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THE USUAL SUSPECTS: CHAT ROOM REGULARS
When a newcomer to the gay online scene first peruses the lists of names in the various chat rooms open to him, he usually gets a little giddy, a little lightheaded. He doesn't feel like he's merely found a new portal to the world of men; he feels like he's discovered a whole new species. He reads the profiles, he looks at the pictures posted, he gets hit with masculine, confident IM after IM. And he thinks that he really should have gone online long ago. Clearly, this is where all the attractive, fascinating men have gone to.
Then he begins making contacts. Some lengthy IM dialogues, some picture trades, some tentative get-togethers planned and carried out. And then the walls, as it were, come a-tumbling down. Weeks after that first, dizzy entry into gay cyber interaction, he signs on again and hears himself muttering, "Damn. Same old tired gang." Why, it's almost like he never found a new world of men at all.
It gets better. Time passes and our novice is now a veteran. He is planning a move to a new town, so he begins checking out the guys who hang in the chat rooms there. And extraordinarily, our user once more believes in that mystical place he's already been to and found unsettlingly like the world outside his door. He spies fresh names and fresh profiles, and he is captivated all over again. So that's what was wrong, he thinks. This is where the men I want are. He packs, he moves, he unloads the truck, he goes online. Two weeks later he commences doing precisely what he did back at the old homestead: alternately remaining hidden outside the rooms yet keeping an eye peeled for anything decent, or jumping in and praying that there's a soccer players' convention in town for the weekend.
Types. Too well-known types, and too familiar kinds of men: they occupy the cubicles next to us at the office, they occupy the stools beside us at the club, and they're every bit as present in virtual gay space. This is the way things are. And if by any chance you're harboring that sweet notion that another town is home to a different and better breed, remember The Wizard of Oz and one of its unfair and far too true lessons: If it isn't in your own backyard, it wasn't ever anywhere.
However, bustling metropolis or one-horse village, certain men can be counted on to fill the chat room landscape. So let's take a look at the various sorts of chat room guys you're either going to run into or have already run from. Maybe you won't want to play in these arenas much. But it never hurts to know who the other players are, what they do, and how they do it.
Big cities have a lot more guys than small cities. Understood. Also, big-city life tends to encourage men to make the most of themselves; more of them work out, more of them keep themselves well-groomed, and most of them try to look as sharp as possible because they're competing in a fast-paced market, and for everything that market has to offer.
So it's easy to figure that your chances of finding a terrific guy are better when you venture into the cities. Well, yes. But only as long as you go in knowing that the accessibility of these guys is commensurate with their greater attractions. The hot New Yorker may be looking for company, just as you are. But he's a tougher customer than the hot guy from Iowa. His awareness of his appeal is part and parcel of his armor for the life he leads, and his own standards, barricades, and everything else are just that much more difficult to surmount.
THE QUEEN BEE
The Queen Bee is the one who has taken it upon himself to rule the room, and usually with an iron fist. This pitiable individual is clearly in desperate need of esteem, and he squeezes it out of strangers who are too bored to dethrone him.
He is easily identified, for he will be in the room almost all the time. He will also have a cute and/or clever name; it will never be straightforward or short, because he is too complex a soul for brevity. And that name will flash on the dialogue screen with a frequency to shame a strobe light.
There are variations within this type. Most are overtly and proudly gay, yet others occupy supposedly straight rooms and play to a nauseating level a sort of good-guy, laid-back game. That is, they believe every comment of theirs a definitive statement on whatever foolishness is being spewed and scrolled on the dialogue screen. Others reign through a Wal-Mart-like role of greeter. They are everyone's friend. They are a pain in the ass because one doesn't always want one's dirty name thrown into the dialogue screen in big blue letters and with five exclamation points after it.
Arranging an actual hookup with the Queen Bee -- should there be hotness somewhere beneath the robes -- is supremely doable. The overtly gay specimen is, in fact, the most accessible of all the usual suspects. All you need do is IM as a supplicant: Ask him about the room, bow to his expertise, laugh at his jokes, and present yourself as desirable along the way. Forgive the crassness, but if you bullshit, he will come. And he will most definitely be talking about you later, and you know where.
This specimen may be the most common in gay chats. He is known all too well to many of the others present. His calling card is an endless slipping in of laments about his lack of a partner, peppered with avowals about his willingness to do anything to get him one and what he thinks are funny remarks about his solitary situation. He would never believe himself to be a Whiiiiiiner. In his mind, his wit obviates his self-pity.
His screen name is artistic and is sometimes phrased as a question. His profile is long and tiresome and ends in a lengthy essay on how few real people there are out there and how weary he is of being fooled by the less than real. (Note: The tenacity of the Whiiiiiiner is nothing to sneeze at, for he welcomes the God (see p. 90) into the room with many an exclamation point. And when he doesn't receive a response, he will doubtless besiege the mythical bastard with a series of importuning IMs.)
It doesn't matter how hot the Whiiiiiiner seems to be (and hotness is typically not the biggest gun in his arsenal). Steer clear, friends. The Whiiiiiiner is less a man and more a sack bursting full of needs. It's not that he can't be hooked up with; it's more that you won't ever get away with merely a hookup. You will have a . . . friend for life.
Cousin to the Whiiiiiiner, the Yawner is perhaps the second most commonly found chat room visitor. For he is the one who enters the albeit pointless dialogue only to remark upon how boring it is, and how bored he is, and how boring the day and everything in it is. He sings this song with gusto to rival Liza Minnelli's, and he sings it long.
