I'll po YOUR lite! (algeh) wrote,
I'll po YOUR lite!
algeh

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a/s/l?

For me, one of the nicest things about the internet is that you tend to be judged based on your message, not your physical traits. Therefore, one of the things that annoys me the most are those damn a/s/l? queries that you get in chat rooms and message boards.

a
I suspect this will bug me less as I get older and more into the "acceptable" ages where people take you seriously, but I don't see why my age is relevant in pretty much any online scenario. If I'm making claims and you want credentials, that's one thing. But whether I'm 13, 30 or 333 shouldn't in and of itself give my claims any more validity. If you just want to figure out whether it is "appropriate" for us to hang out in some vague way, then I think you have a problem if you see age as a strong bar to associating with someone that you're otherwise compatible with. In some kind of relationships, such as dating or other things where power structure is important, I can see where this may be an issue. I once dated someone 4 years older, and it did change the power structure, although some of that was relative experience. But if we're just talking about a tv show, why does it matter? But this doesn't frustrate me half as much as

s
I guess this is a sore spot for me because of an incident in a chat room the first summer I had the internet. After a brief foray into various SF geek chat rooms, I started hanging out in "RPG Taverns". Basically, these were rooms in which people were "in character" and just sort of hung out and interacted. It happened that my chat name at that time, taken from one of my favorite books, was of a sex that I was not. To avoid confusion, I had my persona be that sex as well. Well, for a few weeks we all met about the same time each day, and it was grand fun. I was one of the most regular posters, and tended to be the barkeep. Anyway, one day we all finally decided to post our real ages, so I decided to announce my real sex, too. It pissed off damn near everyone. I still don't really understand why. I didn't play a character that had any sort of romantic affiliation with any other character., or anything of that nature. My character's main hobbies were keeping bar (and remembering everyone's order), conjuring various food items over people's heads and doing an elaborate joke about going swimming, in which each item is conjured individually and there is a great show of preparation, and then water is frantically conjured into the pool after the character had begun to dive in. (I'd do the last whenever there were a lot of really quiet newbies.) None of these things requires one sex or the other, nor did any of the other things I did. But all hell broke loose when I told them that, like my age and character type, my sex was made-up too. One chat room member immediately accused me of being gay (which I'm not, my thoughts on my sexual orientation are complicated, but for now we'll go with "functionally straight") and others made a bunch of fairly unflattering comments. Several never really treated me the same way again. Always, whenever I was the one explaining the "rules" of the tavern, I'd mention (or if they asked before I got around to it, answer) that one's character's sex did not have to be the same as one's own. No one ever challenged me on that rule. Yet, I think that revelation is what really killed that chat room for me. I kept in touch with a couple of people from it for a while, but it was never the same. Now, I stay away from roleplay chats, and I always use an ambiguous user name, usually this one (Algeh). That comes from my initials, L.J., as mangled by one of my favorite professors before he understood it was supposed to be initials. (English wasn't his first language.) I tend to just use L.J. on things that I don't want to use some kind of handle for. Anyway, I really don't think sex matters. Frankly, I wouldn't even consider it that important in an online relationship, although I think in that case it would be *highly* important that the other person knew the truth if they wanted to. If both people found themselves genuinely attracted to each other, I think they should go for it even if the other person's sex isn't the one they'd usually be interested in.

l
This one doesn't bother me quite as much, as I can at least see some reasons why it might be helpful to know. For example, it helps to know what time zone people are in sometimes, and I know I tend to be more patient with bad grammar when people are posting from countries where English isn't the national language. However, I still don't think it's that terribly important.

Ah well. At least they don't tend to ask for race, then I'd really be in a tizzy.

So anyway, I am me and they can deal. My a/s/l is not me, and I don't feel the need to assist them in fitting me into a little box where I don't want to be.
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