I’ve been going on about some lengthy pieces for the blog for some time now. Each time I think one specific one is ‘finished’, I’ll run into someone whose perspective alters the piece, and while it’s not a complete re-write, it means major changes.
One piece is on ‘older avatars in SL’, and specifically SL naturism (of course!). This week, I ran into relatively new player Jan, who is another person who has tried to reflect her age. We met up at the cafe in Su Casa, to share a couple of coffees and talk about her experiences.
Jan: Oh…Farmville! I was playing that through Facebook and someone mentioned Second Life. That sounded like more fun, and it is.
Jan: I have been a naturist in real life. Well, perhaps not a naturist. I am not some disciple of it. But if I go on holidays and there is a nude beach I’m not afraid to strip off. I didn’t intend to be a naturist in SL. It just sort of happened while exploring for beach locations.
Jan: The naturism. I had picked up freebies, skin and hair, and the avatar looked OK. But it wasn’t me…
Ella:…it’s something I’ve hear before….
Jan:….and so I bought stuff to be more like me. I’m in my late 50s. I think my avatar should reflect that.
Jan: Sure, but being a 20 something girl is not my experience. And I think you maybe give yourself away trying to be something you are not. Me trying to be a 20 year old girl doesn’t work. Do I go to dance clubs? Do I turn the sound up to listen to music I don’t like? Do I converse with 20 year old boys? How can I relate to them, other than as a mother?
Ella: Yes, I understand that completely. So…the white hair came along.
Jan: Yeah. It’s more like how I am. And I widened my body shape to be more like me. I felt much more comfortable with the avatar when I pulled the look together.
Jan: I just love to explore people’s imaginations. Some are just wild in the things they build. On the down side, it’s often a homogenic experience. I’d love it if SL were constructed in a manner that allowed people to build more deserts, rainforests, swamps. You know? Different geographies with different cultural experiences. It’s difficult to find any replicated experience of Africa or Brazilian rainforest. It would be nice to set down in Brazil, pop on a loincloth and learn about the dangers facing tribes there. It could be a good cultural experience. Sometimes, though, it feels like it’s a shopping mall experience from beginning to end. I do try and avoid that.
(more with Jan in the forthcoming posting on older avatars in Second Life).