(Or the musings of an occasional hypocrite: A post dedicated to Greg)
“You know it tickles me to no end to see you at sex parties, given how negatively you’ve written about them in your blog,” he said to me while we were chatting at the latest Wonderland party.
So, yes, I’ve been pretty critical of the scene in the past, and yes, I still sometimes go to parties, and yes, I sometimes still enjoy them (although Wonderland and that thing in New Orleans were the only events of this sort I’ve actually enjoyed in months if not longer). So I know what you’re thinking, what gives? Or better yet, you’re such a hypocrite! Which is true, I’ve admitted to occasional hypocrisy already in this post.
And don’t worry, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure it all out in the past couple of years. The thing is that I’ve spent so much time on the scene and made so many great and lasting connections there, that even though I might not always want everything that the scene offers or promotes (polyamory, public sex, open relationships, swapping partners and so on), I still enjoy spending time with my friends there. And parties are a great venue to catch them all at once, when we’re all busy New Yorkers (some with multiple partners) and trying to make plans with people often looks like this.
Ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking, “oh please, she just goes to sex parties to TALK, pffftt, whatever,” though on that Saturday most of what I did throughout the night was talk to friends, catch up with people I hadn’t seen in months (like Greg himself), I talked to my friend David at length finally about a painting I’m commissioning from him. Friends from out of town were there, basically everyone was there.
And, yes, I do still love a lot of these people because many of them are creative types that have fascinating projects in the works, or they’re folks you can collaborate on projects with, they’re people that are open in general, and particularly open minded about their sexualities, which is hard to find, even in this day and age, in America. And I’m glad I found that community in the first place and that it made ME as open minded as it has, considering I’ve historically been a somewhat grumpy and judgmental person, who has a long history with Catholic guilt and repression, and a very traditional family, who still think that homosexuality is disgusting and the fact that we have a black president is despicable. Yep, that’s them!
And while I have criticized the parties in particular, in prior posts, what I’m mainly still pretty negative on is polyamory. I just don’t think it usually works in terms of sustaining long-term relationships (please note the qualifiers), and it’s particularly the idea of being able to consistently maintain multiple serious relationships that I think is far fetched. I’ve seen loads of people, myself including, get screwed over or screw people over under the guise of “but, poly!” A list of things that often happens is that you get “unseated” as a primary partner, or any partner, because your bf/gf has fallen in love with someone else (something that I’ve done, and something that’s been done to me in the past), people that use polyamory as a way to avoid dealing with their relationship problems, womanizers that use “poly” as a label to hide behind while being very irresponsible, dishonest and manipulative, etc. I find the only relationships that really work, are open ones, where people might casually see others from time to time, but not engage in full fledged relationships, or might have rules about only playing together, or where the woman is bi and only sees other women, which the man doesn’t feel threatened by (a silly concept to begin with, I know, but alas, men are prone to their penis envy.)
And the thing is that the two are hard to separate. Polyamory, or some form of open relationship culture consumption and sex parties usually go hand in hand. And if I’m not interested in the former (and, really, I’m not), I shouldn’t be interested in the latter. To be perfectly honest, since I used to partake in the scene and its various aspects with a partner, it felt a bit awkward to lose that partner and then return to the scene alone. Because before, it was something that we did together, so we either hooked up with other people together, or were looking for a very specific thing (mainly, I was looking for action with dominant men, an aspect I missed from my relationship with my ex, being that she was a woman and definitely not dominant). Now, going there alone, there are all these questions I have to ask myself: What are you doing there? What are you looking for? Who are you looking for? Are you looking for anything? And if not, why are you here?
If I don’t ask these questions of myself, others definitely will. My old friends, who’ve seen all the critical posts I’ve written will ask me what I’m doing there. The men that hit on me, often go straight to: “So are you dominant or submissive? And are you interested in playing? And what kinds of things do you want to do?” And when I tell them, “No, I don’t want to do anything,” they get pissy about it. They don’t go ask me flat out what I’m doing there, but I can tell that that’s what they’re thinking. But dude, I just met you, I don’t normally like playing with people I don’t know, unless you managed to strike my interest in an intellectual way already (which is hard to do in the space of a few minutes, with loud EDM blasting in your ears and a myriad of spectacles, friends or fabulous costumes competing for your attention).
I’ve admittedly gotten very cautious, guarded and stand-off-ish at these things in the past couple of years, probably too much so. But I often think, if I meet someone here and they want to engage with me, they probably want ‘x, y and z’ and I definitely don’t want ‘x, y or z,’ so there is no point in even talking to them. But I realize now that I can just talk to people and if the convos go in the direction of x, y or z, I can just tell them it’s not my cup of tea now/any longer/not this time/not with you/whatever the case may be. (And, in case you haven’t heard, the agency to say no is all the rage these days, with this new Consent campaign).
But the truth is that, yes, I do still like some parties. I like talking to my friends, and dancing. I particularly like parties like Wonderland, where there are clearly designated areas for dancing, or fetish play, or full on sex, so if you’re not interested in one or both of the latter, you can just wander around and drink and dance. Watching some of the fetish play is often fun at times, too. At the last Wonderland party, there was a couple there, where the man tied his woman up in a long string of Christmas lights, bondage style, strung her up to a pole by the same string of lights and lit them. She looked like a human Christmas tree dangling there, it was delightful to watch. And, this time around, I was actually inspired to ask Jefferson to flog me. I hadn’t been flogged in years, and used to quite like it, actually, so it was nice to do that again.
Greg told me that if I insist on writing all this criticism and still going to parties, I should at least get fucked at them, but I didn’t, and didn’t want to (and usually don’t want to, unless I’m there with a partner, and then I still don’t often feel like going all the way). There are monogamous couples that go to these events and say they like showing each other off and playing a bit in public, I could entertain the thought of doing something like that with a partner in the future, but not with some rando I just met whose first line was “so are you a Domme or a sub?”
It’s also a matter of which party it is and how comfortable people feel there. Wonderland felt better than anything has in a while. While some of the FetTribe parties seem to have lost their luster. I haven’t enjoyed most of their parties in a while for reasons I can’t exactly pin point. I guess it’s the fact that they’re sparsely attended these days, and other than the people I know there, they’re often populated by either creepy, lonely old men, or little teeny boppers (how’d they even get in!) who refer to suspensions as “flying,” are all about snapping hundreds of pics and Instagram-ing or Facebook-ing them instantly and probably flocked there after reading 50 Shades of Grey.
Ultimately, a party often just needs to be new and to be doing something different than the ones before it, to be good. It also need to have a good marketing strategy, so enough people are there, but not too many, and it’s all the right people (less creeps and teeny boppers, and so on). Wonderland is still new and feels different, because it’s combining fetish play (something often associated with the darker side of life) with the festive, playful, colorful nature of the burner/costume scene. There are many people that go there, that normally only do fetish parties and wouldn’t be caught dead at a burner party, and vice versa.
The trip to New Orleans for my friend’s birthday and the opening of the new Hacienda Maison there felt great because it was a whole new town, a whole new house, a bunch of new and familiar faces, and… oh yeah… lots of sun and good weather and local burlesque shenanigans. It was bringing a whole new flavor of NOLA to it.
So, yes, I’ll probably go to more Wonderland events and others, I might play there or I might not, I probably won’t be looking to get fucked, although I reserve the right to change my mind. I tend to avoid saying never, or always. And in the famous and eloquent words of Cartman from South Park, I’ll just say: “Whatever, I do what I want!”