| Quote #7
I quickly reached a point where I could no longer fit comfortably in my haptic chair or squeeze in to my XL haptic suit. (19.38)
This becomes Wade's impetus to work out. Not that he is self-conscious or cares about his physical appearance, but that he simply cannot fit into his chair anymore. His improved physique is simply a side effect. Pardon us if we find that a little depressing.
| Quote #8
For the first time in my life I had a flat stomach, and muscles. I also had twice the energy, and I got sick a lot less frequently. (19.41)
Wade is unconsciously transforming his physical appearance to more closely match that of Parzival, his avatar, further illustrating the blurring lines between reality and virtual reality. Except we think Parzival actually has hair…
| Quote #9
I now looked exactly like the hero of Black Tiger—a muscular, half-naked barbarian warrior dressed in an armored thong and a horned helmet. (26.52)
See? Avatars play dress up, too! Even though Wade is playing a character who is playing a character who looks like a Conan the Barbarian rip-off, it makes Wade feel more masculine and heroic, too.