The recent costume party at Downton seems to have sparked a flurry of romance. The girls are getting date offers left and right (well, most of the girls) and even Cora is developing a reputation. Of course not every date can go perfectly, and not every romance is meant to be...
When you think of romantic seasons, the transitional period between autumn and winter probably isn't the first to come to mind. The lakes and rivers are starting to freeze and at night its cold enough to see a sim's breath in front of them. There have also been some seriously rough storms in the neighbourhood lately, and the town's handsome covered bridge has taken a beating... Which I didn't even know was possible? I'm hoping the eyesore will repair itself with a little time, but if not I suppose I'll just have to get used to it. At least its over near the, uh, lower-class part of the village. It just wouldn't do to have something like that on the approach to the estate, you know?
Since it's the end of autumn the fall festival is still in full swing at the park next door to Matthew's house, so it's not terribly startling when he and Mary decide to meet up there to pass a little time. She sings him a few of the songs she picked up in France, but he's not too interested and they both end up bobbing for apples instead. Good, wholesome, country fun.
The thing is, even though Matthew and Mary chat and spend time together quite often at this point (and send each other love letters when they're apart) they're still just friends. Best friends, but friends nonetheless. I'm just not sure what to do to get the ball rolling on the romance of the sim century.
I never even let Mary leave the house without gussying up to boost her appeal first, and though Matthew always gets a mood boost from her attractiveness he just won't make a move.
The sexy Cleopatra outfit didn't do it, neither did her shameless non-stop flirting. The apple bobbing definitely doesn't do it either, even though Mary wins just as easily as she won the hotdog-eating contest in the summer... And aren't those both skills that guys dig? I'm pretty sure I read something about that in Cosmo at some point, right? "Apple-bob to drive your man wild!", something along those lines...
But no. Nothing. Not a single heart to be had. They talk, they bob, they leave.
Meanwhile, young Sybil is the toast of the town, recieving request after request from local bachelors. It's probably because she's become a very high profile rebel almost overnight... Though I have no idea how that happened, since she hasn't held a single protest or tagged a single building.
She has one very girly, very small tattoo. And she kicked a pumpkin, once. Watch out, James Dean.
I suppose standards for rebellious young women were much lower back then, but still, it all seems a bit too easy.
Maybe that's why her first date of the evening, the punk fae tattoo artist who inked her upper arm, stands her up at the community pool. She's even wearing an utterly scandalous swimsuit just for him, completely different than the modest striped swimdress I recall selecting for her when I, you know, created her and picked all of her outfits. Ugh, teenagers, am I right? There isn't even a single other person there for Sybil to socialize with at the damn pool, so she just stands around for a while, looking into the water vacantly, until her date finally calls to cancel. "I got hung up on something," he says. "Bullshit," I say. It's his loss, and in a matter of minutes Sybil has another offer.
Uh, no thanks. Next?
At least Edith's got a hot date, too.
A hot date with a pile of leaves and a paparazzo. And her own body odor. True to the show sim Edith hasn't had a single gentleman caller so far, and the only near-romantic experience she's had was Matthew rejecting her first kiss. Her best friend is an actual bicycle. It's not even her bicycle, it's Thomas'.
Edith, what the hell are we going to do with you?
Things are going a little better for Anna. She's managed to talk Bates into visiting the museum with her (after a little gussying-up of her own) but it's still far from a romantic rendezvous.
They talk awkwardly about the weather as yet another werewolf stalks around, checking out the museum's collection. Connoisseur werewolves aside, this non-date is even duller than Sybil's depressing pool-staring. Anna keeps looking right at my camera pointedly, then turning back to talk about the rain some more. The date ends when Bates dares Anna to eat some raw cinnamon and abruptly excuses himself before she even has the chance. It's like I'm playing Bientôt l'été all over again.
Less than five minutes later, Dr. Clarkson calls to ask Anna out and I reflexively say no... Then immediately regret it. That would have been hilarious. Maybe they would have gone bowling or something... This is basically the biggest missed opportunity of my life.
I try to ask him out manually, but Anna doesn't know him well enough to even call him up for a chat... Which begs the question, how does he have her phone number if she doesn't have his?
Did he invite Cora to an incredibly awkward 3-person party in his garage a few hours earlier and interrogate it out of her? That's a possibility.
The invite said costumes, but the garage really demands formalwear.
At some point, Dr. Clarkson told her she had a reputation for being faithful to Robert. Since Cora spends most of her time sitting around the house reading Game of Thorns (GET IT?) I would hope she does.
It's the oldest trick in the book: Tell a lady how virtuous she is and then ask for her maid's cellphone number.
Well, maybe he'll call again. Better yet, maybe he'll call Vera and give Bates a little breathing room (and more time to warm up to Anna.)
On the other end of town, Sybil's second date of the evening is going much better. She's at the salon with James Hoppcraft, a completely respectably young man who doesn't seem to be a fairy, a werewolf, or even poor. He seems to be interested in her fashion advice, and they try on a variety of chic three-piece suits with Sybil offering her opinion on each. When he finds one they both like, he rewards Sybil with a romantic bouquet. How sweet!
Then he offers a second (identical) bouquet, immediately after the first...
... And then a third (differently colored, at least) bouquet...
... And then they talked about their favorite music and went out for some milkshakes, shook hands, and called it a night.
Just kidding. He gives her a fourth fucking bouquet. Don't believe me?
Four bouquets. It's like this guy is so unoriginal all his unoriginality just collapsed in on itself and made a black hole from which nothing but gas station flower arrangements could escape.
Or maybe he's just a low-rent magician, or a florist with a lot of old product to move?
Sybil's impressed, but I'm sure not.
James isn't all bad, though. After he's done converting Sybil to a walking garden, they both head outside to splash around in the rain puddles together, which is quite frankly pretty adorable. You know what? You're alright James. Keepthis up and I can see a second date in your future.
Eventually James has to head home (it's well past midnight), but Sybil apparently has one more date.
A date with the dumpster behind the salon, where she digs up a coffee table and a water beetle (why not) before heading home reeking of garbage and cheap flowers.
The portrait of a lady.
Back at the house, Anna's picked up some cinnamon at the grocery store and vanished into her room to eat it in private.... In her nightgown.
Now if she's doing the Cinnamon Challenge, knowing what I know I would prefer she do it in the bathroom or the kitchen, but Sim Youtube won't be invented for another sim century, so she has no (sim) idea what's going to (sim) happen.
Neither do I, apparently, because fucking nothing happens. Nothing! She eats it, gets 100 bucks for finishing the dare, and goes to bed. I might be wrong here but I don't think that's what the Cinnamon Challenge is supposed to look like. I think it's supposed to look like your face exploding, more or less.
I feel sort of ripped off. What a disappointing night. Maybe Anna's just immune to spice-related pranks? That's a pretty specific immunity but this is The Sims 3, so I can't really rule it out.
Before I wrap up this week's Sim Downton, it's time for a new mini-feature: Where in the Abbey is Li'l Branson?
Napping on Cora's vanity table of course, because he is the cutest.
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Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.