By Lucy Lemonade
I consider myself a professional kinkster. Now for some that phrase may mean I’m professionally kinky. But for the purposes of this conversation I am referring to this term as a professional individual who is also kinky. I’m stuck between the desire to be out and open about my kink and caught in a profession that would definitely frown on this type of behavior. I’m sure that many of you may understand this predicament.
I really love attending kinky conferences when I have some rainy day money to spend. Learning new skills and discovering fetishes delights me. There is a problem I’ve run into several times while attending these conferences: common etiquette while dining out when it comes to kinksters. I have found there are two different types of attendees; individuals who show proper etiquette in public, and those who don’t.
At a recent conference I attended it was time to venture off-site to have dinner. While the conference listed its dress code as street legal, I suppose “street legal” is not the same as tasteful. There was one young woman with almost her entire bosom hanging out of a corset with no cardigan or shawl in site. I know that may sound catty, but to me there is a difference between being sexy, and being provocative just for shock. So I ventured out away from the radius of the conference site hoping to find a nice place to have an early dinner. It seemed that some of the scantily-dressed found sushi to be the perfect meal as well. So there were tables of attendees that appeared to have rolled out of the boudoir instead of out for dinner. While I may have had interesting conversations with them, I didn’t have any desire to be seen with these individuals.
This is the mild version of my point on etiquette. One of the most unnerving lunches I’ve attended at a conference included having dinner with friends and chatting about professional career paths that was then interrupted by the couple sitting with us at the table pinching each other. One individual was pinching the other on different pressure points and forcing the other to keep silent. While the young woman did remain silent, her squirming and obvious discomfort drew more than one set of eyes to our table.
Perhaps I am prudish to some, even though I’ve been told more than once that speaking of dildos and vibrators is not proper dinner conversation. As a whole I feel like our society is losing hold of common etiquette within public, whether it comes in the form of obnoxiously chatting on your cellphone on the train, or table manners while dining out. My most pressing concern is being placed in a situation where I am being “outed” as a kinkster in the public eye. I call this phenomenon “nonconsensual vulgarity” and feel it should remain inside kink-spaces such as play parties or house parties held by kinky hosts.
I understand that during conferences attendees can feel a build of wild energy from interesting classes and impending play parties. This then spills over lunches and dinners where the code of conduct changes drastically. It can be hard to suppress that energy. I prefer the mystery of my kink to remain a mystery to the vanilla public. I may have my fetishes blazed across my Fetlife profile and show openness during conferences. But like many other groups of individuals, I prefer to “out” myself when I choose the time and place and not have that outing forced upon me.