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This is my impression of that thing where you meet a guy online and he tells you his name is Ben and you lie and tell him your name is Jim even though it isn’t, and frankly he’s probably lying too, but he’s hot and he thinks you’re hot, so what the hell—he’s thick and hirsute and over 30 and you are the same minus a decade or so, and you get the sense that he has historically lacked the confidence that he seems to gain when you text with him, because he always replies with really? after you say that you love his large belly, the gentle slope of his chest between his pecs, confidence which he brings out in you, too, when he says you’re so hot, when he says I need you, even though when all this started you made it clear that you aren’t looking for anything serious, that you don’t want a boyfriend, just someone to have fun with, but let’s be honest, you’re very clearly catching feelings for him, so much so that the thought of talking to him at the end of the day—yes, talking, not just initiating in sexy foreplay before you jerk off over video chat, but actually genuinely talking, sharing weird music and Batman movie opinions and giving each other nicknames—fills you with a rumbling, white-hot, molten kind of feeling, of magma dripping down from your chest, swirling in your stomach and settling somewhere in your pants, and over the next few weeks as you go on talking you have what you come to call Truth Moments, where he tells you he doesn’t live in the South anymore and you say that’s OK because you don’t go to school in Atlanta, it was just the first city you thought of when the chatroom matched you with Male, 35, USA, and he said hey baby and you said hey and then and then and then, and somehow all of this just seems to work—so much freedom is offered by the distance, the anonymity, even if that is slowly blooming into something more, even if you’re both still an uncertain, possibly infinite amount of Truth Moments away from showing faces, sharing real names, because after all, you’re not much more than strangers—and yet there’s something solid about the lies you have spun this web of yours between, something that allows you to catch real, hard, home truths, like when he says that he doesn’t believe in an afterlife, that this is the one shot we get, so why waste time doing things we don’t love—and one night during your usual escapades, you’re flirting and being cute and coy and sexy and all the other things you have learned to be with him, and you take a step further, ask if he will send you a voice recording, saying all the things he has told you so many times before—I want you, I need you—because you want to go forward hearing every text he sends in that voice, his voice, and at those words he vanishes, leaves you at half-mast, and you still finish thinking of him but you know there is a Truth Moment coming, and sure enough the next morning he says hey and you say hey and he says sorry about last night and you say it’s fine is everything OK? and he says yes, I’ve just got something to tell you, but I’ve been scared to because I like you so much and I am so afraid to lose this, to lose you, but I want to be honest with you, and you say OK shoot, even though you know what’s coming and he says I’m married to a woman, and that is the end of that, and a few cordial goodbyes later all the texts and photos have been scrubbed from the burner Snapchat you set up that first time all those nights ago after he said I really like you, do you wanna keep this going? and you suppose that this was in many ways inevitable, and tell yourself that you are not shocked or saddened by the end of whatever you had, but still, you wonder if this is all that you are worth—faceless men and all the words they want to mean: