Thursday, May 6, 2010

Feathered Fthoughts

I do confess to taking a certain pleasure in making a spectacle of myself--it amuses me, and it pleases me when I amuse others. Still, nothing had prepared me for the sensation that would result when Mr. Trilobyte Zanzibar, co-proprietor of BlakOpal Designs, presented me with one of his clothier company's gorgeous peacock-feather suits. From the very first occasion I appeared in public wearing this ensemble, I have garnered amazing reactions--many compliments, certainly, which I found intensely gratifying, but beyond that a flurry of humor I have found both entertaining and thought provoking.

Some of the humor results simply from my looking like a great big bird in this outfit--the community's catgirls, nekos, and other feline-aligned persons simply can't resist batting at my coattails, especially when I disport on the trapeze at the Blue Mermaid Cafe on Wednesday nights. I will own to stoking this reaction by doing my best peacock-call imitations.

But beyond that, this outfit seems to increase the volume of whimsical comment concerning, for lack of less clinical terminology, my gender expression. Once again, I will be the first to admit I have made no secret of my affectional orientation and effeminate tendencies--in fact, I am often gleefully guilty of queening it up for humorous effect (see opening remark about making a spectacle of myself). And there is also no denying that this outfit's feathers and colors do push envelopes of male gender expectations, notwithstanding the flamboyant tendencies of the Steampunk interpretation of Victorian style.

Still, even I have been a bit startled at how my wearing this outfit has "upped the ante," so to speak, on all this business. I rush to add that all the comments directed my way have been uniformly good-natured (in fact at least a few have come from certain "birds of a feather," if I might apply the metaphor at hand). Yet the sheer volume of them has made me feel at least a little overwhelmed--as if I had created a bit of a Frankenstein's monster with my image, and that it was getting a little out of my control.

So I have retired the Peacock Suit to my wardrobe except for special occasions, and switched to slightly less flamboyant outfits for everyday wear. And I find myself pondering this whole business, including my reaction.

Some of it is that, while it is true that I am quite comfortable with, even fond of, my orientation and gender expression, I am also more than those aspects of me, and am now concerned that I shall be known only for those things and not all the other things that I am. Another point to ponder is why such beautiful clothing is seen as a cause for comment when worn by a male. In response I can only reach cross-time and cross-dimensions, to quote a popular song from a timestream a century ahead of the Steamlands:

"I would just like to say that it is my conviction
That longer hair and other flamboyant affectations
Of appearance are nothing more
Than the male's emergence from his drab camouflage
Into the gaudy plumage
Which is the birthright of his sex

There is a peculiar notion that elegant plumage
And fine feathers are not proper for the male
When ac---tually
That is the way things are
In most species"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

At home in the Metaverse

I was very flattered, late last night, when a fellow Caledonian complimented me on how well and quickly I had made myself at home in the society and culture of that Second Life nation. If I am remembering correctly, he compared my quick assimilation to "a finger slotted into a glove."

I thanked him profusely, but also smiled inwardly. I have made no secret of the fact that I am an inter-dimensional traveler, having sojourned in many timestreams and planes of existence, but sometimes I get the impression that many people don't understand the full implications of that status.

For when you take on the life of such a traveler, learning how to fit into new realms and make new friends quickly and easily is not only a useful skill, but often a matter of self-preservation of life, limb, sanity, psyche, and identity.

At least Caledon, the greater Steamlands, and the SL metaverse as a whole, are generally well-disposed towards the concept of people from many different backgrounds and planes of existence. God/ess knows there are some realms I have visited in which I had to maintain deep cover at peril of my life. But in the SL Steamlands, thankfully, I can let my guard down and be easy and silly, and enjoy the life I am building there.

In fact, I think I might have at last found a world that can be my home for the forseeable future, a home base I can venture out from on further explorations, but always know I can return to. Thank God/ess--too long have I been totally rootless, the proverbial wandering Jew, on permanent diaspora from a time and a land that no longer exists ... but not to get all maudlin and melancholy about that. Just as the traditions of my mother's family taught that G-d had a greater purpose in sending us out into the world, I trust in my deities and guardian spirits that my wanderings also have purposes yet to be revealed.

In the meantime, I have been taken into the diplomatic service of another inter-dimensional traveler, one of impressive gravitas: Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, titular ruler of the nation of Europa in his home timestream, now representing that land as Consul to the SL Steamlands. As in so much of the rest of my life, I have no idea where this service might take me, but I shall be fascinated to see how things develop. If nothing else, I shall be pleased to become at least somewhat further acquainted with the Baron--a fascinating and complex man if there ever was one.