Hogmanay

Everywhere else in the world it’s New Year’s Eve, but in Scotland it’s Hogmanay.

In terms of celebration ¬†(in Scotland) it probably outshines Christmas, not that we’d be comparing like for like.

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Midnight fireworks over Edinburgh Castle

It’s an excuse for even wilder drinking than the wild drinking Scots already are famous for overindulging in, quite often, and to my mind there’s a case to be made for the Scots being wilder drinkers than the Irish.

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Not everyone overindulges, but many do. Some -even if they have been overindulging, and even if they’re still under the influence of alcohol- participate in a New Year’s Day swim.

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With the Firth of Forth rail bridge (Edinburgh) in the background, Scotland’s New Year’s Day swimmers take to the water at Edinburgh

This year, Jim and I will have Granny looking after the children while we spend the night at a Hogmanay dinner in a castle not too far from home. While Burns Night has a very rigid menu (haggis, tatties and neeps) the Hogmanay menu is rather more flexible -with vegetarian options, not so readily available for Burns Night although this is changing with the introduction of vegetarian haggis.

Whiskey, of course, features on the agenda of Hogmanay (and Burns Night). I’m not an enthusiast and have previously voiced that view, on SL and in RL, something that drew a sharp intake of breath through gritted teeth from the assembled throng in RL. I am, after all, a Sassenach. Sometimes I feel I’m barely tolerated amongst Jim’s friends ūüėČ for daring to be an Anglo-Saxon blow-in.

When we got married, Jim adopted the full Scots regalia…kilt, sporran, even the sgian-dubh, a ceremonial dagger.

It’s not regalia he wears regularly, our wedding and Hogmanay dinners being the exception.

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I also wear something of a Scottish style of tartan dress for the occasion. While I’ve not got any Scottish blood I know of, there’s a tartan for a clan whose name is quite similar to my own, and very similar to the one I bought on the Marketplace for L$199, more coincidence than me choosing one similar to that I wear on occasion in RL.

Jim’s outfit also came from the Marketplace for L$190.

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Jim and Ella celebrate another year.

I have to say that when a few Scotsmen and women get together for a bit of a party, and some highland dancing, the No True Scotsman fallacy is often in evidence.

This runs as follows…

Person A: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
Person B: “But my uncle Angus likes sugar with his porridge.”
Person A: “Ah yes, but no¬†true¬†Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”

Consider this in the context of kilts…

Person A: “No Scotsman wears anything under his kilt.”
Person B: “But my uncle Angus wears tartan boxer shorts under his kilt.”
Person A: “Ah yes, but no¬†true¬†Scotsman wears anything under his kilt.”

And just how true is that?

A survey found that 70% of Scotsmen ‘go commando’, wear nothing, under their kilts.

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Imagine, if you will, several large, burly Scotsmen, slightly drunk (or more than slightly drunk),  taking to the dance floor in kilts, and performing, shall we say, with exuberance.

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Those kilts can, and do, like to fly up. ūüôā

And when they sit down, they also tend to forget they’re in a kilt sometimes, as Queen Elizabeth can probably testify…

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And yes, I can also testify…

What does Jim wear under his kilt?

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Nothing in worn under kilt…it’s all in perfect working order! :-O¬†

Lucky, as a naturist, I’ve seen all of this before. and not easily shocked.

Listen, I love Scotland, its people and its culture, and even though I’ll always be a blow-in Sassenach, my children are firmly Scottish, given that the older two have learned Highland dancing at school, love the skirl of the pipes, my older son (London born, incidentally) loves his kilt and Scottish heritage and both have learned some Gaelic at school. I think we’re here to stay, and I, for one, am happy with the lovely lifestyle we lead away from the grime, noise and sardine-tin existence of London.

For all of the above, written with a slight twinkle in my eye, there’s a serious, naturist-related point, though. In the context of local cultures, there’s often a long tradition of semi or complete nudity. No policeman in Scotland is ever going to step in and arrest a kilt-wearing Scotsman for inadvertently ‘showing all’.

In aboriginal Australia, Polynesia and Swaziland (whose ‘reed dance’ for the King was covered in SLN on several occasions) nudity is part and parcel of local cultures, and accepted as such, even within a body phobic society.

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Swaziland

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Polynesia

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If we’re ‘broad minded’ enough to celebrate elements of nudity as part of expressions of culture, why aren’t we as broad minded when it comes to accepting that, for many, casual displays of nudity are part of the zeitgeist, and that the world has moved on from uptight Victorian values that still ripple across society? When will the time come when we accept that nude bathing is simply nude bathing, without connotations of exhibitionism? When will the time come when we accept that stripping off to swim in the sea is a tradition -a cultural tradition- as old as humanity, and that the sight of a penis, vagina or breasts is part of who we all are? When will the time come when we usher the ‘offence’ caused to a minuscule minority when faced with the unclothed human body away with a chuckle and advice to ‘grow up’?

No further posts today and conceivably tomorrow, given that we’ll be ushering the New Year in and dancing (with alcohol involved) until maybe 400am. I’ll see what tomorrow, and the beginning of another New Year, brings. In the meantime, wherever YOU are, stay safe tonight and all of us involved at SLN will speak to you again in 2017!

