While the internet is still relatively young, we’ve already used our consumptive and waste-creation talents to leave it littered with depressing relics of ventures that once seemed ingenious, but ended up bested or simply discarded. ChatRoulette died after being taken over by penises. Soon came SeshRoulette, a randomised chat site that specifically banned penises and dedicated its space to lonely potheads the world over. Just like ChatRoulette, users are matched up with a random person, but unlike its predecessor SeshRoulette pairs strangers looking for someone to light up with. The site launched in 2010, clocked a few hundred thousand temporary friendships and then vanished into obscurity. Could it be that the very penises that killed chat roulette may be what had kept it alive for as long as it was? We’ll never know.
But what we do know is that SeshRoulette is now a ghost town. Two years after its launch, there is seriously no one on there. In pitching this idea, I hopped on SeshRoulette and asked my editor to do the same. The site immediately paired us up, and no amount of NEXTs turned up anyone new. We celebrated by having a little pretend sesh right at the office, and that’s all it was despite it looking like an online Mujahideen reunion.
I had all but crumpled up the idea, but tonight I randomly gave it another go, and I’m glad I did because I made a couple of new friends. Meet Timmy and Leif (we changed their names).
Timmy and Leif are 16, and they were hanging out at Timmy’s parents’ house and smoking weed because Timmy’s “parents don’t give a fuck”. They hit up SeshRoulette on a lark and happened to find me staring back at them. The only thing I heard on my speakers before they NEXTed me was, “Ugh, Indian!” Two seconds later, we were staring at each other again, which I hope was a little awkward for them. This outcome confirmed that we were the only people on SeshRoulette right now and were stuck with each other if we wanted to explore this futuristic method of drug socialisation.
Timmy handled introductions in the chat box. “I’m the white kid and Leif is the gay one.” When I was 16, everyone called everything gay, so I asked him to clarify, and it turns out Leif is in fact gay and not a straight kid having his balls broken, as was the deranged custom in my day. Apparently, times have changed. As we smoked together, Leif described to me how being gay made him one of the most popular kids at his school.
His initial explanation was simple. “The reason I’m popular is because I’m gay and I’m Mexican and I’m reasonably good looking, and the girls love me, and the guys love me.” But as we delved further into his high school history, it turned out to be so much more than that.
When he had first come to the school, Leif gave a speech to his classmates in conjunction with The Names Project, which he described as being something like an MTV show called If You Really Knew Me in which kids reveal personal things about themselves in hopes of bridging gaps between cliques, or in Leif’s case, fast tracking him to the top tier of cliques. Being gay made Leif cool as shit, and that’s pretty great considering that just over a decade ago, when I was in high school, all the cool kids would have described his speech as gay and then destroyed his life for the next four years. Quite the contrary, Leif not only elevated himself but helped some goth kids kick their shitty habits in the process. “I apparently empowered a lot of girls at the school to stop cutting themselves.” His voice suddenly became impassioned, “No cutting! How to feel beautiful, how to not give a fuck what anyone says about you!” Inspiring.
However, I was saddened to realise that these two knuckleheads had learned the least from the experience when they began stereotyping and criticising my personal favourite high school archetype, the stoner.
When asked to describe stoners, the two chimed, “Saggy pants, Rasta hats, Rasta book bags, Rasta shoes, Rasta everything,” revealing that these stoned teenagers, who fit every requirement to be labelled stoners and even momentarily bragged about how they smoke more than anyone else at their school, share their perception of stoner culture with my grandmother. Ya mon. Smoke de ganja aalll de time, bo bo selectaaaaaa. Ignorant as shit.
Timmy and Leif were starting to get stoned and comfortable ranting to a stranger, so threw out some general shit that I assume teenagers would get hype about hoping to hear some nuggets of 16-year-old dipshit wisdom. I asked who they would have voted for if they could have voted this year, and Leif meandered his way through some liberal propaganda before exclaiming, “If you’re a gay republican, I hope you go kill yourself, OK hon?” That was shortly followed by, “I believe in abortion.”
We smoked some more and ended up back on the topic of stoners, and I just sat and watched these two kids work it out for themselves, rationalising that it’s not a good word and that people shouldn’t be labelled stoners based on their habits. They were in a contemplative place when Timmy’s mum suddenly burst into the room. I screamed into my screen, “Let me talk to your mum!” but Timmy abruptly vetoed my request. Little bastard.
For a couple of wise-ass kids who try and avoid Indians on the internet, I had a pretty entertaining conversation with Timmy and Leif, even though neither of those self-absorbed pricks asked me anything about myself. Rude as shit. While acceptance of diversity has evidently evolved, it turns out kids are still fundamentally assholes.
If you’re interested in checking out SeshRoulette, seriously, don’t bother.