There are many things about both SL and human nature that bemuse me – some, I’m sure, arise from my own experiences or a certain incapacity to relate to things at an emotional level that are pretty easy for most people to grasp. The latter I put down to a latent psychopathy that I’m sure is lurking deep within my subconscious!
I was recently an attendee at an inworld get-together, itself celebrating the getting-together of a couple of friends, and surprisingly I enjoyed it. Normally these are things that I’ll avoid at all costs in both worlds, but sometimes for friends, I can make an exception, and I’m glad I did. Although it wasn’t a wedding as such, I’d be surprised if a virtual hitching isn’t on the cards at some point in the future.
I’ve never been to an inworld wedding and it’s one of those things that my little mind struggles to comprehend. I completely understand the emotional and psychological basis for SL partnering – indeed, I’ve been there myself – but virtual ‘marriage’ is, in my opinion a step way too far. I’m not having a dig at those who do subscribe to tying the virtual knot – I’m equally indisposed to the idea of marriage in RL too, but that’s just the way I am, I’m afraid.
Even without that bias, I struggle to grasp the concept of a virtual wedding. It has no legal standing, confers no particular special status upon the celebrants and has little to offer in the form of personal gain, or shared benefits. You may, of course, find that a terribly cynical view of the whole thing and be wondering whether I have any grasp of the concept of romance, and I can understand your bemusement – to which I plead ‘guilty as charged’. Romance aside, which I grant you is a strong motivator, all the paraphernalia of the accompanying wedding celebration is something that completely baffles me. Do people really derive the same sort of excitement, satisfaction and feelings of wellbeing that presumably accompany the planning and execution of a real life wedding, from imitating the process inworld? To me, that seems somehow unlikely… But again, I wouldn’t know, and maybe there’s some rational foundation for wishing to do so?
Surely then, the SL wedding business must be founded on something more than just romance? I can understand how romantic attachments and all that goes with them thrive in RL, but they come with far more in the way of human contact and, dare I say it, emotional investment. If anything, those committing to a partner in SL and looking for that grand romantic gesture should maybe be considering something a little more tangible – that maybe breaks the divide between the real and virtual world – rather than a dressy inworld ceremony?
Or have I got this all completely wrong? I’m quite happy to be told I have, although I’m not sure I could be convinced otherwise! I guess I’m somewhat jaded when it comes to romantic attachments of any nature, and this is bound to colour my opinion. Sad? Maybe, but actually I’m perfectly happy with my situation, and the same happens to be true of my Second Life too. Inevitably, at that recent happy gathering, the conversation turned to ‘I wonder who it’s going to be next?’ If there’s one thing of which I am certain, it’s not going to be me, and that’s something that doesn’t bother me in the slightest!
Maybe you’re one of those who has demonstrated your love for another in SL by exchanging virtual vows, perhaps rings, maybe even pushing the boat out and going the whole hog – dress, top hat and tails, grand reception, the lot. If you are, then I wish you all the best and I’m sure you’ll gain great happiness from it. In a way, I wish I could empathise and share in the delight, but it just doesn’t work for me.
SL weddings, as far as I can relate to them, fall into the same category as Gorean roleplay, Vampires and and virtual fashion models – I can understand the allure; I really don’t mind if it floats your boat; and, there’s nothing at all wrong, weird or bad about it… But I really don’t understand it, and it doesn’t work for me.
Each to their own, and if it makes you happy, then why not?
One thing I can tell you is
You got to be free
Come together, right now
Joe Cocker & Martin Luther – Come Together