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Playing With / G.I.R.L.

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Basic Trope: A character meets a female online, only for them to end up being male

  • Straight: Bob meets Alice online. Unfortunately for Bob, Alice's real name is Carlos and she is male.
  • Exaggerated: Every single girl Bob has ever met online is male in real life.
  • Downplayed: Bob meets Alice online. Turns out Alice is a lot more of a Tomboy than she appeared online.
  • Justified:
    • Carlos is transgender and currently is in the closet. She can be herself online.
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    • Or Carlos has been brainwashed to believe he really is Alice when online.
    • Carlos Does Not Like Men.
    • Carlos may be a man, but he's a troll who finds it funny to pretend he's a girl and then drop the Bridget when Bob has something invested in him actually being Alice.
    • Carlos is an epic scale Munchkin, and he has discovered a powerful Game-Breaker dynamic that allows him to PWN n00bs with extreme ease. However, it only works if playing a particular female-only class.
    • "If I'm going to be staring at someone's butt all day, it's going to be a girl's."
    • Carlos is a cop pretending to be a prepubscent girl as part of a sting operation.
    • You can be whoever you want to be online, and Carlos wants to pretend to be a woman, dammit.
    • The entire game only has female characters to choose.
  • Inverted:
    • Alice meets Bob online, and he turns out to be her (female) best friend Danielle in real life.note 
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    • Alternatively: Alice pretends to be a guy online, which is kind of awkward for Bob when they try to hang out off the web.
    • Or, Carlos pretends to be a woman in real life, but can act as his real male self online.
  • Subverted:
    • When they finally meet Bob is relieved to see that Alice is a girl in real life.
    • Alternatively: When Bob goes to meet Alice, he sees someone in a suit standing where she said she'd be, and expects that it'll turn out to be a guy... But Alice just turns out to be a girl in guy's clothing.
    • Alice claims to be male in real life, but when Bob meets him/her, it turns out Alice was lying.
  • Double Subverted:
    • But she is really Carlos' sister, whom he sent to meet Bob to avoid having his cover blown.
  • Parodied: A virtual world is used to represent the future's version of the Internet, inhabited almost entirely by fat men in women's clothing.
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  • Zig Zagged: Bob is starting to suspect that Alice is really a guy, but when they meet in real life, she definitely looks like a girl... And then she turns out to be a very feminine guy in girl's clothes. But then, it turns out she sent her brother/friend/boyfriend/etc. there to just mess with his head.
  • Averted:
    • Alice is a girl in real life, and the thought that she might have been male had never crossed Bob's mind.
    • Or Carlos is a guy in real life who has a female screen name but doesn't pretend to be a girl aside from the name, and answers readily and sincerely when asked whether he is a guy or a girl in real life.
  • Enforced: The writer has had the exact situation occur to him, so he uses it for material.
  • Lampshaded: "You sure you want to meet Alice in real life, Bob? What if she turns out to be a guy?"
  • Invoked: Bob is depressed at the state of his romantic life, so Carlos creates a female online alter-ego, Alice, for the purpose of cheering Bob up.
  • Exploited: Carlos catfishes people for profit.
  • Defied: Every time Bob gets involved with a girl online he asks for pictures and a way to contact her to make sure she's not a guy in real life.
  • Discussed: "That's the seventh time Bob has met a girl online only for her to turn out to be a guy, he really should have learned by now."
  • Conversed: "Let's hope this season they don't have Bob meet another G.I.R.L. That joke's wearing pretty thin."
  • Deconstructed: Carlos goes online as Alice to meet guys. Unfortunately, he ends up hitting on an undercover investigator pretending to be underage who believes he is a pedophile and arrests him.
  • Reconstructed: The investigator is highly surprised to learn that Alice is actually Carlos.
  • Played For Laughs: Carlos pretends to be a girl but is so bad at it it's a Paper-Thin Disguise. Everyone believes him anyway.
  • Played For Drama: Carlos is actually a very lonely individual so he invented Alice as an Imaginary Girlfriend so he could be less lonely. Over time, however, his Imaginary Friend began to take on a personality of her own as he used the internet to flesh her out, even having AIM conversations with her and signing her up for YouTube and other social media sites. Unfortunately, though, he spends too much time giving her a "real" personality to the point that his Imaginary Girlfriend Alice and him have a fight and break up. He's so invested in this imaginary friend that he creates a dating profile site for her and the Oh, Crap! realization doesn't hit him until the last minute. Carlos has to invent a story about how Alice is his girlfriend and he went there to try to meet her and patch things up.

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