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What Ever Happened to 'Toothing'? 323

Posted by timothy
from the any-grooming-hints-for-your-fans-rollie? dept.
Jim Hanas excertps from his very funny article on the quiet disappearance of last-year's promised digital bacchanal. "Remember 'toothing'? It was a craze that was sweeping England last year as bored commuters arranged sexual encounters using Bluetooth-enabled cellphones. You probably read about it over at Wired or Reuters or the BBC. There's a decent chance you even blogged about it. Well. What happened?" Update: 04/05 00:10 GMT by T : Hanas writes with a followup: "The original source on the whole toothing thing has just admitted it was a hoax -- in response to my email and your picking up of my post."
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What Ever Happened to 'Toothing'?

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  • a/s/l (Score:5, Informative)

    by fembots (753724) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:13PM (#12137858) Homepage
    Well, like teething, it'll stop sooner or later.

    I was Feeling-Google-Lucky with "toothing" (thanks FireFox!) and this Toothing Blog [blogspot.com] was last updated on April 28 2004.

    And finding partners for sex using bluetooth mobile is as productive as asking a/s/l on IRC channels, or Mrs Gump's box of chocolate.

    Seriously, no matter how horny you are, you wouldn't simply jump on bed with anybody, would you?
    • Re:a/s/l (Score:5, Funny)

      by The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:15PM (#12137893) Homepage Journal
      Seriously, no matter how horny you are, you wouldn't simply jump on bed with anybody, would you?

      You're a girl, aren't you?
      • Re:a/s/l (Score:5, Funny)

        by mrchaotica (681592) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:27PM (#12138064)
        A girl? On Slashdot?? No, she's a fembot -- look at the name.
      • Re:a/s/l (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xugumad (39311) on Monday April 04, 2005 @07:05PM (#12138973)
        Or more to the point, they're probably someone who feels reasonably confident that, if they want to get laid, they can do in the short to medium term. If someone is a lot less sure when (or if) they'll get another off, I think they're a helluva lot less likely to be in any way picky.

        Losing track of my point here. Mostly, I think people who do have something resembling a regular/normal sex life might not realise just how desperate a small but vocal minority of /. users get.

        I'm giving up now, taking the karma bonus off, and hoping this isn't too much babblage.
        • Re:a/s/l (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Zeinfeld (263942)
          Or more to the point, they're probably someone who feels reasonably confident that, if they want to get laid, they can do in the short to medium term. If someone is a lot less sure when (or if) they'll get another off, I think they're a helluva lot less likely to be in any way picky.

          I think you yankee types are have fallen for the British sense of humour. Toothing was a wind up from the beginning. If you think about it toothing pretty much amounts to going up to a stranger and saying 'wanna fuck'.

          This

          • Re:a/s/l (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ShieldW0lf (601553)
            I think you yankee types are have fallen for the British sense of humour. Toothing was a wind up from the beginning. If you think about it toothing pretty much amounts to going up to a stranger and saying 'wanna fuck'.

            I take it from your post that no one has ever done this to you? Hell, that's happened to me at the supermarket.

            Although, truth be told, I brushed her off, so I suppose that makes me supporting evidence :P
    • Re:a/s/l (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cooter1pt2 (769075) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:18PM (#12137938)
      Isn't that what you do in a club or bar? Or even, to a lesser extent, a house party? I doubt toothers would just accept blindly anyone who replied (say, if upon seeing them, they were a hideous, snaggle-toother beast). So in a way, yes, I can say I have engaged in that kind of risky behavior (avec condom). Wouldn't do it again, tho.
    • Re:a/s/l (Score:5, Funny)

      by Xugumad (39311) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:41PM (#12138206)
      Seriously, no matter how horny you are, you wouldn't simply jump on bed with anybody, would you?
      Yes is so much the wrong answer, isn't it? :)
    • Re:a/s/l (Score:4, Interesting)

      by happyemoticon (543015) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:55PM (#12138319) Homepage
      And finding partners for sex using bluetooth mobile is as productive as asking a/s/l on IRC channels, or Mrs Gump's box of chocolate.

      I've not done this myself, and /. is not the best place for an honest discussion of sexuality by damn sight.

      First: There is one criterion for hooking up: looks. Man, woman or otherwise, you know whether you'd screw person x within a half second of meeting them. Chatrooms are a waste of time. thefacebook.com and okcupid.com are a bit better because of the addition of pictures, but those can be faked or obfuscated and the whole process isn't immediate enough, which is key if you're looking to do impulsive.

