What is the relationship between a fantasy life and a real life?

October 28th, 2011


One of my Facebook friends (imaginary friends) asks.  Facebook is an imaginary life and in that life you have hundreds, maybe thousands of friends.  In that life, you look like you are always on, like you are always at a party.  You look at your friends’ Facebook pages and they too are always at a party, at the beach, on vacation.


How often do you see someone’s profile pic with real information.  A real profile might look like this:


Dangerously bipolar.  Whenever you are in a conversation with this person, you will feel utterly lost and like you want to leave the room.  This person will try to dominate you.  This person will shake when they talk with you if you do not look utterly submissive.  This person has issues.  This person is mentally unstable.  This person is going to try to make everything your fault.  This person doesn’t like themselves very much so they are incapable of establishing stable relationships.


Instead, you see this person at their work parties, at the beach, or even throwing a Frisbee, they look like a whole barrel of laughs.


Phone sex or virtual sex or text sex is not sex.  Sex is supposed to involve at two or more naked people in a room.  (Or on the beach, or in the forest, go ahead, get dirty.)


Text relationships, email and Skype do not make a real relationship.  Real relationships are supposed to involve two or more people in a room who although not necessarily naked, can at least loosen their tie or scarf around each other.  One has friends one can completely relax and be yourself with, and others who you are constantly on guard, watchful in case you do or say anything wrong.  Either way, relationships require presence.


I was talking with a friend about online dating and he was explaining that he tried it but he wasn’t good at it.  He has a great personality but apparently that didn’t come across in his profile and his emails.  I would have the opposite problem because I am a writer.  I would be witty and cool and amazing on paper and then when you met me?


Well, for one thing, I am not the Los Angelesideal woman.  My friend Angela Wilder is. She is the living perfection of what you are supposed to look like in this city.   But in person, they’d see right away that I was way below standard for LA—Angela looks like a size 2, perfect skin, flat stomach, a body so whipped into shape by yoga and Pilates that she seems to exist on air) but not me, I’m a whole other kind of beauty.  Besides, they’d see my little sarcastic-don’t-mess-with-me-side and then the whole thing would go downhill and I’d be back to my keyboard, wooing another man into my monster lair.


It’s easier to live the world through avatars.  You don’t have to actually talk or be charming, you can send three word texts.  You don’t have to actually figure out the sex dance, you can just sit around and play with keys and most of all, there is no risk.  You won’t get hurt, you won’t die, there won’t be blood, you won’t fall in love, you won’t ever get your feet dirty or your hands wet or any other part of your body slimed or mucked or in the rank or in the dank.  (I am going way too far here! Yes!)


I invite you to the real world.  Away from your computer, your iPhone, iPad, away from podcasting. I invite you to the world outside.  Go out in the rain.  Get cold.  Go on out, you might get hurt, you might meet someone, you might talk with someone on the train or plane if you took off your headphones, you might actually experience that wonky thing we call “life.”


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