This coming Monday (Memorial Day) will be the 16th anniversary of my first spanking and official “for real” entry into the scene. A lot has happened in 16 years, including a whole lot of learning. These days, I find myself in the position of watching new people enter, filled with questions and uncertainties. They are lucky — they have online forums in which they can pose their questions. I did not. Still, I was fortunate enough to meet good people and get a lot of valuable guidance, in those early days.
A lot of the questions I see on FetLife and other forums have to do with etiquette, and most of these queries have a wide variety of subjective answers. However, one theme I see in the replies, over and over, is that much of “the ‘right’ thing to do” is rooted in common sense.
The word “common” implies that most of us have this sense to some degree. And yes, as I noted last week on a FetLife topic, common sense seems to be damned uncommon sometimes.
So I thought it might be interesting to discuss certain areas where it seems common sense would prevail, but often doesn’t. If people like this, I’ll keep it up, with a different topic each time. Today’s scene phenomenon will be what I call the “Monkey See, Monkey Do” syndrome.
In my BBW blogs, I mentioned a quickie scene I had with Joe (DrLectr on Fet), where I went to say hello to him and his greeting to me was yanking me down across his lap. I was careful to add, “This is something only friends can do. Don’t try this with someone you don’t know.”
Really — should I have to say this? Wouldn’t you think common sense would dictate that if you see this kind of spontaneous activity, it’s between people who know one another?
Yeah, you’d think. Well, it isn’t.
Case in point: Several years ago, at a Shadow Lane party, John was hanging out with a friend of ours. She was a sweetie, kind of shy, and played little in public. But because she felt completely comfortable with John, she was relaxed enough to banter and brat with him a bit. He liked her a lot, and she was one of the very few people whom he topped at these parties.
So she was doing her thing with him, and he took the bait. “OK, that’s IT,” he said, grabbing her forearm and pulling her across his lap. She protested vigorously, but it was all show, and the two of them put on a fun little scene for those watching.
All was well until he let her up, and a spectator stepped in. “My turn!” he said gleefully, grabbing her forearm, just as John had done. Big difference, though. She barely knew this man, and did NOT want to play with him. So she pulled away, saying no. But alas, that was just what she had done with John, and “no” meant “yes” with him. So the guy grabbed her again and pulled more forcefully. She finally screamed for her boyfriend, who came over and said, “Hey, man, she doesn’t want to.” How embarrassing and uncomfortable for all involved, and how completely avoidable.
Another case in point: During another party, at the vendor table, Ralph Marvell playfully snatched up a hairbrush and did an impromptu “demo” with me, bending me over the back of a chair. People gathered to watch and we had some raucous fun. When we were done, I started to stand back up, and a strange man slipped up beside me. “Nope, you’re not done it,” he said, putting his hand between my shoulder blades and trying to push me back down.
I didn’t know this guy from a hole in the wall. I stood up, giving him a “WTF??” look, but he still didn’t get it. He said, “Back down,” and grabbed my wrist, giving it a downward yank. Incredible! How clueless can you get? I just glared at him and bit out a very cold NO. Finally, he backed off, after giving me a bewildered and annoyed look. I could tell he honestly didn’t comprehend what he’d done wrong and why I was being such an uptight bitch.
What goes through people’s minds? “He did it, so I can too”? Where is that common-sense voice that whispers, “But they know each other”?
Oh, and it’s not just men who do this, BTW. I’ve seen women do it too, particularly with bratting and teasing. News flash, ladies. If you overhear a woman playfully insulting a top, there’s a good chance that she knows him well enough to know he’s OK with that, and he knows HER well enough to know she doesn’t mean it. You can’t just step up and chime in.
I know, I know. It can be confusing for the new people, seeing some outrageous behaviors that they’ve been told time and again are inappropriate. I do understand and empathize with this confusion. But again, for any newbies — always stop and factor in the “they know each other” part of the equation. When you see Danny Chrighton stride across the room, grab me and throw me over his shoulder, you can pretty much assume we’re good friends. I’m not in the habit of letting strangers do that. (Although there have been some hotties over whom I’ve fantasized of such things. But I digress.)
Or, if you see me hug and kiss a male friend hello at a party, chances are I won’t appreciate it if you blunder over and shove your face into mine, expecting that I’m going to kiss you too. (Yes, this has happened.)
When in doubt, err on the side of caution: don’t assume any sort of familiarity until you’ve actually achieved it.
Thoughts? Questions? Feel free, please.
Have a great holiday weekend, y’all.