And then my life got a tad pathetic…

When I was a kid, toys and games were pretty basic. No electronics — the odd battery-powered gizmo — but mostly dolls, building blocks, the Slinky, air rifles, the Easy-Bake Oven, etc., etc.   Lite Brite and Etch-a-Sketch were probably as high tech and mysterious as it got back then. So, I used to invent toys in my head that I thought would be really fun to play with.

One of my most successful “inventions” (as in, it was actually produced at some point) was the Barbie Styling Head. barbieI hadn’t thought of it as particularly a Barbie, but I did always think it would be great just to have a big doll head to mess around with – to style the hair, apply make-up, etc. When it finally hit the toy store shelves, I was too old to appreciate it. I never did get any royalties, either.

But of all my  inventions, the one I went back to time and time again (in imagination land) was my little “automatic” town. The town was big enough to cover a kitchen table – complete with little houses, shops, a school, a park, people, cars, animals. Lights would go on and off depending on the time of day. People would sleep, get up, eat meals, leave their homes, drive places – just go through their regular routines.  There would be seasons and holiday, accidents, fires – a whole little world that somehow functioned automatically. My role would be as observer/manipulator. If nothing fun was happening automatically, I could make stuff happen – like snow or someone’s child getting kidnapped.

I understand that the Sims computer game is a little like this. I’ve never played Sims, but a couple of weeks ago a certain someone who shall remain nameless sucked me into a Facebook game called Farm Town.

In Farm Town, you create a little farmer avatar and you get a plot of land. You plant stuff, it grows, you sell your harvest at the market and make some money. Then you go to the store and buy a house and animals and trees and seeds to plant more stuff. If you need more money you can work other people’s farms and get paid in Farm Town coins. To find jobs you hang around the market and beg for someone to hire you. The more active you are on your farm and other farms the more “levels” you acquire. The higher your levels, the more stuff you’re allowed to buy.

I don’t spend as much time on the game as a lot of people seem to, but I do check in a few times a week. It’s the closest thing to my automatic town that I’ve been inclined to involve myself with. I don’t know if I have the patience or interest to keep it up for long, but it’s kind of fun at the moment.

However … when I set up my Farm Town game, I picked a male avatar. I made him handsome and friendly — just because that seemed like a more fun character than a middle-aged, scowling, grey-haired woman. Also, Farm Town already seems to be overpopulated by females, so I thought it could use a bit of virtual testosterone.

What never even entered my mind at the time is that some people use Farm Town as a place to meet actual people. My avatar is wildly popular.  He gets picked a lot to go harvest the farmer ladies’ crops and plow the ladies’ fields.

And the farmer ladies like to chat to my farmer guy while he’s trying to work. They want to know where he lives, what he does, if they can be his real-life Facebook buddy, and so on. I’ve never actually been a guy, so it took me a while to realize that these women (and a couple of guys) were flirting with my farmer dude.

So, then I didn’t know what to do.

So I stayed away from the market for a while. But then I wanted to buy a little house and needed some fast cash so I went back one morning and got enough jobs in less than an hour to buy a house. 

And then I figured, what-the-heck and started responding to the lady farmer avatars’ conversations while I was plucking their plums, reaping their wheat and harvesting their melons.

And I found out women are frighteningly aggressive in pursuing males. And forward. And not too subtle. And they will go to great lengths to hold the male’s attention.

Frankly, I was a little shocked. I mean, here I was, a well-meaning little farmer guy just trying to make a buck and here are all these women wanting his email address so they can “buddy’ him and be his real-life Facebook friend and maybe “get together” some time.

What are these women thinking?

So then I started to feel a little guilty and just a little scared.

My farmer always makes a point of telling them all that he lives really far from wherever they instantly volunteer their home town to be, so there are no expectations…  though I think some of them are ready to move. It’s all extremely weird.

To me, Farm Town is just a game. I wasn’t even thinking about the actual people behind the avatars. Am I wrong? Why do I feel bad about accepting the lady farmers’  jobs and making lots of Farm Town coins from them because they are hiring me just because they think I’m a guy? Should I change my avatar? Or should I keep the current one, but stop him from being so damned smooth, suave and amusing?

Do actual men have these problems in real life?

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26 responses to “And then my life got a tad pathetic…

  1. Now you can see how hard and terrible the life of the youg, handsome adult is! I just cannot stop ladies from being around me… Terribly sad.

  2. LOL! XUP, that is hilarious.

    And lol Guillermo.

    I’ve spent a lot of my online time participating in internet community blogs, political ones, and I’ve seen quite a few discussions about bloggers deliberately choosing male usernames and when they revealed they were female were treated differently. Gender relations online can be fascinating (and maddening).

  3. Oh very odd indeed… and kind of creepy. Seems odd(er) to me somehow to pick someone up on a game because well, it’s a game.

  4. Heh, the inventing story is right on topic with the current Wondermark comic.

    If you can earn enough money to buy a house in one day of doing ‘odd jobs’, I don’t think ‘farmer’ is quite the profession you’ve got hold of, there, XUP…

    – RG>

  5. And here I was trundling along in FarmVILLE, never knowing of all the anthropological je ne sais quois going on over in Farm TOWN………

  6. Actual men used to have this problem in real life till women started to get, “the odd battery-powered gizmo”.
    Thank goodness we can be left to contemplate philosophy and develop our higher natures now.

  7. Yes, us farmers have a hard life. We spend all our time fighting off the women while all we want to do is sit on our fat asses growing crops and feeding the masses.
    Rightttttttttttt…………..

  8. Guillermo – Wow, I have a new appreciation of all the hardship men like you face every day. I don’t know how you do it. Being nice without encouraging romance and staying nice in the face of all that persistence.

