Thursday, June 24, 2010
I realize I've talked about this in the past--likely some time ago--but during my plane ride home from FMS I jotted down a few notes and thought I'd share. As I was typing up thoughts before I forgot them on my iPhone, one of the things I wrote was "Involuntary Friendships." First, I thought it was a cool blog entry headline, but it also said exactly what I was thinking. Here's what I mean:
The scene (and take your pick: BDSM, spanko, whatever) has yielded (expectedly) unexpected surprises, the biggest of which is the friendships both my wife and I have made. You go into these parties, this lifestyle, with certain expectations--most of them about visceral experiences, emotionally charged experiences, but--at least in my case--not in terms of expecting friendships. An unintended consequence. A wonderful and unexpected surprise.
Most interestingly to me, these are all involuntary friendships. What do I mean by that? Well, friendships are all involuntary, you say. Sure, we go out of our way to make certain friends--those are voluntary. But most of the time, friendships just happen. But in the lifestyle, these friendships seem even more random to me.
In the vanilla world, friends come from other friends or from social circumstances and situations, typically centered around geography or socio-economic conditions or broad interests (golf, tennis, book-of-the-month club). Yes, in our weird little kinky world, we share the bond of sadism/masochism (or whatever you prefer to call it--you know who you are and yes, by the way, you are in denial!). But other than that, we are a random grab bag of folks that don't fit typical patterns of friendship. No geographical boundaries. No social circumstances. No socio-economic similarities. We are bound by our kink. Which, in and of itself, is cool. This where the "involuntary" part comes in.
I've met people in the scene that I now consider close, personal, best friends. People I would do anything for and people I know who have my back. People I trust implicitly and know everything about me. People who I've disclosed practically everything to. If you'd asked me when I started playing publicly that this would be an unintended consequence I would've laughed, or at least vehemently suggested the impossibility of that happening. I am guarded. I have a firewall of protection between my vanilla life and my kink life. Why, for the love of Pete, would I let someone into my mind, emotional boundaries or even (to be completely schmaltzy but utterly honest) my heart? Why let anyone past that firewall?
Because we get close, because this crazy shit we do. For all the fun, visceral feeling of it all, as I've said before, we are often more open, honest and direct than many longterm and successful marriages. Often after one or two private "play" sessions. When I play sometimes it's fun, but for those who've played with me more seriously, they know I want to get inside my play partner, understand what makes her tick and help her release, experience what she needs to have catharsis. (By the way, I tried explaining this to a vanilla friend recently and she accused me of sounding like Carl Sagan. They don't get it, do they? Or, perhaps, she's right and I'll all uppity in my own snotty headspace.)
To be honest, some of these friends are people I probably would never talk to in a vanilla situation, most likely because we wouldn't find ourselves in the same place at the same time in the vanilla world, partly because of other factors.
Thus, involuntary friendships.
Yet, I wouldn't trade them for anything. The unexpected consequence. I treasure and value these random connections now more than anything else I've experienced in the scene. And for that, I'm glad.