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Tuesday night I got a chance to sit down with SnappyTom Silverspar and December Jewell, a Second Life couple I know through meeting December on an exploration not many weeks ago. December and Tom have been partnered in Second Life for almost a year – but unlike most Second Life partners, their virtual romance has blossomed into a First Life relationship. For the past eight months, they’ve been dating over a distance of more than a thousand miles, and by the end of September they’ll be living together. It’s a typical story of girl meets raccoon, raccoon becomes boy and then raccoon again, girl gets lost in Queens…well, you’ll see: here’s their story so far.

[There was a typo above earlier that was *really* misleading…sorry about that, but it’s fixed now!],

Kate: OK! So, when did you two meet?
Tom: At Phat Cat’s
December: We met on October 23rd of last year
Tom: Yes, we met at Phat Cat’s Dance Club
Tom: October 23, 2007
Kate: How did you connect? Did you both just wander in looking for a dance partner?
Tom: My first dance in Second Life was with December.
December: He was a nearly brand newbie, and I was in a charitable mood
Tom: I was sitting on the couch next to the dance floor when she walked by and I checked out her bio. Enjoyed what I read and noticed we both like Kurt Vonnegut, so I whispered.
Tom: I liked her for the articles.
Kate laughs
December: He sounded smart and funny, so I asked him to dance!
Kate: Sounds like it was a good decision! What form were you each in at the time? Human?
Tom: Same as you see here. I was the ONLY raccoon in the joint.
December: He was as you see him now…and I was pretty much the same too
Tom: She has lost a few pounds.
December: We started meeting to dance on a regular basis. I was really enjoying our repartee, and I was really in need of company at that point in my life. I had just started real “on-line” dating (was single for the first time in a long time)
Tom: I was just a good-time-Charlie, but December was irresistible.
Kate nods
December: And i would share some of the details of my horrendous dates! while we danced
Kate: Were either or both of you looking for a romantic relationship in Second Life at the time, or was it kind of just friends at that point?
Tom: I have been divorced for about 4 years, and was not looking. But life happens.
December: And I WAS looking, but I hadn’t thought I would meet someone here
Kate: True Love has a way of sneaking up and whacking you on the back of the head. 🙂
December: I began to realize that I was enjoying my times with Raccoon Boy more than any of the dates I had been on
Tom: I think we were both amazed.
Kate Amdahl loves stories like this
Tom: I think she fell for me because of the PsiTech shields and weapons embedded in my cranium, but I could be wrong.
Kate: Well, everyone has their emotional defenses.
December: OK. Well, it started to get…umm…romantic. And I asked him if he was feeling as though it was “real”, whatever that means
December: Well, we traded photos next
Kate: What was that like? Did you each know what to expect?
December: We had each described ourselves enough that I think both of us knew what to expect
Tom: Actually, I think we were strting to form a pretty good idea of each other at that time.
December: And of course, we both look exactly like our avatars
Tom: of course…except my tail is a bit fluffier in RL
Kate giggles
December: And then we startd to talk on Skype
Tom: One of us in New York, and the other in Florida.
December: We started to discuss meeting, aware that we were over 1,000 miles apart
Kate: What were your thoughts at the beginning? Long shot? Or were you already optimistic by then?
December: I think optimism had the upper hand
Tom: Seemed crazy, but I flew to New York. And December got lost driving to meet me at the airport. When I first saw her, on a chilly dark night at La Guardia, fighting off tears from being lost…I was a goner.
Kate: December, you must have been going crazy.
December: And yes…dear God, don’t let my mascara run!!!
December: We had talked so much by that time that it felt as though we knew each other incredibly well
Tom: She is as cute as a bug.
December: So is he!!!
Kate: Did that feeling stick with you through meeting in person? Did you feel familiar already, or was there some getting to know each other again?
December: I won’t lie…it WAS a bit awkward
Tom: Well, of course there is some adjustment to RL. But amazingly … we connected.
December: But most of the adjustment is REALLY fun!
Kate: Fun like surprising?
December: Yes.

