At Play Parties

I know you're excited. So are we.

The stuff we do is fun, different, sexy, and sometimes even illegal. It's designed to elicit a strong reaction, so of course it's exciting.

I just want to take a moment to slow down for a second and talk about some things that you may not know about, or may not have a full understanding of. In the process, I may come across as condescending or mean, but that's not my intent. Being ignorant of the particular social expectations isn't anything to be ashamed of, so please don't take this as a personal attack, but it's something that should be corrected as soon as possible.

First and foremost, you may have some questions. Why should it be corrected? Why should you care what the people around you think? Aren't you here, after all, to express your individuality?

Well, to put it bluntly, you can be the hottest piece of ass in the room, but if you're tactless, annoying or dangerous, pretty much nobody's going to want to play with or near you after the first time, except maybe for people who are tactless, annoying or dangerous. If you're even remotely curious about the realities of what it is that we do, then this is a poor path to success.

It all comes down to respect; that's all anyone's looking for when discussions of etiquette come up. Everywhere you go has different specifics, dictated by the space, the laws, the host, and the other guests. On any given night at any given place, the guidelines I'm going to give you may be strictly enforced, unenforced, or non-existent. That's okay - they're guidelines - they're meant to keep you from running afoul of the rules for a given situation, and are relatively conservative. They're meant, essentially, to give you a starting point to work from when you're unsure about the particular rules or the particular etiquette being observed by the space or by the other guests in it.

As long as you're following these guidelines, even if you somehow break a rule, you are unlikely to get more than a gentle warning, because you're not being a douchebag. Some guidelines for not being a douchebag:

  1. Don't be a douchebag. If you sense at some point that you might be perceived as a douchebag for something you just did, stop doing it and apologize.

    Here's a hint: most people that do this stuff all the time, and have integrated it with their daily lives will almost immediately lose respect for someone that asserts their role when it's inappropriate. You are not my submissive, and you're certainly not my dominant, so it's inappropriate to treat me with either deference or contempt.

    Getting respect out of someone means treating them with respect - treating them as close to how they wish to be treated as possible. When in doubt, treat them like a normal human being, because that's what they are.

    If you're hopeless and have no idea what I mean, fake it. Produce a pattern of consistently polite behavior for as long as it takes to build a reputation. Hopefully, in the course of doing so, you'll figure out what the hell I'm talking about.

    The only exception to this is for submissives who are following a set of orders that directs them to treat people as if they were their dominant, in which case, it's not them I have a problem with, but their dom (and yes, the lowercase was intentional), because I never consented to be treated that way, so the dom can just fuck off and stop being a douchebag as far as I'm concerned.

  2. Don't be a douchebag. Learn the rules of each event you go to. Don't think for a fucking moment that they don't apply to you, even if you're the one hosting the event. Ignorance is not an excuse once you're in the door.

    If all else fails, try as hard as you can to not be a douchebag until you've had time to figure out what the rules actually are.

  3. Don't be a douchebag. Stay the fuck out of other people's scenes. Almost everything we do is intense. If we're doing it right, there's an amazing connection between the participants that, in my experience, cannot be matched elsewhere. There's a lot of psychology involved. We go after fears. We turn pain into pleasure. We cause each other to beg us to do nasty things.

    If you were in the middle of a session with a therapist, talking about your deepest childhood fears, do you think you'd be at all pleased if someone opened up the door and said, "Sorry, I just need to borrow a pen." That's the same feeling I get when you wave to your friend that I'm in the middle of tying up. I'm glad that you're glad she's having a good time, now fuck off for a while so I can try to get her back to a place where she's not seeing you standing there, waving at her like a douchebag, because you didn't stop for a second to notice that we were in the middle of something.

  4. Don't be a douchebag. Understand that scenes last a lot longer than the part where someone's being tied or beaten or whatever. There's a whole process involved that starts well before, and ends well after.

    For purposes of not being a douchebag, if the person you're about to interrupt appears to be negotiating a scene, relaxing in preparation for a scene, or cuddling afterward, don't fucking interrupt. If they appear to be chatting or just hanging out, then wait a second before you interrupt to see if anything changes.

    When you initiate conversation, be aware of body language. If it looks like the person is annoyed by your timing, apologize and walk away. This is something that you'll get better at, I promise, but in the meantime be hyper-fucking-aware of yourself.

  5. Don't be a douchebag. Keep your hands off of anything that's not yours, whether it's toys, rigs, furniture, or people. If I'm not in a scene or aftercare, and if I'm not in the middle of a conversation, then by all means you can ask to see something. Barring extreme cases, where it's something that I know to be in need of cleaning or something, I'll almost certainly show you and probably even demonstrate it on you if that's what you're into. This goes back to the respect that we talked about earlier.

    If you didn't ask, however, keep your fucking mitts off of my stuff. This shit is expensive, and I don't want somebody else to damage or steal it or lose it. A really good way to piss me off is to move my stuff so that you can use the spot that I was just in. I will clean up momentarily, at which point it's all yours.

  6. Don't be a douchebag. Keep your hands off of anything that's not yours, especially people. Damn near everything we do is illegal without consent. More importantly, damn near everything we do is immoral and abhorrent without consent. We, as a group, are hypersensitive to issues of consent.

    If it helps you, think of the way most strip clubs work. You can pay the girl to give you a lap dance, and she'll grind her naked body all over you, but if you so much as touch her arm or her hip, she can have you thrown out on your ass, because that's not what she signed up for. That's not the scene she negotiated. If you apply that logic to every other person at a play party, you'll stay out of trouble, and you may even get more play because of it.

    By way of an example, I was recently tying a girl up, and she kept giving me puppy dog eyes and wanting me to do more to her than just put her in a harness. I looked at her, smiled, and said, "Sorry, but the tie was the only thing we negotiated." I told this story to a friend of mine, and her response to me was, "That is so fucking hot." You can draw your own conclusions.

Now, you may get the impression that I'm a douchebag for laying this out the way I have. I'm really not, and I hope you'll take my word for that or maybe if we have some friends in common, they'll vouch for me.

The goal here was to get my point across in a concise manner, without it being so boring that you roll your eyes and stop reading. The "fuck you" attitude is, in effect, a calculated risk, and one that I hope is worth it.

That being said, I'm really quite serious about the scene interruptions and touching of stuff and/or people. I might not throw a punch, but I'll sure as hell remember it, and the last thing you want in this scene is people remembering the negatives.