Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WoW spouses revisited

Last month Jess came out on Pretty in Plate clarifying that he is in fact a he. I think over time a number of readers on his blog, as well as mine, had come to assume he was a she. However, very astute readers of my blog may have noticed that I did slip up a number of times here and refer to Jess as a he. I've also referred to him several times here as my WoW spouse, a subject I blogged about a while back.

But now that the word is officially out on Jess and there has been some time for this shocking news to settle (heh), I feel that I can safely and freely blog about this whole notion of Jess as my WoW spouse. Let me first share the story of how I first met Jess, a story that most everyone in the guild has heard already.

I came into The Left Claw in March of 2007, brought in by our old friend Adamas. When I was brought into the guild, Jess was online and Adamas introduced me to Jess. Now here's where it gets funny. The noob in me never even considered that a guy would play a female toon. Never. So here I am meeting someone named Jessika and I got so incredibly excited with the notion of meeting another female in the game, that I went a little crazy. The whisper went a little like this:

"OMG!!! Jessika!!! It's so nice to meet you! I'm so glad to meet another female player because I am female and /squee! Let's be best friends and hold hands and skip along and talk butterflies and glitter and cupcakes and rainbows!!!"

Ok it didn't go exactly like that. But that was the gist. There was a slight pause, during which I was wondering whether this girl was thinking I was some crazy person. Then Jess responds with something like:

"Well since you've been honest with me, I have to be honest with you. I'm a guy."

I was shocked. What? A guy playing a female warrior named Jessika? /boggle. It really cracks me up today that I never even considered the possibility that a guy could play female toons. Now given that Jess is much more private than I am, I felt that this wasn't something that was for me to share with the rest of the guild.

For a long time folks like Daihiro and Adamas also had no clue and just continued with the assumption that Jess was a she. It was kind of funny and cute when Adamas would call Jess "Hon" from time to time. All was revealed of course, when Blizz implemented the in game voice feature (we didn't use vent back then).

Sometimes I wonder how Jess and I came to become WoW hubby and WoW wife. Did our stereotypical roles of male tank and female healer have anything to do with it? Did I feel more "wife-ly" healing him? Did Jess feel more "hubby-ly" protecting me from angry scary mobs? Did our personal backgrounds and personalities just somehow mesh? Was it somehow a combination of multiple factors?

I am very intrigued though with the notion of whether we would have become WoW hubby and WoW wife if the two of us had somehow chosen two dps toons as our mains. I'm not sure. How did our roles tanking/healing 5 mans and 2 manning multiple group quests affect our relationship? Hmmm.

So yes, we play the stereotypical male tank - female healer roles. But here's some insight in how it's gotten to the WoW hubby and wife relationship. The two of us probably bicker over vent a bit. I can say something or in a certain way to Jess that I would never ever say to anyone else in the guild. And even if we bicker and disagree, I don't question whether it will somehow negatively affect the relationship. It's kind of understood that we'll fight and disagree, then we'll get over it, just like any other husband and wife.

In the beginning, I think guildies wondered and perhaps worried when we were bickering. As Jess is the GM of the guild, and I am his WoW wife, the joke in the guild when we fight is for the guildies to say something like Vel once did:

"I get a little sad inside when mommy and daddy fight."

Haha. The kids get sad when mom and dad fight. :) As Jess' WoW wife, I definitely question his decisions and give him crap more than anyone else. And let's just be clear, as any wife or girlfriend is, I am always right. Always. Even when I'm wrong. And as Shat clarified for us the other night:

"You shut your mouth when you're talking to K!"

Since Jess is also our de facto raid leader, its interesting that when Jess isn't there for a raid, the responsibility is sort of placed on me. After one of these nights, Darc thanked me for leading the raid, to which I had to clarify:

"Darc, you realize that even when Jess is here, I am really the one leading things around here, right?"

Though as outspoken and argumentative as I can be, there is a part of me that does play a more supportive "wife-ly" role. (I swear! It's true!) Now Jess and I whisper back and forth a lot during raids. What is interesting is that if I think that something should be changed in terms of raid strategy, I more often that not do not say it myself on vent. I whisper Jess, who then takes my always brilliant ideas and suggestions to the raid.

Now if Jess somehow mistakenly refuses to listen to me, I may say something myself on vent. But I tend to always give Jess the opportunity to consider it and present it himself. I wondered why I did this when clearly I am not some shy wallflower who is afraid to let her views known. I asked Jess the other week what he thought. Jess thought that it was maybe some subconscious wife-ly way to kind of support WoW hubby. Hmmm. Perhaps.

