Posts Tagged ‘romance’

Final Posting for the Romantic Picnic Project.

January 17, 2008

I started the Romantic Picnic project to learn more about what works and what does not work in a virtual world like Second Life. I started out with an idea of making a SIM where someone could have a romantic picnic. This was based on:

  1. I had attended several classes where items used on picnics were being created.
  2. Several SIMs had areas for picnics.
  3. Picnics were seen as romantic and there was a population in Second Life looking for romance.

So with the help of the SIM 2.0 group I received a small parcel of land. I created walls around the SIM for privacy. A waterfall was added as the main focus. The SIM was near the edge of the Island so I added plants along the walls leading to the ocean. At the edge of the ocean I placed a picnic blanket with poses for a couple and added a fire pit at the edge of the beach. It was a simple design with several of the key items being purchased instead of being created from scratch. What is funny is that I never received any negative comments about the final design. I have gone there at different times only to have to leave my own SIM because others were using it and I did not want to interrupt their privacy. I had successfully created a place for couples to have a romantic picnic.

That part went as I expected. However, I learned very little from it. Where learning took place was in the Discussion groups that I either attended in Second Life or hosted at my SIM. Here is what I learned.

  1. Appearance matters as much in Second Life as it does in real life. I have found that in my professional life people commonly judge me by the clothing I wear and how I carry myself. Coming to work in cloths that look like you slept in them can tend to make people think less of you. Well, in Second Life the same holds true. I traveled in Second Life as a Furry. I had a human body with a cartoon animal head and a stripped tail. What I found from talking to people was that when I hosted a discussion people would see the furry newbie and leave. Because of my appearance people judged my discussion as having little value. I know this because several people who showed up and left told me why when I followed up and asked them later.
  2. Layout of the SIM matters. The design of my SIM was fine for a couple having a romantic picnic. It used a small space and provided privacy without being within a building. However, for holding discussions it did not meet expectations. Asking people to sit on the ground near a fire pit failed. It was another reason people did showed up and left discussions. If you attend discussions in Second Life you will generally find that special places are built that provide structured places to sit and maybe some type of display board or presentation screen. Asking people to sit at random around a fire did not live up to their expectations. Again this was confirmed by following up with people who left.
  3. Second Life is a chunky soap. What I mean by this is that people have many reasons for being there and many things that they do there. Getting attention can be very hard. You can post a discussion easy enough. However, getting people to show up is quit another thing. If you wish to host discussions it helps to attend other discussions and establish yourself as someone who is worth listening to. This is not always an easy task. Sometimes it is hard to get a word in. And you have to choose your words carefully in many instances when there are competing ideas. It is not uncommon for discussions to turn into debates and moderators to fight to maintain control of the discussion. As you build your reputation by attending discussions you also build your links to communities. The successful discussions have regulars and repeat attendees. They create their own community of people interested in the subjects that they offer for discussion. The concept of creating a community can’t be overstressed. This is the heart of Second Life.
  4. As I talked with people and walked the world of Second Life looking like a cartoon raccoon in clothing, I found people seeking solitude. Second Life offered the opportunity to create virtual areas of outstanding natural beauty. There are great beaches, tropical jungles, etc. I explored many of these seeking places for romantic picnics. I found romantic picnics happening with couples. I also found a lot of individuals who went to these places to be alone. People were coming to these places to unwind, meditate, deal with the stress of work, etc. Doing a little research I discovered that some people have a need for a certain amount of solitude. What I never expected was that it could be obtained in a computer screen. In my research I found where video games have be used to reduce stress by distracting one from the real world. I also found a lot of examples of images and pictures being used to help relieve stress. Due to the immersive nature of 3-D it makes sense that one can go beyond just mentally imaging a happy place. They can go there as an avatar. The avatar becomes an extension of them.
  5. I had the preconceived idea that a romantic place had to be private. Second Life quickly changed that idea. Some of the most romantic places to a lot of people where dance clubs. It was a combination of romantic music, dancing, and being seen. For some people being able to show themselves off was an important part of their concept of romance. When I started I never considered the value of being the center of attention. Thinking back I should have known better. I still remember sending my wife flowers at work when we were dating just because I knew it would make her the center of attention at work for that day and win me more points then if I just sent some flowers to her home.

So the romantic picnic experiment is now over. I have traded my furry avatar for what passed as popular in Second Life. My avatar IB WISE now looks like many of the other human avatars that I have seen attending discussions. Where I go from here I do not know. I believe that 3-D will be an important part of the future of the Internet in years to come. So I will continue to travel the world of Second Life learning as I travel.

For those of you who took the time to read my blogs, I would like to thank you. If you are ever in Second Life look for IB WISE.


If you want my loyalty, SHOW ME THE LOVE !!!

October 30, 2007


I define romance as how another person makes one feel about oneself. Can we say the same thing for companies who are trying to romance their way into our pocket books with customer loyalty programs? Customer Loyalty programs, either designed to bribe us or to make us feel special? I will skip the bribe part and look at a study by Colloquy that looked at preferential treatment in six customer segments.


Below are some figures from a 2007 Colloquy Demographic Loyalty Study.

