So you’re new and ready to go to your first play party? Or perhaps you’ve been going to play parties for a while and started letting basic etiquette slip? Oh yes, it’s usually the people who should know better that I see making faux pas! So let’s go over the most common play party do’s and don’t’s.
CLEAN! This is in reference mostly to the equipment and furniture you are using for a scene. However, I also advise that you clean your toys. But hey, that’s on you and if we aren’t playing then you and your partner can cover that. Back to the furniture, though, you should clean it before you play as well as after you’re done. Some people may complain, “but I’m the first one to use it, so why clean it first?” While you may be the first one on it at that party – you have no idea what happened on it the night before or before the party started – especially if you are at a dungeon that offers pro sessions. It could have been used 30 minutes before the party doors opened. Plus, if you aren’t the first ones on it that means someone else (hopefully) cleaned it – but did they clean all the parts you will be using? Did they clean it correctly? Better to be safe than sorry.
SPACE! Giving those in a scene the space they need. Stand back, give them room. Do NOT get up close and personal. You are not involved in the scene and it is not ok to invite yourself! It doesn’t matter if they are doing something interesting that you don’t have a good view of. If you want to know more about it then wait for a better time later in the evening to approach them and ask. Also, if whips or floggers are being thrown, go around! Don’t complain if you get hit because you walked through someone’s scene.
SHHHHHHH! Be mindful of your voice and socializing. If you want to socialize there are areas in every club meant just for that. If you’re watching a scene but want to say something to your friend next to you – get in their ear and whisper. Keep the conversation to a minimum. If you are setting up for a scene or just finished – again – be mindful of your non-scene noise level. Keep your voice down as much as possible. Too much “non-scene” talking can really pull people out of their head space that are playing around you. On the other side of this issue you may be the one who is trying to do a scene and it’s other people being loud. Simply gesture to them to lower the volume in a respectful way. Most people get carried away and don’t realize their voices got louder. Typically a small reminder is enough. If that doesn’t work, well, keep reading.
EQUIPTMENT HOG! Hogging equiptment can take two forms. Time and space. At some clubs you may have a time limit on your scene. In this case it won’t matter because you won’t have a choice but to give up your play space at the designated time. However, most clubs do not time scenes. Therefore, you should consider how many people are in attendance and how much of a demand there is for play stations. Be considerate. If it’s a busy party don’t play for hours. The other issue is space. I see it all too often – people wandering around (sometimes including me!) looking for an area to play and there are perfectly good spaces that are covered in the toys or bags of the people scening on the next station over. Not cool. First of all – if you have a million bags but have a specific scene planned, try to consolidate your toys before heading to the party. Beyond that – look for a place to put your bag/toys that is within your station. Don’t use a play table for storage. If you’re concerned about putting your things on the floor, bring a towel to throw down.
DON’T INTERRUPT! I don’t care if you get to a party and are really excited to see a friend of yours but they’re in a scene or you are leaving and really want to say bye to someone who is in a scene. Don’t interrupt if A, you haven’t been invited into the scene or B, there isn’t an urgent situation. That said, let’s look at these two exceptions. Being invited into a scene can take on two forms. One, all involved have consented to you joining the scene to bottom, top or assist in a positive way. Lovely, have fun. Two, the Top has requested for you to enter a scene because they need assistance in an urgent situation. Perhaps they have their bottom suspended and they need to come down faster than expected. The Top knows they have time to bring the bottom down safely, however, asks you to lift one leg (for example) to make it easier for them to loosen the rope. There could be a million similar situations, but you get the picture. In this situation you do ONLY what the Top has asked you to do. You are not automatically granted consent for anything else. I have seen this happen where the person is asked to assist to lift a bottom’s leg and decided that meant he could also let his fingers wander to her “naughty bits”. NO! NO! Only do what you are asked – nothing more. Moving on to the other exception – the urgent situation. This may be things like someone needs to move their car or risk getting towed or the club is closed/party is over and they need to wrap it up. Yes, these examples are situations where the person should have taken a few more steps in personal responsibility, however, that’s a different issue for another article! So you need to get their attention but they are mid-scene. Make eye contact with the Top and gesture to them that you need to tell them something. Most Tops will assume that if you are interrupting it must be important. Once you let them know what’s going on then assess what needs to happen. If the Top needs to walk away from their bottom then they need to put them in a safe position and make sure someone they trust stays with them. Another option is to have someone else handle the problem so they can stay with their partner. NEVER just leave a bottom unattended mid-scene!
Not interrupting also applies to when people are in aftercare! Aftercare is an extention of the scene. If it’s obvious that people are in aftercare – treat them as if they were still playing. If you aren’t sure, make eye contact with the Top, the person most “present”, or the person you know best, and ask if they are up for chatting.
GET HELP! So you follow all the rules, politely ask people to keep it down, etc. Great! What happens, however, when you need assistance? Here are a couple reasons this may happen. One, a bottom my call red and you don’t see the Top stopping or perhaps someone seems like they are in extreme distress to you. Especially if you’re newer to the scene and public play – you may be reading the scene wrong. This is a good time to express your concern to a DM (Dungeon Monitor). DMs have typically been trained to assess scenes and situations in the club. They are usually easily identified via an arm band, sash, or badge. Another time you should get a DM or the party host is when you are having a personal issue with someone. If you have politely asked someone to decrease their volume or give you more space and they repeatedly ignore your requests – ask for assistance. It’s not your job to personally take on someone being rude or unruly.
BONUS TIP! HYGIENE! Stinky is not sexy!! Come to the party clean, use deoderant, brush your teeth. This doesn’t mean swim in cologne! I, personally, always have a deoderant stick in my toy bag in case I need to re-apply post play.
Overall – be aware, be respectful and if you don’t know, ask. These tips will get you far and a more pleasant party experience for everyone!!