Recently, I was asked this question by a sincere young gay man – “Can I go to the chatroom if I want to make friends but not to find sex?” I couldn’t answer immediately; I needed time to think of a reasonable answer which didn’t sound judgmental and yet at the same time as truthful as I possibly can be.
For a person who grew up in a non-internet era, a time when being ‘gay’ still meant being happy, the gay chatroom may be both exciting and frightening.
It is exciting because of the sudden awareness that the community of cruisers is so big – on a high traffic day, it can go up to 500 plus crowded into the chatroom, cruising and looking for guys….god only knows what the outcome of successful connections would be. Exciting also because the taste of the cruisers is very varied and mature men are not uncommon and unpopular. And that is the frightening part as well. What will the outcome be? Hot steamy sex with sado-masochism thrown in – you are the one tied up, blindfolded and whipped? Or worse – someone who doesn’t look like the guy you envisaged or someone who can turn out to be the worst nightmare in a serial killer…. One’s imagination is the limit. So caution is best…..
So back to the question of whether it is possible to make friends in a chatroom.
A visit to a popular online gay chatroom like SGBOY Chat can be an interesting sociological study into the psyche of the gay Singaporean male online cruisers. It may not be representative of all gay Singaporean men but it surely gives an insight into a good number of them.
A characteristic message goes like this:
>Hi. Intro, please
<Guest_101>175 75 c 30 u?
>180 90 40 ind u mind?
<Guest_101>no, am colour-blind. t/b?
>6 uc thick
<Guest_101>wat you look like?
>decent slim specky
<Guest_101>cool. I gym fit bear
(The above is a fictitious chat and is a collage of bits of different chats rather than from a single one.)
They are major virtual cruising channels for the
gay community to find sex partners
whether it is ONS (one night stands) or
regular fxxk buddies….I still think it is possible to find
genuine friendship and perhaps even true love
Of course there are other things that are interlaced into the conversation but the chat would be very much centred on these 5 areas:
- Type – the figures which appear are one of the first things that come up in a chat. The bigger number e.g., 175 or 180 is the height of the person measured most of the time in cm. The second and smaller number e.g., 75 or 90 in kg would be the weight of the person. With both of these information, it would be quite possible to visualize an estimation of what the person looks like although often it may not be very accurate because too many other factors are involved. But it does give an indication of a type which is familiar with the gay community – chub, gym fit, slim, stocky. If the type is acceptable then the chat very often carries on. If not…..well.
- Age – the 3rd number is indicative of the age. This is important to the chatter who would most likely have preferences of the type of person they are looking for – People of similar age? Mature men? Twinks, sometimes called boi boi* in Singapore?
- Looks – To the chatter in the gay chatroom, looks are very important and that’s the reason why the question is often unabashedly asked. From the answer, looks can be ascertained or rather estimated. Again the chatter falls back on the predominant types in the community. Bears and cubs (smaller versions) mainly refer to solid individuals who are endowed with bodily hair but definitions are sometimes not totally adhered to. ‘Decent’ refers to individuals who range from those who look like Clark Kent with matching nerdy spectacles to those who just look like boring goody-two shoes. Then there is the China boy look – young and fair with short stylized hair, sometimes with slit eyes, sometimes doe eyed.
- Race – This is another very important item in the chat. The gay chatter needs to know whether it is a gam (gay Asian man), gwm (gay white man), Indian, Malay, Chinese. There are more exotic types like the Pinoy and often the Mixed (then the chatter will have to ask mix of what because it does make a difference since a mix of white and Chinese would be different from a mix of Indian and Chinese – the good news for those interested is that all of them have their own appeal and market). Some chatters are very open and will openly say, “no Chinese” or “whites only”…they will sometimes add in the “please” as if by doing so they would appear less impolite in a rather rude racist post.
- Size and Position – When the chat has thus far been positive and things are really heating up and getting to the actual hunt, size and position will be asked. ‘Tool’ refers to the manhood. Although we would like to console ourselves that size doesn’t matter, it seemingly matters in the gay underground. Size includes length – 5” (pretty much Asian) or 7” (pretty much in demand) and thickness (ranging from average – most of the Asians to thick – most South Asians and Caucasians. Information about our little brother goes in some cases to whether it is ‘cut’ (circumcised) or ‘uncut’. Then there is the thing called position – most chatters would ask, ‘t/b’ which means ‘top’ or ‘bottom’. It seems like ‘tops’ are in demand as there are lots of ‘bottoms’ around, according to a gay friend.
My opinions about the gay chatroom are obvious. They are major virtual cruising channels for the gay community to find sex partners whether it is ONS (one night stands) or regular fxxk buddies.
I still think it is possible to find genuine friendship and perhaps even true love. It is just that it is like looking for water in a desert. But in a desert there are oases. We rejoice with the lucky ones who do find them. And in the meanwhile, the search continues.
So my answer to the sincere young gay friend was just this…..honestly, the gay chatroom is a place to look for sex but it is still possible to find friendship there.
** Twinks/Boi boi – a young gay man just crossing the age of legality for consensual sex (sometimes it can be younger but hopefully not because of the legal implications of under-aged sex).