Sorry, no Steve scene this week. The poor dear called me yesterday with a barely recognizable voice. He insists I did not give him my cold, because he came down with it a week after he’d seen me… I hope he’s right. Actually, his is worse, because he has a throat infection and his doc had to give him a Z-Pak.
As it happens, the found time was welcome. I find myself scrambling right now, as I’m trying to get work and other things squared away for the next week until John and I head out to Vegas next Thursday, for four days of spanko camaraderie, debauchery and revelry. I am attempting to get a series of five short books proofread in this time, as well as prepping and doing all the last-minute stuff one needs to do before abandoning all for a few days. Times like this, I wish I had a Surface Pro or something like that, so I could bring my work with me and do some of it in my downtime. But so far, I haven’t made that happen.
Something occurred to me yesterday and has been percolating in my brain ever since, regarding This Thing We Do, the scene overall and the state of it these days. I’ve been watching the endless and ubiquitous FSOG debates rage on and on (and granted, I’ve done my share of contributing to them). I’ve seen the outcry, the protests, the defenses, the dichotomy of crappy reviews and box-office records broken (re. the movie), the spoofs, the backlashes, on and on and on. Someone made a good point on Twitter yesterday: Fourteen years ago, Secretary didn’t get this much insanity. Oh, there was a lot of talk, but I don’t recall anything like what’s been going on with FSOG. Is it because Secretary was a better movie — or because social media and its ever-increasing ripples outward is so much more advanced now than it was in 2001? Why are people harping and haranguing, for example, about Christian Grey’s non-consensual behavior with Ana, but there wasn’t nearly as much squawking when E. Edward Grey quite non-consensually put Lee over his desk and spanked her? Are we much more uptight as a culture now, since everything we do is open for scrutiny?
I don’t know the answers, and I don’t want to get into that debate here, because that isn’t my point. This is my point: There is so much arguing out there now — not just with FSOG, but all sorts of scene issues. Consent. BDSM vs. spanking. Inclusivity vs. exclusivity. Sexual orientation. Etiquette and protocol. Looks, age, bodies. These issues always existed, but now, with Twitter and FetLife (and even Facebook) and the instantaneous nature of social media, they are discussed far more openly, and many times, more combatively.
When I see this, I can’t help thinking, “Damn. I’m so glad I’m not new to this.”
How sad, really. I know I bitch a lot about my age, but as I tweeted yesterday, there’s something to be said about being older in this scene. I no longer have to worry as much about what people think (although a part of me still does and always will), and my fear of predators and outing and falling in with the wrong people and all the other shit that newbies face as they’re navigating is much lower than it would be if I were just stumbling into this.
This is not to say that the kink scene is a bad place now. There is still so much joy and fulfillment and kinship to be found. It’s just that you have to wade through so much more BS to get to it, it seems. I see it and/or hear about it every day.
As much as I think ageing blows, I have to admit I feel pretty lucky these days, scene-wise. I have no children, no family to worry about. I am self-employed, so I don’t have to worry about Big Brother Bosses. I am in a long-term relationship, so I don’t have to sail the treacherous waters of dating in a rape culture era, I don’t have to fret about who didn’t call or didn’t text or didn’t email, if my older butt isn’t sexy enough, if I’ll have to attend kink functions alone, blah blah blah. I don’t openly broadcast who I am everywhere because I don’t wish to out those close to me by association, but as far as I am concerned, I couldn’t care less who knows.
When I see the climate of fear and paranoia out there, the confusion over who to trust, the terrible repercussions of outing, I realize I’m in about the best place I could be right now, and I don’t take it for granted.
When I observe all the arguing and debates and uptightness and political correctness and so forth, I realize I’ve been in this long enough to know my own mind, what I like and what I don’t, and what works for me, and I don’t have to look outside myself for validation that I’m on a good path. This makes me feel a rare peace today.
I still admire all the younger folks who got into this early, who will experience everything in their youth that I scrambled to achieve later in life. I envy those who never knew a world without Internet, who didn’t have to keep their desires and questions and fantasies in the dark recesses of their minds. But for now, I think I’m in a damn good place, or at least the best place I can be, at this time, in this scene of ours.
Of course, this doesn’t mean I won’t feel completely different once again next week or tomorrow or next month. I mean, just a couple of weeks ago, I was in a tizzy about scene evolution. So I will acknowledge the good feelings now, and enjoy them.
Any thoughts, y’all? For people who have been around TTWD for a while, have you noticed the changes?