I’ve just been an unwilling party to an intensely irritating conversation between an annoying girl on the train and whoever was on the other side of her phone. It was one of those conversations that, even if you were the other party, would drive you to an intense and completely justified desire to murder the person speaking to you…
“He was like, going to pay like for them like, but like their not supposed to be coming anyway like. Like what am I supposed to do, like my family is like real easy going like, but his family is like really needy…”
There are many things wrong with that conversation, quite apart from the fact she droned on and on for the twenty minutes she was on the train, at a volume that was just too intrusive for you not to listen in, and the subject matter – apparently, although it was never totally clear, was one I loathe with a passion – wedding planning. I’m not a violent person, but I was at the point of Googling ‘contract killers’ when she got off, still bemoaning the fact that Angie and David were insisting on bringing their kids, even though like, nobody else was, like.
However, rant over, for that particular annoyance – it’s just not worth the bandwidth to explore further, although there was one particular comment that started me thinking – the one about the needy family.
‘Families’ in SL is a phenomenon that I’ve never been able to fully get to grips with. And this applies to either of the types of families you’ll typically encounter inworld.
There’s the freaky 2.4 prim kid family where ‘mom’ (it just feels right to use the Americanism) had chosen to put herself through the pain and indignities of a virtual pregnancy and birth, the results of which are now proudly boasted about in mom and dad’s profile picks, where they are joined by images of ‘the bestest auntie in the world’ and, inexplicably but invariably, a mention or two of a favourite BDSM club or slave market.
Then there’s the equally freaky SL extended family, again extolled in profile picks, with reciprocal extollation from the various extollees selected by the extoller! These are typically phrased in gushing nonsense-speak, expressed in weird and unreadable ASCII fonts and usually include a dire message in warning to anyone who upsets or otherwise offends a fellow family member. You’ll often see such profiles proliferating amongst wider familial inworld groups and communities such as bikers, vampires and members of Frank’s Elite.
I completely understand that some may feel the need to belong and feel part of a close knit group who care for each other and connect on a deep emotional level; I also understand that for some, the pretence of living as virtual family, complete with babies and relatives, is attractive. Both scenarios are, essentially, role play – but, to my mind it is role play of the creepier and more obscure kind, and it does have the effect of alienating me from those who practice it.
Oddly, maybe, I’m perfectly OK with other types of role play, even though I have no interest or leanings in that direction at all – and, at its heart, isn’t SL just another form of RP anyway? So if you want to do your Gorean furry vampyric BDSM dollification sex play, carry on – I’m fine with it; I’m not interested in joining in, neither do I particularly want to hear about your exploits when you indulge, but whatever floats your boat is fine with me – YKINMK, but feel free to crack on with it if you so wish. However, if it’s SL families that are your thing then that’s something I’m going to feel pretty uncomfortable with, even if there’s no real difference between that and any other type of RP common in SL – it’s simply one of those things I neither understand, nor am I wholly at ease with it – it’s me, it’s not you!
But, what do you think?
Collecting pieces of my family
In an old pillow case
This one has a skull
But it don’t have a face
Alice Cooper – Pick Up The Bones