There are many things we happily do in SL that we might think twice about before considering them in the real world, and these can cover a multitude of experiences ranging from bungee jumping and riding motorbikes to the more ‘personal’ variety, such as going to swingers’ clubs and indulging in activities that we wouldn’t disclose to our nearest and dearest in RL.
That’s not to say we can’t indulge ourselves in much the same way in RL as we do in the virtual environment, but for those of us who happen to be rather more risk averse and reticent in the real world, SL allows us the opportunity to indulge in pursuits that we’d either consider too dangerous or somewhat extreme in a real world context.
Then there are what I like to term as the 3As of SL: Accessibility; Adaptability and; Anonymity. Accessibility, because SL overlooks many of the practicalities that indulging our whim would require in RL: things are so much easier in SL – we can pursue our entertainment through the simple expedient of jumping on a poseball, or dropping a few choice words into search… in the real world, things are rarely that simple or straightforward and often require serious amounts of expenditure in terms of cash, time and effort. Adaptability, in the way that SL enables us to be what we want to be, without the constraints of the real world to hold us back – we can have the perfect body, or the perfect bike, or both if we want; we can have a different avatar, with a different outlook and a different back-story to complement whatever activity we happen to be currently pursuing, and we can chop and change at will.
Then there’s Anonymity – it speaks for itself. There are things we’ll never do in the real world, simply because it would be horribly embarrassing to run into your kid’s teacher at the local bondage event! Then there’s the freeing aspect of anonymity… it’s a confidence booster: when the people around us don’t know what we look like or sound like; when they have no idea about who we really are, we can be who we really want to be – no hang-ups and no reservations.
However, not all of us would choose to explore some of the more esoteric, outlandish or out of character aspects of SL, preferring instead to walk a more well-trodden path… but even then, we can often experience a side of ourselves that is kept hidden away in RL. By day, we may wear a business suit exchanging it for comfy slippers and a onesie once we hit home territory… but inworld we’ll happily throw on a ballgown or costume that – whatever we might tell ourselves – we’d never willingly sport in the real world: we’d just feel silly, uncomfortable and worry that our knickers are showing or that we’ll spill food on our skirt. So even the most staid of us lose some of our inhibitions once inworld – and it feels good!
However, latex is where I draw the line. In RL there are certain types of clothing that should only ever be worn in very specific circumstances, and by people whose bodies are suited to such clothing – which rules out about 90% of the population about 90% of the time. Even if I could think of a likely scenario that would merit me wearing latex, there’s isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that I would. If that wasn’t enough, a good friend vastly more experienced than I in such things tells me that the latex lover’s lot is not an easy one. First there’s the talc, buffing and polishing and afterwards – apparently – it’s a case of immediately getting the whole lot into the bath for a good scrub and a proper drying and airing if you want to avoid some pretty vile stinkage… Frankly, I’m just too damn lazy to even consider it!
An ideal candidate for SL then? Actually, no. There are far too many connotations associated with latex in the virtual world that really hold no appeal for me, plus it just wouldn’t feel right going about my normal business, doing the things I usually do, clad head to foot in shiny plastic – just not my thing.
So, what do you do when a friend buys you a latex outfit?
So yes, I did… and you know what, I actually quite enjoyed it! It was a a surprisingly enjoyable and liberating experience, and what the hell… this is SL after all, who cares? It’s just pixel clothes after all.
Perhaps I’m not as risk-averse as I thought?
Skin tight skin, hair dyed and walks like a rainbow
Where she goes the Joe knows her middle name
High heels, click, clack
Hey are you walkin’ or stalkin?
Suzi Quatro – Skin Tight Skin