There are so many scenarios I can relate this to – and I’m sure most of you have either had someone attempt to take a short cut with you, or you’re possibly looking for the quickest way to get from where you are to where you want to be.
So, you want to go from being single guy to owned slave, skint lady to wealthy findom or person not getting play to person getting play.
Or perhaps you’re looking for someone who is doing this to help guide you, “show you the way”, pass on their contacts, give you a chance, or whatever.
So. To get this out of the way straight away, there are no shortcuts.
Or, rather, any there may be – I’d be wary about taking.
It’s going to take time and effort.
I try to avoid heading into “True Way” territory, there’s no one right way, but many wrong ways.
I kept coming up with relatbale analogies – it’s difficult to pick a favourite.
Say, you want to be a vet. I mean, you watched Animal Hospital, saw the happiness it brings when people see their sick pet well again and want to spread that happiness.
So you walk into your local vets.
“I want to be a vet”
“Great,” they tell you, “What qualifications do you have?”
“That’s no good, you need something that shows us you know what you’re doing”
“I was hoping you would train me”
“Well, we could take on an apprentice I guess – are you working towards an appropriate qualification?”
“No, no – was just hoping to learn it all on the job”
“Really? There’s a lot to learn…”
“I’m a quick learner”
“Any evidence of that…?”
“Well, umm, no”
“…and even if there was, we’re going to have to take up our time, to train you, taking someone away from doing their job – and who is to say that 3 months in you’ll decide this isn’t for you and saunter off to the next thing – completely wasting our time and resources training you?”
“Look, I just want a chance…” so forth.
One big difference between being a vet and participating in BDSM is, well, there are so many layers of control – that – to get accepted you’d need evidence of qualifications and then to pass an interview and there are so many controls.
In BDSM – there is no Dom(me) school or sub school or foot fetish school.
No qualifications in electro play or whatever.
But, the same logic applies.
Writing on an internet forum or turning up at a club doesn’t really rank you above the would be vet who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
If, for example, you start waving a cane around and don’t know what you’re doing, you can do serious damage.
Equally, if someone is recklessly waving a cane around, it is worth you knowing if you can identify if they know what they’re doing, to stop yourself or someone else receiving serious damage.
Learning good practices boosts your chances to getting what you want, being able to identify bad practices increases your ability to help keep yourself and others safe.
We also had our story last week (link if you missed it or want a recap) where someone found that ownership was not what they expected. I watched Preaching to the Perverted and there was a massive penny drop that based on how easy Peter found to get involved and the type of party and glamour atmosphere – that that is what it is like. It isn’t.
(It’s not all constant cleaning, mind, either – but, mucking in helps.)
For the sake of cinematic chase, it needed him to get from where he wasn’t to where he needed to be for the plot. Life doesn’t have the jump plots of a movie.
Now, the problem is – because of the lack of BDSM school (although plenty of educational material does exist. You’re reading one.) that there are people out and about who do not know what they are doing. Some might think they know what they’re doing, they might have been doing it for years, but it doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous, reckless or outside of consent.
Sometimes I’ll see part of a clip and a Mistress whacking someone in the kidneys and I’m like “nope” or hear tell of some Master not respecting limits or some sub who doesn’t understand what they’re getting into or… well… so so much more.
So, in taking shortcuts you are putting others in danger and also potentially yourself.
You also can be missing out on vital information or experience that could prove valuable in future interactions.
There’s also assorted bits of social ettiquette you could fall foul of, if you’re thrown out of a club for groping someone, “I thought it was OK” isn’t grounds for defence. At best, you’ve bypassed club rules.
And, also, a risk of missing out on great experiences.
THE EXPERIENCE PARADOX
Not everything is as clearcut as our vet above. We’ve all seen the tropes of job applications, “Sorry, you haven’t got experience”, “OK, how do I get experience?”, “By working here”
I appreciate the frustration many people in these situations have.
I have, however, seen it expressed in BDSM and I disagree that this is as much of the problem.
Being told you need experience to work in a coffee shop, shrugging it off and then just drinking in the coffee shop every day to show you’re interested is probably not going to get you a job (and, drain the finances, given you applied for a job there due to being unemployed) but, in BDSM I find that those going to munches and events regularly and making friends and being seen have a much better chance of people saying “I trust you enough to do this with you”. (Whether ‘this’ is you on either side of the slash, or being mentored, or invited somewhere, etc).
Also, depending on your specific interests – knowing a little bit about yourself you can contact a Professional and say, a little, “I am new, inexperienced, but interested. These are the activities I would like to try, would you be willing to do these with me?” and, actually, I think proving you’re overall honest – there are many that would help you out.
