Vanity: The First Deadly SL Sin

by Alphaville Herald on 25/03/08 at 11:07 pm

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who’s the fairest of them all?”

by Sigmund Leominster


It’s a curious feature that there is one particular piece of furniture that doesn’t really translate from RL into SL – the mirror. Here in the Metaverse, people don’t really need to see themselves, thanks to the miracle of the third-party point of view and the option to use a panning camera. But we do have some mirrors, which are mythic objects that have almost-magical properties in many cultures throughout the Real World. It’s said that mirrors are the Doors to Vanity and the portal through which the Devil can stroll into the world: Real or virtual.

Coincidentally – or by a strange quirk of synchronicity – one of my favorite movies is the deliciously wicked The Devil’s Advocate with the role of Satan played devastatingly well by Al Pacino, and the naive attorney filled effortlessly by Keanu Reeves. My favorite line comes at the end where Pacino faces the audience with a smirk and says, “Vanity. Definitely my favorite Sin!”

Like Lucifer and his angels, I’m afraid I too have fallen for the same transgression. Vanity has not only become my favorite sin but it now embraces me like an Armidi suit and covers me like shimmering flexi hair from Cake. My vocabulary is now littered with references to Second Life designer clothing, the names of skin creators, and a list of landmarks that reveal more of the depth of an obsession than the directions to a collection of stores. Even more wretchedly, I suspect many others are hopelessly similar sinners.

I came to realize the gravity of my deadly sin when my very special wild friend told me I had become an “IT.” The adjective ‘wild” is important because there is a certain accuracy of perception that is only open to the mildly crazy, and they have an uncanny knack of wrenching out truths. She has this gift.

An IT, she explained, is someone who has evolved to the point where appearance and manner are all that matter. An IT spends hours searching for hair that is exactly the right shape, precisely the right color, and is flexi-designed so that it moves in subtle yet interesting ways. An IT would know to search in Philotic Energy, Good Life, Truth and many others to find the coveted coiffure. An IT will spend ridiculous amounts of time editing an earring so that it fit exactly onto his right earlobe. And an IT will check out hundreds of pairs of eyes just to find the ones that would counterpoint the hair and hold the attention of a very special wild friend.

And so far, this definition of an IT hasn’t gotten any lower than the nose.


More worrisome is that Brett Easton Ellis has already written a story about an IT: American Psycho. In that novel, the protagonist – or anti-hero depending on your preference – is Patrick Bateman, a successful New York trader with more money than he could ever need and an obsessive focus on the superficial. Like the IT of Second Life, Bateman can talk for hours on whose shoes to wear, what the best stereo turntable is, whether a half-Windsor knot or a four-in-hand is the best way to tie a tie, and whether Genesis improved under Phil Collins’ leadership or suffered terminally from the loss of Peter Gabriel (my vote’s for the latter after Steve Hackett left too).

Unfortunately, a side effect of this fixation on the shallow is that Bateman takes to killing and butchering women. He then moves to butchering then killing, but you need to read the book to understand how that works. This brutality takes place in his fabulous Manhattan apartment. Is this the ultimate fate of an IT?

Now although my very special wild friend hasn’t read the book, she continued her definition of an IT by adding that real ITs bought Second Life homes and took great pains to furnish them just-so. Disturbingly, I have just-so rented a new fabulous apartment, 1024 square meters of two-story skybox, hovering a lag-defying 315 meters above the world complete with large glass windows, spacious balcony, and an expansive party-ready patio. And yes, I have taken unnatural amounts of time to make sure the wooden base on the cream-colored bed matches the pine flooring of the bedroom, and that it sits solidly in the center of the large sheepskin rug. And yes, I did scatter some interesting pose balls around the room, one of which has the imaginative title “Vampire Embrace.” And oh yes, the 65 prim hot tub is complete with heating elements, optional bubbles, and more couples poses than the Herald has readers.

To rub more salt into the slowly opening pus-infected wounds, my very special wild friend also told me that ITs even have to buy animation overrides just so that they can shake their tushies “just right,” and then glide effortless around Second Life with their flexi-hair and flexi-clothes swishing softly and silently in a non-existent breeze, bestowing an air of complete control and confidence on their avatars. It’s not enough to just walk, for God’s sake; it’s HOW you walk that is important!

But it gets worse. The AO walk is becoming my RL walk! Walking along a hotel corridor in Albuquerque, I had an epiphany of New Testament proportions. I was affecting a slight swinging of my arms while at the same time moving my hips ever so gently to balance out the movement. I had become my avatar!


My very special wild friend has offered therapy. There is a way out, she tells me. Apparently all I need to do is to change my avatar frequently and become something else. This could be a Snoopy dog, a dog, a huge robot, an eye, a ceiling fan, or even a kitchen appliance. Anything, as long as it is (a) ridiculous, and (b) not me.

I’m thinking about it. I really am. In principal, it’s really easy; just drag a folder onto my body and Second Life magic will do the rest. Bang! I’m a four-legged toaster complete with pop-up bread.

But I can’t do it. I can’t! What if I can’t get back to my original self? What if I can’t achieve that perfectly proportioned nose again? What if my skin tone no longer harmonizes with the pecan color of my Armidi hair? It’s scary. And of course, it’s scary that I think it’s scary!

