Monday, November 1, 2010

Goofus and Gallant get into kink.

Goofus hears that kink has to do with sex, sees a bunch of pictures of sexy ladies in tight black things, and decides this is for him.
Gallant explores his own sexual desires and fantasies and finds that they involve BDSM or other fetishes, and decides this is for him.

Goofus joins FetLife and is frustrated that there's no search function for 18-22-year-old submissive females in his area. He has to seek them out and send wordless friend requests manually!
Gallant joins FetLife to read the event listings and discussion groups for his area, and to give kinky people a way to contact him. He friends people he meets in real life and people he's had interesting discussions with, whether they're sexual prospects or not.

Goofus doesn't want to go to a munch, because he'll be seen out in public with a bunch of freaks who are into whips and chains. Besides, if you can't play there, what's the point?
Gallant makes a point of attending his local munch, because it's a great way to meet people and make connections, and it's fun and sociable.

Goofus approaches potential partners with heavy-breathing nervousness, presumptive role-playing, or overwrought Game.
Gallant approaches potential partners as friends.

Goofus doesn't like having a bunch of weirdo freaks around.
Gallant may not be attracted to every gender, age, body type, and fetish of his co-kinksters, but he appreciates the diversity.

Goofus thinks negotiation takes all the spontaneity out of play, and anyway, isn't the Dom supposed to be making the rules here? Besides, he's not quite sure what he wants. You know, kinky shit.
Gallant insists on clear and levelheaded negotiation of both partner's boundaries before play, inquiring as to his partner's physical and emotional limits as well as their desires, and sharing his own.

Goofus decides on his first day that he wants to be a 24/7 live-in slave with no safeword, and everything else is just leading up to that.
Gallant starts slow and is sensitive to the possibility that his desires will change with time and experience.

Goofus touches people and their possessions as he wishes--after all, he's only being friendly and curious, he's not hurting anything.
Gallant says "may I hug you?" and "can I see that flogger?" every time it's even slightly questionable.

Goofus takes pictures at events, posts the location of the local dungeon on Facebook, and says "hey, I saw Joe at the munch" to Joe's friends.
Gallant makes sure what happens in Kinkland stays in Kinkland.

Goofus thinks munches are meat markets where people talk about kinky sex until they find someone to have kinky sex with.
Gallant thinks munches are social events where people talk about anything and everything and occasionally meet future partners, but doesn't expect anything beyond socialization.

Goofus has toys that look cool.
Gallant has toys he knows how to use.

Goofus has a lot of ideas about what "real" Doms and subs do, and if a Dom likes to suck cock or a sub doesn't like pain, he's baffled or even offended.
Gallant knows people like what they like, call themselves what they call themselves, and if everyone's having fun more power to them.

Goofus thinks subs really are lesser than Doms and genuinely doesn't respect them.
Gallant thinks at the end of the day we're all people, and people who choose to serve people, well, ditto.

Goofus gets a lot of ideas from porn.
Gallant gets a lot of ideas from talking to and watching more experienced kinksters.

Goofus doesn't want to be seen in public with his kink partners, and takes pride in dating a "normal" outside partner.
Gallant treats his kink partners the same as any others, be they one-night-stands or serious commitments, and takes pride in dating someone he has a great connection with.

Goofus thinks of kink as separate from his life, something he can stuff into a shameful little box that he only opens when he has a boner. He'd never dream of doing anything but kink with his kink friends, and he doesn't think of kink as a part of him--he's not some pervert, he just does this stuff for fun sometimes.
Gallant thinks of kink as a part of his life, sometimes a private part, but nonetheless one of the things that make him who he is. He is kinky, and doesn't define himself by it, but he accepts it.

(The "format" posts will stop when my fever goes under 102. I just don't have a lot of essays in me, man.)


  1. know, it's amazing how much the etiquette of kink has in common with the etiquette of fandom and/or cons. I wonder if there's a connection...

  2. It's amazing how much of this kink etiquette--as does most genuine etiquette (i.e., not fake ritualistic "manners") in all contexts--reduces down to "treat others like human beings, and not like objects".

    Very nice post! This kind of stuff is just as good as an essay.

  3. I think the format posts are fun. I think you should keep sprinkling them in after your fever subsides.

  4. Anon - There's a huge overlap between Conland and Kinkland, as a cursory survey of any con hotel at about 1AM or any kinky event where someone's said "does anyone here like Firefly?" will reveal.

    They're also thematically similar as activities that tend to be shunned and misunderstood by wider society, and are pursued by a large group of casual fans and a small group of can't-even-see-reality-from-here hardcore fans. Conland and Kinkland are therefore both basically giant piles of nerds hiding from the world and attempting to self-police the herd of cats that they've rustled up.

    (When I say "nerds hiding from the world," it's with, you know, love.)

  5. "Goofus joins FetLife and is frustrated that there's no search function for 18-22-year-old submissive females in his area. He has to seek them out and send wordless friend requests manually!"

    You mean Fetlife decided to have a crappy search function ON PURPOSE??? :O

    I thought it was just bad, honestly. When Fetlife first came out, someone had to email me about feederism-based events because they weren't showing up in the search function. Is their reasoning for it written down somewhere I just never bothered to look? I might have been less bitter about it. :p

  6. Comrade PhysioProf is perfectly right about how all this reduces down to "treat others like human beings, not like objects". But I wanted to amplify on a point I think he was implying anyway.

    This kind of etiquette guide is extremely valuable because this is an area where so many of the unreduced, fleshed-out, specific rules are different. E.g., in most scenarios, hitting someone who's bound is bad; in kink, that obviously varies with the situation. And figuring out the fully fleshed out rules, figuring out all the implications of the reduced core rules in a new situation with a new subset of people pursuing a specialized set of interests, can be really difficult.

