Monday, December 28, 2009

Scene Etiquette, Part Duh

I was listening to a podcast this weekend on the way to Ikea. I love that store. The podcast? Not so much.

Mollena Williams, Cunningminx and Graydancer were talking about something that he called "scene etiquette". I was really interested in what they'd had to say because that was a subject that holds some irritation for me personally. But as I listened, I realized what they were really talking about was the difficulty experienced by single bottoms when trying to find playdates at parties.

When I first started listening, I was torn between feeling sympathy for the difficulty that Mollena and Minx had finding appropriate playdates considering their "fame" and the feeling "so why should it be any harder or easier for them than the rest of us?"

Being a single submissive is not easy. I acknowledge that fact and because I have been one many times in my life, and was one recently for a long period, I know how hard it is to be friendly, be happy, walk into a room trying to balance being a person people would want to know better, with my natural inclination to fade into the background because it's too much fucking work to bother sometimes. I know trying to watch tops play with others left me feeling left out, while trying to decide if it were someone that I could trust to play in a way that I was comfortable with. And I know how hard it was for me as a submissive to "make the first move". Yeah...I wanted to be desired, feel wanted, and always be sure that my submissiveness was enough to overcome a top's rejection. The truth is, I'm not that good at pretending.

It's far easier being "someone's submissive" than it is to practice situational submission (aka bottoming). Especially when you don't really have a reason to bother.

I understood both Minx and Mollena's points: too many people make playdates and don't follow through; too many times they've had to be the instigator; too many times they just wanted to feel desired and wanted but were rejected for one reason or another.

But what I couldn't understand was the sense that they'd already had such a narrow range of options, had limited themselves to a "certain acceptable group" of tops, had not taken ANY opportunity to just get to know others that fell outside those choices, that they couldn't understand why they couldn't find playmates.

Mollena had said that "she doesn't play with just anybody who asks", yet bemoaned the lack of people asking. She doesn't want to be rejected by a top she's got her eye on. And she got it right when she said that tops don't either.

Minx bemoaned the fact that once people found out she'd been tied by Max, others didn't seem to want to tie her. Then she said that she'd be happy being sort of a practice dummy for knotwork. I giggled when I heard that. Mostly because I've BEEN the practice dummy...and it's not fun, it's not a scene, it's not even enough to keep my interest a lot of times. I said to myself, "yeah...go ahead....talk to some ropegeek at the next party and offer to just be a practice dummy instead of holding out for a scene....and then tell me that you're OK with that".

What struck me though was that both of these women are smart, witty, vivacious and beautiful. And they're having trouble finding acceptable playmates. This is no different from ANYONE in the scene that isn't "attached". Tops and bottoms both have this problem. Whether it comes from fear of rejection, being in awe of someone, or just normal feelings of wanting to be desired, and not having your feelings validated by others...I'm not sure. I really don't know what the answers are for each individual.

What I do know is that It Happens. The sad-to-say main reason is that the older a woman gets, the harder it is to find the connection to someone that will be in your acceptable range of desired qualities. There's competition for tops. We auto-select as we get older, finding out what we want from our partners, what we expect and need from a partner, and as a result, the pool of acceptable people diminishes. Being in the "limelight" of the scene the way Mollena and Minx are makes things even more difficult. Not only do they have a more limited range of options (I mean we ALL would like to have a scene with Graydancer once in our lives)...but there's just not that many tops at some of these events that are well-known enough by reputation alone that they'd likely feel comfortable with anyway. We remove unknown people automatically. Hell, even I wouldn't play with someone I didn't know or hadn't seen playing with someone else. Reputation, observation and conversation are key.

And while doing that, it did tend to leave me on the sidelines a lot. But what it also did was give me the time to decide that I far preferred to determine my own destiny rather than always sitting things out.

