Accidentally Catfished Someone In Grand Theft Auto Last Night
I’ve been playing a lot of Grand Theft Auto V online lately. My handle is TheSilverWoman, which is a reference to my co-worker Alex Goldman’s last name. In real life, I’m a boringly normal straight dude. But in GTA, I’m a forty-year old woman. Dark bangs, dark eyes. I don’t wear makeup and I’m not particularly fit. I own one set of clothes plus a monkey mask I wear when I rob convenience stores.
People react to women, even fake women, in online video games. Computer-controlled characters will try to flirt with me. Characters controlled by actual people tend to be kind of hateful. “That bitch just stole my Elegy FX.” “Oh shit, even the fuckin’ Silver Woman has more kills than you, man.”
Last night something unusual happened. I’d been playing in survival mode with a group of players. That’s a cooperative mode where you team up to fight waves of computer controlled enemies. After the mission, the game dumped us back into Freemode, which allows you to roam around the city aimlessly, causing whatever mayhem you want.
I put in a friend request to the best player from the previous mission, a guy named ProX, so that we could play more missions together later. He sent me a message back: “what’s your name.”
“PJ.” I answered, remembering for the first time in awhile that I have a gender neutral name. “What’s yours?”
At that point, I saw a player who had been annoying me by playing selfishly in cooperative mode. So, I murdered him. He died, but when he respawned, he was very angry. He pursued me. I shot at him and missed, and worse, my missed shot attracted the police. I started sprinting down the highway, waiting to die.
And then, out of nowhere, a horn honked. I turned. It was ProX, sitting calmly in a black sports car on the side of the highway.
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