The next little bit of ‘Once Upon a Time in Second Life.’ Happy weekend, everyone.
Once the idea was formed, Len could think of little else. The plan consumed him. Immediately, he created a new account and put his new avatar – the name he settled on in the end was ‘Carbon Holloway’ – through the induction process. He bought a top of the range mesh avatar body of the brand he knew Swellen liked and three high quality outfits (suited, dinner suited and a casual, coffee shop attire). He bought hair, shoes and a penis, and an animation overrider that gave him a proud and confident stand and a purposeful stride that could have parted crowds in the real world.
He also fixed up his profile: “Not my first time in SL [that much would be obvious to anyone who looked at him during his first month or so; there was no point in denying it]. Back to have fun [because all good Second Life profiles have to reference the seeking of fun] and a good time [for if fun isn’t mentioned, then ‘a good time’ is a must; much as it set off his pleonasm alarm, he decided to throw in both for good measure] and maybe this time not get my heart broken [certain to get him sympathy]. Feel free to IM me [he didn’t expect that this would lead to scores of unsolicited hellos; everyone knew by now that this sentence meant you were more – not less – likely to get attacked by saying hello, largely because the most common following statement was a lie] – I don’t bite!” He added three of Swellen’s favourite places on the grid to his picks: a clothes shop, an adult hang-out and one of those ballrooms with a dress code. In his first life tab he entered that Maya Angelou quote about never making someone a priority when all you are to them is an option (which everyone in SL seems to think is attributable to Marilyn Monroe) with a note in brackets that this applied also to men. Then he added some standard disclaimer text: “My RL is my RL: I’ll share it once I know you better.” He hated sentences like that. They just assumed everyone wanted to know all the sordid details of your real life as though you were some sort of celebrity. As though anybody really cared.
For the main profile tab he took a picture of his new avatar in his dinner jacket outside the ballroom. He used a bit of zoom on this and pushed his PC into ‘ultra’ graphics mode for the shot because he knew that Swellen appreciated someone who was able to make her look beautiful in photographs. For the first life tab he uploaded a picture of a red pepper that looked a bit like a penis.
Of course there was still the issue of when he would log this new avatar in. Typically, he came online with Len at around about nine o’clock in the evening UK time. Ordinarily, he didn’t get home until six or seven o’clock, and food and housework were then his immediate concerns on stepping into his flat. Swellen, on the other hand, was in SL for a much larger percentage of her day. If he could get access to that time then there would be no need for him to have to try to juggle two avatars at once and place himself at greater risk of making a mistake that revealed him – a fatal crosspost of typing in one window when he thought he was in the other, for example, or the simple problem of both avatars going offline at the exact same moment if his internet connection went down. He decided for the first couple of sessions he would log Carbon in once Len had logged off (he would just have to make do with a few hours less sleep on those nights); once he was certain Swellen had taken the bait, however, he would do something he had never done before: he would phone into work sick and take a few days off so that he could log in during the day.
And, with all that done and decided, he was good to go.