Saturday, February 19, 2011

More allies than you think.

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.


  1. Funny thing - and this is obviously a very personal and prejudiced view - when I see goth'd up kinksters I actually rarely think of them as "one of ours".

    I have an extremely different experience of "scenes" to what yours seems to be, and have unfortunately found most of them to be the same playgrounds for abusers as the societal norm: funnily enough, often the same people who assert that the scene polices itself are... in need of policing.

    But hey, in my youth the abusers were priests: so I guess it forms a pattern. People in floor length black clothes who talk about how the world really works and what things are, ahem. Keep an eye on them.

    In my experience the most accomplished abusers can do it literally in plain sight, often making 'ironic' jokes about their abuse, as it happens, "live"... as someone who came up in a rural environment, you can imagine my disappointment when I saw this played out in several subcultures that claimed to be revising the roles, and I admit it's a chip on my shoulder, and that's that.

    But probably for this reason - as in, partly because I don't meet a lot of "lifestylers" - I find that straight people are in fact very understanding about my kink, and far more analytical and questioning about it than asking "top or bottom?" and figuring it out from there. At first they're judgemental as hell, of course - but almost often in a way you can communicate with.

    So yeah, I'm a bit disdainful of scenes. Obviously I'm describing some personal and dramatic memories that made me complicit in abuse, that I only figured out afterwards and feel a lot betrayed by, and I recognise that shit happens, and I don't really have much of a rational complaint against our pierced, tattooed brethren (and yes I'm pierced and tattooed myself but you can't see them - does that make me a snob? lol)

    I guess I'm just saying "straight people, weird people, it's much of a muchness as to genuine levels of understanding, I've found" - hope I didn't go off on too much of a scenester-bashing tangent there. But yes, certainly in my experience people working regular jobs can want surprising things done to them late in the evening. I like that it made you think about that.

    Have a good evening.

  2. Anon - There's abusers everywhere, but in my experience it's been the opposite; people who identify as kinky but refuse to take any part in the kink scene are the ones you gotta watch out for.

    Someone who thinks of kink as "ew, that's my darkest most evil desire, that's for gross freaks" can often get to thinking that their kinky partners are gross freaks and beneath them. And these lone-wolf kinksters are also not subject to the (imperfect, but we try) social mores and pressure exerted by the kink community. Hell, some of them are even lone wolves because the kink community wanted no part of them.

    The truth, unfortunately, is that abusers can sneak in anywhere, and there are way too many with eyeliner and without.

  3. Okay, maybe I'm a little defensive here...I realise you're talking about abusive people who avoid scenes not to be found out, but there are a host of reasons why I have serious reservations about stepping out into the scene. None of them have anything to do with being outed as kinky - my family knows I write kinky porn for crying out loud - or being ashamed of myself for liking it. But I have severe issues with touch from crap that happened in my childhood, and anxiety around unknown groups of people that can rapidly become cripplingly bad. Also, I've lived most of my life in rural India, and although I'm emigrating soon I don't know if I'll have the guts to ever get around my issues enough to find a scene, without coming off as shy or a bad sport because of my issues. I'd probably come off as one of the people you'd watch out for, though, because of it. I've also heard that the scene in general is less than survivor-friendly...? But I've mostly heard that from people who blog from the survivor angle rather than the BDSM angle, so I'm not sure.

    I guess the rambly sort of point I'm getting at here friendly would the scene be for someone with my needs? And if it's not, how do I get around looking creepy to people in it, whom I might want to date?

  4. You're doing a lot of damage to yourself thinking so little of your sins. The world doesn't revolve around you or your selfish friends. Unfortunately, it seems like you are one of those people that bash things like virtue and holiness and God. When you die, you will look up and smile and see Jesus Christ for one sweet moment... then drop like a bowling ball. We're praying for you.

  5. Anon @4:23: So...lemme get this straight. If Catholic priests flog themselves, it gets them a Get Out Of Child Rape Free card and they get to go to Heaven. If Holly gets flogged and she dares to like it, it's a deadly sin and she goes to Hell?

    The fuck is the matter with your priorities?

  6. Anon - We're all sinners. Just because the content of my sins is salacious doesn't mean they're somehow extra sinny. If you believe salvation comes only from Christ, then I'm already damned for being a Jew, and might as well get my rocks off.

