There used to be a very famous saying: "When in Rome, do as the Romans". What this means is when you're visiting somewhere, whether it's another country or even just someone's home, it's customary to partake of the local customs. Unfortunately for me, the closest I ever got to Rome was a Toga Party thrown by some friends when I was in Atlantic City last year.
I had a great time with these folks, mostly because they were good friends of mine and there was spanking involved. Which leads me to the subject of today's entry. Do hosts have the right to expect their guests to participate in activities that make them uncomfortable? Is it bad manners to decline a particular activity because it's "not my thing"? How do we decline without hurting the host's feelings? I'll use the above photo as an example. The Toga Party that I attended was thrown in a private suite by friends of mine. There was alcohol (several different wines) available, even though everyone in the room knew I don't touch alcohol. In no way did I feel that my hosts had disrespected me or my feelings by offering wine. None was offered to me personally. Now, if everyone had spent the evening trying to get me to drink, I might have felt differently. However, there have been times when I've felt pressured to do something I ordinarily wouldn't do because all the other participants were doing it. Once or twice, the pressure was overt. But more often, it's more subtle. I won't put the details of specific incidents here because I have no idea who reads this and the thought of someone being offended by me stating my discomfort is too horrible for words. Suffice to say that I declined to do what everyone else was doing for my own personal reasons. There was a card game being played and it was a game I wasn't interested in playing. So when I was invited to play, I politely declined. The majority of the players accepted my decision with grace, but a few gave me a moderate harangue on the issue. After all, everyone else was doing it. I think one or two people may have taken my polite refusal as me saying I'm better or morally superior to them in some way. True, the game had some distasteful aspects to it (not the least of which for me is bad language) but that's really why I declined. I think I declined because everyone else was playing. The card game is one of those trendy games that no one will remember in three or four years (kind of the way no one remembers the game Sex Drive today). It just smacked of what I call Everyone's Doing It Syndrome. In much the same way people were reading the "50 Shades" books because everyone else was, this card game became de rigeur at many of the spanking parties I attended.
So that begs a question. People in the kink scene say that we embrace and encourage individuality, but do we really? Almost everyone wants to be accepted or seen as popular. I know very few people who are true rebels in the kink scene; those who march to their own drummer and don't allow others to pressure them into conforming to their standards. When I see friends who never showed the slightest interest in a certain activity all of a sudden embrace it, I have to wonder why. Usually, it means that that person has made a new friend and that new friend has either subtly or overtly pressured them to do it, too as a way of "fitting in". Sometimes, it could just mean that the person in question has just experienced an area of growth, something that's perfectly normal in the kink scene. But sadly, more often than not, it usually means that they've befriended someone who expects all of his or her friends to be into the same things he or she is into and they won't tolerate someone who doesn't play along. Of course, it's really hard to know which event occurred. But given what I know about peer pressure in the scene I can tell you that it does happen and that normally bright and imaginative people give in to peer pressure in order to be popular. As an example, the fact that I don't drink or smoke makes me unpopular with the scotch and cigars crowd. It's just something that I won't ever be able to partake of because I've quit both of those things. I enjoyed them while I did them, for sure but I don't do them anymore. I guess that makes me seem like I'm on a moral high horse with some people, but that's not it at all. I don't judge smokers or drinkers because I used to be one. To me, there's nothing more angering than a former smoker who acts like they never smoked. This is especially true if they're smoking on the side and living in fear of being caught.
As another example, I was once invited to an ageplay party and I politely explained that since that wasn't my thing, I felt it best to attend another of the suite parties available that night. The person who invited me accepted my explanation graciously and wished me a pleasant evening and there I thought the matter rested. Not true. Later, when I returned home, I had a private message in my inbox asking me why I had dissed the ageplayers. The person who wrote me told me that the person who had invited me told them I had "recoiled in horror" at being invited. This wasn't true, I explained in my message back to this person. I told them that I had declined in a perfectly polite way, explaining that I had never had any interest in ageplay and that, quite frankly, it made me a bit uncomfortable. So I guess that constitutes recoiling in horror. Whatever happened to "your kink is not my kink"? I'm sure I'm into things that other people find weird and that's OK with me. I've never expected other people to be into all of the same things as me. I can't speak for the BDSM scene as I'm not into it, but I can say that, in my opinion, the spanking scene has become a cult of personality, where a select few control who gets accepted and who gets left out. But they're more likely to accept you if you at least pretend to like what they like. And that leaves me out because more than ever before, the spanking scene has become all about punishment and discipline, two things I have no interest in at all. I see people who never had the slightest interest in doing punishments now embracing it and I have to wonder if it's because they feel they'll be left out if they don't? It's a rather uncomfortable feeling knowing that you're not popular and if you don't attend a certain party, you won't be missed.
Look, I'm not saying that everyone who develops a new fetish does it only because someone coerced them into it. I know that people often change and grow as they go on in the scene. I know I've changed quite a bit from when I first started. However, my core beliefs haven't changed. I still detest real punishment scenarios as much as I did when I was a newbie (and I participated in a misguided attempt to fit in). But I've seen so many people doing 180s in their philosophies that it makes me wonder. I've also come to grips with the fact that my political and religious views don't win me any fans in the spanking world either. It's one thing to not enjoy participating in punishment role plays, but quite another to criticize the current administration, especially how they react to watching Islamic terrorists cut of the heads off Christians. Many of the people in the kink community are hostile to Christians, so why would they mind if a couple hundred of them get beheaded on Youtube? I mean, it's not like we're humans or anything, right? I'm a follower of Jesus Christ and I don't apologize for it. Last time I checked with the Constitution, Freedom Of Religion was still there. Being a conservative Christian in the spanking scene is one sure way to get yourself uninvited to the popular kids' parties. I'm sure there are others like me who love the Lord but they keep that to themselves for fear of being ridiculed or ostracized.
So I guess that wraps up this entry. I will state right here that I have no desire to do something distasteful to me for fear of being teased or unfriended. I've had both happen to me in my life and I've survived them. I also have no desire to do "what everyone else is doing". My mother taught me years ago that just because everyone else is doing something doesn't mean I should be doing it.