Before Facebook, before the Twitter, before Google+, before the words ‘Let there be light’ (okay, you get my point) There were chat rooms. I mention them with tender emotion, a heavy heart and watery eyes. Rest in peace roomies. My sentimentality with chat rooms springs from the fact that I did a lot of ghost socialization in them. I had my first ‘digital kiss’ in one and I even went as far as to break my ‘digital virginity’. I did a lot of growing up in these rooms.
But enough with my chat room melodrama. Chat rooms were more than that. They were the Garden of Eden of social media until Facebook and The Twitter bird nipped on the apple. In the process they doomed us all and took us back to what we were all escaping from- reality.
Chat rooms made online socialization a fantasy. Somewhere you could log in and let your imagination float to the high heavens without any attachment and consequences. No names, no tags and the only liking that happened was in a private section of the room.
The main pillar in which chat rooms were built on was anonymity. All you gave was a user name, city and country. The pseudonymous nature of such connections brought out the creative best in everyone involved. The screen names ranged from witty to absurd and the rest just bordered on insane. There were the Hollywood inspired- WesleyPipes, MonsterBall, Mufasa; the smooth operators- Kasanova (he was from Kasarani), DonJuanMachakos, CandleGuy; and there was just the outrageous ones- 1 + 1 = 69, DevilInMyPants, UuuiiAti?Uuuuuuuuuiiiiiiii
Those who have been to such chat rooms know how they worked. It’s like a huge mansion with a variety of rooms inside. Every room is governed by a particular theme- like Flirting and Sex, Friends, Sports, Late Night and so forth. One was at complete liberty to hop in and out of any of these rooms. It’s no riddle which my favorite room was (as was any other teenage boy and girl). So as we all met in the Friends room…
What I liked most was the honest and competitive nature of the chat rooms. One was not judged by their appearance, pockets or mode of transportation. Just the power of their written word. In the Friends room for instance, everyone would come out with the best plagiarized sonnet and lay it down on their target. Since there happened to be more suitors, the whole room would have the aura of a 14th century theatre. In the end, he who hath the most convincing written tongue would get the honor of being requested to accompany their fine maiden to a private one-on-one session.
That is mostly where I brought out the big guns and got my Edgar Allan Poe on. One time, I opened a private session with, “I have seen your photo and I must say your luminous eyes are brightly expressive as the twins of Leda.” And just like that, I had myself a ‘digital girlfriend’, never mind the fact that her eyes were lifeless and I didn’t even have a clue who the twins were. I must add, sadly, that the ‘digital relationship’ did not last long. She caught me ‘digitally cheating’ and after a long ‘digital argument’, got ourselves a ‘digital break-up’.
I remember feeling adventurous or rather bored one time. I was hoping in and out of every room trying to find something different. I landed myself in the Italy room. Within a minute of joining, I had private room requests from 3 lovely ragazze. I credit that to my username ‘OthelloOfKenya’. I think it ringed a bell…So I picked the fruity one and in brief- this is how it went. Let’s call her Desdemona.
Othello: Buon giorno!
Desdemona: You speak Italian?!
Othello: Only when punished
Othello: Mamma Mia!
Desdemona: so what are you doing in Italia
Othello: I am in search of the fairest maiden to make my Queen. My father died and left me his kingdom- I need to do the same too.
Othello: Not before I get a heir
Desdemona: Are you from Zamunda?
Othello: No! that is Eddie Murphy’s Empire…
Here’s another interesting chat room conversation that one of my crazy friends partook in.
CrazyFriend: So what you upto?
Lady: Nothin much, just chillin in bed with my John Grisham
CrazyFriend: Uuuuh! I’ve never heard of that one
Lady: Seriously?! It’s really nice
CrazyFriend: How much of it is left, I’d love some
Lady: Uhm, I just started, I’m on page 54
CrazyFriend: That must be a classy one- they measure it in pages
Lady: Kwani what do you think John Grisham is?
CrazyFriend: A drink
Lady just checked out of the chat room.
That is what I miss most about the chat rooms. They allowed you to be foolish and childish. But they are dead now. And their chief assassins- Facebook and Twitter do not allow you to be that way. Since no one likes to be publicly associated with foolishness and childishness, the last time I tried some chat room antics on my Facebook page, I lost friends quicker than a billionaire gone broke 😦