Erica Scott: Life, Love and Spanking

Ruminations, opinionated observations, darkly humorous blathering and the occasional rant from an outspoken spanko and unapologetic attention wh–, um, hog.

Both sides of a protocol

Recently on FetLife, a friend posted about her scene protocol, and how much it annoys and baffles her when people disregard it or complain about it. She is part of a couple, and while she can play with anyone she chooses, she has one request: If anyone contacts her for play, she’d like them to drop a brief note to her dominant as well. It doesn’t have to be a multi-page epic; it doesn’t have to be a massive form providing his blood type and his mother’s maiden name. Just a little note of introduction, out of respect for her top, to acknowledge his existence.

Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? And yet, according to her writing earlier, people give her grief about this. They don’t want to bother with that step; it’s too much of a hassle. And then they have the nerve to get bent out of shape when she says she’s sorry, but if they aren’t willing to do this little thing, then she isn’t willing to play with them.

You know, this thing we do is (or should be) about consent and respect. Everyone has limits. Everyone has personal rules. And it doesn’t matter a damn if their protocols aren’t your protocols. You don’t have to agree with them, or subscribe to them. You simply have to respect them, per the individual. If they aren’t to your liking, then you don’t have to play with that person.

Why is that so @#$%ing hard for some people to comprehend? Especially a request like this, which is so very common in the D/s world. Subs/bottoms often have potential play partners contact their doms/tops. Or ask them first at a party, before asking the bottom to play. Why would anyone resent that or bitch about it?

Today, I posted a comment on this lovely woman’s writing: “I’m not sure what the debate is about. My ass, my rules. Does that make it simpler?” She appreciated that; she commented after me: “So. Much. That.” 🙂

Me? I deal with the flip side of that protocol, and for me, it’s equally as frustrating and annoying.

See, I do not require anyone to check in with John before I play with them. That is simply not my dynamic. So it kind of tweaks me when some tops assume I do have that sort of dynamic, because, well, don’t all bottoms?? (sigh) Or the ones who assume that John speaks for me, because he does not. Just because I identify as a bottom does not mean I identify as a submissive or a slave. Stop putting us all in the same box.

Frequently at parties, John has had men approach him and ask if it’s OK if they play with me. John will smile, shrug and reply, “I dunno… ask her?” OK, so they’re being cautious. I get that. But my rebellious and sassy spirit kind of resents the assumption nonetheless. I do not need John’s permission for anything. Still, when it comes to a simple matter of play, I guess it’s innocuous.

But here’s an example of protocol assumption that really pissed me off. Many years ago, a gentleman who is quite well known in the BDSM world came to his first Shadow Lane party. At spanking party weekends, there’s a sort of unspoken etiquette about Friday nights, the first of three or four days of play: Don’t play too hard with a bottom that night. She has a lot more spanking ahead of her, so it’s better to err on the side of caution, go a little lighter, save the heavier stuff for later in the weekend. In other words, don’t trash a bottom’s backside all to hell right out of the gate.

This guy clearly wasn’t aware of this… and he whaled the hell out of me with a wooden hairbrush, on Friday night at the vendor fair. I had immediate white spots, which morphed into purple splotches. Not good. People around us watching looked shocked. John immediately ran to get an ice pack and was following me around the ballroom, pressing it to my butt. By the next day, I had bruises.

I guess the guy must have heard from others that what he had done was a bit of a faux pas. Because the next day, he offered a sincere and contrite apology.

To John.

That’s right. He sought John out specifically, and said, “I’m sorry I marked your sub so early in a spanking party weekend. I didn’t realize that wasn’t OK, and I didn’t mean to.” Um, what? He hit me. He bruised me. And he apologizes to my boyfriend?? WTF?

Yeah, I know. D/s protocol. But use a little common sense, for God’s sake. Give a direct apology to the wounded party! John, bless his heart, calmly told him, “I appreciate that, man, but don’t tell me. Tell her.”

