In England we have a saying, ‘mutton dressed as lamb;’, which refers to an older woman dressing too young for her age.
Silje, who had joined as ‘older avatar correspondent’ at the end of SL Naturist, has written a piece about maintaining an older avatar in Second Life, for men and women, without looking ridiculous.
Tonight, she kicks off a two-parter looking at the male of the species with a middle-aged or mature avatar.
My SL partner, Jonny, is now over 60. We made a decision, early in our Second Lives, to live them as older avatars, which is not an easy thing to do.
Fortunately there are some places you can buy age-appropriate skins although they’re rare and I wish there were more.
Jonny has got an older skin, called ‘Pierre’, from Atea Avatars, who have a Marketplace presence. Their blog, and their inworld store, both referenced on the MP page, don’t appear to exist any longer. The Pierre skin is priced at L$1500(!!) which is expensive, but Jonny feels it was worth the cost.
I would also recommend Body & Soul, which has a small selection of mature skins for men and women (think 40, rather than 60, though, but priced at a more reasonable L$400) and Little Black Dress do excellent mature female complete avatars at L$899.
Nikita’s also do great older male skins, but once again the cost is around L$2000.
Male avatars suffer a little bit of a disadvantage in Second Life as there is never enough ‘free; stuff around for the guys. With a bit of research you can still dress your avatar in an age-appropriate way. This is more problematic for females and I’ll discuss that in Part 2.
An Amacci hairbase (free) and hair from Damselfly completes Jonny’s look, and he has managed to pick up a free tuxedo on his travels, which (apart from inventory stuff and a biker outfit) suffices as his entire wardrobe.
Here he is in his biker outfit (Midnight Mania prizes or gifts from Turlaccor Motorbike store). For the guys, there isn’t really a ‘too old to be wearing that’ issue, whereas this is problematic for we ladies. Jonny still looks good, still looks good, as a 60 year old male in biker leathers. It looks good because we see it a lot in real life, I think. It isn’t unfamiliar, let me put it that way, if we don’t see 60 year old bikers every day. And if we do, we think them dressed appropriately for their method of travel.
And in his tuxedo, we don’t see it as silly. It looks very, very normal.
Nude, Jonny’s white chest and pubic hair (thinned due to age) are entirely appropriate and his avatar would not seem remotely out of place on the nudist beaches of Second Life, while he would be almost invisible amongst similarly aged men on a real life naturist beach.
Even asking Jonny to alter his shape to reflect the thickening of the middle aged male body doesn’t distract too much from the overall look. It is almost as if the avatar accurately reflects the gathering of fat around the pubis, often apparent in men of a certain age, that has the effect of making the penis look smaller (Jonny did not alter the penis size in the two nude photos).
Fortunately he’s in good shape for his age, and resembles more the previous photos. But it’s quite clear that an SL male avatar can wear an older looking skin and look while still remaining good looking.
That’s one thing that differs between the male and the female avatar. I think it is much, much more difficult to create an older looking female avatar and carry it off well. Which is what we’ll examine in part 2 of this posting.