Thus the development of my probable Xbox addiction.
I started playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 earlier this year, thanks to the vociferous encouragement of one Megan Curd aka Dizz. Because apparently I didn't have enough to do. Since beginning to play, I've built a small list of online gamer friends. A few of them came into the game via Dizz's recommendation, but most of them are just gamers I've met over time.
Why is this interesting enough to mention you might ask? Because 90% of my online gaming community believe me to bear male genitalia. Yeah, I know. Just imagine trying to explain that one to the handful of friends who know the truth. Sigh.
I think it's important to point out the following:
* my gamer tag is relatively ambiguous as far as a gender indicator.
* until recently, I didn't use a mic on my headset.
I was in a lobby with these three guys are who were bantering back and forth. One dude was being an epic twat waffle, and the other two were calling him out on it. Long story short, the two wise guys friended me after I texted them, talking about how they were cracking me up. For the next couple of months, I played with them pretty much every day, only talking through texts versus chat.
This was where my problems started.
Building an online relationship is tricky enough when you're thought of with the right reproductive parts, let alone the wrong ones. I mean, this is the stuff your parents warn you about, right? Meeting people on the Internet who say they're a 14 year-old girl when really they're some geriatric creeper. Anyway, by the time I got a new headset, these dudes thought I was one of their own for months. How do you rebound from that one without being awkward?
Fortune was on my side though, if you choose to see it that way. My headset had a Voice Morph feature, allowing me to play as "Robo-Hope." Those of you who know me at all know my real voice sounds like an 11 year-old boy's. Robo-Hope was a nice medium. The alternate personality continued.
For nearly 6 months, I played with one guy in particular. We became fast buddies, never really talking about anything serious. Even now, the things I could tell you about him would fit on a postage stamp. But I like playing with the guy, and it's never awkward because he thinks I have junk, too. This is a nice alternative to the never-ending offers of ding-a-ling pics and pathetic attempts at online seduction. Really? I'm guessing you aren't allowed to leave your mom's basement. Enjoy your Cheetos, moobs. (Those are man-boobs, by the way.)
Sadly, all the harassment wasn't anything new. Growing up as a tomboy, a girl quickly realizes she's not "one of the guys" anymore beyond puberty. There's always an element of weird, awkward, or inappropriate lurking around every corner. Much to my delight, after I played the testosterone card, no one treated me differently because I happened to have a uterus. Believe me when I say, geek dudes are all-too eager to turn into douche-canoes when they know there's a girl in their lobby. That's a post all on its own! Anyway, fast forward to present day. I'm stuck in a world of deception that I've learned to embrace because sadly, it's just easier that way.
This has been an interesting year of guy research. As an author, I love lurking and taking notes. As a female gamer, I'd just like to freaking play without all your man-whore drama and insecurities.