A Letter To My Party Going Brethren

Dear Some of You:

I hope you enjoy going to spanking parties and will continue to go. The scene needs as many different sorts of people as it can get and it’s healthy to have this variety. This letter is not for the majority but a thin sliver of a minority that find a party filled with fellow traveling spankos to be a bit overwhelming socially.

Let me start by saying that I understand completely. I grew up an extremely shy kid thanks to an upbringing that made me feel uncomfortable around strangers. I never was taught a lot of the skills that one generally needs to make connections with other people, I had to learn them by myself. I made a lot of mistakes learning them as well and it took me a lot of years to finally reach the point where I didn’t feel catatonic trying to speak to someone. Even after so many years of relative normality, I still find it somewhat difficult to approach people at spanking parties and ask for play. It’s somewhat difficult for me but I can occasionally get up the nerve. It’s not the perfect way but it works for the most part. I’m telling you that I’ve been there and know what it’s like to struggle with being social and even using alcohol to try and make things easier — something that worked for a bit and then became a negative influence.

I’ve heard it stated by many women and some men that the scene is not here for social work. It is not here to help the unsocial or socially inept individual to work out his problems. And let’s face it, it’s mostly men who have this issue in the scene, there’s no point in denying that fact. For the most part, most of the people you’ll meet in the scene are pretty welcoming but the patience of even the friendliest people can wear thin quickly if the other person is either incapable of communicating or unwilling to try when they see what they’re doing is not working. Yes, in the movie that plays within our heads, the wallflower or nerdy inept person is endearing and we root for him to get the side-character quirky girl at the end (he’s not getting the lead –sorry). In real life it isn’t that well scripted. People are going to a party to have fun and to enjoy themselves, they’re not going to spend the little time they have there providing a halfway house for people who can’t make connections. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh but it’s reality.

There’s also another factor that is not spoken about amongst polite scene company that is equally true. The rules of attraction don’t get left at the door when entering the scene. Perhaps people in the scene have a wider view of what they find attractive or even tolerable (I tend to think most people have a pretty wide view of what’s attractive) but there still needs to be an attraction on some level. The way we present ourselves is the first thing that people notice when we walk into a room. I don’t just mean clothing or hygiene although these things are extremely important. People are not going to think very highly of a person that doesn’t seem to care how they are dressed. I don’t mean wearing a Brooks Brothers suit and thousand dollar shoes. There are many much cheaper options that look good on most people and at least show other people that you respect them enough to dress decently. Not every occasion requires you to dress up but casual shouldn’t mean looking like you just crawled out from underneath your car — unless you’re a male model. In that case I suppose it is all right to look like that — at least women in music videos seem to think so.

But it’s not just clothing or hygiene (also very important), it’s the way you carry yourself. Walking into a room with head hung low or so nervous that you jitter does not peg you as a person anyone wants to talk to. Maybe someone will come up to you to try and break the ice because we’ve all been the nervous new person but when your demeanor is you, it becomes a problem. You’ll find that most people would rather not invest the time or effort to bring you out of your shell. Also, a person that describes themselves as a Top or Dom yet exudes zero confidence will come across as either a poseur or simply neither of those things.

I could go on and on and perhaps I will discuss this again. The fact is that if you find yourself feeling uncomfortable in the scene, enough that you can’t make connections and have little success, it might be time to work on those things inside yourself that are getting in your way. It may seem an insurmountable challenge to “change yourself” but it is not as hard as you think it is. The first thing is understanding that something needs to change. You can worry about what those things are in the second phase but you have to acknowledge that lack of success in the scene is not an external conspiracy but an internal problem — one that should be solvable. Once you recognize those aspects of your personality that need some tweaking, you can concentrate on making slight changes. What might seem contrived in the beginning (mostly because you’ll have to do things in a conscious manner) will eventually through repetition become part of the way you naturally are. Hey, it worked for me. I’m not perfect but at least I can wade into a social setting sans catatonia. Plus, I’m always working at me every day because there is no such thing as perfection in this world — other than A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. Once you recognize that there is always room for improvement, you will embrace change.