      Second: There is a reason this happened in England. Mainstream American women have tons of hangups about sex that British women simply do not.

      Seriously, no matter how horny you are, you wouldn't simply jump on bed with anybody, would you?

      This is an excellent example of my last point. Some people, especially women, only acknowledge three roles for women: the virgin, the mother and the slut. That's pretty sad. It's not about doing anybody, it's about finding someone mildly attractive who wants the same thing as you do, and it's more conveniant if you're a commuter than going to a bar.

      • Well I'd more or less agree with you (I'm going to assume your from the UK???) Either way, I'd imagine that face book and others like it are immediate enough for most people, I mean even "toothing" would take time. The good thing about face book is by nature it has a short built in "waiting period" that occures because you have to look up and talk to people first. I don't know if anyone needs immediate gradification.
    • Re:a/s/l (Score:5, Funny)

      by antarctican (301636) on Monday April 04, 2005 @06:19PM (#12138562) Homepage
      Sounds to me like someone bought a ticket to London hoping to get laid, and came home disapointed....

      Sorry, if they won't touch your pot-belly, nacho stained D&D shirt in North America, they won't touch it in London either.... ;)
    • Re:a/s/l (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday April 04, 2005 @06:44PM (#12138777) Journal
      And finding partners for sex using bluetooth mobile is as productive as asking a/s/l on IRC channels, or Mrs Gump's box of chocolate.

      I met my ex wife of 5 years asking ASL in an IRC chat. She is also the mother of my child.

      I also meet most of my dates and yes sexual partners in chat rooms. Not because I don't go out, I do, but there are more nights at home than nights at the bar, and chatting and flirting are more fun and more social than watching television.

      No matter how horny you are, you wouldn't just jump into bed with anybody, would you?

      Which would you prefer, to jump into bed with a hunk you met at the bar and had some chemistry with, only to find out later that he's a selfish, obsessive, jealous boar who doesn't like to go down, or to jump into bed with someone who is compatible with you in their values and interests and quirks, who shares your likes and dislikes where sex and relationships are concerned, but is on the attractive side of plain. Because when people meet through chatting, when they actually meet face to face they can see pretty quickly if the person is a no-go in the physical department and call it off at the eleventh hour, while the bar-goer generally probably won't find out until it's too late.

      Looking back, I had more fun with the plain jane lookalikes who caught my attention because they were my kind of lighthearted kinky in the bedroom that with the look-at-me gorgeous women I've brought home from the bar only to find out that they were plain boring in bed.

      • by wombatmobile (623057) on Monday April 04, 2005 @07:34PM (#12139181)

        "Looking back, I had more fun with the plain jane lookalikes who caught my attention because they were my kind of lighthearted kinky in the bedroom that with the look-at-me gorgeous women I've brought home from the bar only to find out that they were plain boring in bed. "

        Yes, those gorgeous women sure are boring in bed. I am tired of the wasted effort pleasuring gorgeous women that I bring home from the bar. Please, let's just concentrate on the plain ones.

      • Re:a/s/l (Score:5, Funny)

        by prockcore (543967) on Monday April 04, 2005 @07:35PM (#12139188)

        I met my ex wife of 5 years asking ASL in an IRC chat.


        Oooh.. good example!
    • Girls (Score:3, Funny)

      by angedinoir (699322)
      It was a great idea until they found out that only men used bluetooth in this manner. It soon became a huge, wireless sausage-fest.
  • Along with leg warmers and flash mobs.
  • by Qzukk (229616) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:14PM (#12137874) Journal
    Well, theres AIDS, Herpes, Syphillis, and discovering that the cute 20-something you were TXTing a minute ago seems to have become a disturbing 50 year old man with bad teeth and worse breath.
    • by bani (467531) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:18PM (#12137937)
      sounds like you speak from experience.
      • by dgatwood (11270) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:25PM (#12138048) Journal
        Nope. He just listened to the radio ad like everybody else.

        Experience? On Slashdot? You must be new here. :-D

      • the cute 20-something you were TXTing a minute ago seems to have become a disturbing 50 year old man with bad teeth and worse breath.
        sounds like you speak from experience.

        Well, the story does mention it was in England after all -- so the bad teeth thing may not be a huge stretch. =)

        [ sorry to any Brits, I know you don't all have bad teeth ]
    • I just saw a picture, not less then a week ago, that describes this very thing. IIRC there was a younger guy sending a message to an attractive woman across a bus or subway car. Except it ended up that the guy was talking to the dirty biker-type guy next to her.

