Love & Math

loveandmath

A recent facebook post by a virtual family member laughing at a post on SL secrets had me pondering about my own Second Life, and all those secrets and skeletons in my own closet. Luckily, I’m not famous – even in SL – so no one will really care what I did or with whom. Perusing that slander site, I couldn’t help but think of how easy it is to cheat, lie, and be duplicitous in our virtual world, so in an effort of transparency, wanted to talk a little about probably my own greatest weakness.

It probably isn’t one, but I’ll talk about it anyway.

If you asked any of my friends what my biggest problem is, a few of them would probably admit that I’m one of those romantaholics in Second Life, meandering from monogamous relationship to monogamous relationship (and some not so monogamous) … but it’s not entirely the complete truth.

I know my first few months in SL won’t be helpful with my defense: The year Phan started, I had two husbands, and 4 boyfriends (not counting the lovers). While it was a busy 13 or 14 months, I stuck with the last boyfriend (he refused to marry) for a whole year afterwards. At the end of my second year in Second Life, I dumped him and Second Life all in the same day, and swore never to log on again.

See? I am capable of long-term commitment and decisiveness.

There were a few exceptions, but I never logged in again …

… until Thanksgiving week of 2011. There was this SL roleplay experience I was interested in, so I logged in and promptly joined – an awesome experience that lasted about a year and half, during which time, I had no boyfriends, no lovers, and absolutely no husbands. See? Restraint. No problems here. Move along to exhibit C.

As the roleplay began to dwindle, I did start dating again. I had one quick dating relationship (we were never boyfriends), a really weird relationship with a guy that logged on once a month, followed by a really bad boyfriend thingee (lesson learned: don’t date your boss). As a rebound, I started dating a couple of friends at the same time in my first throuple – which imploded in less than two months.

Little blip on the timeline of one-on-one love. Keep moving.

In 2015, I had exactly three boyfriends – two that I married. Two. In one year. One lasted six months. See?  We’re seeing a pattern of stability here.

Well, until he technically dumped me for a theme-park, so I finalized it for him. The second dumped me for a RL thing, and I had a kinda-sorta relationship with our friend afterwards, resulting in a kinda-sorta marriage early in 2016 (didn’t last long).

(redacted)

Yeah, that looks bad … BUT … keep reading.

Tired of the successive relationships, my heart and I took a month off and dated about 4 guys at once [managing to hurt only one in the process … (I said I’m SORRY!!!!)] before settling with the guy I’m with now, albeit in a very unconventional relationship. That’s been going strong now for a couple of months, and Phan is finally a very, very happy man.

See? A little noise, then happily ever after!

Ok, so let’s count.

Second Life, round one: 2 husbands, 4 boyfriends, two years.

Second Life, round two (only since 2014): 4 husbands (all quick affairs), 8 boyfriends (again, not counting any of the lovers or one-nighters), not double-counting anyone that was more than one of these.

So, yeah …. When you apply mathematics to my second life, I’ve been married six times in nine years, with additional 12 boyfriends, all concentrated in 2 two-and-a-half year periods where I decided to do the dating thing. Quite embarrassing, but I doubt anyone else on here would dare be so honest about their Second Life Dating & Loving.

So, yes, Mother, I have a problem … BUT, Elizabeth Taylor still beats me with one hand behind her back, and – bless her heart – she was only stopped by death. Through it all, I hoped each of the nineteen would the final – “The One” that would last until the Lindens cast us all out with pixel dust, so I can still claim sanity and have some reasonable expectation of happiness.

I know in my heart that this guy is it; although, quite aware of my history, he’s probably not entirely convinced.

The 5 Club Hosts You Will Meet in SL

The 5 DJ's You Will Meet in SL

Hosting at clubs in Second Life is one of the most under-appreciated jobs in Second Life.   I know … whenever I’ve “worked” in SL, it was one of the only two jobs I’ve wanted to do … and I love it!

Almost present in every dance club, they aren’t the DJ … so they won’t get near as many tips, and probably won’t get any of the undies thrown at the stage, either.  They also aren’t the dancers/strippers, so the heavy tippers are going to naturally be paying most of their attention to those with less clothes on. I actually had a customer tell me “Why are you even talking to me?  You’re not the DJ! So, I’m not gonna tip you!  Begone!!! LOL!”

In general chat.

Yeah.

So, why have them?  Throwing a party in SL isn’t as easy as it sounds.  They have to be announced.  They have to be stoked by someone entertaining to stay “lit.”  Everything has to be in good working order, and if anyone is going to get paid (tipped), then someone is often having to remind the clientele that we aren’t working for snowflakes.

That’s the host.  They run the things that allow other people to shine leaving your DJ and dancers free to take care of #1 … you.

The best hosts are usually “nurturers” or “supporters” by nature.  They’re not interested in any glory or fame – they just wanna be part of a team, and want to be the glue that holds it all together.  It’s true – you don’t really need one, but things run better when the DJ doesn’t have to put out his own notices, or the strippers don’t have to double as club security.

Having said that, a lot may be expected of hosts … but there is a wide spectrum of people who occupy these roles by luck or hard work, at least in the gay clubs I frequent.  Not everyone behind a host tip jar is as I just described … and maybe they DO make you wonder if any of the general stereotypes I described earlier are true!

