How Jeffrey found friendship, sex, heartache / and himself / online" wasn't an amazing example of journalism, in my opinion, especially for something as gut-wrenching as the plight of young people trying to find themselves. Nevertheless, there were some really memorable moments in the long, long, long piece (and it's amazing I even got through the whole thing since my attention span for online articles is really short).
Jeffrey told me once, speaking of his relationship with C.: "I think it's almost like an accelerated relationship. You can't go out to the movies, so there's nothing to fill the space. You have to talk. It creates this intimacy between you; it draws you closer. Our relationship isn't based on looks or financial status or anything physical. There's no space fillers, because you can't just sit there for 15 minutes and not say anything."
This is actually how I feel about the few online relationships I've cultivated. I've never really developed anything romantic online, but, with Ben, for instance, with whom I speak, well, a lot, there is so much knowlege shared between us. Add the hours of IM to the ability to read my thoughts on a daily basis on my site. I always compare it to living in a dorm. No matter how close you think you are to you high school friends, living in a dorm for just one semester can yield intensely personal friendships because you're just so close both physically and emotionally, 24/7, really.
Jeffrey and I left the restaurant and drove around his town in the thick, dusty light of sunset. It took all of 10 minutes. We passed his high school, where, he said, separate proms and homecomings are held for black and white kids. We joggled over train tracks into the shell of downtown. It was such a quiet place. "I feel like an alien here," Jeffrey said, and it wasn't hard to see why he lunged so heedlessly at something else, or why losing it had left him feeling empty-handed.
It's amazing to me that places like this still exist. I mean, it's not hard to imagine that Jeffrey could live in a homophobic town, but one that's segregated?! Insane.
Am I naive? Perhaps. Lucky? Certainly.