      I can't seem to remember where I saw it at though for the live of me. The article did mention that the scene was a little guy heavy though.
    • by screwballicus (313964) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:26PM (#12138053)
      discovering that the cute 20-something you were TXTing a minute ago seems to have become a disturbing 50 year old man with bad teeth and worse breath.

      Or discovering that the big, hairy 50 year old bear daddy you were trying to pick up is some cute-but-straight 20-something who's just playing with you.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:30PM (#12138098)
      Excuse me but I'm not 50.
  • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:14PM (#12137877) Journal
    No one got laid.

    Welcome to the Internet.

  • Ouch. (Score:5, Funny)

    by ethzer0 (603146) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:15PM (#12137888)
    I always say less toothing.
  • Those who... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:16PM (#12137903)
    > Remember 'toothing'? It was a craze that was sweeping England last year as bored commuters arranged sexual encounters using Bluetooth-enabled cellphones. You probably read about it over at Wired or Reuters or the BBC. There's a decent chance you even blogged about it. Well. What happened?

    Those who read about it, never blogged about it.
    Those who blogged about it, never read about it.
    Those who remember it, were too busy to either read about it or blog about it.

    Being a geek, I'm kind of amazed I even wasted the time to read about it.

  • by nacturation (646836) <nacturation.gmail@com> on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:16PM (#12137904) Journal
    Maybe toothing led to teething.
  • Toothing quickly fell out of favor because too many took the term literally, resulting in incisor wounds to sensitive genital-area skin. ouch!.
  • by mattkime (8466) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:16PM (#12137909)
    Apparently people have wised up and turned off promiscuous mode.

    (Its a good way to prevent virus transmission.)
  • Slashdot (Score:5, Funny)

    by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:16PM (#12137910) Homepage Journal

    News for nerds, stuff that might have been.
  • Uhh... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by darkmeridian (119044)
    April Fool's Day ended?
  • by Anonymous Crowhead (577505) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:17PM (#12137917)
    You see, English people aren't the most attractive people in the world. They kept meeting up and saying things like, "You look like a horse's arse", "Bob's certainly not your uncle" and similarly witty phrases. It didn't take long before everyone realized they were just wasting their time and just went home and masturbated.
  • by utexaspunk (527541) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:17PM (#12137919)
    it probably never happened in the first place. methinks it goes something like this- joe reporter has a deadline to make, and nothing to write about. needs something sensational, turns to his fantasies, and voila! toothing!
    • haah sounds about righ
      Up in Scotland we had some more crazy ideas about dating than our neighbours south of the border , we decided not to use those old school toothing tech and went to the more advanced tounging ;)
    • Not at all.

      You just have to be on the lookout for important stories that have a profound impact on Nerddom,

      "Napoleon Dynamite Look-alikes Fighting Off Beautiful Nymphomaniac Cheerleaders"

      I can't begin to tell you the tragedy of what happened to the unsuspecting herds of nerds that were not up to date on this important news item.

  • Too Hard (Score:5, Funny)

    by TVC15 (518429) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:17PM (#12137929)
    It was too hard for the average user. Perhaps if Apple built it into the iPod and integrated it with the scroll wheel it would reach critical mass.

    On second thought, just get a Lovegety [wired.com]
  • by Nevtje(hr (869571) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:17PM (#12137930)
    i remember when i was in high school, i would occasionally scan a room for other bluetooth receivers which had their port open, then create a contact whose name was what i wanted the message to be, ie "Boyaa Wazzap" or something. then i would send the contact, via bluetooth, to the detected phone. free, short-range SMS kinda :)

    i know, not setting up sexual encounters... but still a fun use for bluetooth
    • This is called BlueJacking. See here [bluejackq.com]. I've tried this in the US (airports, malls, etc) and it just doesn't work as well on this side of the pond. BlueTooth phones aren't widespread enough in the US, but over the next few years I'd expect to see them become more popular.
      • by UWC (664779)
        I find it interesting how much regulation of wireless communications in schools has changed since I was in high school (1996-2000), when pagers and cell phones were officially considered "drug paraphernalia" and thus subject to confiscation if discovered (no active searches were performed, but there were morons who didn't turn theirs off during the day). Obviously most teachers enforcing it didn't actually assume that they were drug paraphernalia, but I witnessed several confiscations, mostly pagers at that
    • by Anonymous Coward

      remember when i was in high school, i would occasionally scan a room for other bluetooth receivers which had their port open, then create a contact whose name was what i wanted the message to be, ie "Boyaa Wazzap" or something. then i would send the contact, via bluetooth, to the detected phone.