Maybe you’ve met one or two!

You’ve just walked into a club.  The DJ is hunched over, his eyes and fingers tight on his vinyls.  A lone dancer spins on a pole, giving you the “c’mere” look.  Another guy is standing near the DJ.

Just standing there.

Like – he doesn’t see you, or doesn’t want to see you – but he’s there, with “Host” clipped to his lapel, and a tipjar near his station.  Finally, he says “Hi!” but doesn’t say much else … unless you ask him.

At half-time, you see a frustrated DJ trying to send out notices again, while wanting to stay focused on the music, and a lone dancer … with nothing in his jar, spins slowly and seems a little dejected.

Congratulations.  You’ve just met Mr. Wallpaper (#1) … a guy who wants the pay, but doesn’t want to do anything else but look pretty and text.  If his job is being Moma Bear for the staff on duty, he’s about to be reported Protective Services for severe neglect.

You like the DJ, but you decide to go to another club.  The next place is hopping … the notice you received earlier seemed exciting … and that’s what you’re needing tonight … some excitement!  You walk in – the place is packed, you start moving with the beat of the music.

There’s a contest, and the entrance requirements aren’t clear.  You IM the host who is clearly having a good time with the DJ.  He doesn’t answer.  You know he’s busy, so you give him a few minutes before you ding him again.  You move up closer and can tell that he, the DJ, and one of the dancers are talking shop in general voice chat … where anyone who has voice activated can hear … almost like there’s the party going on in the club, and another one for these gents … a group you aren’t a part of, and never will be.  You think maybe you’re being a little paranoid, but after fifteen minutes … you realize the staff are in their own world, and the fact they’re having a successful party is just a miracle of circumstance.

You’ve just met Friend of the House (#2) … and you realize he can stay that way.

The next weekend, a friend drags you to another club.   You walk in and are instantly greeted by a person who has “HOST” written all over them.  They IM instantly with all of the details of how to join the club group, the DJ’s group, his own personal group … and he winks at you a couple of times in the process.  You laugh it off, but are happy to be in a place that actually wants you there.  You thank them and move with your friend to an empty space on the floor.

The chat feed is then lit up with about 10 gestures in a row, filling up the screen … all coming from the host who is now twirling mid-air like a ballerina.  He invites you to join him on his dance HUD … but you smile, thank him, and politely decline.

He changes clothes mid-air, into a fuschia mer-man outfit, and IM’s you again, “I’ve got the fat-pack!!! ALL the different colors!” he exclaims joyously.

You don’t respond, closing your eyes to get in the groove with your friend.  Your IMer goes off again.

“You are sooooooooo cute!  I noticed your partner box was empty … I happen to know someone who is looking for a hawwwwwwtttt man like you!!!!”

You don’t want to appear rude, so you reply with a simple, “Yeah?”

“Meeeeeee!!!!!” he yells, switching to general chat.  “Bet you guys wish you knew who *I* was just sexting with!!!! Teee-heeee!!!!”

You blush and run out of the club … leaving your friend behind, having just met the type of host I call Florence Foster Jenkins (#3) … because, not unlike the woman who didn’t know how to sing but held concerts anyway … well, you get the picture.  This guy isn’t a host … he’s a walking explosion of glitter.

A few weeks later, you venture out on your own.  You see a new club, and give it a try.  The DJ is okay … and shockingly, they have a host that actually says something.

“hey phan” – he says without punctuation or capitalization. “welcome to supermode”

You smile and say something back, and get into the party.  A few people walk in and are greeted similiarly, but not much is said by him after that.   At halftime, a notice comes across the group notice (a club group that you had to find for yourself), and instead of a fun notice with fancy fonts and other assorted ascii symbols … just a run-on paragraph … also without any sort of punctuation.  You have a name for this guy already – Lazy Bones (#4) … he knows what he’s supposed to do, he just doesn’t feel like it today … and probably not some other days either.

Later that night, you go to another club recommended by a friend.  You walk in.  The club is full.  The DJ is DA BOMB … and you are greeted … by name … and with enough punctuation that you actually feel like they want you there.

You get into the groove, letting the music wash over you.  The host types out some info about a Linden giveaway … and asks you to IM him for details.  Not obtrusive … not pushy.  You decide to just enjoy the stream.

You see him talking in chat .. asking people how they’re doing … if they have a request for the DJ, and a gentle reminder ever so often about showing some tipping the DJ or the dancers if you enjoy what they’re doing.

As quickly as he interjects, he seems to disappear into the crowd … you’re almost not sure if he’s really there … but you know enough that you’d know to ask him if you had any questions or concerns.

By halftime – you’re completely engrossed in the music.  You invite some friends to stop by with you.  You forget about the host … but all in all, you had a great time.

You’ve just met the host I call The Steward (#5) … the one that knows his job, his role, that knows he’s not the star, or just a jar grifter.  He’s there to make you happy … and if you are when you leave, even if you don’t know his name … he or she has done their job.

Tip your host the next time you’re at a party!  Especially if they’ve earned it.

This article is solely the opinion of the author, and not that of any club pictured, or that  of any club who employs or has employed said author.