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As you know if you’ve read a few of my posts, this is not a fashion blog (although I admit I’ve chirped happily over some wings here from time to time). No, this is my spot to talk about Second Life culture and psychology and the virtual emotional landscape and all that great stuff. Which is why this post is about skins. (I’ll explain that in a sec.)

It’s ironic that Second Life, where people can be anything, is so homogenous in some ways. Almost everyone is human, the great majority of people choose to build an avatar that’s as attractive as possible, and most of us look like we’re in our 20’s. And who can blame us? Not only is it quite difficult to put together a well-designed older avatar, but in the cultures that most of us come from, age is not particularly prized. Even a few lines in the face produce panic in many women (at least) in the Western world.

And in Second Life it’s a vicious cycle: the less demand there is for items for older avatars, the fewer designers will make any nice things for older avatars, which makes older avatars even less appealing to have. Although I’m not suggesting that anyone has to go out and get aged up, or match their First Life age in Second Life. There’s no obligation here: just a wonderful option for self-expression and growth, just like with larger women’s shapes.

Anyway, we’re fortunate because Beebo Brink (pictured over there on the right) stepped in to help break the cycle. Her store, Brazen Women (which has a Web site at http://www.brazenwomen.com and here’s the SLURL) offers both attractive no-makeup skins and older skins for women, along with some other items I’ll get to in a second post.

Classic Lines is Beebo’s set of older skins, and they come in 3 age ranges, from a 40ish look to an 80ish one, and four makeup choices (one of which is no makeup) and several hair color choices (to match eyebrows and so on) for each makeup. Classic Lines skins are a modification of the freely available Eloh Eliot skins, and Beebo even makes the Classic Lines Photoshop files available for free download on the Brazen Women site.

If you’re interested in these skins, though, it’s affordable enough to buy them directly from Brazen Women or through Beebo’s store on OnRez. Each set of skins with four makeup options is L$550, which for a decent quality skin strikes me as a more than fair price.

You can judge the skins for yourself, either from the pictures here or by getting a free demo through the store or OnRez. For what it’s worth, I’m impressed with them: the no-makeup, 40ish skin is nice enough that I expect to wear it out sometimes, and there are few skins I actually wear out…let alone ones where I have no makeup and look older!

The versions with makeup look a little angry to me, which I think is a combination of just how the eyebrows are tilted together with the little lines between the eyes. The nice thing about that is that these skins make a woman’s face look more resolute than usual. It seems common to me for Second Life skins to make our faces look sweet, and sometimes (I’m sorry to say) a bit vapid. These do the opposite. Need to go into a business meeting and make it clear you’re not there to cyber in IM (well, unless it’s a meeting full of First Life lesbians, in which case all bets are off)? This skin may help…in addition to its other virtues.

In all of this, I don’t mean to suggest that Beebo’s the only one who has ever done more mature skins for women in Second Life, but even so I consider these high-quality, inexpensive skins with their good range of options a major find.

Admittedly, I wouldn’t quite put these skins in a category with my very favorites, like the ones I use most often from Gala and Cake, but then, Classic Lines skins offer something that no other skins in my overflowing inventory have: a bit of maturity.

^^^\ Kate /^^^

(I’ll be following up soon with a post about what Beebo brings to the lesbian community in Second Life. What could be more fun than a Dyke In A Box?)

PS – Sorry about the not-so-great quality of the images…next time I’ll be more careful which programs I process my images through!