Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Attack Of The 7'9" Slider Queens!!

I have an unusual thought to share, today. Contrary to what some people might say, more is NOT always better. More ants do not make a better picnic. More chefs do not make a kitchen run smoothly. Nobody, other than Christopher Walken, actually says something needs more cowbell.

and nobody ever says 'this clown needs more fangs'.

Yet, somehow, when one goes to a gay club in SL, one sees... them. They're all 7 foot 9 inches tall (aka: 100 on the height slider in 'Edit Appearance'), all have shoulders out to there, hips in to here. Pecs you could lose Arnold Schwarzenegger in between, an ass you could bounce a manhole cover off of. A jawline like one of those flying things from Avatar.

... they are. The Slider Queens.

Now, what do I mean by a slider queen? I got taken to a haute couture in SL event a long while ago, and there was NO arguing that every woman there was beautiful... but they looked VERY different from each other. Raven-tressed beauties with upturned noses, pointed chins on blondes with spikey Susan Powter hairdos, redheaded women who were shorter by a head than anyone else in the room.

But when I looked at the male models who were there, they seemed to mostly be wearing the same skin, the same hair (though some were blonde and others brunette- occasionally even black), and even the same shape. Only the clothes differed.

I found myself wondering- what causes this? Are men just lazier about their look? Is there a simpler ideal for what men SHOULD look like than there is for women, in modern society? Or was it perhaps that in the fashion world, the disparity between the sexes produces bias in what we see and think of ourselves? A friend's theory was that men are simply inclined to a less specific image of what an ideal man looks like, while women personalize beauty due to how society makes them interact with it. I'm not sure I agree with this theory, but it does seem like it should be mentioned here.

Sometimes, I get cynical and think that all the men look the same because there are only four good designers of shapes, skins or hair for men, and when one of them comes up with something good, the other three fall all over each other to imitate it (full disclosure: I KNOW VERY WELL there are more than four good designers working to produce things for men, that was me being cynical!).

Now think about this for a second, Gentle Reader: while I'm sure we all agree that- to pick two actors who are often side by side- Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are both handsome guys, you wouldn't confuse one with the other in a million years, would you? One's taller, the other's shorter; one's blonde, the other's brunette; one's got a rounder face, the other's face is more square... but they're both handsome guys. And neither one looks like Johnny Depp, or Leonardo DiCaprio, or...

Sure, in the RL fashion industry there's a fair bit of sameness- a lot of buffed models, a lot of girly ones- but why does it seem that a lot of gay guys in SL look almost identical?

My theory is that it's probably simply what's easiest. If you're buying a new suit, you pay less to buy one off the rack, but one off the rack is never going to fit you as exactly as one you had tailored... which cost a lot more money.

I've always been a great advocate of the DIY school of fashion, in SL. I'll buy a shape or outfit that looks good to me, by all means- but it will get a serious tweaking before I wear it out in public. Why are so many men OK with looking exactly identical, when ducking into the appearance menu and raising or lowering the tip of your nose can produce a thoroughly different face? I've never understood this- then again, I recently put on the first shape I bought (saved on my initial rez), and was startled by how completely different I look now. I've gone from the Terminator to Dana Ashbrook, by way of David Bowie, Gabriel Byrne, Brian Molko and Tom Sturridge, in 50 easy and tiny steps!

Part of what I find eyerolling about this, by the way, crops up when visiting the gay cruising hangouts in SL. Yes, I do pop up at such places from time to time. Yes, I even talk to people there. I even go home with them sometimes... but I do often find myself thinking 'they all... look... the same...' This, then, is the Slider Queen: a guy who maximizes (or minimizes) sliders according to some ideal of masculine beauty that would not only be very hard to attain in the real world, but would not be particularly stable either in not snapping under the weight of the rest of it, or in keeping from constantly wrestling with illness.

When I visit places full of guys cruising for sex, everybody has shoulders All The Way Out To There, a waist All The Way In To That, with a belly Way The Heck In To Here, and a crotch So Bulbous It Looks Like A Root Vegetable. Not everybody's a muscle queen. Not everybody's an ass man. Hell, if everybody was both of those, Elton John wouldn't be married, would he.
It just seems so strange to me that women strive to be unique- and men seem content to look identical. So a challenge to you, guys: save a copy of your shape (tack something like "[unmodified]" onto the end of the name, so you can find it again later if you screw up) and see what you think if you broaden your nose. Or make your eyes bigger, chin broader, shoulders narrower... You're allowed to make mistakes- it's how you learn, and if you DO screw up? That's why you saved it with '[unmodified]' on the end- so you can find it and go back to something that was NOT screwed up. Everybody screws it up from time to time.

Bet somebody wishes he could easily re-set that chin slider

While SL is an environment that lets you explore without barriers- where you can meet people you never would've met in RL, talk about anything you like- it's also an environment that allows you to explore physical asthetics and appearances in ways that it's hard to do, in the real world, without lots, and LOTS, of plastic surgery. You should make the most of it, and make your avatar nobody else's avatar!


  1. one thing i really hate about the Sliders Queens, They think anyone that is shorter than they are are underage. Not every one feels the need to be big and Massive, as I said in my blog: http://mishaslifewithoutacollar.blogspot.com/2012/01/notice-to-all-max-sliders.html

    1. When Nath mentioned posting this (he's had a version of it hanging around for a while) I thought of you and how you face that (let's call it what it is) discrimination. I know that many folks in SL keep their avs in a more life-sized range. The assumption that it means you're a child is such a fallacy. I'm 5'5" in RL and my daughter's almost taller than I am. There's so much room for variety in SL and seeing people who do have more unique avs treated badly is irritating. I prefer the variety.

    2. For me? 'oh, you're shorter than I am. OK.' It means nothing beyond the simple fact of our difference in height. And for the record, my av is @ 80 on the slider for height.

  2. This is quite an inspiring post. I've been on SL for a while and pretty much done a lot of things career-wise. Tried designing clothes, photography and modeling. In this world of modeling I noticed that so many women keep to the rule of super skinny and super tall. I can't say I wasn't tall. I've had it at 100 on the height slider but I still didn't reach as high as some of my friends did. Nevertheless this time has passed and after 2 years I decided to retire. When I stopped hanging with the fashion cliques and went to places that more "unique" and, what was very new to me, life-size range height fans hanged out I did feel like an eye-sore towering over most of the people there. It was not so long ago too. It was very difficult to convert and drag the slider down to 60 where it is today and I don't know if it's a result of my conformism, wanting to look like others or trying to go with the flow of the new SL trends. The sudden boom of short avs was a shock to me. Got used to it now and I am also 5'6" in RL.