Once Upon a Website
Monday 7th January 2008
When you’re around thirty and been on your own a couple of years perhaps a different attitude to sex creeps up on you—or maybe what was right below the surface simply needed a nudge. Whatever—I didn’t think my new pastime could change my life.
As they say in the movies, it all started six months ago ….
Thursday 5th July 2007
I gazed out at the birds fluttering around the various feeding devices I’d hung in my large back garden. I was wearing my short silk dressing gown and my usual vacant early morning expression as I sipped my black coffee. A male blackbird was hopping around enjoying breakfast, while a couple of starlings squabbled about who’s turn it was to bathe. I was surprised there was any water left in the ornamental bird-bath since the blackbird usually spent ten minutes preening himself in there.
“I might as well see if there are any requests for my varied talents.” I smiled as I wandered across to my laptop and powered-up. I was always trying to assure myself I still had some skills that people needed, but I’d never taken myself too seriously. I enjoyed another mouthful of coffee as my inbox popped open to reveal five messages.
Helga from European Girls wanted to contact me. As did Rosita, who probably had her details written by the same computer keyboard. I introduced both girls to the spam folder. They were swiftly followed by the latest offer from a leading airline, and the offer of my share of ten million dollars in gold from an African man eager to see I didn’t miss out on my chance to help him.
After a glance at the subject heading of the next email I almost sent it to spam, but I paused. I chose to read Sex, Erotica, Xtra-naughty, and You.
Our admin team at SEXY were impressed by your submission – Two into One.
We’d like to use your story on our website, but we’ve noticed that you have not taken part in any of the forums, or commented on other stories or articles.
Please don’t be bashful—after all, now we know you’ve got a sexy imagination. If you’d like to see your story appear on our pages, please sign-in and have a browse. As stated in our rules, only members who are ‘active’ at least once per week have the opportunity of a placing.
Don’t worry if you’re one of those naughty boys who use a girl’s name to write under. We think it makes the stories even better if they’ve been written by a girl who has a little bit extra.
Go on, darling—sign-in and open up a little. The more interaction you have, the better you’ll enjoy SEXY visits.
Portia, and Madeline, xx
I read the message twice to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. I had a whole collection of erotic short stories I’d written, but I’d forgotten two things. First of all, I couldn’t recall if I bookmarked the website while browsing after a few glasses of wine. Secondly, on the evening when I’d decided to submit the short story, I’d panicked and amended my name from Pat to Patricia. My email address gave no clues except for starting with pat.
“Oh well. If that story is going to gain comments and reviews, I might as well sign-in and be an active member.” I clicked on the link and stared at the homepage.
Right across the top of the screen, it stated, Sex, Erotica, Xtra-naughty, and You. The font looked like it had been written in bright red glossy lipstick. Below the title, on the left was a picture of a long-haired blonde, in a short black dress, black stockings and black heels. Below the picture, it said, Portia. On the right, was a long-haired brunette sitting on a barstool, so that her red dress rode up to show her black stockings. She wore red stilettos. The name below was Madeline.
A glance at them both got my loins warming as I considered spending time with either of the ladies.
I clicked on the About page, which I must have skimmed across previously.
‘We hope you’ll enjoy your visit and perhaps join us. Before we go too far with our introductions, it would be both rude and deceitful not to admit a couple of things straight away. The admin team is led by Portia and Madeline; the two people on the homepage—and we’re girls with a bit extra. At this point, some of you will be wondering if you’re in the right place, but please, don’t leave yet … take a look around.’
I went back to look at the two photographs, now knowing that they were men—I was impressed. I had another coffee and reread everything, but I suppose I knew I was going to become regularly active. I’d enjoyed writing my story, and I had a yearning to know what other people thought. Apart from the admin, nobody else would ever see my writing unless I joined a forum and acquired the right to have my story published. The worst case scenario would be that when it was out there for other erotica authors to see it, they might rip it apart. On the upside, if people liked what I’d written, I could submit more stories.
