When I was a youngster, I went to grad school in anthropology and one of the biggest topics was marriage. When I joined Second Life and I saw that partner slot, I thought it was a really interesting idea. Do people partner romantically, for business, for fun? I decided if I ever went back to grad school, this would definitely make a good paper.
Roll forward six years and I have been partnered for almost four years myself–to a lovely woman in California, though I am straight and married in real life. There is nothing romantic and certainly nothing sexual in our partnership (I am not into blondes in tiaras, thank you). However, I found out by accident and then by practice what partnership really entails.
Callie proposed to me, so the record is clear. She sent me the message, “Come on, you know you want to.” I got the email while I was eating dinner with my family and when it popped up on my iPhone, I laughed. I accepted immediately in the spirit of the silliness. Wouldn’t that be funny? Two straight married women partnering without an ounce of romantic thought between them.
Days, weeks would go by and we wouldn’t talk. It was definitely a “marriage of convenience.” Her name filled my spot and mine hers and that was that. We remained partners because we both owned the fashion bloggers’ group, and I had started my blog as a result. Neither of us had a need to make that slot free so why not just leave it as is? That was until she IM’d me one day and said, I need to talk. And so began a conversation that has gone on for several years.
“Can you Skype?” she’ll say and I will reluctantly agree. (I hate being in voice though sometimes I go on for hours.) She shows me the KittyCatS ads she is working on and cams me her new RL house. She talks to my son and makes me go jewelry shopping with her online. (I talked her out of a pair of very expensive diamond earrings once.) Yes, I have seen her photo, and she is a beautiful woman. Yes, I know how old she is, and I am not telling you. And yes, her RL house is as lovely as you would imagine.
I have heard her cry; she has heard me cry. She has celebrated her family happinesses with me as I have done with her. She has asked me opinions about important things and I have done the same with her.
Did I imagine I would have such a long lasting friendship with a woman who was once “the” face of SL for Maxim? No. Do I imagine this is the only such friendship like this in SL? No way. I think thousands of women every day log on to talk to their bestie—the girl friend who makes them love their second life AND their first life a little more.
In a partnership, there is a discovery—of that partner’s wonderful and not-so-wonderful qualities. (I will say Callie has many more wonderful qualities than not.) There is also self-discovery—of one’s ability to commit to a relationship, of one’s facility for sustaining the ups and downs of a relationship, and of one’s capacity to love.
Harper Beresford is Callie Cline’s partner. She is also an SL bon vivant, blogger, and boisterous moderator for Skin Addiction. She has appeared on the Second Life splash page several times as well as Marketplace and Facebook. She once published SL photos in Architectural Digest and sold SL art to a buyer in Berlin. She was lead for Fashion for Life for RFL for two years, a lead for the SL7B and now lives a life of luxury and ease with six KittyCatS. Find her at A Passion for Virtual Fashion, on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Facebook, Plurk, Twitter, Google, Tumblr, Plinky, and several other social sites probably never attended to and forgotten. If you can’t find her any of those places, she’s hiding.