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I’ve made many online friends over the years.  Some have even translated into my real life.  Here is the story of just two of them:

Her name was Lace...“LaceyBaby” for those whom she encountered online.  It was my first day online (May 1997) and I had somehow found my way into a chat room.  Now this was something I had no idea existed but there was line after line of conversation rolling by me and I was instantly intrigued.  I’m not afraid to jump into a situation so jump in I did!  For reasons unknown to me, I was immediately accepted...appreciated for my sarcasm and ability to keep up.  Y’ see...I type almost as fast as I talk and I don’t have to look at the keyboard so I could read the conversation and type my responses without any trouble.  Anyway...LacieBaby was another smart-a** like me, and we connected immediately.  That first day, she sent me an instant message while I was in the chat room.  WHOA!  What’s THAT?  Yes, I didn’t know what to do with that box that suddenly appeared and she seemed to know it.  “Type in the bottom half of the box and hit send,” she wrote to me.  Okay...cool!  From there, we talked daily and it wasn’t long before she and I began talking on the phone at least once a day...usually more!

My husband was a little skeptical at first but once he heard our conversations he was fine with it.  He even talked to her on a few occasions.  I “met” her live-in boyfriend on the phone, too.  LaceyBaby taught me all the ins and outs of being on AOL; the chats, the instant messages (we referred to them as ims), attachments in e-mail, etc.  Before long, I was pretty adept and comfortable in my online world.

Many times I would talk to Lace about meeting...after all, she only lived 4 hours away.  The conversation always took the same turn...her b/f would not allow it.  She had a friend who experienced a tragic end as a result of an online “friend“.  Okay...this makes sense but I figured that, as we became closer and closer, she would feel that she could trust me.

After about 6 months, Lace and I had a falling out because of the interference and deception of another member of this chat room where we were now “regs” (regulars).  Lace completely shut me out...refused to speak to me in IM, chat, e-mail and wouldn’t accept my phone calls.  Over the next 6 months or so, i made a few attempts to contact her but she was resolve in her position.  I accepted it and moved on.

In early June of 1998, I was getting Kelly (then 6) ready for the local pageant she had entered.  The phone rang and my older daughter answered it and brought it to me.  Imagine my shock when I realized it was Lace!  We talked for a little while and I told her what was going on with me that day.  She said to be sure to let her know how Kelly did and we said goodbye.

Kelly won!  She was “Tiny Miss Colonial Days“.  When I tried to phone Lace that night, there was no answer.  She was not online (or had me blocked) so I tried again the next day.  No luck.  After a few more days, I phoned again and she answered the phone.  I said, “Lace?”  She said, “Who?”  I said, “It’s Linda.”  She said, “I’m sorry, Lace isn’t here.”  I asked when she would be back and was told, “I don’t know.”  Weird...I know it was her.  About a week later, I phoned and her b/f answered.  I asked him what was going on and he said that he didn’t feel at liberty to talk about it.  Lace no longer lived there and he didn’t know if or when she would be back.  He also shared with me that it was never HIM who would not meet...it was Lace.  She was the driving force behind not meeting.  

The chat room where we hung out was notorious for people who liked to get in other people’s business so I inquired and learned that Lace had been having an “affair” with another “reg” from the chat room.  To this day, I don’t know any more details and, frankly, haven’t much cared since I hung up with her b/f.  This experience jaded me for a long time...I did not trust people online.

Then there was Michael.  He and I “met” in that chat room, as well.  It was an innocent relationship in that we talked about our families, spouses, jobs, etc.  I’m not going to lie, on occasion we did talk about things we probably shouldn’t have been talking about but, in the end, we were just friends.  I made the mistake of “introducing” him to another person from the chat room and she immediately created that third wheel mentality within our friendships.  He said this, she said that....blah, blah, blah!  

On of the members of the chat room decided to plan a “bash” in Columbus OH over the weekend of my birthday that year and my girlfriend from across town and I decided to go and meet these people we spent too much of our time with online.  While there were more than 30 people planning to attend the weekend fun, Michael was the one I was really looking forward to meeting.  It was a very fun weekend...Michael and his wife came and we got to know each other a little.  Michael and I sat by the pool ALL day on Saturday and talked.   I shared with Michael that there was something fishy about Casey, the girl i’d introduced him to, and he wouldn’t have it.  He was very defensive of her in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.  When the weekend was over, and we were pulling away I began to cry and couldn’t stop.  I’m not sure why, even to this day.  I suspect it was because I knew I’d never see him again.  I’m not sure why I thought I’d want to see him again but, as is human nature, I guess we want what we can’t have?

