In my early 20s, I dated a guy who was a musician in a popular band. We technically lived together, but since he was on the road 80% of the time, I was more or less an army wife.
OK, maybe less so - instead of nobly serving his country and fighting in the trenches, my guy was playing Coachella and making appearances on David Letterman. But I related to the frustration those poor women have to endure, with their men gone for two, four, six months at a time.
The constant distance was a bummer. When he was around, we'd stock up on our "love levels," as if we were Sims characters, and get as much action as we could. While physically exhausting and time consuming, it certainly made up for lost time.
When he was away, all we had to rely on was a lousy landline. Instant messaging was still in its infancy and laptops were clunky, slow and built without videos. In other words, we resorted to phone sex while he was on the road, which, while better than nothing, certainly had its limits.
These days, long distance couples have way more options to bridge the pesky time and space challenge. For one, there are video cameras built into our laptops, smartphones and computers, which means some intimate one-on-one face time is much more attainable. And while these devices don't do justice to anyone's appearance (I call FaceTime FatFaceTime), they certainly do the trick when you're jonesing to get off with your loved one in a faraway place.
For those of us who yearn for a more, um, tactile experience, there's several options available. HighJoy.com allows couples (or singles) to sign in to a site where they can virtually and literally push each other's buttons. First you need the "Internet Enabled Personal Massagers," which are basically sex toys plugged into USB cables that you buy from the site, along with a $4.95/month membership. Once you've got all that, you can control your lover's toy with the press of a button.
Next week, a Taipei-based company is launching LovePalz, which claims to (sic) "simulate your actions and cause physical contact over Internet in real time." LovePalz allows couples to control each other's toys through their smartphones or computers. What's getting this company a lot of buzz, however, is their highly engineered equipment. The vibrators for women and "pocketpal" for men are designed to tighten and expand as needed.
Try doing all that with a crappy landline. (Actually, please don't.) With all the options available these days, the old saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" will soon be a thing of the past.
And we can thank those specialized engineers out there whose sole purpose is to make distance between lovers feel really, really good.