SAN DIEGO ー Struggling to keep the flames of their long-distance relationship alive, Tasha Rice, 33, and Mark Kolar, 32, decided to add a spicy twist to their regular video calls by changing their Zoom backgrounds to the tattered, yellowing wallpaper and coin-operated beds of a seedy motel in a Florida suburb.
“At first I wasn’t sure if I’d be into kinky roleplaying, but as soon as those virtual backgrounds clicked on I actually got really into it,” admitted Kolar, a tech consultant whose work separated him from his live-in girlfriend in Chicago last year. “I really felt like I was in that humid Florida motel room. And once Tasha addressed me as the slovenly ice machine repairman, I really started to come alive.”
“It’s just so nice to have a change of pace from my stuffy work life,” said Rice, a soprano for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, who explained that the fantasy was a nice excuse to experience a less sophisticated walk of life. “Sometimes I’m the maid, and when I enter the room to change sheets, I find him handcuffed to the bed with a sock in his mouth,” said Rice. “We even tried one where he was a hillbilly hand-fisher, and I was a very naughty alligator. I got a noise complaint that night.”
Regardless of the specific scenarios they dream up to match the dingy backgrounds on their Zoom screens, Rice and Kolar have found a way to make long-distance work.
“She’s my little bedbug, and I’m the greasy janitor who watches her undress through the eyehole of a Ron DeSantis portrait. When I’m ready to propose, I’m taking her ass down to Florida for real. The giant roach costume I’m working on is going to rock her world.”
At press time, the date ended right when things were heating up due to Zoom’s 40 minute time limit for free accounts.