Rowdy and I ducked out of the Fetish Flea to the drugstore across the street to get some snacks and see if drugstores in Rhode Island sell beer. (No.) The cashier asked us, "Hey, is there some kind of event going on in that hotel?"
We hemmed and hawed for a moment. "Er, yeah, there's a conference..." The cashier was a young woman, totally ordinary-looking; maybe if she'd had dyed black hair or Goth eyeliner or a facial piercing we could've taken a chance on her being "one of ours" but she seemed all normal. And normal means someone probably hates any kind of sex that isn't heterosexual monogamous vanilla missionary after an expensive dinner! If we told her she'd judge us! She'd be repulsed!
"What kind of conference?"
Okay, fine, whatever. "It's the Fetish Fair Fleamarket, actually."
"Oh, I heard about that! I totally wanted to go! It sounds like so much fun! Do you know what the hours are tomorrow?"
That's not the only way it could have gone. She could have been repulsed, but what then? She'd have said a really frosty "Oh. I see." and rung up our pretzels. It's not like the CVS cashier is going to send a pitchfork-wielding mob after us if she disapproves.
But without extending that olive branch--without letting the world know who we are and that we're not particularly embarrassed of it (nor creepy/pushy about it)--we'll never know that there are actually cool people all around us. People who seem "mainstream" can surprise you. Not necessarily with being explicitly sex-positive, but more importantly, with being able to accept things with a "hey, doesn't sound like it's hurting anybody, so it's cool with me." It's that capacity for open-mindedness, more than any specific belief, that gives me hope for the future.
There's also the consideration that Rowdy and I don't have black hair, eyeliner, or piercings either, and for all we know that cashier was a total full-time freak who was sussing us out.