Noah has kind of a chip on his shoulder about munches. I understand why. They tend to only be welcoming towards someone if large numbers of people in the crowd want to fuck the new person. I think that Noah would walk into a munch now and be catnip. When he was in his early 20's... not so much. That's how it works for guys though. I showed up at 18. There is no meat tastier, than fresh meat.
When I talk about the culture of bdsm I was raised in, it was defined primarily by the munch group I hung out with. It took a long time before I really understood in the core of me that kink communities are completely different from location to location because the local members create something different in each place. I feel kind of like a moron for that. In my location it didn't matter what race, age, gender you were... the desires were all pretty similar. I didn't understand that we chased away the people who weren't exactly like us.
We had a high bar for entry. You had to be willing to devote a huge chunk of your life to doing bdsm in order to count as a "real" pervert. There was a lot a strange overlap with guns, cars, and computers. You had to be fairly passionately into one or more of those in order to fit in at our munch. Most of the crew is Libertarian, though basically sane people. I learned a lot sitting at their knees. This is decidedly where I formed most of my political opinions because they gave me ways to be uppity towards my family.
I don't even know how to write about them. Stephen King would want to whap me with a newspaper for that. You can't reach that point as a writer. Ok, what do I think of when I think of the munch? I think of a sea of happy faces. I remember being the pet/mascot. I was an indulged child for most of my early time there. Mostly the crowd is married. Mostly the crowd is mostly monogamous. There was a lot of puppy pile bdsm. I don't know how common that is in other areas.
The Saturday parties were interesting because we all spent so much time together that there was a lot of cross-play amongst friends. Things like bondage and skilled SM arts were treated like commodities to be shared because there weren't enough partners to go around. There was a lot of implicit, "Well you played with so and so and I want to be next." The play was kept non-sexual because then it wasn't about whoring yourself out. It was sharing skills. It's a hobby. It's really not much different than getting together a whole group of friends at a commercial kitchen to share ingredients as you make batches of cookies. Having that kind of intimacy that is not intimate is kind of weird for me. I do it very well. I sometimes wonder if that place at that time was just the only way I felt safe getting touched. For all that they were "perverts" they were remarkably safe people.
A lot of the thing was the whole crowd was focused on exhibitionism. Play parties would often involve a couple playing in the middle of the living room while everyone laughed and commented and decided the tone of the play. There were quite a few heavy masochists in the crowd so the play could be intense physically while still being entirely lighthearted. This was not an environment for serious edge play or psychological play. Except when it was. There were always the ability to steal away and do something more intense. We did, often. Knives were quite popular amongst the group. Not cutting, but scratching and threatening.
It's hard for me to convey how convivial the atmosphere was. The crowd was more men than women, but it wasn't that unequal feeling to me. The men were more intensely regular. The women came and went. So if you showed up at the munch on a random week it might be 90% men, or it could be 50/50 because all the girls came. That felt ok to me because the women were there most of the time. It was always safe. No one else was under 30. Many had kids. Some of them--I never ever met their kids. They kept their children 100% separated from most scene people. You had to earn access to their kids over many years of good behavior. I fucking respected them. Notice how I never earned access to their kids? I was not good at good behavior.
I was indulged universally in my inappropriate acting out. Some of the women tried to tactfully mentor me on how to get along better in life but I ignored it. The guys encouraged me heartily. It was all pretty harmless shit. I liked to sit on laps and snuggle. I did a lot more grinding than was strictly appropriate. No one minded one little bit. We would do mini-scenes in the coffee shop. We shouldn't have been doing it in public because there were random people there. It was fun. I don't feel very guilty. I do, however, feel like I don't know how to interact with those people very well without falling into those behavior patterns. If I want to stop acting like that... I can't talk to those people any more.
When I broke up with Tom all of a sudden I started getting a different kind of interest. Actual serious interest. I ran like a scared rabbit. All of a sudden these weren't the gentle friends I had been doing light social play with. They were potential sex partners and that scared the shit out of me. I didn't want to have to have sex with all of them. So I left the group. From the cheap seats I see that not one of those men would have pressured me for sex. They would have asked, once, and forever more tried to make due appreciating what I was willing to offer freely. By and large they are timid men.
