They just don’t get it

by f

From tworl.com

Back when I was working with a small start-up app design firm, I did a lot of research into other programs that attempted to set random people up in an attempt to build friendships. One such site is called Tworl.com and bills itself as a online service where  members can search “for an instant messenger chatting partner through a web-based search engine.” It’s different from most social networking sites I became familiar with. It allows you to test friendships out by making members available to you before you’re asked to make a decision.

I made a test account. I did not include a picture or personal information, thinking that I would not get too many responses. I’m also a privacy nut, so I don’t like giving my information without just cause. I figured that nobody would IM me out of the blue since I wanted to be the one doing all of the legwork.

However, the project fell through about a week later, and I never thought about it again.

Tworl inched its way into my life gradually. I started getting random instant messages from people looking to chat. Mostly from guys, but I understand that, I guess. I made it very clear on my profile — in fact, it was the only information I kept on there — that I was only interested in friends. And, again, I didn’t expect to hear from anybody. But I did.

Many of these people were great people. Two of them were in the military and had some serious sandbox cred. Yet another was an erudite cafe manager. I also heard from a student at a midwestern college who liked to build things and was looking for someone to talk to about his creative dreams.

But no chat experience is complete without a fair share of perverts. And boy, were there perverts.

Most of them demand pictures upfront, and usually I say that I can’t because I don’t feel comfortable showing myself to someone I barely know. But I shot myself in the foot because I have a picture of myself as my AIM icon. So I was getting a lot of IMs from people who’d taken a peek at my AIM icon and, I guess, liked what they saw.

The first person who IMmed me asked to see a bigger version of my picture. Since I thought, OK — he’s already seen my icon, and my icon is a very stylized version of the way I look because of the (highly) ironic angle at which I took it — there was no real harm in showing him the picture. So I did. He responded with a lot of his own pictures. He was by no means unattractive, but clearly I wasn’t going to encourage that kind of behavior. I told him that he looked great and that I needed to leave in order to check my email. I tried to block him, but evidently it did not succeed, because I received an IM asking if I’d like to “see his nude pics.”

I want to know if there are enough internet females who encourage this sort of behavior. I don’t think there are any. If there are, I want to smack them. It just makes things so much more uncomfortable for the rest of us. No, I didn’t want to see his nude pics.

“I’m engaged,” I told him. “I don’t think it would be appropriate.”

He hastily apologized and left. I found out that he blocked me because I added his screenname to the list of another screenname that I have. Evidently he didn’t want anything to do with me when it was clear that I was an unavailable vagina.

Ha. Ha.

The man that took the cake, though, came just a few moments later. He was a sixty-year-old network engineer. Even the picture on his profile unsettled me a little, but I felt that that was an unfair visceral reaction. I was determined to be nice. Against my better judgment, I responded. Immediately, he asked me what I wanted to talk about. I told him that since he was the one who contacted me, he was free to initiate whatever discussion he pleased.

“I like to talk about sex,” he said.

Then I hastily amended the terms of discussion. “I’m not comfortable discussing sex with strangers,” I said.

That’s is a lie, since I have this blog, but there was no way in hell I was entertaining such a discussion with him.

Common sense should’ve dictated that I block him then and there, but he started talking about something else. He told me that he hosted exchange students for a living, “Young women,” he said, proudly. “Your age. But I don’t have sex with most of them.”

What?

“Would you like to be my exchange student?”

No.

“It says on your profile –” he continued, “that you are from ___. I have a sister by there. Maybe I can visit you.”

I recoiled in horror. I never remembered putting up that information! But when I looked it up on the map, I found myself geotagged!

“I would love to visit you,” he said, “you seem like a very sexy person. Maybe we can work together. And, when you get more comfortable with me, we can talk about sex!”

Does anybody ever get it? Where do these people come from? I don’t want to talk about sex! I don’t want to talk about sex with a horny sixty year old guy on the internet! I’m not sure anybody does! The complete obliviousness disappoints me. I’ve blocked him.

I’m still keeping my profile for another few days. The successful friendships I’ve built on Tworl have been amazing. One of the Marines I met introduced me to two of his wonderful dogs. Yet another gave me lots of information about obscure music I’d’ve never heard otherwise. I try to be as upfront with everyone as possible. I’m engaged. There is no hope of meeting me in person. But I do like to talk and have always been a social creature, so I’m glad that I’ve made a few unexpected friends.

Verdict: Tworl is good as a service. Beware of perverts. Also, they geotag.

3 Comments to “They just don’t get it”

  1. This is why I don’t bother with strangers over the Internet for general chatting anymore. :p I don’t think it was that he didn’t get it, I think it was that he didn’t care. The other guy was actually very “nice” to leave you alone after you told him you were unavailable. A lot of men online trolling for a booty call aren’t.

    I think it’s irresponsible for any site to geotag without giving you express notice that you WILL be geotagged and a clear, easy, easily found, and immediate way to stop it at the creation of your profile or anytime later. Geotagging without express permission and without a way for a user to quickly and easily disable it should not be allowed.

  2. What really bothers me is that they just don’t care. These horny trolls will persist against overwhelming odds. You basically have to come out and say, “No, I do not want to have any sort of sex with you,” to get them to go away.

    And, yes, this GeoTagging business is absolutely unacceptable. It should have been made clear up front that GeoTagging was possible, and you should have had the choice to turn it ON, not off. Bad Tworl!

    • Some don’t even leave you alone when you tell them that! I run into those quite often. It’s the same sort of principle they use when a woman tells them she’s gay and doesn’t want to date them or have sex with them. “Well, you just haven’t been with a REAL man,” as if they’re some kind of gift to womankind. That’s arrogant and annoying and nobody finds it sexy. If those women weren’t already gay, I’m sure that would have made them gay.

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