Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Social Interaction

The day after the Halloween party at the Asylum Dungeon, people (a few friends and family members) asked me if I’d had a good time there. And every time somebody asked, I told half a lie. I said, “Yes.”

The truthful answer would have been, “Yes, . . . and no.” On the one hand, I did have a good time. On the other hand, not so much.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I didn’t play. It would be more accurate to say that I didn’t get to play. Wanted to, didn’t get the opportunity. Or if the opportunity was there, I didn’t seize it. Because I didn’t recognize it. (I may have had a good excuse – it was a Halloween party. Opportunity could have been wearing a costume that made it look like Sit Down and Shut Up to me.)

I’m sort of new at this. And while I know what I want to do, I don’t know what I’m doing. And worst of all, I don’t know the people involved.

I don’t do well with new people. This didn’t used to be the case. Before I fell ill (and even early on into the whole chronic illness thing) I had no problem meeting people. I could blurt out my name, stick out my for-shaking hand, and then strike up a conversation with the best of them. But then being sick started to isolate me from people, and I pretty much regressed socially to the point of becoming a recluse and a shut-in. Which caused all of my social skills to atrophy. (Plus, given that I was a still a teenager when I first got sick, even my atrophied social skills were/are really only those of a seventeen year old.)

Now I’m trying to work my way into the BDSM community, and I’m having a hard time talking to people. Most of them seem friendly. But I’ve gotten hesitant about getting to know people. Even more so about letting people get to know me. I’ve become awkward at face-to-face conversations with strangers. (Which is a development that just annoys the Hell out of me.)

My travel arrangements to the Asylum and back consisted of a carpool. The driver, myself, and another passenger on the way over (the other passenger just getting a ride to Eugene, not to the party), and then me and the driver on the way back.

(I doubt that the whole ‘Fight Club’ rule I was quoting in my previous post applies to the ride to and from the event, but I’m still not going to name the individual driving the car. It would probably be safe for me to do so – all I’d be able to call him is his scene name, and he appears to be fairly well known in the local (Salem/Portland) BDSM/kink communities anyway. But I’ve still got questions about anonymity and the various codes of behavior surrounding talking about other people inside ‘the lifestyle’.)

I didn’t know the driver. I knew of him, but didn’t really know him. I can remember seeing him in the Dungeon at KinkFest. And I spoke to him very briefly at the one Salem Munch that I attended. But we’d never had a conversation or anything prior to the long ride from where he picked me up to where the party was.

I didn’t have any problems interacting with the driver. And he seemed to like me all right. (He didn’t make me get out and walk, or anything.) It’s possible that we simply hit it off well. But what I’m thinking is that I might do okay with a small number of new people (one or two) if I’m trapped somewhere with them (like in a car ride). Or is that if they’re trapped somewhere with me? I don’t know. It makes me think that I need to be a passenger in more small carpools with other members of the local kink community, just for the opportunities to meet people.

I need to meet people because I need information. I need to know how this all works. What the rules are. If there aren’t rules, then what the guidelines are. I’ve read some of the books, and while they do help, getting general information off of the page is different than getting questions answered by people who know what they’re doing.

Information isn’t my only concern. I need to meet people to play with. BDSM play. Sex play. Sexual BDSM play.

Which brings us back to needing to meet people for information. I’ve been reading some of the profiles on FetLife, and a lot of these people are married to, submissive to, owned by, or collared by someone. And looking for a play partner.

I messaged one of these people asking how that worked. And was told that, with her specific situation, she’s a slave that’s owned and collared by a dominant, but that he doesn’t care if she plays with others. She also tells me that a lot of the people in the community are like that.

[I’d really kind of like to play with her myself. But her answers to the few questions that I’ve asked have been short and seemed like she was definitely finished rather than encouraging conversation. I met her at the Halloween party, and I got the impression that she doesn’t like me. Of course, the whole point of this post is that my social interaction meter is all fucked up, so I may be way off base. Who knows? But with that impression in place, I’m somewhat hesitant to inquire further.]

