Kathryn's Blog

Not truth, not a lie, but something inbetween

A few weeks ago, there was a short article in the New York Times’ Style section called “I’m not real, but neither are you.”  It was about a new dating site (sort of) called cloudgirlfriend.com The site helps you build a fantasy profile, complete with photos they provide (which were rather spooky— the women’s ones were all gorgeous, young, and with huge unworldly photo shopped eyes), then matches you with other fantasy profiles. I joined (not without trepidation) and was immediately sent matches to scroll through. In the first ten, three of the photos were exactly the same, though the written material was different, which was pretty eerie.

Anyway, the premise is to allow someone to build a fantasy self, similar to people joining Second Life, then meet others in cyberspace doing the exact same thing. It’s a fabulous idea, melding dating sites with fantasy, having the fantasy be open and above board . Interestingly, quite a number of folks who have met on Second Life have met up in real life and gone on to form real relationships and even marriages. In the documentary I was a consultant for “When Strangers Click,” the last story was about such a couple. Click here to see a film clip.

This kind of site has a blatant acknowledgement that the individual presentations are not “real.” There is an up-front agreement between members that nothing in the profiles should be taken as “true.” The fantasy characters (as in Second Life) do have some aspects of “truth” to them, though: fantasy allows members to express parts of themselves that otherwise are hidden or negated by “true circumstances” like physical appearances.

I’d like to see this idea taken a step beyond. I regularly work with singles who really worry about being recognized on dating sites. Usually these folks are not married, not worrying about being found out. They tend to be prominent people in their communities who would be easily recognized. They feel both exposed in a private matter, and are concerned that it would seem rather unseemly for someone in their position to be on a dating site.

A dating site built on the premise of fantasy profiles, that everyone going in KNOWS that the picture is not “real,” but that there would be a blend of reality from the written words, could be of real service to these folks. As well, a fantasy photo that is “me, though better,” would cut through the 90% of us who are not the 10’s getting all the attention.



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