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So, I’ve been to the Hair Fair this year. Three times! Each time hoping that things would be different, and each time … not so much. 😦

Before I went, I read and resolved to follow most of my friend Harper’s tips for the Hair Fair (except of course for the one about waiting until it was less crazy!) at http://slfashionpassion.wordpress.com/2010/09/04/hair-in-my-soup/ . Especially, I put on an outfit that used very few prims, relying mostly on system clothing, and no scripts. I went barefoot and without a facelight or AO, and my wings were a simple 2-prim set with no scripting.

Voila! The result: a great butch avatar to take to Greek lesbian club–which is to say, not exactly my style. While I’m happy to be obviously and publicly bisexual (in Second Life, anyway … in First Life almost everyone seems to assume I’m straight, what with the boyfriend and all), I do like to have *hair*, at least!

Actually, I wouldn’t have minded a bandana, but I’ll tell you a secret about my shape: in order to get my face exactly the way I wanted it (I made my shape myself long ago when I first joined Second Life), I had to sacrifice a gracefully-proportioned skull–which normally doesn’t matter, because I always have hair! Unfortunately, my short, flat skull (which I hope to someday fix if and when Linden Labs introduces additional avatar design tools) looks completely grotesque to me, so I can’t get away with the cropped-to-the-skull look or the just-a-bandana look. I need a hairstyle to make my head the right shape!

But please don’t bring my weird head shape up – not unless you want to see me use a crying animation, and I assure you those, like my skull shape, aren’t pretty!

Anyway, Greek Butch didn’t quite suit me (although there are butch lesbians and Greek people whom I admire, and it’s no offense meant to either), so I tried again, giving up the hat and instead searching out the lowest-prim hairstyle in my entire inventory. It turned out to be my snood hair, which normally goes with a net and bow (which make it look much nicer), but which without weighed in at only 22 prims. This, I decided, was as low as I could go and still feel like me. I was also happier with the more casual shorts and top, because they matched the bare feet better, and I had a wider choice of skins because I didn’t have to find one with a hair base. Needless to say, my wings had to be selected to suit the new outfit. Here’s how I came out.

But enough about my attempts to dress semi-presentably at low bandwidth! How was the hair fair itself?

Unfortunately, I can’t say I was inspired. The dun-colored canvas tents were anything but festive, and the lag, of course, was absolutely terrible. I tried flying, running, and walking (running seemed to work the best for me), and soon stopped caring about doors and instead just walking directly through walls, which doesn’t help the feeling of browsing happily through vendors.

Each vendor had only a few hairstyles on view, which I hadn’t remembered from past Hair Fairs. To my great disappointment, I found very little that I really wanted to buy! I think the real problem is that I already have many, many hairstyles, and finding one that I really like that isn’t a whole lot like some other hairstyle I already have is a bit of a fool’s errand!

I wished that they used different colors for different tents or even for different vendor sections within each tent. That way it would have been much easier to see where I was going and where I was coming from!

But even more, I want Linden Labs to come up with a solution for the lag problem for large events. I know, it’s a terribly difficult technical problem, but surely it’s not insurmountable! Right now it’s excruciating to ever do anything with large numbers of people. There must be a better way, right? For instance, what if there were a way to lock a sim as "no changes" after everything was set, which would mean that while already-rezzed objects could be manipulated, the only way new objects could be rezzed would be for someone to teleport away, change their attachments, and then come back–through some specific portal or something. This would allow preloading of all prims and textures, with only a trickle of new information at once–you would wait patiently while the sim loaded and then enter.

Oh, I know, that probably wouldn’t work–I can think of half a dozen problems with it now, and there are probably dozens more, but my point is, Second Life isn’t a viable place for people to gather until we can do it without ridiculous lag…so some solution – Faerie magic, perhaps? Anything will do, so long as it works! – is desperately needed. Gathering lag is stunting the growth of Second Life along with some of the other big villains, like the learning curve and the inability to find an interesting group of people to spend time with on demand despite there being tens of thousands of people online!

I think I’m beginning to sound a little hysterical, though, so I’ll stop right there. In the end, I think what I learned from the Hair Fair is that for me, it’s not worth going to mobbed sims, and that I don’t need any more hair. Now, if we have a *shoe* fair, my attitude may have to change…do we have one of those?

^^^\ Kate /^^^