Not long after the bash, it all came out.  Casey was lying (was her name even Casey?)...BIG TIME.  Pretty much everything she had told us was a lie.  Michael took the position of understanding...I did not.  I have never spoken to her since and, in the end, it cost me my friendship with Michael.

For many years, i kept my “friendships” in real time and did not get close to people who i met online.  I haven’t been part of that chatroom, or any other, for many years and frankly, i don’t miss it.  On many occasion, people from that chatroom have tried to get in touch with me but i’m simply not interested.  It served a purpose in my life at the time but it no longer holds any fascination for me.  I suspect that the draw for me was the social aspect...i had three very young children and i didn’t have to leave home to get my social “fix“.  

Being a part of the Fab40 has renewed my faith in the online community.  I think that the Internet as a whole has more credibility than it once did and i also believe that finding a forum of woman (and a few men) who are looking for the same thing as i am, makes all the difference.

Cheers!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • I’ve had some tremendous luck with online relationships.

      That’s not to say I haven’t been caught up in chat room dramas, because if you put yourself in the middle of them, well... there you are!

      However, a very close friend and I were actually online friends for about 6 months before we ever realized we worked at the same grocery store! I was the front end manager and she worked in the bakery. It was baffling that we were both so ‘private’ about our real lives that we hadn’t put it together before that.

      I also have a dear, dear online friend that I’ve chatted with for probably about 11 years now. We’ve never met in person, and sometimes will go months without “running into each other” online, but we always pick right back up where we left off and I really value her friendship.

      And, I met my handsome hubby online, too!

      Fab40 is nice in that there isn’t any “trolling“, looking for hook-up. You can’t hardly go to a game site or online social community anymore without someone popping up with that old standard “a/s/l??“. Ugh!

      Great post, Linda!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • I am so sorry those friendships turned out that way.

      I have met two of my online frenz. They now are a couple of my best friends. One is in NY, she came out and stayed a weekend with me. The other is in arizona, we get the familes together yearly!  

      I have had a couple ‘falling’ outs. It was hard, but had to move on.

      I talk to about 10 or so frenz on the phone at least once a week.  

      I tell people, as long as you can handle sarcasm, we will get along just fine!! lol



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Darla5 wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • Daphne,

      WoW... What a story. I guess people can be anything they  want to be online. This is new for me. I never really got on this kind of website before until I found this site about a month ago. I guess I had beginners luck.

      I look forward to what I will learn from all of you. I have really enjoyed reading about your family. The story that you wrote about the man that reminded you of your Dad was so touching to me.  

      Maybe, we can chalk in up to being in our 40’s. More wisdom with these years of ours. Whatever it is, I am glad your on this site and hopefully you will never go through that nightmare again.

      Have a good night!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marie Hempsey wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • Interesting story! I went into my first chat room in 1998...October, wow it is about 10 years ago this week. Anyway, my husband and i belonged to a couple of chat communities in Talk City and on MSN. One Sunday morning my husband was chatting in one of our frequented rooms, ( i only ever frequented One talk City chat room, 3 over the year sin MSN, One i am still apart of today...all woman...no bullcrap in there, if there is the troublemaker gets BOOTED! Immediately! and now...this  place and i think....i am here to stay) Ok..so my hubby meets a woman who just hapens to live in Northern Ireland and her son was picked to come to America with the program we are involved with ( totally fate here). He comes up and wakes me up and says...“you have to come talk to this lady, her son is coming with Project Children in a couple of weeks and she has no idea where he is going or who he is staying with, she is a mess” It was EARLY and i was confused...LOL. I got on the computer and started talking..got her info, looked into where her son was going and all the families info, he was going to Queens in NYC. The paperwork said the family had a cat ( Project Children requires host families to submit that info in case of allergies) Ok, i get back to her online later and her son is allergic to cats...all packed and ready to go to the USA for the first time and here there is no host family.  We were already hosting a child and never thought about hosting another, but , alas....i had a brainstorm. Called Project Children’s chairman, asked if the family ok’s it, can the boy come here. They say yes, i go online talk to the boys mum, Jeanette and she thinks it is an awesome idea. We had been talking quite often by this time and everyone in the chat room we knew, knew us to be pretty cool. Anyway...we hosted Gary, her son that year 2002. He just spent his 7th summer with us this year and turned 18 while with us this year. His sister Chloe, has been coming since 2004. Jeanette and her husband came to the US this summer to stay with us for 4 weeks to celebrate my daughters graduation, this was their third visit to us since we met her in the chatroom and my daughter Kate went to Ireland to stay with them for a month. All because of the internet... Sorry this was so long but...i have a true success story when it comes to chat room friends and how cool it can be to develope a relationship. I have encountered some “whackos” over the years but i have pretty good weirdo radar and know when to stay away!

