" I'm considering what number to type when Bill says, "Tell him the truth." Hmm, I hadn't considered that, but I follow orders and type a math equation that will let my friend calculate the actual number. Bill is laughing so hard he might need a seatbelt to stay in his chair. Welcome to Cute Baby Names, where expecting parents can search for the all important name for their precious child.Search for a special name can be based on specific starting letters, baby boy names, baby girl names, origin of the names, celebrity names, most popular names, or unique names. But at least my new acquaintance hasn't hit the "Next" button yet. "Beautiful kindhearted elder sister." Though I want to taunt Bill now, pointing out that I haven't lost my touch, instead I simply write, "I am embarrassed. But I do begin to wonder just a tiny bit if it's Bill who is more naïve, or me who is more jaded. "I don't know," he says, "but I think your friend might have his adjectives confused." I give Bill a dirty look. I'm not quite as anxious, but we open it up and there we see two fresh e-mails. We chat a little longer, and when we're done, Bill can hardly wait to check my inbox.
Here I'd been afraid of feeling victimized by predators and creeps invading my living room, and instead I'm feeling empowered. I was minding my own business, editing a movie review, when my friend Bill Forman stopped by my desk and told me he'd just been OK'd to do a cover story on Chatroulette. "You mean that chat website overrun by exhibitionists and masturbators? I'd heard about the site on one of those late-night tabloid TV shows (which, of course, I was flipping past on the way to PBS). "Why are you suddenly concerned about my parenting? "Here's the thing: If I go online alone, I'm not sure I can get a story. " I'm puzzled for a moment, then realize what he's thinking. "Well, I was thinking that as a parent, you might be interested in seeing what teens are being exposed to." "Bill, you don't even like kids," I reminded him. Evidently, to get a more realistic experience, I don't need to concern myself with professionalism. As I understand the mission, I am to find a human being with a webcam pointed at their face rather than their penis. (No, not really.) I also discover he's a college student studying "machinery integrates" and he speaks three languages. I need to learn." "Come China I can teach you Chinese." Wow, in a few seconds I've got a tutor and a place to stay if I want to travel internationally. There's a delay in our connection as I'm watching him wait for my reply, when suddenly his eyebrows shoot up. "Take friend with you." Now, Bill is not only entertained, he's enamored. "You are a sweet YOUNG man." "You seem to not want so big," he adds. You are so sweet." "I like you very very," he goes on. I'm about to click "Next" to let him get back to his buddies, but Bill stops me. (Yeah, right.) Then a couple of other college-aged men show up behind him. But again, I do as he says and type, "Thanks for talking." Then my friend's response pops up, "Telephone: " "Is he asking for my number?