Update Note: This article was originally publilshed right here in Citynet Magazine in 2002. Since then, chatrooms have not been as busy since other forms of social interation techonology like Facebook and MySpace have come along. In any case, read the article for its great information which still has value today. Good luck with your meeting of singles online!
This is an article for guys who are clueless about this “whole chat room thing.” Here’s practical advice for both the novice and experienced Internet user.
Where To Do It
With over 33 million users, AOL is by far the best internet service provider for picking up. It also has the advantage of having a great computer interface and a convenient set-up for finding people. For these reasons, the focus of will be for AOL users but much of the information can be applied to other systems such as ICQ and Yahoo Chat.
Before reading this page, it is very important for you to realize that when you engage in conversation with people on the net, in chat rooms or otherwise, you should always remember that you’re speaking to REAL PEOPLE on the other end of the screen. So try to avoid acting like an ass, especially toward women who you realize you are not interested in. And trust me, there will be a lot of them!
Creating a Great Screen Name
Creating a good screen name is probably the most overlooked part of the online meeting process. While you can easily meet women with any screen name, some screen names attract a lot more attention than others. When deciding, try to chose a name that represents something about you but says it in a cool way. For example, if you’re into rollerblading, try a screen name like ‘Roller Crazy Ass” or “Blading Mad Boy”. Think it over and be original. Names like these will definitely bring a lot more attention than names like “Rick013654″ or “A9Bubba”.
Another approach is to use demographic (age, sex, location) information about yourself. For example, if you’re from New York City, try a name like “SteveNYC21m”. This announces that you are a 21 male from NYC and women who are looking to meet guys will contact you or be more likely to chat with you (more on that later). Remember: take your time and be creative.
The Member Profile
Do you really need an AOL member profile? YES!!! First, it gives women a general idea of who you are – your location, interests, occupation, and so on. If you are only looking for one thing, you might want to add that bit of info. But be subtle! Don’t overtly say “I’m looking for action tonight with a hottie”! That won’t get you anywhere.
Women don’t think like guys do. Even if they want to get picked up on the net, they don’t like guys being so upfront and in their face about it. You have to play their game! Remember, they are the gatekeepers to what you are dying for, so play nice and you will hopefully eventually get what you want.
Choose the Best Chat Room for Your Needs
There are thousands of chat rooms, how do you choose? As a general rule of thumb, go to your local city room (for example, the “Chicago” room). City rooms are usually filled with people from that city and that’s what you want. Some cities or groups (ethnicity, married, S and M) have ‘romance’ rooms which are also great bets. Less useful but are worth a try: rooms like “flirt” because these are often filled with people from all over the place which is limiting and unrealistic for you.
Don’t go to the “fishing” room looking to meet women because the topic of that room is fishing! On the other hand, similar interests may work out for you in the long run. You have all the time in the world so try the different options presented here.
Once You’re in the Right Place
If you’re interested in the chat room topic, enter the conversation. Otherwise, announce that you are there with a ‘hey everyone’ and your ASL. What is ASL? It’s American Sign Language! Unfortunately, that doesn’t quiiite work on the net. In chat rooms, ASL stands for Age/Sex/Location. This is the best means of quick exposure in a chat room. Since you know what you are looking for, you will quickly hone in the what’s right for you.
Life in a Chat Room
It isn’t always easy to join in a chat room conversation. On occasion, the people chatting act snobby while at other times you don’t really have much to say about a given topic. Waiting it out until they do talk about something you know is not a bad idea since conversations in city chat rooms are generally short-lived, given that few people are there that have much in common aside from wanting to connect in that city or find out where to party there.
If you hit it off or if you haven’t been able to get into the conversation, the next step is to contact the person directly. This can be done by sending them an Instant Message. Note that Instant Message is frequently shortened to IM now. And IM is frequently used as a verb as in ‘I IMed her’ or ‘he was IMing me’.
Using an IM, start a conversation and see where it goes. If it appears to be going well and you’re sure that the person is focusing on your conversation, you may want to send them a link to enter a private chat room. It’s much easier to use and chances are that you won’t be interrupted in it. Note that in some cases people are slow to respond. That’s because many people have multiple IMs going at the same time. You might wanna ask these people to focus on your specific conversation or go chat with someone else.
