from the Submissive Guide Newsletter 5/24/14

One thing I learned while putting together the Guide to Your First Munch was that when someone goes to a meeting for kinky people, with the idea that they are entering a whole new world, they think that all the courtesies and manners they learned before are somehow no longer extinct. People often ask me how they should interact with others in a social setting when they have titles like Dominant or Master or slave or switch. That, in itself, is daunting to them. It scares them. They don't want to insult them or appear ignorant. In truth, those same manners and courtesy that was schooled in you as a child work here too.

I can sympathize. When I first starting learning about BDSM and D/s dynamics it was online. Online chat rooms and sites often have rules and protocol in place to help delineate who is talking. So Dominants will capitalize their name, submissives will call them Sir and capitalize their pronouns when they refer to them. It's commonplace in these chat rooms. So when the novice finally walks into a restaurant where they will meet Dominants face to face the fear that they will have to know some secret protocol regarding interaction there can freeze some people dead in their tracks.

Let's Start with Introductions

When you first meet someone an introduction breaks the ground to more conversation, an openness and an acceptance of who you are and why you are there. At the kink events I've been to, real names are not expected or asked for, except for registration purposes. But for the simple, "Hello, I'm Luna," sort you can use whatever nickname or first name you feel comfortable giving. Some people may give you a name that starts with an honorific like Sir or Master. Use these if you are comfortable or if you are certain they've been awarded the title, such as having earned their cover at a Leather event. Of course, if you are a newcomer you won't know that off-hand. It's not a necessity to use titles, even if you are submissive. The only person you should kowtow to is your own Dominant.

Once you've introduced yourself a lot of the nerves should subside. You know how the other person wishes to be addressed and you can start a conversation. So, relax! The rest is a common cordial conversation.

Manners Appear More Visible

As a child, you learn to not interrupt someone, to be polite, say please and thank you and many other social courtesies meant to be acceptable and approving. The same thing holds true here, but it does tend to seem more obvious if the event is structured as something more than a meet and greet. Treat people how you want to be treated. Going above and beyond the usual courtesies can look and sound lovely if the dynamic you are in requires it, but if it's not expected of you then just be yourself. What I mean by this is simple, I'm expected to call all known Dominants as Sir "Name" or Madam "Name". Pleases and thank you's are frequent and common with me. I do my best to be as courteous as possible. That's part of my dynamic's protocol. But if you don't have a similar protocol then it isn't necessary or expected of you.

Hugging vs Handshakes

In some areas of the country, it is not uncommon for people to hug instead of giving handshakes. Many times at munches I thought it was one big hug fest as people began to leave, but quickly realized that the ones who knew each other were the only ones hugging. If this is something that you are okay with, then accept them graciously. However, if you are uncomfortable hugging people you don't know particularly well, then quickly put out your hand for a shake or hold your hand up when they come in for a hug. It's not impolite; it's just establishing a boundary. They should pick up the signal and understand. Waving from a distance is okay too.

Hopefully, you've understood a few basic courtesies and how to interact with people in your local community!

Thoughts to Ponder

If you haven't attended a local munch yet, why not? What is it about attending a munch that scares you?

If you have attended local munches have you witnessed any inappropriate use of manners and etiquette? What did you do in those situations?