It's always exciting to hear that a Second Life romance has turned into a real life relationship, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer couple than Minxy Woodsheart and BrainPhrozen Woodsheart (their avatar names), who are now engaged to be married. So many couples get together in SL and get carried along with the hype of having a virtual romance, only for it to fizzle out pretty quickly, even after they meet face to face in reality. Minxy and Brain are very different, they took things slowly in the beginning and really got to know each other, enjoying their time together in SL and then in real life.
Minxy's experience in Second Life had been etched with great sadness after she joined in 2008. She had been introduced to SL by her real life partner Arizz (his avatar name) who later sadly died. Minxy told me "I have been in SL since 2008, so quite a while. I have vague memories of an episode of CSI that featured SL and thought it fascinating, but had forgotten all about it until Arizz showed me what it was shortly after we got together." Minxy continued "Arizz and I were together only a short time in real life before he explained to me what SL is and what it meant to him and how he was a DJ. After that, I seemed to become the person in the background at most of his evening sets. I was known for pouring drinks and making the cheese toasties! It was after a few months of watching over his shoulder that I asked him, if he wouldn't mind, could I have an avatar too."
Minxy added "I was very aware that it was his thing to do and I didn't want to step on his toes. I needn't have worried because he asked a friend of his to create Minxy for me, as I'd mentioned that I'd prefer her to be more like the real life me - short and on the round side :) Life with Arizz was rather fun and often challenging, particularly as he became ill. Never before had I been with someone who cared so much, we had so many laughs and I will always remember our long walks in all weathers. Arizz was a hobby photographer, we went to so many places just to see what we could find to take that special picture."
So how did Brain join Second Life? He told me "I first came into SL in 2007, but I didn't get it so it was short lived. Then in 2010 my real life cousin said "mate you have to try this game called Second Life, you can DJ in it." As I have been broadcasting since 1982 and had gone on sabbatical, I thought why not give it a go. And the rest is History. I found it to be a pretty liberating experience. You can play what you like and say what you like and no one bats an eyelid. I like that about broadcasting over the internet in general." And what about Minxy? I asked her how she became an SL DJ, she explained "Actually, it was at the tribute event for Arizz. It had been suggested that I play a few tunes. I did play a few tunes, well rather a lot. I was rather tipsy that night, I have to say. It was the only way that I'd have enough courage to talk on mic. It was a few months after that when I provided cover for Peter Davids, I think it was when he was unable to play. Then, Peter offered me his regular Saturday night slot at the Green Man." (The Green Man Pub was situated in the SL London sim).
I'd heard that it had been by chance that Brain and Minxy met in SL, I asked Minxy what happened. She said "I was introduced to Brain at The Hangout by Janis (DJ/HangOut owner Janis Short). I'd been invited over to a set by Rob (Rob Fenwitch) as I felt that I couldn't just drop in, it had been quite a while since I'd spoken to Janis. Janis tried to match-make, I resisted for a long time!"
What were Minxy and Brain's first impressions of each other that night? Minxy told me "Brain was very complimentary about me and how I looked. I found it all rather flattering and lovely. We just got talking. As I said, Janis tried the match-making thing, I really resisted, we probably both did." Brain said " I was actually more interested in the person behind the avi, but nevertheless, Minxy is a beautiful avi. Minxy in real life even more so." Knowing that Minxy was still grieving over the loss of Arizz, I asked her how her relationship with Brain grew. She explained " We talked - talked a lot. First in SL and then on Skype before we got to the couple thing. It was important to meet up and see if there was a friendship there before anything else really. I knew I liked Brain, I just didn't know quite what to do with my feelings."
I asked Minxy and Brain what it was like to meet for the first time in real life, Brain told me "It wasn't a scary thing for me to meet Minxy, but I was definitely nervous about it and of course she was being chaperoned by her friend Glo (Gloria Sempati), so I had to be on my best behaviour :) I liked what I saw and we got on really well. I asked her out at the end of the day and she said yes." Minxy said "I wasn't nervous at all, I'd met folks from SL before, and that's what I'd convinced myself it was, a meeting up with an SL friend. I visit another friend who I met through SL annually in Glasgow and when Brain learned this, he invited us to Edinburgh for lunch. We had such a lovely day. After that meeting, well I couldn't deny that there was something between us, as much as I tried!"
I asked them if they have any shared interests, Minxy replied " I think it's fair to say that Brain has a much wider appreciation of musical genres than I do, but I think I've converted him to liking rock and metal much more than he used to. My musical guilty pleasures are cover versions and 60s music. Just love it. There's nothing more we like than listening to other DJs in SL, Oh and taking part in some of the hunts. You get to see so much of SL doing those kind of things." Brain added " I do believe we have a lot in common when it comes to music and we like the same type of tv and films, with the exception of horror, which Minxy doesn't get. I like to be scared, it keeps the heart pumping :)"
I was delighted when I heard the news that Brain and Minxy had got engaged, as were all their friends. I asked them to tell me about the engagement, had it been romantic when Brain asked Minxy to marry him? Minxy said "I knew that it was planned, he did the traditional thing and asked my Dad - So lovely. We'd chosen a ring together, but the actual asking me? Yes, very romantic. We spent last Christmas in Spain with Brain's family. He got down on one knee and proposed on Christmas Eve. A very special day for us both." And has being engaged changed your relationship? I wanted to know. Minxy told me " Being engaged has given me a sense of belonging, of warmth and security. We laugh more and can spend more time together but other than that, pretty much the same. SL hasn't really changed other than being asked if we'll marry in SL. We're both very clear on that. Though, I've changed my name, there will be no SL wedding." Minxy continued "We now live together in real life. Brain took the plunge and moved down to Manchester from Edinburgh in May this year. A huge decision but something we both wanted to happen. I think that Brain is still getting used to the fact that he's not going 'home'."
And finally was there anything else Minxy and Brain wanted to tell us? "Yeah we definitely are not having any prim babies in SL, we'll save that for real life!"
I want to thank Minxy and Brain very much for giving me this interview. They are much loved in SL by all their friends and I wish them a very happy future in both real life and Second Life.
|Minxy and Brain in their Halloween Party Outfits|
|Relaxing at their SL home|
|Again at their home in SL, the beautiful pond is one of Minxy's projects|
|Always close, even in SL|
|Together in SL and engaged to be married in real life|