  7. This post is made of win.

    (But also, what Molly Ren said. The search function really is pretty awful.)

  8. I've heard that the bad search on FetLife (at least where it comes to people; I'm not so sure about events) is intentional, because they don't want people using it as a meat market site. The idea is that it's a community and you're supposed to meet people through discussion and through people you know, not because they meet your age/gender/orientation parameters.

  9. @ Holly, Evan: I'm going to have to look into this. I'm curious now!

  10. (notices that she is guilty of 'Owning Shiny Toys I Don't Actually Know How To Use' and 'Getting Ideas From Porn, Not Other People') (whistles guiltily)

  11. @ ozymandias: Yeah, you, uh, might not be the only one.

    Though, that said, when I've let myself be a peacock and buy a toy just because it looks cool, I did then try to learn to use it.

  12. Smoley hokes, what an awesome post.

    Also, on topic! "Goofus and Gallant Get It On": -- NSFW if you have co-workers who read over your shoulder, NSFW if helpless, cackling laughter will draw attention from others in your workplace, highly recommended.

  13. Great post. My wife & I aren't too kinky yet, but compared to how we were 12 months ago...
    Anyway plenty of overlap in the right and wrong attitudes for libertins too.

  14. Has Highlights illustrated this yet?

  15. Conland and Kinkland are therefore both basically giant piles of nerds hiding from the world and attempting to self-police the herd of cats that they've rustled up.

    That's possibly the most apt description of nerd-dom I've ever seen :P

  16. "The 'format' posts will stop when my fever goes under 102. I just don't have a lot of essays in me, man."

    I gotta figure out how to get away from the all essays all the time funk on my blog. I'm totally envious of your last couple of format posts.

    I'll send you a bottle of Tylenol to get that temp down under 102 if you'll keep posting this kind of stuff.

    I think it would have been exhausting to try and digest all 16 points in essay format anyway -- Goofus/Gallant made it thoroughly digestible.

    Oh, and about the content? About 98% works is also true for non-kink interactions. Including, I imagine, cons. And not just comic or scifi cons -- most of those same common courtesies and convivialities and the same transgressions show up in things as diverse as Highland games cons, bluegrass or fiddle festivals, rock collecting meetups, and Dodge Dart clubs.

    Feel better sooner, Holly,


  17. @Holly, Molly, and Evan

    Yes the search function on fetlife is designed so you can't "profile" and search. The whole idea is that you get involved in discussion and get to know peeps that way or you know someone already by their handle and can search that way (whoa betide if you spell it incorrectly or they are called master or mistress).

    Holly - brilliant post. Formating is absolutely fine (and appreciated) when it is so illustrative. It works.

    Do hope you feel better soon.

  18. Thus why I like Fetlife and think, say, CollarMe is useless.

    I help run one of the two regional kink groups up here (and co-admin it's fetlife group).

    I would estimate that 80% plus of what we do, talk about, have fun with, is geeky shit; and of the 20% that's kink, less than half is anything involving genitals.

    That does confuse some people, who dont quite understand that sexuality, is a part of the entire person...

    Oh and another reason I like fetlife? John Baku and I run the Fetlife R/C hobby group together.

    It's a community, of people who are inky, but it's not all about the kink.

    Unless you think RC cars, planes, helicopters, boats, and robots are kinky...

    Oh and yes, as other have mentioned, the bad search is intentional, as is the lack of sorting functions etc... etc... as we keep having to tell people over and over again in the FL tech support forum.

  19. I feel like this was predicated by the guy who posted in one of the Boston groups the other day, even if it isn't.

  20. Haha, I used to love Highlights... That's awesome!!!

  21. Brilliant post. Should be required reading!

  22. Funny how people that are in the know like to point and laugh at others. Most of the Goofus and Gallant are explained as it describing someone new to the lifestyle. The criticism should point inward and everyone realize that a dominant or submissive is not made in a day. There are many preconcieved assumptions that every one has when joining something as different and wonderful as the "lifestyle". And just as in the "vanilla" world, there are bullies and name callers to criticize the new people. Instead of laughing you should instruct. Instead of mockery, you should try understanding. The article is a piece of crap and should be treated as such.

  23. Oh come on, Anonymous. If telling people that certain behaviors are better than others is unforgivably cruel, then education is impossible. What am I supposed to say?

    "Some people like to touch others without asking, and those people are beautiful unique flowers and I'll give them a hug before saying this, but they could also choose--if they wanted--to maybe consider asking first? I apologize for saying that. More hugs."

  24. I've heard that the bad search on FetLife (at least where it comes to people; I'm not so sure about events) is intentional, because they don't want people using it as a meat market site.
    And yet I only joined recently beause I assumed it was another AFF/CollarMe, and I'm not looking for even casual partners (I eventually joined when I decided it was the only way I'd ever get useful information about area munches).

    I will take issue with "Gallant approaches potential partners as friends." In a friendly way, perhaps, but I'm sure you didn't mean the infamous manipulative approach that goes by that name, right?

  25. Hrithfrith - Obviously I don't approve of using friendship as a false pretense, but I do think that relationships (even fuckbuddy ones) should start with "hey, before we make this all sticky and complicated, let's make sure we can talk to each other."

  26. Thank you for writing this!!

  27. Getting ideas from porn is not always bad - for example, I read a story where Snape makes Hermione scrub his floor in a state of undress. That reminded me I needed to do my laundry, and once I was done reading I put my clothes in the washing machine. Obviously this is a very mild example, but you can get good ideas from erotic material just like you can get good ideas from anything else cultural or entertaining.