      Thanks for  sharing your story and listening to mine!
      Ree



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • Wow Linda - I have a Casey story too, but she actually ended up coming to my house (still telling lies) only to have her husband (maybe, who knows???) contact me later to tell me all sorts of things. And it was all related to our home church, so that made it doubly weird. I don't understand why people fabricate such elaborate lies about themselves. He said she was a drug addict, other sources told us they were both drug addicts. I learned a valuable lesson about trust, but it didn't keep me from ever trusting again. I think instinct and gut feelings go a LONG way. If something seems fishy, it probably is. That is not to say that we should doubt what others say. I really have given birth to twelve children. :) But have been on forums where the moderator was also several of the posters, and she was having regular debates with herself. LOL
      I have a completely different sense about Fab40. I think I am making some lifetime friends here, and if I am ever in NY again I'll definitely look you up. And I hope that any of you would do the same if you came to GA (or Colorado after our move.) I have met several online friends from CafeMom, and it was really fun. I am going to have to persuade them to move over here cuz I never 'see' them online anymore. :)  

      Sharing Hope,

      Dee Dee



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • OK, I only had my chat room cherry busted last month when I joined this site. 10-11 years for some of you? That blows my mind! I was just starting out on Hotmail in ‘98!

      Maybe my fear was meeting phonies. Or I just felt I wasn’t technically savvy enough to try it. I’ve always considered myself the possessor of a highly sophisticated BS meter, probably to the point that I don’t trust people who are actually genuine.  

      Here, I do feel I’ve made some genuine connections, with people I believe, and women who connect with my humor and views on life. Some people may not become true “friends,” but I like hearing their stories and points of view.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linni wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • what a great topic! im sorry you had to go through what you did Linda.. i can’t figure out why people have to be that way! i tell the truth always..i had only been to maybe 1 or 2 chat rooms, and didn’t like the feel of them.. so i never really got close to anyone there..

      I have met alot of wonderful people on the world wide web, and i am greatful that there is this place i can come too at anytime, and know there are women here who will answer honestly, and be there for me...

      none of my typing makes sence tonight.. sorry.. lol.. im tired and in need of sleep! LOL



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      (華娃娃) ChinaDoll wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • Honestly I am skeptical about chatroom as well as this site in the first place.  Sometimes wolves live among the sheep...I sometimes wonder if it is really You or if it is a He or someone else.  I observed before I jumped in but it did not take me long to dive in this community as some of you know.  However, I do have to warn everyone, be careful.  This community seems very genuine and loving to me.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cheryl Sharpton wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • I had a bad experience on a website once and that is all it took.  I have not joined another virtual community except standup4cancer and fab40.  I think I have some footprints on others but I don't share my feelings or personal thoughts.  I have found some high school friends on facebook and say hi how are you but that is it.  I do not get more personal than that.  I guess it is because most online communities have young energetic minds and I am an old tiffany lamp.  We just do not mix.  I too am concerned about giving away too much but Yana and fab40 have finally provided me with the comfort I needed to unveil some very private episodes in my life.  I thank God for this website because I needed to do this and fab40 provided the vehicle or better yet an outlet for my thoughts.  They had to go somewhere and sometimes I think my husband and mother need a break from having to always be there for me.  No one person or thing can be all things to anyone.  You know the saying - It takes a village...well, fab40 is my village.

      Just for the record I have never done the chat room thing.  I am new at this online world and being a babe in the woods I know I have much to learn about the folks who post.  

      Feathermaye what does a/s/l??".  mean.  I tried to google it but keep coming up with blanks.  Help!



