It was the shining affair of that dismal season, and it played exclusively on Twitter.
Lyle was a butch lesbian who identified as male. Susan was a straight woman with flowing blonde hair. Lyle lived in the Pacific Northwest. Susan lived in Southern California. They were each married to others and parents to small children. They were also sex bloggers.
At the time, I had closed my own blog in order to focus on a custody case. My ex wife had discovered my blog and was using it—and its stories of my sexuality—in her second bid to take my children from their father. The story of this custody case had caught the attention of other parents who blog about their sex lives. Many sent their sympathies. A few went so far as to close their own blogs for fear of similar consequences.
As it happened, sex blogging underwent a transformation during the time I was offline. Twitter had quickly emerged as a popular social media, allowing users to maintain an online presence in bite-sized nuggets of one hundred and forty characters. Bloggers naturally gravitated to it. The format was well suited to those who approached blogging as diarists. Rather than develop ideas and stories by crafting paragraphs, they could now narrate their lives in real time. For those who enjoyed the attention to be gained from maintaining online personae, Twitter provided the narcotic of immediate gratification. Tweets allowed constant reassurances of one’s own fabulousness.
Still, in most hands, Twitter seemed irretrievably banal. Followers of sex bloggers now found themselves enmeshed in the minutia of daily lives. From morning coffee through mid-morning paperwork to late afternoon ennui to television viewing to a final “goodnight, tweeps,” nothing seemed too minor or too personal for public consumption. I’m bored. I’m horny. I love these shoes. My stomach hurts. I’m crossing Third Avenue and I can’t find a cab. There were bloggers whose disclosures allowed the charting of every meal, every irritant, every bowel movement. Readers once entertained or informed by sex bloggers now found their eyes glazed at the evaporated boundaries of personal revelation and the apparent loss of meaningful texts.
Yet given a new print medium, worthy narratives will inevitably emerge. So it was with the romance of Lyle and Susan.
As the Pacific Coast woke each day, Lyle and Susan were among the sex bloggers who would pipe into a morning already underway for their cohorts to the east. Gradually they took note of one another, Lyle giving a gentlemanly nod to Susan, Susan replying with tongue-in-cheek flirtation. After some light banter, Lyle would head to his job with Susan’s affectionate peck on his cheek. Their interactions became a part of my own routine, like a radio talk show playing the background as I worked.
Soon, things began to heat up between them. Susan would sign on, alluding to too little sleep following long conversations with Lyle. Lyle would sign on with ardent greetings to the woman he now referred to as his darling. Inquiring readers soon learned of late-night webcam sessions, exposed flesh and feverish desires. With the blessings of their respective spouses, Lyle and Susan began to plan a meeting in real life in which their long-distance online affair would be consummated in the flesh.
If Twitter was primarily devoted to documenting nothing, here it had fostered the creation of something real—Twitter had made lovers of two strangers. And in doing so before an enraptured audience, Twitter had provided optimism and excitement in the form of a real-life soap opera. People who would never meet Lyle or Susan came to care about them.
I was among the many who wished them well. I’m a sucker for romance and there was no question of genuine affection between my online friends. Certainly, I could relate to the passions they felt, as I had been in their situation. I had met friends and lovers, and even fallen in love, through instant messages and webcams. I knew the joy that online romances can bring to real life.
Several years ago, I received an email from a reader then in college in the Midwest. She was funny and engaging and, as it happened, we got along famously. In time, she came to visit me in New York. Anna Smash and I became lovers.
Anna started a blog in which she wrote about our friendship and romance, among other aspects of her life. I decided not to write about Anna in my own blog, preferring to keep our relationship private. She visited now and then and as I introduced her to my friends, many remarked on the bond between us. “Well, yeah,” Anna would say. “I’m totally smitten with Jefferson.”
“I’ve got an absolute Smash Crush,” I would sheepishly admit.
Over the years, Anna and I have had I-don’t-know-how-many threesomes. I arrange orgies for some of her visits and preserve intimacy for others. Our shared curiosity about BDSM grew together and we’ve established a great trust in that; so much so that when she became deeply involved with her boyfriend, she wanted him to learn to be her dominant by being together with us.
Anna and I keep in touch when we’re apart, as friends do, and we look after one another. She knew I was stressed about my custody case and she was going through a rough patch with her boyfriend. She came for a visit and for several days, we locked the doors to the rest of the world. We talked, laughed, made love and took care of each other. On the day she left, we both felt sated and content.
Later, she called me from the airport. “Everything is screwed up,” she said. “I’m not going to make my flight. I should’ve left earlier, maybe made a different flight, but as it is, baby, I’m stuck here for a few days.” I told her to come back home.
While I waited, I signed online. Everything in and out of New York was delayed due to weather. Checking Twitter, I saw a message from Susan. “New Yorkers, can you help? Lyle is trapped at the airport until tomorrow.”
