What would YOU do?

A few weeks ago I wrote about my appearance in SL and how so many people felt they had the right to walk up to me and make suggestions for improvements (“Makeover”, July 28). I thought I’d looked fine when I was “born” back on June 26 but I had to agree that once C got done with me, I looked much better. I’ve added a few more little tweaks here and there (like buying hair). I’m not a knock-out. I’m not going to turn heads when I walk into a room. I went skin shopping and picked up some demo’s I’m still contemplating. I have an idea for the next hair I’m going to buy. I’m sure I’ll do some changes but I’m not in a big rush to do so. I am comfortable with how I look. It suits how I feel when I’m in SL. (Or – do I act as I do because of how I look???? I’m not going there today.)

So I am still somewhat at a loss about a conversation that took place a few nights past. I was inworld tp’ing about, listening to live music. Several of my friends were online but most were in the middle of other activities and I was enjoying my own company. I was savoring the freedom of roaming a new world all by myself without fear, enjoying my growing confidence in navigating all the aspects of living a virtual life. I tp’d into a well-known jazz club. How do I know it’s well-known? LOL. Even I had heard of it! 🙂 It was a large room and most people were up close to the stage. I strolled over to a table on the outskirts of the room and settled in to listen to the music, sending occasional IM’s to other friends.

A new IM popped up in the window. It was from RemakeYourselfGal, Ryg. (No, of course that isn’t her name – the names have been changed to protect the guilty.)
Ryg: you get that pic?
AH: excuse me?
Ryg: I sent you a pic I took of you
AH: oh! no. are you sure you are talking to the right person?

The message box popped up and there indeed was a fairly nice pic of me. I was baffled. Why was a total stranger taking pictures of me? Ryg and I exchanged pleasantries. She told me she was trying to guess my age by my avatar’s appearance. It turned out that she specialized in makeovers: nightclubs, landscaping and people. I began to have an inkling of where this conversation might be heading. I thought Ryg was trying to recruit me as a client. I figured that she simply approached many strangers and began her sales pitch this way. But she told me she didn’t charge for make-overs, she wanted to help others so that they didn’t struggle as she had. I was still fairly relaxed and happy, so, laughing to myself, I asked her if I should be worried that a make-over artist approached me.

AH: I am curious as to why you initiated the conversation
Ryg: well I mentor an I have seen a hundred girls that look like you
AH: does this mean you think i am desparately in need of make-over?
Ryg: mmm the short answer is no, but I feel you could look a lot closer to what you want to project here

Deep Breath. At this point part of me is ready to lash out at her and ask her how she, a total stranger, dares to presume to tell me what I want to project. The other part of me is fascinated by the whole conversation and wants to see how far she’s going to take it. Obviously the latter won or there would be no blog. 🙂 I was going to put all of our dialogue in here but that is overkill and boring. So what follows are a few choice excerpts. (Which may still be boring! 🙂 ) We talked about many things, but it always drifted back to her presumption that I needed to be “fixed”. Let me say, however, that I believe Ryg was trying to be nice. She thought she was being kind, offering to help a newbie figure things out. One inworld friend thought the conversation constituted a form of abuse and I should have reported Ryg. I think that’s extreme. I don’t believe she was trying to insult me or hurt me. But….. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

AH: I am curious as to why you initiated the conversation
Ryg: well I mentor an I have seen a hundred girls that look like you
.
AH: so you like my boots. what is it about my appearance that you think needs fixing?
Ryg: you need to differentiate yourself from the 5 million other sally sue’s out there . . eyes first then hair, maybe a nice skin
Ryg: NICE skin
Ryg: I like just enough makeup to accent my lips and eyes . .maybe a touch of rouge on the cheeks
.
Ryg: you need a facelight too, this place is notoriously dim, all of sl
Ryg: other people need to see your pretty face
Ryg: see you are over in the corner in the dark, no one witout radar will know you are there
AH: But Ryg, what if that’s okay?
Ryg: thats fine
Ryg: you don impress me as someone who wants to avoid people
AH: so what do you think of this face light? better?
Ryg: lol is it on?
.
AH: that leads me back to my original question, why me? how did you “see” me walk in
Ryg: you are the only woman outside help island I have seen that looks like you
AH: LOL. i guess that’s a bad thing
Ryg: well not a bad thing, you are not unique
Ryg: an I think you want to be

At this point I confess that she was really starting to depress me. Good thing she liked my new black boots or I think I’d have run out of the club and jumped off the nearest bridge. Good thing I had friends on the IM telling me to ignore her and to gasp at her comments. I was giving serious thought to slinking out of there and finding a paper bag to put on my poor, hundred-other-girl face. Ryg told me how she made-over her current girlfriend. Ryg gave her Ryg’s own body shape. They had different skins, eyes, hair, etc., but they had the same shape. I replied that I thought there was no problem with sharing a shape but that otherwise being the same could be problematic. I realize now from reading our chat that Ryg thought I was talking about my own body staying the same shape. Even so.

