Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good, Great and Lousy

What Do We Learn?

In case you’re not as interested in the “rope scene” as other people are, or if you’ve never experienced what it’s like to be hurt (and not in a good way) during a scene, you might be interested in reading about an incident involving Midori and Mistress Tokyo. Both sides have now “come forward” to explain what happened. Many people who weren’t at the event during the incident have put their two cents in. Some people have accused others of being judgmental and unforgiving assholes. A few have used this to look at how THEY view rope and how they are going to plan for the inevitable fuck up. And one, who WAS there, and who has the knowledge to back up his points, made it perfectly clear to me, that there was a serious issue with Midori's skills and the aftermath.

Whichever side you’re taking on this issue (and I don’t recommend taking any side), I hope you’ll at least agree on three things:

a. Something went wrong.
b. Someone got horribly hurt.
c. The divergent reactions of how things were or should have been handled in the aftermath shows that merely being a well-known rope top isn’t good enough.

We all say “rope is dangerous. We all generally get the “pooh-pooh, I don’t put a NOOSE around my bottom’s neck!” But when we say rope is dangerous, we mean it. Ropes break, rigs break, shit happens.

And bottoms break.

While everyone is arguing about the mechanics of what should have been done, what wasn’t done correctly, what they would do in a similar situation- they’re all forgetting that the bottom involved placed an ENORMOUS amount of trust that Midori could do this correctly. The fact that it wasn’t within a scene, but a performance; and the fact that both bottom and top were adept at their craft, doesn’t negate the fact that the bottom got hurt and that it seems to me there was a genuine failure on the part of Midori's handling of the immediate concerns of her bottom.

But what makes this particular instance more troubling than simply an accident or inattention to detail or a top going beyond their knowledge base, is the allegations made that Midori for all intents and purposes- bailed out on her bottom. Yes, she “got her help” after she realized the extent of the injuries and yes, she paid for the medical bills, but the initial reaction of Midori seemed to be to “save face” in front of the audience, rather than cut to the chase and get her bottom the immediate attention she needed. “Dancing off the stage”, whether a few, or several minutes, after such an injury is unforgivable.

If this were the FIRST time, I'd heard about such a well-known top freaking out over a disastrous mistake in which a bottom had gotten hurt, I'd put it up to "it happens so infrequently, it's HARD to plan". But the fact of the matter is, it's NOT the first time. Or the first "rope rockstar" to fall to pieces like this. And what makes it even worse, is that unless someone is wiling to talk (and risk being ostracized in the rope community or called a judgmental asshole) then NOBODY can LEARN from their horrible mistakes. Nobody. Not good tops, not other rockstars, and not bottoms who put their trust in them.

Let me be perfectly clear about my own thoughts: ANY top who CANNOT deal with such a crisis, cannot put the needs of the bottom before trying to “save the scene/performance/their reputation” is a bad top. Any top who instead of making sure that another human being whose trust they’ve broken and whose body they’ve harmed, pretends that "it wasn't their fault" needs to re-examine their motivations for topping. Any top who falls to pieces is not one that is safe to play with, regardless of their “time in the scene” or their “reputation”.

Say what you like, but the bottom line is - a top is responsible for everything- good and bad- that goes on in a scene. If you don't LIKE that responsibility- then don't top. And if you've got a bottom who in fact causes problems or doesn't listen to instruction- then you're still responsible for the aftermath if you choose to continue topping that particular bottom. (and let me clarify here- the top is responsible for everything that goes on during the scene- think of the top as the "commander" of the army. It doesn't in any way negate that a bottom does have an equal responsibility- for the things they're able to control. But it's also unrealistic to think that a bottom "controls" the top's actions, inactions, inattentiveness or self-awareness).

People fuck up. Shit happens. But what differentiates a “great top” from one who is merely fooling themselves, is the ability to foresee potential problems, mitigate as many as they can, face the fuck ups with humanity and decisiveness, and not to foist the blame onto others. A great top puts their reputation on the line every time they top.

A lousy one puts their reputation in front of everything else.

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