Connecting in the ‘Olden Days’
This started out as a reply to someone’s post I found on Fetlife.com’s ‘Fresh & Pervy’ board. As I was writing, it started to take on a life of it’s own. As my writing and thinking processes often do. So instead of an obscure answer, it’s something else entirely.
What did we Doms do before technology took over everything? We got frustrated…repeatedly. “Sherman? Set the WABAC machine to the mid-1980s please…thank you”
For all the time that you and many others have spent texting one another, back in the day, it was done by snail mail. And telephone. And btw, you had to pay for long distance service…in some cases, you could rack up a $1000+ phone bill if you weren’t careful. Did you want to send a picture to someone? Break out the 35 mm camera, or the polaroid, because that’s all you had to take pictures with. Since Polaroids weren’t all that prevalent (not to mention the pictures sucked) more than likely you either had a Kodak, Minolta or some other type of camera that used film that had to be developed. Yup…and unless you had a darkroom in your basement, and had the know-how to develop the film, more than likely someone else was going to be looking at what you trained your camera on. So the likelihood that you’re going to be doing any questionable shots was really REALLY low.
How did you meet people? Well, you didn’t have a lot of options, there’s no internet, there are very few munches, and what few there are, are in large cities like LA, SF & NYC. That’s about it. There are racy magazines that have classified ads in them, but for the most part, they’re people that are asking readers to send money for racy pictures. And they’re tantamount to what net trolls are today. They’re making money and giving virtually nothing in return.
But I digress.
I met my first play partners over Compuserve. It was a cutting edge (for the time) computer service that had articles and news to read and a chat service that was called CB. It had channels (Channel 10 was the BDSM themed venue btw) and people were able to connect their computers to the mainframe via smaller computers that were referred to as ‘nodes’. It was slow, but it worked for the most part. But still, it took a long time to get to know someone, because all you had to do was type. And people used handles. So they didn’t always express themselves accurately..and that caused problems when they decided to meet.
Meeting people could be a bit dicey too. This was all very new. And it went through growing pains. A lot of them. Meeting my first online friend was very very nerve-wracking. I knew them, but again I didn’t know them, since we’d only been typing back and forth for a few months, and had talked on the phone a few times. Going to meet someone in a foreign place (New Jersey), driving about 2 hours and then actually meeting them face to face…was a really big step for someone in their late teens. I’m sure I skipped a lot of the rules we all take for granted today. There was no ‘safe call’, the concept didn’t really exist back then. Our meeting wasn’t in a coffee shop, it was at the friend’s apartment. I ended up spending the night. All of these things again are pretty much listed as major no-nos today, but back then, who was to tell you that it was inherently dangerous? Pretty much no one.
My wife and I met over Compuserve as well. She lived in a different part of New York State, and I actually made a mistake, thinking that she lived near NYC when in fact she lived about 2 hours away from Buffalo. By the time I figured it out, I was already enamored…and we ended up getting married in 1993. Again, a very new concept…we both knew people that had gotten together over the service, I was even invited to an online marriage service between two kinksters…it was hosted on Channel 10 in part. They were able to have someone on a laptop tapping away on the keyboard, translating the service for everyone that was observing.
She and I didn’t bother with that, FWIW. But friends that I made on Compuserve I still have today.
But bottom line, it was a different time, and it wasn’t easy. Though nowadays it seems just as difficult, even though technology has managed to bring us closer. (And in many ways, pushed us further apart)