Do as I say, not as I do…

I am somehow obsessed with advice for newbies at the moment… I am not sure why… perhaps because I communicate with quite a few of them and I want them to have good experiences, to be successful, to find their bliss (yes, I know, that was too corny to be believed! Deal with it!).

Things I recommend to newbies are not necessarily things that I do myself. Yes, I am a hypocrite…

  • Want to meet BDSMers? Go to a munch.

(I haven’t been to a munch in over 15 years, I am not part of any community, I don’t know anybody!)

  • Meeting someone off the internet? Set up a safe call.

(I never do this. I don’t do it for vanilla dates with some guy that I met at a bookshop, I don’t do it for first meets with some guy I met on the internet)

  • Want to be safe? Meet in a public place.

(I always do this, yay me!)

  • Don’t play on the first meeting.

(I do this, have done it, will probably do it again)

  • Don’t bring him into your home until you know him really well.

(I have done this on a first meet if it was convenient for me)

Why would you recommend munches when you don’t go to them yourself, Ferns? Wow, you *are* a hypocrite…

I’m really glad you asked that (and shut up, there is no need for that, I already confessed it!)…

I went to munches and clubs when I first ‘discovered’ BDSM many years ago. I went to meet people, to learn, to get some exposure to other kinksters… to get a sense of ‘what it was all about’. But fundamentally, I am not a joiner, I didn’t feel a particular kinship based on my relationship bent, and I have never met a partner in the community. So, I really decided that it wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have value. They do.

There are two main reasons I recommend munches to newbies:

  1. Many people struggle to meet BDSMers at all, they concentrate on finding a partner, but have never ever ever met another kinky person ever. This leads to point 2.
  2.  

  3. Many newbies have a skewed view of what D/s folks are like. Even if they *know* that they are wrong, they simply cannot let go of that pervasive image in the back of their minds (to be fair, it has probably been growing there for many years, it is difficult to shift).

A munch is the simplest, quickest way to meet BDSMers in a safe environment and get grounded in reality. Meet John and Fay, the married couple who look like your parents and talk about how to cook a roast on Sundays. James, the rope top who likes snowboarding and WoW. Kate, the dominant, who works in IT and gets excited about the new episodes of Star Trek (ok, I have no idea if there are any new episodes of Star Trek, I suspect not, and thus, my lack of cool geekdom is exposed…).

There is no risk involved, there is no need to impress anyone, they just get to come out into the real world, meet ‘normal’ people, let go of the fear and mystery, and move past the fantasies that Dommes are uber sexpots who exude an aura of power over all minions lucky enough to be in their presence, and the image of submissives as cowed simpering boys waiting with their eyes downcast in the corner.

Well… ok… let’s say I accept that, Ferns… let’s move on to the safety measures… Why do you recommend them and then don’t do them yourself? Hmmm?

I actually think that many people can’t look after themselves, especially when they first step into BDSM and think all of the rules of behaviour have changed. I’m deadly serious. They have no radar for people who are damaged or dangerous because they have never measured them in a BDSM context and their assessment of what is ‘normal’ is off kilter. They make bad choices, or miss signals, they don’t trust their instincts, or have poor instincts. They may be desperate to meet someone (anyone) and talk themselves into doing it *despite* feeling like it’s not right. In short, they don’t have the skills or experience to keep themselves safe.

I see both men and women let their common sense and their sense of self preservation be overruled by hopeful excitement. They say things like:

“I’m really excited to be meeting *superfabulous potential hottie* this weekend for the first time, but s/he said *scary frigging idiotic things that set off big flashing alarm bells*. Should I be worried/do that dumb thing/wait naked in a hotel room/bring that chainsaw like they told me to?”

Now for all the folks that are asking that question in public, you *know* that there are 50 more who will not ask. They will dampen down the feeling of unease, they will turn off the blaring alarm, they will get dressed in their finest and off they go to meet creepyinternetweirdo. Nine times out of ten, the worst that happens is that the person they are meeting will just be creepy, behave inappropriately, the meeting is uncomfortable, and our hero will get out of there as quickly as possible. The tenth time, though, they may find themselves tied up and taken past their limits, be beaten and robbed, or wake up in a bath of ice with a scar in their side.

I’m exaggerating in all of this of course… normally it is much more subtle, the red flags are more like pale pink and distant, they are much harder to see and it is actually much more likely that a bad outcome will be some really horrible play that is scary or completely unenjoyable and a big mistake. However it doesn’t change the fact that many put aside their niggling concerns in favour of optimistic possibility. Having safety measures in place that are immovable and solid are sensible to protect people from making rash decisions and to warn internet creeps that someone knows who they are and where they are.

All this is rather patronising, right? I know.

But you haven’t explained in all of this why *you* don’t do all of those things that you recommend others do, Ferns…

I have a system that works for me – it involves time and instincts. Not foolproof, but I have never had an experience where I have felt uneasy in any way, I have never had anyone flake on me, and I have met good men who, at worst, were not a match for me.

I am in no rush, ever, to meet someone. I have found all of my boys through the internet, or through advertisements, and I take as long as I need to feel comfortable before I will offer to meet them. I have good instincts, but really it is just time spent talking. Creepyinternetweirdos find it difficult to hold up their end of an extended communication, they slip up and start to twitch and shout expletives in the middle of correspondences, they can’t help it.