What I should do is put my money where my mouth is. I think I will do a re-read of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I have touted this book for years as the book that changed my life (along with Dune, Lord of the Rings and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). I don’t know if it was the first “self-help” book but it certainly is one of the greatest inspirational volumes of all time. It’s also extremely practical. The techniques presented in that book work — period. Becoming better at socializing will not just make your path through this world smoother but make it better for those around you. Win-win. Not only will I re-read that book but I think I’ll post an overview of each chapter here for purpose of discussion and because I’m suddenly motivated to keep it going.

Look for a Chapter One re-read review coming soon right here. And to those who find the scene a daunting challenge, good luck.

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16 Responses to “A Letter To My Party Going Brethren”

  1. What a thoughtful and timely post, Rad. I, too, have always been the shy sort and completely relate to the socially catatonic state. As a kid, an order at McDonald’s took 3 mental rehearsals and still usually ended up a stuttered mess. It’s a daunting thought to think of branching out out socially, but I’m with you, if I could manage to sometimes pull it off, anyone can. I’m looking forward to your posts on this topic, and I think I’ll read along. Like you say, there is always room for improvement, and in my case, miles of room.

    • Like I said, there has to be the self-awareness to not only know that some change might be needed but the knowledge that change is possible. I think that’s the fallacy in the thinking of a lot of people, that somehow their lives are set in cement. Not so at all.

  2. Hi Rad,

    I can assure you that it’s not just the men who feel this way. Women do too, even some who do not necessarily find most other situations daunting. While men must get up the nerve to approach and initiate play and face possible rejected, women must also still deal with being compared to what the societal definition of beauty is and worry about disgusting anyone with whom they may bare part of their body to. For someone like me, who has had 3 kids and stretch marks, there is a nervousness based on that alone.

    I can relate to the social anxiety of which you speak. I have it. At large parties such as the AC one, I most likely will not attend unless I know a few people behind whom I can hide. When at these parties, I do tend to stick with a small familiar group. Like you, I find reaching out to new people daunting. Sometimes I can do so (as I did with you Friday night, never having formally met you before) because I have developed a one sided knowledge of the person and feel comfortable enough to step up and say “hello”. It was difficult for me to do so, but I already knew you did not bite based on following your blog, seeing your interactions from a distance at other parties, and knowing of you from others that I do know very well.

    For me, all of this plays a part in stepping outside of my comfort zone when I would much rather (and often do) hole up in my room with just about 4/5 close friends. As a matter of fact, friday night I did just that. I turn around in the party room and my husband had gone to the airport to pick up amber grey, and the rest of my close friends had disappeared. Talk about feeling out of place and awkward!! I suddenly had no one to comfortably be with, and a small panic set in at the prospect of being in a crowd full of people that I knew of, but did not actually know. I went upstairs and went to bed.

    Perhaps remembering that we are not alone helps? Sometimes what I see on the outside in others does not suggest that. But alas, by the confessions, we know it to be true even of some of the most outwardly gregarious in the scene!

    It was nice to meet you, albeit brief. πŸ™‚

    sarah (aka ginger)

    • I try to make myself as accessible as possible and will pretty much talk to anyone who wants to talk to me. I know that there are people out there who are intimidated by me for some reason or another but I think that I’m not all that scary. I also can totally relate to feeling overwhelmed when you don’t have someone to lean on nearby. I admit that I use my wife as my comfort zone at parties and sometimes feel things are a bit too chaotic when she’s not around. But at other times, I can be on my own and rely on my sense of humor to be my crutch.

      It was very good meeting you as well.

  3. This most recent party was horribly overwhelming for me. I am lucky because I already know so many people, but I’m extremely self conscious and have a hard time interacting even with people I already know because of other fears (am I being annoying, does someone secretly not like me, etc).

