Real Life catches up with Second Life.

Ireland has voted to permit same-sex marriage, the first country on the face of the globe to do this by popular vote.

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I blogged about this last week, and hoped that this would be the result in order to create equality for same-sex couples.

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Listening to the radio this evening, I learn that there’s a huge party going on in Dublin tonight, as the country voted, by a majority of 2:1, to change the country’s constitution and legalise same-sex marriage.

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I’m delighted for everyone who wishes to seal their love with a marriage certificate and equal rights. That includes one Irish SL friend who is already partnered within SL and was hoping that this would be the result so that he could replicate what he has already done in a virtual world in real life. I IM’ed him earlier and he came back in the past few minutes, prior to heading out to the Temple Bar district of Dublin to celebrate in RL, to say he was thrilled.

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Ori & his boyfriend celebrate Ireland’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage (note: photo from SLN library, not taken tonight)

Ella

 

 

 

A hat for the sun: a naturist wardrobe accessory

Braham Design have a couple of gifts out at the moment and I was drawn to one outfit in particular from a naturist perspective. A lovely side-brimmed hat, perfect for keeping the sun off the top of your head and out of your eyes. I paired it up with the beaded belt from the set, beaded belts or belly chains being something that you will see worn by some women at naturist locations.

 

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At the end of a hard day’s sunbathing, you could pair that same hat with the dress from the outfit to wander to your chosen restaurant of the evening. A LBD -little black dress- goes well in most circumstances.

 

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Pookes

Not designed with this in mind…

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I’m not even going to ask what my friend Stephen was doing at Entwined Hair, which is very much a ladies hair store, but it works anyway. 🙂 even though it wasn’t designed for male use.

Join the group, no joining fee, and pay L$1 for a group gift that he says looks pretty good on guys too. I have to say I agree. The basic hair comes with a variety of huds, that allow you to change the colour of the hair. I have to say that it looks as good on Stephen as it does on me!

I’ve no idea how well the other ladies’ styles might look on a male, but I’ve tried them out and I have to say the group gift collection is a pretty good L$3 spent!

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Pookes

Nude cruising

The UK election is behind us, thank goodness. There were times it felt like the campaign resembled WW1 in terms of duration, to the point where I doubted it would ‘be all over by Christmas‘.

And with that, the Daily Mail, our very own resident immigrant loathing, right wing rag, has returned to its normal diet of ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ and B-list celebrity trivia.

I’ve had the conversation, inworld, recently about my ‘fondness’ for the Daily Mail. I was mocked for it! 🙂 It’s not a ‘fondness’, as such, just that it can be relied upon to have a steady stream of ‘clothes off’ stories.

So, today, in clear recognition that the post-election debate is now over, there’s a story about nude cruises.

A growing trend, we learn.

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Pixellation. Clearly none of us know what a bare bottom looks like.

I’m pleased to read that the reporter delivers her account in a factual, non-judgemental way, although the comments section contains the usual to-be-expected idiotic responses. I know comments sections are popular in the online versions of newspapers nowadays, but honestly, we could probably live without a series of inane comments from people who, because of their attitude, are unlikely to be taking a nude cruise, thus rendering their opinion valueless.

I have to confess that a cruise, nude or not, would not be for me, despite their popularity.

Is it something you can do in SL? Not nude, but I note that there’s certainly a cruise ship you can visit. It appears to have all of the things you could reasonably expect to find on a RL cruise ship, cinema, swimming pool, etc, but I didn’t explore it in a huge amount of depth.

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SL’s very own cruise ship

Of course, naked sailing is very much a thing in SL, and your obvious point of entry to that particular lifestyle, something I keep saying we’ll report on in SLN, is Eden Naturopolis and the expanses of water around the archipelago of islands. I’m going to have to say here and now that this is something we really need to knuckle down to and cover in some depth. and utilising a variety of craft, in the coming weeks.

Ella

‘Older’ women don’t rock much, apparently.