Our relationship in game is probably similar to real life spouses who play together in game. Except that I don't have the advantage of throwing something across the room at Jess when he screws up. Such a shame, such a shame.


  1. Wonder how hard it will be to teach my Russian mail order bride how to play WoW. LOL!

  2. "Except that I don't have the advantage of throwing something across the room at Jess when he screws up"
    Happy fun rock!

  3. My first guild with friends had 3 RL spouses so I was just kind of used to that behavior in our groups all the time. Its amazing how a game can mimic life so much, but it just goes to show that its the relationships that keep this game going.

  4. TBH, I assumed Jess was a she, until I saw you slip in the few "he's." :) Nevermind the "Pretty in Plate" is a pretty feminine blog name choice!

    (no offense, Jess!)

  5. @Riv: Lol good luck with that!

    @Klep: Hmmm true...

    @Mister K: Yes, definitely true that its the relationships that keep this game going. The funny thing about Jess and I is that we play this WoW spouse role but we've still never met in real life.

    @Kae: Well yeah, I know that I had slipped here a couple times, though I also wondered how folks would have thought Jess was a she when I was pretty upfront about how I talked about him (i.e. giving him crap on here on the blog).

    To us it seemed that our relationship with giving each other a hard time made it obvious that we were male-female. But I don't know.

    Also I think with Jess' blog, I think he started it very much from Jess the toon's point of view... almost in a role play mindset. So I wonder if the whole pretty in plate came out of that. Though Jess can explain more.

  6. @Kae: No offense taken. ;)

    @Keredria: What I tell myself to avoid complete and utter emasculation is that it isn't that you are always leading the raid or that you are always right, but rather that as a stereotypical wife you are EXCEPTIONALLY adept at pinpointing PRECISELY when and how I f*** up. But I suspect that some may overestimate how much you and I argue.

  7. @Jess: Well yeah, its not like we seriously argue that often. But there's always that banter of giving each other crap.

  8. K, in this day and age, I don't question it when there's a relationship between two girls, or between two guys. Even if it's a "wow spouse" type relationship :) gotta keep an open mind!

  9. Oh my gosh! I had NOT noticed the slip ups and for some reason, Jess' blog isn't on my feed. So I missed this revelation! I thought he was a she! My best friend and I have a very much WoW-Spouse relationship, but she's a she and I'm a she. My WoW-Spouse -Grimmy from my guild- is sadly away from the game due to some illness... but I totally love how you explain the WoW Spouse idea, K. It makes perfect sense.

  10. Hah, that's one blog I had missed making a wrong assumption about. I've assumed wrongly in many other cases, though. It's fun that you have someone you can play and have that kind of relationship with. I don't throw things at my tanking husband, but I have been known to lean over and smack him on the back of the head while shouting, "No mitigation from behind!"

  11. *laughs* I am so clueless! But then since the default position in the male-dominanted world of gaming is "we assume everybody must be a dude" it's only fair the pendulum should swing the other way sometimes and occasionlly we assume a man is a woman :)

  12. @Kae: Yeah, River had long hoped that Jess and I were some hawt lesbian couple. No, but I totally understand the keeping the open mind thing. I just don't think that if we were two females, I would have disparaged or made fun of Jess the way I do. The dynamic between a female and male tends to lean more that way than two females.

    @Littlebark: You are probably much nicer to your wow spouse than I. :)

    @Vidyala: Ooh! smacking upside the head! I'm jealous!

    @Tam: I don't think you were so clueless, as most other folks also had the same assumptions.

  13. I got a good chuckle out of this article...the last paragraph especially.

    I'm a guy who plays a female Shammy healer (I'm a one-toon kinda guy). My gal plays a Rogue, Paladin Tank, or Mage depending on her mood.

    I did the guild leader thing for a while with her as my rather outspoken conscience. It worked pretty well til I got a major case of the "Old Crotchety Man" syndrome and decided it was time to retire.

    When I screwed up, I had stuffed turtles and penguins hurled at the back of my head. When my gal wanted me to do something, she'd tell me her idea and let me pretend that it was mine.
    When we argued, she was NEVER wrong. She thought she was wrong once, but she was mistaken.

    Good times... =)

  14. @Slandyr: Oh my goodness, it sounds like your gal and I would get along VERY VERY well. :)

  15. Hubby and I co-tank and co-raid lead and it seems to work well for us :D

    He handles directing the raid and the loot and explaining/calling the fights and I organize it and talk to people when they have concerns and such. Helps that we do play side by side [and it makes tank pickups really easy - not to mention I know if he's dead before he dies and vice versa]