“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
by Blaise Joshua, Every Second Man
Dancing — it’s a fundamental part of our Second Lives, just like rezzing, IMs and lag. However, for the uninitiated (and the initiated), it’s also a social minefield of embarrassment, ready to trip us, humiliate us, and flagellate us with the rod of our own ineptitude. Therefore, Every Second Man has interviewed literally several woman to get to the bottom of what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to tearing up the virtual dance floor. The information has been collated and distilled into four easy sections, each following the process of the dance ritual. Following these steps, which are well within the capabilities of any partially sentient man, will maximise your chances of not only getting a lady to dance with you, but not making a total tit of yourself in the process. Gentlemen, set your pulses to race – let’s dance!
Before you even introduce yourself to a lady or think of asking someone to dance, there are a couple of simple steps that you can take to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Dress in Your Best!
Don’t look like a noob – there’s just no need for it (read here as to why no one need ever look like a total noob). Dress appropriately for the venue. As one of my interviewees said: “I’ve spent $500L on my eyes! Why would I want to dance with a guy who hasn’t bothered to spend $10L on his entire outfit?”
A blank profile and, even worse, a blank profile picture, seems to a universal turn-off, especially if your avi is more than a month old. It suggests that you’re either a noob that will need baby-sitting, have something to hide or have nothing interesting to say. A little time spent on both your profile and your profile picture will pay great dividends.
Picture this – you’ve made your move, there’s been a little banter, you’re feeling the connection and she’s accepted your offer of a dance. You turn to the floor and realise as your heart sinks like a stone that you’ve no idea where the dance balls are or how to operate them. You spend the next agonising moments fumbling around with blue balls, pink balls and disco balls, only to accidentally sit on the ceiling fan at the end of it all. A simple recon of the venue and its dance apparatus would have saved you this agony.
Perv that Profile!
Many women have gone to great effort with their profiles. Take the time to read it before making an approach. Doing so will doubtless provide many clues as to potential pitfalls and as well as highlight common interests that you might have.
You’re looking great and your profile makes more scintillating reading than 50 Shades of Grey. It’s time to introduce yourself.
This introduction seems to be universally disliked by women in SL. Variations on this theme are ‘How are you?’, ‘Alright?’ and ‘Hey there!’ … and you can just forget about ”Sup bitch?’ My background in psychology tells me that this approach is objectionable because it immediately shifts the responsibility of progressing the encounter onto the recipient of the greeting, whereas it should remain with the instigator. More likely, though, it’s just a really dull way to introduce yourself.
Seriously? Guys! What’s the matter with you? Does this ever even work? If you have ever found success with this approach, I do suspect all you’ve managed to do is find another like-minded guy, albeit one with a female avi, so have fun with that. Every single woman that I spoke to had been approached in this way. Men of SL – sort it out! This just isn’t on.
: – )
Introducing yourself with a smiley. It’s not a winner, and I refer you to my psychological treatise above in the “Hi” section. Don’t do it, you big dullard.
How r u 2day?
Txtspk. Some hate it, some don’t mind it. A bit of profile perving might give you a clue. However, if you employ it too fast and too heavily, you run the risk of appearing ‘a bit fick’ or just lazy.
Compliment or Inquire
Something has attracted you to this particular person. Does she have a particularly beautiful dress? Do you like her style? Do you know that you have a common interest from reading her profile? All of these give you a potential conversation starter, and everyone loves a compliment. Be sincere, though. Insincerity can be detected even through IMs in SL.
The Art of Conversation
Consider engaging in a little conversation before you ask someone to dance. This also serves as a little self-protection, as there are few things worse in SL than getting stuck in a dance with someone who either has nothing to say or has plenty to say on their extreme right-wing political views. I’m experienced both of these eye-gougingly painful scenarios.
Gauge the Signs and Be Bold
Are you feeling this? Is there a connection? If so, go ahead and ask. A simple ‘Would you like to dance?’ is all that’s needed.
Even after everything, she said no? Respect that and don’t take it as a personal slight. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with people in SL are after they’ve turned down an initial dance request. For some, dancing is an exclusively romantic activity, and so if they’re not looking for romance, it’s not something they will want to do. Whatever the reason, take it on the chin and don’t whinge or badger the lady in question.
So she’s said yes and you’ve successfully navigated the dance balls. Stay sharp and keep focused! There are still some things that could go wrong.
Take the Lead
If you’ve initiated the dance and she’s said yes, don’t stand there like a lemon and let her do all the work. Get out onto the floor and get those dance balls prepped.
Not Too Close!
It might not go down well if you dive straight into a dance that has you crawling all over her or has you both dry humping on the dance floor. Be conservative in your early selection of dances, or offer that she selects the dance.
Going out of sync is a common factor in SL dancing. Making sure that you remain in sync stops you both from looking silly and shows that you’re paying attention. If you’re drifting out of sync, acknowledge it and do something about it. Changing the dance will often bring you back together.
One of the great things about dancing is that you have (or should have) someone’s undivided attention. Be a gentleman and don’t carry on multiple conversations. No, it can’t be seen, but it shows. It’s a fast track to making someone feel not special or interesting enough to hold your attention.
Probe with Caution
Launching into probing RL questions can be very off-putting. Some people don’t mind talking about their RLs, some people keep it very guarded. Be respectful of whatever stance your dance partner takes, and avoid diving into ‘How old are you?’, ‘Where exactly do you live?’ and ‘Can I have your credit card number?’
Following from ‘Probe with Caution’, be careful about unexpectedly unloading a RL picture of yourself onto your dance partner. This often comes with the tacit expectation of her now giving you her picture, and this can make for an awkward situation. As for springing pictures of your genatalia on your poor and unsuspecting lady friend, don’t. There’s nothing remotely special or inviting about a picture of your willy. Mind you, if you’re of that mindset, I really doubt you could have read this far into the article.
To Friend or Not to Friend?
You’ve dance, you’ve chatted, it’s all gone swimmingly and you’d like to see her again. Ask if you can add her as a friend rather than just slapping the friend request on her. Doing so would be presumptuous and create an awkward situation if she then declines your offer.
Get Me Out of Here!
It’s not going well. Your dance partner is sucking out your soul with the sheer depth of her dullness, is coming on to another man in local chat or is making Hitler and Stalin look like political moderates with her rabid rantings (sorry to reference this again – but it stems from one the most unpleasant encounters I’ve ever had in SL!). How do you extract yourself? Remember, at all times be a gentleman! Don’t be a coward and fake a crash, nor challenge her and cause a scene. Rather, politely excuse yourself and walk away, wiser from the experience and content that at all times you conducted yourself in a comely and gentlemanly manner.
Stand to Attention!
When concluding a dance, one little quirk of SL is that when one partner ‘stands’, it can leave the other partner still dancing in a manner that’s somewhere between an epileptic fit and a helicopter in distress. You can avoid this rather unsightly closer by simply saying ‘Standing now’ in IM and then standing just as your partner does, thus both of you achieving some level of synchronicity. The mark of a gentleman!
Doubtless, dancing is a minefield, but one that can be navigated successfully. Just by following the basic rules of etiquette and good manners, you can elevate yourself above the average SL man. As someone once said: Dancing is an art, and art is for the artisan.
Every Second Man – For the men of Second Life, July 27, 2012