After reading Verbal Remedy's "I'll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours", I decided to play with My Virtual Model™ . This is not the first avatar I've ever made, so there was no real shock value in seeing myself in cartoon form. In the 90's I was VP of Education for Activeworlds and worked in an avatar day in and day out. I have also worn virtual chainmaille as a Level 10 Ranger on Everquest. My husband has made me an X-Box 360 avatar so that he can imagine I will play Tiger Woods Golf with him. Mind you she's wearing a Catholic school girl uniform and knee-socks, and my husband spends most of his time trying to look up her skirt when she swings the club.
What interested me the most about playing with My Virtual Model™ was the chance to use it as a mirror and see what I would look like at a number of different body weights. Now mind you, the tool is not ideal, and the body is not exact. My shoulders are much broader than my model's. My breasts are larger as well. Neither she nor I will ever look the same in any outfit. She doesn't have to close her blouses with safety pins to keep them from popping open, or, it would seem, hoist her breasts up with an underwire and pulley system. She also seems to prefer her wardrobe come from Lands End rather than Target where the current economic crisis dictates I shop. So as a shopping tool, My Virtual Model™ is pointless for me.
The face isn't mine either. I had the choice to upload a photo and pop it on my model's neck, but unless you have a degree in graphic arts, your model winds up looking like the threatening graphics Jack-of-All-Trades used to send Samantha on the 90's TV series Profiler. So, sticking with the stock facial options, you can choose to set the face as "younger" or more "mature". When choosing younger, I looked like Hayden Pannettiere and when choosing more mature, I looked like Nicolette Sheridan without the Botox and Collagen. Once I had created her I thought I should personalize her just a bit, so I popped her in Photoshop to add my tattoo to her back. It seemed only fair that if I gave up that much back fat to memorialize my sister, she should too.
So, I decided to go all out from the get-go and I tried on a bikini - something I ritually avoid like the dentist. And my first round with my virtual counterpart was set at my current weight. Which, mind you, according to some insurance industry weight charts is considered "overweight" and by some shops which I refuse to patronize, Plus-Size. I wasn't completely horrified by the results. My Virtual Model™ and I will never be getting offers from Elite, but we're still not hearing snickering school children.
Then I decided to reminisce about the body I used to have in college, and decided to see what I would look like now if I could commit to a diet long enough to get back to my flirting weight.
Of course, now I was on a roll. Virtual dieting being so easy, I decided to see what would happen if I could finally come around to Little Ms 2%'s world-view.
However, My Virtual Model™ decided to organize an intervention before I could fully commit to the anorexic lifestyle and wouldn't allow me to get any thinner than 113lbs. They appear to be concerned about my health, bless them.
So, having discovered that neither I, nor My Virtual Model™, believe that I am suited to be waif-like, I decided to find out what I would look like if committed to a life-time of boxes of white wine, twinkies, and 8lb cheeseburgers.
Again, My Virtual Model™ intervened on behalf of my health. According to them I am only allowed to max out at 275lbs. Just enough to qualify for the Lap Band, but at least several dozen lbs short of being considered as the contender for fan favorite contestant on The Biggest Loser.
It seems that even in virtual reality, there are limits.