Yesterday saw the début of Random Calliope's newest design, The Amandote!, a truly sensual set of wearable art that celebrates self and one's own sexuality.
I was humbled to read that Random drew some inspiration for the design from his friendship with me and the times we've gone dancing. He is a dear friend and a truly beautiful person. I was also honoured to be involved in it's release - the event took place at my club, Popeye's. And what an event! For over two hours the hugging didn't cease - 1800+ hugs were given in that short time! It was a sight to behold. Slightly chaotic to host, I'll admit, but the love that filled the place was palpable.
One of the 18 different coloured sets of necklace, earrings, bracelet and ring is given away randomly (geddit!) when you recieve a hug from someone wearing the specially designed hugger, scripted by Desdemona Enfield. The hugger itself is a work of art, taking the form of a small red heart which attaches to the left pectoral region, buried deep within the chest, representing "trust, protection, giving, needing, taking." These are also freely available, so anyone may give away this wonderful gift.
Since the debut event I've not removed my Amandote! hugger, and have been randomly offering hugs to strangers in the vicinity of wherever I happen to be. And therein lays a tale. I, like many others, spend a few minutes each morning whizzing around the grid collecting the daily advent gifts from generous creators such as Nefaria Abel (Ivalde), Britneyj Crimson (Second Mirage) and Ninja Petion & Zoey Pinkdot of Digital Dragon Designs. There are many others that do similarly. My gift gathering has taken me a little longer these past two days though, as I have stopped at each location and sought out someone to hug, spreading the love this holiday season and leaving the gift Random has enabled. Reactions have been many and varied, but largely fall into two categories. Those who would never refuse a hug despite being slightly bemused even from a strange and potentially crazy woman (ok, not potentially, hehe). These folk tend to hug in return and are thrilled with the gift they receive. But the other half (and it is roughly half) look taken aback, if not slightly offended, at my simple "Hi X, may I give you a hug?" as if I might suddenly turn into an evil vampire and suck all their pixelated blood before selling their soul to the devil.
I could, of course, tell them in advance they will be rewarded for the simple act of warmth with gems which, if sold, would undoubtedly be worth thousands of Lindens. I'm sure they'd jump at the chance then, knowing the hug would be lucrative. But I feel it shouldn't be about the jewels per se, the reward is the received hug first and foremost, the shared moment of care, kindness, joy, honour, acceptance. So I don't, and won't, pre-warn. People will catch on, in time, and the pleasure I get from their glee when given the gift will perhaps be less, but for now it gives me joy. Maybe this will go some way towards softening hearts, teaching us that when we let people in, allow them to show us kindness and care, we are rewarded in ways as yet unseen.
So thank you Random. Not just for the jewellery, as magnificent as it is. Not just for your generosity, as boundless as it can be. But for the joy of giving that you have enabled. Your gift extends far past prims, past the hugger you have fashioned to reside within my avatars chest, right into my living, beating, loving heart.
Amandote! Huggers available from ::