I donâ€™t know about you, but Iâ€™m on the never-ending quest for the perfect skin.Â Really, isnâ€™t everybody?Â Surely Iâ€™m not the only guy who at some point has said, â€œI really love This Skin, but if only it had the abs from That Skin, or the face from The Other Skinâ€¦then it would be perfect!â€Â Sound familiar?Â Yeah, I thought it might.
Now, donâ€™t get too excited.Â Iâ€™m not here today to tell you that Iâ€™ve found The Perfect Skin, or even The Perfect Skin For Me.Â Either of those would be a hell of a thing.Â However, as momentous as such a discovery would be, I might just have to hang it up after that.Â I mean, what would be left?Â Even yet still more sculptie high-tops?Â Not that thereâ€™s anything wrong with that.
No, Iâ€™m not here today to report perfection.Â But I am pleased to be able to tell you about a line of skins that I think are very fine indeed:Â â€œNarcissus,â€ by Theodore DuCasse.Â If you remember your mythology, you know that Narcissus had a reputation for being overly concerned with his physical appearance.Â As with so much of Greek storytelling, the tragedy lies not in the character trait itself, but its indulgence to excess.Â Once you piss off one or more of the gods, theyâ€™re quite likely to punish you for it.Â At that point, itâ€™s probably too late for you.Â All Narcissus got in the end was a flower named after him.Â Surely we can do better.
Itâ€™s my own personal belief that pretty much everyoneâ€™s SL avatar is idealized, in some way or ways, to one extent or another.Â It isnâ€™t particularly surprising to me that most of us seem to want our avatars to be â€œbeautifulâ€ and â€œsexy,â€ whatever that may mean to us, individually and collectively.Â I donâ€™t see a lot of plain skins out thereâ€”letâ€™s face it, the vast majority of skins are designed to make you look good, nor ordinary.Â Although not all of the Zanzo skin ranges have been to my own personal taste, I have liked a number of them quite well.Â Theodore describes â€œNarcissusâ€ as â€œa mature but youthful skin with very sexy features,â€ and to me this seems a fair and accurate description.Â This may be my favorite of the Zanzo skins released thus far…and that’s saying a little something.
Historical/mythological Narcissus would, I am confident, be pleased to see that his namesake skin makes for a striking and handsome male avatar.Â As Theodore suggested, this is not a boyâ€™s skinâ€”itâ€™s the skin of a young man in the prime of his life.Â One thinks of Michelangeloâ€™s David and other and other archetypes of idealized masculinity and male beauty.Â The skin is smoothly colored and shaded, with detail work thatâ€™s carefully done and impressive.Â Iâ€™m picky about shading that looks blotchy and heavy-handed.Â Iâ€™ve noticed this on areas like the back, legs, and even abs of a number of skins that are otherwise very nicely done, and thatâ€™s usually the end of my demo inspection.Â You wonâ€™t see anything like that here.Â Contour shading is velvety and strikes a nice balance between strong realism and softer stylization.Â Highlights are clear but subtle, with no suggestion of being â€œblown outâ€ or overexposed.Â Muscle groups are smoothly rather than crisply detailed.Â Although the abs present a fit, healthy six-pack, their development is admirably restrained rather than massively ripped.
Narcissus himself might be surprised, though, to have so many choices for his physical appearance.Â For starters, heâ€™d have to choose from three skin tones:Â Olympia (light), Athens (medium), and Sparta (dark).Â Which one is â€œbestâ€ is of course a matter of personal preference, but each is handsome in its own right.Â Narcissus would then find himself facing the choice between moderate body hair, hairless torso with “natural” pubic hair, and smoothly shaved.Â And all without resorting to a razor!Â Iâ€™ve also been known to be snarky about body hair that looks rough or â€œjaggy,â€ as if itâ€™s been sized up from a lower resolution and then layered onto the base skin art.Â This can look good enough at normal viewing distance, but itâ€™s not very realistic on closer inspection.Â Here the body hair is well integrated and looks like itâ€™s actually growing from the skin, not just pasted on.
As if all this werenâ€™t enough, Narcissus would then discover that there a dozen face variations to choose from, including several styles of facial hair, eyeliner and freckles.Â Iâ€™m not sure what he would make of the eyeliner or some of the more contemporary beard styles, but Iâ€™m sure heâ€™d have fun trying them on.Â Some facial hair options are available in both black and brown, a helpful addition for guys who donâ€™t always wear dark hair and yearn for facial hair that blends a little more naturally.Â The brown beard styles also work well with some of the darker reds I wear, as shown here, but blondes and lighter gingers are still sadly out of luck.
Narcissus got himself into enough trouble with the gods with just one perfect (in his own eyes) face and body.Â I hate to think what the outcome might have been had he had all these skin options to choose from.Â His overweening vanity might have been too much for even the gods to deal with appropriately.Â Iâ€™ll try not to fall into that trap.
â€œNarcissusâ€ skins are priced at L$1200 for singles, each of which includes three different body types as described and pictured here.Â Full packs of all variations in the same skin tone (12 facial x 3 body variations = 36 different skins) will set you back L$11,5000, a discount of 20%.Â Demos are available in the store.Â Available at Zanzo (Zanzo 181, 182, 15).
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The vest Iâ€™m wearing is risey Araiâ€™s sweet, sexy new K.D. Vest.Â Iâ€™ve picked up a number of all-prim vests, and in my opinion this one is the most gracefully designed in terms of fitting well on our fairly clunky avatars.Â Beautiful texture work by risey, as always, and a truly handsome piece of clothing.Â Resize scripted for easy fitting.Â Not inexpensive at L$400, but worth it.Â At :sey (GREED 158, 166, 25).
â€œClemâ€ is a new hairstyle by Bryce Tully, andÂ it’s my favorite new style in recent weeks.Â The uplifted spiky tufts are appealingly asymmetrical, and the bits in front of each ear actually look soft.Â L$200.Â I believe this style is currently available only at Bryceâ€™s shop at Le Look (LE LOOK 109, 52, 28).