Author's Note: Tonight's entry is a rant. This is MY blog and I can say anything I want. If you don't like someone calling a spade a spade, then find something else to read. Maybe something with unicorns.
OK, so I've been on Fetlife for five and a half years and in that time, I've made a few observations. There's a big spanking party in two weeks in Atlantic City (which your humble corespondent will be attending) and, as you might expect, the bratting is reaching a fever pitch. There's nothing wrong with bratting. However, bottoms like me who don't engage in it, often feel left completely out of the mix. Our comments are often completely ignored in favor of giving constant attention to the bottoms who do engage in this little pre-party ritual. I'm not whining here. I'm simply stating something that I have noticed in my years on Fetlife. I've noticed that even tops who claim they don't like bratting will get involved with threads or photos where bratting is going on. It makes it difficult to get noticed to say the least. If I can't get a top's attention on a social networking site, how am I going to get his attention in the flesh? It seems to me that bratting is sometimes used as a means of excluding certain people. Bratting gives me a headache, to be honest and I don't happen to find it cute or endearing. So when it starts to happen (whether in person or on a thread), that's my cue to get lost. In a party setting especially, when the brats converge on a room, Cheryl makes herself scares. It's a shame that tops miss out on a mature, enthusiastic and fun-loving bottom because they're kept so busy "dealing with" brats, but that's the reality.
Again, I'm not whining or complaining here. I'm just telling it like it is. When I first started in the scene (lo these many years ago), I tried to be all things to all people. I was quiet and sweet with tops who liked that type of bottom. I was a bit more mouthy to tops who liked a challenge. And on it went until I came to the conclusion that acting wasn't my strong suit. From then on, what you saw was what you got. I can't be something I'm not just to get someone to notice me. It takes too much energy and requires too many brain cells. Last year, I listed myself as "Going" on the BBW event page about two months in advance of the party. I did lengthy messaging with several people. This was my first time out of my Chicago comfort zone and so I thought it was important to let people know I was coming. In spite of that, you wouldn't believe how many people were surprised to see me. "I didn't know you were coming!" was something I heard at least a half a dozen times that weekend. I wanted to say "Of course you didn't. You were too busy chasing after the "Flavor of the Month". I'm not dissing anyone here. I'm just trying to relay and deal with the reality of my situation. For 53, I think I look pretty good. But in no way can I pass for 25. I can't even pass for 35. So what's a girl like me to do? In all these years, I have yet to figure that one out.
I love parties. I love the atmosphere, the commeradery, the action, everything. I even love that time when the party is winding down and everyone is getting last minute play in between packing their bags. And in all the time I've been attending parties, one thing has never changed. I have come away from every party disappointed that there was someone I wanted to play with, but didn't get to. Mostly, it happens because someone that I want to play with doesn't want to play with me. For whatever reason, I seem to be on several tops' "Do Not Play With" list. Yes, I know that I have a big mouth and I say what's on my mind. This is the by-product of living 53 years and spending approximately 50 of them going along with what other people want to the detriment of my own happiness. Yes, I know that not everyone is interested in playing with an older woman with arthritis, who can't assume some of the more imaginative positions favored by some tops. Yes, I'm an amazon and well aware that my size is somewhat daunting. Yes, I know that not being submissive hurts my chances with some of the tops I'd love to play with. I also know that there are d-types out there who are seriously into being obeyed and if that's your thing, that's fine. But not everyone will be willing to play along. Yes, I know that not being into schoolgirl/bad niece/distracted driving/overspending girlfriend roleplay also hurts my chances with some tops. To a lot of tops, these are small things that can be got around. But for many, some things are essential for their enjoyment of a scene and I don't fault them for that. I just think it limits them tremendously. Of course, I've had guys tell me the same thing because I'm not into bondage or floggers. So I guess that particular door swings both ways. But we all have our "things"...things that are so important for a scene that we can't imagine doing one without these elements in place.
So what is a girl to do in this situation? Social networking is great for those people who stand out enough to get noticed. Now don't misunderstand. I know that I'm fairly well known. I've had people refer to me as the "famous CherylKay". Puh-lease. I'm not famous in any generally accepted use of the word. I'm talking about to make my face stand out in the crowd of women who will be competing for attention at this year's BBW. I suppose I could just let all the tops know with a bright, cheerful message to their in boxes, but that might smack of desperation. At least this year I won't have broken ribs hampering my play.
