Sometimes It's Better Not to Know the Truth
Aaron was hotas hot as a male, Second Life avatar can be. Tan, all muscle, Hawaiian shorts and long, blonde hair: he was fully equipped and ready to please. He was also a sugar daddythe kind of guy who put his arm around your virtual shoulder and offered to buy anything you wanted: a curvy new figure, a working vagina, clickable breasts. And even in Second Life, that stuff doesn't come cheap. So how could you say no when he proposed taking your new figure out for a spin?
One way or another, we got to be a regular thing. To tell the truth, Aaron wasn't very good in bed. Cybersex with him made no narrative sense. (What do you mean you're coming? You said you just came.) And every other word out of his mouth was "babydoll." But given the amount of Linden dollars he'd thrown down on me, I felt obligated. Plus, he had this clever way of roping me into another meeting time at the end of each rendezvous. He would say things like, "I can't wait to see you again, babydoll. You're the best part of my day."
Then came the afternoon we were on the grass outside Aaron's Second Life home, our avatars still locked in an awkward doggy-style, when he blurted out, "Can I tell you something, babydoll? I'm naked in a lawn chair, lol. For real." From there, it didn't take long for Aaron to spill all the details of his real-life persona. He was in his forties, married with three kids, diabetic and working out of his home in sunny Florida (where he tried to convince me I should come visit him for wild, real-life sex).
Yes, the dashing young Second Life surfer I was seeing turned out to be someone's overweight, middle-aged husband. Partly, I felt bad for Aaron: here I was playing around online to spice up an already healthy sex life; for him there might not be so many options. But I was also thinking about Aaron's wife, who he actually tried to convince me was totally cool with the idea of me flying down for the week so we could get it on while she was at work. Yeah, right.
But really, I was thinkingas my image of Aaron was busy shifting from a tan, young surfer to a large, nude man lying exposed on his verandathat the strange thing about all these unattractive details was that I hadn't even asked for them. Normally, we admire honesty in our sexual liaisons. Online, it's different: cybersex is about mutual fantasy, so why muck it up with real life? And once you've played the "naked in a lawn chair, lol" card, it's impossible to take it back.
The even stranger thing was though, knowing what I knew, I stuck around.
I'd like to say that it was because I didn't care about his real-life body, or his three kids, or his naked time on the veranda. Instead, I did it because he'd started to worry me. For real. If I missed a meeting, he seemed earnestly crushed. And now that I could envision a real-life, unhappy individual waiting for me to sign on (even an unappealing one), it was the guilt that kept me coming backat least for a little while. Eventually, I just stopped showing up and stayed away from Second Life for a full four weeks, long enough to convince my real-life conscience that he must have moved on.
What is Aaron up to now? I'm sure he's happy being someone else's sugar daddy, and working on that full-body tan. But if there is a moral here, it's this: when it comes to cybersex, sometimes it's better not to know the truth.
Last week: Cybersex Personas: A How-To Guide
Click Me runs weekly. Contact Bonnie Ruberg at bonnie[at]heroine-sheik[dot]com.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.