      I think I am just getting to the age where I understand what "generation gap" means. I know what bluetooth (my Palm has it), and I get the principle behind what you were doing. And I even once went to high sch

  • The coming of cell phone viruses reminded all the toothies that their random encounters could have STD consequences.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    it was called bluejacking [google.com]

    so that probably accounts for why you cant find out any information

  • Just like they wanted their share of itunes on cells phones [forbes.com] or file transfers [eweek.com], they probably wanted to charge every messages sent via "toothing".
  • what happened is that it will take much more than a little gadget for geeks to get a little action ;)
  • The world realised it was a silly phrase invented by the media and it was quietly retired? Or maybe all the "toothers" met up and did it properly?

    Who knows, or cares?
  • Well duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by null etc. (524767) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:22PM (#12138001)
    Well. What happened?

    What do you think happened? It ended up being a bunch of blokes chasing after another bloke named "Shelly".

  • Happy Slapping (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PerlDudeXL (456021)
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hap py+slap [urbandictionary.com]

    this is much worse. It never happend to me (I live on the continent) and I hope that it will never ever become popular here, but you can never trust those bored and ringtone-buying half-grownups.
  • by jessecurry (820286) <jesse@jessecurry.net> on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:24PM (#12138033) Homepage Journal
    so deep don't even bother looking for it...if you're worthy it'll find you :D
    • First rule of Toothclub : You don't talk about Toothclub.
      Second rule of Toothclub : You don't talk about Toothclub.
      Third rule of Toothclub : You don't tell that the girl that is toothing, is actually a fifty-something named Bob.
  • Simple... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Roger W Moore (538166) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:24PM (#12138036) Journal
    ...9+6 months later toothing has lead to teething.
  • by elgatozorbas (783538) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:30PM (#12138099)
    This toothing stuff maybe never even existed, except as an effective rumour to frustrate a whole news-for-nerds site in one hit...
  • Aptly named (Score:4, Funny)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:30PM (#12138102) Journal
    "Toothing" sounds exactly like the type of sexual encounter you're likely to find in the UK.

  • here's the deal (Score:3, Informative)

    by XO (250276) <blade,eric&gmail,com> on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:31PM (#12138106) Homepage Journal
    Bluetooth is just plain not ubiquitous (i love that word) in the U.S.. Bluetooth that doesn't have a bunch of transmission modes disabled is even less so.

    So, therefore, since it never took off in the U.S.. it never took off.

    Every now and then I look for the "TOOTHING!" forum that sort of started the whole thing.. guy keeps getting shut down, everywhere he hosts...
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:39PM (#12138193) Homepage Journal
    I mean really it almost sounds like a Penthouse letter. It just might be that it was all made up. Of course that is impossible. I mean the press checks their facts right?
    • Of course they check their facts. Especially in a story like this. That doesn't mean they pay any attention to the results, it just means they're just as opportunistic as everyone else.


      I forget which media mogul is attributed to the quote "Never let facts get in the way of a good story", but that's what readers/listeners want, so that's what they get.

  • Mirrored links here:

    Jim Hanas [networkmirror.com] excertps from his very funny article on the quiet disappearance of last-year's promised digital bacchanal [networkmirror.com]. "Remember 'toothing'? It was a craze that was sweeping England last year as bored commuters arranged sexual encounters using Bluetooth-enabled cellphones. You probably read about it over at Wired [networkmirror.com] or Reuters [networkmirror.com] or the BBC [networkmirror.com]. There's a decent chance you even blogged about it [networkmirror.com]. Well. What happened?"
  • suckers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by argoff (142580) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:43PM (#12138225)
    What happened is that somebody came up with a clever marketing ploy to push their bluetooth enabled technology. Like many "fads" reported in the media, they are fabricated via croney deals to serve marketing purposes and have nothing to do with real news or trends.
  • by Enrique1218 (603187) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:44PM (#12138227) Journal
    Posting at blogs site to arrange sexual encounters. Yeah, that sounds like a winner. That's what pretty women do, scour the internet in their basements looking for their next romantic fling instead just going to a club. No, we've been avoiding it but we have hit gym, attend dance classes, and (gasp!!!) initiate a conversation with a strange girl.
  • ...or no bites.
  • Two words (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kancer (61362) on Monday April 04, 2005 @05:55PM (#12138322) Homepage
    Sausage Fest
  • Bluetooth Protocol (Score:4, Interesting)

    by keen (86192) on Monday April 04, 2005 @06:02PM (#12138383)
    Here's a little article [atstake.com] from @Stake about Bluetooth, as well as some other insecurities.

