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(Well, it beats finding her talking to a semi-erect penis.) He quickly pressed "Next".
Of course, once you've persuaded someone to stick around for longer than a couple of seconds, it's a lot harder to let them go – and their rejection feels like a more considered judgement on your charisma, or lack thereof. You can only go on – to the next lettuce-lover or lonely seaman.
As you see them reaching for their mouse you want to cry, "come back! Soon you start clicking away from your new acquaintances with similar indifference.
It seems astounding that it's taken so long for someone to come up with something so simple – and the site itself looks like it was indeed designed in the dark ages of the internet.
There's a box for your webcam feed, a box for the strangers' webcam feeds, a box for instant messaging, and a button that says "Next". Most Chat Roulette exchanges last only a fleeting few seconds: the time it takes the stranger to see you, decide on the evidence of your face or your wallpaper that you're worth no more of their time, and click onto their next chat.
I'm warned that approximately one in every 10 clicks will bring you up against penises in various states of tumescence.
But approximately one in every 20 will produce an enriching exchange.
One friend found himself in a conversation with a naval officer, who'd logged on from his base somewhere in the Middle East; another had a short play performed for her by two Spanish aspiring theatricals.
Early Chat Roulette stars supposedly included a Swedish artist who'd sketch portraits of everyone he talked to, and another man – location unknown – who could be found perpetually masturbating into a green salad.
Since there are no age restrictions on the site, one friend of a friend found himself holding up a perfectly decent conversation with a 13-year-old girl.
It was only when her mother walked into her bedroom that he wondered how, exactly, the poor woman would feel about finding her daughter talking to a strange man on the internet.