The summer before I entered high school, I was in terrible shape. Unattractive, painfully dorky and socially unaware, I walked into summer school expecting some sort of teen movie dream, but got a harsh dose of reality instead. Rather than attempt to make the best of it, I spent most of that summer on online anime roleplaying forums like the intense Indoor Kid that I am. And through one of these, I met my sixteen year-old French Neo-Nazi Internet boyfriend, King.*
King and I met on a sunny Saturday in June. Naturally, I had been inside since returning from summer school at 1:00 p.m. the day before. After our characters interacted for a while, we began private messaging each other and, after a week of that, moved onto AIM. At this point, he was just a sixteen year-old (so mature) French (so exotic) guy who had similar interests to mine. All of this seemed exciting, a little dangerous — because I definitely could not tell my mom — and his broken English was cute and I was so into all of it.
Anyhow, this courtship continued strangely and without much excitement. It involved him sending me pictures of him in cosplay. Obviously, we were having a whirlwind romance. We decided that we were officially dating in July. This really just meant that we made a more pointed effort to talk to one another, despite time differences. Again, living the dream.
Anyhow, things were going swimmingly until the beginning of August, when we had this conversation:
Him: oh crap. gotta go.
Him: a rally.
Him: like, a nazi rally. not a big deal. i’m going with my friend.
Claire: Well. This may be a bad time to say this, but I’m Jewish.**
There were a few stuttering, uncomfortable responses from the both of us and after, resounding silence.
Our courtship quickly ended and I did not keep in touch. Three months later I got a singular message telling me that we were officially broken-up. I wasn’t too upset– by then my braces were gone, my new hobbies involved me seeing the sun and I had even made a few friends. I had also sworn off anime roleplaying — the people I met in Harry Potter roleplays were not usually Nazis, and therefore superior.
I guess I learned a few lessons from this. Firstly, don’t trust anyone on the Internet. Secondly, don’t trust anyone on the Internet. Thirdly, perhaps holing yourself up and trying to use escapism to deal with your problems rather than facing them head-on is a bad idea. But mostly, don’t trust anyone on the Internet.
*We never exchanged actual names, King and I, but rather called each other endearingly by parts of our online usernames. Which is kind of messed up. The more that I think about this relationship, the more I realize just how much I probably should not be broadcasting this to the Internet.
**The most tactful way I could think of to tell him.