Several people have emailed me about Gaia online, which Jennifer says is like “mangagied Second Life game for tweens.” Already I am mystified and sure that my description will get something wrong, so feel free to correct me.
Seems their August promotion, or collectible, is all about romance novels. Old skool romances, with all the accompanying tropes and stereotypes therein. If you’re a Gaia participant, you can star in your own romance novel with their ‘Lusty Scoundrel:’ Stand in front of a beautiful sunset with a swooning hunk or maiden by your side, then butter yourself up so that every muscle and curve glistens in the light. So you can be either the chick or the dude, which ought to send those who focus on the question of which character readers identify with most into spasms of joy.
In their newsletter announcing the new options, they include excerpts from “Lusty Scoundrel,” and another “novel,” “War of the Warlords.” The Lusty excerpt is kind of a hoot:
She slapped Beresford hard across the face, her gloved hand breaking like a velvet wave upon his violently outcropping cheekbone. “But what of Rodrigo? What of my marriage, my family, my delicately perfumed bosom?” Beresford’s baritone laughter echoed through the masculine caverns of his barrel-like chest. “Forget Rodrigo,” he commanded, clutching Heloise even tighter against his glistening, rippled thorax. “Rodrigo may be rich and almost equally as handsome as I, but there’s one thing he can never give you.” Slowly, Beresford’s rugged, stable-worn hands began to palpate the blushing flesh of Heloise’s shoulders. “Really good backrubs,” he bellowed; “I got a certificate from the city college!”
According to Bitchery reader Elizabeth, Gaia Online members can receive avatars as part of their membership, and then have the option to decorate them with accessories. The monthly collectibles are “rare items you can get only be donating money to the website.”
Elizabeth tells me there’s multiple poses should you wish to indulge in the romance avatar:
…along with poses showing you holding a romance novel, you can give your avatar glistening skin (I shit you NOT), a “romantic breeze” (rose petals”), a “portrait of passion” (an interesting border), a “romantic sunset” background, wild windswept hair, or, the BEST PART: you either get Beresford, a “lusty” regency-era scoundrel with shirt wide open and feathered hair, leaning over your avatar, Fabio-style, or Heloise, a female character with heavy bosoms who kneels at your avatar’s feet and looks up adoringly.
There’s an image that accompanied the newsletter which you can see here (caution: popup), and while it’s not entirely a bad pastiche of romance covers from Days Gone By, there’s a few errors that betray the artist as not a TRUE fan of romance.
Nice nuclear explosion and accompanying phallic lighthouse on the parapet. But no nuclear explosion would be so close to the hero’s posterior, lest the art send a subtle message that Sir Beresford has a bit of a gas problem and a predilection for beans. Further, Beresford’s shirt is unbuttoned AND untucked. Impossible! FOR SHAME GAIA ARTISTS. FOR SHAME.
Then there’s the heroine. She’s bent over backwards, which is good, and she’s wearing a shockingly unnatural shade of pink – also good – but she doesn’t have requisite o-face. She looks…repulsed. Bitter, even. Like she’s looking into the sun while eating sour gummy worms. Her clavicle is about to eat her, if the ruffle doesn’t get her first. And given the position of her back, her hips, and her legs, I’m not sure she has a pelvis. This will make the red hot lovin’ something of a challenge.
I have no idea what to say about the smaller icons pictured on the right, except that the one with the bloody eye patch looks disturbingly merry and is wearing a LOT of eyeliner.
Anyone out there a Gaia member? Which one are you, the dude or the lady?