What's the deal with singles "chat lines"? [ed]

Not sure if this is the right forum - this might end up being more IMHO.

I’m married and have no inclination to actually call one of these “party lines” or “chat lines”, but I’ve always sort of wondered - these late-night chat lines must be profitable or else they wouldn’t buy up all the advertising after 11PM. Are these things as sad and pitiful as they seem? Who would call one? Seems like it’s going to be all dudes, or something, based on how they advertise (generally women in bikinis, from what I see here in Cleveland).

The only one which seemed remotely likely to accomplish its purpose was one for a gay chat line, where presumably everybody knows exactly what to expect. But are these things moderated, i.e. do they kick you off if you’re a jerk? How many people are connected at once? Is it one-on-one or group?

It is to my utter shock this isn’t spam. You really need to pick your titles better.

When I posted, I was debating whether to use that title or not. We don’t get much spam here (that I’ve seen) so I couldn’t resist.

Now… Does this mean we’ll only get those people in here who actually would call those lines? :smiley:

I changed the title from “It’s Saturday Night. Do you want to chat with the hottest singles?” to “What’s the deal with singles “chat lines”?” and moved the thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.


There was a thread a few years back titled something like “Ask the Sex Call Operator”. It would answer your queries- one of the members was actually employed chatting there.

So how do they work? Supposedly they are some kind of chat line where you can talk with other people in the area–is that not the case? Are they really just phone sex lines?

Like the OP I always wondered how they worked and who their clientele was. They are one of those things I could never understand. Why would someone pay a fee to call a number to talk to a bunch of strangers or people who are pretending to be other people? Is that not why we have bars (and/or the internet)?

It’s often called a “poor man’s Internet.” Some of these chat line like on

Talkee Free Chat Lines

Are free, well in the sense if you have free long distance. For instance a local chat line in Chicago may be in Iowa or Louisiana but it’s free if you have free long distance.

So they call that a poor man’s Internet.

Women like sex too. I know Northern Illinois University shooter Steve Kazmierczak picked up both women and at least one man off Craigslist, before he went on the shooting rampage, just for sex.

I’m still hoping we’ll get someone in here who’s actually called one. Seems there is some disagreement as to whether they’re just plain phone sex lines (which I could understand) vs talking to a big group of random losers who call chat lines at 2 AM (which seems like the saddest thing ever). At least with cybering you have the mystery of wondering if the 18/f/miami you’re cybering with is really 43/m/detroit.

I used to have a good friend who owned a chat line. This was pre-internet. I did some IT work for him back in the Dark Ages. I’ve long since moved away & lost touch, so I don’t know whether they still exist, or how the industry may have changed from the early 1990s. But as of then, I had a pretty good idea of how it worked from the owner/operator POV. I’ve never called one, but I have talked with the people who do all the jobs on one.

Technologically, it operated like an ordinary business conference call. One female employee / contractor was on duty on the call as the “moderator” to keep the conversations going & spice it up if it got flat.

Customers would call the advertised 800#, give their credit card info, and be connected to the conference for $X/minute. The moderator kept track of people’s times & also had a way to bounce anybody who got to be a problem. A conference was limited to about 10 callers, and additional conferences were spun up as demand dictated.

The “atmosphere” of the call usually resembled a strip club. The moderator would talk dirty to one of the guys & the others would hoot & holler, or get involved too. Often the conversation would get like Hustler’s old write-in columns, with the guys BSing about various amazing sexual feats they’d done (yeah right …), while the moderator just listened.

Women customers were given free or nearly so access. They could be as raunchy or flirtatious as they wanted with total anonymity. They could also be a lot younger/cuter than they were IRL as long as their voice was cute. As much as possible, the moderator encouraged the guys & gals to interact directly; the less the moderator said the better from her POV. There was a lot of “playing Dr.” or “show and tell.”

Many moderators came from the ranks of women callers who got to liking the attention & wanted a few bucks an hour to boot.

It always amazed my pal how often the conversations among the regulars would turn to non-sex stuff. Here it is 8pm on a Saturday & 20 people are paying $3/minute each to listen to each other talk about lawn mowers or their crappy jobs.
In all, the concept is/was not much different from a message board or internet chat room where sex is the main reason for being there. Compared to internet, the customers got real live voices, not just typing and no lasting record of what was said.

Humans crave social attention, even if they don’t always know how to get it. And like a modern message bord, after awhile you get to “know” the other folks, and interacting with them is more attractive than interacting with true strangers.

So there were a lot of people that developed the habit of calling at certain times of the week. Just like the regulars down at the coffee house chewing the fat on a Tuesday night, or the regulars down at the corner bar yakking while nursing a Bud.

Coincidentally, I just now saw an expose on how these late night connection lines work. Paris Hilton explains it all in this video.

When I was a teen, in the late 90s (when everyone was still new to AOL) one girl from my class got hooked on these lines.

They weren’t “pay to chat with hot people on the other end” lines, they were local numbers you could call to leave messages for other people who called. You would also leave a “profile” so people could find you. Basically a personals website but on the phone.

I know we didn’t pay for it, so I forget how it worked. I think maybe either girls got to call for free or you could only leave short messages for free, not talk one-to-one.

Anyway, the girl who was way into it actually met an older boyfriend. It was scandalous because we knew she was underage and he wasn’t. They went out IRL for quite a while - I think he went with all of us to the prom.

Me and some of the other girls got into it, too. I wasn’t on it too much because it skeeved me out a bit and I was pretty into the BBSes yet. I do remember that the girl who scored a boyfriend was into it a LOT before she “settled down” with him. Awesome chick but she just had some issues. She may have been a nymphomaniac.

I am guessing our parents would have shit bricks if they ever found out.

Was it based out of Las Vegas???

I used to frequent one of these back in my “wilder days” and made a few really good over-the-air friends - both male and female. I had a blast.