Moving on, now we have Second Life, this world takes the new idea of the chat room and meeting people from the inside out and goes back to the basics by offering you a chance to see the person's avatar across a crowded room like in "Strangers in the Night". Granted I give you these avatars are almost a "perfect" representation of a human being, I also think that you really get a nice glimpse into the person's personality, surly not a newbie who's started playing, but someone who's been in the game for a while their avatar says a lot about how they see themselves and allows you to see the traits which make them a unique human being.
If you've ever been a woman in a crowded chat room, you know what the problem is. Almost without warning your screen is a scroll of ASL questions, come ons, basic opening lines, and "helloes." How do you sort them out, with only a handle to go by? A good first pass is to toss out the ones you don't want and the obviously inept passes, "marriedswinger1953" isn't going to do much for me, and "I'm in Cleveland and ready to fuck." is, ummm, not ready.
But after that one Hello looks pretty much like another.
Avatars give a different line on a person. After all, if a man isn't willing to finish his avatar, he isn't going to finish you either. If a man doesn't take care of himself, he won't take care of you. If he can stand looking at an ugly spiky thing that waddles, but wants sex with a gorgeous woman, then he's not going to run any other part of the relationship fairly either. Does he have taste? Does he know his way around?
However, it goes the other way. I can tell you that several attractive male avatars have had mouths that are repulsive. Stone's comment that the true self shines through. Sooner or later it does, sooner or later, the core of a person shines through.
My friend Chien writes about the other side of this SL absorbtion. I think that the two are related, we get lonely, go to SL, get lonelier, stay in sl, continuing to fool and fiddle, hoping that over the next sim boundary will be what we are looking for.
My solution to this is to have a plan, a goal. Someplace you are going, and something that you are going to do.
Then, only connect. Connect yourself to others that are doing the same thing, connect to yourself and find talents you didn't know you had. Connect to the objects you make so that they fit with you. Connect to the world. Connect to the tools. Feel your body growing out from your skin, filling the room you sit in, the splace that your avatar is in, and becoming, in that way, a glowing presence. Become argus eyed, and look in all directions with that sense of space.
And then do.