(This could alternatively be titled, “If Teppycat is Bottoming, It MUST Be Time to Talk to Her!”)

After my car’s iPod adapter was recently resurrected (yeah, first-world problems), I was listening to Graydancer‘s podcast, Ropecast, on the way home from work today. One of the things he was talking about with a group of people was play party etiquette, and it reminded me of what has been a constant theme in my kinky public life: if I’m bottoming at a play party, *someone* WILL come up and start talking to me, my top, or both of us.

WTF, right??? I thought everyone knew that actually talking to people WHILE THEY’RE IN A SCENE is uncool. Unbelievably un-fucking-cool, man. But I apparently have a sign tatttooed on my ass that says, “Please, come talk to me; why would I want to achieve subspace or any sort of intimacy with my partner?”

Literally every party I’ve ever played at — except one, which I will describe below — when I’ve been the bottom, people walk right up and start talking to me. Once, at a play party at an event (which means, yeah, a BIG play party, where you’d think people would be adhering to the rules lest they get bounced by the DMs), I was bottoming to T. He had me tied with my wrists above my head, attached to the crossbar of a pillory post. Because I’m self-conscious and have body image issues, I had on underpants (but nothing else). I have a lower-back tattoo (not to be trendy [although it’s nobody’s business *why* I have it]; rather, I had back surgery 5 years ago, and the tattoo serves to partially cover the scar and to also re-claim that part of my body).

While T. was pausing to switch floggers, someone walked up to him and asked him if he would PULL DOWN MY UNDERPANTS SO SHE COULD SEE THE REST OF MY TATTOO.

I think my eyeballs fell out of my head. WHO DOES THAT?!? That’s so fucking rude. Because (1) hello, we’re PLAYING, HERE; and (2) you want to see my tattoo, you come around to my face and ask ME (I have big-time boundary issues when it comes to my body, although I will grant that, if someone had never met me before that event, and then the first thing they saw of me was to watch me bottoming, it wouldn’t be an absurd conclusion to think that I was owned, and the appropriate person to ask would be my master).

But still. Even if I were owned, you still don’t walk up and ask to see someone’s slave’s tattoo while the master is changing floggers!

(Interestingly — or, really, NOT — when *I* top T. at parties, NO ONE comes up to talk to me or him. I have a very effective “Do NOT fuck with me or I will KILL YOU DEAD” demeanor. Plus, I don’t make eye contact with anyone while I’m topping, because I’m just hyper-focused like that.)

As for the party that was the exception, where no one walked up to try to talk to either of us during the scene: I had grumbled at length to T. before the scene about the fact that people always interrupt, and I felt like putting up a sign that said “Stay the Fuck Away!” Because T. is a nicer person than I am, we compromised and, on the back of a chair that was between us and the rest of the party, taped a sign that said, “Do Not Talk To The Animals Or They’ll Bite! You Have Been Warned!”

Worked like a charm. But, seriously? It shouldn’t take a sign, you know?

There are many other people in the BDSM world who have written about manners, and done so far more comprehensively than I’m about to. (And whose writing is undoubtedly better than mine, also.) Still, what’s a blog for, if not to spew forth one’s own opinions and crackpot theories?

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve experienced some surprisingly bad manners at munches. This morning, when I read Mistress Matisse’s description of some truly appalling behavior that happened to a friend of hers at a munch, I decided to offer up my 2 cents.

Honestly, people? I just don’t understand when people show up at a munch or a party and can’t even behave with the most rudimentary of manners. I’m talking the kind of manners that anyone, in any situation, whether vanilla or kink, should know and be able to actually USE. Don’t get me wrong; I am a big scaredy-teppycat when it comes to new situations and meeting new people. I totally understand that being in a new situation can make people feel awkward, and that can lead to some social gaffes. I totally get that. Hell, I’ve totally DONE that.

But I just don’t understand what thought process leads people to abandon even the facade of politeness in a situation where they are the newbie (meaning, yes, because you’re new, you’re being evaluated, since we don’t know whether you’re a kink god or a registered sex offender). It’s just common sense to bust out the good manners in order to make a good impression, no?

At one munch, I recommended a particular dessert to the people sitting around me (and, okay, by “recommended,” I actually mean “raved and swooned and extolled its virtues with terms befitting the food of the gods”), some of whom were new to the munch. They ordered the dessert, as did I, it was served, we ate, I made sounds of gastronomical bliss.

One of the new people, who had ordered the dessert on my recommendation, was sitting silently, having finished his dessert with no comment. Feeling flush in the postprandial glow of one truly kickass dessert, I leaned across the table and asked, “So? What do you think?”

The guy responded with an expression devoid of any reaction, save for his curled lip, and said, “Eh. I wasn’t impressed.” And so I just chuckled, hoping that he was trying to make one of those jokes-by-way-of-saying-the-opposite-of-what-you-mean.

He repeated, “Really. That wasn’t anything special.”


No one has to share my opinion of dessert (or any other topic, come to that). And anyone who disagrees with my opinion shouldn’t lie to me if asked. But I just feel like maybe, just maybe, sneering at me and dissing something that I had praised to high heaven isn’t the best way to make a good impression on me.

There’s always a tactful way to indicate that you don’t agree with someone. Sure, I’m not known for being the queen of tact (or even possessing one iota of tact, actually), but I know how to behave with strangers upon whom I might wish to make a good impression.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too judgey, but when I have a very limited amount of interaction with someone as the basis for forming my opinion, I’m going to be feeling less than warmly towards someone who sneers at me and my choice of dessert.

It might be silly, but there it is.

One of the most comprehensive Web pages I’ve read on etiquette in the BDSM scene is by Ambrosio, who I also have linked in my sidebar. His page on protocol/etiquette covers a wide variety of situations, ranging from basic good manners that everyone ought to know for all venues, both kink-related and vanilla, all the way to etiquette at play parties, high protocol, and even the protocol surrounding the hanky code. It’s an excellent resource, and I highly recommend it.