"A unique, wry and often satirical look at the Internet, the modern age and life in general" (there is way too much search-engine competition for the phrase "incoherent ramblings")

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Why you will stop using ICQ at the age of 30

Remember ICQ? It was the first widely popular chat client, far more user-friendly than IRC, allowing Internet newbies suddenly to chat to people all over the world for free (though a lot of us were still using it over dial-up).

The thing about it was that you got a lot of unsolicited chat requests, and probably still do if you use it. If you are a girl you get a lot of guys of similar age, or older, wanting to chat, and I can say as a guy that there were a fair amount of girls initiating chats with me. I won't go into my opinion of the motivation behind these chat requests, though you should definitely be careful, especially as a girl.

Now, on ICQ, the way you search for someone to chat with is via certain criteria, and one of them is age. So the guy searches for girl, 23-29, say (the latter being one of the age ranges ICQ offers you), maybe adds his city or some interest, and out pop a number of "victims" (ahem, excuse the expression).

Well, it WAS kinda nice getting the occasional girl aged 24-25 initiating chats with me when I was 28-29 - even though I used ICQ for talking to known friends and really did not do much "blind" chatting - I did not (and still don't) rate it much as a way of getting to know someone. But it was sort of flattering.

But then I turned 30, and what happened? Of course, I started getting "hit" by ladies searching in the 30-39 bracket! There is nothing you can do about this short of lying about your age - ICQ just lumps you into this new, rather arbitrary and wide-ranging age-bracket! The 23-29s vanished overnight, and suddenly I was no longer the focus of interest of young ladies of this age group, to whom surely, until this fateful event, I represented an older, more worldly-wise guy. Now I was running scared from the aggressive advances of the "older woman", me, a mere stripling, the prey of femmes fatales, some of them, like, nearly 40 years old!!

Well, that was very quickly the end of my use of ICQ - along came the relative anonymity of Skype and I could use my computer, safe from the clutches of Thelma, aged thirty-eight from Theydon.

And that is why, when you turn thirty, you will stop using ICQ...!