I sent Susan a note. “Everything is socked in. Can I help?”
Susan was quick to reply. Lyle was stuck on a layover on his way to Florida and needed a place to stay overnight. “I’m running an orphanage for waylaid travelers,” I said. “If Lyle needs a roof overhead, send him my way.” Susan conveyed the message. I spoke with Lyle, explaining that my friend Anna was also delayed and heading back to my place. “I’m sorry you’re in a bind, but I’m glad to meet you no matter the circumstances,” I said. “Come on over. I’ll buy you a drink.”
Lyle was the first to arrive, about an hour later. He smiled when I opened the door, holding a wet hat in one hand and extending the other. “You just rescued me from Third World conditions,” he smiled.
“Glad to do it,” I replied, taking his hand. “Come in and let’s get you settled.” Lyle picked up his bag and I showed him to a room. He changed into dry clothes as I poured us two bourbons.
As we got acquainted, I told Lyle a bit about Anna, explaining that she was also a sex blogger and we had originally met online, like him and Susan. The mention of Susan lit up Lyle’s face. “Jefferson, it’s like nothing I’ve felt,” he said. “I love my wife, and I’ve talked with her about this. I love my wife and I would do anything for her. But this thing with Susan, it’s like . . .” he paused, searching for words.
“It’s lust, buddy,” I suggested. “It’s lust caught up in love and it’s for someone you know so well and you’ve never even met.”
Lyle laughed. “That’s exactly right. And that makes no sense, does it?”
“Maybe not.” I lifted my glass. “But cheers. I’ve been there myself.” We drank to love and continued talking until interrupted by Anna’s arrival.
She looked forlorn. “I’m so sorry, baby. I hate that I’m imposing.”
“No, no.” I kissed her forehead. “I’m glad we get more time together. Listen, my friend Lyle is also trapped in town tonight. Come in—let me introduce you and then I’ll set you up with a drink.”
I ushered Anna inside. Lyle stood to shake her hand. Anna was clearly impressed by the gentlemanly butch cowboy in my living room and sat to compare traveler’s tales of woe. I fixed Anna’s drink and refreshed our own. In no time, we were deep in conversation about love, online romance and sex blogs. Anna mentioned in passing that her socks were wet and began to take them off. “My pants are drenched from the knees down,” she added. “Do you guys mind if . . . ?”
“No, not at all,” Lyle grinned.
“No one’s going to stop you from taking off your pants, baby,” I assured her.
As Anna pulled down her jeans, Lyle noticed bruises on her thighs. “Whoa, what happened to you?” he asked.
“Oh, well, Jefferson happened to me,” she laughed. “That would be from the paddle.” Lyle looked at me. I shrugged. “And this,” Anna said, turning. “This would be from the caning.”
Lyle leaned forward to look more closely. He let out a slight whistle. “You’ve got a mean arm, Jefferson,” he said.
“I can’t help it,” I said. “I’ve got a fierce Smash Crush.” I motioned for Anna. “Come here, honey, and sit on my lap.” Anna smiled and sat on my lap. She wrapped an arm around my neck and extended her legs toward Lyle. Soon, Lyle was massaging her feet.
Another round of drinks later and I was searching for my strap-on cock. “I don’t really need this all that often,” I apologized, rooting in a cabinet.
“I didn’t know I’d be needing mine,” Lyle apologized, stepping out of his jeans.
Anna reclined nude on the bed, propped on her elbows. Her eyes moved from Lyle to me and back again. “I think I must be the luckiest girl in the world,” she smiled.
I found the harness and handed it to Lyle. “Okay, I can make this work,” he said, adjusting straps. He raised a leg to step into the rig. “It takes some getting used to . . . I do favor my own equipment . . .”
“I’m sure you’ll do just fine,” I encouraged, putting out lube and condoms. “Here, how about I warm her up while you’re getting ready.” I leaned forward to kiss Anna, unzipping my jeans as our lips met. We had been making love all day, after days of making love. Her trip to the airport was just a blip in our routine.
When Lyle was prepared, I pulled back. “You ready for the next up?” I asked.
Anna nodded. “Oh yeah.”
Lyle gave Anna a light kiss as he entered her.
Lyle and I passed Anna back and forth until I needed a rest. I sat back on a pillow, my eyes closing as Lyle fucked Anna to yet another orgasm.
The next morning, there was a knock on my bedroom door. “Good morning,” Lyle smiled, peeking around the door. His breast revealed he was nude. “Breakfast is almost ready. But where do you keep the coffee?”
I raised my head. “Now, that’s sweet, but you don’t have to . . .”
“Don’t get up,” Lyle said. “I’ve got this taken care of. I just need to know where you keep your coffee.”
I dropped my head. “So sweet. It’s in the freezer . . .” I buried my face in Anna’s hair and returned to sleep. She snuggled back against me. The scent of bacon wafted from the kitchen.
