If not “brat,” then what?
As I expected, once the Shadow Lane party was over and the situational camaraderie dissipated, FetLife returned once more to its usual state of arguments, accusations and pontifications. I haven’t been on much, mostly to “like” pictures or wish a kinky friend Happy Birthday. But last week, I admit I got caught up a bit with one person’s essay on yet another subject that’s been done to death: Brats, and how much domly doms hate them.
This guy really let it fly, with a long, scroll-down post, basically taking all bottoms who aren’t purely submissive and painting them with the same broad brush — they’re obnoxious, they’re destructive, they’re nasty, they’re demanding and manipulative, they care only about themselves, etc., etc., blah blah blah. Oh, and how put upon the poor tops are, having to tolerate their behavior.
“Dominant” is not spelled “D O O R M A T,” he exclaimed.
No, it isn’t. In your case, pal, it’s spelled A S S H O L E.
Look, I know about the kind of brats he’s talking about. Yes, they can be annoying, destructive, manipulative. I have news for this guy, though. These particular bottoms aren’t brats. They are narcissists. Some of them are borderline psychotic. And yes, they are to be avoided. But to paint all playful, provocative, spirited and clever bottoms into the same corner with the nut cases is egregiously unfair.
I confess, I couldn’t resist adding my own comment. (The posting has received 140 comments so far, spanning the spectrum from “Hear hear!” to “Screw you.” This was my contribution:
Not all brats are destructive, willful monsters. And not all tops hate bottoms with a bit of spirit.
But it’s OK. We get it. Some Doms don’t want to have to make the effort to engage in a battle of wits with a clever provocateur. Some Doms don’t want to hear any words other than “yes, sir.” And the only time an Uber-Dom wants to see a sub’s tongue sticking out is when she’s about to suck his dick.
Don’t like brats? By all means, avoid them. But there’s no need to malign them so thoroughly.
(snicker) I waited with bated breath for the fallout on that one. But it didn’t come, amazingly. One person commented “Well said,” and another called me a “fabulous wordsmith.”
This post, however, is not about good brats vs. bad brats and who hates them and who loves them. This is about the term itself: Brat. The very word conjures up negative images. Spoiled kids, whining and stamping their feet. Defiance, childishness, acting out, tantrums, generally unpleasant behavior.
But what if a bottom doesn’t fit into the quiet, acquiescent, submissive mode that this Uber-Dom prefers? Is she (I’m using the feminine pronoun here for simplicity, but this can include male bottoms too) doomed to accept the opposite moniker of brat? What if she just likes to tease a bit, play, challenge? What if she is clever and funny, rather than obnoxious?
Yeah, I hear you. Labels suck. But they exist, and they’re here to stay, like it or not. So my issue is, people like me need a different name, a different category. Because being lumped in with the brats doesn’t work, and it’s automatically assumed (by some), if we call ourselves “brats,” that we’re going to be “snotty little shits” (one of the many colorful descriptions the post writer used).
Granted, I’ve done and said some pretty awful, bratty things on video. But anyone with common sense knows that the situations in videos and stories are exaggerated to make the bottom deserving of the punishment, and so the viewers/readers will root for the top. However, in my real-life play, I challenge, but I don’t insult. And I won’t be playful with a top unless I sense that he enjoys it.
Here’s a random example of my “bratting.” Years ago at a party, my friend Andy wanted to cane me in one of the suite parties, but he’d left his canes in his room. So he borrowed one from a gentleman named Ben, who had cheerfully offered it up. After our scene (which drew a crowd; this was back in the days when people actually gathered round and watched party scenes), Andy handed me the cane, pointed to Ben across the room and said, “Go bring this back to the nice man, and say ‘thank you, Ben.'” Slowly, I ambled across the room, several pairs of eyes upon me, and when I reached Ben, who was grinning in anticipation, I said, loudly and clearly: “Up yours, Ben.”
Yes, that’s my bratting style. Hardly fits into that nasty picture painted by the brat hater. Bratting is also a matter of degrees. I’ve been known to toss implements across the room. Hardly submissive, I know. But it’s not like I tossed them out the window, into the Dumpster, or into the fireplace. I’m playful. I’m not destructive.
So here’s my question: Can we come up with a term that describes the brats who aren’t really brats? The bottoms who fall between the polarities of must-to-avoid, disrespectful little twits and fully compliant submissives? I like the term “provocateur,” myself. Even the word itself is clever. However, I know it’s a bit of a mouthful, and for simplicity’s sake, I’d rather come up with something shorter. But what? A synonym for provocateur is “challenger,” but that too is awkward.
I’m serious, kids! Language is always in flux, and kink terminology is too. There are always new terms being introduced. Let’s come up with a term for “clever, non-destructive, non-manipulative, respectful and sensible brats.” You know, the ones that make a top want to spank them, not wring their neck.
Thoughts? Put your creative caps on and let me know.
In other news, life goes on. My computer is finally fixed, but my landline is on the fritz again, after being fixed not two weeks ago. John’s ongoing issues at work are worrisome, but my own work is keeping me busy, which is good. No news with my stepmother; I had emailed her asking if she needed anything, but she didn’t reply. And I have another birthday coming up, with all the usual ambivalent feelings. Meh. First world problems. I am stuck here all day waiting for AT&T, so I guess I should get back to work. I will be seeing Steve tomorrow, and he plans to take me out for a birthday lunch. 🙂 There should be a spanking or two in the plans as well.
Because I sure as hell need one. Or two.