    I believe that even if the phone is in 'hidden' mode, on some models, one can still find a user's address by testing out every address. Redfang [securiteam.com] does that. This is brute force however and quite slow. In fact it could take up to a few years, as it takes about 20 seconds per address.

    One thing I noticed while living in an apartment and playing with Bluetooth.. it is possible to tell when other people are in their homes or not. I was tempted to make a little app and compile statistics as to when/where people came and left, but then I remembered I wasn't the US federal government ;)

    There are a bunch of other programs available to the Googler.
  • by DarthShader (852747) on Monday April 04, 2005 @06:03PM (#12138392)
    Gentlemen,

    The first rule of tooth club is: You do not talk about tooth club.
    The second rule of tooth club is: You DO NOT talk about tooth club.
    Third rule of tooth club, someone yells "Stop!", goes limp, taps out, the toothing is over.
    Fourth rule, only two people to a toothing.
    Fifth rule, one toothing at a time, fellas.
    Sixth rule, no shirt, no shoes.
    Seventh rule, toothings will go on as long as they have to.
    And the eighth and final rule, if this is your first night at tooth club, you have to tooth.

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Monday April 04, 2005 @06:17PM (#12138547) Journal
    ...may father was you insensitive clod!
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Monday April 04, 2005 @06:20PM (#12138576)
    is fags, because it's 2 horny blokes. 99.9999% of women just won't go for this.
  • by DumbSwede (521261) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Monday April 04, 2005 @06:21PM (#12138601) Journal
    I wrote a story in 1991 entitled "Mixed Signals" [jaytv.com] (about 40 pages) a cautionary near-future tail about people using PDA like devices to hook up in social settings. Although in my story the craze took off.

    Should anyone care to read this (possibly amateurish) story, please leave a comment on the comment page [jaytv.com] (currently empty) if you give it a try.

    There are adult themes in this story, so I don't know whether to state that as a disclaimer or inducement (probably both).

  • by Rimbo (139781) <rimbosity.sbcglobal@net> on Monday April 04, 2005 @06:27PM (#12138636) Homepage Journal
    Another "craze" I read an article about in some magazine that hasn't happened to me, despite having an iPod for well over a year, wearing it visibly with a nearby university full of other ipod-wearing people, and having fine hygiene and none-too-shabby appearance. I haven't seen anyone else doing it, either, at the bus stop, on the train, on planes or anywhere.

    Supposedly, a good-looking chick will go up to you, pull out her white headphone miniplug, and look at you expectantly. You're then supposed to remove your white headphone plug, put it into her ipod, while she does the same to yours, and you each enjoy the other's music for a time.

    I was skeptical of the craze when I read about it over a year ago. The "craze" has been mentioned in other magazine articles. But I'm beginning to feel it was manufactured by magazine article writers who were desperate for something to write about.
  • Conceivable? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaveJay (133437) on Monday April 04, 2005 @06:45PM (#12138788)
    Is it possible -- not a fact, necessarily, but possible -- that people who use their phones to successfully hook up in this fashion are doing so as one of many how-do-I-meet-strangers-for-a-shag tools in their arsenal...and that, like many other tools used as conversation starters in bars and whatnot, people successfully using it have no time nor need to spend time talking about it online?

    Or, in other words, just because it doesn't exist online doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
  • by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Monday April 04, 2005 @08:21PM (#12139540)
    Hmmmm. Let's see.

    1) Toothing seemingly never existed outside the media;
    2) it involves sex;
    3) it's supposedly a secret, almost cultlike group;
    4) it involves modern technology of a sort not understood by soccer moms but possibly used by their children.

    Therefore:

    "Tomorrow on Oprah: 'Toothing!' Is your little girl sending a message that she wants sex and she wants it now?"

    And they can have an 'expert' on, who's met 'toothers' and knows that bluetoothers just give blowjobs, but redtoothers are into anal sex, and blacktoothers want to be sodomized by the entire football team, including the mascot.

    --
    Tonight's secret passphrase: The cautious cow from Azerbaijan is acrobatic and Snoopy nukes the railroad quietly.

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