Since it's been over two months since I started this "series" as I called it, I thought I should finally get off my virtual ass and write the next segment. Brace yourself to be unimpressed. It's been a tremendously shitty past couple of weeks in my RL, and it doesn't look like it's going to get any better anytime soon. Sarcasm and cynicism levels are reaching an all-time high.
First off, to define the player, and then to address various ways the Player operates. In my opinion, a Player is someone who thinks virtual sex/intimacy in a virtual world is nothing more than a means to feel better about him or herself in the real world. A Player does not appreciate or respect the fact that each avatar is, in fact, a real human being, bringing real emotions to the grid.
The Method: This is when the lying begins...
There are lots of ways to manipulate, lie, cheat, and hurt someone in SL (just as in RL), but I have tried to distill it down to two categories. The first category is the Alt. Using an Alt to carry on sexual and emotional relationships with more than one resident, a person can lead several partners to believe they are engaged in monogamous SL relationships. The stories of treachery and heartache I've heard of because of the use of alts are just as destructive and devastating as what happens in real life. A broken heart does not differentiate SL/RL.
The other method a Player will use is the exact opposite. This person espouses a personal philosophy of 'free-spiritedness' which includes, as far as I can tell, scanning his or her friend's list every time he or she logs on to see who might like to hang out (and fuck). Everyone is supposed to keep their hearts in check, have a good time, and bed/ball hope with disease-free bliss.
When fuck-buddies are foolish enough to let their hearts get involved, or when the resident with multiple Alts finds his or her partners becoming increasingly suspicious, the Player finds himself in a tricky position. Cut & run (which would be a tremendous gift to the other partners) or try to juggle a handful of hearts? Excuses, unexplained absences, E-mails and IM's that somehow never arrive, blaming online/offline status discrepancies on SL 'glitches', claims to have missed online notifications...the ways the Player will try to keep everybody happy, satisfied, and in the dark are as hopeless as they are lame.
Whether in SL or RL, the victims of the Player, ultimately, must find the strength to say good-bye. There's an old saying that the former US president had some trouble with..."Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." And that's exactly right. If you think some jackass is screwing around on you, dump him or her and move on. Period. If you know some jackass is screwing around on you, then every minute you continue to stay in that relationship eats away at your self-esteem. To stay is as stupid as it is self-destructive. As Eleanor Roosevelt said "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." The question is, why give that consent in any circumstance, least of all, a virtual world of anonymity.
In truth, I feel a bit sorry for the Player....substituting virtual sex/intimacy for something real, lying and hurting others in a desperate attempt to feel relevant or needed...it's pretty pathetic. The defect, of course, is obvious. The path of destruction runs both ways. Karma (and this I know from experience) is a cold-hearted bitch who will win every single time.
Next time: The Stalker