So I’m postponing the therapy. I’m going to look for some “middle way” that will enable God to forgive me for the sin of Vanity yet still allow me to look good in coordinated belt and shoes.

I’m going to go shopping. For a mirror.

Vanity Props
Armidi: (Armidi, 135, 127, 26)
Cake: (FNKY Cake, 151, 41 23)
Good Life: (Good Life, 87, 207, 28)
Mirror Mirrors: (Carmine, 20, 240, 241)
Philotic Energy: (Imogen, 170, 161, 22)
Truth: (Sweet Sorrow, 121, 123, 26}

17 Responses to “Vanity: The First Deadly SL Sin”

  1. hurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    Mar 26th, 2008

    You look like a butt.

  2. Angel

    Mar 26th, 2008

    Phhht… only 1024M2? Thats a piddly 256 prims or so… and as for Armidi hair… bah Every man and his furry is now wearing that, a real IT will ensure that he finds that perfect hair in an unknown store with just one style.

  3. Prokofy Neva

    Mar 26th, 2008

    So is the Herald going to be forced to change or register its name with Linden Lab and will it be changing the hand-eye logo. Youth wants to know.

  4. O.O

    Mar 26th, 2008

    I also started to imitate the AO of my avatar. When I realized I was doing it I forced myself to stop.

  5. Cai Pirinha

    Mar 26th, 2008

    “An IT spends hours searching for hair that is exactly the right shape, precisely the right color, and is flexi-designed so that it moves in subtle yet interesting ways. [ ] An IT will spend ridiculous amounts of time editing an earring so that it fit exactly onto his right earlobe. And an IT will check out hundreds of pairs of eyes just to find the ones that would counterpoint the hair and hold the attention of a very special wild friend.”

    An “IT” is obviously a RL loser without a job and way too much time.

  6. Alazarin

    Mar 26th, 2008

    Your friend has half the cure… the other half is to get yourself down to the nearest sandbox, break out the prims and start making something… anything just so long as it gets you out of your self-obsessed rut. Failing that, dynamite your computer and join a monastery for 6 months.

  7. Nacon

    Mar 26th, 2008

    Second Life Herald is canceled.

    (they just don’t know it yet)

  8. Casius Masala

    Mar 26th, 2008

    I find that occasionally being a tiny ferret helps.

  9. Winter

    Mar 26th, 2008

    I revel in my vanity, and glory in my self obsession. It’s an intrinsic part of who – and what – I am. However… I can honestly claim that I have no mirrors at all in my perfectly decorated 2400sqm Vampire mansion. No point, really.

  10. Me me me me me

    Mar 26th, 2008

    This piece is written in the first person. The author is so completely (and admittedly) self-absorbed that it is hard to see why anyone else would be interested in his solipsistic meanderings. He has a picture. Why not a by-line? Who wrote this?

  11. Razrcut Brooks

    Mar 26th, 2008

    Well written story, too bad the author is anonymous.

    Prok brings up a good point, will the Herald have to register their use of the logo?

  12. Reality

    Mar 27th, 2008

    i don’t know, stringy-haired-cat-lady… are you going to be forced to change the name or register the second life recorder or whatever your eight blog is called

  13. Whatever

    Mar 27th, 2008

    Yes, please add the byline. The style is fresh, yet familiar.

  14. Just Me

    Mar 27th, 2008

    The more things change, the more they remain the same.

    Look up “Beau Brummel” sometime or see one of the movies about him

  15. Sigmund Leominster

    Mar 27th, 2008

    My self-absorption is such that I didn’t notice my byline was missing. I mean, I wrote the piece about me, for me, and so as long as I can bask in my own glory, what does it matter? The great thing about Vanity in its purest form is that it offers the perfect shield against criticism. Think about it; if you agree with me, that’s because you are also vain and understand; if you disagree, then you are clearly unable to comprehend simple truths and not worthy of listening to. It’s brilliant!

    That’s why I would recommend that everyone work hard on developing their narcissistic tendencies and focus on themselves a little more. Once your Ego has reached the state when it becomes its own object of love, then your will be in a state of bliss. Unless you accidentally slip on some dark blue socks with a pair of light blue jeans, in which case nothing short of throwing yourself naked into a pit will help.

    Oh, and you might also want to learn how to place your tongue firmly in your cheek. Seems some readers have taken me far too seriously ;)

  16. Winter

    Mar 28th, 2008

    Oh, but if you are going to place your tongue in your cheek best not to do it firmly – one wouldn’t wish to distort such wonderful bone structure such as I possess. Best not to do anything that means facial movement, really, expressions are so aging on Minnu Model skins. I mean, sure – I’m 245 years old, and still look this damn good so far – but why take risks?

  17. Mony Markova

    Mar 28th, 2008

    Hahaha I love it so funny … the way you mock of this is so funny still… I have seen you worried about having the right suit… Oh Lord an “it” … its becoming true. Your words of fancy set a tone for a fancy existence and u right nothing wrong with fancy.

    A fancy red dress fo your wild friend.

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