We've all heard of reverse psychology.Most of us are well versed in how it works. And it permeates the spanking scene. The more a bottom talks about not liking something, the more that big, bad dom she has her eyes on wants to give it to her. Unfortunately, it also works the other way. The more a bottom talks about liking something, the less that big, bad dom she has her eyes on wants to give it to her. This is the dilemma I keep finding myself in. If I'm on Fetlife and I see a photo of a toy I love feeling or one that I enthusiastically say I would love to try, the doms and tops ignore me in favor of responding to the bottoms who are protesting how much they would hate to have it used on them. This is true even if the bottom loves it too, but for some reason known only to her, she has to act like she doesn't.
Now, I'm not saying that if that's how you roll, you're doing it wrong. A person has to do what makes them happy. What I AM saying is all these mind games make it very tough for someone like me to get an actual slice of the spanking pie. A few days ago, a young man in one of the Fetlife spanking groups opened a thread asking how to find out if a woman is open to spanking. He lives in one of the larger cities in California so I did the sensible thing and advised him to attend a local munch, where there would be no pressure to play and where he might also find an experienced top to mentor him. The rest of the responses were fantasy-driven; things such as "Just spank her. You'll find out." Yeah, you might find out, but you might also find yourself behind bars. Then I got an inbox full of messages from people telling me to stop being a "wet blanket" all the time. Yeah, how dare I try to actually be helpful. This is another thing about the scene I'm getting tired of. When people open threads asking for advice about something scene related, I take it as a given that that person actually wants real advice, not a bunch of idiotic responses that have nothing to do with reality. Somehow, being the voice of reason in a spanking discussion thread isn't welcome. When I see someone giving absolutely terrible advice (that someone who's new might act on out of ignorance) I'm going to call them on it, no matter how many times I'm told to "keep my negativity off the boards" (which I've been told to do more than once). Many of the responses I've seen would land someone in jail or the hospital or quite possibly, the morgue. But hey, this is Fetlife, where everything is cool all the time and bad things never happen. And if you believe that, I have a bridge I can sell you.
Unfortunately, I don't see the game playing going away anytime soon. So, the question becomes how to deal with it. I guess, I've become pretty good at spotting the game playing. And I'm not saying that, at times, it's not funny or entertaining. I used to do some of it myself. In fact, I was doing it when many of the young ladies who engage in it were in training bras. And some were still in undershirts. But I did it because I was new and I wanted to fit in. I hadn't yet found my identity. I wanted people to like me, so I learned how to play the game. I knew, even as a newbie, that if I ran around shouting "I'm a total masochist, hit me with anything you want" the tops would have run away in droves. And in fact, quite a few did. I actually did have one top tell me "You'll get more play if you stop acting like you like it so much." What? I was supposed to pay a party fee, ask for time off from work, secure transportation, pay for two nights in a hotel and find someone to house sit my cats so I can attend a spanking party and act like I don't like being spanked? It made no sense to me and I told that top so. Still, he told me, it was true. "It's the way a dom's mind works," he told me. "We always want the bottom to be willing, but act like she's not. It's what gets most of us going. The ones who play for fun, who give the bottoms only what they want, they get laughed at a bit in the scene. Very few doms take them seriously." I was stunned. Surely, he was kidding. But I put my powers of observation to good use, keeping my eyes and ears open and sure enough, it was true. I saw it played out again and again, both in person at parties and on the Yahoo groups (there was no Fetlife back then). The women who responded with "Oh please, kind Sir, you wouldn't spank sweet, innocent little ol' me, would you?" got flooded with replies, while someone like me who wrote "My sister and I will be arriving on Friday afternoon and would love a chance to play" got guess what? Completely ignored. In fact, Carol and I conducted an informal experiment before a party. On the Yahoo group, the pre-party bratting would begin about a month before a party. As I said before, I engaged in this behavior in the beginning. I saw it as a fun way to let certain tops know I was interested in playing with them. But when I simply responded that I would love to play with him, I was glossed over time after time while the tops responded to the ladies that did the most bratting. In fact, the sillier it got, the more they responded. Even tops who claimed they didn't like bratting passed me over in order to deal with the bratting. Even today on Fetlife, I get passed over and my comments ignored in favor of the bratting.
In fact, I would call bratting a "Geisha skill"...something done mostly to make the top's experience better. I don't doubt for a second that there are ladies out there who love bratting and do it because they enjoy it. But much of their enjoyment comes from pleasing the doms and tops. I know this sounds like a generalization, but I've seen it with my own eyes. I had one sub tell me back in my newbie days "Like it or not, you have to do what the tops like if you wanna get played with." I actually walked into one of the public suites, where a small group of tops were having a conversation and I heard him say "Does anyone else think this new batch (of bottoms) is less than fun? I miss the old days where we could do practically anything we wanted to these girls and they took it." Another chimed in "It's that damn internet. They're telling women now (imitating female voice) "Oh honey, if it doesn't feel right, then don't do it. You have all the control in a scene." Still another said "There are just too many damn feminazis in the scene these days." I wasn't surprised to be hearing this because I had already come to the conclusion that this was true anyway.
So, while I can appreciate that many female bottoms and subs (and probably male ones too) love to brat, that doesn't help me any. I always thought that that kind of thinking would die out when the younger people started coming into the scene. But, no it's still alive and well. If you look at some peoples' fetish lists, both tops and bottoms, you're likely to see fetishes like "saying no until he can make me say yes" and "you can't make me...oh wait, yes you can" listed. If a person likes that dynamic, more power to them. But again, what does someone like me do, who isn't interested in being "made to obey"? And worse, what about the young tops coming into the scene who might assume that all women subscribe to this attitude? Back when I first started, nudity was a hard limit for me. I know that's hard to believe now, but it was. There were some tops in the group back then who thought that, because the last lady got naked for him, all of them would. It took awhile for these guys to be disabused of that notion. I began to feel that tops were coming away from their scenes with me disappointed because I didn't get naked, I didn't get tied up and I wasn't going to cry and beg (something a lot of them really enjoyed). Of course, no one was classless enough to say anything. They just never asked me to play again. And I hated then and still hate to disappoint people. I value my good reputation in the scene, as does anyone who wants to be vetted for parties. Walking away from a scene disappointed because you couldn't do or be what the top wanted is one of the worst feelings I've ever felt. But, despite that, I can't be what I'm not.
This is why I'm having a problem; because I can't pretend to like something I hate or hate something I like. So, I go on in the scene...playing with people who will play with me and regretting the ones who won't play with me. Still, when it comes to the online bratting, I just can't participate. I don't want to bring negativity to the fun threads on Fetlife, but I have to be myself. With the big Crimson Moon July party coming up in just ten days, I really needed to vent what was going through my mind and getting my headspace back where it should be. Hopefully, I'll have a ton of really positive things to write about.