Happy Hogmanay!

Happy new Year!

Ella and Jim

(Ella addsmuch of this post was set up during the past week. Many SL Naturist posts are set up in advance…probably not a great revelation to many of¬†you…days and sometimes weeks in advance. ¬†It’s the nature of SL with avatars on/off/on the grid according to RL. So a bit of this was set up prior to my fall earlier this week. I’m fine, but I don’t imagine there’ll be much dancing later this evening. A bit of limping in the direction of the dance floor, and looking like a total Sassenach despite efforts to learn how to do Scottish dancing in recent months. Next year! I promise! Anyway, that’s another year over with SL Naturist. We’re back next year (i.e tomorrow) with further posts and I hope, your hangover permitting, you can join us in 2017. We -Jim and I-¬†are off out for the evening, in Scottish regalia, but the dancing may be limited unless I gobble down a few more pain killers and a couple of drinks. (I’m not a huge drinker at the best of times, but I need a couple to get me on the dance floor -and maybe diminish the back pain…it’s getting better, honestly, since Wednesday but my lack of inhibition on a dance floor never leaves me, regardless of the quantity of alcohol involved). Anyway, whenever your New Year’s Eve started and finished in the context of SL -and it’s possible it’s not begun or finished by the time you read this- I hope it was great. Please, read the posts of the past week, about makeovers, naturism,¬†confidence and anything¬†else and take note. You can make 2017 in SL your best year yet. If you’re interested in naturism, in RL or in SL, and to varying degrees, note that we’ll be here throughout the new year to report on both SL & RL naturist events. Please, join us. Happy New Year! )

New Year’s Eve Party

We like to party at SLN this time of year, but with the caveat that we’re usually 24/48 hours ahead of the real life events. Our Christmas Party was a few days in advance of Christmas, but that’s hardly unique given that we all experience staff Christmas parties in advance of the big day. New Year’s Eve is slightly different. Because so many people are out in real life on December 31st, there’s not much point in holding the New Year’s Eve party on December 31st if no one is online. So we held a little get-together for friends and fellow SL naturists on Friday night, last night, the 30th of December.

We usually try and run it over several hours with people popping in and out (then returning later on, sometimes) over the course of a few hours. We all have real lives too, remember.

These affairs can be a bit hit and miss. I’ve teleported in to find no one else there, and at other times there’s a lot of lag, due to the volume of attendees.

But what we’ve found over the years is that our mutual circle of friends who frequent SL’s naturist sims connect with each other, or we connect with others’ friends. Networking, they’d call it in real life.

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As people often teleport in from other, textile locations, they often arrive dressed.

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But as all are committed SL naturists, they usually get into the mood very quickly.

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French avatar Giblette

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French avatars Giblette and Fanny take to the pool

Being based in the UK, SLN operates on GMT, while SL operates on a 24 hour basis. This means that most of our SL friends tend to be European, simply because we’ll be online in roughly the same time zones together, while America is 5 hours (and more) behind us. It’s quite interesting that I’ve got many European friends in SL naturism, but only a handful of Americans and Canadians, all of whom are based on the Atlantic seaboard of the continent, none on the Pacific side, simply because our SL ‘downtime’ doesn’t often coincide.

Even within Europe, I tend to find my continental European friends will be online early in my evening, the Brits beginning to log in a little later. It was no surprise, then, to find early arrivals were French avatars Giblette and Fanny.

Of course, one important facet to this NYE party is that with Christmas out of the way we’re all already plotting our summer holidays. Fanny is a real life naturist, and in conversation with her I learned she would be trying a new location on the Mediterranean coast this summer, having spent the past few years touring around naturist campsites more centrally located in France, a bit closer to her home. Such is the value, to real life naturists, of meeting similar real life naturists in Second Life.

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Franco-German relations. German avatar Dagmar chats with French avatar Ricard

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The global nature of SL. Californian Ori, living in Berlin in RL, chats with Australian Charlene, now living in London 

Our drinks waiter was very popular…

…wearing nothing more than the bow tie we blogged from Caboodle a few days back, and just as the party was beginning, I got wind that the SL Sydney sim was also holding its own party 24 hours early, almost certainly for the same reason we did – avatars are busy in RL tomorrow night. Hang on! Did that poster say ‘gifts for the new year’? Indeed it did, so I threw some clothes on and made my excuses for a few moments to investigate. And yes, they did/do have free gifts, including a lovely LBD (little black dress) complete with top hat. I headed back to the party, whispered in the drinks waiter’s ear, offered to hold the tray for him (even though I ended up only holding it one glass at a time ūüėČ )

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When he returned, our drinks waiter, in his ‘outfit’, proved to be exceptionally popular with arrivals, several of them queuing up to pose with him.

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I imagine that the freebies at Sydney will probably still be available by the time you read this on the proper New Year’s Eve.

