My statistics teacher said the computer lab had several VAX units which could be used to communicate with others who were logged onto the same system. It wasn’t email in the sense that you could send a message to others and they received it later. The other person had to already be logged on. The way to find this out was to go on the VAX and enter “finger” followed by the person’s name. I am not joking. Don't believe me? Check this out. Needless to say, I thought a number of nasty thoughts when looking for various females I was acquainted with.
The thing I most enjoyed was when someone had forgotten to close their VAX account before going to their next class. Most people who came across this would simply close out the other person's session and open up their own, but not me. I proceeded to “finger” a number of people that I knew and play with them a bit. I really went to town one morning.
I saw my high school friend, Brian, was on, so pretended that I was a woman interested in him. At first, he was suspicious, but then came around. After about 10 minutes, I looked up at the clock and saw that I needed to leave for my next class. Yikes! I had to burst his bubble in that time, so he wouldn’t contact the person whose identity I’d temporarily hijacked. I basically said I’d changed my mind and wasn’t interested in pursuing him.
I did a similar trick with a guy named Andy who was gay. We were in Hardee’s one evening and he asked me if I knew who tre321 (the identity I borrowed) was. It took all I had not to bust out laughing, but I was able to keep it together.
I actually met a woman in this way. We chatted on the VAX, fingered each other a few times, and ended up meeting for dinner at Perkins. We were both in relationships, so didn’t go any further, but I have to admit it was quite cool going out with a total stranger. By the way, her nickname was Squeaky. I sometimes wish I’d found out why.
Lastly, I met a cute couple one evening though the VAX. We had been chatting on it without knowing what the other looked like, so agreed to meet downstairs at a specific time. We talked for a bit, laughed a little and then went on our way. About a week later, the boyfriend contacted me and asked if I wanted to get together. I said, “Sure” and we went to a pizza joint which was located just a few blocks from the residence hall where I lived (It was called Fingall Hall, but I always referred to it as “Finger Hall”). We talked a great deal at Papa John’s, got to know each other better. He said sometimes he wasn’t sure if he wanted to be with his girlfriend for the long haul. I said this was normal. He gradually brought up the subject of being attracted to males at times. I let him share his feelings, not having any fear of hanging out with someone who may have homosexual tendencies (as mentioned above, I already had a friend that was gay).
After our dinner, we headed to my place for a short time. We talked some more and he stated that he’d like to experiment with a man one day to see if that was his actual preference. He strongly implied that he’d like me to be the one, but I said I was hetero and that was that. Poor guy, going out with a girl which is the supposed norm, but having feelings for men.
I’m sure he’s decided which way to go all these years later, but from time to time, when thinking of the angst he displayed, I can’t help but feel that non-judgment is one of the most important qualities one can have in life.