Online confessions: the Web bares its soul

Fabricated sex stories, girlfriend rants, coworker pouts, and angry threats. Take our guided tour of the Internet's sins and secrets.

I have a confession to make. When I'm in timewaster mode, I like to drop into some of the many confession, apology, and gripe sites on the Web to check on the progress of the human condition.

Status? Things are bad all over. Love is unrequited, the person in the next cube at work is a major creep, and no one is getting laid.

With all this bad news, why do I continue to play Peeping Tom through these online windows week after week? It's because witnessing people anonymously pour their hearts out is incredibly entertaining, comforting, and pleasurably voyeuristic--all at the same time.

Face it, aren't just about all of us interested in the secret lives of others?

Are They Real?

Of course, there's no way to know whether a particular declaration of guilt or longing by a stranger is true, but that doesn't seem to make much difference. Even if totally made up, some of these little online missives really ring my emotional bell. Other evoke disgust or make me laugh.

And for those of you old enough to have swiped a Penthouse magazine from your dad or uncle, you'll note that many of the sexual online confessions read a lot like the famous "Letters to Penthouse" section. I may be cynical, but I just can't believe that everyone's cousin or sister asks them to take off their pants.

Note: Most of these sites require you to provide at least an e-mail address and a password before you can post confessions or apologies. Nothing is required to read posted material, though several sites will ding you constantly to register as you peruse their contents.

Now, check your incredulity in a bus locker and let me show you around Peeperville.

Group Hug: A Smorgasbord of Wimpy Complainers

Let's start with my favorite, Group Hug. I'm a softy, and I like this site because it usually lets visitors send a virtual hug to someone. Regrettably, that function isn't working right now.

165544-grouphug_confess_original

GroupHug thoughtfully defines "confess" for users: "To make confession; to disclose sins or faults, or the state of the conscience," and goes on to plead: "The confession should be about you, it should be interesting. Do not use names. Do not respond to other confessions here. It's not a message board. Group Hug!"

On this site you can read the latest confessions, try your luck with a random choice, or search on topics that especially interest you (sex, work, hurt, cry, etc.) It doesn't have to be important, as this next confession confirms:

165544-grouphug_eat_350Yes!

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Anne B. McDonald

PC World (US online)

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