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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Deconstructing "No"

Last week, I wrote a piece on FetLife about saying "no" to scenes at spanking parties, since there have been so many of the large weekend ones lately. Seems like it would be fairly straightforward, yes? No. Because there's always going to be a certain type of top for whom no doesn't mean this:

But rather, this:

Below I have pasted what I wrote on Fet. It got 180 "loves" and 108 comments, so far.

It's been party season, with BBW just behind us, TASSP and FMS right in front of us, and CM next month, soon to be followed by SL. I can't attend everything, unfortunately, but I've been a party-goer for 18 years. I've seen a lot of people come and go, I went from a newbie to a veteran, and I've had, seen, and heard about a lot of wonderful scenes. As well as some bad ones.
And one theme never seems to change: Women at parties are uncomfortable saying "no" to a spanking request. (For all intents and purposes of this particular discussion, I'm going to keep the focus on female bottoms. I know that tops of both sexes also have to deal with being asked to play when they don't want to, but I think there is a particularly intense pressure on the female bottom persuasion.)
We don't want to be mean. We don't want to be rude. We don't want to hurt feelings. We don't want to get a bad rep for being too picky, or just playing with the "popular" tops, or some such nonsense. So we go ahead and accept the play invitation we really don't want, because how bad could it be, anyway?
Let me tell you, it could be pretty bad. But that's not the point. Even if it isn't... why should any of us compromise in our play?
Ladies, you are not a party ambassador. No one assigned you to play with anyone and everyone who asks you. It's YOUR party. You paid for your ticket just like everyone else, and you have choices. And, even more important, it's YOUR butt. You get to choose who puts their hands on it.
Consider what a play party spanking is. OK, so maybe it's not as intense and personal as a one-on-one spanking with a trusted mate. It's more casual, more light-hearted, generally shorter, etc. But guess what? It's still an intimate act. Someone is putting their hands on you, looking at your backside, feeling you close to them. Unless you are blessed with the ability to completely detach yourself (I am not), you need to have some level of attraction, of chemistry, of like, or even just curiosity about playing with someone. Do you want to kiss every man you meet? Of course not. Then why would you be expected to lie across the lap of every man who wants you to?
Please stop compromising yourselves. If you really, really don't want to play with someone, then please don't. Do not allow yourself to be guilted, manipulated or coerced. You have the right to say "no, thank you" and have it be respected.
I once had a friend (who sadly dropped out of the scene several years ago), a lovely woman, who was cursed with simply being too nice for her own good. She could not say no to anyone, even though she desperately didn't want to play with some people. I was constantly lecturing her about this, and she'd hang her head and say, "I know, I know." I'd warn her about certain people. I warned her about a notoriously hard and inconsiderate player, but when he asked her to play, she said yes. Then she timidly asked him to please not use any wood. He went on to completely ignore her and bruise the holy hell out of her with a wooden paddle. When my friend and I were icing her down later and she was in tears, I wanted to throttle the guy. But I wanted to throttle her a little, too! "Dammit, C," I said. "Just say NO!"
Same woman wanted to avoid yet another creep who had been chasing after her. He was sitting on a couch and she was trying to walk past him, and he did a "yank and spank" -- he simply grabbed her and pulled her down over his lap and started whaling away. And she let him. Had it been me, I would have raised the roof. Do NOT let anyone do this to you! And don't be afraid of making a scene, or of "being a bitch." You don't want to be on that lap? Get the hell off of it, and report the yanker.
These are atypical horror stories, and I'm not trying to scare newer people. My point is, this kind of stuff stops when we say no, and mean it.
When tops are polite to you, by all means, be polite back. When you'd like to play with someone but are concerned that you're overextending yourself, ask them to please keep the scene light. That, too, is within your right. But if you're pushed, cornered, your space is invaded, someone won't take a polite "no" for an answer? Guess what? You don't have to be so nice anymore. Walk away. And if they follow you, report them. This shit needs to stop.
If you're still leery about being firm, get a wingman/woman if you need to. Hang with a trusted friend, and let them know who is bothering you. When he approaches, your friend can intervene on your behalf and say, "Hey, aren't we supposed to be in so-and-so's room right about now?" and whisk you away. I've done this -- it works! Do whatever to need to do in order to ensure your good time. You deserve it. We all do.
Play safe, have fun, and always remember: It's YOUR BUTT!
Tell me... does this piece leave any sort of ambiguity? Apparently, one person thought it did. He posted comment after comment, engaging with several others, trying to deconstruct, reconstruct and redefine "No." Yeah, but what if "no" means "not now, but maybe later"? Or "I'm not sure"? And how will the asker know what kind of "no" it is if he doesn't ask, if he doesn't say "why not?" Doesn't he have the right to some sort of reason, an explanation, so that he can know what it is about him that is eliciting "no"? (How about the fact that he can't take "no" for an answer??)

