Welcome to Tales from the Front: Enjoying and Exploiting Each Other in Second Life
Under this heading we gather random stories of the strange and notable things people and avatars do in order to get their romantic and/or sexual needs met. The stories are true. The names and identifying details have been changed to protect anonymity…
Gender Deception: Tracy M. And Tom T. and the Wedding Surpise
Tracy M. was your average, straight vanilla woman, married and with one child in real life, who came to Second Life for the fun and socialization, looking to find what she was no longer getting from a RL husband. Though not looking for anything serious, she soon found herself in love with a wonderful guy named Tom T, and after several weeks together they decided to partner, and Tracy moved her stuff into Tom’s beachfront property where the romance continued to grow and the sex just got better and better as Tom introduced her to things she’d never even heard of in RL. There were days of shopping and working on Tom’s land, nights of dancing or love-making, and long, deep discussions about their intimate thoughts and feelings and issues in their real lives. Tracy had never felt this kind of care and closeness from anyone, and when Tom asked her to marry him after two and a half months together, she agreed, even though she had reservations about the real meaning of marriage in Second Life. They set a date, and both plunged into the plans for their wedding with joy and excitement.
But as the day approached, Tom’s demeanor seemed to change. He grew a bit irritable, and he started introducing elements of dominance and submission to their love-making. He explained to Tracy that he’d always fantasized about D/s, and that he wanted to have more control over her. Tracy consented because she dearly loved him by this time and it seemed to make him happy, though she found no special fulfillment in the role of submissive. But still, Tom seemed discontented and moody.
Then, a little more than a week before the big day, Tom told Tracy he had a confession to make. He was not a man in real life, he told her, but a gay woman, married to a man and with 2 children, none of whom knew about her double life. She’d wanted to tell Tracy earlier, but there’d never seemed to be a time or an opportunity, so she was confessing it now. She wanted to come clean and begged Tracy to understand, because she loved her dearly, and she wanted to go through with the wedding.
Tracy was completely taken by surprise; shocked and stunned. In their almost four months together, she’d never had any suspicions or reason to doubt that Tom was anything but a normal, XY-chromosome male in real life. They’d even voiced on occasion, and shared photographs, and nothing had ever seemed out of place. The portrait of his Real Life he’d painted for her seemed true and convincing, and the feelings he’d expressed had always seemed wonderfully masculine. Tracy was rather sexually conservative, and the realization that she’d been having homosexual sex with a woman under false pretenses for the past four months threw her into a deep turmoil.
Tom apologized profusely and did her best to explain her side of it, claiming that the freedom of SL allowed her to be who she really was. In real life she was a man trapped in a woman’s body, but in Second Life she was a man in a man’s body, and that’s what really mattered.
Tracy had a little more than a week to decide what to do, and she was beside herself. In their time together she’d grown to truly love Tom and she didn’t want to give him up. But did the fact that she loved him/her mean that Tracy was actually gay herself? Or bi? Could she go on loving Tom knowing that he was really a woman? And if she did, what did that make her?
She struggled with these ideas of gender identity and the meaning of heterosexual versus homosexual love, the question of whom she really loved: Tom the avatar? Or the woman behind him? Her love for Tom was strong and seemed to transcend gender, but it was all so confusing. And it didn’t help that she had no one to confide in. She and Tom had many friends, but how could she tell any of them this? Who would believe her?
In the end, Tom decided the issue for her. He/she tried to use his/her power as dominant to force Tracy into marriage, and that’s when she realized that regardless of the gender issue, she could never forgive Tom for lying and deceiving her all this time. She could no longer trust him/her, and as the trust went, so did her love. She called off the wedding and moved out of Tom’s house.
Afraid she might reveal “his” secret, Tom began threatening her. He told their friends that she’d gone crazy and was no longer rational, that he’d caught her in a lesbian affair and that she’d been cheating on him. He generally missed no opportunity for slander.
And yet he pursued her, wanting her back. He pursued her first as himself and then as a series of fairly obvious male alts, using spy gadgets to watch for her to come online, and then attacking her with alts. She lost her friends, she lost her reputation, she lost her peace of mind. Finally, unwilling to leave Second Life, Tracy finally constructed an alt for herself and put Tracy away while she waited for Tom to give up on her.
But her story didn’t end there. It continues in Tales from the Front: Love With A Doomed Alt: Lilly B and Kevin G.
–Aiden Swain 6/26/2010