The "Impossible" Romance
Masks and Superficiality
Superficiality was another issue that many players dealt with in their narratives. One argument was that players necessarily embellish themselves online and thus online identities are typically superficial.
To believe that online and real life personalities are equal is foolish. The anonymity and 'safety' of online games makes a lot of people embellish - on their personalities, on their habits, and on their behavior. It often provides those few extra moments to think that makes one appear more in equilibrium than one might be in real life, when the seconds pass into uncomfortable silence. Thus, I think it is easier to appear more confident and self assured online than it is in real life. [EQ2, M, 28]
Others countered that people are superficial in real life as well, and in fact, many common tools of self-embellishment in the physical world do not exist in virtual worlds.
Dating online is a lot less pretentious, imo. There's no perfume, no makeup, no posturing, etc., and qualities like intelligence and eloquence are hard to fake. Any issues of honesty don't really differ between real life and the internet -- you can be dishonest anywhere if you choose. [WoW, M, 21]
You can also meet people in the offline world that can disguise themselves and look and act differently from what they really are, deceiving people who meet them. [WoW, F, 25]
Another line of counter-argument noted that physical appearances are deemphasized online, leading to a stronger concentration on internal qualities - such as personality and intelligence. These players question why emphasis on physical appearances in F2F relationships is considered normal while emphasis on internal qualities in online relationships is instead considered superficial.
In my opinion, it's the most honest way of falling in love, as you fall in love with the person without the interference of physical appearance. [CoH, F, 27]
I feel that OFFLINE relationships are actually the more superficial of the two. Being able to get to know a person without the obstacles of appearance, fashion, style, and so forth allows you to meet people you might otherwise not have approached. [WoW, M, 27]
Contrary to idea that such relationships are superficial, I felt like I got to know him on a deeper level ... without being hindered by the superficial facade most people have in social situations 'IRL.' [WoW, F, 20]
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