Some folks would have you believe that stereotypes don't exist, that stereotypes are merely a product of prejudicial and critical minds who oversimplify and categorize people based on superficial notions. This is certainly true to a great degree, but let's not pretend that stereotypes don't exist. Of course they exist! We run into them every day. And if there's anywhere that's full of 'em, it's Internet chat rooms. This week we begin exploring some of these cybernetic stereotypes who we encounter so that we might try to better understand them.
The Faceless Face
These are the pic fakers. How many times have you opened someone's chat profile and seen a photo that was clearly taken from a magazine or some other pictorial? My favorites are the losers who fake their dick pics by posting porno shots that they hijacked from any number of shared photo archives. Even worse are the people who post pictures of their true selves, but the pictures are anywhere from 10 to 20 years old. Ever been chatting with someone whom you're romantically interested in, and you are attracted to their pic, but when you meet in person, you realize that the dude you thought you were talking to is actually 25 years older than his pic led you to believe? It's as if these people think you're not going to notice! It's as ridiculous as a black man posting a pic of a white man, then claiming that he's just been tanning a lot and that's why he looks so different from his pic. And I love it when people say, 'Well, I've put on a little weight since that pic was taken'. Yeah, a little weight, somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 extra pounds. There's the concept of exaggeration, then there's the concept of bold-faced lies.
I don't wish to encourage superficiality and people basing everything on appearances. The point of nailing this particular Internet sociopath is that they are completely dishonest, claiming to be someone that they are not. And when you meet them in person and are shocked by their difference in appearance, they have the nerve to be offended and call you a shallow prick. 'I thought you didn't base everything on physical appearance!', they will say. This is a bullshit method of tricking people and trying to make them feel like the bad guy for rejecting someone. They would like you to believe that the rejection is based on your own shallow ideals, but in reality, the rejection is based on dishonesty. Pic fakers are full of self loathing and deception. If they truly want to be acknowledged, desired or loved, faking their image will only make it more impossible, and it pisses other people off in the process.
The Cyber Thief
Ahhhh, the Internet scam artist. You've met dozens of them, no doubt. Online, they are full of praises, and somehow they seem to want everything you want and seem to have so much in common with you! They just can't wait to be with you, but golly, would you mind sending them some cash for this need or that need, or maybe fund their plane ticket for a visit? Most people are smart enough to spot a player from miles away, but it's not always as clear in a chat room where you can't interpret facial expressions or tones of voice. You merely have typewritten words, blinking text which has no character or attitude. The unfortunate reality is that there are a fair number of love-hungry chatters desperately looking for a real and soulful connection. They are using the Internet as a diving board to connect with the right person who could be anywhere in the world. It is these sentimental and emotionally sensitive people that the cyber thieves go after. Some never learn, but just remember that if you want to begin a relationship with someone, if it ever costs you a dime, chances are it's all just a hokey pokey, and that's what it's all about. If you ever think that perhaps the dude who has 'committed' to you long distance may not be wholly truthful, here's a good trick. Next time you see him in the chat room, change your user name and begin chatting with him as a stranger. Exhibit romantic or sexual interest in him, and maybe even gently indicate that you're not poor. If he pounces you with intense interest, that will tell you right away that his 'commitment' to you is false. It's a trick that never fails to weed out the self-serving pretty boy players who think they're so hot that you'll hack off an arm to be with them. But don't get that axe out until you're sure who you're dealing with. Chances are, it's not reality, for you or for them.
Next time we'll explore more categories of chatters that we know, love, and hate. We've barely begun!