Winter is coming.
Colorado is nice in October, but not spend-all-your-time-outside nice. There’s a big difference between picnicking in the park at 80 degrees and choking down an egg salad sandwich when the mercury’s at 60. It won’t be long before all that sidewalk dining capacity goes into cold storage and you solemnly tie down the barbecue grill cover for the last time in 2020. Our uncommonly long, hot summer, perfect for entertaining al fresco, will blow away on the chill North Wind, while stern restrictions linger like smoke from the Western Slope, and for cordial connection you’ll just have to get by on whatever social distance you can manage in the Great Indoors. If a lack of human contact was driving you goofballs in August, hold onto your tin foil hat.
To make it through to next spring with what’s left of your marbles, you’ll need to cultivate a new circle of friends. Inside friends. People of similar interests with whom you can share stimulating conversation in perfect antiseptic safety. Online friends.
Social networks may be the bane of dignity, civility and productivity, but they do offer an ersatz human connection. More than 3 billion people log on to one or more of them every week, which is about half the world’s population, so it’s a good thing there are thousands of networks to choose from or particularly popular social networks could get kind of crowded. Crowded like Facebook, teeming with about 2.5 billion active users, or YouTube with about 2 billion, or even struggling third-stringers like Instagram (1.3 billion), TikTok (800 million) and Pinterest (320 million).
Geez. That’s a lot of names to remember. Seems like a body could get lost in such a dense crush of counterfeit camaraderie. If only there were less-trafficked networks tailored to more defined clientele and offering more intimate online interaction. There are, of course. Thousands of them. If you can’t find a cyber-clatch to call your own, you’re just not trying.
At bottom, MyFreeImplants is a straightforward crowdfunding site where cash-strapped gals can raise the bucks they need to become buxom. “Invest in Breasts!” reads the banner. Just send in a selfie along with a tearful pitch and then sit back and watch your cups runneth over. More than that, though, it’s an online community of people who value the quest for personal perfection as much as they esteem a well-filled blouse. On MyFreeImplants, you can forge “lifelong friendships” while “achieving the body of your dreams!”
Since 2004, Stache Passions has been bringing together people with a mania for mustaches. “Oh yeah, it’s all about the stache!” proclaims the homepage. The expansive site includes online forums, educational blogs, video tutorials, and plenty of knowledgeable design and maintenance tips for “newbies” courtesy of more “experienced” facial hair sages. In view of the remarkable diversity that marks the mustachioed, Stache Passions’ chat rooms are style-specific from the Handlebar to the Hungarian, from the Dirty Sanchez to the Dali, from the Walrus to the Fu Manchu, and from the Tom Selleck to the Tom Brady. Stache Passions is also a dating site, of course, because for every man with a mustache, there is a woman willing to love him for it.
“Is that a party in your pocket?” Yes, it is. You know it is because everybody on LIVR is loaded. You know they’re loaded because, like you, they had to fail a breathalyzer test to log on to the app. LIVR gives you the chance to imbibe all the drunken nonsense you can swallow from dusk ’til dawn and delete everything in the morning. “Your secret’s safe with LIVR.”
While the internet is often praised as a vast bastion of inclusiveness, BeautifulPeople.com is unashamedly exclusionary. “Be part of the largest, most exclusively beautiful community in the world,” reads the homepage. When they invite you to “chat with REAL beautiful people,” they’re not talking about people with beautiful minds. “Browse beautiful profiles of men and women without sifting through all the riffraff.” Speaking as riffraff, it’s hard not to admire Beautiful People’s skin-deep integrity. Beautiful new members are only admitted by vote of the beautiful rank and file, and those found wanting in comeliness are dismissed without apology. If you’re candy to the opposite sex and want to chat with the attractive, this site is for you. What exactly you’ll be chatting about, the rest of us may never know.
If all dreams are really weird, we invariably find our own dreams really fascinating. Match A Dream is a weirdness clearinghouse where you can share your own dreams in bizarre detail, match them against the bizarre details of other people’s dreams, and hopefully discover the deeper meanings hidden deep within your nightly freak show. The site includes a Dream Dictionary providing potential explanations for the most common subconscious symbologies, and discussion rooms where you can wile away a sleepless night hashing over your latest after-hours adventure.
As incredible as it may seem, there exist persons of such singular tastes and uncommon proclivities as to remain virtually friendless within the vast and diverse forum that is the cybersphere. Happily, they have a friend in Ning, a social network designed to help one start and promote one’s own social network. For a monthly fee as little as $25 or as much as $99, you can create a comfortable online salon welcoming those few outriding fellow travelers who share your unconventional passions. Examples of Ning’s bridge building potential include Library2.0, providing a safe and quiet space for professional library administrators to pal around in; TwitterMoms, a 15,000-strong site for moms who, uh, Twitter; and SaveJusticeLeagueFromBadCasting, which probably deserves more attention than it gets.
Ooh, sorry. This social network isn’t for you. But you wish it was. No doubt you’d be thrilled to rub elbows with the upper crust, to get invited to black-tie galas around the globe, to call Hollywood royalty and captains of industry by their first names, to “Share the Good Life.” But you can’t. You can’t even apply for membership. A Small World is the exclusive realm of celebrities and zillionaires and… er… how to put this… you’re just not big enough.