by Pixeleen Mistral on 05/05/07 at 1:18 pm
by aurel Miles
In the Round World we have a hundred different sayings about beauty – what it means; “Truth is beauty and beauty is truth” – what it is; “Beauty is only skin deep” How it behaves, “Beauty is as Beauty does” and where to find it; “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
We think about it, sigh after it, try to nurture it and go to increasingly elaborate lengths to restore it once we think it’s lost. If we have it, sometimes we hate it and if we don’t, sometimes we tell ourselves it doesn’t matter. You can’t just a book by its cover after all. And actions… well, you get the idea.
But unlike the round world, here in flatland, the world of thoughts made flesh; those sayings are even more hollow than they sound. In Second Life you are exactly what you think you are.
This week I’m writing about beauty as a visual part of Second Life sex, next week we’ll drop a little deeper down the rabbit hole and talk about the Beauty Sims but it’s the job of a reporter to begin every story where it starts. Since I’m a relative beginner, please be patient as we start at the relative beginning.
As a result of the Post Sixxx Grrl spread, I attracted a few admirers last week. One felt compelled to send me a gift of a photo shoot with an in-world photographer. Once I had confirmed I would have control over the final product, I jumped in. (In keeping with the all-yes-all-the-time philosophy, there really was no other answer.)
A few days before the shoot I explored the photographer’s studio. On the walls there was the usual assortment of triple-exposure cheesecake shots with female avatars posed to look both coy and alluring. The names of the avatars were written in a highly decorative font at the bottom of some of the portraits. Others showed couples caught in the midst of perfectly posed and perfectly presentable sex, no odd angles, no explicit poses. It was a world of soft-core, marshmallow sexuality, after the first few shots, they all looked the same.
Undeterred, I arrived at the studio with my eight required outfits at the ready. The “photographer’s first question was about my skin, where did I get it? What had I done to it? Now, I’m not much for details, once something is mine, I hardly give it a second thought and it may be strange but, unless there is a practical purpose for the inquiry, I’m offended by explicit questions about the brand names of things like my skin because it’s all part of how I put me together. It’s not there for someone to look at in isolation, much less pick apart.
Suffice it to say, the shoot did not go well. I failed to see how this exercise could be considered art and the photographer could not get beyond my indifference. In the end we ended up with half the pictures my admirer had hoped for. And none of them, in my opinion, worth looking at.
Since then I’ve been thinking about Beauty. Most avatars here would be drop-dead gorgeous in the round world. Most don’t look much like their “typists.” I have met two people here who have gone to elaborate lengths to make their avatars resemble their RL selves, both are men.
Still, many of us feel more comfortable in bodies that more closely resemble our own. I was surprised to find out a few things about myself here and maybe you were too – my figure does not suit the ideal, dresses are all but impossible for me here but a “dress shape”? No thanks. It just doesn’t feel like me. That’s lesson has been a gift. I no longer apologize for the junk in my trunk because on some level I know I prefer it that way.
For an equal number of SL residents however, the further away from reality the better: take, for example, the Furry community, or many of the artists here, some of whom go around hardly looking human at all. There are demons and aliens and even avatars that look seriously wounded. Everybody has a statement to make.
Last week I met a woman who wears an avatar that looks like a giant spider with a woman’s torso attached. Frankly, she scared me but after we spoke she seemed like a really nice person. She likes to photograph herself, is afraid of spiders and – perhaps not surprisingly, says she’s a SL virgin.
A friend of mine has a very quick and effective way of answering potential lover’s questions of “why do my looks matter?” She has an avatar that dissolves her statuesque beauty into a wizened 100 year old hag with long dangling appendages, a massive pot belly, slumped shoulders and too much lipstick. Anyone who wants to have sex with her immediately gets the point.
This is a visual medium. To a certain extent so is the round world. We wear the clothes we think will best enhance our looks in both worlds. Some of us put on weight or slim down because we see it as a deeper reflection of who we are inside, some of us tell ourselves it’s all accidental. The difference between the RW and Flatland is simple; in SL it is immediately possible to be whatever you feel.
Some of you have written comments asking why I would want to know your opinions on the subject of sex. To answer your question; I’m not looking for guest columnists and I don’t want anyone to write my column for me. I like this job but I am interested in hearing your opinions and your questions on the subject of SL sex and intimacy. I’ll take them as assignments and search out the answers. Together, we can all make this virtual world more interesting and hopefully more fun.
A little bit of knowledge, as they say, is a dangerous thing but danger has always been part of the spice that makes sexuality so interesting in any reality.
Thanks for your comments. This week, I received only one letter:
Hi Curvy Girl,
Do you know the name of some place where I can have sex on SL??
I just find romantic places there, where I can just kiss…
Do you know where to find your zipper?
Thanks for playing. Go back to the Kid-grid.
Letter-wise, I think we can do better.
See you next time
If you have any questions comments, ideas, complaints, suggestions or stories you’d like to see, please email me at Aurel.firstname.lastname@example.org