Kate: What was the most jarring thing about meeting in person?
Tom: hmmm? Nothing jarred me too much, maybe December had some jarring moments.
December: I have to say here, that since we are still living far apart, that every time we get together, it feels a little like a first time. I find it incredibly exciting every time I see Snappytom’s face
Kate: Oh, that sounds really nice, in some ways! Not the separation, of course.
Tom: Yes, living apart and getting together every two months or so is a pain.
December: But thats is just about over
Kate: 🙂
Tom: Yes, I am flying up to New York to take her back to my lair.
Kate: Excellent! This is in a hollow log somewhere?
December: I’ll be moving in with him end of September
Kate: Oh, you’re going south! How do you feel about Florida?
Tom: We will be summering in Florida. And will spend the winters in Florida as well.
December: Well, I have always been against Florida lol
Tom: It is unbearable almost year round. But I have air-conditioning.
December: Snappy has promised me that I never have to go to the early bird special
Tom: I promised to do the dishes too.
Kate laughs
Tom: Even though she will be making all the mess in the kitchen.
December: Do you know that this Racoon eats….whispers….frozen dinner?
Kate: That’s probably just to cool off. Tom, you’ll at least help wash the food, won’t you?
December: LOL!
Tom: Of course…and I WILL take out the garbage can.
Kate: How long was it from meeting at Phat Cat’s until that first First Life meeting?
December: Two months. He came to New york on New Year’s Eve
Kate: Oh, *neat*. Just barely got that New Year’s kiss in under the wire?
December: Yes!
Tom: And a hug.
Kate: And you’ve gotten to see each other three or four times in person?
Tom: Four times.
December: Yes, we’vew each travelled twice
December: He inspired me to give up smoking
Kate: Hooray!
December: he runs!!!
December: I am up to walking and looking serious
Kate smiles
Tom: And I took my laptop so we could get on line together of course.
Kate: Did you? What was it like, being in Second Life and being together in person?
Tom: We adventure in Second Life, often going to places of interest, like Roma etc. And we dance a lot, that is always good. And we get frisky when the moon is full.
Kate: Which depends on the sim, I imagine!
Tom: True.
Kate: Do you think if you had met in First Life, there would have been a chance of you two getting together?
December: Ahhh, that question
Tom: Under the right circumstances, of course. We would have needed an introduction. But… unlikely we would ever have met except in an online world.
December: We talked about a million miles before we met, and it’s just different from meeting when you are face to face.
Kate nods
December: You get to know so much more about each other…
Kate: Did Second Life add anything to the relationship that you wouldn’t have had if you met in First Life? Or has it caused any problems?
Tom: it was the vehicle of our chance encounter.
December: To add to what i was saying….I think we got to share a lot more by meeting in SL.
December: The physical can be very distracting!!!
Tom: True.
Kate agrees…not *always* in a bad way, of course…
December: Of course, that can be in a GOOD way, but you know what I mean
Kate: Yes!
Tom: We had a pretty good grasph of who we were before we ever met.
Kate: The complete opposite of most First Life dating.
December: Yes, and by then, we didn’t need to talk so much.
Tom: I threatened to wear a raccoon outfit when I flew out to meet here, but that idea fell flat with December.
Kate: Aw. That would have been such a great photo op!
December: he regretted it ..it was damned cold on New year’s!
Tom: And I don’t think she could muster up to tell her parents or children she met a guy online who was a raccoon.
Kate: What *have* you told friends and family? Have you talked about meeting in Second Life?
Tom: I tell all. To everyone.
December: I think that everyone knows by now. I didn’t think I needed to mention the raccoon part
Tom: I enjoy the raccoon part. lol
Kate grins
December: Kate, here’s something you didnt ask about
December: We couldn’t have been farther apart politically!!! LOL
Kate: And are you still that far apart?
December: I think we are finding a lot of common ground at this point

We wrapped up the interview at this point so that I could get a couple of pictures of December and Tom out on the deck in back, over the ocean. I didn’t ask them about the future, because who can know their own future? Like any First Life relationship, a relationship that begins in Second Life can go just about anywhere. But unlike most First Life relationships, this one started with two people getting to know each other first and meeting each other later. There are worse ways to start a romance. 🙂

^^^\ Kate /^^^