Ask Me Anything. Really. Anything ...
Being a freelance writer isn’t easy. Sometimes the need to make actual cash leads us to seek part-time Internet work. Often, these jobs involve creating corporate web content, which can be incredibly boring. As I write this, I’m recovering from a two-page report on finance that had me dozing off so many times I actually drooled.
Then there’s ChaCha.
ChaCha answers questions—any questions. Knowledge-seekers all over the United States call in or text. Incoming questions make the sound of a doorbell ringing. Once or twice a day, I (and thousands like me) sit down on the comfy couch with my HP mini laptop and sign in.
I’m the first line of defense against cell phone user ignorance. Using an automated system with built-in cheats, expeditors have four minutes to send an answer or pass the question off to a guide.
ChaCha users ask anything, from the mundane (“What will the weather be tomorrow?”) to the illicit (“Is train wreck pot the same thing as the chronic?”). Many times, the questions have to do with sex.
I’m contractually obligated not to say anything disparaging about ChaCha in public, so let me make it clear: I love ChaCha. I use it myself for information gathering on the go, and I’ve never gotten a bad answer. It can be extremely helpful to have someone else search the Internet for you when you don’t have access. Besides, I’m an erotica writer. I’m not shy, especially when I’m dealing with anonymous cell phones users about whom I don’t know anything beyond their zip codes.
Shock the Monkey
Sometimes, ChaCha users send questions meant purely for shock value. They’ll text things like, “Can I sodomize you?” ChaCha has built-in measures for reporting abuse. I can click a box that sends the user a text with a polite request to clean up the language. But what fun is that? I usually answer along the lines of, “That’s often difficult to accomplish via text message.” My all-time favorite shock question remains: “Can I put my penis on a hot grill?” (I will refrain from the unavoidable wiener joke.)
The anonymity of ChaCha allows for some freedom, but it’s not the wild, wild West. I won’t tell people how to do things that are illegal or harmful to others. If I feel that a person needs a professional opinion, I tell them so. I nudge them toward a doctor, a therapist or an information hotline such as RAINN.
Some requests even let me exercise my creativity. I often get requests for a detailed description of how to masturbate, from both males and females. There are PAQs (previously answered questions, which can easily be clipped and reused) about those. More fun are requests for detailed descriptions of sex acts. I’ve been asked to describe a male-on-male blowjob, and how exactly two women have sex with each other. Gay, straight or bi, the erotica writer in me relishes her time to shine.
The lesbian question was especially fun. I crafted a six-line masterpiece that had one woman down on her hands and knees in the middle of the bed while the other knelt behind her and ate her out. I hope the others at ChaCha will be using it when the question pops up again—which it surely will.
What’s the 411?
Information-seeking questions tend be repetitive. If I had two cents for every time someone asked me how large the largest recorded human penis is…well, I do, because two cents a question is how much ChaCha pays. (For the record, Dr. Robert L. Dickinson documented a patient with a penis length of 13.5 inches and a diameter of 6.25 inches in the early 20th century.)
The other most frequently asked questions in this category are:
1) What’s a good sexual position?
2) How can I tell if I’m pregnant?
The sex position question comes up daily, so naturally there are an assortment of pre-loaded answers. Favorite sex positions are like moods or the weather: mercurial, ever-changing. I might recommend doggie style to one couple and then, moments later, suggest the wheelbarrow to another.
The pregnancy questions are rarely as simply worded as the above example. They’re usually more along the lines of, “If my left nipple is puffier than my right nipple, does that mean I could be pregnant?” The verbiage varies, but the answer is always the same: “Yes, you could be pregnant, so go to the drugstore and get a pregnancy test kit.”
I’m disappointed that there are so many Americans who don’t fully understand how pregnancy happens or what its symptoms might be. I’m not surprised. I learned this sad fact of life a decade before, when I worked at a child and adolescent mental health hospital. While my colleagues and I rifled through the box of a board game containing various lists players had to come up with, we found a list of birth control methods. We removed it, not wanting our 8-to-12-year-old charges to stumble across it. However, many of my co-workers—in their twenties and mostly parents themselves—were mystified by words like Depo-Provera.
So sexual education in the United States has come to this: Schools aren’t teaching it, parents are still too repressed to have “the talk” with their teens, and peer groups don’t cover the most important facts. Forget books and information websites. We learn about sex by texting strangers with cheat sheets.
Blue Waffles and Candy Canes
Sometimes the information-seeking questions are about sexual slang. I empathize with these. I can still remember being a teenager in the 1990s, listening to the Rolling Stones’ Voodoo Lounge and having to look up both “bluestocking” and “cunt” to understand the lyrics. (This was still a few years before Boys on the Side, the definitive pop cultural discussion of “cunt.” No one wants to feel like the naive fool who doesn’t understand what everyone else is talking about, especially in the socially conscious world of teens and young adults.
The first time I was asked “What are blue waffles?” I hoped this was merely a reference to breakfast treats studded with blueberries, but deep down I knew there was a more earthy reference at play. I referred to my PAQs and found the answer: “Blue waffles” refer to a vulva with an infection. I’m not normally one to turn my nose up at similes comparing women’s genitals to food items, but having suffered quite a few yeast infections in my day, I find this one a tad distasteful.
Much more healthy-sounding is the sexual slang term “candy cane.” Urban Dictionary (a user-edited repository of all kinds of slang terms, and a handy reference when a question hasn’t been ChaCha'd before) defines this one as, “When a girl is on her period and the man fucks her and pulls out so he has cum and blood all over his cock resembling a candy cane.” As a college student I once studied a fine art photograph titled “Blood and Semen,” with the two bodily fluids intertwined on a glass plate. It was strangely beautiful.
ChaCha, with a core of minty white tech wrapped in red ribbons of ridiculous questions, is like a candy cane—traditional definition. Candy canes aren’t health food, but an occasional cane can liven up a winter’s day. ChaCha isn’t rocket science, but if you want to know what’s playing at the multiplex or how to make your girlfriend have multiple orgasms, ChaCha is there for you.