What are you doing

Got an unexpected email from December 2006 lover last night.

It was one of those form letters that get sent when friends invite you to join a social site. Regardless, it warmed me up inside anyway.

After checking out the site, I clicked Reply and had to backspace when I realized that I had addressed him by the term of endearment that I used to call him a year ago.

And then I found myself humming (or attempting to, since I still have a cold) the song "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve".


A whisper (the paradox of invisibility)

He caught my eye, precisely because I couldn't see him.

I was feeling off-kilter that night, so I decided to find a live event to distract me. Edward Lowell was performing at Sailor's Cove. A few people were already there, but more continued to arrive. I was seated on the side closer to the landing point so latecomers had to walk, fly, or swim in front of me.

About twenty minutes into the hour, I saw a female avie walk across my screen, but she had two nametags. Then she paused in the middle of the open area, but the other nametag -- and a shadow -- kept moving until it got to the grassy area on the other side. Then it stopped.

I smiled to myself. Here's an avie I've never seen before.

Well, I did Ctrl-Alt-T to show objects with alpha. No red highlights around this avie.

And I already knew how to create an invisiprim. I've chopped off my head that way once and Emi took pictures with my head on a silver tray that she held. But invisiprims distort the objects behind them and this avie created no distortion at all. (Btw, a transparent texture with transparency set to zero will not show any red highlights with Ctrl-Alt-T.)

About a week prior, Gear and I were talking about animations and I was asking him to explain the "root" prim in his U-Poser mannequin. As an aside, he told a story about how he was able to "disappear" by wearing an animation with the root set four meters underground. And he demoed the animation to me. So I moved my camera underground to see if I could find this mysterious avie. Nothing underground. I was getting more and more intrigued.

I remembered another conversation with Gear where he said that if a prim is small enough, it doesn't get rezzed at all. I wondered if that was what was going on here, but how? I've seen avies that were shrunk as small as possible then folded up using an animation pose. But none this tiny that it's practically invisible.

So I sent the invisible man an IM and complimented him on his avie. I said that I couldn't see transparent prims and I couldn't see him underground. I was hoping for an explanation.

He said he's very tiny and naked. I thought he was giving a clue as to how the avie was done. He wasn't. He was giving me a clue that he was roleplaying.

But it's a charming RP. He's a Tom Thumb type of character, supposedly two to three inches tall as he described. A "tiny pet" says his profile. And the way he does it is so disarming. I found myself giggling a lot and playing along. I mean, isn't that exactly the Lilliputian childhood fantasy that draws us to the Greenies sim?

Well, to make a long story short, the childhood fantasy quickly transformed into an adult fantasy. And that night turned out to be the most incredible night I've had in SL.

I broke a number of records. I did my first RP (I still haven't found the time to RP as a mermaid so this *was* my first RP), an RP with a very strange and unique creature, and a sexual RP at that. I slept with him less than an hour after meeting him. We cuddled and talked for almost *five hours* afterwards. I got to know a bit about the man behind the avatar and fell in love with him in that short timespan. (I know, I know, it's probably the oxytocin working.)

But I'm uncomfortable with certain aspects of his RP, which he needs. And he's uncomfortable with being a full-sized avie, which I prefer. So, no, he won't be my lover. Besides, he is happily married irl, which I found out too late. No, he won't be my pet either, although he claimed he'd be a better pet than Jimmie.

And, since that night, I've been remembering other childhood fantasies and the sense of wonder that accompanied them. Maybe I've just discovered what would make SL feel fresh and new again. And all this time, I've been ignoring RPs in favor of building and scripting. There's actually a lot of creativity involved in an RP. It's storytelling, after all, except it's on-the-fly and with two or more authors, which makes it more challenging and dynamic.

Isn't it ironic? He probably thought he'd avoid attention by being practically invisible. But, as they say, if you want to be heard, whisper. His avie was a whisper.

* The avie was combination of the different "tricks". That is, a scrunched up animation with the avie underground hidden inside invisiprims. It comes with a prim doll that is the only thing visible to others, but he didn't wear the prim doll to the concert. I forgot to write down the creator, but the avie was very well done.
** And to remove the shadow, simply uncheck Client > Rendering > Features > Foot Shadows. I need to confirm if that applies to everybody's view so that nobody can see your shadow, or if that applies to just your view so that you can't see anybody's shadow.

"Does he have hands?"

That was Lora's first question when I asked her if she wanted to meet my new boyfriend.

Well, alright, so I had to make hands for Admiral Creaky (aka Mr. July 2007), which prompted the question. But Hottie (aka Mr. December 2007) *does* have hands, although I have to admit he doesn't have all ten fingers.

And while Creaky prefers sitting on his bony ass ;D , Hottie is at least portable. Too bad, I can't put him in a tux to go dancing with me. But he does tip his hat for the ladies. (You think I have a thing for top hats?)

(More pics at http://wildopallei.fotki.com/friends/hottie/.)

Anyway, that brings me to a conversation I had with Howard a few nights ago. He asked me what my criteria were for an SL relationship. And, on the spot, I came up with the following (now edited, of course):
1. Must not be in a committed relationship irl or in SL.
2. Must be an interesting conversationalist with a healthy sense of humor. That implies having intelligence and giving me his full attention at least most of the time.
3. Must be mature, not necessarily in age.
4. Must be willing to lose sleep once in a while just to spend more time with me. Extra points for missing a flight, because he can't pull himself away.
5. Must be a GREAT cyber-er.

Am I asking too much? Probably. Most men don't even pass #1.

The thing is that, when it comes right down to it, I forget about any criteria. Anna asks me where my integrity is if I can't even stick to what I say. On the other hand, I question where my compassion is if I can't love people for who they are, with all their flaws, their fallibility, and their humanness.

So I weave in and out of relationships, savoring the sweetness of a man for a small bite of time, before moving on to the next flavorful dish. And that's okay. It's kinda like dim sum -- a piece here, a piece there, and pretty soon, you realize you're full. All those bites adding up to a satisfying meal that eventually meets all your criteria.

Is it the right thing to do? I dunno. I know the pain of being just a morsel. I know the pain of not being good enough to be someone's full meal. Do I hold out for someone who meets all my criteria? Or do I ignore my list and call it "good enough"?

But, hey, whether I go by my list or not, hands will always be optional.

* Yes, Hottie has a brother. An infinite number of them, actually. Meet one at Pannie's. ;)
** No, Nexus. This one isn't an avie either. It's a scripted snowman "pet" that follows you around and does tricks. :D
*** Yes, Jimmie, I know you can do better tricks, but I still will *not* make anybody my pet.