I thought it would be fun to make a Penpal (e-mail pal should be the term now, although who says “pal” anymore besides characters from the first three Child’s Play films?), especially in another country. I made a quick profile, telling people that I’m looking to make friends anywhere around the world. I wrote a little about me and said that I would like to chat with anyone around my age who is fine with gay people (don’t want to have to come out to a stranger on-line, I’ve come out to enough people already damn it) and that was that.
My first reply was from a Polish guy who said he wanted to learn English and thought I sounded fun. I responded that I’d love to learn more about Poland and thought we could be e-mail friends. I never heard back from him. Okay, on to the next response. That one was an European woman who came on to me. Apparently she didn’t read anything I wrote.
Then came the third response: “HI, Iam Xinro a 21 college student from china.of course, i am a gay.I want to make a friend in other country who can live with me and take care each other.Err,by the way, my english is not good,so do not laugh at please.if you get my news,please contact me by this emil address:xxxxxxxxxx waiting for your repeat’
So yeah, probably going to take down my penpal profile. Xinro is probably a Nigerian scammer, as were my Polish and female responses.
I tried a few other sites and happened across a whole world I never thought of: Prison Penpals! There are a lot of benefits to befriending a prisoner.
A.) He has nothing better to do than write you back, so he won’t ignore or avoid your letter.
B.) You can easily check on-line all of his crimes so it’s not like he’s hiding his secrets from you.
C.) He can’t stalk you and murder your cat for at least 5 to 9.
I checked out a lot of prisoners on 3 different sites. The best site actually aped Facebook’s look, complete with profile pages, what they are in jail for, and pictures and poetry tabs. A black widow actually had near nude pics and a posting that she’s looking to find the right older gentleman to take care of her upon her release or parole. Pretty sure she’s in jail for seducing and murdering old men… guess she’s learned a lot being incarcerated.
When looking for a prisonpal, it’s best to check out what he or she is in jail for. Sure there’s the death row inmates, but there’s very little future in that friendship. Then there’s the sexual abusers. Probably best to stay away from them. I found the sweetest guy’s profile about having a troubled life and realizing he really wanted to change and fix things and learning and growing from his time in prison. Then I checked out what he was in for and it was aggravated sexual abuse of a minor under 13 or something like that. I immediately left his page.
Then there’s the low level criminals. These are guys in for a handful of years, for robbery or forgery or whatever. For some reason I gravitate toward the non-violent offenders. I found one inmate from the midwest with the cutest pictures posted from Family Visit Day.
What I gathered is Family Visit Day consists of hauling in a greenscreen to take pleasant photographs of the inmates with their family, and then they photoshop serene images in the background. This one used a nice forest scene. The parents wore fancy clothes and smiles. Their 28 year old son wore his orange overalls with his prison number on it. And if you didn’t know better, you’d swear they posed while they helped him escape jail in the middle of a brilliant afternoon day.
After settling on sending this guy a letter, I realized he’d get my home address since I don’t have a PO box. Then I decided a prisonpal might not be an ideal choice.
Long story longer, I have no penpal. And that’s why I created this blog. This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you… uh… still haven’t come up with a good sign off catchphrase. This is Elliot Cross’ing off another post? That’s horrible. Peace.