Ryg: She is the only person I gave my shape to, she has diff skin an hair, or she would look like me
AH: i can see where that wouldnt work. but same shape should be fine
Ryg: well . . thinner waist? biggger boobs? some butt? who knows . . but lord you can try

“but lord you can try”

That was the point at which I decided I’d had enough. I excused myself and tp’d to the NCI boardwalk.

Let me give you the last little supreme irony, a line from Ryg’s own profile: Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

So, dear reader, there you have it. What would you have said or done?

6 Responses to “What would YOU do?”


  1. 1 chestnut September 3, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I would not have engaged the conversation at all. I would have said “Thank you very much but I don’t need or want your help as I am comfortable with how I look.” Then I would smile sweetly and close her IM box. If she continued the conversation I would end it by ignoring the person or by using the mute button.

    One note: it is a TOS violation to send IM that was sent to you to another person inworld. So, by all means describe what someone said to your friends but I advise against outright copying IMs and sending them on. There are people who disagree with me on this point (Dale) but you may want to read the last paragraph on this page. https://support.secondlife.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=4417%22,

  2. 2 Dale Innis September 3, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    If I was in a hurry or doing something else, I’d probably do what Chestnut suggests, only probably in a less sweet and more silly fashion. (“Eeeek! Run away!” springs to mind.)

    If I was more at leisure I’d probably do about what you did, Ahuva, drawing them out to see just what the heck they were talking about. Given my huge ego and chronologically longer experience with random SL weirdos I might have been more purely amused, and not depressed; but you never know. I vaguely think that over the months a few people have unsolicitedly suggested that I change myself in various ways, and I’ve politely ignored them entirely (except for one benefactor back when I was a noob, who warned me that a 5′ 9″ guy was going to be way too short for any male-intended poseballs!). I don’t think I’ve ever been attacked by a professional maker-over, though.

    Was she amazing-looking herself? I’d think that’d be sort of the first requirement for that job. (As to not charging, of course she charges! She gets smug satisfaction in her own superiority, by squishing her victims’ self-confidence and then perhaps building it up again.)

    I remember once someone reported on the Hey Girlfriends! list that some ultra-blingy guy was hawking makeovers (cheap or free, I forget) in some mall, and as a prank like 17 of us converged on him and followed him to the island where he was claiming to have his business. His sister, who actually owns the island. was really teed off at him (hee hee) and apologized very nicely to us all for her jerky brother.

    (On the TOS issue: It may well be a ToS violation; my position is that if it is it’s a really WEIRD one: anyone sending me an IM out of the blue automatically creates in me an obligation not to share it inworld? That’s crazy-talk. LL’s own position on it is very fuzzy; see in particular the confusing last sentence of the last paragraph on the page Ches pointed to. (Her link didn’t work for me; this one might:

    https://support.secondlife.com/ics/support/KBAnswer.asp?questionID=4873

    )

    And thanks for the funny story in general. 🙂 Keep ’em coming!

  3. 3 ahuva18 September 3, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks Chestnut! Yes – you are probably right – I probably should have simply closed the IM. But I am always so curious to see what people will say and do.

    And I appreciate the info about the TOS. I tried very carefully to make sure that I did not use any unique, identifying remarks. Especially since I believed and still believe she was trying to be helpful, not abusive. As a general rule, I try not to ever share personal information without the other person’s explicit permission.

  4. 4 Krissy Muggleston September 3, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    When I was new, I *asked* for advice. You’ll find yourself making tweaks to your appearance as you go and as you are comfortable with. I would have been offended if someone offered to ‘make me over’ and I would never be so bold as to assume I’m qualified to make someone else over. I certainly don’t think she did anything malicious and so therefore didn’t warrant a report. She was just tacky. Consider it a lesson for what not to do. 😉

  5. 5 melissa88 September 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Or of course you simply could answer, “My sister thinks I am beautiful, so who cares what YOU think!” LOL! (Imagine what she’d say to ME!!)

  6. 6 Lunette September 4, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    I had this experience an NCI South: Some guy offered me a better skin. I asked what was wrong with the one I was wearing. He started talking about definition of better skins, especially the nipples. Now I was fully clothed and this was someone I had never met before!!! I just laughed and told him it was unlikely anyone was ever going to see me naked, and I looked fine to myself. He said, “Suit yourself!” and drove off in a vehicle that had what looked like huge tractor wheels on it.

    I was a little hurt at the time. It’s a shame that looks are still so important, even in a virtual world.


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