    I respect virtue. I work with sick and injured people and do my damndest (hah!) to make them comfortable. I'd like to think that's a greater virtue than "not fucking wrong." I try pretty hard to avoid the sorts of sins that actaully harm anyone. I also respect holiness as a beautiful, unfathomable power in the world.

    But if God is such a tyrant that he'll drop me like a bowling ball on a technicality , I'll go to hell, because I CAN'T love a God who casts away billions of human souls (like my entire family...) like that.

  7. God was the original edge player.

    On another note, seriously, fuck the Scene, mainly because there's only so much human interaction I can stand. Another thing is, it's really nobody's business how I fuck or live my life, and the very concept of organized kinksters just rubs me the wrong fucking way.

    No offense, though.

  8. RoboCop - Hey, fine, don't hang out with us. But... how can I put this... you can't eat my food if you won't sit at my table. That is, don't expect to get play partners out of the public scene but tell them that you can't possibly be seen in public with a bunch of freaks.

    macavitykitsune - Kinda what I said above. But the scene is not intimidating, or at least shouldn't be. A munch should be no more threatening than a group of friends gathering under any circumstances, and BDSM ettiquette (not always perfectly enforced, but this is the ideal and people do know about it) is that you never touch without asking.

    In Boston, at least, there's actually a specific "Survivors Of Trauma munch."

  9. That's pretty reassuring to hear, actually. And while I'm still heading to a smaller city than that,

    Mostly I guess what my fear is, is that I'll wind up being the person who turns up and hangs out awkwardly at the edge of the crowd and nobody wants to tell hir to fuck off because while they're the quintessential wet blanket, they don't actually do anything offensive. *coughs* Anyway. You've given me some hope that I won't have to wind up that person, so thank you very much!

  10. I meant to say, "While I'm still heading to a smaller city than that, I'll feel more confident about looking up the local scene now"

  11. There are quiet people at the edge of the crowd, but you know, nobody wants to tell them to fuck off. We just aren't sure how much to respect their space vs. reach out to include them. But we (at least, I!) certainly don't feel any ill will toward them.

  12. "RoboCop - Hey, fine, don't hang out with us. But... how can I put this... you can't eat my food if you won't sit at my table. That is, don't expect to get play partners out of the public scene but tell them that you can't possibly be seen in public with a bunch of freaks."

    Dude, what? No! It's not that you're freaks, in fact, being an equal amount of freak myself, that actually works in your favor.

    It's that it seems that when people get together, en masse, they feel there's a particular way to do things, and fetish folk are no different.

    You know, the casual players all hang out with their own company, the hardcore sadists and masochists do their thing, the babies and parents, the Goreans, the lifestylers who have the slaves living in cages and shit, you know, those vatos congregate amongst their own, and then they decide that a particular way is just how ya do things! They don't really listen to Bruce Lee's advice of "being like water". They aren't adaptable. And, I have no interest in that.

    But of course, I seem to be thinking of munches and play parties as the same thing, and I also haven't slept in a really long time. That might be doing it.

  13. Every local scene and sub-scene is different, but I haven't noticed that at all. At least at Boston munches, there's plenty of mixing.

    If you just don't like groups of people, fine then; but it does hurt your odds of peeling someone off from that group.

  14. Whenever I hear or read 'peel' I think of onions, then of Shrek, then I want to watch old Wayne's World skits off of SNL.

    Anyway, that's true. I've just never done well with any sorts of 'groups'. When I meet someone and we click, it's usually a one-on-one sort of deal, ya dig?

  15. Whenever I hear or read 'peel' I think of onions, then of Shrek, then I want to watch old Wayne's World skits off of SNL.

    Anyway, that's true. I've just never done well with any sorts of 'groups'. When I meet someone and we click, it's usually a one-on-one sort of deal, ya dig?

  16. I am coming from the other side of this; I look completely vanilla and I get disregarded by people I can tell are in the scene or I get intimidated because I won't fit in (and it can seem so very cliquish). I am sure most of that is because I am still very very green but being intimidated makes it hard to learn.
    Anyway, I know that's mostly my responsibility, but kudos for bravely reaching out and I am glad it was paid back in kind.

  17. That cashier sounds like me. I probably would've surprised you the same way. All innocence and normality, and then, "hell yes look at that flogger it's gorgeous". (I do admire them. Leather. Rawr.)