“Holy shit … how many forums are there?” I looked down the list, passing topics like heterosexual, bi-sexual, bi-curious, gay, lesbian, menage, BDSM, and a few other sub-categories. The menage and lesbian seemed to be favourites for comments. At this point, I remembered I had been afraid of getting involved previously if using my own name.
“This is one for me.” I selected, Writing under a Pseudonym and I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing that there were only twenty discussions in the history. I read every discussion and all of the comments which had been generated. A popular topic seemed to be why people used a false name to write under. Some people wrote multiple-genres but used a fake name for their erotica. Yes, this was the place I might be able to take part in the online chat.
My small picture of a lipstick appeared beside the username, Patricia, and a comment box opened for me. I went straight into it, confident that I was disguised as Patricia.
‘I’m new here, but if I’m honest, the reason I’m using a pseudonym for my erotica writing is the embarrassment. Yes, straightforward, embarrassment. I’ve played around with the idea of short stories for a few months and found that I really enjoyed writing erotica. It was only when it came to submitting my work to a website that it occurred to me—I might be recognised. I feel a little happier that nobody knows if I’m a man or a woman. I am keen to know if my writing is any good, and if it is, I’ll be happy to submit more stories. Now that I’ve ‘come out’ so to speak, I’ll try to be a regularly active member of the site.’
I read through my message and submitted my comment before I had too long to think about it. Now that I was officially a member of the website I went back to the main menu and selected the short story catalogue.
“Jessica Rabbit?” I knew a girl at school called Jessica. She was gorgeous and had long auburn hair. We were about fourteen when I nicknamed her Jessica Rabbit. I thought she was sexy, but of course, in a class of fourteen-year-old kids, it was simply seen as a humorous nickname. By the end of the day she’d nicknamed me, Pat the Rat, so I got what was coming to me.
The picture which accompanied Jessica Rabbit’s username was, of course, the sexy cartoon character with the long red hair—the author could hardly use anything else with that name.
I read Fill my Holes, which had been a competition winner in the recent past. The tale was about one woman and two men, and by the time I’d finished reading, I had a raging hard-on. I clicked on Jessica Rabbit’s name to check out her page, and I was glad I did. Whoever this person was, had an extensive collection of stories and they seemed to cover most sub-genres too. I started reading, and before I knew where I was, I’d read five of the erotic tales by this talented author.
“Well, Jessica Rabbit, whether you’re a man or a woman, you are definitely a good writer.” I’d written a brief comment after each story I’d read, and then I went back to the author’s main page. I wrote a comment to say that I’d only recently joined the site and had thoroughly enjoyed Jessica’s writing. I finished off by saying that I was a fan and I’d be watching out for more.
Although I mainly worked from home, I recognised how easy it might be to spend hours on such a site. I logged off and moved my chair back from the desk. I had a hard-on, and it didn’t occur to me to let it be—I flicked through to my naughty photo collection, found something which gave me a buzz, and then dropped my underwear to the floor—I needed relief.
Sunday 8th July
This was as long as I could hold back before checking on my submission to the SEXY site. I’d promised myself I’d concentrate on my work and only go back to the website when I had everything up to date.
When I logged in, I was surprised to see a white star beside my name which suggested comments. Beside it was a yellow star with the number 5 inside, which meant reviews. I clicked on the white star, and it took me to Jessica Rabbit’s page. Beneath my general comment to say how much I enjoyed her stories she’d written a response.
Thank you for the kind words about my writing, and I can only imagine what you mean by ‘effective erotica’. I have fun writing in this genre, but it is indeed heart-warming to know that my efforts are appreciated.
Hugs from The Bunny,
“Oh, wow. I have to keep up with this author.” I headed back to my page and clicked on the yellow star to see what my reviews were like.
One of the reviewers suggested there was insufficient conflict, but apart from this, the characters were well-developed for a short story, the dialogue was realistic, and the imagery was great. Three of the other reviewers were mainly complimentary and suggested my content, imagery, and dialogue were okay for a novice.
The most recent and for me, the most important was from Jessica Rabbit. According to her, I’d created interest within the first paragraph, and created a believable premise for such a story. In her view, I showed a lot of promise as a new writer of the genre.