When I think about my assholes with great affection it is funny how many of them I met at the Wednesday munch. This is where I learned geek culture. It isn't much like the geek culture Noah talks loudly about. They talk about computers, sure. But they spend equal amounts of time talking about guns, cars, and politics really. But the politics are interesting so I tend to leave it out of my bitching. I probably ranted more than a hundred times how tired I was of hearing about guns, cars, and computers. So in order to distract them from boring conversations I would remind them that they were at a bdsm munch now talk about something more interesting. I would end up being passed from lap to lap as they talked about what they would do to me. It was great fun. A very predictable game.
Except when it wasn't. I learned who was safe and who wasn't. I felt like Tom gave me a layer of protection. The whole group was tortured by not having sex. Only a few of them were more desperate acting in how they dealt with that. In all the years I hung out there we never had any whisper of actual abuse. In retrospect I believe that this group of people really did find a safe and supporting environment to be kind of weird. Sure we all egged each other on, but we didn't do extreme things mostly. There was a lot of encouragement to find where your actual limit was.
Bdsm was something to treat as an enthusiastic physical hobby. You practiced your skills by yourself to hone them early on. You were expected to take it seriously and do it well so that you could have something to be proud of. In tangent Tom and I were part of the national convention circuit. It feels kind of funny to say that, but it's true. We traveled to a lot of events and did spectacular public play. I was very young and he was in his 30's and doing well in business. We were a striking couple and we had a lot of fun together. Our play was show stopping. In public we did suspension whenever possible and took over as much space as we could. Tom was constantly on the search for hard points higher than our ceiling. Ostensibly the reason we did it in public so much more than in private was because it isn't as fun to only barely get off the ground. Fetishists are weird.
Don't get me wrong. I'm the one who negotiated access to mumblemumble so that we could do a suspension that got me 75' off the ground. We did do things in private if they had enough brag value. There are lots of pictures. What play we did in private was done mostly so that it could be photographed. So he could look at/think about it while masturbating. Did I mention we didn't have sex much? I really struggled with that. My sexuality was constantly being used in a way that didn't involve me. I was getting off--Tom masturbated me constantly. But I didn't get to have intimacy with my orgasms. I just got off a lot. I'm not sure if I miss it or not. I can't do it any more. Orgasm is hard now. I often can't.
A large portion of Tom's sexuality was exhibitionism. It was about being seen doing those things. The girlfriend before me made him go private and that was brutally hard for him. He needs to have a community of fellow "perverts" where he is totally accepted. That's ok. I have spent the last seven years trying to figure out how much of it was his exhibitionism and how much was mine. Because I have some, don't get me wrong. I like having sex and/or doing bdsm in front of people. I like knowing that I am what people think about when they masturbate. My munch friends told me that I was. It was almost like being a porn model only my adoring fans were my friends. It worked.
There was a pretty strong D/s contingent in our little community. Not absolutely everyone practiced D/s (Dominance/submission) but it was common enough that everyone knew everyone else's roles and treated people differently based on their chosen role. It was "respecting that persons self identity". Hilarious. But it was all in good fun. People drifted away when life or work got busy. It was remarkably Cheers like. I miss it, but going now isn't the same.
I have blissfully forgotten most of what I could once rattle off about guns, cars, and computers. Noah is a software guy, it's a different kind of conversation. I was used to hardware boys. Hardware boys that wanted me to dress them up in full latex then tie them up in mostly comfortable positions. Then they would struggle while I playfully sat on them. It wasn't all that sexy because I was not willing to make it all that sexy. I did touch them and cuddle them though. I talked to them. I verbally played out their fantasies. I felt like a force for good.
I keep having a Lady Gaga line go through my head, "In the most Biblical sense, I am beyond repentance/ Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind." I tattooed on my back that I want to forgive myself. I want forgiveness. I want forgiveness for everything I do. Everything I am. I feel intense conflict about writing the things I write because other people have different perceptions. Someone else can be part of a conversation with me and remember totally different things and come away with a different impression. I don't think either of us are "wrong" but we are shaped by our experiences. We hear the things that affirm our view of the world. There is a strong attitude that if someone is doing something only meaning the best then it's ok. They didn't mean for anything bad to happen so they aren't responsible.
No one at the munch did anything bad to me. They were good friends, actually. But it was a continuation of the idea that I had to be available sexually. It's not what they thought. It's what I thought. I was surprised how many of the munch crowd came to my birthday party. In a flash as the song switches to Hair, oh man. They would all love to still be my friend. All I have to do is figure out how to spend time with them. They like me. They really like me.
