Thursday, November 16, 2006

Day 53: Salsa and Meeting Girls in Second Life

Welcome to Second Life Info Island, the information headquarters of Second Life. Here, you will find a variety of information sources, and (during certain hours) find live experts to assist you with research and locating information. This island hosts a number of buildings.

Here is the main Second Life Library. They are in the process of relocating the library, but there are a number of reference books still inside (mostly links to the Internet). There are also a number of events hosted here.

Here is the Second Life Medical Library, which has both medical information as well as links to chat with a live person if you have any questions. Check out these great resources! To come to the Second Life Info Island, Search for "Info Island" under Places. The SLURL is Info Island (108,194,33).

And BTW, did you notice that girl in the *CUTE* red dress? :) Its Thursday! And as usual, its Newbie Salsa night at New Citizen's Plaza (at 6pm Linden/PST). So this week, I decided to make a salsa dress so I can do my salsa styling properly! :)

OK, first, you need to know that I love salsa in Real Life. I used to go 2-3 times a week (its more under control now :P)! Theres nothing better than spinning around the dance floor to forget all your problems. So Im a bit of a salsaholic :)

But there are several rules regarding salsa dresses. First it needs to be LOUD (red is the most common color). Second, it has to be sexy (its probably the guys who made up that rule :P). It has to be very thin, because believe me, you will sweat...a lot (the most popular drink at salsa clubs is water!) And lastly, this shouldnt be a dress you wear around the streets! This is for dancing! :)

So I decided to make a red salsa dress with a skirt that starts high on one side and slopes down to the other. Irregular skirt shapes is a telltale sign of a real salsa dress! :)

The top part of the dress was pretty straightforward: It is basically a red version of the Little Black Dress with a different neckline. The dress is smooth and seamless all the way to the skirt!

I had to figure out a way to make the sloping skirt in SL. I tried a number of different things today, including a partly transparent texture that has a slope in it. The problem is that when applied to flexi prims that intersect, textures containing transparency cause the flexi prims to act funny. It looks like the flexi prims are jumping back and forth. Thats why I use only opaque textures in my skirts. So I cant do it the easy way with textures. :(

That meant creating a skirt with the proper shape using the Necklace Generator and arranging the panels by hand! *Yikes* But a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! And thats what I did all afternoon, finishing barely in time to make it to the dance. :)

OK, picking up from yesterday, I was talking about meeting girls in Real Life. Today, I want to talk about meeting girls in Second Life.

From a woman's perspective, Second Life dating can be very different than Real Life. As for the long-term relationship issue, that may or may not be important, depending on whether the relationship spills over into Real Life. But strictly within SL itself, it may not matter as much if you get married and pregnant (yes, you can get married and pregnant in SL), and your mate leaves you. It costs only $25L to get a divorce (to have your partner's name removed from your Profile). And you can restore your old AV shape, put the baby back in Inventory, and pretend nothing happened.

Safety is also not as big an issue. Yes, an irate spouse can grief and harrass, but in the end, no permanent physical harm can come to your avatar. Even unarmed little ole me. :P I can prance through the nastiest combat sim, and the worst that could happen is that I die and get TP'ed back home.

In short, women do not have to worry about physical concerns in SL. However, there is the emotional side.

I think there are 2 general types of people/avatars in SL:

The first represents their true selves through their avatars (a "self-avatar"). Their avatars behave in a similar way as their RL selves, maybe more outgoing or relaxed. But they maintain the same basic value system. The RL person relates and feels the pains of the avatar.

The second considers SL a game, and the avatars are just meaningless pixels on a screen. Therefore, it doesnt matter what the avatar does, as long as it isnt spending RL money. In fact, it doesnt matter what the avatar has to do in order to MAKE RL money.

I belong in the first group. My avatar means a lot to me. Sometimes I think she is symbolically more important than my RL self (because she is my old happy carefree self). Therefore, I wont let harm come to her, even if it is only symbolic.

I know people in both groups. There is nothing wrong with either philosophy: they are both valid points of view. But interesting things happen when these groups get together socially, particularly for dating.

If 2 "self-avatars" get together, they probably behave like their RL selves. The interactions would happen as if occuring in RL, just in a more exotic locale.

If 2 "gamers" get together, all bets are off. Its furry meets dragon on Gor. Since they are pixels, whatever brings in the $L or maximizes entertainment goes. After all, its just a game, right? Fortunately, the parties understand one another. Their avatars get to practice pixel magic.

The problem occurs when a "self-avatar" meets a "gamer". The "self-avatar" like me try to be true to their RL self, which tends to be conservative by SL standards. So we are considered prudes, when in fact we are just being ourselves.

The "gamer" wants us to try the latest naughty attachments he/she purchased at the store. Now. Right here in the Sandbox. The "gamer" wants to know what the poseball labeled "him on top" does.

