Virtual Girl = Real Girl
October 22, 2007 4:00 AM   Subscribe

Is my virtual girlfriend a real woman?

Recently I met a cute and friendly human being in SecondLife, she's my girlfriend now. We didn't had any serious sexual encounter yet, because... she is acting a little strange.

Now which questions would you ask a female avatar in a virtual world if you want to find out that you are related to a real woman? (Plz. bear in mind that I dont wannt to offend her!)
posted by germanguy to Human Relations (44 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
since it's only your avatars having sex, does it matter?
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:19 AM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]

Asking questions just isn't going to accomplish much. I've seen 55 year old, male police officers convincingly impersonate females in online sting operations.

There's really no way to verify that it's a woman without, at a minimum, viewing her on a camera while you talk to them. Of course, demanding that is probably guaranteed to offend. You might feel a little better if you could talk to her over the phone or skype or something. That's no guarantee, but it's better than an avatar.
posted by empyrean at 4:20 AM on October 22, 2007


Do you want to meet for coffee?
posted by rdr at 4:24 AM on October 22, 2007

It won't be definitive, but you could ask about his/her digit ratio as an off-kilter sort of question
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:34 AM on October 22, 2007

Start with a Turing test first. Then ask her about the offside rule.
posted by zemblamatic at 4:36 AM on October 22, 2007 [10 favorites]

Interesting about the digit ratio. According to that, I'm a man. Heh.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 4:41 AM on October 22, 2007

Synchronicity in full effect: try this. Via.
posted by zemblamatic at 4:41 AM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]

Basically, you can't determine this reliably without meeting. There are a lot of "cross-dressers" in Second Life, and I've even seen ads for voice morphing software... so if you're male, you can sound female, or vice versa.

If it will EVER be a real life romantic thing, meet early, meet often. If it will never go past virtual -- it kind of doesn't matter if the person on the other side is a balding gay man typing from a rented bread truck.
posted by Malor at 4:49 AM on October 22, 2007

Response by poster: Howdy! Sorry, it seems I wasn't clear enough...

I know that there is almost no way to find out and I don't need an advice about that.

If she's a he - well, I dont care, because the person behind that avi is nice to me and since I have nobody in real life it wouldn't scare me too much if being asked for ...uhm... you know what.

But I just wanna have some cool questions at hand, it's a game of give an take, and who knows when or where to ask...

Cheers & thx so far!!!
posted by germanguy at 4:49 AM on October 22, 2007

Response by poster: uuuh @liquorice: I just called up my mother, she swears that she isn't monitoring me - at least not in the last 2 or 3 months... *shiver*
posted by germanguy at 5:03 AM on October 22, 2007

Fwiw, zemblamatic's post didn't work for me; I entered a 750+ word blog post I'd recently written & it speculated that it was written by a man.
posted by Laura in Canada at 5:16 AM on October 22, 2007

Do you have a vagina?
posted by fire&wings at 5:30 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

I can't remember where I saw this, but apparently asking someone to tell the story of their first menstrual period will generally reveal whether the person was born with female genitalia or not. I think it'd be hard to make up a convincing story on-the-fly, especially if you've never had a period.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:11 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ask "her" who her favorite Stooge is.
posted by bondcliff at 6:24 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

A time honored test of internets verification is the "PICS OR SHENS" test.

It goes like this:

1) Make up a phrase involving your user name or a maybe even OMG UR RL NAME.

2) Ask your internet girlfriend to write the phrase in step (1) with magic marker on HER BOOBS. Then she takes a picture, face must be included as well as verified boobs.

3) Have her send you the verification picture in a reasonable amount of time. Preferably while your still talking to her online, so the chance of fakery is minimal.

As for offense, any reasonable internet girlfriend should find the above test reasonable, in light of the HIGH chance that she could be a man. Also, you can offer to sent a verification pic of your own.

Variation on the above formula is possible, but not recommended for best accuracy.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:29 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: hehe @fire&wings: you're heading in the right direction, lol

@T.D. Strange: In germany we were haunting a child abuser who has placed morphed fotos of him in the internet.
The police caught him, because they "de-morphed" his photos (good work, guys!)!

This will be the reason why I wont ask anybody for this kind of "contaminated" photos for a long time...

And, hmm..., I am looking for more subtile questions, not actions, but thx anyway!
posted by germanguy at 6:58 AM on October 22, 2007

Fwiw, zemblamatic's post didn't work for me; I entered a 750+ word blog post I'd recently written & it speculated that it was written by a man.

It also says that the asker is female. YMMV.
posted by public at 7:04 AM on October 22, 2007

As far as I can tell, the Gender Genie is a crock. I have yet to find a piece of my writing that it thinks is male. Apparently I tend to use the words "with" (52 girl points) and "if" (47 girl points) more frequently than blokes are supposed to.
posted by flabdablet at 7:47 AM on October 22, 2007

This is a freakishly common question in the MMORPG realms I've been addicted to for the past (mumblenumberofyears).

