Had a really interesting discussion last night about what an awesome benefit it would be to have designated “aftercare” spaces in public dungeons. Not only would this benefit people who are still coming off the rush of an intense scene, it would also benefit those who find themselves in the socially awkward position of interrupting aftercare in progress with unwelcome conversation.
For that matter, it could also be a refuge for introverts, though I’d be concerned that we’d end up with a corner full of individuals being not-social and not having enough space left over for the couples/partners who need a place to curl up and process their scene together.
In the dungeon I frequent most regularly, there are a few areas for socializing: the patio, the lobby, the kitchen, and (albeit, quietly) the sofas in the main room, though those are often used to sit and observe as well as for aftercare. But there’s no guideline for other people to not approach anybody sitting in the latter area, and it’s often crowded because they’re the only areas to sit and watch in the main room.
It makes no sense for the kitchen to be a location for this, because that is clearly a social area.
The lobby is often used for discussions and socializing as well, especially for pre-scene negotiations. (This last weekend I found the very thorough negotiation happening beside me as I was trying to come off my scene high very distracting, though clearly I fully support the idea of negotiation and believe they were in the appropriate place to conduct it).
And the patio – well, it’s where everyone smokes. It’s where the bootblacking gets done. It’s where people walk in – and the most likely place to get a greeting from someone just arriving while you’re still orbiting Mars. It’s a VERY social (and carcinogenic) area.
The rest of the space is used for play areas and bathroom facilities so there’s not really anywhere to put an “aftercare in progress: do not approach” zone without taking away from another equally beneficial space in the dungeon.
But it’s a nice fantasy, right?