I was rejected. I felt unsexy, unwanted and undesired. I had dance cards filled and then left with gaping holes. I was ignored, pushed back, and seldom received an apology. I felt like I was somehow to blame for people not wanting to play with me. But I also watched those tops that interested me. And very often they were alone as well. It's like those conferences where everyone seeks out the speaker afterwards to talk to them. It's the ones that are hanging back who have the really interesting story. They're just afraid of coming off like a starfucker. Somebody has to break that dance of a bottom saying "I want to be asked to play", with a top saying "she's so beautiful, funny and wonderful, she'd never be interested in me in a million years". I learned that showing interest, got me asked for those playdates. A little enthusiasm and interest in a potential partner goes a long way. And for most submissives...well...we tend to learn early on how to make a man feel special. And I've rarely met a man who didn't feel that from someone who didn't want to reciprocate...at least enough for a scene.

But what I really felt listening to the podcast is a universal truth among humans. We're not really just looking for random connections to people in a scene. We want the emotional, underlying relationship (whatever form that may be) to someone. I don't think that either Minx or Mollena were truly bemoaning the lack of acceptable choices in tops. What I think that they're searching for is elusive in many scenes. The connection to someone. To be able to emotionally relate to someone. And THOSE people are even harder to find than really good tops.

My final word on this subject is a piece of advice for single situational submissives who find themselves alone at parties, longing for "a scene". Instead of dismissing those shy, sweet tops, who may be a little intimidated at first by a sexy, funny, vivacious and experienced bottom, seek them out. Be friendly, open to conversation, smile, emit an aura of confidence, enthusiasm, and availability. Even if you don't get a scene out of it this time...the next time you just might.

Or he might even have a kinky brother :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Failing....at Forgetting

I’m not sure what happened. One minute I was watching television across the room from sir and the next, I was upstairs in bed alone, crying. I can’t even tell you what my thought process was except that I’d failed. I’d failed to keep his interest, I’d failed to find some way to feel comfortable with that feeling I’ve been “put away for now”. I know from personal experience that a lot of a D/s relationship is just a lot of the waiting, the boredom, and the feeling that I am at the disposal of his whim, not the other way around. I just didn’t stop to think that it would be this hard. Maybe that’s the difference with having a boyfriend who is your sir. Being comfortable finding yourself put away for a while by your sir, with trying to fit in those extra few hours with your boyfriend before going home again. It always seems like on one hand, I shouldn’t be upset with being by myself, just watching him to see if he needs me; while on the other just wanting those extra few minutes with him to get me through until next time.

This was always one of the things that I had the hardest time dealing with. I think it happens because I’m an interactive person, and not a piece of furniture. And because, well frankly...I spent a lot of years being ignored by a spouse that didn’t care, children who’d rather I wasn’t making their lives miserable, and one relationship where I was always second. I've thought a lot about that relationship recently....mostly about how much I prefer the one I have now. But I got used to being alone in my own head. I got used to zoning out. I got used to doing what I wanted when I wanted to do it. When I get in that headspace, my mood becomes more of a “I don’t give a fuck” than “let’s ask permission to not give a fuck”. And that’s where I am right now. I just don't know how to remember.

I think that some of this has to do with the fact that I really am just a visitor in his life. Every weekend, I sort of move into his space, intrude in his life, and I end up wandering around a strange place where I have nothing to keep me occupied, nothing to stop my brain from thinking of all those times when I was required to be physically present, but nobody ever requiring my mind to even be in the same time zone. I can cook for him, I can clean for him, and I can pay attention to him, but at the end of the day, even with his smile of appreciation, do I really care about any of it? My body is performing the actions that he requires, but I’m not really there. I’m invisible again. And I find that I really don’t like that feeling this time. I used to take pride in being invisible. Now, it’s the last thing I want to be.

And I think that some of this also comes from my fucking inability not to anticipate. I don’t know when that happened. I used to take each day that we spent together as if it were the only one I’d have for a month. Now, I anticipate spending time with him and I’m always a little disappointed when the reality doesn’t quite match what bug has gotten into my brain. I really need to stop creating a bubble of “how cool would it be” in my head...and just remember to create a “whatever happens, happens” bubble. I’ve got to stop myself from wishing.

He’d mentioned something about rope. He’d wanted to try to figure out a picture that I’d sent to him. It’s been a long time since we did any rope together in his house. I actually can’t even remember the last time we broke out the rope bag for either play or practice. I’m starting to feel like me and him and rope is just a disappointment. What started out as a really wonderful dance, has turned into one that I’d just prefer to sit out. Not really. I don’t want to sit out. But it’s like I don’t really have a choice. I think that it’s just that I feel like he doesn’t want to dance with me anymore. Another failure. It sucks, but what are you gonna do? Wish for things that can’t happen? Or deal with things the way they are?