To his credit, he came to me next and apologized. Multiple times. And again after the party weekend in an email. I did appreciate it, and I never revealed who he was or what had happened in any blog or party report. (And I still won’t.) But I still think about it and shake my head. What kind of weird-ass protocol is it that you injure a bottom and you apologize to her top by proxy? It’s not his butt! (sigh again)

So, I guess it comes down to this once again: Everyone is different; all players aren’t formed from the same cookie cutter. We all have different protocols, preferences, priorities. Different parties have different rules. When negotiating the playing field (which can often be a minefield), get a feel for who you’re dealing with, and what kind of gathering you’re attending. Ask questions, pay attention, and Be. Respectful.

Oh, and despite the fact that it seems to be so damned uncommon these days, do try that common sense thing. 😉

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20 thoughts on “Both sides of a protocol

  1. Hmm.

    I feel more comfortable knowing that a girl’s top/Dominant is aware and approving and I’m afraid I would not necessarily take someone’s word that everything was OK unless I heard it from both parties – you’d be surprised what submissives will say. It only takes once or twice to know that everyone is not always entirely truthful if they *really* want something.

    In relation to your second point – assuming I got myself into that position, I’d apologise to both; I mean, was he aware there was no D/s dynamic there?

    And, on reflection, even if there wasn’t and I realised John spent half *his* night chasing you around with an ice pack, yeah .. I’d still apologise to both. I ruined your week and his evening so I owe you both an apology.

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    • UB — I see your points. But he didn’t ruin John’s night. John ices me during spanking parties anyway. He was just a bit more diligent with this one. 🙂 And it bugged me that the top sought John out first, and John had to tell him to say it to me.

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  2. There is obviously more to these spanking parties than I realise. Trainers with ice packs yet. Do we have motivational coaches and physiotherapists as well?

    😉

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  3. “My ass, my rules.”-love it, and it pretty much summarizes your point and your post.

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  4. UB — LOL! John brings ice packs to the party and we keep them in the hotel room fridge/freezer. They come in handy, believe me. 😉

    MrJ — yeah, I could have shortened it to that, huh.

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  5. CarolBeth on said:

    Erica, I definitely agree with the “my ass, my rules.” I haven’t been in the scene long or deep but I did graduate from The College of Common Sense.

    If you hurt someone you apologize to THAT person…then their partner, whether it is a sub/slave/or just a friend. If only to show that you are aware you were wrong. In my thinking, the more people that know you are aware you erred, in whatever way, the more forgiving and helpful others will be. I like to think that no one really wants to see a newbie* fail or be disgraced or black-balled because they didn’t think things all the way through.

    Being too cautious is better than too callous.

    Just my thoughts. CarolBeth

    (but…knowing you, if only through your blog, I can see where you would be irked!)

    *newbie to that situation anyway

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  6. CarolBeth — “Being too cautious is better than too callous.” Absolutely true. 🙂

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  7. I don’t have protocols, except to have a spotter for caning scenes if G. isn’t there. LOL What bugs me though is when a Dominant decides that he has to convince me that I would LOVE to be a submissive, and more to the point, HIS submissive. It happened years ago, and he didn’t know me, so assumed that because I like to be spanked that I must be a submissive at heart. To quote Bugs Bunny, “He don’t know me very well, do he?” The LAST thing I am is a submissive! I can BECOME slightly submissive, for maybe half an hour after a really intense punishment session, but only with G., and even then it doesn’t last long. 😀 This guy kept saying, “You just need to try it.” No, you need to realize that I’m a Bottom. I’m not into all those rules, I just love to be spanked!

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  8. I am sorry about what happened to you and the poster. I have had I toes in both worlds and both worlds have different rules. If someone requires you to contact. their Dom to get a okay then do it. In the spanking world you dealing with the bottom. I have known this for years. As for Shadowlane please share what other unwritten rules there are. We are going this year and other than playing with my fiance I will on the sidelines getting to know people. As for what happened to you, I never play hard with anyone the first time and NEVER at something like Shadowlane. Just my my opinion.83rd e

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  9. R. — I don’t think you can go wrong just being friendly and chatting with others, and of course playing with your fiancee. The usual stuff — don’t crowd someone’s scene; you can watch, but don’t get right up close into it. That’s pretty typical everywhere. Don’t play too hard with people you don’t know — you already know that. No means no — you already know that. Most of the “unwritten” stuff is about common sense… but sadly, that’s something people either have or they don’t.