In some regards at least, social networking sites can be downright anti-social. If you're not one of the "cool kids" you can almost expect to be eating lunch alone. Or at least banished with the rest of the un-cool ones to a far corner of the cafeteria. One of my Fetlife friends calls this the "Mean Girls Club" that seems to exist in some groups. It's comprised mostly of young, attractive girls who then lord the power of life and death over the rest of us. OK, that was a tad melodramatic. But at least they wield the power to make our time at the party not exactly the best time we ever had. I know people post myriad stuff over on Fetlife saying that no one but you should be responsible for your good time. All well and good if one is with the "in crowd". But what if you're not? How do you assure yourself of a good time when most of your time and energy is spent trying to stand out from the crowd? Many people on Fetlife chant the "we're all awesome" mantra and if that's what they need to cope, then call it what it is--a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, every ones' reality is different. Maybe it's because I'm a Capricorn and I tend to look at things with a practical eye, but there are just some negatives that can't be spun into a positive. No matter how many times I pep talk myself, I just can't convince myself that I'm just as attractive and desirable as a 22-year-old college girl. Since I can't compete in the looks/hot body department, I have to depend on my personality. And as stated above, I know my many shortcomings in that area. I happened to mention that I don't understand why the Vendor's Fair at BBW has to be a contest (the Uniformed Top event is already a contest) and I was roundly taken to task by more than one person for daring to go against the current. Aside from the competitive aspect of the fair, I'm concerned because there will be whistles blowing...loud ones I assume. I have only one ear without a perforated eardrum and I want to protect what hearing I still have. I failed to mention that in my first post, I realized later, and I know it might have gone better with me if I had mentioned it. But I'm a bit shy about mentioning my hearing loss publicly. But more to the point, I believe that it's just another excuse for the group "favorites" to get showcased. Apparently, the girl whose team loses will get spanked onstage. Like those girls aren't going to get spanked enough? And also it has been said that the contest will help drum up business for the vendors. Please. About 300 people (give or take) are going to be attending the party. Most of the vendors are well known to those of us who attend parties on a regular basis. Those people are going to absolutely clean up. What will a contest involving only young, cute girls accomplish that a contest that involves everyone and gives them a chance to win something won't? You can disguise it any way you want, but to me, it's still favoritism. I know how cynical I sound, but I gotta call 'em like I see 'em. Yes, I could have just kept my mouth shut and not said anything. But I feel, as someone who's paying my very hard earned money to attend, that my opinion ought to count as much as the next person's, popular or not. I think the reason I was so meanly addressed was that I dared to make it look like not everyone is on board with this. As a potential purchaser of items at the fair,no one came to me and said "Do you think this would be a good idea?" In Crimson Moon, something like this would be put to the group to gauge its popularity before being implemented. With this particular group, they do what they want behind closed doors and then, when they've made up their minds, they post it to the group and everyone is expected to be on board with it or risk being silenced like I was.
They're also going to have "Welcome Bunnies" again this year. As I said last year in my blog, it's just another chance for the "cuties" to get more attention. If it's not about looks, how come no one came to me and asked me to be one? I've worked with the public for years. I know how to shake some one's hand and say "Welcome to the party. I hope you have a good time." Realistically, I'm sure the costumes don't come in my size. It's just another way in which this group subtly lets people know that they aren't size friendly. They might be accepting of having larger women at the party, but you won't see any (or many if they do allow one or two to participate) up front being the "face" of the group. Now don't get me wrong. No one excluded me or made me feel bad at the party (no one in a leadership role anyway). The leaders did welcome me and Sherri (who was another first time attendee) and did tell us to let them know if we needed anything. But we didn't feel especially "included" either. The fact that so many CMers were also attending saved my life. If I had gone to that party last year not knowing anyone, I would have been lost. Many of the tops I asked to play turned me down. And many of them offered excuses so lame that no one except a complete newbie would believe them. What is a reasonable person to make of this? "Look on the positive side, Cheryl" you might say. But I ask what IS the positive side of being shot down in front of a roomful of people? And just what is the positive side of being shot down five consecutive times? To my own credit, I did try to put a face on it and make it look like my feelings weren't supremely hurt, but that much rejection is very hard to take and I defy anyone to not feel fat, ugly and unwanted in the face of such monumental rejection. Yes, I know that no one is obligated to play with me. I've had that one drummed into me, thank you very much. Yes, I know I'm supposed to accept "no" graciously. But I can only take so many blows to my ego. This never happened to me before. For my first few years attending CM parties, I was one of the busiest bottoms there. There was rarely a time when I wasn't either playing or recuperating. Now, even in CM, I find myself doing a lot more things I never had to do before; things like roaming the halls looking for someone to play with and finding most of the doors shut.
So here's the deal. I'm going to go to BBW with no expectations of any kind for getting played with. There's a lot to do in Atlantic City so I know I at least won't be bored. I'm going to put on my party clothes and put on my party face and hope for the best. I'm going to attend that party determined to have my own version of a good time. If others don't want to march to my drummer, then that's fine. I'll just wish everyone safe travels and good times and hope it all works out.