There’s a chance I will get shot down in flames for this post and I’m sat here weighing up the pros and cons of having my rant and I’ve decided I’m willing to lose the readers that disagree.
Without further ado here are the points I’d like to discuss:
- Being pretentious doesn’t improve your skill level
- Being like Gollum with your knowledge? That sucks!
- Assuming makes an ass out of you and, well, you!
I’m going to use rope as my example to lay out the reason behind my thinking. Make no mistake though I love rope bondage and I have had some amazing experiences within the rope community and know some truly awesome people who would cite rope as their main kink and passion in life.
With that said, I am myself a fairly accomplished rope bottom. Which doesn’t mean I’m just good at looking nice in ropes. It involved me learning a lot about the variety of ropes available, what to look out for in a competent and safe rigger, how to best approach suspensions, what my body can and can’t do and I took rope bottoming seriously. It opened up a whole new world to me and am always excited when people explore rope bottoming for themselves and I love to see what other rope bottoms are sharing across the internet.
I’m also not too shabby as a rope top either. While I choose during kinky sessions to follow a more freestyle and less technical approach to tying that doesn’t mean the technical knowledge isn’t there. I know all about the names for different knots and frictions, hell I even know the difference between a knot and a friction. I’m aware of the types of rope available and what uses they are best suited to. I know how to safely suspend people, though it is my preference not to and there’s a whole host of other rope information tucked away in my brain.
Do you know how often I talk about the stuff I can do with or in rope? Hardly ever, want to know why? Because after nearly 4 years of being involved in rope play I am never as good or as knowledgeable as the person who is desperate to prove they are a rope aficionado.
Being Pretentious Doesn’t Improve Your Skill Level
Whether you’re learning Shibari or learning to bake being pretentious about what you know, how far you’ve come or just about the fact you do said activity, in general, doesn’t improve your skill level.
I’ve seen many people on a variety of online platforms say that one of the reasons they haven’t been to a munch, kink workshop, fetish, rope jam etc is because of the elements of pretentiousness and elitism that ‘some’ kinksters give off. This makes me incredibly sad. These people are potentially missing out on amazing experiences and I want to tell them they’re wrong, that all kinky people are lovely, down to earth, humble in their achievements and open to all types of kinks and kinksters, but sadly I’ve met the kind of people that put them off and they put me off too.
Using rope as an example again; I have in my possession some beautiful, high quality, pink, nylon rope. I love it and the joy of tying with it is high and it was worth every one of the many pennies I paid for it. However, if I get it out near anyone who has any level of involvement in the rope community I will need to be prepared for them to lay down some wisdom and judgement on my poor uneducated brain. The conversation will always go a little like this …
Knower of Everything (KE): You can’t suspend with that.
Me: Actually, I can. It is suspension quality Nylon and I am aware of how you would suspend with it, which is different to Shibari suspensions but thank you for your input.
KE: You should get some jute.
Me: I have jute. I use it often but it is a pain to wash and I like getting rope dirty if you know what I mean (I mean covered in jizz). It isn’t great in water and I like getting rope wet. It also lacks the vibrancy of colour and shine of nylon that I love. But thank you for your input.
KE: I use jute, it’s the best.
Me: Yep, as I said, I use jute too and it is indeed the most suitable rope for many occasions, but shock horror, not all of them. But once again thank you for your input.
KE: Oh why do you have nylon then?
Me: Er .. maybe because of the reasons I just said? Also, I like it, it’s sexy and the pink makes Bakji looks extra pretty. Fuck you, sorry, thank you once again for your input.
Okay, I’ll confess I’m too polite to respond quite so aggressively, but the line of questioning from the Knower of Everything is really accurate. Some people who are into kink, whether that’s bondage, impact play, medical play or any other number of kinks are just in it for shits and giggles. It’s fun for them, it makes their life better, it brings happiness into their world. Taking that joy and smothering it in your own self-importance and need to be mind-numbingly serious is just really fucking irritating.
This is actually worse when I see it happening to other people. Fledgeling kinksters who are excited to have finally been brave enough to get to a munch, or have finally saved enough money to buy some new rope, or have moved through a few kinks and are ready to try something new, only to ask their question, or show off their new equipment to have someone else shit all over their enthusiasm.
This is one of the key reasons I do the podcast and write this blog. Myself and Bakji are about as regular as two kinksters can get, I won’t lie I’d love to be writing this from a throne gifted to me by my kinky minions, in my customer made Latex gown, my head adorned in a dazzling tiara but I’m actually sat in my PJ’s, under a blanket I bought myself and my hands are cold because I’m too lazy to get up and put the heating one.
Knowing about rope, Latex, FemDom or Non-Monogamy doesn’t impress anyone in my day to day life, so why should I expect it to impress anyone in my kinky life. I have to offer more than that and I suspect the more is why my friends like me.
Being Like Gollum With Your Knowledge? That sucks!