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  10. Jadelyn Mathias on said:

    Hi Erica ♡ I am so sorry that happened to you that was so wrong 😦 I agree he should of apologized to you first because it was your butt. Thank you for writing about this it is very useful and helpful 🙂 Much Love and hugs always from naughty girl Jade / Emily Jean ♡ xxxxxx ♡♡♡

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  11. Michael in Texas on said:

    I should probably keep this to myself, but …

    As a socially awkward person, as someone who is socially disabled, as a borderline-Asperger’s (except I have too much imagination for that diagnosis), your post reminds me that I am never going to get it right.

    I’ve been to a dozen or so parties in as many years; some have gone better than others, but it’s time for me to admit it’s something I’m simply never going to get good at.

    Who knows if a woman even has a dominant, or what their relationship is? You have one man who’s your boyfriend and another who’s your spanker (and many others you play with); how could an outsider, watching that, know what the relationships are, much less whether to ask you or one of the men for permission? I’m an idiot if I ask you first instead of one of them; no, wait, I’m an idiot if I ask one of them first.

    I’m not really complaining; people have the right to have whatever rules they want for contacting them. It’s more of a primal scream of frustration.

    People just aren’t worth the trouble, are they? I guess this is one of those statements that, if I make it, that makes it true — for me. If I don’t think human interaction is worth mastering the intricacies of protocol, then I should do us all a favor and not even try.

    So, thanks for reminding me I’m too stupid to have friends (even though that was not your intent). I guess people like me are why there needs to be erotica — it’s all we have.

    Nothing is less common than common sense.

    Here’s one thing I did learn at parties; if I ask a woman if she’d like to play, and she tells me she’s too tired, or has played all she’s going to for a while, and to ask later, and 5 minutes later I see her going away with someone else to play (and I watch, and they play hard and for a long time and she’s totally into it), I’ve been lied to. One could say it was a kindness to let me down easily, but how kind is it to tell such an obvious lie that will be quickly discovered? It merely leaves me feeling stupid for even having asked.

    Self-pity party concluded.

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  12. Jade — it’s OK. It was a long time ago. 🙂

    Michael — well, you’re right. It wasn’t my intent, and I’m sorry my post made you feel that way.

    I do realize how difficult the scene can be, what with so many individual preferences, protocols, relationships, and nothing concrete to go by — just a series of opinions.

    The “ask me later” thing is indeed awkward. It’s hard to simply smile and say politely, “No, thank you.” You feel like you’re crushing someone. But ultimately, it’s much kinder to be straightforward than to let the person watch you playing vigorously with someone else just a few minutes later.

    Trust me, women make faux pas at parties too, not just men. And this post wasn’t meant to make anyone feel stupid if they don’t know all the rules. It was more like, if you DO know the rules, respect them, and don’t assume that what one group does is what all the others do. No one is an idiot for asking questions. It’s when they don’t ask questions and just assume, that they can end up acting like idiots.

    Sorry it’s been so hard. 😦

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    • Michael in Texas on said:

      Thanks for your kind reply. I feel bad for dumping all that on you, or misusing your blog.

      Regarding the “ask me later” scenario, of course, it’s always possible the woman had a previous appointment she was honoring (but she could say that) or that it’s her top and in their relationship she does not have right of refusal (the very idea of which might squick some of us out). But I expect her honest reply, usually, would be “I only play with people I already know.” (Or, stated the other way, “I don’t play with people I don’t know.”) I’m trying to decide if that’s an easier, better, less crushing thing to say. I guess from the woman’s viewpoint it leaves her open to the reply “How do I get to know you better,” which is the opposite of what she wants. I am reminded of the exchange early in Charade when Hepburn rebuffs Grant’s advance by saying “I already know far too many people, and until someone dies I can’t possibly meet anyone new.” His reply: “If anyone goes on the critical list, let me know.” (I didn’t look it up so those quotes are approximate.) At a spanking party, most women probably feel like they already know all the people they can handle.

