In some ways, human beings are like wild animals – we like to gather together at watering holes, although the analogy does break down slightly thereafter, since we tend to do so primarily for companionship, whilst wild animals tend to do so primarily for utility, that is, they need to drink.
In fact, although we humans clearly do drink when we get together at our designated hostelries, it is the companionship element of the occasion that tends to be more important to us, so much so that it’s a scenario that’s become enshrined in popular culture. Which establishment speaks to your sensibilities is somewhat immaterial:Whether it’s Cheers, Moe’s Tavern, The Woolpack, Queen Vic, The Drunken Clam or the Rovers Return, it’s not so much the place, but the people and their lives that draw us together, and it’s seldom – if ever – about the contents of their glasses. Nobody ever tunes in to see Del Boy, Rodney and Grandpa quietly supping on their drinks at the Nag’s Head – we’re only interested in the conversations and situation comedy that arises from the interactions between them. A bar, in human terms is far more a place for putting the world to rights than it is for drinking to forget the world.
Given that the consumption of liquid refreshment is only of secondary importance to this particular form of socialising, it’s perhaps unsurprising that I myself – being averse to such situations in RL, (it’s expensive, inconvenient and requires the presence of like-minded friends) – have managed to find the virtual equivalent instead. And the location is even a pub!
Most evenings, if I’m not tied up with more important things, will find me at The Killing Moon, a friendly neighbourhood pub, located on my home sim of Penny Lane. Just as in a real pub, there’s a bar, interesting trinkets scattered on the shelves, a games’ corner and a jukebox. More importantly, it is here that I regularly meet up with many of my friends, and also where I’ve made a few new ones too. We may dance, joke, sit and chat or occasionally burn noobs on the dancefloor, (it’s not called the Killing Moon for nothing, you know!). We have a great time, sometimes interspersed with drama, the occasional moments of pathos and sadness, and – when we feel like it – the odd intellectual moment. In short, all the features of getting together with friends in a real pub, but with virtual alcohol instead.
It’s an aspect of SL that, for me at least, meets an unspoken need for company and companionship, without any of the pressures or expectations of a more formal or prescriptive setting. It’s not a fixed get-together – sometimes there may be just one or two that pop in, at other times there can be a good crowd gathered, and sometimes you’ll just get an IM out of the blue: “Are you busy? We’re at The Moon”.
I’m not good at social situations in RL, but I think in all of us there’s something that needs that informal, come as you are, no obligation meeting place. Somewhere where you can do your own thing in the company of friends, and they can be themselves around you too; and all without the worries about who you’re going to share a taxi home with, and how much the next round is going to cost you – and that, in my opinion, can’t be bad.
I suppose it’s not for everyone, and I totally understand why, but for me The Moon is a place where you head off to at the end of tiring day, and just unwind; maybe chat and have a laugh – or just listen in to the banter around you. It’s a place for the weary traveler to put down their burden and relax; a convivial setting to debate the day’s headline news; somewhere to flirt and tell naughty jokes; a place where you can spill the beans, chew the fat and argue the toss… A place where boundaries are broken down and friendships built.
And, when it comes to Last Orders and chucking out time, you can head home, happy and content, without ever having left the house.
And son all my life I’ve been searching
The bars I’ve been in I forget
The lights outside ever brighter
But a light on the inside not yet
The Beautiful South – Liar’s Bar