Tuesday, October 26, 2004

What do you look like?

An oft asked question, usually within minutes of an Internet chat encounter. How do I answer? And what makes me reluctant to reply? On the one hand, if I don’t describe myself - they wonder what’s wrong with me. Conversely, if my self-appraisal depicts anything other than one of the world’s beautiful people with cover model looks, I risk rejection and the deadly silence of an empty in-box. That is, if I give an honest assessment.

I’ve tried hedging the issue by asking, "Why do you want to know?" where the standard reply is a variant of "I like to see who I’m talking to." Uh-huh. Right. As former chat partner honestly confirmed in their second and final post, "You might be unsatisfactory in some physical way. (People) are plenty fickle, believe me."

Me, unsatisfactory? By whose standards? A virtual stranger’s? Yet somehow even rejection by strangers bothers me. If they read my description and don’t write back - what will I see the next time I peer into the mirror? Every minor flaw will appear astronomical. I hate to even think about the major ones.

But why put myself through any kind of scrutiny? You can’t see me. At this point, I can be, or look like, anyone I choose. You don’t even know if I’m telling the truth. And if I’m good at deception - you will probably never know. Send you a picture? Sure, why not. Who says it is actually me in the photo?

Yet why should I have to stoop to subterfuge to maintain an internet relationship? The idea is ludicrous although it happens to be quite common. We meet on-line to share, and discuss thoughts and ideas with other people who hide behind screen names, avatars and personas.

Physical beauty is subjective and only skin deep. I’ve met more than a few folks who are eloquent, learned, deliciously funny, quite interesting and even desirously sexy, many of whom could be described as less than perfect (try fat, bald or even ugly). Similarly, I personally know some drop-dead gorgeous imbeciles who couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag with neon arrows pointing to the only exit. Even if you were holding their shapely, well-manicured hands.
Obviously, I’m not impressed by looks.

It’s not difficult for me to choose a chat partner. Make me laugh, flirt with me, tease me, sympathetically listen to my daily woes or intelligently debate with me and I guarantee that I’ll always reply. Don’t bother to tell me what you look like, it doesn’t matter. And I’ll never ask.


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