Virtual Coprophilia (Cyberscat)

1995

Apparently "the Information Age" means that before any information about technology can appear in a publication, it has to have the word "cyber" or "virtual" in front of it. This is probably appropriate when you're talking about the sort of loner entertainment that passes for personal interaction in our society, but not very useful when you're trying to read up on vacuum cleaners.

I don't want the floor to be virtually clean; I want it to be clean. If I'm going to pretend to be vacuuming, I might as well be doing it.

The same goes for sex. Other than in long-distance relationships, which no amount of microcircuitry can save anyway, it seems like a poor substitute for the real thing.

Virtual sex is not sex. It's masturbation, and anybody who was once a teen-ager knows that masturbation does not count as sex. No more than practicing on a pillow counts as a first kiss.

In all the hubbub during the Reformation about whether the Virgin Mary was really a virgin, was masturbation a considered factor? No. If being impregnated by the Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe doesn't count as sex, then nothing she could have done on her own would have been of much consequence.

In the old "how far did you go?" grilling inevitably following any high school date, nobody ever asks, "Did the Holy Spirit descend upon you and knock you up?"

Nope. Never happens.

These days, it seems the only person not allowed to talk about masturbation is the surgeon general, probably because onanism is now under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission. If only we had the equivalent of Japan's MITI, we might have a competitive edge in taking the backbreaking labor out of playing with yourself. Perhaps that's why you never see "MADE IN THE U.S.A." on vibrating buttplugs anymore. It seems the old American models had fins on them and got poor mileage.

The best things in life used to be free. Now you can't even play with yourself without an Internet account. And just like the first digital watches required the use of both your hands just to tell time, computer sex requires more dexterity than the average monkeyhouse denizen can muster.

You've got your keyboard, your mouse, maybe a phone -- hardly any hands left over for nipple-squeezing. Phone sex is one of the few useful applications of a speaker phone that don't involving embarrassing unwitting co-workers, though you can if you want to.

True, it is safe, but so is pretending to eat a piece of cheesecake that's still wrapped in plastic.

And, speaking of eating something soft and unhealthy, virtual coprophilia promises to take shitplay into the 21st century. All the fun, none of the hepatitis.

"With any type of fecal contact there's an increased risk of bacterial infection, or a viral infection like hepatitis," according to the Nationally Sexually Transmitted Disease Information Hotline.

Boston's AIDS Action Committee warns,"stay away from scat altogether, because of the risks of infection, and the fact that there can be blood products in the waste."

George Carlin once described farting as "shit without the mess." Well, leave it to science to improve on the fart, and make it available to the public through the Information Hershey Highway. No need to wait till you find a rest stop, either; the future is now.

Or if not now, then the next issue of Time or Newsweek.

It seems the more distinct the actual experience, the more exaggerated the marketing claims are to its virtual counterpart. No one's trying to sell "Virtual ViewMaster"; it's always something visceral. Well, there's nothing more visceral than eating poop.

"From the standpoint of pure taste, shit is bitter," said one enthusiast quoted in The Guide." And of course, you always have that odor wafting up your nose. The quality of the experience is such that after 10 or 20 seconds, there's an almost automatic gag response."

"Shit has another taste, which is psychological. There is an incredible connection that occurs when you are lying down on your back and there is a guy who you are very excited about standing over you, crouched down, holding his knees."

"The goal of every true shit eater is to see how much he can eat before he barfs," said a 38-year-old lawyer quoted in the article. Well, with cyberscat, you can eat all the poop you want, and never even get full.

At its most basic level, there's phone scat, where the bored and constipated can pay $1.99 a minute to ask questions like, "What did you eat yesterday?" and hear bored ex-telemarketers squeeze whoopee cushions for fun and profit.

Those who prefer typing to phone conversation can log onto the Sphincternet and discuss the joys of excrement with someone halfway round the world. Unlike real rooms, BBS rooms (known as bathrooms) don't have to be covered in plastic. Flaming should be avoided, as anyone who's ever smelled burning human dung can attest.

Cyberpoopers who just want to listen can stick a copy of the Cybersquat audio CD in their stereo and listen to digitally-reproduced sounds of defecation. With headphones on, it seems like you're inside the toilet bowl. Better than a dirty swirly.

Enthusiasts who don't think being smeared with dung is degrading enough can strap on bulky helmets, gloves, and black and pink doohickeys till they resemble last month's Lifestyle section. Virtual gloves, known to the layperson as those Bodyglove thingies that came and went oh so quickly in the late-eighties, convey temperature and texture, much like regular gloves, except regular gloves keep you warm. Special helmets or goggles impart headaches and may cause motion sickness. They will not help you sneak backstage at a Mummenschanz show.

From cyberenemas to virtual diapering, there's a whole new frontier of electronic excrement waiting for you pioneer consumers. And just as the NASA and Soviet space programs left a trail of dung and refuse in orbit, so shall the race for cyberspace leave its own mess behind. Sort of like overturned outhouses on the Information Highway.

Perhaps some things are best left to our weakened, 20th-century imaginations.

"You fantasize about it, and it sounds great until you actually do it," said another coprophiliac. The gagging was intense.

"To me the taste was bitter, and the overall feeling of it in your mouth is real thick; it's like, yechh!"

Despite the gagging, he said, he was fascinated with trying it again.

© 1995 Randel Shard