Second Life,where men are men and women are women, almost, maybe, I cann’t tell?
Second Life is a virtual world where one can be almost anything one desires. One selects an Avatar to represent them in this virtual world. The Avatar can be male, female, or totally non-human. Its pretty much up to your imagination and how much money you are willing to spend. The Avatar is an extension of you in the virtual world but no one knows who is behind the Avatar. Think of it as a giant costume ball. All you can see is the outside costume. People can only know who you are if you reveal yourself to them. In Second Life you never really know whom you are taking to unless they are willing to tell you who they are in Real Life. So what does this have to do with romance? Well an interesting thing is happening in Second Life. You have a number of men who are straight in the Real World assuming female Avatars in Second Life. Now lets drop the whole issue of dating or having virtual sex with someone who is the same sex as you are in the real world. Others have covered this pretty well in blogs past. What I find interesting from a romance angle is that several men I have talked to run around as super glamorous females because that is how they can get attention. Guys in virtual worlds are much like guys in the real world. They seem to be attracted to physical beauty. It does not matter that anyone can purchase beautiful Avatar for fewer than 50 US dollars. Men are hard wired to focus on visual appearance.
Well if you define romance, as relationships that make one feel better about themselves, then being able to command attention or become the center of attention is appealing. The virtual reality may not be real. But the recognition and attention most certainly are real. I travel the virtual world of Second Life as a raccoon looking character called IB WISE. I am what people in Second Life call a Furry. I stay this way because I am ignored many times and it makes it easier to observe behavior. I have seen a lot of people doing many things in Second Life just to get attention. The ones who act out and disrupt thing have even been given a name, “grifters”. In romance we want attention. Is it really that much different for the grifters or men using female avatars to get attention? How unromantic is it to be in a group of people and have no one notice you or pay attention to you. How romantic is it to be the center of attention at a grand ball or other function?
Let me know what you think, leave a comment.