And truth be told there were some other things that obviously had bothered me more than I’d let on. I’m working on dealing with those feelings. It’s not jealousy exactly....it's more like I’ve seen how this goes. Patterns that repeat and patterns that I’d forgotten how hard they were for me to get through. I’ll have to admit, it’s far easier to deal with some of those things when I’m making a conscious decision to deal with them....it’s a lot harder to deal with them when I’m filled in after-the-fact. Another wall that I’d forgotten was so hard to climb.

So today, I’ve given up on trying to make sense of the weekend. There were just too many reminders of things that I’d rather not think about at this particular time of year. This week is hard enough already without having to deal with all of that. I just hope that I’m not a failure at forgetting this weekend. That’d be one that I’d really like to not remember.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tattoos


Tattoos are a recent thing for me. Well, recent as in the last few years. I’d wanted a tattoo almost my whole life. It appealed to the artist hiding in me to have something that I could carry with me everywhere.

I put off getting one mostly because of the other people in my life. They didn’t like tattoos. But when my children starting sporting what seemed to be a new one every other month, I’d start thinking again about how much I’d really wanted one. My chance finally happened about three years ago.

I was on a vacation sans husband and kids, and was with my sister in Florida when she’d tweaked me about my continuously putting off getting a tattoo. She’d said that it wasn’t because other people didn’t like them...but that I was “afraid of the pain”....and that I "was a wussy". Since I’m actually quite afraid of needles, I'm sure she thought she’d found something that I wouldn’t ever do.

Once I’d gotten over laughing at the thought of how I could explain to her about my fascination with pain, I thought of something that appealed to BOTH my masochist and well as the little inner sadist that sometimes lurks. I said that if she wanted me to get a tattoo so much, then I’d be willing. And the bet was that if I cried or cringed during it, I’d pay for it. Otherwise, it was on her dime.

We found a tattoo shop in Tampa that she’d heard about. We went in, and I chose a tattoo that would mean something to me forever. I chose a symbol which represented the name of someone very special to me. Since she’ll always be the most special, I know I wouldn’t change my mind and regret the choice. We discussed colors, placement and size and the guy began the tattoo.....and I found myself in a remarkably relaxed space in a matter of minutes.

About an hour later, I was the proud owner of my first tattoo.

Afterwards, while my sister was paying the bill, she just looked at me and said “I’ve never seen anyone who almost fell asleep while being done....in fact....you looked like you were almost enjoying it!”. I didn’t know what to say. I had enjoyed it. So much so, that I knew if I wasn’t careful, I’d willingly get every inch of my body tattooed given the chance. And that would look freaky. It is much too addicting.

But what I find most interesting was the state of my mind during it. It was painful in spots....and it felt a lot like playing with pain....the willingness and anticipation of the pain created a juxtaposition in my brain. That “fight or flight” reaction. The problem is that my mind says stay....while my body says “get the fuck outta Dodge”. When they become synched....that’s when I’m able to fly.

I’ve wanted another tattoo for three years, but I've waited. In much the same way as I waited before meeting daddy. The former is too addicting, the latter was because I'd wanted to make sure that I wasn't behaving as an addict searching for my next fix of D/s.

You see, while I could just get them because they’re pretty, or I like the feeling, or they’re cool, since I do have to live with them (and around other people who still think tattoos are low-class) for a lifetime, I decided that I’d ONLY get inked when there was something I was sure about. I used that precious little girl’s flower on my shoulder as the test of that. I’d only get a tattoo that would say something I’d never regret.

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo over the past several months. At first, I didn’t know what I’d want. I toyed with the idea of a kitty, a rainbow, and others. But none of those felt right and didn’t meet the requirement of “meaning something” to me. So I’d waited.

When I finally decided on what I’d like tattooed, I waited some more. Although I tend to rush into things, this was one time that I’d decided early on to go slowly with. Step by step, little by little. Making sure, testing myself (ok, and truth be told, him too), learning about each other, and mostly just accepting that there is someone out there who loves me exactly as I am, who expects nothing from me except to be who I am, and who accepts my love exactly as I give it.