Lyle called when breakfast was ready. Anna and I stumbled out and took our places. We woke slowly, eating breakfast nude as Lyle poured our coffee. In time, we were capable of conversation. We sat talking and drinking coffee until it was time for Lyle to leave. We hugged him goodbye. “Thanks so much for letting me stay over, Jefferson,” he said. “That was pretty memorable.”
“Yeah, what I remember of it,” I yawned, sitting back on my bed.
Anna leaned up to kiss Lyle. “Don’t worry, baby. I remember it all.”
Lyle blushed slightly. I offered to show Lyle to the door, but he said he could take care of it. “Good,” I said, tugging Anna’s arm. “Then I’ll take care of this.” I pulled Anna back into bed with me. We were kissing as the front door closed.
Lyle dropped a line to let me know he was safely arrived in Florida. He thanked me again for the hospitality. I repeated that it was a pleasure to meet him. Susan wrote later to reiterate her thanks. I told her I was glad to oblige.
A few days later, Lyle sent me a link to his blog. There was a hot story of a threesome, “inspired,” he wrote, “by our fun night.” Anna had returned home by then, so I forwarded the link to her. It didn’t mention us by name but it was clearly about us. She replied that it was great and said she really liked Lyle.
When Lyle returned home, we traded a few tweets. We didn’t say anything explicit about our night together, but it was evident that we had met in New York. Anyone reading us on Twitter may have followed our exchange.
A few days later, I checked in on the romance of Susan and Lyle. I realized that I could read Susan’s tweets, but not Lyle’s. Assuming that my Twitter feed was messed up, I tried to sign on to Lyle again. It didn’t work. Lyle had blocked me.
I wondered if something had happened. My blog had been discovered—what if something bad had happened to Lyle as well? I checked his blog. It was still in place, though the references to meeting me and Anna had been expunged. Now I was thoroughly confused. I wrote to ask Lyle if he was all right. I had no response.
A month or so later, I got an email from a mutual friend. “I feel like I’ve heard this story from everyone but you,” she wrote. “What happened with you and Lyle?”
Nothing much, I replied. He was stuck at the airport and he stayed at my place. I liked meeting him.
“Wasn’t there a girl there?”
Yes, Anna Smash was here, I replied. Why?
“I heard that you both had sex with her, and that she was a less than willing participant. Is that what happened?”
Anna Smash? Did Lyle think she was less than willing?
“It’s not Lyle. There’s someone else who is telling this story.”
The friend told me who was behind the story. A former girlfriend of mine, a married woman with whom I had a brief affair, had been spreading malicious gossip about me since the end of our relationship. As she has been married for a very long time, ours was her first break up since the nineteen-seventies. She didn’t have much experience in ending things gracefully, so she reverted to the rules of the playground: if you don’t hate him, you can’t be my friend.
Her playground happened to be the Internet. While I was busy in real life, fighting my custody case, she was busy online, dividing sex bloggers into two camps—hers and mine.
At first, she went after bloggers I had long known as friends. Sex blogs were all new to her, as my blog was the first she had read mere months before and, among sex bloggers, she knew only my friends. A complete stranger complaining about your friends will meet with limited success, she found, so she moved on to bloggers I had not met, focusing on those outside New York. Here, she found eager ears, as everyone loves gossip. Even better, not only were these bloggers less likely to know me personally, no one knew her at all. It was virgin turf. She could attack me with impunity.
Lyle found himself in an awkward position. He didn’t know me well. As my ex girlfriend grilled him for information, she turned Lyle’s experience to new conclusions. The girl was bruised? That’s evidence that she was coerced. She was young? She’s been duped. He was probably paying her. He probably brainwashed her. He uses girls like that, girls with no self-esteem. You have to stay away from Jefferson, Lyle. You don’t know how evil he is. Hearing this, Lyle began to wonder: what if his experience was mistaken and my ex girlfriend's assertions were correct?
I told Anna what I had heard. “If Lyle thought I was coerced,” she asked, “Then why did he keep fucking me after you were asleep?” The whole thing got under her skin. Anna wrote Lyle to make it plain. She and I have been friends and lovers for years. Everything that transpires between us is consensual. She is nobody’s dupe. She is very capable of making decisions and she was entirely comfortable having sex with us that night.
Lyle thanked Anna for her note. It really put his mind at ease, he said. After my ex girlfriend learned of our night together, she had been very upset with him. “I thought you were my friend,” she had messaged Lyle. “You can’t be my friend and be friends with that dickhead.” Ever the gentleman, Lyle acquiesced to keep the peace.
Anna told me what Lyle had said. “You know, that’s pretty fucked up,” she added. “He met us in person and he still bought into that online bullshit.”
“People do odd things online,” I replied. “One day, maybe Lyle can talk this out with my ex girlfriend. You know, assuming they ever meet in person.”