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At one point, teen party lines were only one category of phone services — 970 numbers were reserved for X-rated connections, but other 900 numbers offered fan lines for Hulk Hogan or rock ’n’ roll music, sports talk, psychics, or bible verses. It was the 1980s entrepreneur’s dream, albeit a risky one.“My meal ticket,” said Joe Widawsky, who started 540-AMOR, a Hispanic group date line in New York City.
But that was 1989, when thousands of similar numbers flooded the market and teens were starting to lose interest. Around the same time, party lines hooked up to computer modems and people could type to each other as well as talk.
The technology’s popularity allowed a brief resurgence.
“You can’t catch anything over the phone,” insisted chat line operator Betsy Superfon.
Still, teens were “accidentally” dialing adult lines specifically designed for hookups. even had a Bitch Line for people to call and vent about their coworkers or spouses. “I’m not that popular at school,” Paula, 15, told She called in four or five times per day (at $1 per minute). I met Eddie, who plays guitar for me, and Brett, who is in a drug rehab center and calls to say, ‘Don’t use drugs.’ But my mother won’t let me give out my address because I’m too young to have a boyfriend.”And virtually anyone with a few hundred dollars lying around could buy up a local number, advertise it, and if it caught on, start raking in cash.
Have fun flirting, meeting people casually, looking for love, or having a racy conversation.