And that's why I'm finally getting a tattoo again this weekend. I'm finally sure that despite whatever happens down the road, I will never regret getting it....and never regret who it will remind me of.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Doesn't Hold a Candle to It

Friday night was the first night of Hanukkah for 2009. It also happened to be the start of my weekend with Daddy.

Ordinarily I don’t spend Friday nights with Daddy. It’s his time with the boy and although I like spending time with both of them, I don’t want to get into a habit of coming between their time together. It’s important to me that their habits continue as it always had before I came into the picture. Stability is important for the both of them.

But this Friday was different. Daddy and I hadn’t seen each other during the week because of the weather, and because I wasn’t feeling well. And he wanted me there.

When I walked through the door, I was a bit earlier than they’d expected. Both of them came around the corner to the door with huge smiles on their faces. They were both happy to see me and both seemed pretty excited that I was there. It was a pretty cool feeling walking into the house and feeling that.

We ate dinner after Daddy and the boy did their Friday night candles, and with an extra candle because it was Hanukkah. There was some unexpected pyrotechnics with the menorah candle and a placemat, but other than a little charring, things worked out ok. While we were eating, the boy and Daddy told me about Hanukkah....several versions of it. That’s something that’s pretty typical. Whenever Daddy tells a story...I always wait for the “on the other hand” part that I know will be coming. Maybe that’s part of why things drive him crazy a lot of times. Historical and cultural shades of grey...creating a sort of chaos in its own way. There never seems to be much in the way of black and white. And maybe that’s why I’m always so amused by it.

After the boy received his present, and after he’d ate the candy coins I brought for him, Daddy and I sat for a while and relaxed. We talked for a while and then he told me he had a surprise for me. I couldn’t imagine what it would be. He told me to go grab my computer and then he proceeded to show me that he’d given me my own piece of the web. He’d grabbed the domain for nakedconfusion. I was tickled that he’d thought of that, I never would have in a million years. But that’s the wonderful thing about Daddy. He’s able to find just the right thing to make me smile. And geeklove always does it!

After we’d gone to bed, talking and cuddling (we both wear pajamas when the boy is home), I finally had the best night’s sleep I’d had all week. Even with the stuffy nose and coughing. Sometime during the night, the boy had crawled into bed next to Daddy. He told me in the morning that although the bed got pretty crowded with the three of us there, he’d just lain awake for a while smiling at the thought of both of the people he loves snuggling with him. I’ve told him that we do it because he’s so warm to sleep next to. But if you really want to know, I think it’s because both of us are able to relax curled next to Daddy. We both know that we’re safe from the monsters in our heads, we both know that he’s got us wrapped in his love...and we both know that there’s no place else on earth that we’d rather be at that moment.

Or perhaps, crowding Daddy in his bed is just our way of saying that we love him more than anyone else...and that we know he loves us too. Nobody else would let us warm our cold feet on his legs or steal his covers and pillow so that we could sleep. And nobody else makes us feel as special and loved as Daddy.

As lovely as my first Hanukkah was, it occurs to me that that most lovely thing about that night was the feeling that I'd become part of them. So much so--that the boy and I could be hogging the bed from Daddy and all he does is smile at the thought. All the Hanukkah candles in the world don’t hold a candle to the feeling we get snuggled next to Daddy’s love on a cold winter’s night.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My ABC's of a Bratty RopeBottom

I wanted to write a timely post, but since I'm pretty happy these days (well except for another helacious cold I received after snogging a beautiful switch at the Bound in Boston last weekend), and since I'm in a pretty vixenish kind of mood..I thought it would be the perfect time to alphabetize my spice rack. [private joke between me and daddy...but if you'd like to see what happened, you can read it here]

So here's my ABC's of being a bratty ropebottom. Most of these things have happened to me at one time or another. I'm working on the rest of them for the New Year :)

Always pay attention to the smallest things. Sometimes they are the ones with the most ouchiest impact.

Behave as if Daddy were always listening and watching. Sorta like that time between Thanksgiving and Christmas when you were a kid. He IS making notes.

Certainly remember to curtsy before calling Daddy an evil mean bastard...and don't forget to add "Sir".

