Jane McGonigal in my Tanning Bed!?

very "blue" image of the inside of a tanning bed showing a woman in a bikini surrounded by UV light tubes which glow and converge in the distance

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve been hitting the tanning bed pretty heavily for the past 18 months. Some of you have expressed concern about skin damage or skin cancer risks, although the peeps at the salon say that for very fair, burn susceptible skin, that building up color safely is better than risking a bad burn on a careless outdoor day. And then others of you, health issues aside, have simply asked, “What are you trying to prove?”

I can’t say that 18 months of living in a vaguely African skin has given me an African experience. Maybe I didn’t bring enough to the experience. Maybe, even though virtual space isn’t entirely inclusive or tolerant, it lacks the pressures that create often ugly, and sometimes beautiful, experiences IRL. For all the experience I may not have had, it was at least true that sometimes another person in an African skin would feel a connection to me. Sometimes they’d ask what my “real” skin color was, sometimes they wouldn’t, but either way there was a sort of connection.

I’ve written before about being half Jewish and not so attractive IRL, and that there have been times through my life when some Jewish guy would just feel this connection to me. Believe me, they weren’t drooling, and I’m sure they didn’t think I was “hot,” but instead of being “not so attractive,” in their eyes I was, well… right. Of course it’s silly and not what we want things to be about, still, when someone looks at you and thinks you’re right, it’s hard to deny that that feels good, that that feels, right.

I’d intended to spend 2013 in the same skin. But a funny thing happened on my way to the new year. Two of the people who know me best, Trill and Yordie, both, independently, told me that no matter how many hours I spent in that tanning bed, that to them, the “real” me was that pasty-complected, freckly-faced woman. Even more impressive than Trill telling me that to her I was really someone she hadn’t seen in 18 months, was Yordie telling me that to her I was really someone who hasn’t even been around in the 9 months we’ve known each other. More than once Yordie has said that she thinks I look like, or that she thinks I think like, or that possibly I am, Jane McGonigal.

Theme image for "Alice in Cornelland" proposal to LEA Committee. See post for image sources.

Jane McGonigal is beautiful, ridiculously charismatic, and one of the biggest thinkers I know of in our culture today. If Yordie can get McGonigal and I in the same sentence, well, you can’t just ignore that! Haha, I love going to YouTube and watching some TED or other video where McGonigal throws out some of the most powerful ideas of our time, only to see down in the comments that some jerk is going on about how he didn’t like the boots she was wearing in the talk!

Course correction for 2013!
Goodbye tanning bed! (welcome back skin bleaching! 😛

I went back to my long cherished Eloh Eliot skin regimen, and sat in the salon chair of the virtual world’s Jose Eber, Carina Larsen. One thing Eber and Larsen share is a love of hair volume and an extraordinary ability to achieve mountains of it. I actually went in with a photo of McGonigal and said to Carina that I wanted her hairdo: the cut, the wave, the color, all of it. Carina started to work on it and IDK what happened, but sitting in her salon, Amacci, seeing the other clients, looking at photos on the walls and those boards with the little locks of hair in all the different dye colors…

IDK… I kept telling Carina, well, maybe shorter… and she started to get pretty nervous because I think she thought I was going to scream at her the next day, but anyway, we just cut everything off! And I decided I don’t have to live my life in mousy-brown. I thought about pink, but I did pink years ago and it didn’t seem like I need to go back there again, so we settled on a dye Carina calls “Modern Red,” and the cut that was supposed to be Jane McGonigal wound up being Kathleen Cool instead!

Oh… PS… and after that I went out and rented an apartment in Manhattan with my sister Fiona! OMG, how many disasters-in-the-making are waiting there! Haha, more on that next time!

Photograph of Vaneeesa Blaylock in Feb 2013 after she quits the tanning bed, chops her hair off, and dyes it red

R E L A T E D . M A T E R I A L S
Carina Larsen / Amacci Blog
Carina Larsen / iRez
Eloh Eliot / iRez
Kat’s “My New Jean Seberg Haircut” post
Jane McGonigal / Twitter
Yordie Sands / iRez
Trill Zapatero / BohoHobo.ca

As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

1 thought on “Jane McGonigal in my Tanning Bed!?

  1. Proud to be mentioned in the same sentence with Jane Mcgonigal. Check my tweet, you are mentioned in the same sentence with Jane as well. *smiles a silly smile* GAME ON!

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