Little Big Boy

Sometimes reality intrudes into EQ2 in undesirable ways. It doesn’t help that there are people who, when hiding behind an online avatar, will behave in ways they would never dream of in real life. But then again, some folks are just jerks regardless of whether they are online or off, I guess.

Something like this happened a while back. My RL wife’s half-elf monk and I were at the Steppes Station with a few other friends, trying to get organized for the evenings activities. Along comes a fellow who thinks its appropriate to tell my wife’s toon to bend over for him. I sent him a tell asking him to back off, since that was my wife. He ignored it. He went on the ignore list. Really, an unpleasant scene.

To me, this individual has a really warped sense of what it means to be a man. He is a little boy acting how he thinks a man acts, but he’s got it completely wrong. Is there a woman anywhere who actually likes behavior like that? Where do they get the idea that this is ok?

It’s at times like this that I wish the game had PvP. There were 4 of us there, we could have kicked his butt. But of course, that would open a whole new can of worms. After that, we couldn’t have gone out without our whole posse, or he’d come along looking for revenge with a whole new set of sexual and verbal abuse.

Maybe the thick-skinned response of just adding to the ignore list is the best we can do. But I’d like to build in some feedback, a message to the perpetrator that their behavior is not acceptable.

Thinking about this afterward, I came up with another possible response. What if I had said to this individual, “Hey, you’re kinda cute! Why don’t YOU bend over for ME?” A taste of their own medicine.

Now, I’m not gay in real life, but I have many friends and even relatives who are. I hope they wouldn’t be offended by my borrowing of their sexual identity for in-game purposes. Most of the ones I know would be more amused than offended, so I think I’m ok there.

However, I don’t think that’s the best approach. The best response is for the woman in question to set a clear limit. How do I know this? I’ve seen and participated in several women’s self defense classes in real life. The focus of the scenario training is to get the woman in question to confront the person in question and set a limit, saying things like

“I’m not interested.”
“Take a step back.”
“Get away from me.”

These are direct and to the point, but they don’t escalate the situation either. In the training sessions, we also cover what to do should the situation become physical, but that’s unnecessary in EQ2. And besides most of the women toons I know can handle themselves in-game.

Here are some things to say that I wouldn’t recommend.

“Please stop”
“F— off”
“Run along, little boy”, and
“Why don’t YOU bend over for ME?”

These are going to escalate the situation. Using “please” sounds weak, in this context, like it’s a request. It isn’t. Every woman has the right to not be harrassed, to enjoy the game. You do not need someone else’s forbearance. “Leave me alone,” seems kind of weak and whiny, too.

Simply using /ignore will work, but I suggest that setting a limit first, then using /ignore will help everyone else in the game that is no more interested in this behavior than you are. That includes me and a lot of other men, not just other women.

But I’ll bet there’s a lot of you out there with different experiences, and a fair bit of wisdom. I’d love to hear about what happened to you in an online game, and how you dealt with it, success or failure. We can learn a lot from both. Let the comments begin.

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