Ive been asked more than once to cyber or just sit on a suspicious poseball. I have always refused outright and been very firm, even though the guys tend to say, "Oh come one, its just pixels."

I may be wrong, but I have a feeling that most guys tend to be "gamers", while a significant number of women tend to be "self-avatars". Or maybe the guys asking me to cyber are being "self-avatars"...I can only hope not!

So guys, be aware that a large number of women (including me) are quite attached to their avatars. We have made significant emotional investments in our little pixel selves. When you abuse our avatars, you are abusing us emotionally. Believe me, we would feel it emotionally.

OK, with that rather lengthy background, let me get back on track. How does one meet girls in Second Life? Well, it depends on your intentions, of course.

If you are planning to see what cyber is like, or want to play out your wildest fantasies, and you need a partner right now, then I would really recommend that you visit an escort club. Unlike RL, there is no risk of disease or getting busted in SL. And as I understand it, it costs several hundred $L per hour, which works out to $1-$2 US dollars per hour. For that amount, you have someone who will cater to your needs, has a private room, has the proper equipment and scripts, and actually knows how to cyber properly and enjoy it. There are a large assortment of escort clubs, catering to probably just about every desire or fantasy one could dream up.

If you want to cyber but do not wish to spend the $L, then you will probably have to do a bit of charming at a dance club or one of the mature communities. I have only been to the dance clubs, and they are not much different than RL clubs. Guys stand around the dance floor chat with girls dancing or walking by. If you are smooth with the KB, you may get lucky. Dance clubs are pickup places in SL, so the girls who go expect to be hit on. So go ahead with your best "Hello Sexy". But just be aware that some girls go just to dance and chat (like me). So dont be too surprise if your invitation to cyber gets turned down.

Outside the clubs, I would not suggest wasting time on someone like me (or any number of "normal" AV's walking around) if you are looking for a quick cyber. For one thing, I couldnt cyber even if I wanted to...I dont have any equipment or scripts. I dont know what to do. And I really dont want to go through with it. After a lot of work on me, I can at best prove to be a really bad experience. If I had wanted to try cyber, I would have gone to the clubs and waited for a guy who knew what he was doing. I am sure thats the case with a lot of other girls.

But what about just meeting a girl as a friend, maybe romance, and who knows? I met almost all of the guys on my Friendship list as a result of doing some activity with them in SL. Most of them are role-playing friends. Some I know through repeated exposure at some places I frequent.

Much like RL, if you are looking for that special girl in SL, find some activity that interests you, and socialize with the people there. Whether it is gaming, arts, philosophy, music, taking classes, or sports, find something you like to do and socialize! Most SL couples I have met spend most of their time doing a shared activity in SL. And most SL groups have get-togethers and periodic parties. So sign up and start living your Second Life! You might just meet that special girl there as well.

According to my brother, Second Life is losely based on concepts from a book called "Snow Crash" about an interactive Internet. I havent read the book, but I passed this sign on Info Island. BTW, do you like my hair with the red tie? :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Natalia,

regarding your list of avatar types, do you not think there might be a third - the person who uses an opposite gender avatar? These are not gamers, because they are genuinely interested in "how the other half lives", and they're not self-avatars (for obvious reasons).

Have you never tried the male skin? (of course, you'd probably need a new account to avoid your name giving it all away X-)... you could then try out some of those "Hey Sexy" lines for a change... :)

BTW, thanks again for the informative and well-written blog!

Melissa Islander said...

Hi Natalia,

just read some pages on your blog and found them realy interesting, I agree with the comment about the third type of avatars. And like you I do feel pain when guys illtreat me. Hope to meet you in SL.


Arctellion said...

Hi Natalia,

There may be a Third as the anonymous poster mentioned, but also possibly a fourth which doesn't quite fit his description.

There is the Roleplayer, the person who takes on an aspect of either their own personality, assumes another persona (with background) similar to an actor playing a role. These come in all sorts of gender/type etc.

Having SL'd a bit myself now. I think I'd probably fit into this category, as my avatar has a full back-story independant of the SL or Real world (Female avatar though I'm Male RL.)

This is in part I think to having come from a background of Face to Face Roleplaying Games, where characters that exist on paper need to be embued with "life" to make them seem real and believable whilst you are playing them.

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, this is very true, I have met a few people using AVs of a different gender. In some cases, they do so only on a limited basis (as you say, to see "how the other half lives"). Im sure it would be hard to switch roles like that for a long time, since it must be difficult to have to keep up the pretense all the time.

I did try the "Male" button under Appearances to see what the fitting differences are between genders. That was a scary sight! I almost jumped out of my chair :P But no, I have no desire to "Hey Sexy" other AV's :)

Melissa, I didnt know there were that many people with diff AV genders until recently. Surprised me, actually. But hey, I guess thats what SL is can be anything you like. Whats the diff between being a diff gender versus begin a dragon? (Unless you get romantically involved, of course)

Arctellion, this is so true. Ive met a couple people doing something similar to what you describe.