It was getting so ridiculous, I was about to lose my temper and rip that guy a new one. (As it was, I posted and asked people to please stop engaging with him.) But then two of my friends stepped in and made everyone laugh. Well, me, anyway.

Friend #1 commented:

Random thought.
Everyone attending an event will be issued 3 color-coded cards with the word NO written on them.
If asked a question and you mean, "No, but I would definitely entertain the question later, if asked," you show the "No" written in green.
If asked a question and you mean "No, and I don't expect my answer or interest to change in next few days," you show the "No" written in yellow.
If asked a question and you mean "No fucking way, not going to happen (regardless of the reasons) so don't ever ask again and good luck with your life," you show the No written in red.
I'm thinking NO Cards would make a great product or sponsored giveaway at these events and --- ANY social event. :-)
Then Friend #2 chimed in with:
That sounds good, but you know someone would come up with a "why not" card.
Friend #1 came back with:

Fine... fourth card... giant middle finger!

And Friend #2 had the last word:

Only if it comes attached to a taser. This way they won't wonder, does that middle finger mean "come over here"?

Yes, kids, things actually get this ridiculous. All because certain people don't comprehend, or respect, the simple little word "no."

I know a lot of my readers aren't party-goers, but maybe you attend smaller local gatherings at times, or a local dungeon/club? Have you ever played with someone you really didn't want to, just to be nice? Did you ever feel like you didn't have the right to say "no" at a party, because, after all, everyone is supposed to play with everyone and if you say no, you're a party pooper or something?

So many misconceptions and so many questions of etiquette. Our scene is ever complex, and sometimes it's hard to navigate. Which is why I'm glad I'm not new anymore. But I'm very happy to offer my experience and thoughts to others if they want them. We all need to watch out for one another!


  1. Hi Erica,

    As you know, I read your post on FetLife and think it's great. I'd like to tattoo it on my arm (in small print) to remind myself of all the points you made.

    This is judgmental, but I'm going there. Any guy who could read it and go "but what if" is the same sort of guy who sees a woman in Coffee Bean wearing headphones while reading a book and thinks "maybe she wants to talk to me. I'll never know unless I get her attention and engage her in conversation. Maybe about that book."

    My opinion is anyone who doesn't take "No" for an answer the first time it's given has no business out in public, let alone at a scene party.

    And for your commenter: English is a very specific language. If the woman you asked meant "Not now but maybe later" that's EXACTLY what she would have said.

  2. Mija -- I had a reason for writing that piece; I knew several friends going to the two big parties this past weekend. And... I know of some of them being harassed to play. No one should have to put up with that.

    Your Coffee Bean analogy made me snicker. At my gym, there's this one really weird guy with no indoor voice and no filters. On more than one occasion, I've been off to the side, reading while I'm waiting for a class to start, and there he is, booming in my face, "WHATCHA READING??" The last time he asked, I completely ignored him, and he hasn't asked since.

  3. Hi Erica -- Thank you so VERY much, for sharing this :-) You made some really good points.This is so helpful.I never been to a spanking party, so this is new to me.That's TERRIBLE, that your friend got bruised so very badly :-( That's just not right.The sign that you mentioned, with the middle finger made me giggle LOL. I thought of another funny sign, Which would be a hand made into a fist, It would mean touch me I will knock you into next year LMAO :-) Much Love and hugs from naughty girl Jade

  4. No ambiguities found. Check.
    The point, may be that this well known `if a girls says no...` mechanism gets even reinforced in some spanking circles. Great to spread this WONDERFUL repertorie of dealing with it.