I’m not a movie buff, so I confess I didn’t know who Maggie Gyllenhaal was prior to reading this story. It rather appears she’s ‘too old’, a 37 year old actress, to be the love interest in a movie opposite a 55 year old man.

Thirty seven, eh? I remember that like it was…oooh…last year!

I’m sorry, but am I the only one who thinks she’s drop dead gorgeous with to-die-for cheekbones?

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I’ve seen Jennifer Aniston ‘act’, and essentially I don’t think she can act; she has no depth. Anything I’ve ever seen her in she pretty much plays ‘Jennifer Aniston’, and personally I’d dismiss her from ‘the love interest’ in anything because I find her wholly unconvincing. Oddly, at a decade older than Ms.Gyllenhaal, she still seems to be getting ‘love interest roles in films that come with what I regard more as a public health warning as a genre: ‘romantic comedy’.

I’ve not seen Ms. Gyllenhaal act, the movies listed in her wiki entry apparently as lightweight as anything Jennifer Aniston has done, but I’m not in a position to judge Ms. Gyllenhaal on her acting abilities, or capacity to convincingly be the love interest of an older man. But let’s leave aside my (lack of) knowledge about the movie business.

Let’s get to the hub of the issue: sexist ageism.

Predictably, the media has blanket-covered the matter, and rightly so. It’s Hollywood’s version of ‘social engineering’, again. As usual, from James Bond to…whatever…the action hero has to be seen wooing women young enough to be their daughters. Isn’t there something slightly wrong, on all sorts of levels, with this?

Presumably, there will come a time when Hollywood needs an older woman for a role. You know, someone exactly the same age as the leading man, required to play the mother of the leading man’s main squeeze.

Where might these women be? Retired from Hollywood, mopping tables in Burger King? I don’t know. I’m so far removed from Hollywood that I’m unsure how ‘Tinseltown’ really works. Nor do I really care.

What I do care about is that women are treated to this sort of routine gender-based ageism. It makes me angry.

As usual, though, there’s a need to have a Second Life perspective on this, and following on from my ‘Older Guys rock!‘ post, I began to analyse the role and function of ‘age’ within Second Life, a platform that sometimes appears to adopt a similar position to that of Tinseltown, demanding that women, more than men, fall into a framework of the eternally youthful. Certainly, men in SL are just as willing to take the ‘Neverland’ approach and never grow up, or old, in many instances, but it seemed to me that it’s women who are…not ‘pressurised’ as such, but encouraged, or persuaded, to adopt that more youthful look.

In this, I turned to Barbara, who pretty much functions as SLN’s ‘older avatar correspondent’ a lot of the time, because I know that she is very interested in such things:

‘In my estimation there’s a Catch-22 situation with SL. Skin designers make young skins. They’re widely available and you can often find good ones free. So people find it easier to create a good looking younger avatar. Skin designers are more reluctant to do older ones, and the older ones that are created are often prohibitively expensive. Why pay L$1000 or more for an older looking skin when you can probably get a good skin for free?

‘Hair is a little easier. Just buy grey or white instead of blonde or brunette, but a lot of the emphasis of the game is that ‘alternative’ life, so clearly people are drawn to that element of it. I understand why people may want to shave a decade or two off their real life age and re-live their youth. Just because we hit 50 doesn’t mean we don’t remember our wild youth like it was yesterday. Cyber…again, it’s a guilt free replication of our teenage years, without the fear of teen pregnancy or any ‘reputation’ applied because your avatar is promiscuous, very much removed from the RL experience. Of course people want that. I’ve read Canary Beck’s survey too, and can completely understand the reasons why people have the SL sex lives they do.

‘There’s a kind of a flip-side to being an obvious ‘older woman’ in SL, incidentally, which I think does diverge from what you’re suggesting is the Hollywood experience, in that the ‘older woman’, as an obvious avatar, can sometimes become a MILF or yummy mummy figure. This would be part and parcel of my SL experience, in that my avatar’s look, and my profile, clearly identifies me as an ‘older woman’ and that, I think, is attractive to younger males in SL. Sometimes, that feeds back into what you, Canary and Vanadis identified last week as ‘unwanted attentions’ and how to deal with them. By creating an older avatar you create a set of circumstances wherein, being older, you become more attractive, at least in the sense of being another notch on the SL bedpost.’

