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‘Fetish’ vs ‘Lifestyle’

September 26, 2009

In 1998 I was introduced into the public gothic/fetish scene. Our own club in Portland, Maine, Zootz, always combined the two in hopes of drawing a larger crowd. It started small with a couple of Pro Dommes featured in stage shows beating on male submissives or making out in frat boy fantasy PVC  covered lesbian scenes, but as time went on the nights got more and more popular. More BDSM lifestyle people started coming out, the stage area became a mix of show/staged scenes, actual bondage performances and hardcore play. The worlds were meshing more and more.   I never knew a solid goth night when I was doing the club thing. To me latex and PVC was supposed to be part of the goth scene. So was my play.  It wasn’t until 2o00 when I started going to the now defunct ManRay in Cambridge, MA did I see a goth night separated from a goth/ fetish night. The Wednesday night was all about dressing goth. High goth, old school, alot of standing and smoking cloves and doing the chicken walk standard goth  dance style, but what was truly amazing was the fetish nights they had on the weekend. They were something to behold.  People in all manner of dress; latex, PVC, goth, industrial, drag queens, Pro Dommes, pasties, electrical tape, thongs; your head would explode from all the eye candy both male and female. The dance floors would be packed (both of them), there were floors shows at midnight, box dancers  and cage dancers in various states of undress, Pro Dommes doing their thing in a roped off “play” area. This was always my definition of what “my scene” was.  It was heaven and Eden all rolled into one. In Maine this was my Dungeon. Dancing after a scene was aftercare for me.

It wasn’t until I went to NYC did I ever experience a “Dungeon” space.  Paddles was the only dungeon space I was really allowed in back then. Hellfire was off limits to me and from what I had heard about it as far as the space I was kinda glad for it. Amazing how the rumor mill could make you so scared to go into a place. (I could catch something by just touching a bar stool!) Paddles has no dancing, the focus is play, and dress up is not required.  It actually kind of threw me the first couple of times I went. I’ve always thrived on dress up. The one thing that I did like was that I could actually be mostly or completely naked in the space if I wanted. Something that my dance club days couldn’t offer me. Scenes we more intense due to the lack of clothing. What was really hard for me was the no dancing part. I would my scene but had no way to let out the rest of the energy. Aftercare became this “I need to clutch onto my partner for dear life.”I found myself instead getting very worn out and traveling inward instead of actually pushing the energy out.  It’s was not easy to let the scene go. It’s something I didn’t really think about or realize until recently when I started working on a class about processing pain and aftercare.  How things like drum circles at kink camp events have been my godsend for letting out alot of excess energy. It was a reconnection to how my scene was.

In helping with the NYC Production of, ‘Hurt So Good’, I did attend a few NYC “Fetish” parties. I was looking forward to it since I was used to the fetish parties that I used to attend up north and I must admit I was disappointed.  Yes there was music but nobody really danced because the music was either not danceable or the floor would be occupied with people standing and drinking. They were more like evening long infomercials for particular Pro Dommes who were running the parties. The places would be filled will male submissives and foot fetishists look to massage a pretty girls feet or to be called a lowly worm just once.  I would go and even though I was wearing a collar which was something I was used to people knowing meant I was a submissive myself I would be asked if I would like to have my feet massaged or if I would walk all over them.

Ummm…….no.  This was not the ‘fetish’ environment I knew and liked.   Fetish parties didn’t really seem anymore different to me than say gay leather clubs when they do dress code only nights and in some cases if you have a vagina don’t bother knockin’. I have some gay male friends that would hit me for that but, the environment is kept a certain way because of the dress code, alcohol is served and it’s a cruising environment. I just 70 percent of the time not encouraged to be there. The only difference is that it is a different focus of what is kink for someone.

Because of the new “enlightenment” of the difference I found myself avoiding the fetish deal and trying to stick in the lifestyle environments. Paddles started to get old for me though. I grew tired of the very laid back environment and some nights found myself overdressed in even my most simplest of outfits. Also being hit on by random jeans and polo shirt guys who just made me feel like they told their wife they were going to a bar to drink and went there to get their kink on made me VERY  uncomfortable.

Large BDSM events were where it was at for me, because dressing up became a must do because where else was anyone going to see my outfits?! The only problem was that if I wanted to play any particular night the outfits couldn’t be THAT complicated or else I would be spending half the night getting in and out of my corset. Never a fun time especially if your play partner has no experience in lacing or unlacing a corset.  Also if it is a hotel event you more than likely can’t wave your freak flag completely due to state laws about what is considered decent or not.

So now when I look at the scene at large I see a difference. SM can either mean Sado-Masochism or Stand and Model.  There are some events that are trying to mesh the two more which is a cool thing to hear about.  I hope it succeeds and I do know that in the end it does come down to personal taste. Some people don’t want to drink and stand around in their PVC.  Some don’t want alcohol in their play environments. Some don’t want to play in public,  some are bothered by intense scenes in their environments and don’t want them there. As one person said to me, “Some people are very vanilla except for the fact that they want to wear their latex clothing.”  Some just want to beat the shit out of someone and just need a wife beater, jeans and knee high boots to do it, which for most fetish nights would not get them past the door.

No one is better than the other.

This is not intended to be a one is lame and one is not or one is real and one is not.

This is simply a ‘gee I’m noticing things more.” It’s like listening to two languages and noticing the subtle similarities.

Which is kind of what happens when my life gets me exposed to alot of different things and ideas. Dipped my toe in….and the undertow caught me.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jen permalink
    September 27, 2009 5:29 pm

    You know sweetheart, Jamie and I have a saying we use on each other all of the time…”Get out of my head!”


    Love you!

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