Sadly, at least in our circles, chances are any she-avatar is a 'shim' - a male playing a female character. Sometimes this is to get the fringe 'benefits' of playing a female - being hit on, having people up and give you things because you're a girl, etc. Other times, I've heard it justified easily-- "If you had to stare at an avatar for hours a day, wouldn't you want to look at something attractive to you?"

Okay, so the actual quote was far more vulgar, but you get the drift.

The best way we've found of picking out the shims (usually for general teasing purposes) is using a service like Ventrilo or Teamspeak, and getting them on voice-chat! This is especially effective when you're interacting with the avatar at the same time in-game.

Setting up the apps are really easy, and for just a few bucks a month, you can find a host to do all the technical crap.
posted by Adelwolf at 7:54 AM on October 22, 2007

Ask her what size pantyhose she wears?
posted by charlesv at 7:55 AM on October 22, 2007

Response by poster: Ok... my current ranking at the moment is:

1. Ask her who her favorite Stooge is?

2. Ask her what size pantyhose she wears?

special appearance:
99. Ask her if she has a vagina...

Of coz, I could paste her conversation into a crap AI program, which states that I'm female, too - lol, that means I'm a lesbian.. butches preferred, plz!

And finally I could measure her fingers...

Hey, MeFi girls, I need your help! What would you ask her?
posted by germanguy at 8:18 AM on October 22, 2007

Hey, MeFi girls, I need your help! What would you ask her?

How do you know that the 'girls' who are answering are really girls??

In all seriousness, I - as a boob-carrying female - have no idea why my favorite Stooge (Moe, natch) says anything about my gender. Nor do I really remember much about my first menstruation (it was almost 20 years ago, and apparantly either non-traumatic or TOO traumatic to remember). I don't wear pantyhose, either. That AI said I write like a man too (and I double-space my sentences! Argh!).

What I'm trying to say here is that asking a person anything, through text, is simply a matter of trust. If you already don't trust that the person you're involved with IS actually a female, how are you going to trust ANY answer they give you?

That's why I recommended hearing a voice on the other end of an avatar - whether by one of the services I mentioned, or using any ol' IM program's video chat. Hell, even pick up the telephone - if this is as serious as you're making it out to be, just as her for her phone number.

The only way to assure yourself of the meat behind the pixels is to get CLOSER to the meat.
posted by Adelwolf at 8:32 AM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]

I think the finger thing could work, especially if it's dropped randomly into conversation..."Hey, check for me, this is really cool...which is longer, your ring finger or index finger?"

If you ever talk about real-life stuff, I'd ask her how she does her, the process and the products. Even if she has wash-and-wear hair like me she should be able to go into more detail about what she does. I would think that a guy, even a guy who gels or mousses, would be lost if the conversation turned to flatirons or leave-in conditioner. Of course, that's just based on me (shampoo, conditioner, fly-away tamer, hair dryer, hair spray) and my husband (shampoo, or soap in a pinch). YMMV.
posted by christinetheslp at 8:34 AM on October 22, 2007

If she acts like the really greatest woman you ever met, and you wonder why there aren't more real feminine chicks like this ....

it's totally a dude.

Men know what men want from a woman and are very good at being exactly that, although any woman can spot them as fake from a mile away.

Do you have a geeky female relative?
posted by dagnyscott at 8:41 AM on October 22, 2007

Ask her if she likes Robbie Williams or Johnny Depp.

What her favourite Take That song is. *lol*

Where she does her (clothes) shopping and/or who her favourite designer is.

Whether she's pro-life or pro-choice? (dunno, I imagine women would reply differently to that question than men)

Who her favourite character from My So-called Life is (Willkommen im Leben). I don't think I know a single woman from my age group who didn't obsessively watch that (of course she might be too young for this). Alternatively: BH 90210 or Charmed.
Or better still, a more specific question about plot once you have established that she did use to watch one of those (I can think something up for you if needed, email in profile).

BTW I don't think I'd have a convincing answer to the "first period" question. I don't remember it as anything spectacular (and tbh I don't think I'd wanna answer that anyway lol).
posted by ClarissaWAM at 8:41 AM on October 22, 2007

Most guys don't know their ring size, but that's something that could be faked as well.

Any chance of being able to talk to her outside of the game (AIM, MSN, etc)? That could open the door to speaking to "her" friends, who might not care to be in on it.

Also, if you could find out more real-life details, you could start Googling and hope for the best.
posted by DMan at 8:41 AM on October 22, 2007

Oh and to follow up on the digit-ratio thing, I checked this with all members from our team at work (yes I'm obsessive) and 3 (out of 8) of the women had the "male" ratio (made me feel less of a freak myself at least).

PS the pantyhose question is rude, too, you don't ask a lady about her age or her clothes size. *tut*

Now I'll really shut up.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 8:44 AM on October 22, 2007

Huh. So that's why my writing's checking out as female; I'm typing with female-ratio fingers.
posted by flabdablet at 8:59 AM on October 22, 2007

Many of these questions would make me wonder whether *you* were a female. A man has never ever ever asked me about my hair styling practices, panty hose size, menstrual history, etc.