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Is there an appetite for women to wear older looking avatars in the manner Barbara does?

Barbara would appear to suggest that skin designers have a role to play, wherein they could diversify and create a wider age-range of affordable skins of varying age. Indeed, if Barbara’s last point, the ‘older woman as object of sexual desire’ is correct, such skins might well have a ready-made attraction for some. She confides that he would love to be able to purchase a ‘middle aged’ skin. ‘I think the skin I use, while designed for a younger avatar, works…apart from around the face. It’s easy to create a shape that replicates middle-age by thickening the body a little and making the boobs saggier, but there remains a problem with the face. We tend to get more wrinkles, around the eyes, in real life, and without being able to age the face accordingly it does make me still feel I’m living a little bit of a lie by not being true to myself, although the lie is being perpetuated my skin designers rather than me wishing to be something I’m not’.

As SL ages, so the perspective of its players change. Personally, I’m finding that more males are adopting an older look where once they would have bought into the eternal youthfulness that SL offers. This is quite apparent to me at some of the naturist sims I visit, where some males, beyond the SL friends I wrote about in the ‘Older guys rock’ post, now feel confident enough to adopt older avatars. Like Hollywood, it’s obvious that being 55 in SL or in the movies, isn’t necessarily seen to be a bar to playing the romantic lead. I did recently investigate what I would call a non-genuine naturist sim where a balding, white bearded male avatar was indulging in a threesome with two youthful lovelies. And no, you didn’t see the sim reviewed and blogged for that specific reason 🙂

So SL replicates Hollywood, from the older man/younger woman perspective. Is it working in the opposite direction? Apart from Barbara’s reported ‘milf’ scenario, I’ve certainly never seen any evidence of it. There simply don’t appear to be many older looking female avatars chatting or dancing with younger looking male avatars from what I can see.

I think it’s good that males are confident enough to adopt older looking avatars. I welcome that development. However, it seems to me that SL replicates RL to a degree where the older guy can get the younger female, but the older female -even the SL equivalent of a 37-year-old Maggie Gyllenhaal- remains (the likes of Barbara notwithstanding) almost invisible.

Ella.

 

 

Facebook nudity

I’ve no idea how long a video from a naturist group in France will last on Facebook, but it seems to me that the company is fighting a losing battle against ‘skin’. They just haven’t acknowledged it yet.

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In the video, a young woman appears to be providing instruction into the best way to use a pareo.

(I found the video on a blog called Naturiste Lyon France, by the way. Yes, I do keep up with some websites that will highlight events happening in the world of RL naturism, events often gven their own SL twist for the purposes of this blog).

Clearly you don’t need any assistance putting a pareo on in SL, but there’s a rather gorgeous dollarbie at M&M fashion on the Marketplace.

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Ella

 

 

 

 

Older guys rock!

Bloggers will take inspiration from others’ ideas, develop, tweak, bend and twist an original idea out of shape to fit their needs. A perfectly valid approach in all manner of writing.

I did this in respect of a post on Canary Beck’s blog, applying a naturist reading and analysis of her poll into SL sex attitudes. (As an aside, if all texts can have a dominant, resistant, ‘queer’ -a more recent addition to the manner in which we approach a book- feminist, or a Marxist reading, would it be possible to have a naturist reading of a text? Or, at least, a ‘naturalist’ or ‘environmentalist’ approach to a book? I must try this with someone fairly short, sweet and familiar to see if I can make it valid in this context 🙂 )

In turn, my post on wanting to be alone has had Becky tweaking that idea. Ideas get shared around, expanded & stretched.

As part of the conversation, Ever Afterr pointed to a blog unfamiliar to me, Prim Dolls, wherein that blog’s author, Deoridhe, has a section on ‘How not to….‘ in SL. How not to…do this or that, with ‘How not to pick up a chick’ being the most expansive section. It’s hilarious reading, and one despairs for some guys and their social skills (or lack thereof).

