Here’s a funny thing about folks online. You just assume there are people who don’t really exist. You just assume they sort of exist in parodies. You hope they only exist in parodies. And when you’re done talking to these people, you can be really relieved that things aren’t quite as bad as the parodies depict, but there’s still room for improvement.

I’m a guy with peculiar gender issues, so I tend to sometimes use female characters and like, because I’m weird in the head like that. My Xbox Live avatar is female, for example, and so are my Halo characters and like.

Now, I’m happy to say that Xbox Live really isn’t the misogynist and homophobic shithole everyone thinks it is. Or maybe that’s just my perception. I don’t play Call of Duty games, for example, and that’s where the 10-year-olds hang out. Almost nobody uses mics in Halo games unless they’re in party.

Even if I’m presenting myself as this random woman, I just don’t get creeped. I suppose I would be if I specifically went to more obnoxious corners of the net, but I suppose by then I would get annoyed by other stuff too. (Also, I do get creeped in Minecraft, but the creepers there tend to just explode and don’t actually have anything sssssssex-related to say. [/stupidjoke])

For example, you’d assume that just by being a girl I’d get random creepy XBL messages. I don’t. I’ve gotten a few random hellos and out-of-blue friend requests just for joining games and a few comments on how cute my Spartan looks like. (Which is funny, because my Spartans don’t look cute.)

Actually I’ve gotten a whole lot more attention by playing Full House Poker. I really like how FHP uses Xbox 360 avatars in the game. It adds a lot of immersion.

And even the first ever totally-uncalled-for message.

(Messages are screenshotted and and shrunk from SmartGlass, without sender details. The ones in landscape mode are my comments.)

Creeper 1

Totally out of blue.

I wasn’t really sure if I should have even tried replying to this sort of messages, of course.

But I chose to reply anyway. A little bit of education could go a long way. I can totally out-rhetoricise anyone I want.

Creeper 2

I didn’t really expect him to reply.

Creeper 3

Frankly, I’m not really offended by the clumsy attempts at flirting here.

However, it is just beyond my belief that anyone would try to justify atrocious spelling like this. I mean, I know a whole lot of people prefer to use text-speak, but I really can’t think of any reason to actually go out and defend that stuff as the new wave of future.

However, let’s not get into that.

Creeper 4

I could get to the philosophical points here. I try not to spam people with random stuff over XBL. It’s just better for game talk. If I want silly and possibly naughty jokes from my (*ahem*) boyfriend (not really a boyfriend - long story =), I go to Twitter.

Creeper 5

Somehow, I doubt this was sent to all of his recent players. Might even guess that this particular list of recent players was a little bit more narrow than that. Like one person.

I mean, I suppose it’s possible that this would happen, but the experience I have of Xbox Live seems to suggest otherwise. People just don’t spam other people with random badly spelled jokes about sex.

I’ve been in XBL for years and the only message-to-all-recent-players spam I get is for clans and like. Just saying.

But this is all straying from the discussion. What I really wanted to point out is that this kind of messages aren’t particularly effective when trying to reach out to other people.

Creeper 6

Creeper 7

*sigh* On the contrary, I understand this very well. And I have tons of fun, thank you very much, and part of it is because I try my damnest not to ruin the fun for others. I feel really terrible if I somehow manage to screw things up.

And there’s a pretty easy way to ensure stuff stays good: Try to think of what the recipient thinks of what I try to say.

So there you have it. The first actual creeper I’ve run into, and it’s not even offensive. Except if you’re a wordsmith like me who believes the survival of the literary craft depends on proper spelling, and that limitations of the medium (like the 250 letter maximum in XBL messages) should be seen as a challenge of succinct wording rather than a call for rampant abbreviating.

Come to think of it, I’m not exactly sure what the hell the first message the guy sent even means. What has the dirtiness of sex have anything to do with it being a two-way stree—-never mind, I’m a geek, I’m not really qualified to talk about that subject.

I’d like to conclude this pointless blog post with two awesome shoutouts: Reddit’s creepyPMs and Not in the Kitchen Anymore. Yeah, I know I got away relatively uncharred here, and these things show that far worse shit happens.