Miss Ophelia's Metaverse Manners: Compromising Positions, Proposing Partnership, and other Romantic Dilemmas
Exclusive to NWN, Iris Ophelia's ongoing take on etiquette and ethics in virtual spaces
In time for Valentine's day, this week's Metaverse Manners is dealing with matters of the heart! So let's get right to it...
My partner told me last week about some fetishes he is really into, but I'm really not interested. Do I have to play along or can I refuse?
-Marquise de Sade
This kind of situation can definitely put a strain on any romantic relationship, and it's unfortunate that he's only revealing his tastes to you now. Ideally, it's best to be open about particularly strong preferences as early as possible, but it's also common for people to be embarrassed and afraid that they'll scare the other person away.
Be as understanding as possible, and don't accuse him of being disgusting or a pervert, that will only drive you apart. You absolutely don't "have to play along", and you definitely have the right to refuse to participate. These aren't the only options, however. Talk about these interests with him and see if you can find an element you would be willing to try. You shouldn't do things that upset you or make you uncomfortable, but if you can find places for compromise, your bond will be a lot stronger for it!
Keep reading for three more passionate problems!
How should I ask someone to partner me? Can I just do it and see if they accept, or should I propose and go through all that stuff like real life?
The answer to this question really depends on what your relationship is like. If you're the type of SL couple that regularly go ballroom dancing and hang out in places named "Venus Romance Garden", your princess probably expects a proper proposal and ceremony. If you're a much more casual couple, instead, you can probably drop a lot of the pomp and propose partnership directly. No matter what, though, acknowledge it in world, whether it's with a ring, a shared skybox, or something else mutually significant to make it feel a bit more personal than just an email from Linden Lab.
I like this guy but he has a partner, and I don't know if they're a real couple or not. Can I make a move anyway?
Before you make your move, you need to figure out if he's already spoken for. Check his profile picks (and his partner's), since many SL couples use that space to wax poetic about each other. If both are all clear, just ask him what their relationship is. Some people partner close friends or business partners, and if that's the case then it's clear sailing! Be careful, though: A lot of people don't take SL relationships very seriously, and won't hesitate to keep a few different relationships going at the same time. If he seems a little dodgy or shifty about the nature of the partnership, you may want to keep your distance-- at least until the partner box is empty.
How do I ask out someone I like?
Just ask them! Think of an interest you share with whoever it is that you like, and invite them to do something related with you. Explore a photogenic sim, go to a club, try a medieval roleplay area, or whatever you think you would both enjoy. Remember that confidence is sexy, and thankfully it's much easier to fake online than it is in real life!
Submit your etiquette questions to ophelia.iris [at] gmail [dot] com, or submit anonymously to the Metaverse Manners Formspring. Be sure to include a pseudonym (i.e. "WTF from the Welcome Area") so you know when I'm addressing your query!
Iris Ophelia (Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.