  5. Eric,

    Good points. That would be one of my fears as a newbie knowing how to say no but politely as to not offend. Thanks for sharing this.


  6. Jade -- I think someone might misinterpret a fist, too, but we won't go there. :-)

    MrJ -- I hope it helps someone. It's hard to say no, when someone is polite but you just don't want to play with them.

    Ronnie -- it's a tough call. It does help when you're at the party with a mate, as I am and as you would be.

  7. Erica, I too read this on FL first. Good points and a heads up to the ladies. Unfortunately for the more obtuse top, no matter how or what is said, they would probably need a 2 x 4 upside the head to get the message.

    An Admirer

  8. Admirer -- thanks. I figured a lot of my readers aren't on FetLife, and I really wanted to share the color-coded cards; I thought they were hilarious. And yes, some people will never get the message. I could name a couple of them (but I won't).

  9. Excellent advice, Erica. Not being able to take "no" for an answer is one of my biggest pet peeves. Not just for spanking situations. But for any professional, social or family situation. Case in point, a friend and colleague is retiring at the end of the month. (He coincidentally lives 6 houses away from another friend, so I actually knew him before we started working together.) He'd like to leave quietly, so he's asked that his retirement party be limited to his direct reports. He's very generously paying for his own party so he gets to decide on the guest list as far as I'm concerned. Another colleague actually corned me in the men's room and insisted I would be welcome at the party "since the two of you of such good friends". He wouldn't take "no thank you, I believe him when he says that he wants to limit the guest list." I finally said "What part of "NO" don't you understand? I didn't stick around to hear his answer. So annoying.


  10. Mike -- yup. Some people just don't get the concept.

  11. OKAY this phrase made me about die laughing, "and there he is, booming in my face". Especially, since I've shared what a detached bitch I've become directed at my gym's predators.

    My first party was a very successful, fun event in I got to socialize and receive many spankings. I did have a few repeat play requests throughout the 3 days. I agreed to some and turned down one because there was one top in particular I was DYING to play with and she actually told me to seek her out and ask her to play. She described herself as a bit scattered but had previously made it clear to me she very much wanted to spank me. So I did ask her more than once. I would never do that unless a similar situation reoccurred.
    I can tell you for sure that from now on, though, I would not feel guilty about denying play requests. I reluctantly accepted a request from a creeper extraordinaire and was repulsed from start to finish. Afterwards, I caught him gawking at me from afar ANY time I had more than 10 min of solo table sitting. THEN he bee lined to a seat next to me.
    On one hand I feel sorry for people who get denied if they are polite and hygienic. But I fully agree that I really need to feel a mental and sometimes physical connection to people who spank me. I've played with some incredible tops during the last few years and I don't feel compelled to compromise my ass "just to be nice."

  12. Anonymous -- (what, like I don't know who this is?) :-) Yeah, I think asking more than once is OK if it's been made crystal clear that the desire is there, just the timing is off.

  13. I really enjoyed reading your piece on Fetlife. I think this is such an important subject for those who go or are considering going to parties. I don't often play with people at parties and there's always a part of me that always feels like a jackass for saying no, but I've encountered a few men who can't seem to understand the concept of "no."

    What you wrote is perfect! So thanks for that. <3

  14. Fonzie's advice to Richie (on a slightly different subject):
    "If a girl says no, she may mean yes.
    If a girl says 'I'll call the Police' she definitely means no!"

  15. Beth -- thanks, sweetie. No one should have to feel bad for saying no. I mean, if you don't want to play with someone, you just don't. Sometimes, you can't even articulate a reason to yourself; it's just a feeling. But it's yours and you have a right to it.

    John -- ah, good old Fonzie. Too bad he had to jump that shark.

  16. Regarding "like I don't know who this is?" comment: does it have anything to do with fungus?

  17. Bobbie Jo -- oh no, not at all. Did you see the smiley-face after that? I recognized a friend's style of writing. I think this person just forgot to put in their name.

  18. Ok. I thought you were referring to what was said, not the writer. LOL