I’m am not a beach type of person. You’ll never find me taking a beach holiday or see me get excited about spending a day topping up my tan on the shore, in fact there are few things that I consider as much of a waste of time as lying immobile in the sun on a lounger all day long.
It’s not just the sheer boredom of lazing on the beach that I find anathema, it’s the unwelcome gritty-stickiness of sand adhering to the skin, creeping unwanted into your picnic lunch and being whipped up into mini sandstorms that irritate your eyes. It’s the relentless sun that causes snowblindness as it reflects from the pages of that book that you’re ineffectively trying to both read and use as a sunshade, the blood draining from your arms, trembling with lactic-acid tremors as you hold your book aloft. It’s the screams of devil-spawn children, the odour of sweat and sunblock, and the knowledge that your evening is condemned to heat headache and sunburn. Yet, most people see to enjoy it.
I most certainly don’t!
I don’t despise beaches – give me a secluded cove on an overcast day and I’m fine; a deserted, windswept bay suits me perfectly, but please don’t expect me to ever get enthusiastic about a sun-soaked beach holiday, or an invitation to any sort of beach party, because I won’t!
I afraid that the same holds true for SL too. Whilst the majority of the more irritating inconveniences of the beach are avoided inworld, there are other facets of virtual seaside shenanigans that leave me cold: for example, the overwhelming slant that so many SL beaches have towards being pick up joints, almost inevitable you might conclude with so much enticing, inviting bare flesh on display, and let’s face it, there’s an awful lot of beach sims inworld more than happy to capitalise on that particular aspect of ‘entertainment’.
There also seem to be an inordinate number of music venues with a beach party theme, and of course there’s nothing wrong with that, but again it’s not really my cup of tea I’m afraid, and once again I can’t help harbouring the suspicion that a lot of these venues are as much about dancing around wearing as little as possible as they are about the music. Not my thing, I’m afraid, so when a friend recently decided to throw a beach party I was torn between showing my support and joining in the fun, and staying true to type and avoiding it like the plague. In the end, loyalty and friendship prevailed.
That presented me with a problem. My aversion to beaches means that my wardrobe, in terms of beach party wear is somewhat limited – and I’m afraid, rather dated – to say the least. Out of a 55 000 item inventory, only around 20 of those items could be classified as beach wear. In the past, I’ve usually opted for the humorously ironic Victorian beach paraphernalia, but on this occasion, I thought I really should enter into the spirit of the occasion and make the effort… There really was very little worth wearing to choose from, however. I considered buying something new, but I really didn’t want to spend a great deal on something that would get very little use; and there was another issue that I largely manage to avoid when it comes to everyday clothing. Being a bit of a virtual luddite, I’ve never ‘upgraded’ to a mesh body and, because my body shape remains pretty much as I designed it way back in my early days inworld, there are certain bits of me that just don’t get on with mesh, whether ‘standard’ size, or otherwise. This makes looking for anything worth wearing that could be described as beachwear somewhat challenging. Much of what is available pre-mesh can be a bit naff, but anything newer is likely to be tailored to specific body shapes – none of which fit my avatar. Such are the perils of stubbornness!
Eventually, I came upon upon a nice system bikini that I had floating in my inventory, and coupled it with a simple mesh sarong from the Marketplace, which appeared to fit perfectly… Until I turned around!
My butt cheeks poked out of the rear like a couple of backward-facing headlights, despite utilising the suplied alpha provided with the sarong. At this point, I’d had more than enough of trawling for something decent, (as opposed to indecent), and my sorry state of affairs was the prompt to get my act together and do something I’d intended to get around to trying for the past couple of years. It was time to have a go at making my own bespoke alpha masks.
It’s something I’ve wanted to have a bash at for ages – those aforementioned issues of trying to fit mesh properly on a weirdly-shaped body have been the bane of my virtual life, even so they can be fairly simply solved with a bit of work in Photoshop, and this was a perfect opportunity to finally get started – and the result? Perfect! No more butt cheek headlamps, and better still, all those mesh outfits I’ve been stockpiling but never worn because bits of me just don’t fit… Well, now their day might have finally come!
And all because of a beach party – I’d never have believed it.
(And I even enjoyed the party!)
Well I got the notion girl that you got some suntan lotion in that bottle of yours
Spread it all over my peelin’ skin, baby
That feels real good
All this skirt lappin’ up the sun
Lap me up
Why don’t you come on and lap me up?
The Stranglers – Peaches