Barak Article

It's Not All About the Length...
Tuesday April 19, 2011

(One quick caveat before we get started on this one – This is my opinion, and a musing at that. So, if you feel that you already know it all, and have been in the scene way too long to remember your vanilla name, you may not want to read this. So with that said, here we go…)

Why? Why is there such an emphasis on how long someone has been in the scene? It is one of the first things we learn through observation as newbies. We are “trained” to think this is important. What I mean is that when I was first bumbling around, I would talk to people in the community. The most common way they would introduce themselves was, "Hi. I am so and so. I have been in the scene for X years." I would look at them and instantly think ‘wow, they are experienced!’ Then it would get around to me, "Oh. Well I am a newbie." For the most part, there would be the appropriate pointing and giggling from the others.

Why does it have to be this way? Over the time I have been involved in the pansexual BDSM community, I have found many, many people base credibility and experience on “time in service.” In reality it is a total load o' crap. For some reason, we all buy into it. We think to ourselves – gee, they have much more experience than I do. We forget that everyone has to come from somewhere. Then we step into a place where we rank ourselves under this person.

Let me give you an example why I think it is a fallacy. A couple years ago, I met a gent, let’s call him P. Now when he first started in the scene, P would attend party after party. He could be seen at least a couple each month, including several large regional and national events. He had been watching experienced tops, asking questions of their skill and style. He would play, practice and learn with experienced players and bottoms. After about a year, he had become quite a proficient and knowledgeable Top. So much so that I used to recommend him highly to bottoms who ask (And still do).

Let's look at another example. I met a guy at a munch early in my encounters with the lifestyle. He immediately told me that he had been in the scene for 19 years. Now, in the years I have been in the community, I have never seen this guy at a party, or post to a group, or even play. I mean he talks a good game, but - personally, I can't believe he is half the top of my other friend, P. Just because you have been around, doesn't mean you really know what you are doing. This guy may be continually making the same mistakes as when he started. So instead of 19 years of expanding and growing within his skill and knowledge set, he might just have 19 years repeating the same mistakes he made at 6 months.

Now we come to the final example. I do know of a person who has been around for a long, long time, and who actually has done almost everything he can think of. We were sitting around at a National Event, and talking. There were a small group of us, with varying experiences and skill sets. This person listened quietly, offered advise when asked, and reluctantly admitted that he had been in the public kink scene for “well over a decade.” He put almost no stock in the fact he has been around that long. He was still doing his best to go to events, learn new things and discover more about himself. Later that night, I watched him play in the dungeon with a brand new bottom. He started with a calm confidence, then moved the energy of the scene up and down, until both he and the bottom slowed and connected the final dots of their aftercare. Despite not knowing her at all, it was obvious he could play her like a well tuned Stradivarius.

In all actuality, when someone says “I have been in the scene for X years,” it is stating a length of time; it is certainly not an expression of experience. A person may play 4 times a week for their one year of experience, or 2 scenes a year for their 10 years of time in the scene. So I prefer to see what they do, not what they say.

It is important to realize, whether we are new or experienced within the lifestyle that we all develop at our own rates, and through different learning curves. What makes one person great, may not be the same for another. As we develop within this skill set, our experiences are what shape our play. Each of us create our own style, methods, play and all of them are special. So the next time someone tells you they have been in the scene for years and years; smile and remember this article, then wait and watch ‘em play.

Just some thoughts on a rainy Ohio afternoon...


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