I get asked by friends all the time, “Jenn, don’t you get tired of teaching the same basic stuff over and over?”
To that I say no. The reason I don’t get tired of what I do is for many reasons. I am giving info and providing opportunities that I wished I’d had when I was new, seeing people discover new things makes my heart super happy, and staying in touch with new folks week after week keeps me in touch with when I was new. I think it’s important to remember what that was like – otherwise it’s easy to become jaded, frustrated and even judgmental. What becomes second nature or common knowledge to us is often foreign to a new person. There is a learning curve here.
So having said all that I wanted to go back to my first ever public play party.
When I started in the scene I went to classes and munches and spent much of my time in the rope world and the spanko world. I got involved with a spanko group (which still exists) that, at that time, consisted of private parties in the group leader’s residence. Then one of the members of that group hosted a spanko party at a dungeon. I decided this would be a safe entry into the dungeon play party world because at least I would know a few people. This party happened to be held at a well-known dungeon in North Orange County here in SoCal.
I pulled into the parking lot in my family size SUV and I just sat there for a while. The address I punched into my Garmin took me to an industrial business type building so I had to double check my GPS like 25 times to make sure I wasn’t in the wrong place. Then I noticed people starting to arrive. I scoured their clothing and noticed that most of the women were wearing things like sundresses or flowy knee length skirts! I panicked. I looked down at my tight denim mini skirt and 6 inch stilettos and I immediately doubted my choice of outfit! Would I stand out like a sore thumb? Had I worn the wrong thing? Before I let myself give in to the panic and just drive home, I decided to text the one person who I knew was at the party and that I actually had a number for. (It happened to be the leader of the group at the time.) I told him I was parked outside and afraid I’d dressed inappropriately. I asked him to please come out to my car and tell me if I was right. (yes, he was nice enough to leave the party and come out to calm my fears) He laughed on his way to the car, shaking his head, and once he saw my outfit he assured me I would be completely ok. He walked me in and we went inside to where the party was happening.
The first thing I did was make a friend – a cute girl in pigtails and a cheerleading outfit – because at least she was another person not in a casual sundress! She and I sat and hung out and I realized that there was a reason for all those sundresses and flowy skirts. This was a spanko party and they were easy to flip up!! Lol Oh was I relieved! It wasn’t about a dress code or what outfit was appropriate, it was just easier access for what they were there to do!
After that realization I relaxed, met more people, including some from a class I’d been in a couple weeks before, and had a good time. There is more to the story but I covered the point of this article. Your first public play party can be scary and overwhelming. It’s ok to admit that and to reach out to a friendly face. It’s also good for veterans of the scene to remember this if you are the one they reach out to!
Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.