The study looked at six groups below. For each group I have three numbers.

The first number is the percentage of people in that group who said that special treatment is “extremely important” to them. The second number is the percentage in that group who feel they receive preferential treatment in the customer loyalty programs they participate in. The third number is the gap between the people who want the preferential treatment and the people who believe they are receiving preferential treatment.


General Population            61.7              15.7            46.0%

Affluent buyers            61.7            24.0            37.7%

Young Adults               60.5            18.2            42.3%

Seniors             47.9     9.3       38.6%

Core Women               64.3            14.4            49.9%

Emerging Hispanic            73.3            17.0            56.3%


“This reports the number of U.S. adults that say they feel they receive preferential treatment in the programs they participate in and the % of US adults that say special treatment is “extremely important”.

Source: The 2007 COLLOQUY Demographic Loyalty Study”

 The message from Colloquy was The Wake-Up Call: “Show Me the Love!” Not much different than romance really, it is all about how does the relationship make me feel about myself. I want to be treated as if I am special, important, etc. From the study no group is really getting the emotional satisfaction they would really like. The ones that come the closest are the Affluent, which makes sense because they have money and money talks, and seniors because they have lower expectations to begin with. The rest are left asking for companies to “Show Me the Love”. It would seem that romantic relationships are not the emotional relationships that can be very one sided!

Second Life,where men are men and women are women, almost, maybe, I cann’t tell?

October 29, 2007

Second Life,where men are men and women are women, almost, maybe, I cann’t tell?


Second Life is a virtual world where one can be almost anything one desires. One selects an Avatar to represent them in this virtual world. The Avatar can be male, female, or totally non-human. Its pretty much up to your imagination and how much money you are willing to spend. The Avatar is an extension of you in the virtual world but no one knows who is behind the Avatar. Think of it as a giant costume ball. All you can see is the outside costume. People can only know who you are if you reveal yourself to them. In Second Life you never really know whom you are taking to unless they are willing to tell you who they are in Real Life. So what does this have to do with romance? Well an interesting thing is happening in Second Life. You have a number of men who are straight in the Real World assuming female Avatars in Second Life. Now lets drop the whole issue of dating or having virtual sex with someone who is the same sex as you are in the real world. Others have covered this pretty well in blogs past. What I find interesting from a romance angle is that several men I have talked to run around as super glamorous females because that is how they can get attention. Guys in virtual worlds are much like guys in the real world. They seem to be attracted to physical beauty. It does not matter that anyone can purchase beautiful Avatar for fewer than 50 US dollars. Men are hard wired to focus on visual appearance.

Well if you define romance, as relationships that make one feel better about themselves, then being able to command attention or become the center of attention is appealing. The virtual reality may not be real. But the recognition and attention most certainly are real. I travel the virtual world of Second Life as a raccoon looking character called IB WISE. I am what people in Second Life call a Furry. I stay this way because I am ignored many times and it makes it easier to observe behavior. I have seen a lot of people doing many things in Second Life just to get attention. The ones who act out and disrupt thing have even been given a name, “grifters”. In romance we want attention. Is it really that much different for the grifters or men using female avatars to get attention? How unromantic is it to be in a group of people and have no one notice you or pay attention to you. How romantic is it to be the center of attention at a grand ball or other function?

 Let me know what you think, leave a comment.

Is it easier to find romance in the land of beautiful people?

October 24, 2007

Is it easier to find romance in the land of beautiful people?


What if you could be your idea of perfection? Would all the phobias and hang-up you have about yourself go away? In a 3D world such as Second Life you can be almost anything you want to be. You can create an Avatar that can be your idea of perfection. That was a point that came up last Saturday during the discussion about Romantic Picnics. It would seem that people, who decide to represent themselves with a human avatar, tend to only select attractive avatars. You see very few ugly human avatars in Second Life. In fact you tend to find people spending money to have the most attractive avatars possible. One can dress in a variety clothing to make different fashion statements to the 3D world. Many people have a collection of bodies as well as clothing. They trade avatar bodies more than most people change clothes. So again, what impact does this have on the self esteem and image people in Second Life have about themselves? Are they more at ease because they are now one of the beautiful people? Are they attracted to others in Second Life because of the appearance of another’s avatar? Do they put aside their own phobias and hang-ups about themselves in real life? For once you have become one of the popular branded avatars you have become one of the beautiful people. I have stated before that people enter relationships not because of how they feel about the other person, but because of how the other person makes us feel about ourselves. Can representing ourselves to others using beautiful bodies make us feel better about ourselves. If so does this make romance easier to achieve in a virtual 3D world?


Let me know what you think, comment on this.

How do you define romance?

October 17, 2007

How do you define romance? This is important with regards to what you expect out of a romantic picnic.

Romance Consultant L.A. Hunter defines Romance as “the creation of an atmosphere where she feels unconditional love and appreciation. You can turn down the lights, turn on the radio, take her by the hand and ask her to dance in the kitchen. That’s romance”.

