Remember the parenthetical (or, talk about the fine print; or, honor all your dimensions)

I’d just started my new job (ten years ago) and I was having dinner with my colleagues in…I think it was in Teaneck? Maybe Philly?

Whatever. They were the “cool kids” colleagues. The senior staff on location at this event had all gone to some fancy schmancy restaurant and the rest of us “kids” opted for more casual fare: pizza and beer.

And the beer flowed.

They really didn’t know me very well. I seemed nice enough, but they wanted to get to know thereal phi, Y’know? “Who are you when you’re not at work?”

And the beer flowed.

I leaked a little here and there. Oh boy were they shocked when I told them that my husband worked in the porn industry. I really enjoyed the attention.

And the beer flowed.

And that I write sex toy reviews for a national magazine. “OH MY GOD. WHAT KIND OF SEX TOYS?”. I really enjoyed the attention.

And the beer flowed.

And suddenly I’m regaling them with stories of my wild youth.

I loved the attention. I liked being the “open” one. I liked being the one that gave the stuck-up Christian gal, the born-again-waiting-until-marriage guy, and the I’m super hot and my boyfriend is a personal trainer chick a new perspective.

WHAT? YOU? THE ZAFTIG ONE?

You seem so SWEET!

I’m not ashamed of anything I told them, but let’s not pretend they didn’t treat me a little differently after that. The born-again guy pretty much stopped talking to me altogether.

That is part of the point. Today, while I don’t try very hard to hide it, I don’t go broadcast to the universe that I’m a kinky, exhibitionistic, former slut. But, when I do…

I need them to see that it’s not ALL that I am.

I need them to know that if I hadn’t told them about this, I could have passed for…gasp!NORMAL.

So I give them the fine print. I talk about the parentheticals. I talk about consent and safewords and safety in general. I talk to them about STDs and risk and how kink does not necessarily involve sex. I TRY as hard as I can to make this thing we do seem very matter-of-fact and sometimes downright unsexy.

Something that requires thought and communication and personal responsibility.

And that it’s not like in the movies. It’s never like in the movies.

Yes, Secretary makes me wet too, guys, but that motherfucker did not NEGOTIATE with her. Then again, Ginger and MaryAnn did not pack a lifetime of razors for a 3 hour tour, either.

If you watch Gilligan’s Island, it’s all coconuts and evening gowns, but go watch Castaway with Tom Hanks and then tell me if you really want to get stranded on a deserted island with a beach ball as your only friend.

I went off on a tangent.

It’s not just how we talk to our non-kinky friends about our kink, it’s also how we talk to each other about it. How many times to I read a post here that laments that all she wants is to be “used and abused and made to suffer” or some such thing? Oh, and then there’s the line of Masters and Domlytypes ready to grant her every wish.

But there was an asterisk by that request.

“I want to be used and abused and made to suffer*”

*By someone I consent to doing this with me and who will be mindful of my limits, safety, and respect me the following day and who won’t subject me to that treatment when I’m not feeling quite like it because, in actuality I am more than a one-dimensional character on a kinky website with three-dimensional tits.

Sure, the shorthand is easier. And we think everyone knows this stuff, right? Everyone knows that we don’t all want this ALL the time, right???

No, not always.

And when it comes to the world outside of Fetlife, it’s our job as ambassadors to kink to remind them that kinky people are still people. We have off days. We have cramps. Hell, I just spent 3 hours in a bathtub with the most horrific cramps since my gall bladder exploded almost two years ago.

Do you know how would have reacted if my partner had come in and offered to tickle my esophagus with his cock tonight?

“Uh…not right now, honey. I’m not feeling well.”

Honor all your dimensions. Respect yourselves and your fellow kinksters. Talk about the parentheticals. Talk about the fine print.

Educate your friends and remind them that kink is not a label that erases your humanity. Even though it’s not as exciting. Even though the attention isn’t as pure. Even if they seem a little bit disappointed.

You might avoid a situation where your humanity is overshadowed by your kink, and your good friend forgets there’s a person behind a hobby.

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