Okay. So I would imagine that if a lot of people in the community are like that, then I might be able to meet someone through FetLife, get to know them a little through online conversation during my infrequent trips to the internet, and possibly get on a path toward eventually meeting them in person and possibly playing. But what about the people I find at events?

When I see two people together at something like the Halloween party, my natural assumption is that they are there to play with each other. So my thought is that even if these are two regular partners who often play with other people, since they’re together at the event, me asking to play with one of them would be rude.

Even with that realization/rationalization in place, I still almost asked a woman (who was obviously there with a guy) to play. She fulfilled a specific wardrobe type that I’d been looking for all evening, and didn’t see until I found her, over half-way through the party. She was barefoot.

Her, the person I assumed to be her partner, myself, and a bunch of others were sitting on benches in the front sections, away from the play areas. Many people were talking. I was just listening. Listening, and formulating potential questions that I might ask this barefoot woman. I wanted to play with her feet. If she was willing to indulge me in this, I’d tailor my play to her interests. I mainly wanted to suck on her toes, but I could massage. I could use my paddle on her soles, bastinado style. If she was into bondage, I’d’ve bought some damn rope right then and there and displayed my incompetence with knots for all to see around her ankles and inbetween her toes. (And if she was willing to play, and wanted more than just her feet dealt with, well, I’m sure I’d’ve been up for all kinds of stuff.) Plans were being formulated within my brain.

I decided that as soon as there was a gap in the conversation that her partner and her were involved in, I was going to seize the opportunity to proposition her. And as that conversation came to an end an another one took over at the other end of the layout of benches, I leaned forward to ask my question. And as I was leaning forward, she turned toward her partner and told him that she wanted to play . . . and off they went, toward the main dungeon room. I continued sitting there, defeated by—what? Poor timing? The fact that she already had plans to get spanked (or whatever) by her man? I don’t know. I just know that it felt like a defeat.

I did speak to people at points throughout the night. My strength in situations such as these is to find an already in-progress conversation between a small number of people (three to five), and eavesdrop on it. Then start slowly dropping in witty comments from the sidelines. If I don’t get chased away under the “this is a private conversation, jackass” statute, then I slowly edge in closer, and test out actual contributions to the conversation.

And there were a couple of times where people came over to where I was and struck up conversations with me. Conversations that usually started with the classic introduction (“Hello, I’m so-and-so”) and then asked the question: “Is this your first time here?” I don’t know if these were die-hard regulars who came to every Asylum party and registered me as a first timer by virtue of not having recognized me, or if something about me just screamed ‘newbie’. But they were always friendly. They all suggested resources I should avail myself of, or events I should check out. And then they wandered off to find something else to do. I wanted to trap some of these people in a long car ride and pump them for more information than a just a TV commercial’s length of BDSM advertising.

I did enjoy the Halloween party. Like I said last time, there were costumes to look at, kinky conversations to listen in on, and BDSM play to watch. But honestly, by the time I was dropped off at my sister’s apartment, I found myself sitting there thinking things like, “Maybe I should have just stayed home.” Depressing and defeatist thoughts like, “Am I ever going to find someone to have some fun at one of these things with?”

I shouldn’t have just stayed home. I know that. For one thing, the more time spent at events like this, the more people will get to know me, and then more chance I’ll have of finding someone to have some fun with. Because the more I think about the whole BDSM thing, the more I realize I really want to be a part of it.

I want to find a woman who gets off on getting tied up. And/or (preferably and) getting spanked. Maybe flogged. I want to find this woman, and I want to help her fulfill these desires. These needs she has.

I’m going back to the Asylum. (This is me being bold and optimistic. Plus, I paid for a years membership, so it would be kind of silly not to.) I don’t know when. I don’t know how I’m getting there. I’ll have to find another carpool. But the next time I go, I want to play. I don’t want to try finding someone up there to play with. I want to have some play already arranged. I want to befriend someone on FetLife who’s also a member of the Asylum Dungeon, and make arrangements to do something BDSM-y once we’re both there. Something with handcuffs or duct tape. Something with a paddle. Something.

I need to make a new friend. A friend with B(DSM)enefits. Maybe someone who reads my blog.

Any takers?

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