The other day I was confronted with a view about SL dress code that I’ve never really experienced before. I was playing at a club where I have played before. It’s a bar and I’ve always felt a sort of relaxed and friendly feeling about it. I was tp:ing in friends and acquaintances from here and there, starting to enjoying myself when suddenly a word exchange of rather harsh nature told me that the owner of the sim had been telling a couple of guys (one of the from my friendlist) in IM:s that they couldn’t dance there in their jeans. They had to adjust to the dress code. The guys refused, not surprisingly, and suddenly the owner of the sim had ejected them.
I felt my partymood sinking down to the level of my boot ruffles and the more I thought about it, the more furious I got. Ejecting is for me something you only do when someone is obviously rude to people or griefing the sim. The situation was also that I have been inviting people from my friendslist and their friends to this sim for a couple of times and I thought in my naivety that the clubowner would be quite happy to have a few people there. We have never really crashed the sim with too many people there…
When I confronted the clubowner asking why it was so important to keep the dresscode the only answer I got was “It’s my rules”. The answer wasn’t in any way enough for me. So I declared how disappointed I was in local chat, stopped playing and left the club.
This situation held so many interesting issues about how we conduct ourselves in SL so I had to give it more thoughts. Here are some of them:
What ejection signals
I believe ejecting is a measure to use only as a very selective instrument for moments when people are rude. If they behave, you must accept that people have taken lots of effort creating avatars looking like they do for a reason!
I am sure that people with a more visual mind than me appreciate the beauty of a harmonising view at their club and I understand if you want a certain “style” of your property, but do you really want to get the reputation of being exclusive and throwing people out when they don’t fit exactly to your dream?
Isn’t it beautiful when you run a club that people of all sorts come to seek out your place? What signals will ejecting people give to the audience? And what makes dresscode so important that you can risk a party for the sake of it?
If you want to have a dresscode, then you need to advertise it very clearly when people arrive, and you have to understand that not all people come for the sake of your club. Some come from random tp:s from friends and may well miss the codes. To be told when you already are at a dancefloor that you have the wrong sort of appearance is an insult. And being patronised in local chat about refusing to change will never make it any better! Perhaps it’s better to tell your visitors that they can remember the dresscode next time please, and let go of your strong principals for the sake of people’s comfort.
Adjustment versus personal expression
I think the world, including SL, can more or less be divided in two sorts of people. People that feel more comfortable with rules about how to dress in a certain place and people that think their own way to express themselves are more important than rules and adjustment.
I belong, not surprisingly, to the second half… I have always found it difficult to adapt to rules concerning my own persona and how I should look. I don’t need to look extremely pretty, BUT, I need to feel comfortable! I am not a big user of makeup and I don’t care too much about fashion, but I want to look like ME. So yes, I avoid certain places in RL where dress codes are announced because I don’t feel welcome there and not at all comfortable. It’s my choice.
In SL however I like to try out new looks and go to places like ballrooms for the fun and laugh of it. I can easily look splendid here and I enjoy it very much. But even here I sometimes just can’t bother to be dressed up. Some people here put tremendous efforts in to looking special and magnificent. I love the diversity and creativity whenever I see it! For me it’s fantastic that I can dance with a furry, a robot and a dragon in the same dancefloor. It makes me happy! And it doesn’t spoil the image of being in a dodgy blues club, a classy bar or a ballroom floor!
Role-play and emersion
A Role-play sim on the other hand is something different for me. Here people gather that are interested in acting out a special kind of place. They want to imagine a story together set in a special setting, be it medieval or space. The dresscode is part of a bigger thing and has a special meaning. Some sims has the possibility for visitors to walk around with OOC-signs so the roleplayers can just ignore them. These are very clever arrangements that helps people not to compromise each other.
Nudity has a certain meaning for us humans. Getting naked is something that causes emotions of some kind. I love the liberty of being able to strip off without embarrassment in SL and I do it when I feel like it. I can understand the need of having special sims where you can be nude and others where you don’t since it can embarrass people or make them feel awkward. I will not go in to detail on this, but I am happy that there are a few places where you can choose nudity or not! Enforced nudity feels like another restriction for me, but I can still understand it because of the strong emotions it evokes on some people.
I think these questions are important to address and discuss every now and then and I would of course love to hear your opinions.
What does ejection mean to you? If you got ejected from a place, how did that make you feel?
How do you feel about dress codes? Are they a help or a nuisance? Does different dress codes mean different things in different places to you too?
Much love and peace out brothers and sisters! Yours truly/Fiona