Don't ever call Daddy an evil mean bastard when you know he's listening.

Even if you think he's not listening, calling him an evil mean bastard will likely show you just how ouchy those small things can be.

Forget what you've been taught at your own peril. If he taught you how to make his martini with gin, never ever make it with vodka unless you're looking for that evil mean bastard to come out and play.

Good little ropesluts never try to escape without it at least making it look difficult, even if you can.

Having an itch is something that you should always keep to yourself.

Itchy noses can however be fixed by snuggles, nuzzles, and pretending to faint.

Jumping up and down in rope when you have to pee isn't likely to get you to the bathroom. Ropedaddys will just remind you that you should have thought of that much sooner.

Kissing is fun...but never use the "fish kiss" the "butterfly kiss" or the "kiss my ass phrase" unless you know for sure he's not listening.

Loving his rope is not the same as loving him. However, loving him while he's practicing the same knot for the hundredth time is the best test of that love.

Maybe telling Daddy that his ouchy toys were given away to deprived ropesluts/painsluts for Christmas isn't the best way to stop his aneurysm from happening.

Nobody likes a brat all the time. However, if Daddy chooses to ignore what you're doing, then you're probably OK...for now.

Opening the toybag and asking "what's this one used for" isn't a good idea unless you know EXACTLY what it's used for.

Poking him when he's asleep to tell him that you need a spider killed makes him feel like a super hero sthpider sthlayer. Poking him while he's asleep just because you like to see him hit the ceiling isn't such a good idea.

Quiet time for Daddy does not mean that it's ok to crawl under his desk and give him a blow job. Or maybe it does. That one's daddy specific.

Running away saying "I bet you can't catch me" isn't perhaps the best choice when he brings out the paddle. You eventually HAVE to come back.

Speaking of paddles...the trick to that is to make sure that the rope covers enough of whatever body part will be paddled so that he's gotta work for it. I mean...so that you can enjoy the rope AND the paddle.

Toilet seats should never be super glued in the morning.

Using his rope to hold up your pants, tie your shoelaces, or create a plant hanger is probably not a good idea.

Very often Daddy's will bring out the rope to tease you with it. The way around this is to pretend that there's nothing you'd like LESS at the moment. However..it can backfire if he's really doing it for YOU...so use this one judiciously.

When in doubt about what you should do, looking dumb and telling him that he's a dork for not being specific enough will get the paddle and no rope. If he asks for "that thing over there" and there's fifty things there...bring him all of them as a safe bet.

Xylophones make really cool noises. However..using Daddy's tummy as one might not be so good if he's ticklish.

Yelling to Daddy from another room that "hey..did you know that your iPhone makes really cool noises if you pour something on it" will for sure give him that aneurysm that I talked about earlier.

Zealous enthusiasm, while fun, sometimes needs to be tempered with simply being enthusiastic because you're his.

I love you Daddy. Thanks for a wonderful year of laughter, learning, and love.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Energy and Etiquette.

We went to the Bound in Boston after party held at a local private facility. We don't have public dungeons in Boston. It's the puritanical antecedents (along with one highly publicized case) that cause some difficulties.

It had been a long day for Daddy and I and we were looking forward to relaxing. There was plenty of rope, lots of toys, and lots of people. We just wanted to reconnect and get some energy going.

We'd started to play in an area that perhaps wasn't the wisest choice. It wasn't bad, but people seemed to have no problems stepping over us while we were doing our thing. One person walked over my head and stepped on my ear. That pissed Sir off and we had to move. It was too dangerous for me to remain where I was. We stopped to move the piece of carpeting that we were on several feet in another direction so that we'd be more out of the way of the traffic flow.

We'd got resettled and then we had someone start a flogging about 6 inches from daddy's head. When he caught me looking away from him, he snapped at me and said "I'm over here". I just looked at him, and instead of tweaking out at his tone, I just told him that he was about to get hit in the head with the flogger. OK, I hid the giggle when I told him, but both he and I were getting a little bit irked at the people who just seemed to have no fucking clue about what was going on around them. Sir said something to the idiot that was doing it, but the guy was just so fucking oblivious that he didn't even bother to look behind him before he'd started.

