Play Partner Choices

Rather than go through a litany of things I look for in a play partner, I’m going to focus on the one important factor that often goes overlooked.

The person has got to want to play with me.

It sounds totally obvious but I often find myself unsure about whether this other person is even remotely interested. People in the scene, especially women, will tell you stories about how they’ve played with people to simply be polite — I’m quite sure I’ve been on the receiving end of that as well. Honestly, I’d rather only play with people who really want to play but I’m not going to have a canary over the fact that some people do it just to be nice. That’s fine, I can be nice as well.

The problem for me is when I’m not sure of the signals being sent. Sometimes there are folks that seem to want to play with me but when it gets down to doing it, they seem hesitant or uninterested. Now I admit to being shy myself but eventually I can get around to letting my intentions be known. If I’m tongue tied, I might ask an intermediary to pass the word along that I’d like to play with a particular person. What I try not to intentionally do is to send mixed signals about playing with people — if I do then it’s not something I’m doing consciously. The dynamic in the scene is tough because you have people with desires and wants mingling together looking for “something” but still trying to affect all the norms of politeness and etiquette. The main one is that people are trying very hard not to hurt the feelings of others. So we all give and get vague responses tinged with hints hoping the other person understands what we’re trying to say without us having to come out and say it.

On some level, though, I wish that we could sometimes get to the point of peeling back at least one layer and being relatively blunt. If a person’s kink does not match someone else’s or if the chemistry is just not there, I don’t think it’s rude to convey that thought. I don’t personally have a problem if someone says, “You know. I thought I might want to play with you but the spankings you give are just not what I like”. That’s not rude at all and removes all doubt in a few words. This way they don’t feel uncomfortable with me approaching and I don’t feel like I’m beating my head against a wall or expending energy in a futile cause. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to be friends with this person but at least I’ll know that asking for play is not an option.

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8 Responses to “Play Partner Choices”

  1. I wish there was a little phrasebook for the scene. What to say to find out if someone finds you interesting, or wants to play, or would entertain playing. What to say when someone rejects you, to take it gracefully and help you feel less of a reject. How to say to someone: You’re nice but I’m not feeling it, sorry. Or how to clearly discourage someone kindly when what you mean is: EU, not in a million years, kthxbai! Can someone please compile this? I’m one of those people who has to know what to say before the occasion even arises. Asking and saying No are so stressful to me that the very thought of it keeps me from socializing.

    • munchkin Says:

      Before my first big event, I rehearsed with a friend what to say to “reject” someone. It really helped. I actually just told the truth, but having it ready ahead of time helped. I just said something like “this is my first real party, so for now I’m just sticking to playing with a few close friends, I’m not ready to branch out from that yet”. I have a hard time just saying a flat “no,” I feel I have to give some kind of reason. This last party I would just say I already had an appointment with someone or that I was “booked.” If I really did already have an appointment but wanted to play with that person still, I would try to make some sort of plan to meet up later.

  2. Honestly does resolve a lot of ambiguity. But I don’t think I could ever say something like this to anyone:
    “You know. I thought I might want to play with you but the spankings you give are just not what I like.”
    I just think I’d have to say something lame like “I don’t think we’re combatible” or “Maybe later.” (Oh, the much-aligned and blogged about “maybe later,” inspirer of much gnashing of teeth.)

  3. munchkin Says:

    Just for the record, if you were interested and we ever crossed paths again, I would definitely like to play with you. I’m just not sure I match what you are looking for as far as level of play. I don’t know that I would be very good at the roleplay type scenarios and not sure I’m quite up to your severity level. Not saying you are super severe or harsh, I may just be kind of wimpy in comparison.

    I try not to send any “signals” and rarely ever ask (other than close friends) because I don’t want the other person to feel like they have to do that polite thing. And I’m still a bit nervous playing with new people anyway.

  4. Rad, I’ve really liked your last couple posts, including this one – thought provoking. You are tackling some of the more difficult and delicate issues that come with being in the scene. I wanted to comment, because I have my own theories and thoughts on these matters. But, I also realize that I am not one who ought to be giving out advice, since I am just as lost as everyone else when it comes to dealing with compliments (appropriate or inappropriate, as the case may be) or managing my loose network of relationships with people who I (at one time or another) want or wanted to play with, and may or may not necessarily want to play with at any given opportune moment. Whew! what a mouthful it requires just to explain what I am talking about.

    • radagast Says:

      Advice is merely life experience with a leather binding and gold embossing. I don’t give advice, I just spew.

  5. […] Reading Radagast’s recent posts about the nuances of communication with people in the scene (here and here) awakened all my social anxieties and insecurities. I think that at heart I believe that […]

  6. Jasmine Says:

    Wow. There really are a lot of super sharp people in the scene. Maybe, we should have our own scene coffee house where we use the Socratic method to explore these issues. Is Radspace our virtual coffee house?

    So, is “having a canary” like “having a cow” over something? I guess we tend to exagerate on a grander scale in the South. I mean, kidney stones are supposedly painful to pass, so, a cow or a canary (which differ in size) would both be extreme reactions…and, blatently against nature. How did the canary get in there? (Let’s not even consider the cow.)

    So, party play is not on my wishlist. Not remotely interesting. However, private play is an option after lots of getting to know a potential playmate. I agree with munchkin; it’s good to have thought about these things before hand and be able to clearly express your thoughts. That’s all I can add and to echo what Smiliing Devil said…what a riveting topic! You sure can pick ’em.

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