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I'm a horribly introverted personality and the rise of online gaming terrifies me.
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5:12 PM on 10.21.2013

So my GTA Online avatar is female. I like to play the opposite sex when given the option. 98% of all the games I play give you no choice and lock you down as a man. Bring on that variety. The problem is that most everyone that I come into contact with will first hit on me. Then proceed to freak the hell out when they discover I'm a man. I don't know for sure, but I'm willing to bet most people aren't seeking a relationship while grinding XP or racking up head shots. My avatar is not me. It is not made to give you a glimpse into the life of your future soul mate. It's just a character I play.

   It never fails though that shortly after clearing up any confusion that I am accused of being anything and/or everything between a pervert and a particular homosexual slur. Most recently, I've been playing GTA Online. And you guessed it. I'm a woman. I tried to make her similar to my wife. Little did I know, it's fucking impossible to make a character look like anything you have in mind. Picking grand parents and then the resemblance to each parent is insanity. I tried for over an hour and couldn't so much as land on the eye color I wanted. Green eyes would have to do. Sorry, sweetie.
   After dropping all of my hours into legal work, sleep and exercise (because anything else leaves you looking like you have a meth problem) I entered the beautiful world of GTAV's Los Santos. As soon as I stepped out of the airport our good friend Lamar greets me with "Daaaaamn. You fine as a mother fucker." I chuckled. And a few silent glares from my avatar silenced that bullshit. The first mission was a race. As far as the other three players knew I was a dark purple Benefactor Surge. I've never been too great at racing but I can stay on the road. Lo and behold, I won the race by the skin of my teeth. Good job, me.
   Things went okay for the next mission. No one was talking. No one had a mic I guess. I did, but I don't like to talk. Introversion is a bit of a bitch. After the next mission I was allowed to break off on my own. I hit the clothing store and changed out of the business attire the character creator assumed I'd dig and went looking for a mission. The first one to pop for me was a team deathmatch. Okay. I know the GTA shooting mechanics well enough. I hopped in to the lobby and was flooded with voices. Everyone was talking at the same time about different things. Ahhh! The game started and that's when it got weird.

A guy on my team said, "Oh, shit. Ay, baby." as soon as he saw me in-game. I chose to remain silent. Because whatever. But, as we played he kept on. "Ay, baby. Ay. I got you baby. Follow me. I got you. Ain't nobody fuckin' with my girl." It was awkward. I felt awkward. The guy wasn't really treating me like a teammate. He was treating me like his precious. I was his and nobody was gonna hurt his property. See the awkward. I remained silent.
   Towards the end of the match he changed tune and started threatening me for being silent. "Bitch. You better say something. You best not be a guy, you fucking *that homosexual slur I mentioned earlier*." I remained silent. Our team lost and back to free roam I went. I wandered around on foot for a while. I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't really want to join another mission. I was very close to deleting my character and switching sex. That was the first time I felt targeted.
   People have acted the same before, but I guess it was the addition of a voice that irked me. WoW chat is always shitty and I never was bothered by the things people would say to me there. But, this random guy yelling at me through his mic put me off. I turned the game off and went to bed.
   The next evening I gave it another shot and was having a pretty good time. I was sticking mainly to racing. No one bothered me much. Then a green car popped up on my free roam map. High priority vehicle, you say? Gimme gimme. I drove to the spot and got the car just as a duo showed up and started shooting at me from their car. I guess they didn't know free aim in a car doesn't hold a candle to the borderline aimbotting you can do on foot. I got out of the car and murdered both of them with a couple shots. Gotta preserve that ammo. It gets expensive.
   As soon as they died, chat blew up with, "Oh, shit! That bitch killed us." "Did you see that cunt?" "Go back to the fucking kitchen, bitch." A few people on the server chimed in with similar comments. I jumped servers. Nothing big has happened since those two instances. But, they reminded me of how often these sorts of things happen and it bummed me out. Yelling that sexist garbage at me was deflected by the fact that I'm a man. These people were raging at my woman character, not me. But, what if I were a woman? Would all that animosity persist after logging off? I feel like it would. And that sucks.
   I've since played exclusively with my brothers. I really enjoy the game. But, I'm hesitant to engage with anyone I don't know. And that kind of defeats the purpose of online gaming.

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