I responded with a brief thank you to all my reviewers and also said I’d be happy to accept any constructive criticism to help me improve. I signed off while I felt on a winning streak.
Thursday 12th July
I returned from an early morning five-mile run, showered and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before checking my mail.
My air-miles had apparently increased in the past month, although I couldn’t remember precisely when I’d last flown anywhere farther than London.
Another pen-pal from the Eastern Block had deceived my spam filter, but I wasn’t keen on getting in touch with Alexandria—even if she did look as good as the photograph.
The energy billing for my house had finally come through which was heartening, and then I got two messages to brighten my mid-week.
Craven’s Cards offered me the option of working on verse and illustration for three sets of assorted cards for Christmas 2007. The lead-time was tight, but I was confident I could produce the goods for them and responded positively—I sent them the costing estimates and offered them a discount if I were to create more work for them.
As I was responding to the card company, a new email appeared in my inbox. I was thrown at first by the name of the sender, and I was grinning when I selected the message:
‘Send Me Your Shorts’
I noted from the brief comments about your writing that you have several unpublished but completed stories on file.
If you’d like some help by way of a fresh set of eyes on them, I could assist if you want. There is no pressure, but I know many new authors will stockpile work which might be close to publishing standard. I’ll leave the thought with you.
This had been a concern for some time, so I was delighted to have the offer made by somebody as good as Jessica. I responded straight away.
I hope all is good with you.
Thank you for getting in touch and making such a welcome offer. I was unsure about making an approach to anybody on the idea of checking out my work, but if you’d be willing to take a look, I’d appreciate the help.
I’ll send you two from my WIP file and see what you think before I get too adventurous. One of the two stories is about two men—one gay and one curious, but they’ve been good friends for years. The other story is about two girls who discover the joy of being together in the altogether.
I hit the send button immediately to prevent any procrastination. Jessica’s email and the offer had lifted my spirits, so I logged on to the SEXY website. I checked the time—half an hour would be enough to read a couple of stories and leave comments.
I found a new story from Jessica which prompted a brief but complimentary review from me, and then I went on to locate two other members whose work I enjoyed. One of the authors favoured stories about gay men, while the other person had several stories featuring fetishes—primarily cross-dressing. I left suitable comments on both and could see that I’d learn a lot from reading and commenting.
I’d written mainly gay and bi-curious tales so far, but only tried the cross-dressing theme once. From what I could see, it looked like a much more far-reaching topic than I imagined. I’d have to revisit my attempt.
I had a productive day with a few verse and illustration ideas and figured that by Friday I’d have something worthy of sending to the client. After dinner, I went out for a walk to give me a break from the laptop screen. I strolled east along Durham Terrace and headed to Portobello Beach—a favourite haunt for me when I needed fresh air and peace to think. Occasionally, a stroll west and into Edinburgh centre was a good choice, but this felt like a time for solitude.
Since seeing Jessica’s name on the website and the accompanying sexy cartoon character, I’d had trouble shifting the images of the girl I’d known years ago—Jessica was beautiful and had been in my class at St Peter’s. That had been nearly twenty years back, and yet, I still remembered her appearance as if we’d met recently.
I’d given her the nickname Jessica Rabbit—because I thought she was stunning; not as a joke. Of course, at fourteen years of age, it didn’t come across as a compliment. As soon as she heard, I was nicknamed Pat the Rat. I knew my idea had been taken up wrong, and I couldn’t apologise, so I had a quiet word with one of Jessica’s friends. A few days later, after leaving me to worry about it, I was sitting in the classroom gazing at my heartthrob, and she caught me. Before I could turn away, she winked and smiled at me.
A year later my family left Edinburgh because my dad got a new job in York. I left behind many good friends, and among them was Jessica, and at fifteen she was even more beautiful. At least we parted on good terms and wished each other well for the future.
It was with thoughts of those long-ago schooldays that I arrived to stroll along the beach, and I wondered what had become of the Jessica I used to know—my Jessica.