I guess I think of it as how one applies their personal values in SL. If the AV behaves close to RL, I think of the person as a self-avatar. Otherwise, I consider the person a gamer.

In other words, if someone is a "normal" person in RL, but does anything to make money in SL (including the seedier activities), then they act like a gamer. Its just a game, and the consequences are different than RL.

In SL, if you treat others with respect and kindness, I dont think it really matters how you appear outward. I mean, I go around as a mermaid most of my free time :P

I think it would only matter if you become romantically involved with someone. But that really is a whole other discussion...

Anonymous said...

I'm always polite and respectful when I'm begging for some cyber from a beautiful girl. It's just not decent to do it any other way. Save the dirty talk for the bedroom!

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, heehee I agree that the exchange should be polite. Lol but I hate to think that one would have to beg :P Unless thats all you want from someone...

Chat with the girls...make a friend :) There is so much to do and explore in SL together! Show her some place cool, or something you like to do.

I love it when my date shows me a new place! Theres something magical and romantic about discovering something together.

Lynn Terra said...

Love the blog. I, personally, think the cyber aspect is lame. But, everyone goes through that phase in something new like SL. Thankfully there are those of us males (though few unfortunately) who prefer to hang out and talk rather than get into one's pants. I think most of the women in SL are actually manbians (men playing female lesbian avatars) anyways because all those want is sex sex sex. :P

SLNatalia said...

Lynn, I totally agree that theres a lot of other things to do in SL. I do know a few guys who like SL for its creative aspects. But everyone has their own preferences...thats what makes SL so interesting :)

Wolf Hartnell said...

Nice blog post. :o)

As one of those types who is pretty much their RL self (with a better physique - lol) I'd have to agree that there are probably a lot more women than men coming from that angle. There are quite a few of us men though, although sadly we tend to get just as badly burned - but then that's true of RL too ;o)

I found this post searching for something on SL dating. I've been a resident for around 18 months and have been in a few serious relationships in there. For those of us that like to feel that sense of "home" in SL, it is nice to have someone, even if just a really close friend, that wants to see us when we are in. The emotional stuff is just as difficult of course, if not more so, but if you want to actually have another "life" then love is part of that.

Now all I have to do is work out how to get myself into gear and get out there again. A year long relationship is a tough thing to get over losing in RL let alone SL {wry smile}. Thanks for the advice.

SLNatalia said...

Wolf, it sounds like you have lost someone dear to your in SL...Im so sorry. I know how that must feel...

Lol Ive been in SL much longer now than when I wrote this post. Its amazing how fast relationships move in SL!

I agree that it is nice to have someone (or a group) in SL to hang out with. Otherwise, SL could be a very lonely place...

Wolf Hartnell said...

Thank you for your wonderfully kind words Natalia. Sadly, as of a few hours ago it cost me far more than my SL happiness. My ex partner in SL was my partner in RL, and my inability to let go was too much for her in any world. I have sold up and put my avatar to sleep until I work out whether I want to be in that wonderful world any more. You take your real life stuff with you in there, even when you think you left it behind.

Thanks again,


SLNatalia said...

Wolf, I do hope that in time your problems will fade. Take your time and get away! We hope to see you back some day. Take care :)

NMoon Carling said...

Hi there i personally must b one of the few guys then ... i use my avatar as "me" with fat included lol.
i just dont see any point in lying what u see is what u get with me.
I like SL becasue there dont seem to b any "nice" women in UK anymore so i can speak to niver women worldwide ;)

SLNatalia said...

NMoon, lol I know a few women in the UK in SL :) They are some of my best friends (and you know who you are :P) I even know this RL couple in the UK who met in SL :)

So theres still hope of finding someone in the UK in SL...Im sure there are peak times for UK residents, much like other places around the world :)

Anonymous said...

How do u no if ur SL person is pregnant

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, might be pregnant if you dont get any IMs for a couple weeks...

Im sorry...I couldnt help myself :P

OK seriously, you have to go out of your way to get pregnant in SL. *WAY* out of your way :)

Your AV actually cant get pregnant, per se (unless you just want to make your tummy bigger and just pretend). But there are many "fertility" or "pregnancy" clinics in SL that will sell you pregnancy "kits". These include shapes for your AV, scripted tummies, and even role-played deliveries. These kits cost a few thousand L$.

(Dont ask how I know all this stuff ;P)

Janice said...

I love your blog. It's fun to read and watch as you go from newbie to one of the cornerstones of SL.

