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Do you wanna date my avatar? She's a star, and she's hotter than reality by far...
You know, actually it's kind of funny. Because every time I would mention some obscure singer or band, you knew so much about them. But not right away. It was, like, a few minutes later. Maybe to give you enough time to look them up on the web? Jeff... you used the same phrases about Goldfrapp as they do on Amazon.Com. Busted. By the way, I fucking hate... Goldfrapp.
On the Internet, we can relatively easy come across as much smarter and sexier then we are in real life. Just lie a bit about yourself, and use a photo that is either photoshopped or not you at all.
And thus, in online romance, people might end up dating illusions and make-believe personalities rather then real people.
Sometimes turns into An Aesop, either about trust and the virtue of playing it safe or about seeing past the superficial stuff.
- In .hack//Sign, Tsukasa and Subaru start a relationship while Tsukasa's consciousness is stuck in the virtual reality game called "The World". As it turns out, Tsukasa ends up being a girl in the real world, instead of the boy her avatar was. Luckily, Subaru doesn't mind and after the anime, when Tsukasa is freed from the game, they get together in the real world.
- Btooom: Ryota's and Himiko's Btooom! avatars are married and it turns out they really are who they thought they were!
- The whole point of the documentary Catfish, about a New Yorker who strikes up a romance over Facebook with a girl from Michigan only to find that she, and all of her friends, and all of their friends are Sock Puppets for a crazy middle-aged mother.
- In Avatar, Neytiri would never have started dating Jake if he had been in his real body. Eventually resolved by him Becoming the Mask.
- It did look like him in the first place, although it was made from his twin brother's DNA.
- In Hard Candy, this goes both ways. We have this charming guy and this sweet young girl, and they have so much in common. But they are both faking it. They are really predators, trying to lure each other into a trap.
- In Chatroom, the female lead starts falling for the male lead, based only on how he has presented himself online. The reality is for darker then she is willing to see.
- Earth Star Voyager plays this trope straight, but in reverse chronological order from usual. Priscilla is the ship's computer, a large box of plastics and metals. Thus, Huxley is simply annoyed when she falls in love with him. However, when she shows him the picture of the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter that her personality was based on (possibly recorded from), he's amazed that a woman who looks like that would go for him. (Which doesn't change the fact that this Priscilla is, and always has been, plastics and metal.)
- The impetus of the plot of Sex Drive, where the main character has been lying about being some handsome buff guy and owning a classic 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge... which actually belongs to his brother. Subverted in that she was lying about many of her details and assumed he was too. Double Subverted because it was all a plot to steal his car.
- In Slave Jade, the protagonist is a sexually submissive woman who start spending online time with a sexually dominant man. She likes the things he writes to her about BDSM; she finds it insightful and sexy. However, the guy is a totally clueless social misfit who only manage to comes across as insightful and sexy by copy-pasting insightful and sexy things that other people have written and pretending that he wrote it himself. When he kidnaps her, the author portrays him as a total creep, averting the Romanticized Abuse trope Bastard Boyfriend. She ends up shooting him, and after barely surviving the wound and blood loss from the bullet he ends up in jail. The book ends with her having recovered and decides to start looking for a new master - determined to find a good one this time, and concluding that giving up BDSM because of the bad experience with the creep would give him far more power over her life than he's worth.
- Will #2 aka "gay Will" of Will Grayson Will Grayson gets his storyline kicked off by going to meet Isaac, an AIM buddy that he's fallen in love with. Isaac turns out to be a front for a female friend. To say that Will is heartbroken and angry by this would be an understatement.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow once dated her nice charming chat-buddy Malcolm... who was actually a incorporeal murderous demon possessing the computer system.
- A variation in How I Met Your Mother; Ted meets a girl through World of Warcraft. She turns out to be completely crazy.
- The Guild's song "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar?" is the Trope Namer. See page quote.
- Bad Religion's song "I love my computer" rolls with this. "...'cause you are just a number and a clever screen name."
- "Online" by Brad Paisley is about a lonely guy who never even managed to get to "second base" and who want women to see him for who he is... online!
Online I live in Malibu
- This Xkcd strip demonstrates how the internet makes you appear smarter.
- This one has a more romantic theme.
- Dave of Narbonic once had an online girlfriend who turned out to be an artificial intelligence.
- The Dilbert character Wally takes this one step further. When approached by an attractive real life female, he refuses - explaining that real people can never be as good as technology. He then proceeds to take her photo, so that he may photoshop it and date it online instead of dating the real her.
- Inverted in one 5 Second Films: A girl agrees to date a guy in WoW. When he shows up, he is the actual avatar (as in, he shows up as a Conspicuous CGI purple-skinned troll).
- A Cracked column imagines the world without the internet, including the appearance of women who crawl on the ground and those who hold portraits of celebrities over their faces all the time (Trick-photography and avatar substitutes respectively).
- These days, online relationships are getting to be more and more common. Sadly, some people invoke this trope and decide to act and look nothing like their offline personas. On the other hand, the relationship sometimes works out anyways.