I’m amazed I haven’t written about wings here yet. I love wings, even though they’re unnecessary and inconvenient. I’m surprised more people don’t wear them, and yet I’m weirdly disappointed when someone else (not counting my fellow Sylphs) is wearing them, as though they were a wildly original idea I came up with and are somehow my turf.

Of course, I rarely run into anyone who’s as ga-ga about wings as I am, and so that reassures me a little.

I like to perch on things. I’m guessing that’s because of the wings.

Wings are a symbol of freedom, which is interesting, because one of the other most popular wearable symbols in Second Life is cuffs (not to mention collars, shackles, and leashes), a symbol of bondage or constraint. I very rarely see one person wear both things at a time, although I have seen it, and I think it’s because it would be such a mixed message: “I’m yours to do with as you please, utterly helpless under your control…except that I could flit away at any moment!”

Well, we all know we’re free in Second Life, don’t we? So why the wings?

The minute I say that, I realize it isn’t true. After all, we’re not confined by things outside us nearly as much as we’re confined by the things inside us. Nelson Mandela was certainly locked up for years, but in a sense he’s always been a free man, even under apartheid, even while rotting in a prison cell.

These are some of the most creative wings I’ve found; they’re sort of gracefully sculpted, and they gradually change from one color to another. They don’t seem to give me much lift, though.

Let me ask you: in your First Life, do you feel free, or do you feel shackled? And if you feel shackled in your First Life, do you feel free in your Second Life? What’s tying you down, anyway? Your job? The need to have a job at all? Debt? Spouse, children, parents, bad choices in the past, a lousy car? Or if you’re free despite all the strangling vines of civilization, what makes you free?

Definitely answer in comments if you’re inclined, but if you don’t feel like writing an answer, maybe it would be interesting to think through what your answers to those things would be.

As for me, I feel somewhat free in my First Life: I have a lot of obligations and limited time to do just whatever I please, but I took those obligations on myself and if I really wanted to, could shuck them off and go be a beatnik girl in San Francisco or join the circus (if they’d have me) or something. So really I’m entirely free, even though I only feel mostly free.

My friend Chastity, who wears wings for entirely different effects than I do.

That’s one of the things I get out of Second Life, though, that feeling of being entirely free. Or I did! Silly me, I went ahead and conducted my Second Life the same way I conduct my first life, getting into relationships that were important to me and starting things that require my continuing attention. I guess I’m not entirely free in Second Life any more either. And that’s fine. But somehow the joy of wings hasn’t yet worn off.

Wings aren’t entirely a complimentary symbol. I wonder if on some level I don’t wear them as a warning that I follow my fascinations and could vanish into the sky at any moment. If so, I suspect my girlfriends, to whom I’m very reliably attached, are laughing at the idea.

Here’s a question: why do men seem to wear wings so much less often than women? Is it because they’re too much of a fashion accessory, or because men feel less free, or for some other reason entirely?

My first half-decent pair of wings, which I bought a few days after arriving in Second Life. Please ignore the newbie skin!

I know, I know. But just pretend you’re dying with curiosity about the subject, OK? 😉

Q: How many pairs of wings do you have, anyway?
A: I have about 25 pairs of wings, but about a third of them aren’t particularly pretty or inspiring and I never use them. Another third are Material Squirrel scripted, moving, flexi, HUD-controlled wings, which are the undisputed crème de la crème of wings as far as I’m concerned if you don’t count particle wings, of which more in a moment.

Q: Which are your favorite wings?
A: I don’t have a favorite pair; I’m much too flighty. The pair I wear the most are my Material Squirrel Gabriels, which are pictured on my Kate Tease tops and are a bit angelic-looking. I also love my Aurora wings, which are particle wings (wings made out of flowing, generated graphic particles instead of prims) that you can change around with the command line to look like a bunch of daisies, burning devil wings, the Aurora Borealis, and lots of other things. They don’t flap, but they do everything else and they’re gorgeous.

My Aurora wings in Daisy mode. How playful’n’cute is this?

Q: Do you ever take your wings off?
A: Yes, but only if I have to because they’re getting in the way, or if I’m in a strange mood.

Q: Every so often you mention sylphs. What’s a sylph?
A: A flying spirit with no other really defining attributes. They’re weirdly rare in mythology and literature, but Ariel (not the female mermaid, but the spirit of indeterminate gender) in The Tempest is one example.

My girlfriends and I are part of a land-owning group called the Sweet-Tongued Sylphs, so when I talk about “the Sylphs,” that’s who I mean.

Andr3 and me (in my Gabriels) with a friend at a SLAGG meeting. Andr3’s wings are gorgeous, but I think she wears them mainly to please me.

By the way, Material Squirrel (which sells wings in regular, Grande, and Monster Truck sizes) currently offers a freebie set of wings at their store that you can get by signing up for their free group–quite a bargain! The wings in question are lovely, kind of icy-looking white ones, and come with all the behaviors and the HUD that their other wings come with. All of their wings are also Xcite compatible now too, but fortunately that can be turned off if not wanted (and it’s pleasant and non-intrusive if it is). If you go there and start buying wings, tell them I sent you. Then maybe they’ll make green faerie or green feathered wings for me as a special favor.

^^^\ Kate /^^^