Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This is the Problem with Definitions

I’ve been receiving a heck of a lot of feedback regarding my posts on Brat Play. Fortunately most people find that bratting can be a wonderful dynamic to play with once in a while. Some haven’t been all that complementary.

For those of you who are a brat, or who own or play with one, you know what I’m talking about. I don’t have to explain why brat play is fun.

But for those of you that might be misunderstanding what brat play really is, I’m going to attempt to explain my point of view on brat play.

I tried to find a definition of “brat” that worked. Most people are used to hearing “spoiled brat”. But it is the “spoiled” part that is unattractive in this context. I’m not using the term “brat” to mean an ill-mannered, spoiled, petulant child. I’m using the term to mean impish, playful and affectionate . I use the term brat not as a perjorative, but as an description of that behavior that makes a top just want to smile, shake his/her head, and secretly laugh their asses off.

Perhaps it might be easier to see the difference if I spell out exactly what kinds of things that I truly believe that most bottoms engage in that I think IS in fact, brat behavior.

Brat Behavior

Childlike abandonment in an activity
Well timed zingers
Twinkling eyes in faux exasperation
Giggling over a mistake
Witty repartee

And the opposing behaviors that I consider "just brat" behaviors:

Just-Brat Behavior

Childish avoidance of an activity
Poorly timed rudeness
Rolling eyes in irritation/annoyance
Anger over a mistake
“Just joking, really, I am”.

Are you getting the idea? There’s “good brat” behavior and “just-brat” behavior. If you’ve ever played with a bottom who has done any of the things in the left column, you’re playing with someone who has the qualities that I consider to be bratting.

I’m not talking about running end-games around a top. I’m not talking goading or purposefully trying to create a negative reaction. I’m talking about all those little things that make tops come back for more.

Tops wish for many things in their bottoms. Most that I’ve spoken with would be over-the-moon by finding a sense of humor, intelligence, enthusiasm and desire for them in their bottoms. Obedience, ease of control and pain thresholds are not nearly as important to tops as trusting that their bottoms know exactly who is in control.

Brat play isn’t for everyone just as fireplay, ropeplay, or needleplay isn’t for everyone. But because I call myself a brat, it doesn’t mean that I’m disrespectful to my top or that I’m not completely obedient when the situation calls for it. It also doesn’t mean that being a brat is “all about me”. Frankly, much of the time it’s more about my dominant’s mindframe, what I think he needs at a particular moment to help him. Sometimes he just needs to let his sadism run a little freer than I might ordinarily be willing to endure and being a brat is a way for me to tell him that it’s ok. Sometimes, it could be simply that he’s struggling with HIS dominance and needs to have a way to find it again. Just as a submissive is not submissive all the time; a dominant cannot be dominant all the time. People just don’t work like that.

Brats have a creativity, flexibility, intelligence, attentiveness, and affection which the top can use to give themselves a break once in a while. If they’re doing it right, they’ve got themselves a bottom who can not only obey a direct order, but one who knows without being told what their top really needs.

Sometimes the ability to know how to give your partner exactly what they need requires walking a fine line between kneeling, obedient submission and reaching into his pants while he’s not looking and telling him your mouth seems rather empty at the moment.

And for those wishing to view some further discussion on brats (both pro and con), you can read this: In defense of brats.

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