I appreciate there are more professional Dominants than submissives (although, there are some pro-Dommes I’ve seen offer sessions which will also include a submissive you can, well, play with under the Dominants supervision and guidance)
There’s also a rise of club events with house subs, as well as house Dominants- and although there should be no expectations in just turning up and getting straight into play – just chatting improves your experience and it may be after you’ve spoken a couple of times (no specific time length or metrics) that they are up for helping you within reason.
There are also so many writings, youtube blogs and tutorials – and aside from making friends at munches and events, talking to people enriches your knowledge.
PEOPLE CAN SEE YOU TRYING TO SHORTCUT
This is another important factor, especially if you’re wondering why a scene/person/event considered “helpful” isn’t helping you.
There was an interesting note I’ve long since lost on Fetlife someone had written about them being poly and approached by poly guys looking for information.
“I’ve always been interested in this lifestyle,” they’d say. A stock response to that is “always been interested, but not interested enough to do your own research?”
Really, what was likely to be sought was an invite into the poly relationship – and you see this elsewhere.
Stealth classifieds are murder for it, you know stuff like “I am interested in this activity, would love to find someone to explore it with” – too lazy to even write a full classified and instead trying to hide it under something else.
YOU CAN’T HAND YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN A BITESIZE PILL
Everything in my head I’ve learned over a long period of time. Research, doing, experimenting, trial and error, talking to people.
I can’t compress this information into a pill and give it to you.
And, even if I could… why.. why would I invest all this just to hand it to the first person who comes along?
And others are the same.
If you have specific questions that can’t be easily googled (“What is your favourite thing about…?”, “What is your experience in…?”, “What, in your opinion is…?”) then I am likely to be happy to help. As would most others within reason.
(Unless your specific question is “can I come with you when you meet with amazing Mistresses?” although, there is an easy answer to that… “Do I know you? No? Then no…”)
But, for example, on a forum the other day – a complete newbie who had interest in certain play and wanted as much info as possible.
He had done none of his own research. Someone answered from their own perspective – but – I then pointed out that could be wildly different to the type of interest the poster may have in that type of play.
I also noted while the response had been in good detail in some places, it missed key info in others. That the OP would have been better doing a simple bloody Google first to explore his interest and then ask specific questions from there.
There’s being helpful and there’s handing stuff on a plate!
A SCENE BUILT ON TRUST
Now, this is a little bit of hallowed utopia – but – for BDSM to be effective there has to be a lot of trust.
So, yes, as above – there are people active who can not be trusted and it is very important you do not become one of them. It is also important that you can identify flags and behaviours to stay away from.
It can be very difficult and daunting for newcomers in particular (and newcomers can mean a lot of things.) but lying to get ahead, or jumping ahead, as well as being dangerous it moves the air of trust.
I’ve come across websites or profiles who claim a set number of years of experience and I either (a) know for a fact this not to be true – or (b) can see little evidence to back it up.
If you are lying about something so trivial, what else are you lying about? So, the trust isn’t there.
And again, saying you can do something you can’t puts yourself or others at risk.
DON’T HELP THOSE WHO WON’T HELP THEMSELVES
As a harsh angle. There are many people who are quite frustrated things don’t play out for them, but, there’s only so much you can feasibly offer.
It’s true some people need guidance, but as I’ve harshly said and will harshly say again, sometimes that guidance should be away from the scene until they can return with a better approach or attitude.
It’s sad to think there are some that shouldn’t be helped, but, for example – their lack of readiness means they need extra time and attention and are more likely to be needy above what is reasonable. They take time away from others whom also need your help and, are more likely to make you responsible for every part of their development. The problem then is of course this increases pressure on you for fear if you forget to tell them something it’ll not be something they pick up of their own accord.
I also feel it sets a bad example – either looking like your preying on newcomers – or – appearing to reward or enable bad or entitled behaviour.
Plus, of course, it puts someone potentially a danger, or vunerable, into an arena they shouldn’t be in.
You’re not helping guide someone with potential, but instead feeding the narcissism of an attention seeker.
IT’S A JOURNEY
And you know.
Part of the experience in this lifestyle is the journey.
It’s taken me places I never expected it to.
There really isn’t a rush even if I’m sure all of us wish we’d started sooner. Some of my older readers might not necessarily agree. We may feel limited in how long we can partake before our health says otherwise. However, a harsh reality is that doing things dangerously is going to speed up the time before your health packs up anyway. Or make mistakes there’s less time to recover from.
BDSM is a purely beautiful thing to savour. To explore. I appreciate it is always easier/better to have someone to explore with. But, the steps you take on your own will always increase the chances of someone taking steps with you.