September 10th, 2009
I am between two conventions(thus the late post this week), and public play is on my mind. I have very different reactions to public play depending on the public. The different types of public for me are: play parties, conventions/large events, and playing among friends. I react differently in these situations, and differently depending on who wants to play with me in these situations.
At play parties, defined by me as a party thrown in a private home by a lifestyle group in the community, I am hesitant to play. I tend to know about half the people there, at least by face, and mostly by name. But it’s that Almost familiarity that is the sticking point, and the closeness of the space. By default, people are close to any scene being done, talking about it, watching closely, or even, occasionally invading the scene purposefully or accidentally. This makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I don’t like playing out, I don’t like including random people in my scenes. That is not to say I will not scene at such a party, it just takes more from my partner. More of a power exchange, more taking control from me, to put me in a space where I can forget my worries and Be with them.
Larger events put a different face on things. There is more anonymity, more space, and more protocol. People are far more mindful of staying out of scenes, and are far less likely to accidentally intrude. I happily play at these events, not minding those that watch from a distance, or grin at me afterwards. I still do not play out, though there may be some minor playfulness outside the dungeon with those other than my partners. The energy of such an event just lends itself to friendliness and play.
Playing among friends, which I do on a weekly basis, sometimes more, is another matter entirely. It may seem like a miniature play party, but it is so much more than that. We are family, we trust each other and we have our own rules. We protect each other, and look out for each other, whether we’re playing in private or public. We also have a hierarchy, we play differently with different members of the group. Everyone knows where they stand, what they can do and where the lines are. When lines change, or need to change, we talk it out, and things stay clear. The only place I feel safer is in the arms of my partners.