On the social side of things, I probably, as I pointed out to friend TotalLunar Eclipse the other night, would not have lasted very long in SL had I not stumbled upon Caledon, Steelhead, and other like-minded 19th century oriented sims (Babbage, Wyre, and now Winterfell). As it is, I recently passed my one year mark. Like many “noobs”, I spent my first weeks in SL just learning to walk, communicate, and finding a signature “look” for myself. Unlike, apparently, most of the main population, I actually strove to mold my avatar to be as accurate a simulacrum of myself as possible. Somehow I found a skin that didn’t make me look like Jennifer Lopez or Angelina Jolie. Honestly, what IS the deal with most of the female skins for sale having giant lips? I’m have no exotic non-Caucasian blood coursing through my veins. I’m a regular Heinz 57 northern European type with average kissing equipment. I do not want to look like I just had a collagen injection. But I digress. Brown hair in braids, some brown cargo pants, hiking boots, and a comfy flannel shirt, and a pair of glasses completed my transformation. Me on any given day.
The friends who showed me SL in the first place had warned me about all of the casual “adult” activities going on everywhere, so I steered clear of that nonsense. I was also warned about the similarity to any given public chat room, as far as the social demographic goes. Yes, I encountered a lot of very young (seemingly) people who’s spelling skills were negligible and manners almost non-existent. As in real life, I’m capable of walking away from or otherwise dismissing this kind of behavior. Griefers were encountered occasionally. I learned how to snap a photo, get ID information on the perps, and file a report. I didn’t feel it necessary to “get revenge” or “fight back”. Frankly, I just think it’s better if this type of person is booted from the system until they grow up.
As indicated above in my search for a personally expressive “look” for my avatar, there is a lot of posing going on in Second Life. I’m not exactly against it, especially if one is truly trying to remain anonymous. However, there definitely seems to be a default setting for the average participant outside of the pre-20th century themed areas. I was telling my husband this morning about my recent activities in world, and how much fun I had “visiting” with like-minded folks who, like my real world friends, enjoy going for the best and “coolest” historical clothing and equipment they can cobble together. This is in contrast to the “outer world” of SL, where one is surrounded by six foot plus Barbie Dolls in tube tops with their butt cheeks hanging out of their shorts (or skirts!) and stiletto heels, and seven foot guys with tiny heads and 62 inch chests. “Ah, just like real life!”, said Mr. Peterman. Well, in real life most of the guys seem to have 62 inch guts instead, but, yeah. Almost inevitably, the folks I met in the “outer darkness” who didn’t fit that description were the best conversationalists. This is not an absolute rule, but it’s what I found in my first months. Frankly, after spending some time bumming around, playing Tringo, attending a few Bible studies (largely lightweight and unsatisfying), and exploring mostly disappointing attempts at themed simulations, I can’t imagine not wanting to remain anonymous in the greater world of Second Life. It’s really just a giant, three-dimensional public chat room populated with the usual assortment of juveniles, illiterates, and predators.
Haven of Gentility...more or less
And then there’s
One of my real world avocations is “Oriental Dancer” (that’s “belly dance” to most of you). Before I learned that the whole “Gor” thing was utterly distasteful to me and not worth my time, I thought I might be a dancer at festive occasions in Gorean settings. Can you tell I’ve never read any of the books? I’m such a naïf. Of course all I could find in world in the way of “dance costumes” was a variety of skimpy “silks” (took me a while to figure out what “silks” were) that were worse than the worst Turkish dancer’s hoochie gear, and in which I wouldn’t be caught dead even in a virtual world. My searches eventually led me to a charming ensemble by Solange Cerveau, which came with a variety of modesty options, mostly involving the level of opacity of the fabrics. I decided it need a choli to make it more to my taste, so I went searching for “choli” or “sari” until I found a link to some garments by Yuriko Muromachi (Silver Rose Designs). The landmark dumped me next to a nice Victorian manor house, a build of West Trade Imports. I followed a link to Muromachi’s main store, which was in…
At any rate, I walked out of there with a nice addition to my wardrobe, which gave me an exotic “dress-up” look that I was even able to wear as standard daywear in, say, any Medieval or Tolkien-esque setting. I spent the next few months fooling around in the “Galaxy” sim, a Star Trek themed area. Nice folks, but ultimately very frustrating. Did some nice roleplaying at first, but soon it became obvious that nobody had any serious tactical experience, and they all just wanted to rehash old Star Trek episodes. Um, yawn. That and the apparently young age and limited social abilities of most folks there wore me down.
Real life took me away for a few months, and when I came back and paid a visit to
Hanging with Regular Folks, only better
I’m sure that even in