According to Barbara and Michael Jonas, creators of the relationship-enhancement games An Enchanting Evening, To Know You Better, and Two to Tango, “romance is not so much what you do, but how you do it, your attitude, and the creativity you use to make your partner feel loved, appreciated, and special. For one person, romance is daisies on a breakfast tray. For another, it’s a foot massage after a long day at work. For a third, it’s surprise weekend getaway. Each of these romantic gestures is different. But they all have one thing in common an attitude that says I love you. I care about you. I appreciate you and I’m happy to put some effort into demonstrating it”.Romance seems to center around a relationship. According to Relationship Expert Russell Price Jr. “We fall in love with somebody not because of who they are but because of how they make us feel about ourselves. They are attracted to us so therefore we suddenly feel very attractive and grow in our self-esteem. The more they are attracted to us the better we feel, and the better we feel the more we are attracted back to them for making us feel THIS GOOD. In turn, they feel the same feelings and emotions as us because we are making them feel good about themselves, too! What a great cycle of love; we actually fall in love with each other for making us feel so great about ourselves.”I have read many articles, books, blogs, etc. and in most of the “Good” ones romance and a relationship between two people go hand in hand. The general consensus seems to be that we enter into a relationship not because of how we feel about the other person but how the other person makes us feel about ourselves. Words like love, appreciated, special, etc. always seem to appear in discussions about romance. There is also some type of cycle or feedback involved between the two people. The two people give to the relationship with an expectation that they will receive benefits. These benefits as related to romance are emotional in nature with physical elements common. In fact it is the emotional elements that separate physical encounters into love and self-gratification. Is one giving to another or is one taking for personnel gain only. Romance seems to be a cycle of giving and taking for the emotional benefit of both. Since romance is emotional it does not have to be logical. This gets into the right side of brain versus left side of brain functions. Ones feelings and emotions do not have to really make sense. So romance does not have to really make a lot of sense. History is filled with examples of silly ways couples have tried to PROVE their love to one another. Negative emotions such as jealousy, distrust, etc. are the classic weapons in history for destroying romance. In some cases romance becomes a battle between the dark negative emotions and the bright positive emotions. I like Russell Price Jr. description of falling out of love.
”Our hearts are heavy and empty. We feel betrayed, hurt, and resentful. How could they allow such ruin? We do not feel good about ourselves. The sun has stopped shining, the old oak tree is wicked looking, with gnarled twisted branches, your eyes have dark circles under them and there is a dragging shuffle in your walk. You have fallen out of love.” Notice the vast array of negative emotions directed at oneself. Romance is really all about ME. It takes effort to go beyond the me and give back to another. Unfortunately, the effort it takes to give back usually has to be less than the value I receive. Such is the nature of romance. That is what can make it so hard to last. How can I be expected to give more than I receive back? Remember we are not talking logical but emotional. Maybe one can look at this differently. Can one use romantic picnics to not only give to another, but to give to oneself at the same time? I know this sounds bad at first glance. However, when we go to a romantic location do we not benefit emotionally by the location itself. When you really take something like a romantic picnic apart you find a great deal of emotional benefit received that is not totally dependent on who you are with. There is a percentage of emotional benefit that hopefully will be supplied by another. But it is also possible that the majority of benefit to both parties can be supplied by the location, food, mode created, etc. How much easier is it to give to another when our emotional cup is full on the positive side? Proper planning of a romantic picnic can also remove or help negate negative emotions such as stress, tension, fear, worry, if only for a period of time. Some time just removing a percentage of negative emotions and tip the balance to the positive. Again it is all about me, so I have to remove my negative emotions. Again, location, food, mode, etc. can all become allies to this effort. It may require no effort on the part of the other person in the relationship to remove these negative emotions. Don’t we all seem to have comfort foods? Have you ever thought about places and situations where you have really be able to relax. Only the ME can leave the world behind for a brief period of time. You are the one who carries you daily worries and cares with you on a romantic picnic. Only you can set these cares aside for a while.
So does romance boil down to emotional investments in oneself maybe more so then an investment in another? How one defines romance will greatly govern their expectations from a “Romantic Picnic” and expectations from the one we are in a romantic relationship with.   

Is there chemistry on a Romantic Picnic

October 12, 2007

Is there chemistry to romance? This Love Chemistry web page seems to do a good job in linking emotions to chemicals that help create those emotions. Take a look at the different chemicals and related emotions. I believe you will find them interesting if nothing else. The information is in line with research I have been looking at on this subject. For romance as defined in the intro to this blog I would focus on endorphins.
These morphine-like opiates calm and reassure with intimacy, dependability, warmth, and shared experiences. I have read where actors who played heroic parts actually produced endorphins. They had blood tests and found that roles of hero’s created endorphins and roles of villains did not. On a truly romantic picnic you would expect the body to at least create measurable amounts of endorphins. That is why one can feel so good after a truly romantic picnic.


Please comment and let me know what you think.

Romantic fairy tale movies

October 12, 2007

The Geeks of Doom have picked the top 5 romantic fairy tale movies. I think they have done a pretty good job. Several are favorites of my wife and I. They all have couples that overcome heroic obstacles while growing their personnel relationship. Which is pretty much the plot line of most romantic novels. So what are your top romantic movies, and why do you find them romanticJ