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      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • I have done the chat room before...but honestly?...I found it boring..(and it was hard keeping up with all the different conversations filling up the screen so fast you miss half of what is being said)...When I was in the chat room ‘era’ I adapted this mentality that I still live by...When you meet someone...you‘re meeting their REPRESENTATIVE...I think it takes time and definately one-on-one meeting...possibly more than once before you MIGHT actually get to know the real person...

      Fortunate for me I’ve been blessed to meet some great women here on fab40, that I do believe are the real deal. One in particular..(you know who you are...lol...right back at ya!!)I think will be a lifetime friend to me...both on and off the internet...I just can’t wait for us to meet face to face...Sorry about this weekend dear friend...I believe that God has put the two of us together so that we can make a difference in each other’s lives...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • warriorprincess...that is so true what you wrote...fab40 is a comfortable, safe place to hang out and get a ‘fix‘..yes it does take a village..yes fab40 is THE village..lol



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • LOLOLOLOLOLOL...you are soooo funny...you know who you are...lol...you started that saying ya know...



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      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • Ya know???...bad gurl (smile)...good girl gone bad?



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      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • Teeky and Soulful, I know you two are gonna be real genuine friends, it just jumps off the screen. And you‘re both so bad!!!!! In a great way!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • lol..I’m the introvert teek...read the blog..innie or outie...lol



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • OMG!!!...you took a silly pill tonight...or shall we say sip...sip?...lol



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • cindy...whatever happens...she did it...I’m the innocent one here...You should see my halo...



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      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • Sisters are doing it for themselves!!!

      Soulful, it doesn’t matter that I know you‘re lying...HE knows you‘re lying!! But He’ll still getcha your halo, just a little tarnished! Hahaha!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • a/s/l is how chatroom conversations used to start... stands for age/sex/location, as in:

      How old are you?
      Guy or girl?
      Are you close enough for a hookup?

      Wow... I feel like a chat master knowing that. When some random guy says it to me now in a gameroom or something, I wanna throw things at him. That’s so yesterday, doooooode!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • lol...ur cool 2 cindy...come join us..come to the dark side...lol



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      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • ahhhh...i remember those days feather...it took a while for me to understand what a/s/l was...I was reading all the letters together for a while and thinking...what da hail???



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      Feathermaye wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • LMAO chinadoll!!

      Me thinks you understand more than you let on, sometimes.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • LMAO = laughing my a$$ off ;)



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      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • I was just thinking the same thing feather...me thinks chinadoll is pulling our legs...lol



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      (華娃娃) ChinaDoll wrote Oct 26, 2008
    • Didn’t you see my invite?  Really born in Hong Kong, China and living in Salt Lake, Utah.  May be it is very dry here so I have some dry humor.  BTW, is there wet humor?  Another one for my dictionary.  Ok la, I am heading to bed for I don’t want you all to have cramps tonight.



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      Rena Bennefield wrote Oct 27, 2008
    • **I have been online since 1989..I did the chat room  for awhile and had a few acquaintances.. I moved on to online backgammon..Played there and had a few ladies I chatted with..I got sick of the whole guy thing..They bugged the shit out of you to talk shit on there...Not Happening..Blah  Blah... I moved on to online video games..I started out with EQ = EverQuest it's a mmrp = Multi Media Roll playing Game...I played it for about 4yrs..Then I moved on to WOW = World of WarCraft, also (mmrp)...I still play, it's been ummmmm about 7 yrs..I also play SWG = Star Wars Galaxies... also (mmrp)I mostly play WOW now...It's great because my son plays also..So when we can't visit physically we can play online together..Also..I have many friends all ages...from all over the world...I did the online dating thing for about a year or less..It started out kind of crappie because people lie their ass off..But I got smart and bought a Web Cam...That was the best..At least I could see what I was talking to...Anyway...That's where I met Jerry..My sweetie..We have been together over 2 yrs and I must say it is an amazing relationship... My friends thought I was crazy for dating online..My attitude is..Well it's no different than you going in a bar and meeting a guy and then going home with them or exchanging phone numbers and dating ...I love being on line. I do love Fab 40 mostly because there's not some male predator stalking me..It's soooo annoying...Even when I was single it was annoying..I am like if I wanted to talk to you I would have given you some indication that I wanted to..As of yet I do not recall giving you that message..Then you block them..I am just glad I am not on the dating scene anymore..I do not miss it one bit!!!!



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