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From A Guy’s Perspective: Viral Relationships

            Webcams, cell phones, digital cameras, these are the main things that make seeing someone you know naked a lot easier, and they have resulted in a large group of relationships that can exist without two people having met each other. They can make mutual fun something that can be done from the comfort of two separate living rooms (though for privacies sake I would suggest a bedroom). They have made it so the lines of whether or not you are dating someone become very murky (and the lines of cheating even murkier), but what do guys think of all this?
            The kind of relationships that start off and/or stay viral are like having all the cool factors of seeing people that you want to see and might hook up with later naked and all the lameness of… I don’t know what lame factors they have. They aren’t real. I mean, why would guys pretend to consider them any more real than World of Warcraft* or Call of Duty? Sure you’re going to get some achievements and collect some “medals” on your computer (or phone), but it’s not something that you can’t just turn off. There is pretty much never any significant emotion attached, once again, sometimes your character dies but you can just start a new game with other players, and there is rarely the chance to ruin your reputation with other girls. A girl you talk to/have a viral relationship with isn’t going to go to one of the other girls you’re interested in and say, “OMG! After he is soooo mean!” Mainly because they won’t be able to, but also because, “Oh that girl said that to you? Yeah, she was all weird and sent me nudes and I didn’t want to talk to someone who didn’t want an emotional connection…” etc.
            It is incredibly awesome to be talking to a girl who (far more often and out of nowhere than you would believe) suggests that the guy should help her pick out a new bikini or bra or… yeah you get the picture. It’s something great and that can honestly be something special shared between an intimate couple, but can as easily be something two kids with computers who met each other on a random forum do because there is nothing else to do.
            Okay now I’m just rambling. That’s because, well, it’s something I’m familiar enough with. Being the honest writer that I am, the best way to put it is, “Aha! Now the ball is in Peter Frankman’s corner!” I don’t know if that expression made sense, but I’ll go ahead and assume the meaning got across.
            So, I’m going to make a list of some unofficial rules I think everyone should officially adopt as their attitude towards viral relationships:
1. Treat it almost exactly like a “Friends with benefits” relationship. [BAM wrote about it already http://www.hercampus.com/school/uiowa/guy’s-perspective-friends-benefits] by that I mean don’t expect too much to become of it unless you mutually make an effort to make something develop. Also because usually one person gets too emotionally invested and starts to be hurt by the other person and that’s totally not cool.

2.If you want something more to happen, make the effort. A guy talking to a girl in the same town who is doing whatever sort of “sexting” or webcamming stuff should know that they are in the same town, the girl should know so too. And what can happen when two people are in the same town? They can hang out. If you’ve been texting this guy and don’t know how to take it from a flirty texting thing to a real thing, make it a real thing by really seeing him. It sounds easy enough, make it that easy.

3. Don’t expect monogamy unless it’s been really discussed (in that case it’s probably long distance and see number 4). It is a rare man who will say to a girl that he meets in real life, “Oh I’m sorry, I can’t take a chance on you because this really cool girl I met at a party who actually goes to a college kind of far away has been texting me a lot and let me see her tits.” Once again, kind of a friends with benefits situation, the opportunity for either party to trade up should be taken, and the other party should be happy for them.

4. If you’re in a long distance relationship, make sure you mean it. All WoW talk aside, the fact is that a relationship that has the strain of distance can be kept fresh with a viral integration into the relationship. This can get tough for guys because it is hard to keep it as something totally real when it is not physically there. To keep a guy remembering who you are and your relationship it is best to avoid just texting. Reading a text is kind of a soulless thing to start with, so I would suggest writing letters back and forth (it’s totally viral!), talking on the phone, and WEBCAM! Webcam is a way to talk like you’re almost in the same room and because Skype, iChat, Stickam, and other webcamming programs exist; it has never been easier to do this.

            I have to say there have been very few times when I’ve talked to a girl through this kind of medium and eventually regretted it, even if I have I’m already over it pretty soon after. The biggest problem that can come from them for girls is the douchey douchebag douche guys who send all their pictures to wherever, and that only really happens with people who were dating and break up in a bad way. Don’t make any poor decisions but have fun, life only happens once and it is awesome.
*I do not play World or Warcraft, and almost used the same sentence with Dungeons and Dragons instead, which I proudly admit to playing. The only problem with that is I think that D&D is more realistic than viral relationships because you have to play it with other people in person.

Peter Frankman is an underclassman at the University of Iowa from Burbank, California. He has a few addictions in his life: writing, reading, heavy metal, Adult Swim, and any movie with zombies. He joined The University of Iowa's Her Campus team as the writer of the "From a Guy's Perspective" articles in January 2011 and hasn't looked back since (except to make sure he doesn't write the same article twice). Peter's a major in both Journalism and Creative Writing and hopes to become a writer in some way, shape or form after he graduates. That or the President of the United States, he hasn't really focused too much to say anything decisive yet... or maybe he has, we're not quite sure. If he had to choose a night of guilty pleasures it would include the Beastie Boys, Monster Import: Light, Zebra Cakes, and a marathon of subpar movies that he thinks are amazing (Blade, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Fast and the Furious, etc).
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