On my mind (yes, this is a rant)
Been a while since I wrote one of these, so I guess I’m overdue. But I have some steam to blow off.
Last Friday, I posted a bit of writing on FetLife, asking a question about spanking party etiquette. I had been concerned that I’d done something inappropriate, briefly interrupting a couple of friends on Sunday night during their spanking scene so I could say goodbye. I would never walk into a deeply intense scene, or one that looked like they were trying to keep it somewhat private, but this one looked fairly casual and open and I thought it would be OK. Still, it bugged me, wondering if I’d been wrong, so I put the question out there.
In my writing, I asked what, if any, were the protocols of saying goodbye to friends at spanking parties if they were playing. Then I added that I hesitated to use the word “protocols,” because it sounded BDSM-y, but I couldn’t think of an alternate term. I mentioned that if you interrupt a scene at a BDSM/dungeon party, God help you, but was it different for a spanking gathering — did it depend on the type of scene, how close a friend, etc.?
The replies were interesting and surprising. Most of them were tactful and nice, but in varying degrees, the general consensus was no, it’s better not to interrupt a scene, and to err on the side of caution. Some said yes, it did depend on the circumstance, how well you know the people, etc. But mostly, it was considered preferable to not distract people who were playing, even if it was public. One of my friends, while politely saying that she didn’t think interruptions of scenes were appropriate, admitted that she thought it was a bit extreme that dungeon attendees would “tear your head off” (her words, not mine) if you interrupted them.
That didn’t bother me at all. I learned something new, and at the next party, I will shoot my friends a text or an email instead of trying to unobtrusively say goodbye as they’re scening. So what pissed me off, big time? I got excoriated for my BDSM comments. I was told that the Shadow Lane party had a St. Andrews’ cross and a leather spanking bench, and that’s pure BDSM at a spanking party. That I was perpetuating the “us vs. them” mentality with my attitude and I needed to “get over it.”
OK, a few thoughts here:
1. I do not have a problem with people disagreeing with me, or disliking something I’ve said. But there are ways to express that without being combative and in my face.
2. Wanna really set off my inner Hulk? Tell me to “get over it.” What a @#$%ing condescending and invalidating phrase that is. Really, is there a more effective way to thoroughly discount someone’s feelings?
3. Don’t shoot the messenger. You may not like the fact that I mention the elephant in the room, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The differences between BDSM and spanking aren’t just things I pulled out of my ass — they exist. I’ve seen them, heard them, experienced them. And so have others. I’m not basing my opinions on hearsay; I have been to dozens of dungeon parties over the years and formed my opinions on personal experience. So don’t @#$%ing invalidate me by getting angry that I mention these differences. Denying them doesn’t make them go away.
YES, there was a St. Andrews’ cross in one of the main suite parties at this Shadow Lane. It was rented. Was it used? Yes. Did everyone like it? No, some did not. Some were quite vocal about how it didn’t belong there. Me? It didn’t really bother me, surprisingly. You know why? Because I didn’t notice that it affected the atmosphere any.
One night, there was a fairly intense scene going on at that cross, with one man and two women, Blaise wrap (plastic wrap), a cane and a Hitachi. There was a small bubble around this scene, as some stopped to watch and give them space. However, just a couple of feet in either direction, noisy, slappy spanking scenes were ensuing. People were gathered around the bar laughing and talking. The foyer was abuzz with guests coming and going. In other words, the whole effing room didn’t have to STOP because this one intense session was happening.
I asked John, who has been going to BDSM parties for over 30 years, what would have happened if that same scene were in a dungeon. He admitted, “If it were happening at [our local BDSM club], the room would have been expected to be quiet.” Bingo.
THAT’s the difference. Sure, there are similar scenes, there are similar implements and furniture, there are crossovers between the two cultures. But the attitude is different. I’m sorry you don’t want to acknowledge it, but it damn well IS.
There are more protocols and rules in BDSM. There is a sense of entitlement and arrogance with many when they’re scening, and yes, God help you if you interrupt with normal human party interaction. I was once at a dungeon party where several of us, including the freaking party host himself, were at one end of a large room, talking and laughing. And from across the room, a guy who was whipping and caning his partner actually called out and shushed us! I’m sorry, but that doesn’t happen at spanking parties. At least, I’ve certainly never seen it or heard of it. I’ve also been at dungeon parties where spanking scenes were snickered at. Oh, and regarding entitlement? I was once at a BDSM party in a private home — we didn’t know the hosts personally, but we’d been invited by mutual friends. Once there, I met the male half of the host couple for the first time. He made a gesture that I should turn around, so, a bit perplexed, I did. He then proceeded to lift my short skirt (my panties had been confiscated by one of my play partners, so I was bare-bottomed), leaned down, and pulled my cheeks apart so he could inspect the goods within. And this was within thirty seconds of meeting me. If someone did that to me at SL, I’d report them to Tony and Eve. That would be considered presumptuous beyond belief. But in the home of a BDSM host, it was considered his due and right.
What’s my point? OK, perhaps I put some noses out of joint when I mention these cultural differences. You know what? You can disagree with me if you want, and deny the differences all you like. But spare me your goddamn lectures, don’t talk to me like I’m a child, and don’t tell me to get over it. You get over it. Do not preach to me about how we’re all kinksters, we should be one big happy family and accepting of one another. That’s a lovely sentiment, but it’s as achievable as world peace. When heavy-duty BDSM practitioners stop sneering at us and treating us like we’re childish wimps with our silly childish spanking, then maybe I’ll consider not separating the two in my mind. I didn’t cause the problem. If we weren’t different, then we wouldn’t have both dungeon/fetish parties and spanking parties. We’d just have… well, parties.
Regarding my note on FetLife: After that one comment, the thread completely died. People didn’t know how to follow that. One person attempted to say something placating and nice, and then another person jumped in and seconded the other comments, saying that what I’d written was “uncalled for.” By this point, I was so angry, I knew I’d say something I might regret, so I deleted the whole damn thing. I got the answers to my original question; I didn’t need to leave this up any longer. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Hence, this rant.
Again, and I can’t stress this enough — I DO. NOT. HAVE a problem with people disagreeing with me. But yeah, scold me and talk down to me and tell me to get over it, and I have one ginormous @#$%ing problem.
(deep breath) Rant over.
EDIT, 9/8: Folks, I just want to make things very clear. This rant was not meant to be about BDSM vs. spanking. I’ve beaten that old chestnut into the ground, I think. I posted it because, in a bit of writing, I had mentioned the differences between the scenes, and, in essence, was told, “No, there aren’t differences, you’re part of the problem, so just shut up about it and get over it.” That was my issue; I don’t appreciate being publicly shamed and invalidated, just for mentioning something that exists. There are more tactful and respectful ways to conduct a discussion.