We started again and I was having a wonderful time. Crops have turned into something of a favorite of mine and between that and the remote-controlled vibe that Sir had attached to me...I was ready for some definite connection!

But after just a little while, daddy stopped. He got me up and through my haze I thought I'd done something wrong. I just looked at him and asked "what's up?". He said things were getting too dangerous to continue. People were walking through the scene, walking around my head, and weren't paying attention. He didn't want his attention divided between trying to hurt me and my getting hurt.

It left me in a weird point though. Neither high enough to fly, nor low enough to come back easily. I was in sort of a limbo-land. My body kept yelling for more, but my brain kept telling it to shut up already. Instead, we sat and watched some other scenes.

I may not process things completely while I'm flying, but that night I noticed a lot of things. We might not have been able to finish our scene, but there were still a lot of scenes happening.

I watched a flogging scene happening several feet away from us. From my vantage point, I could see the tops' face. He looked bored. So did his bottom. Now whether or not either participant was truly bored, I've no idea. But it seemed as if it was just this guy showing off his flogging technique instead of connecting with his bottom. He never once touched her with anything other than the flogger. And she never moved or made a sound. He never spoke to her, never checked in with her, and it ended not with a bang, but with him putting away his flogger and walking away.

And speaking of technique...another scene that I watched with anticipation was a whip scene. A lovely young woman (in great heels) was preparing to whip her bottom. They'd gotten set up, the woman started the whip...slowly at first. Since whips are also another favorite of mine, I watched this one with bated breath. I was curious about how she was connecting with her bottom. She kissed him with the whip several times, walked up to him and checked in...caressed his back...whispered in his ear, moved back and started again. About that time, some bystander had come up to her and stopped her. He started making arm motions, showing her a stance...and I thought, WTF! Dude! NOW is not the time to be comparing technique! WTF is the MATTER with you? And I felt sorry for the bottom. He turned around to look at why the whip wasn't being thrown anymore and you could see the look of disappointment on his face. It was heartbreaking. I know. I'd already felt the same thing about an 1/2 hour earlier.

I watched a suspension scene. Three lovely women were going to be suspended by a couple of really decent riggers. I've seen them rig before and watched what they were going to do. It ended up as a great scene, but my only thought was that it took nearly an hour to rig those three women. I'd have been bored out of my skull. Maybe it was easier because the women were all playing off each other...teasing and talking. I don't know. It was a fascinating ending...inverted suspension always is. But I couldn't watch for an hour without becoming bored. I couldn't imagine what it would have felt like to be doing it.

I also noticed that there were various other scenes. Punching, self-suspension, needles, But by that point I'd given up. My own ruined scene, the three scenes I described above, all combined to just wear me out. Interesting though they may have been, they all seemed to lack one very important thing that I always look for in a memorable scene. The connection between people. And I think a lot of that was because of the bystanders.

I know it's difficult for people to remember that scene space has different rules. And public party spaces have added stresses on scene participants. Too many people were walking though scenes, offering "advice" in an ongoing scene, talking to scene participants, and basically looking as if they were the ONLY people in the space. They were oblivious to everyone and anything going on. It became dangerous for daddy and I to continue for just that reason. Many people don't bother to play at all anymore for that reason. And that's a damned shame. Because the people that play provide fodder for future scenes, provide the energy for a party to really get going, and provide a thrill for those watching. A friend of mine mentioned this fact. He was surprised at how many people seemed to just be showing off their toys rather than connecting with them.

I'm tired of playing in public scene spaces and having to discuss the lack of scene etiquette after the fact. This is not rocket science. It's basic manners. You wouldn't come into a dinner party and start telling your host how to serve the meal. You wouldn't walk inbetween a mother hugging her child because it was the shortest route. And you wouldn't pretend that you're the only person on earth that counts.

Or maybe, you would. If that's the case then do the rest of the players a favor and stick to the couches in your own home. We like to play in public. We just don't like the public to come up on the stage as if they're part of the play.

End Rant.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Photography and Fetlife

As you might guess, I frequently search out things on Fetlife that interest me. One of the subjects that has become something of a minor crusade for me personally, is the subject of photographs. I don't have a problem posting pictures of myself, as long as they're not of me in sexual or s/m situations. Rope is fine, having fun is fine, but I don't want photos of me posted on Fetlife engaging in anything that would tweak my grandmother.