      But thanks for your sympathy. I mean that. You could well have just made an L sign on your forehead at me. I’d probably deserve it.

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  13. anonymous on said:

    It can’t ever be said too much…COMMUNICATION is the key to successful partnerships. I am a one on one communicator. I approach my person(s) of interest as admiringly and politely as I can. But I’m far too set in my ways to go the extra mile to ask permission from someone’s top/master/mistress, etc to get the chance to play with that person.

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  14. manaslu on said:

    As someone who has been into spanking for many many years…there was a time when I found really great spankers. I said “No sex” and that kept the “I only want sex” ones away. It brought out the true spanking aficionados, and it was great.

    But more recently, there’s a whole new game. The internet, which provides us with such a great way to meet…hides the game players.

    I’ve had a number want to email endlessly. When I’d ask for a phone number, they’d go silent. So why were we hashing over all of the things we want to do? Trying to line up spanking is about negotiations…so why is the phone call the ender to it all? They weren’t serious about meeting. Nope. Just want to get a lot of attention.

    I had asked one for a phone number, and he said he wanted me to read some things he wrote first. (Odd). I asked how much there was to read. 5 chapters. Really? I asked again if we could talk on the phone. Then he goes silent. The emails stop. Then one email saying his phone is acting funny. No, your phone is FINE. It’s YOU acting funny.

    I don’t think a lot of those goofs have ever spanked anyone.

    It’s almost impossible to have a full time spanker. It’s even MORE impossible to find someone to date who likes to spank. Please don’t tell me about “Groups” because I’ve been to all sorts of groups, and no one is looking for a mate or partner. Most of the groups I’ve been to…were married swingers. To each his own. I don’t like the idea of going public. Don’t tell me how everyone else is there for the same reason. I had a spanker, decades ago, out me where I worked. So he didn’t care all that much about being revealed, did he?

    I’m not a sub, I’m not a slave, and I’m not looking for someone to clean up after. I’m what is known as a bottom and I like being spanked. I like being spanked by someone who relishes it. Someone like me who thinks about it all of the time. Do I expect to find a boyfriend in this? Heck no. I’ve not met any who dated females who are into spanking. I’ve met many spankers who had vanilla girlfriends. That’s their business…

    I’m very direct about what I am looking for. I don’t make sexual innuendos. I don’t say things to lead someone on. I am to the point. When I answer an ad, and it says “Disciplinary Spankings”…I don’t expect to hear how sexy you get during a spanking and how your body will cry out for sex and most of the time the woman is taken.

    Spanking is one of the spices of life. A really good spanker is a wonderful thing.
    I’d gladly pay for it. I see how men have a lot of dominant women to go to. People say you shouldn’t have to pay for a spanking. Well…I guess a free spanking these days means automatic sex or something. And no, I’m not going give blow jobs, either.

    One said to me, “If I spank you, what are you going to do for me?” Well…if you truly enjoy spanking, that’s what I’m doing for YOU. If you spank me and it doesn’t do anything for you and you just want a blow job, then I don’t want you to spank me.

    But back to paying for a spanking…what it would do is…be someone experienced, someone who isn’t going to out you, isn’t someone who plays games, isn’t someone patronizing you so they can get a blow job, isn’t going to stand you up, not meet, etc.
    They would give you what you need, and not mess around with endless emails.

    Thank you, for letting me rant, about how I wish there were real male disciplinarians.

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    • manaslu — I hear you, I do. It’s not easy finding that particular niche out there. I suppose I have been fortunate over the years, finding the play partners I have. These difficulties are why it’s been so devastating when I lose one; because they really aren’t easily replaced.

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