Sunday, January 23, 2011

Serendipity strikes

One of the very first things you do when you begin your Second Life is pick a name. At the time I did so, at least, you were presented with a list of last names to choose from, and could select any first name not already chosen. (That last may have given rise to the flock of names with digit strings at the end, since that's a common way of making a name for a login id unique. "OK, if I can't be Fred, I'll be Fred0123456.") "Yeuxdoux" appealed to me. It's French (and yes, I know what it means; faire les yeux doux à quelqu'un means to make eyes at someone, to look amorously at someone).

"Melissa"? I liked it, and nobody had chosen "Melissa Yeuxdoux", so there I was. Some in SL refer to those who share the same last name as "cousins"; I have few cousins in SL. A search for Yeuxdoux in names just now turned up only five of us, though some may well have left over the years, and I can understand a desire to avoid unwanted attention and hence not choose "Yeuxdoux" as a last name.

[Stock footage of pages falling off calendars and clocks spinning quickly...]

Years go by, and the Minoan Empire comes to Second Life. It's beautiful, and Minoan fashion is encouraged, a joy in the days before prim breasts with clothing layers. I fall in love with it, though my loyalty to a dear friend and wish to support the endless delight and inventiveness of Whimsy keep me renting there.

More time goes by, and the "display name" comes to Second Life, amid some controversy... hey, this is the situation display names are made for! I should have an appropriate name to go by in the Minoan Empire, but what to choose? We know that the Minoans spoke Greek, or at least there are surviving writings in Greek in the curious syllabary we call "Linear B", but Linear B tablets hold the words of the ancient counterparts of Adrian Monk, not of a Homer or Hesiod. "Three tripods, one with a broken leg... two amphoras of honey for the temple..." Not many clues there.

It turns out, though, that while "Yeuxdoux" is of course millennia too late, "Melissa" might be just the thing. (Pause to slap my forehead, since I should have recognized the Latin and Spanish cognates.) Now to see whether there were patronymics (or maybe matronymics for the Minoan culture?), or place names or occupational names. ("Then Joe said..." "Joe who?" "You know, Joe, Fred's son", or "You know, Joe from Hotzeplotz", or "You know, Joe the shoemaker"...)

P.S. The page linked from "Minoan fashion" curiously describes the Minoan woman we see in surviving art as similar to the Victorian ideal: "The figure of the Minoan woman, with large breasts, large hips, and tiny waist, was very similar to the female shape that came into fashion during the late 1800s C.E. , when women laced themselves into tight corsets to make their waists small and wore hoops under their skirts to increase the size of their bottom half."

P.P.S. If you have any interest in Greek names, by all means visit the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names.

P.P.P.S. Maybe I should think up an epithet. (If you followed the link, I mean the first meaning.) Μέλισσα Βαθυκόλπος?

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