3) Two Girls in College in San Francisco
After being NEXTed several more times, I end up finding two girls in a dorm hallway in San Francisco. They appear smart and seem happy to see me. The girl on the left is very plain looking, maybe like a poor man’s version of Elisabeth Moss from Mad Men. The other girl is cuter, in a nerdy way, with glasses and a collared white shirt underneath a black sweater. They can hear me talk clearly but for some reason need to type their responses. People are walking by in the background and can hear what I’m saying. I ask them if they’re worried they will stumble onto something crazy and potentially embarrassing while holding a laptop in such a public place. They reply, “I mean, no one here is judging crazy people.”
I find out the girl with the glasses is named Cassandra. They ask me if I want to see a video. I mention my reservations that this could be a link to “2 Girls, 1 Cup,” but they reassure me it’s not. It turns out the link goes to their friend’s audition video for Glee. I don’t know why they’re showing me this since I am neither a Glee fanatic nor do I have any pull with the casting of that series.
I ask them what they’re looking for on Chatroulette and they tell me they’re hoping to find normal-looking people. I tell them I’m looking for people who won’t yell at me. Then, they tell me about their friend who is quite shy in real life, but insults everybody on Chatroulette. They theorize that the site is an outlet for people. I think we’re on to something because to me, THIS idea best explains the universal appeal of the site. This is a place where you can be crazy or abusive or sexual in a way you normally wouldn’t and then just hit NEXT and it’s as if it never happened. I tell the girls that I hope they have a good life and we part ways.
4) A 20-something lady in Pennsylvania
I find a woman from Pennsylvania who appears to be the kind of girl you would expect to be home alone on a Friday night watching Moulin Rouge! (which she is). She looks like a young Kathy Bates but is very nice. She seems bored after several hours on Chatroulette. I ask her about some of the things she’s seen and she tells me about a four-act play a group of people performed for her earlier that night. She claims the performance lasted more than 10 minutes and included act breaks and closing credits. I then ask her what is the worst thing she has seen? Although I already know the answer will somehow involve a naked man. For her, the worst thing she has seen was a guy who was pushing Q-tips into the opening of his penis. I could be wrong, but I don’t believe this is the proper usage of Q-tips or a penis.
5) A Young Man in France
I am NEXTed several more times until I end up talking to a young guy in a daylight-filled room. I find out he is in France, which presents a problem since I do not speak French. I learn he speaks a little bit of English, which I have discovered is the case with almost every foreigner on Chatroulette. I say “Chatroulette?” and point my thumb up in the air and then down toward the ground. He replies, thumbs down. I try to explain that roulette is a French game, and it is therefore unpatriotic for him to not like Chatroulette. He has no idea what I’m talking about and there is an extended period of somewhat awkward silence. He types something to me in French. After staring at the sentence for a moment, I try to get to Babel Fish to decode the message, but he NEXTs me before I ever find out.
6) Some Douchebags in Boston
“Dad? Dad? Daddy?” is what I’m asked by a guy who appears to be a 20-year-old in a paneled basement with a Boston Red Sox poster. I am confused. “Dad? Dad?” he asks again. I try to figure out if he’s talking to me by asking, “Am I the dad?” He holds up a phone to the camera, showing a contact listed as “Dad.” I ask if that’s supposed to be my dad’s phone number in the phone and he explains that, no, I am his dad, and I realize that this is SUPPOSED TO BE a joke. I point out the fact that showing me the phone makes no sense because “Dad’s” number in the phone is not my phone number. He asks me if I want to make a bet and I tell him that I would very much like to make that bet.
This goes on for several more excruciating minutes. There is another guy in the room off-camera who occasionally laughs, but I suspect he didn’t think this was particularly funny either. I am now being peppered with a bunch of questions regarding my sexuality, which I think are unfounded since I’m not the guy holed up in a basement with another guy and a webcam. This line of questioning continues until I feel as though enough time has passed and I tell the douche I’m moving on. He replies, “Bye, Dad.”
7) A Bunch of Girls, Ages Unknown
There is no video, or maybe the lens cap is on the camera and there is a song playing loudly. The only lyrics I can make out are “penis” and “vagina.” I hear laughter from a bunch of girls. They are chanting something like, “Go, Go, Go!” I am asked if I like the song but they don’t appear interested in my response since they are all talking at the same time. It seems as though Chatroulette has become the new popular game to be played at sleepover parties.
They finally turn the song off to hear what I’m saying. We talk a little bit about Chatroulette while one particularly annoying girl attempts the chant again in the background. They start talking about all the naked men they have seen on the site; I give them a response that contains the phrase “statistical probability” and the annoying girl pounces. This is her opportunity to start making fun of me. The girls seem pretty bored with me and tell me they are going to move on. I am relieved.