What I Like In Male Avatars
One of my goals for this year has been to involve more people in my SL photography: I've gotten pretty good at solo shots, and I'm wanting to produce more couple, threesome, and moresome shots. But every time I sit down to write a casting call, it occurs to me that my list of requirements for male avatars gets a little longer. As such, I thought it might be useful to write a post explaining what I'm looking for, and why.
Before I get into it, though, I want to be clear on a few points.
First of all, if you ask twenty different women what they think makes a great-looking male avatar, you'll probably get twenty different answers. There are bound to be some common themes, but this kind of thing is to a great extent a matter of taste. Taste varies, and my preferences are not everybody's preferences.
Second, this post should not be mistaken as a call for anybody to make changes to their avatar. Your avatar, after all, is yours, and if you're happy with the way it looks then what I think really does not matter.
Third, all of the things I’m going to list are, loosely speaking, necessary but not sufficient. One the one hand, none of them are absolutely non-negotiable. On the other hand, missing on a couple of them can, to my mind, compromise an otherwise well-put-together avatar. On the gripping hand, the most smoking hot avatar in the world isn’t going to offset an abrasive personality or a shitty attitude. Bear that in mind.
Without further ado:
Proportions and Shape
Scale, in Second Life, is wack. The real-life average height of an adult female in the United States is 5’4”. If I tried to make my avatar that height, I’d be barred from many mature-audience sims on the grounds that my AV looked too much like a child. Even at my chosen height of 5’10” (which is taller than the real-life average height of an adult male in the United States) my AV is relatively petite. Most poses and animations and even buildings are made for avatars that are bigger — in some cases much bigger — than mine.
I don’t pretend to know how this situation came about, and I’m not naive enough to think that it’s going to change anytime soon. But if you ask me what makes for a good-looking male AV, a good shape is definitely a factor. I like avatars that, while they might be taller than mine, aren’t disproportionately so (more than twelve to fifteen inches is pushing it); that more or less conform to the basic proportions of the human body without super-exaggerated shoulder lines that leave their waists, hips, and legs looking underdeveloped; and that have a modest amount of body fat so as not to bear too close a resemblance to Jack Skellington.
Body, Head, Hands, and Feet.
Mesh, mesh, mesh, and mesh. It's really that simple. Bento-enabled parts are preferable.
At the risk of repeating myself, eyes can be the difference between an avatar that looks like a person and an avatar that looks like a cartoon or a doll. I prefer eyes that have some depth of color (eyes are moist, shiny surfaces that catch highlights and shadows; even the white parts aren’t a completely uniform shade) and irises that are proportionate to the rest of the eye.
I don’t care about race at all. I just prefer avatars with skin that, regardless of its pigmentation, looks natural in a variety of lighting conditions. This is actually less about what I like than what will photograph well: sometimes a skin that looks fantastic under a windlight setting designed to simulate a sunny day at the beach will look gray and unhealthy under a different windlight designed to simulate diffuse studio lighting.
While I appreciate a gym-honed male physique as much as the next girl, I don’t expect male avatars to resemble Chippendales dancers whose bodies are sculpted from blocks of purest marble. “Could I bounce quarters off his perfect six-pack abs?” is not a threshold criterion for me, and I’m of the mind that too much definition can be worse than a lack of it: when I see blood vessels standing out from someone’s biceps and quads I think, “Ew,” not, “Hot!”
I don’t mind body art (I’ve even considered adding some to my own avatar). I do mind ugly body art. Too many Second Life tattoos don’t actually resemble tattoos so much as they look like an over-caffeinated toddler got loose with a Sharpie. Good-looking tattoos should present some visual interest and, like eyes, have some depth of color. I’m also of the mind that less is sometimes more: a smaller but more interesting and well-designed tattoo can be more attractive than the same tribal chest ink that every other guy is wearing.
In terms of body hair, I’m okay with everything up to and including modest, manscaped looks. More shagginess than that is not to my taste.
In terms of facial hair, my feelings are similar. Everything from clean-shaven to stubble to well-groomed beards can look good, but once we start getting into Travis Fimmel in season two of Vikings territory, I’m out. Also, I can’t say that I’m enthusiastic about hipster facial hair: waxed and curled mustaches make a guy look, to me, like he’s a refugee from the set of a bad Western movie.
In terms of head hair, please make it mesh (and, if it’s got any length at all, rigged mesh). There’s no good reason to still be wearing flexi-prim hair in 2018. Beyond that, about all I can say is that I’m not a huge fan of dopey undercuts and pompadours, and I find longer, Fabio-style ‘dos kind of ridiculous.
Since my Second Life involves adult modeling and acting as well as escorting, I’ll end this post below the belt. So let’s talk cock, guys.
First, this is one of those things where you kind of get what you pay for. If you want to look good naked then you have to spend a few Lindens. I’m not looking for any particular brand (though I admit some partiality to Aeros and VAW products), but if you disrobe to reveal a detail-free dollarbie dangling between your legs, it’s going to make me want to cue sad trombones, not jump your bones.
Second, and this should kind of go without saying, I prefer a guy whose junk is decently color-matched to the rest of his body. While the color-match doesn’t have to be absolutely 100% perfect, avatars with too large a color difference look to me like they have some kind of strange tropical disease.
Third, everything that I said previously about body proportions applies here, too. Size does matter, but it matters both ways: I for one do not find freakishly enormous penises attractive, let alone erotic. I like guys who look respectably hung, with equipment that’s proportionate for their bodies and wouldn’t rearrange my internal organs.
Finally, piercings. Call me a traditionalist, but I prefer a natural, unpierced look. Because Prince Albert and Jacobs Ladder piercings are options on many male genital products it sometimes seems like every other guy has one, but personally I think they're kind of ghastly.