Thursday, 26 April 2018


For a short while, inspired by the pioneering student communication methods at 47's university, I ran an IRC chatroom for anyone at mine. It's fair to say, perhaps, that it wasn't a roaring success, but it did last for a while; other students came and went, but the only other regular chatter was a female computer science student who I'd never met. We got on pretty well; she would idle in the room while I was at band practice. I would while she was sleeping.

One lazy afternoon, I was sitting on my bed reading, and heard an unfamiliar ping! from my computer. Heading over to it, I failed to see anything untoward. I snapped open mIRC, just to check, and there was someone in the room: someone I didn't recognise.

Of course, this was what I wanted. This was a room by students for students; what limited promotion I had done (limited, mostly, to LiveJournal - the student newspaper said they'd feature it, but didn't) was never going to draw in a lot of students, but since the room was free, and students get bored, I was expecting at least some traffic.

I tried to think of something witty and erudite to say to this unknown person.

"Hello," I decided upon.

She responded immediately with her entire life story. She was from the north; she had a boyfriend; she was studying some sort of land-based science that involved dissecting a horse's leg at one point. I'd barely caught up before she launched into asking me absolutely everything about myself. I responded in kind, albeit with slightly less abject enthusiasm: who I was, where I was from, what I was studying. It also came up that I was single, which by that point should've been no surprise.

"I've got a friend who'll go out with you," she typed. "She's hot and she's looking for a boyfriend."
"That's very kind of you," I replied diplomatically, "but wouldn't I have to talk to her before taking such a big step?"

"How many piercings do you have?" she pressed, undeterred.
"I don't have any piercings," I typed back.
"What about tattoos?"
"None of them, either."
"But you said you liked alternative music!" she gasped.

I'm still not sure why she equated my love of alternative music with looking like Grimm out of Neri, but nevertheless, she would not let it go. Subsequent conversations - both in the room and via MSN, for she added me - usually ended up with her mysterious friend, who was apparently the ideal match for me, being present - only for her to vanish when I seemed to be about up for talking with her.

Yeah, I know what that sounds like, too.

Whatever the reason, I kept talking to this girl, for (presumptuous assumptions notwithstanding) she was a fascinating person. She was cheerful - possibly a little too much; her bright pink website contained the lyrics to the "they're gonna taste great" Frosties advert, complete with u/you substitution - and a fellow student, at the same university, who knew how to use a chatroom, so we at least had something in common. She was even the first person to mention Facebook to me, trendsetter that she was.

"I think I know," she said one day completely without preamble, "why you're not interested in my friend."
I blinked.
"I think... you have a crush on ME!!!"
"What? But... but..." I stammered. (NB. I actually typed out the ellipses.) "But I've never met you! I don't even know what you look like!"
"That doesn't matter! We've talked enough times!"
"But you've got a boyfriend!"
"What? No I haven't! I broke up with him months ago!" she replied, inadvertently revealing her failure to update the "Love Status: Long Term Boyfriend" thingy she had on her website. "So you can fancy me if you want."

But I didn't want to fancy her. I wasn't interested - she wasn't my type. And besides, despite having read her MySpace profile a few times, she was still a bit of an unknown quantity. All I really knew was that she had a mythical friend who may or may not have been into alternative music... and that she liked the Frosties advert.

True to form, her last conversation with me ended with a massive non-sequitur as well.
"Hi there. How are you doing?"
"I'm cutting up a dead horse tomorrow!"

And she never signed onto MSN, or entered that chatroom, again. Ever.

I never did get a date with her friend.

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