Away back in 2013, which seems like a lifetime ago now, we blogged what we thought might have been SL’s first blogged, gay kiss.¬†My SL friends Cecil and Ringo still play SL and are still together as a SL couple -and for those homophobes who decry ‘degeneracy’, consider if you know a single heterosexual SL relationship that has endured for the same length of time. I got to know Ringo when he wrote about gay issues for Emmanuelle’s blog and I was covering naturist matters, and we’ve been great friends on SL ever since, and I eventually met Cecil through him. Indeed, all my gay and lesbian friends in SL are friendships forged through introductions by Ringo.

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And here he is sneaking up behind me, giving me a hug and whispering in my ear (i.e. a private message) about what’s to follow….

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Cecil and Ringo announce their engagement at the party. Looks like I’ll need a SL hat for a SL wedding in 2017!

…I confess I’d slipped back to real life when the big announcement was made, at the party, ¬†that Cecil and Ringo are getting engaged. It (engagement) doesn’t have the same importance in SL as it might have in RL, but their SL relationship is strong and they’d like to formalise it. No date set yet, but we will be covering the wedding of Cecil and Ringo whenever it takes place, and I’d like to congratulate two lovely, lovely fellas whose sunny personalities shine through into SL as well. And the boys look cuter and hotter than they did back in 2013, testament to how our avatars slowly evolve and improve. I can’t begin to describe the SL laughs I’ve had with these two guys, and I wish them well in their SL future.

It’s easy to denigrate lifestyles some of us don’t fully understand, be they naturist, furry, gay or whatever, but I’m a firm believer in being open to new SL experiences. I think, through SL, I’ve discovered a deeper understanding of a version of the gay scene, thanks to these two fellas.

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Ella and ‘her boys’

I find that in SL so many male avatars are so, so fixated on their ‘red blooded, masculinity’ that they studiously avoid friendships with other males, be they hetero or gay. It’s all, for some, about getting female avatars naked and onto the right pose balls that they ignore the potential to form great¬†male-male SL relationships.

One of the reasons I friended Howie is that, first time I met him, he was delivering a withering put-down of one of those ‘griefer’ avatars to used to drop into certain sims, like naturist ones, and begin asking females for sex or being obnoxious about gay or lesbian avatars. Thankfully, SL appears to have grown up and moved on in the intervening years. So Howie was delivering this elongated series of messages in local chat, each one more confusing to the griefer avatar, each one more and more amusing to the rest of us, about that avatar’s RL inadequacies as a person.

‘I’ve never like f******g homophobes in or out of SL’ was, I think, possibly the first IM I ever received from him when I congratulated him (also in IM) on his sneering contempt. ūüôā (I’m paraphrasing, it was seven years or more ago, but he’ll correct me if I’m wrong).

So…at least seven years on and we’re still playing SL, still good friends, still happy to deliver a withering put down of any homophobes out there. I’m pleased to say that, in SL, there’s much less racism apparent to me (your perception may be different) than there is homophobia. If there’s racism in SL it’s more of a media-driven ‘stereotype’ kind, though, with black avatars expected to play one of two roles – the gangsta/pimp male or female hooker.

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Of course we can’t say with any certainty that we are who we say we are in SL. Are Candi and Kew, black female avatars, as much of a rarity in SL naturism as they are in RL naturism, actually black women in real life? Am I a woman? Is Howie a man? Well, eventually you get a ‘feel’ for regular correspondents -it’s hard to keep a pretence going over a long period of time in SL- and can say that people are as they portray themselves. I wasn’t at the party when Candi and Kew were there, but I can pretty much vouch for them being what they say they are, black women. Kew (on the right in this photo) is a particularly articulate avatar (Candi may be as well but I don’t know her or have her listed as an SL friend) who has given me a long explanation about positive black female role models, starting with Michelle Obama.

‘A great, positive role model. While I do visit naturist sims, more because I enjoy the sense of fun at them more than the nudity -naturists seem to be very talkative in SL- I have a tendency to run the Kew avatar with Michelle as the role model I’d like to project. You’re right, Ella, none of us know if we’re speaking to black, white, male, female in SL, but where possible I try to project a ‘hey, get educated and be the best you can’ function. Standing on a street corner looking for Johns doesn’t have to be your real life or Second Life reality’.

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‘My whole schtick, the half rim glasses pushed down my nose and business suits, is deliberately calculated to present the image of an intelligent, academic black woman, not portray myself or any other black woman, as a ho’.

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With midnight approaching and to¬†celebrate Ringo & Cecil’s impending¬†nuptials, Howie breaks out the champagne

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There may be a few more ‘straggler’ photos in the morning, but for now, that’s the majority of the New Years Eve (-24) SLN party.

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Celebrating the chimes of Big Ben at midnight!

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Down on the beach, Louise and Duncan get cuddly with this free pose from West End (no group join fee) (the same pose Ringo used to sneak up on me and hug me, further up the page)

I will have at least one post up later today (December 31st) but my slip, trip and fall earlier in the week my curtail my ‘dancing’ tonight. However it plays out, I’m off out for the evening, dancing or not, but I’ll put that final post of 2016 up before I head out for the evening. Hope you had a great Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I hope you’ll join us in 2017 for another year of SL Naturist!

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Ella