Why am I sitting at home crying to Lady Gaga instead of out seeing my friends? What am I so afraid of? I'm afraid my children will misbehave and people will think I am a bad parent. I'm afraid that people expect me to be sexy and I can't be right now. I'm afraid that if I go out I will feel uncomfortable and bad and I will sit in a corner and no one will talk to me because I have made myself invisible. I'm afraid that I don't know how to have friendships without sex. I'm afraid that I don't know how to listen. I am a bad listener. I can listen well when there is one other person in the room. I can't listen in a crowd. I am too distractible. I feel like being a bad listener in a crowd makes me a bad friend. I don't hang out with anyone enough to be able to do comfortable casual party conversation. I feel awkward.
I sit in my house and invite one person at a time. We have intense conversations. I get the impression that the intense conversations at my house are slightly traumatic to some of my friends. I feel like that when we invite the sensitive, quiet introverts over.
Maybe I should invite some of my guns, cars, and computer boys. I miss them. I'd kind of like to know more about them. I'd like to ask them what they experienced ten years ago. I'm willing to bet their memory is different from mine. I bet they didn't think of me as being available sexually. The thought actually makes me laugh. I was so nasty with them. I learned how to taunt. I felt vulnerable and I showed that vulnerability. Then I let them know that I am absolutely full grown and here are my steel toed high heels, mother fucker. I was absolutely one of the nastiest sadists in the group.
Years ago I asked one of them why he never asked me to play again. He laughed out loud and said, "You are kind of intimidating, you know." I think that is so funny. I'm intimidating because I go through life in terror that at any moment someone will hurt me or betray me. I don't think I should be intimidating. Let me rephrase.
I don't want to be intimidating. I want my boundaries to be clear. I like being easy to get or impossible to get. I don't want to feel like I am required to sleep with anyone who asks. I like feeling like it's ok for people to ask. I go to spaces where that sort of asking is ok. I don't go on the nights I don't want to be asked. I don't understand why I am so intimidating when I show up quaking like a scared rabbit. I like being able to say, "I am really enjoying our flirting, but I need to be clear that this isn't going anywhere." Sometimes when I say that people get angry with me. One person told me, "Now you ruined everything." He hasn't flirted with me in years. I guess he was more interested than me. I meant that night. I probably would have been open to being asked out on an actual date. But sometimes I'm not up for going home with someone after a group social event. I didn't get adequate personal attention during our brief heavy breathing sessions in a dark corner. It's a faux pas to be clear.
I'm afraid that I don't know how to talk to people. I'm too blunt. I can't observe social niceties. I'm afraid that the things I say are unacceptable. I write because these are the things I think about and I can't talk about them. I want to invite two or three people from the munch era over to my house and ask them to talk about their impression of that time. I want to know what other people saw of me and my life. I missed fewer than twenty Wednesdays in four years. I spent a lot of time around these people. More time than I have spent in any other social group in my life. I often know people for longer than that, but I rarely spend a lot of time with people. I have been alone in a room for most of my life.
Fisher Middle School was the only school I ever attended for two consecutive years as a child. We moved three times, but I stayed in the same school. Before I was 18 years old I never had a group of friends for more than two years. Ever. I was part of the theatre community in college for almost two years but I ditched them after I broke up with Stephen. Stephen was already working all over the local community college scene and I knew that staying in the theatre world would mean that I would keep doing the make up/break up thing with him. I left theatre because I couldn't deal with seeing Stephen and not sleeping with him.
After we broke up I pierced my nipples. He hadn't let me while we were together. He also hadn't let me shave my pubic hair. I did that too. I uhh went over to visit with him once. I don't remember why. I taunted him with the fact that I had done these things. He wad interested. I showed him my breasts. He decided it wasn't all bad. I didn't sleep with him but it was a close and creepy thing. Me breaking those taboos was a serious turn on for him. He's a minister's kid. He was repressive with me because he was encultrated that way. He probably could have been more corruptible than I thought he was. But I didn't want to be the corrupter. I wanted to be corrupted. So I ran off into the bdsm world. And found this weird hobbyist sexuality.
I don't think I really understand this sex business. I go back and forth in my brain between, "Dude my dad raped me" and "I kind of wish that one guy had asked me to sleep with him..." and "I'm as free as my hair." I think I look like shit as a blonde. I should get more blue dye. I really like the blue.
I'm weird. I have these things in me that make people uncomfortable. I blurt things out inappropriately. And gosh darn it. People like me. I think I kind of miss guns, cars, and computers.