    I think it’s time I opened up my copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People….

    • You may or may not want to hear this but simply put, you are young and still have a lot of the baggage from your childhood and high school fresh in your mind. Many people never get over this baggage until much later in life if ever. It’s important to concentrate on what needs to be tweaked in your life and what needs to be discarded. Neurotic thoughts of not being liked are not useful but stepping back a bit and looking at yourself from the outside might help you adjust things and create a more social you. I know it’s what I did years ago.

  4. I do the same thing as Sarah Thorne when it comes to parties. I need a little “core group” to circulate within and hide behind. At this point I probably am not attending the FMS party in June because “my” group does not appear to be going for various reasons this year. Not that I don’t enjoy the other people there and I do like getting to know new people, but in a large setting like that I seem to need that safety net of the smaller group to disappear into sometimes. I don’t think I can just go there by myself and be able to leave my room to mingle with the larger crowd. Like you mentioned, I have the problem of fighting that catatonic response if someone approaches me and I’m not comfortable with it or not ready for it for whatever reason. It’s something I think is getting better and I hope gets even better than it has, but for now I still have those social issues and fears and need my safety net. For women, there are as Sarah mentioned all the physical appearance worries, but at least I know for me, there is the fear of getting hurt as well. It may not be completely rational to worry about it as much as I do, but I have a past that leads to that kind of fear. I like my little group that I know I can trust, and feel safe carefully branching out from when I feel ok about it. Alone within a large group, especially as small as I am, and with a lot of large (in comparison) men there, it can be scary. I do feel that the parties I have attended have been pretty safe in general, it’s just a personal paranoia on my part that I’m sure I need to work on.

    I do think though that sometimes it’s easier for women in these situations even if we do have social issues. It just seems to be less acceptable somehow for men to have them. To a degree, many of the women get coddled a bit (thank goodness haha) and are told people will help you feel comfortable and safe. With guys, it seems they are often assigned the label of “creepy” or something similar for “lurking” along the edges of the room, when it may be that they are just dealing with the same fears that many of us women do. But I agree with you that if we are going to try to attend and enjoy these parties/groups, we all need to work on our social skills and fears, especially those of us that do have problems.

    • I can understand your sentiment regarding FMS in June. I don’t know if I could attend if my wife was not going with me — I might feel too uncomfortable. The remarks about safety in numbers are also understandable as that is the need you have for your own comfort level.

      I think it’s difficult for a lot of men who are not as aggressive (in a positive way) than other males. Their social ineptitude can come across as slightly more sinister than the same behavior in women and when compared with the men who are more outgoing.

  5. misstorid Says:

    I was always the anxious kid and find myself overcompensating for the catatonia by being friendlier than I would normally be. My smoke breaks were definitely kicked into high gear over the weekend, and while I did chat, I found myself not allowing myself to enjoy what conversations were struck up with me. I’d kind of flit away after a mental-self appointed time, probably with the exception of the last night of the weekend.

    I echo the sentiment of safety in numbers. If my partner wasn’t somewhere to be found, I would have probably would gone through a carton of Camels by the end of the trip.

    Thank you for this post, Rad. I get caught up in the social dynamics of What We Do and forget that there would be less to analyze, and I’d feel less awkward if I just relaxed. This is encouraging me not wallow in my anxieties.

    • I also am probably a touch friendlier in social settings like this than I normally would be in vanilla settings but when I’m feeling things are getting a bit too close, I have the luxury of retiring to me room for a breather. For you it’s smoking, for me it’s video games — we all have our own vice. I think I’m genuine enough in that I would not be speaking to anyone if I didn’t want to and certainly not playing with them if I really did not want to be doing that either. We all have these defenses that we’ve built throughout our lives and the anxieties are just the outward manifestations of them. Although I’m not saying we should always let our guard down, it might be beneficial to all of us neurotics to give it our best not to feel that we are constantly under assault.

