Recently Second Life blogger Canary beck posted this gem, titled "How to Approach Women in Second Life," and to be perfectly honest I'm jealous that I (or should I say Miss Metaverse Manners) didn't come up with it first. It details all the things someone can do wrong when they approach a woman for a conversation in SL, as well as some of the things they can do right.
The biggest faux-pas? Sending her an IM while you're halfway across the sim and 400 feet in the air. Surprise surprise, women generally don't like feeling like someone is watching us, especially when we can't see that person ourselves. Most of us have been socialized by every other episode of Law & Order SVU (among other things) to be really uncomfortable in that sort of situation, and that instinct doesn't necessarily vanish the instant we log in to the digital world.
There are already more "Don'ts" than "Dos" on canary's list, but I'd like to add just one more...
Most of the time when I've been approached in SL, it's been by a dude quoting my own profile at me, using bits of information from it like he wants a gold star for having read it. This also tends to lead to awkward conversations where this random person will hone in on one detail about you and never let it go, because they don't know anything else about you and have spent their conversational energy trying to act like they do instead of actually finding out something new and more useful. This is one of the reasons I eventually stripped my Second life profile down to its barest bones, I was just so sick of getting the same IMs about it, having the same conversations over and over.
The best piece of advice? Just relax and be honest. If you just want to meet someone, admit it. Don't dance around it with cheesy lines and thin excuses. It won't always work out, but thankfully Second Life is the lowest risk environment possible to try and fail at just about anything, from dating to skydiving.
Be sure to read Canary's full post over on her blog, whether you're looking for the advice yourself or just looking for a little affirmation about creepy encounters you've had in the past.
Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart on Twitter, Iris Ophelia in Second Life) has been writing about virtual worlds and video games for nearly a decade, and has had her work featured on Paste, Kotaku, Jezebel and The Mary Sue.