Sunday, August 30, 2015

The run-down of last night's club expedition

Last night I went to a club.
Area 51's Fetish Night to be specific.
I don't go to clubs for a variety of reasons.  One of those being the work that I've been doing for the past five plus years.  I worry about every drunk person and what they may be made to do later by someone under the guise of consent.  I hate the fact that we have developed a culture where sex outside of marriage (and many times within as well) only happens when fueled by alcohol.  Another reason why I don't go to clubs is that I don't get hit on at clubs.  And no, this isn't a "I'm fat and sad" moment, it is just a reality.  Many people go to clubs with the sole intention of getting picked up, or to get some sort of affirmation of their beauty from some stranger.  It's depressing going to a club and watching your friends get hit on time after time and you being ignored.  Oh.... and the other reason that I don't like to go to clubs is that even when I haven't been the designated driver, I still end up having to care for my friends who just go crazy.  It's not fun.  This is probably why most of my "partying" has actually happened in foreign countries.  You're walking anyway to wherever you are partying... and it is a different crowd of folks you are going with.  With your friends you can be irresponsible (and a bit of jerk) and they deal with it because they love you.... doing the same traveling abroad, you don't get that kind of leeway.

I went to the club last night as a reconnaissance mission.  Different kink communities do demos on Fetish Night and it was an opportunity for me to see what was out there.  I got there early (because if I got there before 10pm I could get in free).  And the first thing that I did was find my Kink Community contact, Finch.  He introduced me to all the demo people he knew, and a few people who I had previously seen at rope workshop.  For those that read my last post, I now know the name of one of the women who I saw topless at that first workshop.  It was nice evening overall.  There was a small group of us just hanging out.  I had one adult beverage and two bottles of water and I did a lot of people watching.  I also went by myself so I didn't have to watch out for anyone and I could leave when I wanted to.  In my head there is this stigma about a person going to a club alone, but this was rather freeing.  I would do it again.... but only if I had a really good reason to make an effort to go to a club.  

So.... here is some of what I learned last night:

1. Real "kinky" people are totally normal and NOT obnoxious, and it is the "vanilla" folks that are making a huge deal out of the appearance of trying to be seen as "kinky".  Most of the people who I saw that were shocked and horrified by what they saw in the demos were the people that were overly dressed up in the appearance of kink.  Those that were watching with interest and respect where dressed very normally.  In fact, all the demo people looked like they had walked off the street rather than that they had spent 4 hours carefully dressing in as little as possible.  As I was hanging out mostly with the rope folks, all the girls who got tied up for demos were conservatively dressed.... they just had no problem removing clothing to do the tie-ups.

2. Real beauty comes from being comfortable in your skin and not from trying to show it off.  Body language is so important.  And there is a huge difference between being half naked in front of a crowd AND being comfortable with your body and just being half naked in front of a crowd.

3. Drunk folks are fun to watch, but not really to talk to.  Towards the end of the evening a young woman sat down next to me and started to talk.  She was really hammered and had been left by her friends at the club.  She was also a larger girl, who kept trying to tell me in a louder and louder voice about how kinky she was and that she couldn't find anyone who was willing to be her dominant.  After talking with her for a while it was clear why.... through all of her boasting she was insecure.  She had been abandoned and blamed many times in her life, and only wanted to be loved and noticed.  It wasn't happening...because these things just don't "happen", you have to make an effort to reach out to those in the community.  She wanted someone to take her home, and that just wasn't going to happen either.  I wanted to hug her and tell her that it was gonna be alright.  People are so vulnerable in general when they are drunk, but I don't think we realize or appreciate just how open and bare they leave their hearts.

Will I go again?  Possibly.  But if I'm honest, I'll probably learn more and make more connections if I just keep going to munches, workshops, and play parties.  Also my body just hurts.... that's not from the dancing (I actually didn't do any of that), but the fact that I got only 6-ish hours of sleep last night because I had an early morning appointment today.  I desperately need a nap and about 10 more hours of productivity.  I tried to nap this afternoon and it was just the kind of nap where everything hurts and you are too tired to sleep. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

new ventures

My job allows me the ability to learn about some pretty amazing things.
At Pride this last June, I met a member from the Kink Community and I have agreed to collaborate with his organization and do some advanced consent and healthy relationships presentations for them.

Like any good researcher, I asked for a book list and I think I've read 7 or 8 different kink-related manuals in the last month or so.  And honestly.....if you want a way to spice up some rather boring reading on corporate accounting, interspersing that with reading breaks on how to be an loving dominant will fit that bill.

In prepping for work with this community.... and we're planning some awesome stuff beyond these two trainings being scheduled.... I find that I'm learning alot about myself. And no... it isn't that I'm discovering some new found kinky-side and that I'm gonna start wearing leather and carrying a riding crop around.  It has more to do with discovering this capacity that I have to learn about something and have little to no judgement about it.  In fact, I've come across some instances where I was very much opposed to a particular act and found the very idea of it degrading and abusive.  But after reading an essay about fisting, yes... fisting, I could see the beauty in it.  It is not on my list of things to ever do or have done to me....but I could understand the appeal.  I keep discovering these moments over and over again.

The Kink community in general has to deal with a ton of criticism and bias due strictly to the general community not understanding what they are about and western society's general tendency to freak out about anyone openly talking about sex.  But the people I've met so far have been amazing! And it's been nice to hang out with people who aren't going to be shocked by something that I say, and take things like consent and rape culture seriously.  I'm definitely learning more from them then they are from me at the moment.  I'm astounded by this community's ability to support each other.  I read on FetLife earlier this week of a woman who shared her story about being violently raped by someone she met in the community.  When I commented on her post over 400 people had already reached out to her.... and ALL of the comments were supportive of her.  It was beautiful and still makes me tear up a bit.  She had an awful experience with reporting her assault and was blamed for the attack because of her kink lifestyle.  I know that this happens in Utah as well.... so I am really excited to be focusing attention on this community to help address gaps in services.

As I would with any community that I am starting out working with, I've been going to some of their events.  I went to a rope workshop a couple of weeks ago.  At workshops you can interrupt and ask questions about what people are doing.  It is a place to learn skills first before you go out and try to do stuff.  It was fascinating!  And....all right...a touch titillating....but definitely more on the fascinating side.  I discovered that if I see a woman's bare breasts, I want to know the woman's name because nameless boobs bother me a bit.  It just seems impolite not to introduce myself.  That being said, I was so nervous that I really didn't talk to anyone, but I brought blueberry muffins for everyone to snack on as a concession.  There were a couple of people there who I loved just to sit and watch what they were doing.  The knot-work was so skillful and imaginative, and you really had the feeling that you were watching a master honing their craft.  I also got to see some moments of profound intimacy that I just wanted to go up and hug the people afterwards and thank them for letting me witness that.  Like speaking to people, this was also something that I did not do....  I was just the silent wide-eyed person in the room..... rather than the creeper that I wanted to be introducing myself to topless women and hugging strangers.  I was going to go back to another workshop this weekend, but I had a migraine yesterday and I wasn't gonna try to deal with it.  Instead I tried to learn some of the knots and practiced on myself.  My skills at making friendship bracelets is not helpful AT ALL in this endeavor.  My crappy attempt is the photo in this post.  So I need someone to teach me, or (perhaps the better option) I'll just continue to be a spectator or let people practice on me so I can watch.

My first presentation on Consent is going to be in September.  I'm preemptively nervous.... but I will get to be extra mean during the pen skit which I use to demonstrate coercion... so I have that to look forward to.