There are some things about SL that I’ll never understand; similarly, there are some things about human nature that leave me baffled. Put the two together, and you have the potential for some proper confusement, like for example, the utterly peculiar (at least to me) need that some people have to seek a significant other through the medium of SL.
I’ll admit that I can understand, to a degree, those who may struggle in social and/or romantic situations in the real world might find the protection that SL offers a positive advantage over similar RL situations that could possibly lead to making a special connection with another; I’m also fully aware that it’s entirely possible for such a connection to grow and develop, even to the point that it can spill over into a real world relationship, even a lifetime partnership for real – I’ve seen it happen, and I know people for whom that is true.
What does confuse me however are those people who do not necessarily fit into the description of shy or socially awkward, who nevertheless use SL specifically as a vehicle to establish intimate relationships which they have no intention of developing into anything more than virtual.
My inworld neighbour is a business that caters to this particular market – essentially, it’s a virtual dating agency. Single avatars who no longer wish to remain single can sign up and register as prospective hopefuls, and there is presumably some sort of clever algorithm, (or maybe no mechanism whatsoever), that matches up virtual singletons, (scientifically maybe, or perhaps just randomly), who can then hook up and see if cupid or fate steps in to lend a hand and perhaps allow romance to blossom.
And that’s what I struggle with. If you’re looking for romance for whatever reason… Loneliness, fulfilment, necessity, profit etc. then why on earth are you looking for someone in a virtual world to fill that niche? Particularly, a virtual world where those behind the avatars are notorious for deceitfulness, drama, and being nothing like the virtual souls they make themselves out to be? Surely, no matter how shy, retiring or ugly you may be, you should be looking for potential life partners or fun buddies out there in the real world, where you’re far more likely to strike it lucky with someone who at least you can see, hear, touch and, er… smell, without being under any illusion about what you’re getting into – at least, physically?
The other difficulty I have, is trying to understand the whole concept of taking pot luck on stumbling across another avatar that you’re going to click with by sticking your details on a computer and hoping. Surely, it’s far better to get in and about the virtual world, socialising and making connections with others, by which means – I would venture – you stand a far better chance of finding someone compatible. After all, that’s a far better method for sharing your vital statistics on a computer than simply typing them into one, if you see what I mean?
Maybe it’s nothing to do with romance and relationships? Maybe it’s just a more effective, clinical means of finding others with whom to bump pixels in the biblical sense? After all, if I’m looking for pixel sex, and you’re looking for pixel sex, it’s a pretty convenient way to advertise the fact and know that someone out there is going to take a punt. However, at the end of the day… It’s pixel sex; playing on a poseball; bonking on a virtual bed and – if you’re actually looking for somebody to connect with on a truly visceral level, it’s unlikely that you’re really going to find them without first investing some time and effort into developing some sort of relationship before heading off to the virtual sack.
However, I’m clearly in the minority and probably have no idea what I’m talking about, because, no matter when I log in, there are always avatars in the dating agency next door, and there they stand, sometimes for hours on end, unmoving; no doubt perusing the particulars of other hopefuls wishing to connect, and that agency has been there for longer than I have. So obviously there’s something to be said for it.
Although, I’ve no idea what that might be.
When we collide we come together,
If we don’t we’ll always be apart
Biffy Clyro – Many Of Horror