Saturday, February 28, 2009

Do I Only Seem Stupid To Internet People?

I am an avid online gamer. It's my second favourite hobby after reading, and i spend quite a few hours during the week in pursuit of this hobby. The idea of getting to play with people across the country (and, at times, across the globe) is a novelty that's never gotten old to me. In fact, i've found people online to be exactly like people in life: i meet some i can't stand, so i avoid them; i meet some who become casual acquaintences; i meet genuinely nice people that i very much regret not living closer to. I've made some terrific, lasting friendships via online gaming.

Occasionally, however, i do run into weirdos. Back when i was playing Diablo II, there was an old man (i say old because he was 56, and i was 23 at the time) who, armed only my first name and the city i lived in, managed to track down my home address and send me flowers. Some called it sweet, some called it persistent. . . i called it creepy.

I've met countless men posing as women. I've met regular people posing as rich people. I've met people who get a rise out of "seducing" people they meet, and then ignoring them. The gambit of people pretending to be something else is wide and long, and over time, these people become easier and easier to spot.

I recently met the mother of all internet weirdos. He was a nice kid in my guild who opened up to me with his secret desire to have gender reassignment surgery. Honestly, i didn't mind, and i thought it was great that i could be someone to talk to about something that was obviously difficult to open up about in real life. He asked me question after question about the details of being female, and told me about his fears of rejection by his parents. . . i spent hours listening to this boy talk about his life and his dreams. He really seemed like a nice, albeit confused, kid.

Then things gradually started to become strange. He started asking questions i was uncomfortable answering, which i handled by telling him i didn't feel comfortable with his queries. He backed off briefly, but then he'd find different ways of asking. I stopped responding, and he'd drop it for a while.

He told me about his collection of women's clothing that he would dress up in: wigs, skirts, shoes; normal stuff. Then he'd begin to focus on the bras and the panties, which was fine too. Then he'd start focusing on his preference for thongs, and lace, which made me start feeling uncomfortable. Then came the device that hid his penis and gave him larger hips . . . and gave him a pseudo vagina that could "accomodate a strap on or a real penis". I had to put the brakes on again.

A few weeks later, he told me he was going to start seeing a shrink to initiate the process. That struck me as odd, for some reason, but i didn't think about it too much. He told me about the first visit and stuff, and that was all fine. The thing that set my bullshit meter off (finally) was when he told me the shrink told him he was a perfect candidate for the reassignment after the second visit. I made my incredulity known, and he reassured me that he'd gone to his visit in drag, and that's what convinced her. That was the point at which i stopped believing him. I also stopped responding when he tried to talk to me.

Last night, after not speaking to him for several weeks, he told me he'd begun hormone therapy. He then told me that the doctors had removed his testicles to "speed the process along". Literally laughing out loud, I asked him when they'd done that, and how long he'd been in the hospital. He said it was a simple procedure, and that he'd gone home the next day. THEN, as if his story wasn't absurd enough, he said they used the remaining scrotal skin to construct labia and to cover up his penis "until the final surgery".

As i'm sitting there listening to this banquet of bullshit, i'm telling my husband what this kid is saying, and he starts doing some BASIC research on the gender reassignment process. I credit all the facts i spew back at the kid to Jim.

Me: REALLY?! All that in a single day?!
Him: Yeah.
Me: How'd your parents take the news?
Him: My mom's okay, but my dad is treating me like i have the plague.
Him: So, any tips on being a woman?
Me: Look, this may or may not come as any surprise to you, but you are COMPLETELY full of shit.
Him: huh?
Me: What kind of an idiot do you take me for?! They don't want to speed ANYthing up where gender reassignement is concerned! They want to give you EVERY opportunity to change your mind, and for the process to be completely reversible should you do that. Psychiatric care is three months at a MINIMUM, and you have to be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder by not one, but TWO doctors. Then you have to go through hormone therapy for a minimum of ONE YEAR, meanwhile receiving weekly psychiatric care to help you as your changes develop. The genital reconstruction is the absolute last thing to happen, not something done to "speed up the process". Oh, and that has to be signed off on by two surgeons as well.

Me: How are you paying for all this as a college kid with a part time job?! How are you peeing, since that flap of scrotum is now covering up your penis? And since when is major constructive surgery considered outpatient?! What the fuck, man?! I have no doubt that you sincerely want to be a woman; i can listen to that all day long. . . but is there some reason you're sitting here lying to me about all this?

He didn't answer for a few minutes.

Him: sorry.
Me: You should be! It was a real asshole move to play my sympathies like that.
Him: I'm really sorry. I don't know why i did that.
Me: Just stop.
Him: I really do want to be a woman so bad, i guess i just created this fantasy world that was so real to me
Me: Seriously. Stop talking.
Him: I really did tell my parents, and my dad really did stop talking to me please don't be mad.
Me: Stop. Talking. To. Me.
Him: ok

Everything from the initial confession to this conversation happened over the course of a couple of months. It's truly the most bizarre exchange i've ever had since i started using the internet in highschool. I feel bad for the next person he attaches himself to; I'm sure i wasn't the first.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Study Shows Link Between Driving And Nasal Fixation

It started with the guy who was keeping pace with me on the freeway. It always kind of unnerves me when a vehicle is traveling right next to me at the same rate of speed; i always figured courtesy demanded one of you slow down or speed up to gain that sort of staggered spacing that's more conducive to evading potential collisions, you know? This guy, apparently didn't feel that way. I looked over at him, and there he was- buried up to the second knuckle in his right nostril, and completely oblivious to my open-mouthed staring. I decided to be the one to give the courtesy slow-down.

Over the next couple of weeks, I noticed frequent occurrences where people were driving in my vicinity and either picking, scratching, or in some way fucking with their noses. I was mortified when one morning on my way to work, i caught myself scratching the inside of my own nose in traffic. I wasn't trying to be discreet about it or anything, i was just scratching away like i was alone in my bathroom or something. I quickly jerked my finger out of my nose and looked around, to see someone staring at me with what i imagine was a similar expression to the one i wore with the discourteous freeway driver.

So what is it about being in our vehicles that makes us feel so anonymous and unobserved? Especially where dislodging something from our noses is concerned? Pay attention to the people driving around you. I guarantee you'll see more nasal digging than you ever thought you would.