Chatroom Nostalgia 

On August 1 of this year, the last remaining users of Gay.com received a message informing them the site had changed management and that the iconic online chatrooms would “disappear” and all their data would be erased. Forever.

“All the personal information you provided in your profile, including pictures and stories, will be permanently deleted,” the message explained. “Unfortunately, you will not able to retrieve any of your old information. … The dating website as you know it, will not be coming back.”

It was a sad day for gays of a certain age whose teens and 20s were defined by those chatrooms, back before Grindr was a thing, and many of them lamented over the fact that that chapter of their lives, albeit one they hadn’t visited in over a decade, would be closed forever. I remember well the days of AOL and Gay.com chatrooms. They were known for being able to find instant sex, though I can’t remember ever actually using it for that, but I do remember getting propositioned. Somehow, I was always more successful with Yahoo Messenger. Anyway, good news, guys! The chatrooms have been restored.

“Chat is back!” the newly revamped Gay.com has just announced. “The new chat rooms are now available but we are in the process of testing them. All users who registered their accounts before Monday 26th of September, 2016 have been given sneak-peak access. If you haven’t already created an account, make sure to register now and reserve your username!”

And as for all of you who were sad to learn your previous usernames and profiles had been deleted forever, we’ve got good new for you, as well.

Gay.com says: “In order to help preserve your identity and any relationships that you may have built up in the previous version of Gay.com, we have taken steps to reserve usernames for their previous owners. Register your new account using the same Username and Email combination and the username will be released to you.”

Of course, the question now is: Now that the chatrooms have been restored, will people actually go back to using them? Or have apps like Grindr and Scruff made online chatrooms obsolete?

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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