Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Being Human

For practically all of my time in Second Life, my appearance has been of something with a tail and a coat of fur. For the first several months, it was the starter ringtail. After my newcomer period came to an end, I took on the appearance of a red 5-foot foxboy. I would on occasion take on another appearance briefly. But very seldom did I wear a human appearance. And when I did, it was usually for a cartoon or as part of some joke, such as for Halloween.

That was changed on May 20th, with the results of the Relay for Life “Bid me Human” event. I thought it would only be for a few days. But the event raised so much cash, the term would be for a month. I did get a few outlets, the club I occasionally hosted at, the New Bastogne combat RP, when doing any interviews for the paper, and the Second Life Newser anniversary event. But outside those, stuck as a 6’ 7” “baldie.”

So how has it been as a furball used to being able to shift around? It hasn’t stopped me from exploring around, and I’ve continued going about my journalistic duties, as well as doing a couple cartoons with it. To most anyone I briefly come across when going about Second Life, it hasn’t made any difference. Though when talking to someone for a while, I’m not as inclined to make a humorous comment as before. I guess when one looks short and furry and a bigger smile, it’s easier to break the ice.

So what do my furry friends think? There were a few shaved jokes, as well as the “Ahhhh! A Human!!” gesture a few furballs carry. And it was a little awkward interacting as before during the community parties, which often had some theme in which I’d often change to a different form, as well as a set of clothes. But soon I was more or less joking around with everyone much like before, even if I was a bit bigger and balder. The biggest reactions was when people found out about it for the first time, with reactions such as “whoah” or a fallover gesture. One lady didn’t react too well, “That is NOT you!” But most took it in stride, the only problem being their wondering how I was feeling. Some commented it looked funny. More often, they felt it looked above average for a human avatar.

A friend did tell me there was one place where I wouldn’t be welcome: a furry-only nude beach which had a policy of tossing out human avatars. Not sure why such a policy, but I don’t exactly frequent those kinds of places.

As for the ethninticity, American residents haven’t paid any attention. A few Europen friends have made some good-natured jokes, such as feeling I’d look better with a basketball jersey, or joking the av came with a bigger dork. A few have asked if I was black in real life. The answer to that is no.

Someone from the Relay organizers asked me if I planned to stay this way once the “Bid me Human” period came to an end. No thanks, for several reasons. I may go back to this on occasion, such as for a cartoon or for Halloween. But professionally, I’m too well known as “Fox News in Second Life,” not to mention known by my friends as a “foxy guy.”

So looking forward to June 19th, in which I’m free to return to my Luskwood red fox, and enjoy going about Second Life as before.

Bixyl Shuftan


  1. A couple more comments. I had forgotten to mention one reaction, a friend offering to help by making a skin based on my real-life appearance. No thanks. I get more attention from the girls with my fox look in a week than I do with my real-life look in a decade.

    The human av's gotten one real-life reaction. A RL co-worker whom reads SL Newser saw the pictures and went "What the hey ... why did you do that?" I gave him a few reasons, the one he liked the most, "remember Mel Brooks' 'Blazing Saddles?' "

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