13 Jul 2022

Metaquette #VirtualLove Q10

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating the Metaverse

Weekly Q & A with the Doyenne of the Metaverse....Pooky Amsterdam

Life can be a singular enterprise, and while we want to be able to be alone with ourselves, or at least find our own company suitable, we seek social groups, other people and like to engage with those whom we feel good about. Some of us are shy, some of us are outgoing but it isn't always easy no matter where you are to find that special someone to share the big and small things of life. A lot of dating happens online where people answer questionnaires to get matched, or look at pictures usually taken from an old relationship, compare hobbies, email, text, F2F and maybe a real life relationship, Y/N?

Q: Is it possible to find true love in the Metaverse?

Finding love online has its challenges, which anyone who has been to an online dating site like Match.com or eHarmony knows. There should be an agony column just for Tinder, Grindr, Plenty of Fish, match.com and others. Least of all the problems I would suspect are with people not looking like their pictures. We are visual people, how one looks to you matters. Walk into a bar and see someone really attractive and spend time talking to them hoping the person will be just as attractive on the inside. What if there's only their inside because you have no idea what they really look like? And everyone is attractive or has a somewhat similar look?

When you meet someone in a virtual world or Metaverse, you don't know who they are. Yes, Voice Over Internet Protocol is widely available, but you still don't know what the other person looks like behind their avatar, whether it be male, female, humanoid or furry. And while we project onto "another" in many ways developing a relationship with someone where you are mainly hearing and paying attention to what they have to say, brings you both much closer. The same goes for you, if you are somewhat shy, there is very little social risk in a virtual world, here is a tip: People are just too concerned with what they are doing to be paying attention to your flubs and fluffs. Relax.

And what if you do find yourself in communication with someone in your vicinity that seems okay? There are no distractions like at the bar, no waiters and waitresses, no Ex about to walk in. You are both in the moment each of you in your comfort zone at home, logged into a really neat place, colorful, funny remarks flow, "Hey did you see that guy stuck upside down?" "Yes, it was me!" There are a million things to comment on and you take chances because you can. If you dont want to engage any further, all you have to do is turn around say, "BuhBye," teleport or log out/in a different region. And if you do hit it off with someone, you can talk as long as you like, travel the grid together and even meet up laters. 

It's very low-pressure and the way to gain trust is to keep it like that, developing a friendship with your maybe new bestie, you log on when you want to see them. If they are not there, maybe they missed your call, but you can always send a message because you searched for their name! Friendships are encouraged, finding the fun folks you met and want to find later is the secret sauce of these environments. A nice polite message, will get a reply. It's easier to be polite in a virtual world because there is no physical contact or judgments beyond your avatars outfit. I'd like to say there are fewer triggers for defensiveness or anger, but you can't see what anyone is doing behind the screen, yourself included. You aren't worried about how you look, smell or come across where you physically sit, everything is cool. Sometimes you talk like old friends, or you feel strange tinglings of your heart thumping and you know this is someone special.

You find what you both like, in your conversation  you can't help but talk about the world you live in with your real feet on the ground. It's very freeing talking to strangers, who become friends, who then open up a world of possibilities because they've spoken.  You think what are the chances in this entire Universe that we would be brought together? And there is Fate or Kismet or Luck, the people you meet have a destined feel sometimes. 

It moves forward if you both want the same things and a Metaverse romance means you see can see them every night, the only cost is long distance love. Sometimes time zones have to be managed, times you will both be "on" arranged, yet it often progresses to real life video calls if it's meaningful. You can find someone who understands you and knows what you are like through the time you spend together with a real closeness. Bernhard Drax did a series about it that is fascinating, here's a great example of Love Made In Second Life from a few years ago. 

Serious long term relationships also come into focus with VR as it means greater immersion and sense of being there with your partner. To see what that looks like tune in soon to a film on HBO,  We Met In Virtual Reality. You can find your sweetheart in a Virtual World as chances are you share a lot of in terms of culture and technology, but also a language that lets you cross virtual boundaries.

What about marriage? People have been getting married in Virtual Worlds for decades though for entertainment purposes only, here's a wedding package video from IMVU.  And Animal Crossing has an actual wedding season! Virtual worlds which have been around for a while have seen many marriages already, the new ones will have them too. They might include a different kind of meeting the prospective families in the MetaVenue of your choice. Can't hot air balloon together "irl?" You can do that as an avatar and even push your brother - law out of the balloon with little consequences. There are all sorts of stories about weddings, like  a couple married in a virtual environment created for their wedding in the NYT last year.

Can VR help married couples? Here I want to relate a story of a wife and husband team who were running a nightclub in Second Life. They had just had a little boy and the business was doing well, until the husband had an affair with an avatar who was working as a model. The wife had him sleeping on the couch the next day, and the marriage was over she said. Weeks passed, he remained sorry, deleted the interloper from his friends & Skype list and eventually his wife took him back. That episode gave him a lifetime perspective. He had the scare of his life to lose his family, an opportunity to work out his rebellion on a much smaller scale, he didn't get a disease, or get anyone pregnant, there was no lingering relationship and they are still married today!

An older married couple who live in a part of Ohio that is landlocked, were getting a little bored with one another, started fighting but discovered a virtual world. They decided to build an outpost in SL but pursued different things - He became a virtual sailor and she began running steampunk airship competitions while a new phase of their union blossomed.

Not only can you find love in the metaverse, it can save your marriage too.

For those who are curious, yes to virtual pregnancies and children, which will be explored at another time.

If you have a question, please email info@pookymedia.com with the subject Metaquette, and it will be answered.

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