A flutter of butterflies


Thanks to Boudicca and Tommy Terrible (on Flickr) for requesting another little bit of the story from ‘Once Upon a Time in Second Life.’ (Part one here and part two here) – at least I think Tommy was requesting more when he said he was looking forward to the climax (it could well have been a nice piece of double entendre punnage).

So here you go Want some more?  Just ask.

Oh yes, they got ‘married.’  Swellen brought up the issue of partnership and Second Life weddings in another of those hypothetical conversations about three weeks after they’d started seeing each other.  “Oh, I saw myself in some photos today LOL,” she began.  “Oh yes?” Len replied.  “It was a wedding I went to a few months ago.  (An SL wedding?)  Yes, a friend I’ve known for a couple of years in here.  (I never went to one of those.)  Really?  Oh you should go to one.  Everyone should experience that insanity at least once.  (Insanity, eh?)  I’m not knocking the issue of two people making a commitment to each other, you understand, but come on.  (It was over-the-top?)  Are you kidding me?  The bride’s dress was so prim heavy it nearly crashed the server.  (Hahaha.)  We all had to take off our shoes in order for her to be able to rez her headdress.  (Now that you mention it, I do recall reading once about an SL wedding where the guests were required to attend naked in order that they could fit everyone in on the sim.)  Right!  I once went to a venue built over the adjoining corners of four mainland sims so that the bride and groom could stand in one and the guests in the other three: maximum guests and no effect on the happy couple.  (That can’t have been cheap.)  You’re not wrong, the venue lasted about six months, I think.  No-one wanted to use them at the fee they charged.  (See, if weddings in SL were the real deal, people would shell out for that cost no worries.)  I suppose it’s just role play, really.  It’s people finding out what getting married might feel like.  (No harm in that.)  You’re right, there isn’t.  (Do people give gifts at SL weddings?)  Not at this one I went to, but it can’t be long before that’s a thing, right?  (I guess the difficulty would be in deciding which one of the couple the gift should be given to.)  Good point.  Though naturally the correct answer is, “The Bride.”  (Uh-oh… sounds like someone’s been thinking ahead.)  I suppose if I *did* do a wedding I’d want it to be a total freaking work of art.  (Animated doves lifting your veil at the moment the groom is told he can kiss you?)  Actually, I was thinking a swarm of butterflies.  (A *swarm* of butterflies?  Really, a *swarm*?  Surely that can’t be the right collective noun.)  You’re right, it does sound a bit odd.  (Incongruous in the extreme, I’d say; like calling a load of bunny rabbits ‘a battalion’.)  Looking it up…  (I doubt somehow the 1978 disaster movie ‘The Swarm’ would have had quite the same impact if it had been about a bunch of butterflies.)  Hahaha… but I get the last laugh because I was right!  (Seriously?)  It says it right here: collective noun for butterflies is ‘swarm’.  (Give me that search engine.)  LOL  (Well the page I’m on suggests a number of different words?)  Oh?  Like what?  (A ‘flight’ of butterflies.)  Hmm.  Better, I suppose, but only marginally.  (Then there’s a ‘rainbow’ of butterflies.)  Oooo, I do like that.  (A ‘kaleidoscope’ of butterflies.)  Love it!  (And finally, a ‘flutter’ of butterflies.)  Oh.  (Oh?)  Yes.  (Just ‘oh’?)  Just oh.  (That means you like it, right?)  I dooooo.  (So you want a flutter of butterflies at your wedding?)  More than anything.”

The wedding was two weeks later and featured just two butterflies following lazily the path of a sideways figure of eight.  Absolutely no-one noticed them.  Once the event had been agreed upon, the artistry element of its inspiration got rather pushed aside in favour of the detail of invitations, wedding vows and the song to be played on stream whilst guests were arriving.  No swarm, rainbow, flutter or otherwise lifted Swellen’s veil – in fact, she didn’t wear a veil.  It was a reasonably simple affair as SL weddings went, a twenty minute sequence in front of sixteen guests and, whilst they didn’t achieve the levels of aesthetic glory they had originally visualised together, this wasn’t to say that the venue was cheap or ugly.  As Swellen pointed out to Len in response to his brief moment of whimsical disappointment at the absence of anything truly revolutionary, SL weddings used to take place on a green hill under a white trellis arch decorated with two dimensional roses; they resembled a primary colours set from a TV programme for the under fives: the derelict church in the urban role play sim they settled for was like Blade Runner by comparison.  Len kind of liked this metaphor; it appealed to his sense of sophistication which he had long thought characterised him (deep down); it helped reduce the sense of dissonance he felt that the original reason for choosing this venue was it reminded them of the place where Ross and Emily from Friends got married.



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