Posts Tagged ‘i’m over nutella’

It’s like Russian Roulette but with penises.

February 15, 2010

Who wants to play Chat Roulette with us?

I was introduced to the website, Chat Roulette, today and I fear that my life will be no longer the same. It’s a self-professed “service for one-on-one text-, webcam- and microphone -based chat with people around the world.” What that loosely translates to is “a website where you can video chat with sexually-deviant freaks, 12 year-olds and lonely old people from anywhere in the world.” The concept is so simple and yet so compelling. If I wanted to (and I usually do apparently), I could go on Chat Roulette right now and video chat with some guy masturbating. I could laugh awkwardly, send him lurid messages and by the time I felt any shame, I could “next” him and move on to the next person. This website works on so many levels. For starters, it’s the “unknown” factor that is perhaps so intriguing about the site. You have no idea who you’re going to meet. Most of the time, it’s the stereotypical creeper; an oversexed frat boy drooling at the possibility of seeing teen flesh or an overweight balding man offending you with his ugly throbbing cock. But some of the time, you’ll come across like-minded individuals who will share in their disgust over the undesirable men and women showing skin.

But if anyone claims to be repulsed by the dirty things they’re seeing, they’re not exactly being truthful because it’s a big reason as to why people go on Chat Roulette in the first place. They want to see the big fat guy in bondage so they can laugh about it with their friends on camera and have the satisfaction of feeling “normal.” However, us “normals” are the ones getting titillated by the site’s obscenity and coming back for more. It taps into our voyeuristic and curious side, a side that I thought had been already thoroughly exploited by the internet but obviously not enough.

The website also reminds me of that insane MTV dating show, Next. The one where a gaggle of twenty-somethings hang out on a bus. Each person gets sent out to go on a low-budget date with some stupid loser from Orange County and runs the risk of getting axed or “nexted” if they  aren’t to their date’s liking. It’s so demeaning because people are often “nexted” on the spot, based on their physical appearance. Chat Roulette works in a similar way (hence, the “roulette” I suppose).  If someone doesn’t look appealing to you in the first 2.5 seconds of a chat, you can immediately “Next” them and be sent to another random stranger. Most often, people are “nexted” the second their picture appears. Meanwhile, the spurned folk are left to sit back and wonder, “What was so offensive about me that made you want to end the chat before it began?”  In the words of Cher Horrowitz, “That’s way harsh, Tai.”

The site also lends further credence to my theory that all these social-network sites have kept us more connected on a superficial level with one another. However, when it comes to creating any substantive bonds, they’ve made us so socially inept and alienated that we would rather spend our Saturday afternoons watching a stranger from Brazil jack off into a cup than meet an old friend for coffee.