Instant Mess

What’s up with the Strange Guy who pops up in an IM window, unsolicited, and wants to chat? I’ve been seeing a lot of these lately. Does he have a profile? No. Does he start off by saying, “Hi, I saw your profile in such-and-such Yahoo group; I saw you liked ____ and I’m into that, too — do you have time to talk”? No. Does he introduce himself and say ANYTHING about himself? No.

When I begin to ask questions about where he found my name, or what he’s into, I’ve opened the door to his sticking around and prolonging my suffering. For some odd reason, these guys can never seem to remember WHICH Yahoo group they found me in. (I should mention that I hardly ever use Yahoo groups anymore; I’m using FetLife much more, and just started using as well).

I have in the past tended to give unknown IM’rs a little time, not abandoning the exchange from the get-go. You never know, SOMETIMES conversations start off on the wrong foot and redeem themselves. More likely, when I do try to continue the conversation it’s like pulling teeth to find out what he likes. One guy said, “I can’t talk about this too much online.” (WHAT? — I guess he meant posting about his kink on his Yahoo profile, but you can create separate profiles.)

I’ve gotten to the point where I hardly ever turn on my IM function anymore when I sign in. I want to talk to friends and people I’m getting to know first (through my website; some of the boards I’m on).

However, I also don’t mind a talk with a stranger if he can express himself, because sometimes he is someone who legitimately is interested in seeing me for a consultation, OR he simply interesting. Those people may be as tired of IMing as I am, so I likely won’t be having those conversations.

The time wasters? I have yet to figure out what they are getting out of it or why they do it.


  1. Mike

    It’s always a good idea to know where the on/off button is. When I was on AOL, I didn’t realize that the door was, by default, open to IMs, and I would get them now and then. Finally I figured out how to become unavailable. Now I get people asking to be my friend on Facebook and I don’t even have a Facebook account. At least I hope not. ;)

    Some set “chat” hours and invite You might try that, perhaps starting with an announcement on this page. That way, you’ll be reasonably sure that someone who wants to chat with you during your set time will at least know you from here.

    How’d the TES reading go?

  2. Thanks, Mike. That’s a good idea, setting “chat hours.” I don’t know if I can make it consistent week to week, but I’ll see what can be arranged.

    Reading went very well. I have a lot to learning about reading fiction, but I’ll get better as I go along.

  3. Like Mike, I used to have AOL (until I got tired of their bad software), and since then I haven’t used IM. I simply haven’t the time for it, so I understand why you don’t use it much these days.

    What do all these guys get out of it? I hate to be cynical, but I think the guys in IM and chatrooms today are the sons of the guys who were found in singles bars during the 70’s and 80’s. They would hit on one girl after another, with a low probability of success, but to them it was a numbers game: hit on 100 girls and you might take one of them home. I really hated that “meat-market” environment, but that’s another story.

    Apart from the usual safety precautions, which you’re certainly astute enough to take, I would caution you that I suspect some of the guys haunting “kink” sites are probably vanillas looking for sex and willing to “play the kink game” in order to get it. That may be why some of the ones you chatted with had so much trouble articulating what they were into.

    I can’t tell you how sorry I am I couldn’t come to Crimson Moon this year, even though I live in Chicago. I’m sure I would have enjoyed talking to you very much, and I’d certainly have bought your book, even without the added pleasure of spanking you at the table!

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