...the Perils of an Internet Presence
A while ago, I thought I would be able to start a small Internet business. It was textile art-based, and, possibly, ill-conceived. The truth is, when my mother's health started to fade and I started to feel ill (not knowing that I had a medical condition myself), I just wasn't excited about it. The website is still out there, hosted on the space provided by the Sasquatch's e-mail account, god bless him. There it sits, with my theoretical products and stories of my travels in Russia and Central Asia. There's a picture of me on the site - I'm standing on the bank of the Moskva, across from the Kremlin (right by the Kinoteatr Udarnik) smiling and wearing the worst haircut in recorded history.
Pardon me, ma'am, but is that a squirrel on your head???
It's not a particularly attractive photograph. Hell, it's so fuzzy, you can barely tell it's a woman. (Hey, check out the big guy in pastels with the squirrel on his head!!) Yet, somehow, it has garnered me a worldwide fanbase of uber-creepy guys. Fat fetishists. Scary-ass men who like to write me e-mail and offer up very personal statistics and want to know about any scars I might have and what is your bra size, please?
For some reason, there appears to be a pocket of overeager fans of the rotund in Scandanavia. I get the occasional bizarre e-mail from Sven or Bjorn wanting to meet me. One enterprising and particularly unsavory man from the Netherlands figured out my phone number and called at 3 a.m., asking some deeply personal questions. I said I was not "Merujo" but her roommate. Merujo was deceased. She had been eaten by rats. (That, by the way, is my standard answer when people are not to be found. They have been eaten by rats. Again with the rodents. Oy vey!) Hey, don't ask for logic when a heavy breathing Nederlander calls asking about hairy legs and the kilo weight of a single breast in the middle of the night!
It's an unpleasant feeling. I'm used to late night phone calls overseas, but that's usually me, calling Ukrainian coal miners and Kazakh dairy owners about their "longterm professional goals." Lovelorn Euro-flake chubby chasers. Dude, that's something very, very different.
Now, once, a loony American sent me not only an e-mail, but a photo of himself. His name was Thor. Thor sent a boudoir shot of himself, stretched out on a canopied bed, with a mural of the pines of Rome in the background. Not even an intensely soft-filtered lense could hide the fact that Thor was sporting some, uh, "pine" of his own. (I laughingly dubbed it "Thor's Hammer.") Thor was a tall Scandahooligan-American, and apparently very certain that I was looking for some hot Swedish love. He was mistaken. Amusingly enough, he provided me with his location... turns out, he was in my relatively small home town in Illinois, where friends of mine know all the Svensk folk in town.
I forwarded Thor (and his hammer) to some of my friends, and, in response, I got one message reading, "Oh dear lord, I think I went to Lutheran summer camp with him!" I let Thor know he might want to be a bit more discreet with sharing his gifts, that we were from the same town, and we might know some people in common. That was the last I ever heard from him.
Tonight, I received e-mail that opens up a whole new continent to me. Scandanavia, step back! Africa is in da house!
PRETTY LADY! I HAVE SEEN YOUR VISION OF FACE. I WANT TO LOVE YOU! I AM AFRICA MAN. I AM BIG TO PLEASE YOU! I AM MANDINKA WARRIOR FOR YOUR LOVE! I WILL BE AFRICA AMERICA MAN WITH YOU. AMERICAN WOMAN LOVE ME! I KISS YOU!
Wow. Now, that's some powerful prose. I didn't know there was a Mandinka warrior for my love out there. I would have felt better had he closed with "BURMA SHAVE!"
I'm bringing a Jell-o salad.
I supposed I should feel flattered, but instead, I'm just creeped out. I would love to have a partner in this life, but odd men who scream from 8,000 miles away just don't cut it. I just attract the oddballs. When I called the Sasquatch last night after my encounter with the horny gas station attendant, I said to him, "Why can't it be a nice guy who offers me attention?" And the Sasquatch said, "Nice guys don't hit on women over intercoms."
And nice guys, Mandinka warriors or not, don't hit on women in screaming capital letters in response to fuzzy Internet photos.
Time for bed...