  6. Hey Rad,

    Yes, A Love Supreme is one of the perfect things in the universe. Remind me to tell you about the first time I heard it at FMS in June!

    I’m painfully shy in new situations.

    When I can, I strap on a mask of not caring at all, and being totally cool. It fools most people! I got that mask doing public speaking in high school, and performing at a fetish club in college, and after those experiences, that mask is usually good enough for most parties!

    However, that mask is also limiting. And sometimes it makes people think I’m unapproachable or even that I think I’m too-cool-for-school. (Um. I don’t. I know I’m a geek and a dork!)

    So, like many replies above, I most prefer the small group of friends I can hang out with and just be myself!

    • As a geek and nerd of the highest order, I can empathize with what you write. I was telling someone quite recently that I tend to be very conscious in social situations and sometimes have to remind myself to smile or give off a friendly body language. I guess it has worked because most of the time I don’t have to remind myself to do those things.

      Hearing A Love Supreme for the first time was what made me love jazz music. From the first crash of the gong onwards, it was heaven (as Ted Danson would say on Curb Your Enthusiasm).

  7. Great post Rad, Art Carnagie is probably the first and formost self help guru there was and everything Tony Robinson does he surely learnt and copied from Art.
    This book also made a great impact on my life along with the “one minute salesman” by Spencer Johnson As everthing in life can be quated to a sale whether it’s selling kids on learning and doing their homework or encouraging someone to let them spank you, it is selling yourself. As for Mr hn Coltrane what more can be said than it s a love supreme. Enjoy the sun in your life and blow away the clouds Rad πŸ™‚

  8. Donna (Spanking New) Says:

    Rad, when I read this I kept thinking to myself, wow, exactly how I felt at so many of the parties here where I live. I am the wall flower at a party, knowing it is not my personality in any other setting. Therefore; for BBW I was bound and determine not to sit on the wall. I came alone, having only met one person very briefly before, most people I “knew” only by on-line sites and not in person. I decided in my mind, that I would go up to those who seemed quiet, shy or not sure of everything going on and I met so many wonderful people. We were all there for the same reason, good spanking fun, it was just a matter of stretching out a friendly hand and breaking that ice.

    Oh, I’m sure from time to time I’ll fall back into that wall flower frame of mind, but I know now that if you make the smallest of gestures to be friendly and say hello, there are other people on the other side glad that someone took the time to say hi!!

  9. OTKRob Says:

    Rad: What you express is probably quite prevalent. Several months ago I attended my first party and had absolutely the worst time imaginable. I knew absolutely no one there and the ratio of men to women was about three to one. I felt like the proverbial fly on the wall.

    I forced myself at subsequent and gradually came to know several people including you and Casandra. I made quite a number of faux pas along the way (ask Casandra) but you learn and adjust accordingly.

    Still, that initial feeling when walking in as a single male, cane be daunting. You just have to get past it. But, the payoff is ultimately worth it and new friends are made.

  10. Very well said Rad. As a group owner who has been hosting parties for the last 17 years here in Chicago. I have had hundreds of conversations with ladies and gentleman who just can’t seem to get over the fear of attending a party with lots of other spankos. The thing I always tell folks is just give it a try once. You do not have to even participate at all if you don’t want too. Butt, give yourself the chance to meet other spankos and you just might find that you will meet alot of great people. The great thing about the current availability of the party scene as compared to 15 years ago is that there are so many great spanking clubs to choose from. When we started having party’s here at Crimson Moon there were only 2 or 3 other venues in the country. Now there are so many more choices for all of us. There are great parties from coast to coast. SSNY is new but are having great parties. Florida Moonshine has been hosting great parties, the Texas Allstate group has been growing. I could go on and on but my point is just let yourself get out there and attend one of these party’s you won’t be dissapointed.

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