    Olivia – It really has been an eye-opening experience; especially because I didn’t go into this as a social experiment.

    Nat – A little creepy indeed. I hope no one is taking these farming relationships too seriously, that’s all.

    Grouchy – Bah, you don’t know how fast we Farm Town farmers can work.

    Lala – Farmville is boring by comparison .I’ve had a look at it and have had invitations to join. But I’m just a one-farm man, me.

    Bandobras – Ha ha. Is that what they tell you?

    Lebowski – So what you’re implying is that Farm Town does not accurately reflect real farm life?? But what I meant was do you guys have all these problems fending off aggressive women while trying to be nice about it?

  9. Damn, that’s funny. I have the urge to go there and sign up as a handsome and suave male. But, as to your question, WTF? I read pop sociology that says young women are far more aggressive than, say, wrinklies like me used to be (snicker). I doubt your would-be suitors are kids, however. More likely to be middle aged and feeling freed from convention by wearing a game disguise. It would be a good test to change the avatar and see what happens.
    You do find the most enthralling things to post about.
    And I love, love Brandobras’ answer. Right on.

  10. How about we all join Farm Town with male avatars and set up a sort of single-sex male commune? It’ll drive the lady farmers crazy!!

  11. LOL. That is an interesting dilemma!
    Personally, I would delete the avatar and create a new one that is female. No sense giving all those “farmer groupies” false hope eh?

  12. You really ought to try Sim City. It is exactly like you described about your “automatic” town. You can nurture your town folk or you can set Godzilla on them. So much fun and no complications with humans behind the avatars.

  13. Mary – You should join Farm Town Mary, it’s loads of fun. I don’t think there are any really young people playing, because I have it on good authority that it’s considered “LAME” by the younger set (yes, in capital letters). So you’re probably right about the middle agers.

    Loth – I’m already there, so I’ll just wait for you all to join in.

    Jen – Well, they kind of do. I feel all empowered as a pretend virtual farmer boy.

    Helen – Aw, come on…it’s FUN!!

    Hannah – You’re so kind and good. I like my avatar though – he has a personality and his farm reflects it. Why should I change? I’m very careful not to give anyone any kind of false hopes. And besides, what kind of person goes trolling for romance in an online farm game?

    LGS – I really should. It sounds fun, but I’m afraid I might never want to leave it.

  14. I’ve been invited to join these things, as well as Mafia Wars on Facebook but I have no interest whatsoever with this. I’m too busy running! LOL

    However, I would say get your cute farmer a girlfriend. Can you do that? or say that you’re really female but created a male avatar because you thought they looked better. That way, it saves you from having people with no life who take this seriously (hey, we’re not all perfect) feel they’ve been deceived.

    Facebook is a social interaction tool. Some people use it to meet people, some use it to just have fun, like anything else. But I totally agree with the male persona being taken more seriously in a co-ed forum or environment. The total opposite happens when a male dare to enter an almost exclusively female forum. Oh they get booted out all right…

    Pathetic really…

  15. Well, is it any wonder that we middle-aged women have to stoop to trying to pick up cyber farmers? How else are we going to snare some poor unsuspecting guy into paying for our kids’ university tuition?

    *snicker*

  16. I invented the sippy cup. Well actually I invented the sippy beer can, but the concept is similar.

    It is always best to be male when one plays online games, it does say a great deal about society doesn’t it? I play online poker too and my avator is a guy. Never play as a really butch woman…that gets real ugly real fast.

  17. UA – No, the cute farmer is pretty much limited to acquiring money, trees, farm animals and crops – no girlfriends. And I don’t really feel like explaining my avatar to everyone. I guess I just expected everyone to play the game without getting into a whole behind-the –scenes social thing. Silly me.

    Alison – Have you been talking to the Friar again? But now that you mention it, geeze, I only have a couple of years left…

    Cedar – No butch avatars…check. Did you invent this beer sippy cup when you were a child? Because actual sippy cups have been around for quite a while, haven’t they? Have you ever tried drinking beer out of a sippy cup? I would think the whole sucking foamy stuff through tiny holes thing would be interesting.

  18. I played Farmtown for a while and then I got bored with it – obviously cause I never went to work for anyone, nor did I hire anyone.

    Damn, I so clueless!!!

  19. WAIT….I looked up who invented the sippy cup and it was Richard Belanger, I WENT DRINKING WITH THAT GUY!!!! ….no wait that was Richard Bellingham….nevermind.

  20. I started a farm in MyFarm when I first got on FB. I spent so much time harvesting trees and crops I hardly had time for a life. When I hit 3 million dollars I stopped. I never had friends help harvest. I’m in the no-friend having farm community. This post is hilarious.

  21. lola, i love the “no-friend having farm community”. i bet you could set up a group on fb for that 😉

    i had no idea this was taking place in FARM TOWN! it’s sad these women are throwing their selves at you like that. in the past if i liked a fella i did the logical thing and completely ignored them. that didn’t always work out too well.

    maybe you have regrets b/c you are a woman and you know the games that can be played by men, how they can use women. and before someone freaks out, i realize this goes both ways. women are devious as hell.

    so if you are enjoying farm town, i say keep playing. those are their issues, you just happen to be there. you aren’t luring them into your farm lair are you?

  22. How deep was the conversation with these ‘girls’? Most likely they are spam bots. That they are asking for email addresses is a pretty big give away. They’re trying to harvest your email address while you harvest their melons.

    So the lesson you learned is rather ironic. It’s not that there are a lots of girls out there chasing men, it’s that there are a lot of lonely guys out there being preyed upon by shady people. That this kind of thing is focused on guys, even though women are just as credulous (as this post shows), is rather telling.