Told you I was going to get back to this, didn’t I? I hadn’t forgotten.
Today, I’m going to take on the neverending controversy about bratting. I certainly don’t think I’ll resolve the issue, but I’m exploring one specific angle of it. So many of the whens, wheres and hows of bratting come down to common sense, or at least it would seem so. And yet… well, you know. Hence the blog title.
I don’t even like the word “bratting” all that much, because it has a negative connotation and it gets a bad reputation from those who take it too far. It conjures images of childish, obnoxious bottoms rather than clever ones. But because it’s such a universal term, I’m using it anyway.
Because there are so many levels and types of bratting, and so many opinions about them, it’s impossible to quantify what “too much bratting” is. After all, for example, to an Almighty Uber-Dom, a sub who dares to make eye contact is bratting. It’s highly subjective. And it’s also not for everyone. My prolific blogpal Lea has used the simple phrase, “Know your audience.” Wouldn’t you think that’s obvious? Apparently not.
I’m not going to attempt to define “bratting” here, either. I think the best way to approach the subject is by providing stories and examples, of what I think is common-sense, measured bratting vs. the over-the-top variety.
Yes, it’s no secret that I enjoy the practice of smartassery. But as with all humor, there are boundaries. In a perfect spanking world, a sassy, feisty bottom knows how to provoke a top without seriously angering him. (I’m going to use the M/F orientation in this blog, simply because it’s easier than writing him/her and he/she over and over.) So how does one do that?
Obvious common sense rule #1: Don’t follow what you see on spanking videos and read in spanking stories. These are fantasies, kids. The stunts that bottoms pull in these fantasies would, in reality, not get them a spanking. They’d get them anything from a punch in the mouth to a lawsuit.
For example, take Keith Jones. In Spanking Epics’ Schoolmaster’s Revenge, I slapped him in the face. In Trouble in Carson’s Gap, I broke a liquor bottle over his head. In Shadow Lane’s classic Blue Denim, Chelsea Pfeiffer shoved him over the side of a hill, sending him tumbling to the bottom. And in Spoiled Rotten, Tanya Foxx not only slapped him in the face, but she threw a glass filled with water in his face too. Why? Because it was Perrier instead of Evian. On video, these actions serve a purpose. They make the audience root for the top, so that when he finally loses it and lets her have it, he doesn’t look like a brute. But in reality? Come on. It’s just not cool to do things like that.
In the very first spanking story I ever wrote, I had an obnoxious brat provoke a fellow shopper to the point where he spanked her in a parking lot in front of several others, including some cops. Reality? She probably would have been reported to those cops. Or she’d come back to her car and find it keyed. Or worse.
That face-slapping thing? Yeah, women have been slapping men in the face on screen since film began. My advice? Unless it’s scripted, don’t do it. I remember one bottom who posted about how she slapped her boyfriend in the face, and was shocked at how forcefully he responded; he tied her down and walloped her until she blistered. OK, that was a bit much. But so was slapping him in the face.
In other words, know the difference between fantasy scenarios and the real world. “Don’t try this at home.”
Obvious common sense rule #2: Tread very cautiously when it comes to pranks. Again, this is a “know your audience” thing. Some bottoms like to play tricks on their tops, as a way to earn their spankings. Personally? I’m not into pranks. I don’t like to play them, and I don’t like them played on me. But I can see how they would be funny under the right circumstances.
However, was it cool when a particularly moronic woman, several years ago, brought cans of Silly String to a Shadow Lane party and relentlessly sprayed everyone who came within a few feet of her? No. She didn’t choose her audience; she just indiscriminately pranked everyone. Tony Elka said she sprayed so much of that crap on him that his shirt was ruined. This is not appropriate.
And yet, after the fact, a major flame war erupted on the SL bulletin board. Why? Because this woman couldn’t understand for the life of her why people didn’t like what she did, and her comments got nastier and nastier as more people called her on it. Repeat after me, boys and girls — CLUELESS.
Here’s another story from a Shadow Lane party, which I think illustrates both good bratting and bad. Several years ago, a woman brought a squirt gun to the party, and was squirting various tops in the face in the ballroom and in the suites. Finally, a mutual friend of ours got so fed up, he took the gun away from her and would not give it back. Enough was enough already.
He then went off to play with someone privately, and left the water gun with someone else, asking her to watch over it. Well, she didn’t. I came back to the table and found her gone, with the water gun sitting on her chair. I then slipped it into my purse.
When this top (we’ll call him D, and no, it wasn’t Danny) came back, he noticed the woman he’d asked to guard his gun was gone, and wondered aloud where the water gun could have gone. I said nothing, and he mused that it really didn’t matter, as long as it wasn’t back in the hands of the original owner.
Cut to a couple of hours later — D and I were playing in his suite. I was over his lap on the bed, and he was absolutely whaling on me. Slowly, carefully, I pulled the squirt gun out of my purse, put my finger on the trigger, then looked up over my shoulder at him. He caught my eye, paused what he was doing and looked at me.
And I shot him full in the face with the water gun. 🙂
He sputtered, laughed and hollered, “So THAT’S where it went!” Oh yes, I paid for that stunt. But it was classic. And I knew it would be OK with him. Would I have done that to just anyone? Hell, no! I’d be too worried about seriously upsetting/angering someone.
Obvious common sense rule #3: When in doubt, be subtle. Actually, subtlety is a good practice overall. Hammering a top over the head with relentless bratting may very well not get a bottom much more than a hearty dislike or the cold shoulder. I had to learn this one too, folks.
It’s hard for many bottoms (myself included) to ask a top directly to play. I’m not sure why, but it is what it is. So, some of us employ bratting as an indirect way of letting the top know we want to play. That can work, and often does. But it must be done carefully, and yet again, with full awareness of one’s audience. Because some tops simply will not respond to bratting. They avoid it like the plague.
Once at a private party, I had my sights set on a man I really wanted to play with. He seemed interested in me; he smiled at me a lot, watched me as I interacted with others, laughed at my smart-ass remarks. But he absolutely did not nibble at any of the bait I was so obviously dangling. I grew frustrated and escalated my efforts, pushing, pushing. He kept smiling, but remained where he was.
Finally, I got so flummoxed, I snapped, “OK, look. I’ve done everything I can think of except stick my ass in your face. Are we going to play, or what??”
He just grinned at me, and took my hand. “Come with me,” he said. He was thoroughly enjoying how hard I was trying to brat him into playing. OK, lesson learned. The next time I saw this man, it was at a BDSM party where I wasn’t feeling very comfortable, especially when one guy had his wife take off her shirt so he could show off the scars on her breasts and back — which he had inflicted. So I simply walked up to my friend and whispered, “Please, take me away from this and spank me!” And he did.
At the last Shadow Lane party, I asked four different men to play with me. Oh, don’t worry. I haven’t given up bratting. But again, common (or uncommon) sense should dictate when the direct approach is preferable.
I know I’ve used these descriptions before, but for the sake of wrapping up this blog, I’ll use them again. Clever bratting (or teasing, or banter, if you like) should make a top want to spank you, not wring your neck. And subtle, provocative bratting is more of a tickle from a feather, not an anvil slamming down on a top’s foot. Really, is it even necessary to make these statements? Doesn’t it all go without saying?
Apparently not. Because common sense is still too damned uncommon. (my readers excepted, of course!)