This got me thinking about what makes for good SL male company and I’ve come up with the answer….older men! (Calm down, Barbara, lol!)

Think about it, particularly if you’re a female SL player. Scroll through your friends lists and make a quick note of what you know about them.

As a lifestyle, naturism is often for older people, people beyond the age of 40, in many instances. Children grown and moved to university…less hangups about their bodies than younger people…there’s a number of reasons why it’s an older person’s lifestyle, and I’m not going to re-heat those reasons that I’ve outlined on this blog many times before.

Maybe it’s people of that age group, desirous to have some familiarity with naturism, who adopt a naturist persona within SL. Sometimes it’s RL naturists, who fit into the RL naturist age demographic, who simply become SL naturists. Who knows? What I do know is that many of my SL male friends are older guys, and either RL naturist, or people who would like to be RL naturist but for one reason or another can’t and thus utilise SL naturism as a substitute.older guys

Anyway..you’ve made a mental note of your SL male friends. Assuming, in the course of conversation, you’ve revealed a little of your real selves to that person, what do you notice?

If it’s anything like my experience, you’ll be aware of their RL age (even if it’s rounded to a decade…’I’m in my fifties’), and they’ll have been quite open about their marital status, their children, maybe their job (‘…my wife’s a teacher, I’ve two kids in college and I work in aeronautics….’). You don’t need to know their postal/zip code, obviously, but they’ve been open and honest about their real lives.

While I’m never in a ‘bump pixels’ scenario with anyone, I am very often naked at naturist sims (it’s a kind of logical thing, yeah?) and I will be in conversation with someone who says ‘I gotta go now’, and poofs. Some will be absolutely honest about it…their wife/partner has just pulled up in the drive. ‘Bumping pixels’…well, how are you going to explain that to a wife or partner? ‘I play an online game and this is my cartoon indulging in cybersex.’ Awkward? And then some!

I imagine it wouldn’t be any less awkward to explain ‘this is Ella and we’re just chatting, while our cartoons are naked, on a nude beach in an online game’. It’s easy to understand why they log out, quickly.

Despite that, perhaps because of this, you find that you do enjoy speaking with them online. The conversation flows, there’s no awkward pauses.

I have to confess that I’ve an inquisitive mind, so I don’t mind someone explaining the minutiae of their real life passions. Indeed, I’m often given the names of websites, or of books, about a topic that I will chase down and read. Simply because it sounds interesting. Of course, I don’t really want to buy some wire and fluff and begin making my own flies for fishing, but I am consistently inquisitive about topics such as this from a philosophical perspective. ‘I stick the radio on and can lose myself in my passion for an entire evening’. Yeah, we all identify with that.

If you’re like me, that is, an SL female, what do you notice about your friends? Possibly that your male friends all fall into a 40+ age group? 50+? Yes. 60+? Yes.

Why is this? I have a theory that older guys in SL will have lived life, have a stockpile of memories and anecdotes, have tried different things in RL and thus are capable of speaking on a wider range of topics. Certainly for me there’s no question of these relationships being anything other than platonic, but it’s only on a rare occasion that an older guy has come onto me (they’re routinely muted if they do). Their interest is more in the conversational.

I’m not sure if ‘babe magnet’ is a term that applies to a friendship between a guy in his fifties or sixties talking to a woman locked onto the ‘Big 4-0’ co-ordinates 🙂 but I find that it will always be a case of me chatting to and subsequently friending guys who are certainly beyond the ‘Big 5-0’ or ‘Big 6-0’ birthday cake.

Deoridhe’s tales of approaches by male avatars are, in equal parts, hilarious and tragic. They simply don’t have the life experience to make conversation zip along in a funny, informed, intelligent way. Of course there will be exceptions to the rule. Of course there will be self-assured, well-read, intelligent and conversational guys barely out of their teens, but these are very much the exception.

I’d love to hear about your own perspective on whether your RL male friends experience mirrors mine, or if you feel my analysis is wide of the mark.

Ella