The Yawner is a strange beast; clearly too bright for those surrounding him, he is nonetheless incapable of grasping the fact that his unendurable boredom is not likely to be alleviated by his spending hours bemoaning it.
In his defense, the Yawner occasionally tries to get things moving. He does this by sporadically and nastily asking the whole room what, exactly, their problem is.
This is the guy -- often someone either a little too excessively devoted to his religion, or harboring serious sexuality issues -- who jumps into gay rooms to bash. He will frequently ask what those freaks are doing in there. He then furiously asks why said freaks don't prefer the anatomical attractions of females. Feel for the Sniper, for these are questions that trouble him deeply.
He is known by his execrable spelling and grammar, and his queries are often in multicolored fonts. For considerable amounts of time, he sticks around the very rooms that so disgust him. Well, research is research.
Hats off to the modern entrepreneur! Male escorts have long since discovered the rich fields of the chat room, and I salute their industry.
Often the Hustler sensibly and politely incorporates his vocation within his screen name with a dollar sign woven into it, as in "LAE$cort" or "MU$CStd4U." Others are more cagey. Their names will entice you to examine their profiles; once in, you will learn the score, if not the price. My personal favorites are the career boys, the ones who slyly refer to wanting a "generous" friend. Who says the age of the bimbo chorus girl is gone?
This is the creature who takes care to devise a profile so enticing that thousands of desks tilt over thousands of male users, who sets himself up in the corner of the chat room, and who won't reciprocate contact. From anyone.
His name is the most dependable giveaway. It will be amazing, something by rights attached only to a pornographic superhero. His profile will be so masculine, it will stink of perspiration. And he occupies the room 24/7. Or, at least, his name does. The Ghost is the online and killer-sexy counterpart to the lost city of Atlantis: It's supposed to be fantastic, but odds are no one's actually going there anytime soon.
This is the verbose, active relation of the Ghost. This individual boasts the same extraordinary physical dimensions and the same unassailable divinity as as his ephemeral namesake. He is one tough customer also, as he has the right to be. His profile so plainly avers that he is not looking, so definitively states that he gets all he wants whenever he wants it and certainly doesn't need to get any from you, and so emphatically reinforces that he is as studly as he says he is, that you might begin to wonder how this specimen survives breathing the same air as lesser fry like your own poor self.
What turns the God on is -- surprise! -- attention. He is a good-natured son of a gun within the room dialogue, glad to joke around with the subspecies just as long as the occasional homage is made. In so doing, he unfortunately encourages mad daring; a bold but intrinsically unworthy soul may venture to scale the barbed wire the God has woven about his magnificence. Swatting such impertinence away is the price the God must pay for being so darn friendly. He will, in fact, sometimes refer to the unfairness of this arrangement, that he must be troubled when he has so graciously filled the room with perfection. It makes the God sad. You should be sad for him too.
"God," incidentally, is by no means meant sarcastically here. Only someone with divine abilities could actively occupy a chat room for the better part of each day and still maintain so sensational a body.
Now, it is possible to hook up with the God. But it ain't easy. It is, rather, a more drawn-out business than anything you will engage in offline. It calls for sustained, nonintrusive persistence, and I mean persistence. It will take literally months of IMs. And never once in your genial approaches can you betray that you want him. What you are doing is slowly allowing him to see that you don't want him, and this is the only lure that works with such a fantastic fish.
Two warnings: After all your time and effort, he will be disappointing. That is a sad given. Also, gauge your commitment to this goal in regard to the prize. You can spend endless weeks, even a full year, in drawing him to you, or you could read War and Peace. Trust me, go for the Tolstoy.
Don't be afraid -- he can't get at you through the screen.
This is a very peculiar creature indeed. The Psycho sees your name in the chat room and initiates contact in an IM. Hence it would seem he is interested in you. Maybe he is. But the Psycho doesn't take the time-honored course of friendliness to indicate this. Instead, he is oddly and instantly hostile. He sneaks bitchy little remarks in between ordinary comments. You can't possibly reply quickly enough to satisfy him, which he then uses as proof of your insincerity. And when you decide that this is at best an unnecessary chat and ignore him, the Psycho will often go full tilt and blatantly, hysterically insult you, the very person he wanted to contact.
How can we explain the chat room Psycho? In real life he is the annoying son of a bitch who has no notion that his behavior is odious. He thinks he's funny. He is the beast with the rationale of jabbing-as-courtship. May he one day find the person to whom this is endearing.
Related to and sometimes mistaken for the Sniper or the Psycho, the Bruiser lives for trouble. You'll know him by, if nothing else, the trail that follows him in the chat room -- an endless stream of requests that he get the hell out of there. He will, too, as soon as a room moderator throws him out or he gets bored with the prey currently at hand.
Until then he will jab at everything and everyone. No one is safe. He goes after an individual and abuses him on the dialogue screen because . . . well, because he noticed him, or he goes off on a rampage against the whole collective. None of it will be founded on anything at all, and the more he is encouraged to exit, the more he snarls and kicks. The visual image of the Bruiser is the worst school bully you can conjure, rocketed into space and blindly flailing in the vast emptiness.
These are the men in the rooms, make no mistake about it. They're the guys who IM you, scan your profile and address you in the dialogue screen, e-mail you with unasked-for pictures of themselves, or utterly ignore you.
But they are, luckily, merely a percentage of the men checking in. The other ones, the ones you are out to meet, will be stopping by too. These are the virtual versions of the sexy guys walking past on the street, the ones you'd like to wave and greet. And thanks to the friendly, accommodating instant message feature, you can.
Copyright © 2004, 2007 by Jack Mauro