Saturday, October 3, 2009

Coming "out"

A blog I read recently spoke of the perceived dilemma of maintaining protocols and formalities when out in the world.  In short, basically in terms of using certain pejoratives, the individuals would in effect be indicating that their lifestyle choice was far from mainstream.

I’m not ashamed of what I am nor of the dynamic that I once enjoyed.  Had someone confronted me directly, I would most likely have admitted to my choices; certainly my blog isn’t hidden, nor is my picture (which is up to date) and my nic, “selkie” is well known among close friends and family. 

Having said that, D. and I NEVER made it obvious in our home, in our careers nor in out friendships which were out of the realm of kink.  Not due to shame or embarrassment but quite simply, out of respect for others.

My kink is my kink.

But kink can be powerfully affecting to individuals unfamiliar with the intricacies of the various dynamics.  It can have an unreasonably powerful impact on those who don’t understand the underlying motivations and rewards and can be extremely off-putting to the uninitiated when exposed to some of the more esoteric practices.

Obviously, none of us live in a vacuum.  Influences abound which mould and affect all of us and each of us carries with us innate prejudices, decided opinions and concepts of how we perceive life and humanity in general.  With the sheer volume of dross out there in cyber space, for instance, every lifestyle choice, esoteric concepts and practices are easily accessible to the curious who wish to satisfy prurient interests without actually exposing themselves.

I think especially those who practice lifestyle related practices predominantly online lose sight of the realities which would meet its actualities in real time.  The other anomaly of course are those who assert online that they are “out” in real life but don’t even provide a real photograph!

Most of us work fulltime these days – women and men.  To be taken seriously, to engender respect and the development of professional work relationships requires confidence, determination and strength. Yeah, even for submissives (female and male). 

The REALITY of our human experience is that we are judged on our appearance. We are judged on our demeanour. We are judged in how we present ourselves and how we conduct ourselves.  And yes, we ARE judged on our lifestyle choices.

Is this so odd? Do we not tell our children that people will judge them on how they look? act? present themselves? Do we not draw our OWN conclusions when we meet people based on those self-same markers - which - before a friendship is developed, is ALL we have on which to base an opinion?

Any woman or man who comes "out" to people lacking the basic understanding and commensurate knowledge of the spectrum of a D/s or M/s relationship (one which includes respect, caring and encouragement of intelligence, ability and skills), would most definitely court almost certain disrespect and immediate disdain from individuals who would walk away with a very skewed perception of the worth of someone they thought about in very different terms before the insight.

I am the first to “stand up and be counted” when it comes to defending an ideal, acknowledging the right to personal beliefs and fighting for personal freedoms.

But I also live in the real world.

Apart from the professional arena; I admit I have strong views (big surprise!) on the more obvious practices and powerful protocols used on a personal level when children are involved.  Certainly, when it comes to children, very few people do NOT have decided views on upbringing.

For me, however, introducing a lifestyle to children that carries with it such obvious preferences and powerful protocols is wrong.  AS wrong as exposing them (in my opinion) to any kind of influence which will unduly influence and prejudice them – from fanatical religious views (of any flavour) to prejudices against race, colour or gender.

Females already face an uneven playing field (albeit, a better turf than when I was young).  Having my girls and my boy indoctrinated into believing that women are “naturally” subservient and men “naturally” dominant is repugnant (or for that matter, vice versa).  I want them to choose their own paths; as much as possible I want to bring them up with open minds, unmarred by my own known preferences.

Finally, the intimacy engendered by a working D/s (or M/s) relationship is also precious and to me, personal.  Even before embracing the lifestyle, I was intensely private when it came to my relationship.  I was never one for necking in public, hanging over my significant other, or even for ‘cutsey’ nicknames and billing and cooing at each other. 

I saw no reason to adopt a different attitude once we became D/s.

Frankly, flaunting it to a degree that makes it offensive to mainstream society is more about a cry for attention than a true commitment to, and pride, in your relationship.  I know there are those who bleat that ‘they are not ashamed’ and go around with obvious collars, fawning attitudes, arrogance and adopt extreme attitudes and clothing choices, but to me, they are poseurs who like teenagers are trying to shock, and ultimately, crave attention.

Is your dynamic any less influential because you are discrete?

Are you any less a submissive/slave, dominant/Master because you recognize realities?

Or, rather, are you in fact truly engaged in a real relationship which carries with it the commensurate responsibilities owed by each member of society to function within the confines of generally accepted norms?

Further, there are many and varied ways to underline and enhance a dynamic without being offensive, outrageous or forcing non-participants to become voyeurs.  Intimacy carries with it, its own language, its own signs and signals.  None of which need to be shared with the general public – kinky or not.

How we present ourselves to a society which initially judges based on appearance and demeanour largely determines to what level and degree we are accepted and how seriously we are taken.  But apart from the need to preserve dignity and maintain decorum (and rightly so) in a professional environment, I also find it offensive to believe that it is acceptable to force our choices on each those who neither understand, desire or require an intimate glimpse into what is essentially a private choice. 


mouse said...

Yes, I agree completely. Sure! I'd love to live in the kind of world where I can be "out" but that is just not the world I live in.

O and I are so not the type to hang all over each other in fact I can't stand it when I see a some teens sucking face while I'm waiting in line at the market. It's funny but I don't see many people over the teenage years doing that? Why is that? You are so right the teens crave attention, and do it for the shock value.

I'm not their parent so I can't say anything but everyone in line is thinking the SAME thing, and rolling their eyes and we have a good laugh after they pay for their stuff and leave.

In short I agree with EVERY word you wrote!


Jz said...

yep, yep, yep.
Did I mention, yep?

The in-your-face shock value is tedious. My mom used to call people who simply held hands in public "asinine." I hate to think what she'd have to say about an obvious collar...

I don't think too many of us here are ashamed of what we are but we do realize that being out would be opening ourselves up to MUCH misunderstanding. And not only ourselves but others. Even if I were proud and out, perhaps my partner might need to fly under the radar. There are such things as jobs you can be fired from if kink is part of your lifestyle.

It's just discretion and consideration.

Anonymous said...

Discretion, consideration, respect for others.I totally agree with everything you've said here.

I dated a man once who wanted to strike me, leave tell-tale marks upon me AND then stroll the beach. He was of the misguided impression we would be admired, envied even. Often when I read comments from those who claim to have all of these outward signs and modifications that they share with the world at large they are under the misguided impression that they are admired when in fact they are ridiculed or pitied. A spectacle not a role-model.

I do not want to 'see' my friends preferences and I do not 'show' them mine.

Kes said...

Wonderfully written as always Selkie!

I have a slight differing view from Mouse on teens however. Fully remembering the desperate rush of hormones in young love/lust, the lack of places in which to indulge, and the 'devil take the hintermost' attitude that follows when the hunger to touch one's beloved grows undeniable. I think we are better able to restrain these urges to publically caress one another once we have private space within which to indulge.

And... that said... there can definitely be an erotic charge in the occasional public displays of affection. However, I would prefer it in front of an anonymous audience rather than friends, family and co-workers.

Thanks for a thought provoking post!