Monday, April 9, 2007

Neko

In case you're totally new to SL and/or clueless, a Neko is someone with a cat-like appearance (usually ears and maybe a tail are generally considered the minimum) but who retains humanoid features. Cat-people, in other words. Neko is the Japanese term for a domestic cat, and it's also slang for a submissive lesbian. PWND magazine actually did a great issue last month devoted just to Nekoism in SL, so I highly recommend checking it out if you want to know more about it. The really interesting thing that I gleaned from the issue (and have realized on my own) is that being Neko means different things to different people, which really isn't all that surprising. Obviously, this post is about my own take on Nekoism.

When I first joined SL, I knew there were humans (duh), and I knew there were furries, but I hadn't yet encountered a Neko until after about a month. I didn't even know the name of them at the time; I just thought they were "cat people". Right away I did searches to try to find where I could pick up ears and a tail. (As an aside, I still wear my first tail, but I don't usually wear my original ears, since I have a nicer pair now.) What could possibly be the compulsion for me to do this? Well, I've always felt an affinity towards cats, I have often dressed up as one for Halloween (and other masquerade events), and I do have this somewhat moody, very playful, cuddly, funny, cute and slightly devious personality. It just felt natural to express this part of me "physically" in my avatar. Why not? It's certainly a lot easier to do so in SL than it is IRL, that's for sure. So, I did.

As you've probably already read in the evolution of my avatar, change happened gradually...and becoming Neko for me was no different. At first I wore just the ears and the tail, and not all the time:

October & new top


Then I added the leopard spots to my tattoos (on my arms and my legs):

Nekoctober


By this time, I was basically always Neko. I added a few extras like the eyes and the whiskers, and I have an assortment of collars. I don't actually wear these eyes now; the ones I normally wear are much nicer:

Guttersnipe Neko


I stayed this way for quite a while, until very recently when I picked up the new skin from Hybrid. This skin is the one I wear when I'm roleplaying in Midian City. I also wear it normally as well, but I do still wear the white one. Anyway, this is really cute, but it's about as catlike as I want to take things:

October


For all you budding Nekos out there, it does help to be around other Nekos...it helped reinforce what I was doing and made me feel accepted. When I first went "fulltime" Neko, I was becoming good friends with Kriss (Lehmann) and Jezebella (Electricteeth), who were/are both Nekos. Of course, as it turns out, I didn't have anything to worry about because people seem to really like how I look and automatically accept me. If only real life were that easy!

As far as Neko culture goes, I'm not a part of the Neko Tribe or any other Neko group, nor do I really visit any of the usual Neko hangouts except for Midian City for roleplaying. I do shop at stores that cater to Nekos, like Gritty Kitty and Miau Haus and Temenos Island, but that's mainly for accessories and things like that. There are certain things I really like about the Neko culture, though. In general, the boys are pretty cute and more on the femme side, and they're pretty snappy dressers, and there's often a sense of friendliness and affection between other Nekos, which I like. Also, a lot of the fashion that Nekos seem to wear is either clubwear or streetwear (I'm a bit more streetwear these days, myself) and often really well done. Of course, you can have any of these things without wearing a set of cat ears and a tail, and also the flip side of that is that many Nekos use the ears and tail simply as a fashion accessory to change their appearance at will. There's nothing wrong with that either. But obviously, it's more than a simple fashion statement for me.

So that's my take on Nekoism. I have to go now; it's time for me to play with my catnip mouse and take a nap. ;-)

(PS: For other views on becoming Neko, visit my friends Menno and Chloe's blogs!)

11 comments:

Alex Burgess said...

Thanks for posting about your transformation. I'm totally fascinated.

Chloe Streeter said...

Great read, October :)

It's funny, but it seems like my transformation differs from yours in some ways. When I used to dress as a neko, I always wore my Voodoo skin, but I wear it much less now. Part of the reason is that I don't think the skin works with as many outfits, but it's more than that. I couldn't be comfortable in my Voodoo skin all the time, though I still love it. I do feel comfortable in my normal skin with neko parts, though.

Anyway, thanks for posting this. It makes me think a bit more about my own nekoism :) Maybe after I've been a full-time neko for a little while, I'll be able to be more insightful about my choice.

October Hush said...

Well, there's some things that my tan-colored Hybrid skin doesn't look good with, so I wear my white one, which seems to look good with everything.

Also, I didn't think I would feel comfortable wearing the Hybrid skin as much as I do, but it's really grown on me. My plan was to wear it just when I was feeling extra kittenish...I guess that got thrown out the window!

vint said...

and it's also slang for a submissive lesbian => That's new information to me. :d

Well. It's mostly fashion with me, I think. But the ears and tail are so darned cute!!! :/

October Hush said...

Vint, I think if you asked 5 nekos what "being neko" means to them, you'd get 5 different answers. In my mind, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a "fashion neko"...it is very cute!

lex berchot said...

Thank you so much for your post *smiles*

I found your blog through gins and as I am currently pondering a transformation to a neko atleast part time and possibly full time .. this post came in rather handy and contained lots of information (and slowly working throguh your blog)

THANKS!!

xx
lexi

October Hush said...

Thank you, Lexi! If you ever want to chat sometime, feel free to hit me up on IM in-world. I'd be happy to help you out.

NEKO said...

Hiii October

Really like your blog soo Much

Keep up the lovely work :)

October Hush said...

Thanks! =)

I♥myNeko said...

Hey, I myself am not a neko. I didn't even know what one was till 2 months ago, when I met a neko boy. He is very different and odd, but he needed someone and he said he needed a master, so I accepted. I was just wondering if there was anything inparticular I needed to know about owning a neko?

Coin Hammerer said...

Nice post, an interesting read!
Turning into a neko for me happened without me doing much for it - someone just gave me a wicked pair of ears and a tail and I've been wearing them ever since. They've grown on me in every sense and seeped into my personality.
I don't sleep in a basket or lick my hands, but my character is feline. I treat the ears and tail as I would hair or skin. They help to define me but aren't the boss of me.