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Push-up bras, eye-liner, girdles, control-top pantyhose, heels, eyebrow-pencil, lipstick, blush, concealer, foundation, eye-shadow, nail-varnish, gel, false-eyelashes and false-nails.

When polled about what they most look for in a partner, most people say “honesty.”

Male or female, we’ve been misrepresenting ourselves for years. That guy you met at that bar. Is he really a single advertising executive earning a hundred-thousand dollars per month? What are the odds? When an old acquaintance asks about your job, have you ever inflated your salary or importance?

How many of us are completely straight with others about ourselves, and our situations when we’re offline?

Not very many of us are. Innumerable movies, television shows and books revolve around that fact.

Shakespeare’s Bassanio wanted to borrow money from his friend, Antonio, in order to woo the wealthy Portia. His belief was that unless he lied to her about his financial status, she could not be persuaded to marry him.

Later, Portia and her maid disguise themselves as men, and after saving the life of Antonio contrive to force Bassanio to break his vow to Portia over the matter of a promissory ring. [The Merchant of Venice]

There’s certainly nothing new about deceptions of nature, identity, situation and even gender.

When it comes to being online, though, suddenly people are aghast at the notion that people might not be completely and utterly honest and complete about these things when they’re online.

Well, pardon my ingenuousness, but when have they ever been? Why do you think that they would suddenly start, and when did it it suddenly become important to you?

Surely you’re not one of those folks who thinks that a hearty handshake and a firm gaze will tell you everything about the honesty of the person on the other end.

It is interesting, I think, that virtual environments and online networking throw the nature of Man into sharp relief, and yet somehow we think that it somehow temporarily changes our nature.

John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory (pardon my Klatchian), is wrong only in one respect – that it suggests that anonymity is a requirement; whereas, if you’ve watched ordinary people with any care, you’ll know that it isn’t really a necessary component for someone to go from the left-hand-side of the equation to the right.

Are we waking up at last and discovering who we really are as a culture and as a species? Or are we just plain failing to notice it when it presents itself – too interested in the trees to see the forest?

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