Just recently, I heard through the grape-vine about a little video-chat sensation called Chatroulette. Now, we have all heard of Skype, a video chat used to communicate with friends for free. But creators of Chatroulette decided to float to the rebellious side of things and create a video chat for strangers. Of course, this is the next best thing since AOL chat rooms. Me and my friends had a blasty blast with those things in seventh grade, so chances are we can have just as much fun 10 years later via video, right?
I took it upon myself to recruit my noble roommates to find out. After we had a five minute primp session in front of the webcam, we decided it was time to take the plunge into the Chatroulette universe. There we were, tilting her heads back and forth in the webcam establishing our places on screen, and nervously debating pressing Play [trust me ladies, this phase was as melo-dramatic as it sounds]. It is quite nerve-racking to toy with the possibility of being face to face with a stranger. On the internet. In my bedroom. So, with our utmost courage-we pressed play.
Our First Encounter
While we were giggling like school girls, Chatroulette searched busily for our first stranger. Within seconds, a middle-aged gentlemen popped up on screen. We squealed in unison, surprised by the unfamiliar (old) face gracing the screen. Then, we peeked over the webcam to catch a better glimpse of the man who was clearly putting on a show for us. Wait…was he? No, he couldn’t be. But yes, judging by his quick lower movements and short breaths, our first stranger was “shakin up the soda” (if you catch my drift).
This offended us so violently, no one could press ‘next’ fast enough. We fumbled, we almost fell off the bed, I wanted to take a shower. It all happened so fast, when we finally got rid of his ‘O face’ we couldn’t stop staring at each other with saucer-eyes. I don’t think I have seen anybody please themselves on camera, and it’s safe to say I would never like to again. So after recovering from the burden of our first victim, we continued our journey.
Its raining men: The rest of our encounters
A trend set in as we embarked through the Chatroulette adventure. And the trend was: lots of men. Every scene was the same: a man anywhere from 18-55, staring back at us blankly and blinking a few times. Some of the men were different – one young man had an Eric Clapton poster set up perfectly over his right shoulder. Another group of men staged a dance-off for us to witness in the comfort of our own home. We applauded their efforts, and moved on.
Some of the friends we met along the way had other ways to get us to resort to the next button with agile speed. Namely, pulling their pants down on screen. I’m serious – I’ve never been force-fed so many visuals of peen in my entire life. It was absolutely horrific.
Another gentlemen popped up on the opposing screen sporting a ‘Jason’ mask and rapped to Nelly’s “Country Grammar.” His efforts kept us from ‘nexting’ him longer than anticipated, as we couldn’t’ figure out if he was scaring us to death, or being seriously hilarious. My personal favorite featured a hand extended to the camera from the side, holding a teddy bear. The teddy bear did not move, and the arm remained completely still. This of course, sent us into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.
The entire (slightly disturbing) experience was a little scary, but none-less a fabulous way to waste an hour of our Saturday afternoon. Besides being exposed to numerous body parts and people wearing masks, Chatroulette’s existence has good intentions: to bring Internet-obsessed people together. Although the Chatroulette experience was slightly awkward and absolutely nuts (no pun intended) I would encourage taking the plunge. After all, who knows who will you meet (Ashton Kutcher has been seen on Chatroulette), and I have not heard of a better way to climb out of the realms of your comfort zone… and see just what sort of crazies the Internet universe has to offer.