Often when it comes to kink and especially when it comes to kinky products I will see something that I just have to have! Especially if it is a hitty thing. I will be honest and say that 90% of the time a query of ‘ooh where did you get that?’ is met with a very helpful answer, sometimes if I’m lucky it will result in a demonstration of said item, this is particularly wonderful when it involves my bottom getting beats!
There is, however, a subsection of kinksters who hoard their information like Gollum with that frickin’ ring. To point where utterances of ‘my precious, my precious’ would not seem out of place.
This community is terrifyingly small, we are being silenced on the regular (Shadowbanning, Tumblr, Facebook, need I say more?) finding information through blogs, podcasts, books and most importantly other members of the community is crucial. Not only for others to learn but for them to learn safely with all the information they need to make informed decisions.
Being the only person with a really amazing book on kink, or the only person with your particular cane, rope or Latex doesn’t make you a better kinkster. It just makes you mean-spirited for not wanting to share your information and probably says a lot of your sense of self.
I don’t have all the answers about the things I am interested in and I am learning all the time. What knowledge and thoughts I have though are yours if you want them. You don’t have to follow my lead and do things like me but why wouldn’t I show you or share with you how I do things, it works for me and it might work for you. Which means I might have helped someone explore new kinks, enjoy their kinks more or gain a perspective that improves their life somehow. How is that not an infinitely better experience than feeling superior because I’ve got or know something you don’t?
The irony of this part of my grumble is that the people with who floor me with their talent and breadth of knowledge give it away so freely and with such humility that it’s an honour to have spoken with or met some of them. The Gollum’s of the kink world actually have very little to share, but use that secrecy like a comfort blanket and it only inflates their idea of how good they are rather than actually being of real use.
Assuming makes an ass out of you and, well, you!
As I said earlier, I’m approaching 4 years as a community kinkster which began at a local rope meeting. I’m approaching 5 years since my research into kink began. This isn’t as long as some but is longer than others. One of the things I have learnt is not to makes assumptions, not about others and not even about myself. One of the things other people seem to love to do? Making assumptions.
The main assumption that infuriates me is people deciding that what they know is most important, definitely right and probably unknown by everyone else.
The reason this annoys me so much is that it seems to work on the basis that the person being spoken to is too moronic to have done any research, gained any knowledge or formulated any thoughts of their own. It’s not cool when someone asks a specific question to assume that you can ignore their question and enlighten them about everything you see as relevant.
If someone asks you for tips on using a cane, because they’ve seen you play really well with one, stating that they love impact play as a Top, have real success with bare handed spanking, love their paddles, can even florentine with a flogger (which FYI always impresses the hell out of me) but just can’t seem to wield a cane in the way they’d like, don’t reply with a recommendation for paddles, an infographic on safe spanking zones and a video tutorial on florentining. Tell them about caning! Show them! Ask them to demonstrate how they use a cane. Don’t be Gollum about your cane usage and don’t assume they know nothing because they’ve admitted to not knowing about one thing.
I know it seems like this point contradicts the last. They are extreme ends of the same spectrum though. One person won’t share anything, the other will share everything but without regard for relevance. Neither behaviour actually gets the person needing information any further.
To the person already typing me an email saying that you have met Master RopeyMcRopeFace from RopeLand and he was the best rigger in the entire universe AND he was also humble and taught you everything you know and it only cost you the price of answering one riddle, let me be clear, I don’t think everyone in the kink community is a pretentious wanker, and I’ve met people like Master RopeyMcRopeFace and also Master SpankyMcCaneFace, and have found them to be thoroughly delightful human beings. In this scenario the person who is going to grate on me is the person who can’t wait to email me telling me I’m wrong, they’ve worked with well-known riggers, bought the best jute money can buy and have tied up a squillion rope bottoms and made their own rope treatment oil from exquisitely rare dragon eggs. All whilst wielding the best cane in the land that I can’t have because it came from another realm and I can’t go there because the boat that goes their only leaves every from a secret place every other century and it’s been and sailed for this century, sad times right?!
Do I Have a Point or Am I Just Venting?
Both! My overall point is that is it really awesome to love your kinks, be passionate about them and be amazing at them. Please be that person, please learn, thrive and showcase your talents. Remember that you weren’t always where you are though, no one leaves the womb knowing everything about everything, we all have to start somewhere when beginning this journey and it’s really disheartening when we feel like that is looked down upon or we are only valid if we do things a certain way.
I’ve got friends who are awesome at a variety of things, but I don’t love them for the skills they have, I love them for their kind hearts, their beautiful minds, their accepting natures and the sum of all the things they are, not just because of one thing they have developed a certain amount of knowledge and/or skill for.
“Twas well observed by my Lord Bacon, That a little knowledge is apt to puff up, and make men giddy, but a greater share of it will set them right, and bring them to low and humble thoughts of themselves.”A B, The Mystery of Phanatascism, 1698
Fledgeling kinksters are not merely hoi-polloi amongst the learned scholars of enlightened kinksters, they are future friends, future playmates, future partners and perhaps potential future educators and ambassadors for a community that will always need these people. I think more of us would do well to remember this and walk through our community with a little less pretention and a little more humility.