I’m wondering: does anyone have pen pals anymore? The thought occurred to me when my mate Al in Australia posted some shots on Flickr of him and his family swimming with whales earlier today. The photos are amazing, but what’s more amazing is that I could see them, on the other side of the world, within hours of him posting them.
Sort of negates the need for pen pals, doesn’t it, this instantaneous worldwide communications platform we’re all playing with?
Well, not entirely. There are pen pal sites out there. Penpalworld.com has 650,000 members and 493 online right now, although at least three of the last eight are women with pouts and pointy breasts, so I think we can guess what kind of site this is.
Similarly, Penpal.net (WE HAVE OVER 1 MILLION PENPALS!) certainly seems to be more about young people jumping on each others backs than it is about innocent girl guides writing to friendly cub scouts in continental Europe. So has the Web killed the innocence of pen-palling? I had great hopes for Maarten’s Snail Mail Pen Pals Online, which is hosted on Tripod (is that still going?) and offers a very specific-sounding 1,950 pen pals from more than 95 countries.
It all sounds very innocent:
I am a young man. I am single (never married), Christian. I am looking for nice female and male pen pals for good friendship, between 18 and 30 years from Europe, U.S.A, Canada, Australia, and Brazil.
Hobbies and Interests: photography, hiking, travels, sports, postcards, new cultures.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a man and I was born July 7, 1981
I am looking for nice female and male friends, who loving naturism, sea, and beaches. Write me, please!
Oh hang on. Did he say naturism? Or this:
Interests: I like fitness, basketball, tennis, soccer, hiking, traveling, to visit nice places and to make new friendships. I’m 26 years old man. I’m tall, 6’2″Ã‚Â (1.87m) and 160 lbs (75 kg), brown hair. I am looking for young men and women from all over the world, especially from Europe and America between 18 and 35 years old. I am looking also friends, who love naturism from….
Ah. I think I’m detecting a pattern here. Back to the drawing board…