Get Info in Subtle Ways
While chatting, always keep your goals in mind. Remember that you’re playing the woman’s game of getting information. Asking for her picture in the first minute of conversation is not a good idea. You need to establish a common link that will get her to trust you. For example, if she is doing her undergraduate degree at Georgetown University and you have a friend there, then say so! This will already narrow you down to a smaller category of ‘safe’ people in her mind.
On some occasions, a woman will OUTRIGHT ask for your age, sex, location, and for a picture. (Recall that you are trying to avoid being so straight forward towards the women you meet so that you don’t look too shallow or untrustworthy). These women don’t waste time and can be quite aggressive! But, they’re often harder to pick-up since they are more aggressive in their own pursuit of guys. In any case, you always have a chance to pick these women up, so work it.
The trick to playing the woman’s game is to remain subtle but get at the information you want. For example, rather than asking if she is ‘hot’, ask her if she enjoys going clubbing. If she does, then ask her if she gets hit on a lot while she’s there. There are three general responses to this: First, she says yes – the best case scenario, indicating that she is reasonably attractive. Second, she says no, meaning that it may be time to taper off the conversation with this unattractive woman. Third, you may get a response like ‘only when I am drunk”, meaning that on occasion they are ready for a one-night stand but are most likely not overly attractive. It may be worth your while to pursue this if your standards aren’t too high.
Always remember that even if you have no chance of meeting or her picture heinous, there is NO EXCUSE for being rude. You can still chat with her even if she isn’t getting you anywhere. Every conversation will be different and every person you meet will be different.
The Picture Debate
Getting someone’s picture is not a required step. After a few conversations or one long one, ask if the person has a scanned picture to send. If they don’t, ask them for a general description of themselves, how attractive they perceive themselves and how attractive others generally perceive them. This will give you a better clue as to the reality of their looks.
Net Lingo: ‘S2R’ means ‘send to receive’. Some women promise to send a picture but don’t after they see yours. You might consider a S2R policy when you don’t think she is trustworthy about sending her picture.
While there are a lot of ugly women on the net, there are also a lot of hotties. But, don’t get overly excited if the picture you receive is of a total babe. Remember the old saying: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s not to say that you can never believe that the person you’re chatting with is not hot. It is merely a word of caution. How do you get full proof? Ask for MORE THAN ONE picture. If she is the real deal, she will likely have several pictures to send. If she isn’t, she’ll say that she only has one picture, in which you can call her bluff and move on.
Talking on the phone is the next crucial step for the chat room pick-up. After chatting for a certain amount of time, you will want to get the person’s digits. The time it takes to get digits depends on you and the person. Once you have a few conversations and you think that the person is as cool as they are online, it may be time to set up a meeting.
Setting up Future Encounters
Once you’re done chatting, say your goodbyes and if you think there is a realistic potential (or if you genuinely want to chat with this person in the future), ask them if you can put them on your buddy list. Just about everyone says yes, given that they have just had a conversation with someone and it’s almost a compliment that someone wants to chat with the person again. In some ways, it’s analogous to getting someone’s digits.
Where to Meet
This varies by the person. Believe it or not, many women will actually not hesitate to come to your place, even though they have never met you and you could be dangerous. Nonetheless, it is highly recommended that the meeting be in a neutral place such as a coffee shop. By doing so, there is less pressure.
Meeting during an afternoon or an evening is also recommended. Plan to meet the person outside near the door. One thing you should not do is plan on meeting the person, go to see who they are and leave if you’re not pleased with their appearance. Not only is this rude and disrespectful, but it could have repercussions on future encounters. For example, you may piss the person off and they will spread the word to the “regulars” in the chat room that you’re a jerk.
In the beginning, most of the people using AOL were probably very skeptical and hesitant about meeting someone off of AOL. Nowadays it is very common and people have loosened up somewhat. This makes it a lot easier to “convince” people to meet you in person and sooner at that. Nonetheless, show respect and be mindful that people can be nervous in these situations.
The Best Time to Chat
Ok, so you have all the basics you need to meet on the Internet but you don’t when to practice and use your new skills. Not all chat times are the same. There appears to be more people signed on Sunday nights and during holidays, which is logical since that’s when people tend to veg. In any case, these times may particularly key, since women may be more on the prowl after not meeting anyone over the weekend, or not having anyone to spend the holidays with. On the other hand, all times of the day can be very productive.
Okay, now that you know what to do, get to it! Remember, knowing is half the battle! Stay cool and patient. Have fun and good luck!