Hail the new flesh! Sterile hook-ups with CGI chicks online! Is that the future of sex? RedLightCenter.com sure as hell hopes so. RLC is a virtual world that claims to have an estimated 10 to 12 million dedicated players. They must be dedicated; it costs $20 a month for RLC’s so-called VIP membership. That’s pricey if you’re used to picking up drunken skanks behind the 7-Eleven. But it’s still cheaper than most dating sites, where—let’s be honest—the chances of getting laid are statistically slim.
Plus, lying is encouraged. You can have an entirely different life: Be as good-looking as you want, choose your own gender, have your own apartment, shop in fancy stores and hit the singles clubs—where most of the hook-ups happen. As in nonvirtual life, the trick is to get your target to put out on the first date. If you get really desperate, you can ask that hot piece of ones and zeros to marry you and even go through with it. Yes, there’s a digital church and a justice of the peace.
I decided to give the site a try. My first attempt at finding a sex partner was awkward and clumsy. I had trouble controlling my avatar. It roamed around, jumping over people and banging into things as if it had a mind of its own.
“Hey, asshole! Stop jumping on me!” a female avatar typed out. I tried to move on, but she called out to me. “JD_Hustler, can you quit being an asshole!?” I stopped. “You owe me an apology,” she said, continuing her harangue.
“We can go back to my place and discuss the situation there,” I typed back.
“Nice try,” she replied. Then she was gone.