Mostly, by the time I offer to meet a boy, I will know him pretty well, he will have proven himself to be reliable, he will have shown that he will do what he says he is going to, he will have consistently behaved in a respectful and reasonable manner, I will know that he is a good and interesting person, I know that when we meet, I will genuinely like and enjoy him, even if it ultimately goes nowhere.

If he isn’t willing to hang around and talk to me, if it’s a chore, if it’s dull, if he is impatient… any of that, then he will fall by the wayside, and in that, time is a useful screening tool.

That’s a lot of blah blah blah from a hypocrite…

Shut up, nobody asked you!

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14 Comments

  1. (ok, I have no idea if there are any new episodes of Star Trek, I suspect not, and thus, my lack of cool geekdom is exposed…).

    :stares in horror and backs away slowly:

    and move past the fantasies that Dommes are uber sexpots who exude an aura of power .

    :shakes head:
    No… no, it can't be…

    image of submissives as cowed simpering boys waiting with their eyes downcast in the corner.

    Actually, my image is overweight, obsequious, middle-aged guys begging to lick boots.

  2. “All this is rather patronizing, right? I know.” … Actually. no. Not in the least. Regardless of what you do (or not) it is still all sound advice.

    I recently turned down a meet with someone I met online because it didn't feel right. The first thing she asked me was what I was “into” and then rattled off a whole lot of stuff. As the submissive, I thought I was supposed to find out what SHE was “into”. Anyway, after a few more minutes of chatting, and an exchange of photos, (was that REALLY her?) she said she couldn't wait to “meet and abuse” me. I told her that I wasn't quite ready to play yet and thanked her for her time.

    At first I thought that I was too quick to say no but in retrospect, it was probably a good thing. If all I was looking for was to be “abused”, I could get into a bar fight. At least then I could have a few beers first and wouldn't have to make an appointment.

  3. I'm half tempted to bring up an exaggerated point and argue with you about it for a few days before finally giving up and not responding simply because it's what I've done the last two times you've tried to give advice but I suppose I'll give you a break and wait until next time. =P

  4. “They make bad choices, or miss signals, they don’t trust their instincts, or have poor instincts.”

    That was a factor in what happened when I was assaulted. I knew the minute he pulled out the ball gag that things were Not Right, but I let it slide because this guy was Friend of Friends and people knew him so he *must* be ok.

    And this happened during my first year in the scene publicly, though I'd been playing for a while before that privately.

  5. Tom: “… horror and disbelief…”

    No, no, love… you misunderstood. I meant “I WISH there were new episodes of Star Trek…” Of *course* I know that there aren't any… pfftt…

    And I meant “… confirm the reality that Dommes are uber sexpots who exude an aura of power…”

    *tries to put the burst bubble back together with duct tape…*

    Ferns

  6. slapshot: “I recently turned down a meet with someone I met online because it didn't feel right…”

    It's not easy is it, but it does sound like you did the right thing. I think many people do talk themselves into going ahead when they feel that doubt.

    “If all I was looking for was to be “abused”, I could get into a bar fight. At least then I could have a few beers first and wouldn't have to make an appointment.”

    *laugh* Yes! If you can convince them to call you names while they are beating you up, you are done!

    Ferns

  7. Brids: “…I'll give you a break and wait until next time. =P”

    Thank you Brids, I appreciate it. And one day, you will read some advice here and go 'Wow, that was brilliant!'. I shall hold my breath…

    Ferns

  8. Wendy Blackheart: “That was a factor in what happened when I was assaulted.”

    I am so sorry, Wendy, that that happened to you, it's just awful. And from the sounds of it (public space, friend of a friend) you *should* have been as safe as safe can be.

    “I knew the minute he pulled out the ball gag that things were Not Right, but I let it slide because this guy was Friend of Friends and people knew him so he *must* be ok.”

    This. A hundred times this! We no longer trust our instincts, we rationalise, we convince ourselves that we are being silly or paranoid or that we are just plain wrong.

    I read something recently (wish I could find the source, I will keep looking) that stated that the majority of women who were victims of assault said that they knew something was wrong before it happened, but dismissed it as an invalid feeling (I'm sure there were particular conditions here, but I can't recall). And sometimes (which is shocking) women don't want to be impolite, so they don't (for example) shut the door in someone's face, or sneak out the back door etc.

    I hope you are doing okay.

    Ferns

  9. Ferns wrote:

    “I read something recently (wish I could find the source, I will keep looking) that stated that the majority of women who were victims of assault said that they knew something was wrong before it happened, but dismissed it as an invalid feeling”

    It was the main premise of a recent book. Written by a policeman, I think. He was out here in Oz doing the literary / TV circuit and I remember him saying this. His point was we should learn to trust that feeling and get out of the situation. He made a great point. But unfortunately in some cases you physically can't remove yourself.

    I'll keep trying to find the reference source as well.

  10. Mistress160: “It was the main premise of a recent book… I'll keep trying to find the reference source as well.”

    That would be terrific, thank you. I am really interested to read more about it.

    Ferns

  11. Jane: “All good advice. We have all been known to loose our heads in the heat of the moment.”

    True enough, and most times, it's perfectly okay, but it only takes one time for it to go wrong…

    Ferns

  12. For those who are interested, I found *a* book on the concept discussed above (it's not recent, so I suspect the one Mistress160 mentioned is another):

    The Gift of Fear

    “…intuition is the most impressive process of these brains. It might be hard to accept its importance because intuition is often described as emotional, unreasonable, or inexplicable.”

    I've not read it, but thought some folks might find it interesting.

    Ferns

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