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Pen Pals

Over the past couple of months, I’ve seen pen pals pop up on several of the blogs I follow, and I love it. A one-on-one connection with someone else done in private is sort of the opposite of what we’ve been doing all these years with social media. It’s something that takes more time than a “like” or a one liner, it’s a real commitment to building something. In my opinion, that is what the internet should be all about.

I thought it might be fun to look back on my pen pals from over the years, since I hold these relationships just as a close as any IRL relationship that I have. Heck, in some cases, even closer.

My first true internet pen pal was a man name Darin. We met when I was participating in an online pro wrestling league sometime in the late 90’s. He was a good fifteen years older than me, but we really connected. He taught me a lot about wrestling, the 80’s, and Cold War politics. We bonded over religion and movies, and as a lonely teenager he (and his wife’s friendship) was very important to me. I jokingly called them my AOL Parents and well… at times they were more of a parent to me than my own parents.

As I grew older, my religious and political views changed, and it caused a bit of a division between us. I was about to graduate high school and I just moved on. Writing this makes me realize, I really ought to go back and check in with my old friends. It’s been far too long.

Pikapal is my longest pen pal. She and I met on the Retro-Daze message board around ten years ago and have been in regular communication ever since. We bonded over our love of all things retro and since then we’ve kept each other abreast of our personal lives around once a month.

Not long after Pikapal and I began writing, I sent an email to the owner of a wrestling blog that I enjoyed: The Wrestling Insomniac. That simple email went on to create one of my closest friendships. It started off by email then transitioned to text, and eventually led to an in-person meeting. I talk to Michael almost daily and he’s practically a brother to me.

And more recently, (thanks to a post I made on here) I began chatting with a gentleman named Matt. I was blown away to hear he’d followed my blog for a few years now, and he mentioned we had a lot in common. He wasn’t kidding! Each week we’re shooting back long emails about all sorts of topics, and it truly is one of the highlights of my week. He’s introduced me to new shows and books, and I love discussing the differences in our countries. Connecting with him has been truly rewarding.

Having a pen pal can be amazing and I’m so glad more bloggers (and people) are giving it a shot. It’s nice because you can email back whenever you have time, and you just never know how much you might hit it off with the person on the other end. If you’ve seen folks looking for pen pals or it’s something you’re interested in, shoot someone an email and just see what happens. It doesn’t always work out, but from my experience, it’s wonderful when it does.

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