I’m pretty much the same “In Real Life” as I am online. At the mall, on Twitter, at happy hour, curled up in bed, here on xoJane, no matter where or in what format you see me, you’re most likely going to get the same ole Shayla: snarky, comical, and not particularly well dressed.
But then there are people like Ricky.
Except with Ricky, it was more like his FlexedAndGenerouslyOiledTorsoBook page. Because I honestly don’t think the man realized that wearing a shirt in a photo was an actual option.
Now he was a “model,” granted, but the gallery of his glistening pectorals didn’t come off as self-promotion. It didn’t even come off like an advertisement to his 2000+ female friends that he was readily available to sleep with (again).
Nah. His massive collection of shirtless pics looked more like dedication that anything else. It was an ode to one of the most timeless love stories of our time: the one between Ricky -- and himself.
And then there were his postings. Statuses, notes, videos, and songs (yes, of course he was a musician, too -- of course) that all seemed to go beyond the normal realm of hip-hop braggadocio and into diagnosable pathology. Because according to all his musings, he was tremendously successful in all his endeavors and had the fat pockets to prove it. Ka-ching!
Now it’s statements like those that I found curious because I could recall having to foot the bill at IHOP on more than one occasion. But did I say anything about it? Nope. I just sat back and quietly grew ulcers from resisting the urge to tell the world how jammed backed full of shit he was.
I mean, let the Internets tell it, Ricky was nothing but a rock hard bulk of concentrated awesomeness. But to me, his online presence did nothing but scream, “HELLO WORLD! I’M RICKY AND I AM A MASSIVE TOOL BAG!”
I just couldn’t stomach looking at his page. Like, it would literally make me a little nauseous. (What the hell is that? Is that what shame feels like? Phew.) So fine, I’d just completely avoid the damn thing. Easy enough.
But just because I wasn’t looking at his page, didn't mean my friends weren’t.
“Hey, isn’t this Ri--” A friend would ask, holding up his shirtless image on her iPhone.
I wouldn’t even bother looking at it. If they suspected it was Ricky, then it probably was.
“Nope,” I’d say and hope that my denial would be sufficient cause to just drop the whole thing.
But I couldn't deny him to the Bestie or “Hold No Punches Magee” as I sometimes like to call her.
“Dude, is he serious?” she'd ask. And then she’d gag, on cue.
Then that I’d have to offer her the same whiny defense I’m going to give you right now: “But he’s sooo not like that when I’m with him.”
And it was true. When Ricky and I hung out, he showed absolutely no indication of the narcissistic douchebag he was online. He wasn’t cool at all. He was a goofball and did weirdo shit like sliding around his hardwood floors wearing nothing but his socks. He was awkward and vulnerable. He talked about his goals and was painfully honest about his insecurities. He was sensitive and sweet and totally not a gigantor dickhead.
Unfortunately, we stopped going out before I could mustard up the gall to ask him that all-important question about his online self, “Dude, what gives?”
But I had my theories. Ricky was trying to make a name for himself (in what exactly, he wasn’t even sure) and, for him, that meant establishing an image of success, status and confidence.
What I would have loved to know, but never got to find out, was who he considered his most true self to be: the person he was on the Internet, or the person he was when he was with me.
What about you guys? Is there someone in your life whose online persona you can’t stand?