"Love the skin you're in" - in the Real World, this is probably pretty sound advice. My Nana is often telling me to look after my skin with various cleansers and toners and moisturisers and things. It's the only skin we've got, and we have to protect it from general wear-and-tear, as well as from the Sun, the cold, malignant moles, each other, and each other's vicious pit-bull terriers.
But in the age, or at least the world, of the avatar, the same rules do not apply. Just as you can have a million-and-one different pieces of hair (as you may have noticed by how often I change Kitti's), you can have a million-and-one different skins, in a range of different shades.
Admittedly, until very recently, I only had one virtual skin (the one from my make-over that I wrote about here) and I didn't really feel the need for any more. As skins go, it was a pretty good one; it covered the whole of my virtual body, at least, and it was, as pixels go, relatively pretty. Like my irl skin, it was never-seen-the-light-of-day-pale, and that suited me and my supposedly inherent Englishness (which I will write about another time) perfectly.
|"Naoko: Pale" from Bird Next Door|
It was then suggested to me that I could try other skins by joining various shop groups and trying out their freebies (which some shops in SL give out fairly regularly). Sian Pearl took me to one such shop, Plastik, and demanded, without explanation, that I click x-y-and-z and pick up a pack of free skins from there entitled "Nightbringer's Breath".
Slipping on a new skin takes the click of a button, and the Nightbringer's Breath skins looked pretty good on Kitti's frame. They also seemed to make her look older - an effect achieved by a lessening of the blush of her cheeks. The grey, instead, gives her cheekbones definition, without the rosiness of youth.
|"Aleria: Nightbringer's Breath: Bare" from Plastik|
...doesn't look so great with the ginger...
If, irl, someone offered to give us a new skin that made us look older, I think that we would run a mile! In SL, however, this skin seems to transform Kitti from a young girl to a young woman. She crosses the barrier into twenty-somethings, which is fine by me...if I have to, why shouldn't my avatar?! Age in SL is quite a fickle thing.
Much as I like the "Nightbringer's Breath" skin, it is not the most human-looking colour and so, casting aside any discussion about the questionable need/merits to remain human in the virtual world, I began looking for other skins that would have the same ageing process, without the discolouration. I also wanted to remain pale - because being tanned would feel like too much of a lie.
|"Wish: Aether: Starlight" from Heartsick - comes with make-up tattooed on.|
Saves time getting ready for a night-out, I guess!
|Another from Heartsick, "Wish: Illusion: Ghosts" - again, with make-up tattooed on|
|Final one from Heartsick, "Rumour: Muse: Woodland" - a group gift|
I like the Heartsick skins, but they somehow make Kitti seem severe, aloof. Both of the "Wish" skins, as I mentioned in the captions, come with make-up already (and permanently) applied to the skin, and I think the rather fashionable Cleopatra-esque eyeliner is at least partially to blame. The "Woodland" skin manages to look as inhuman as the "Nightbringer's Breath", but it's pretty good for a group gift.
Oh dear - I'm starting to sound like a fashion blog. That is not my intention!
Just when I was giving up, I received another group gift - this time from a shop called Glam Affair. For Christmas, they have realised a new skin, "Linn", which you can buy in a variety of tones. The free gift was entitled "Snow White", and the odd thing about it is that it has rosier cheeks than the "Naoko" skin, but still manages to make Kitti look older...
|"Linn: Snow White" from Glam Affair|
...though not too much older.
Would you ID her in a bar?
Well...you probably would. I maintain: age in SL is a fickle, fickle thing. And so, it would appear, is skin. Perhaps the lesson for SL is not necessarily to "love the skin you're in", but to find a skin you'll love to be in...at least for the next five minutes.
If nothing else I have written here has been entertaining, perhaps this will be: whilst on the Tableau sim mentioned previously, I came across a shop that sold skins and items for elderly avatars. That is, to make your avatar look elderly.
I kid you not.
I kid you not.
|Wrinkles, thick-rimmed glasses, bow-ties, and a glass of prune juice|
[See all of the skin screenshots in full size on my flickr by clicking the link on the right-hand side of this page]