Many people have similar rules regarding photos of themselves. Some are stricter than mine, and some are a lot more open about their kinks. I wish we all could be, but that's a fantasy I've had for nearly 20 years, and I really don't see it changing all that much. The only thing that has changed, is the advent of cell phone cameras and the internet. And because of that, things are getting a little crazy.

Many discussions about privacy have been started on Fetlife. Some are better than others. But one in particular got my attention because of the eloquence of his response. With his permission, I've reposted his reply to this thread below. I want to thank Jim, known as bartleby on Fetlife for his kindness in allowing me to quote his words here.

Before you take pictures of others, before you post pictures of others, think about the discretion that some of us are forced to live with and ask yourself if putting up that picture is worth ruining someone's life over.


I’m Jim, and I’m kinky, too.

But you don’t see my picture here, or anywhere on Fetlife with my consent, because it might impact me professionally.

One of my first friends in the scene was a school teacher, and photos of some of her antics on the internet would have definitely been a cause for concern to her; since she was pretty sure that she would be jobless should they come to the wrong person’s attention. And you never want to be in the position of hoping that a picture of you on the internet doesn’t come to the wrong person’s attention.

I have been reading this thread, and wondering whether to come in on it. It is tempting to stay away because I was recently involved in a situation where I mistakenly thought that a photo of me had been posted. And that turned fairly ugly.

However, the idea that someone can take a photo of someone else in a private space, and then post it without their consent pretty much hits ten on an ugliness scale of nine. This is true whatever the party rules are about photography.

My friend the schoolteacher would have known exactly what hit her if the wrong photo showed up in the wrong place. As would a parent who suddenly became a non custodial parent.

However, for many it would not be so obvious. A client or promotion not landed. Or people who we need for all sorts of reasons, or people who we care for, who suddenly come into information that they not only can’t handle, but can’t even bring themselves to talk about with us.

When I came into the kink world, there were a lot of things that made me deeply uncomfortable. Over time I was able to make peace with a lot of that. Much of the reason for that is that I came to know and respect people who indulged in those things. And while I may never tread those specific paths, I can accept them as valid for others.

People who have not had that opportunity can not be expected to react the same way. We can debate whether they are good or bad people, or whether they “should” be more enlightened.

But what is not debatable is that there can be very real consequences to allowing your personal life to become public. Some of us know this now. Some others will find this out later. And some others yet will suffer these consequences and never know the reason why.

And if anyone thinks that a photograph without a proper name or other identifying information will just fade into obscurity, try the following experiment. And then roll the numbers around in your head for a while.

Google the words Rodolfo Corrales North Carolina. (here's the article)

You will find an Associated Press story about a man by the name of Rodolfo Corrales, who was arrested for murder by the FBI on June 24. Pertinent to this discussion is that the FBI had a tip that he was living in North Carolina under an assumed name. According to the story they took a 1991 photo of him to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, and compared it to the pictures on file.

Out of 30 million pictures, the computer gave them possible hits in the dozens. And they found him. Easily.

And Mr. Corrales provided food for thought for the rest of us.

The numbers again: 18 year old photo. 30 million possibilities, narrowed down to dozens of likely people within seconds.

Facial recognition software is apparently pretty impressive these days. And we can count on it improving. Which is all the more reason that I don’t want my picture taken under some circumstances.

And I don’t think that I should have to abstain from going to parties where I can mingle with my friends and enjoy myself because of that.

At any party I go to there will be people I know and like. There will be people who are just acquaintances. There will people I don’t know. And there may even be people I don’t like.

I think that all of these people, connected however fragilely, should be able to share one common assumption. And that is that we do not intend to cause one another harm.

To post a picture of someone without their consent is to harm them. To even take someone’s picture without them explicitly consenting is also to harm them, since they have no control of that image, and can never be sure that it won’t come back to haunt them. Whether it does or not, that still takes its toll on their peace of mind.

This is obviously no longer universally believed. But it might just be a matter of common decency to rein in the desire for a shot you want, when it might cost another children, job security, or family harmony.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.