Why do you care, really? If I were a woman player who didn't have relationship intentions for outside the game, I think I would find it a bit offputting anyway, if I thought it was really super important to you that I have female parts.

IF it's a woman AND she's open to more personal interactions, it shouldn't be that hard to find out. If she's not into more personal interactions, does it really matter?
posted by Salamandrous at 9:02 AM on October 22, 2007

I like the "write me a note on your boobs" method.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:29 AM on October 22, 2007

Eh, questions really won't answer that. I play MMORPGs and I've never tried to hide that I'm female, but it's still such that most guys will be skeptical of anyone with a female avatar (and some will harass regardless, heh).

Anyway, I met my boyfriend on an MMORPG we both played. After playing together and talking through the game and via IM for about a month, we started making phone calls to each other.

He likes that I am, in some ways, an 'atypical' female, which attracted him, but that also gave him some tiny doubts that I actually was female in the very beginning.

Only way to truly know is via some sort of confirmation picture/webcam or calling each other.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:11 AM on October 22, 2007

Oh and that thing keeps thinking my writing is by a man. Apparently "the" is a masculine word. Heh.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:13 AM on October 22, 2007

There's no way to know, unless you meet in person.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:17 AM on October 22, 2007

I think it'd be hard to make up a convincing story on-the-fly, especially if you've never had a period.

I have had one and would have to make up a story because I don't remember the first. Bad idea.

Jesus, this question and the responses make me feel approximately one million years old. People really have virtual girlfriends?
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:35 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

I would fail almost all of these "are you female?" questions, and I've had two kids. Pantyhose? Menstruation? These are not things women really talk about, in my experience, so having ready answers to them is just as likely to be an indication of being a man (or a 12-year-old boy) as it is of being a woman.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:59 AM on October 22, 2007

Another woman checking in who would "fail" pretty much all of these questions. And who would also be fairly weirded out by them and stop interacting with you right quick, if you fired several of them off at me in short succession, because you would fall way into the "creepy" zone of my radar and life's too short for that shit. If you're dead set on trying to quiz this person's sex or gender out of him/her, I'd suggest at least trying to space these questions out over time.

Really, there is no way to know for sure short of a video chat, and if you try to find out in some weird roundabout way chances are good that you will either come to an incorrect conclusion or scare this person off. If you truly don't care what the answer is and just want to know the truth, you might be best served to just flat-out ask.
posted by Stacey at 11:12 AM on October 22, 2007

Response by poster: At this point I am no longer asking for any suggestions - it became obvious that there is no "ultimate" question to find the final answer (is Douglas Addams around?).

I'm not very good in this "female" details and of course if I would become an expert in any of those fields (e.g. by watching My So-called Life (thx Clarissa)) *she* might wonder whether *I* were a female (thx Salamandrous ), but being that amateur and talking about pantyhoses or menstruation will make her feel like she's with an idiot (thx corpse)!

It's a dillema, I'll quit playing SecondLife and will study philosophy/psychiatry now and look for a real life partner (thx Cunning).

Thank you all for your help! Greetings from Germany, have a good night and fun!!!
posted by germanguy at 11:26 AM on October 22, 2007

ask her what her favorite cliched stand-up bit about how men and women are different is.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:28 AM on October 22, 2007

mention that you have dry lips and see if she talks about lip balm. almost all women i know are lip balm addicts who will happily sepnd a few sentences talking up their favourite product. if she mentions these brands: burt's bees, philosophy, kiehl's, mac, bonne bell, she is probably a chick. if she says "chapstick", the jury's still out.
posted by twistofrhyme at 4:24 PM on October 22, 2007

Ask for a voice chat.
posted by perpetualstroll at 4:24 PM on October 22, 2007

oh. or show her a picture of a woman wearing a skirt and shirt and say, "do you like this dress"? any real woman will point out that that is a picture of a skirt. men always seem to get that one wrong. for the record, a dress covers your breasts, too- a skirt is just below the waist. all dresses have skirts, but a skirt is not necessarily a dress.
posted by twistofrhyme at 4:26 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Nthing ask for voice chat. "I really want to hear your voice" shouldn't come across as threatening / rude / untoward. You could even particularly say that you wanted to hear "her" laugh, maybe that's more romantic.

In my WoW guild, there's a guy who's fallen for ... someone we suspect is male. He thinks she's female. "She" won't speak on Vent because she says she's mute. Yeah. Really. And he buys it. Poor guy. We think he better be put on suicide watch if/when he finds out.

(Yes I know it's really possible for it to be a mute woman. But this possibility is *vanishingly* rare compared to the incidence of dudes pretending to be chicks on the internets.)
posted by marble at 8:07 PM on October 22, 2007

A couple of things i've noted in passing since you don't seem to have voice chat:

Guys tend to put periods at the end of their sentences. Just tend, not a hard rule.

Discuss what clothes she might like to model for you?
posted by ptm at 6:03 AM on October 24, 2007

I would like an update. Have you procured definitive proof of her gender yet?
posted by Greg Nog at 11:53 AM on November 8, 2007

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