One thing you are always firm on is that you don't cyber. You do seem to enjoy roleplay. Have you ever thought that you don't necessiarily have to have sex to cyber? You don't need scripts or poseballs, just good story-telling. Much like good roleplay. A date, a dance, a walk through the park and a kiss good night; all done with descriptions. It can be a moving experience without having to go "there". The really hard part is finding a partner that views SL as more than interactive porn.

I am not try to give you arguments or debat on why you should try it; I'm saying that in a way, you probably already have ;)
We all have limits. Don't ever cross yours.

SLNatalia said...

Janice, heehee when I wrote this on Day 53, I was quite annoyed at men in general ;P

Lol and I was very boring when I was role-playing. I mostly liked dressing up, flirt with the guards, and having tea with friends and gossiping (about the guards :P).

BTW, I have absolutely nothing against adults socializing in SL! I think its great, and I know some people who even went on to become a couple in RL :) OK, some of the stuff Ive seen in SL are a bit strange (for me), but as long as they are consenting adults in SL, I support their freedom to do whatever they wish!

Ive kinda gotten my RL back together again (I hope). So Im a lot more positive now :) Besides, Im busy with Blue Poseball and Zippy...who has time for more BF's? ;P

Second Life Player said...

Hello Natalia, another nice thread!
You are spot on about the different Av types. I have done lots of cybering in the past and it becomes very easy to assign "type" to an av within seconds, however I must admit that most of the thrill for me was seducing a "no-hoper" type av!..Yes, I know I'm terrible..x

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Second, please be careful about what you do in SL...remember some people are going thru hard times in RL (and SL is a way of escaping). I know, cause I was like that when I started this blog...

Bunderwahl Guisse said...

Very good post, it was interesting and informative. I can fill in some things on the Guys side of things, and also add a few thoughts.

The 'gamers' probably dont outnumber the 'self' type males in SL (or at least are in the same proportion as females). What you may not have considered are two things -gamers will hit on all girls and more frequently, and 'self' type guys tend to be busy with thier female friends (or in relationships)

As in real life it is the woman who decides, usually before the male has a clue. Guys usually chase a girl till she catches him. Which dosentmean a guy cant improve his chances, there are a number of things you can do.

1. Take pride in your appearance, yes they say money dosent mean a thing but if you dont care about how you look they will dissmiss you in a heartbeat. They want a guy that other girls notice, that thier friends ask them about, and that make other girls jealous.

2. Be confident but not cocky -and yes there is a big difference in the two.

3. Dont be creepy, no matter what thier profile says, they will be all to happy to share details of thier rl... when they feel comfortable doing so. Dont start asking a bunch of personal questions or expectiong that they will be moving in with you... relax and have fun. Let her breath, she has other friends and has her own interests, dont be clingy.

4. Dont lie (or cheat), that one should go without saying. It is fine to say you would rather not disscuss something at this time. Nobody likes to be lied to, and if you are caught then the dammage is most likley permanent. A person will respect you more for telling the truth even if it is something they dont want to hear. I have had a lot of friends sob on my shoulder about being deceived, used, or toyed with. It may seem like pixels but they represent a living breathing person with emotions and feelings.

5. Make friends, be flirty, tease, joke. Not only will you have more fun (and introductions) but a popular guy is VERY attractive to women. Talk about your interests, develop skills,(crafting)and most importantly listen -there is a place you can make a note on someone elses profile that only you can read -use it!

I hope these suggestions help, they have served me well. If you want a quality woman, you have to be a quality guy

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Bunderwahl, thank you for your wonderful comment! I wish more guys would follow your advice...esp the lying part (lol can't believe how some guys think we are totally stupid sometimes :P).

And we are usually not the ones who choose. Sometimes, theres nothing you can do if a guy just doesnt notice you :P

Anonymous said...

I don't know what category I fit in. I'm male in RL but pose as the main (female) character of several novels I've published --- in an effort to promote the novels. (My wife started and lost interest after a week.)

Oddly enough, I tend to be the "self" type of participant: I take what happens to my avatar very seriously and have almost the same values as I do in RL --- except:

Although I hate shopping in RL, I find myself enjoying it in SL and trying on different outfits --- and thinking about which colors go together. Now, I understand why my wife feels she needs a dozen pairs of shoes :).

It's as if women are living art, and having a female avatar triggers this sense in me.

Luckily, I haven't had a problem with guys hitting on me (either I have an ugly avatar or I give off "vibes"). I have no interest in relationships other than friendship.

That said, I have met many fascinating and wonderful people in SL.

Maybe I'll get another novel out of it!

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Dear Anonymous, welcome to SL! Congrats on your novels...thats quite an accomplishment :) Heehee shopping in SL is usually more fun than RL.

A lot of times, I have to buy things in RL to go out or for a party. The pressure really takes the fun out of it. Lol and I hate to have to choose.

But in SL, I can buy it all, and change as many times as I want in the middle of a party. Wouldn't it be great if we could do that in RL? ;)