Category Archives: Louisville Munch

Saturday Munch

Last night was the January Saturday Munch, the first munch of 2013, the first month of our 16th year.

That alone still seems amazing.

Both Friday and Saturday munch were large ones, which is usually the case.

I think the reason is at least two-fold.

On one hand, I think people by January have gotten through the work parties and the family parties and all the holiday festivities.

Families are not always easy for kinky people.  We often feel as though we don’t fit in, as though we’re aliens at the table, or at least I do, and I doubt I’m alone there.

We spend time trying to blend and when we can stop it’s a relief and we go back to being who we are with the people we want to be.

Secondly, I think it has a lot to do with resolutions.

I think for a lot of people, one of the resolutions they make is to explore kink in a new year.  They’re tired of missing out, or feeling like they’re missing out on something.

They’ve spent a long time, decades sometimes, thinking about things they might want to experience, and now it’s a new year and all the talk about resolutions and life changes get to them.

Some people join a gym, some people come to a munch.

There were, then, not unexpectedly a lot of new people at both munches.  Traditionally February was always the biggest munch, for all the reasons listed above, plus the fact that I figured it took January for people to work up their courage to actually walk through the door.

It was a pleasant enough munch, though I did have to address something I’d have been happier not to, but that is not always the case.

There had been, apparently, some gossip that there had been differences between the Munch and Fringe Elements, which is preposterous, which is what I had to speak about.

I reminded people how close the Munch has always been to my heart, and how important it is to me.  I also invited anyone who believed there was a problem to bring it to me directly, and look me in the eye to tell me about it.

I doubt there will be anyone who will do it, because there rarely is, but I think I made my position clear, and that was the point of it.

Sometimes making it clear that you’re inviting people to confront you directly is the best way to ensure that they won’t.

Friday Munch

slave drew and I will be going to the Friday munch shortly.  It’s at a Chinese buffet that’s actually quite good.

We’re doing a short Fringe Elements Board of Directors meeting afterwards.

We were originally scheduled to have one last night, too, but once I started looking at it, I realized that we had the Friday munch tonight, the Saturday munch tomorrow, a BoD meeting again next Tuesday to finalize plans for the event next Friday, then Thursday setup for the party, Friday night party, Saturday cleanup.

That means that out of the next 10 days, six of them will be taken up with kink events, and the Board meeting last night would have made it seven.

That seemed excessive, and since we all go to the Friday munch anyway, we’ll do a quick meeting, confirm the classes for the Taster’s Choice party and talk about venues, then we’ll meet next week to finalize.

I had a busy day with errands.  It was a grocery run and a library run and a drug store run and lunch out with a friend and I slept in a bit, too, which was nice.

Tomorrow, I want to do some web work, and I should be able to make some progress.

I appreciated all the comments yesterday about the Kerouac quote.  One of them, by aisha, struck me funny.

She said: You are possibly Roman Candle enough for any room!

Isn’t it funny that I don’t see myself that way, or maybe it’s not, who knows?  I see myself in a more boring light, I suppose.

Part of it probably is that one spends so much time with oneself.  I know, for instance, that yesterday I spent all day in my flannel pajamas with Scotties printed on them.  I know that I took a nap in the afternoon because I’d slept so poorly and that it was one of those really nice naps, the kind where you’re warm and cozy and the bed feels lovely and you drift off.

And why is it always that what wakes you up from a nap is having to pee?  You never just wake up and lie there.  It’s like you wake up, as drew would say, having to pee like a racehorse.

Anyway, I suppose that you spend so much time in your own head and skin that it never occurs to you that you are the Roman Candle.

I’m the geeky and boring girl from the desert, you know.

So, it’s nice to know that someone else sees you as a Roman Candle.

I also meant to mention the other night that I had watched a show with slave drew, one we both liked a lot, that I should recommend.

We both like Sherlock Holmes, and one of the newer iterations of it we both like a lot stars someone who carries my current most favorite moniker: Benedict Cumberbatch.

Is that not a fabulous name and yes, he’s been in some other things, too, but what I’ve seen him most in is Sherlock.  They are reimaginings of a lot of the original stories.

“A Study in Scarlet,” becomes “A Study in Pink”, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” becomes “The Hounds of Baskerville”, and “A Scandal in Bohemia,” becomes “A Scandal in Belgravia.”

It is the latter that I want to particularly mention.

The plot synopsis is this: Following a bizarre stand-off with master criminal Moriarty, ended when the villain responds to a phone call, Sherlock interrupts his investigation of a rural slaying when summoned to Buckingham Palace. Dominatrix Irene Adler has incriminating photos of a royal princess which Sherlock is engaged to retrieve. However, having engineered a meeting with Irene, Sherlock realizes that she has far more dangerous evidence in her possession, sought by rogue CIA agents, and which cause her to fake her death and pass the facts, encrypted in her camera phone, to Sherlock. Having deciphered the explosive result and discovered a government plot, Sherlock has to consider if Irene can be trusted and indeed if she is in league with Moriarty.

It’s a really nice retelling of the introduction of the one whom Sherlock only refers to as “The Woman,” and it was very well done, with a certain amount of kink references.

If you have Netflix or Amazon Instant Video, I believe it’s on both, and I quite like it.  Give it a shot.

And now, off to the munch.

 

Kink First – My First Munch

I bet you thought I’d forgotten this thread, huh?

Nah, I just got caught up with the holiday and the dining room renovation, and all that kind of distractions.

So, anyway, the first munch I ever went to was in Lexington, Kentucky.  It would have been the summer, probably June or July, of 1997.

I don’t know that it was called a munch, I honestly don’t remember.

I had ended my previous relationship and now had the ability to do what I wanted and I wanted to find a community of some kind.

The munch was held at a horrible Ryan’s Steak House, and a couple named Denise and Jeff were running it at the time.

There weren’t a lot of people there, maybe 20 or so.  I guess I knew a couple of people already from online.  I don’t remember being nervous about going in, but surely I was, at least a little.

I actually went to Lexington munches regularly for a number of years, probably for six or eight years I hardly missed any munches there.

I saw the munch there through multiple hosts, some good, some not so bad, one downright damaging.

I moved to Indianapolis in January of 1998 for a job.  I’d started the munches in Louisville just a few months before, but Indy wasn’t that far, two hours away, I came down for every munch for the year I lived out of town.

I also took over the Indianapolis munch for the year I was there.  The people who’d run it before were about to shut it down, and I wrote and asked them to give it to me instead, which they did.

I went back to the Indy munch periodically over the years, though it finally ceased to operate about two years ago.

I’ve been to munches in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Bloomington, Indiana.

I may well have been to other munches that I have forgotten over the years.

So maybe this should really be called Munches I Have Known.

I’ve known a lot of munches.  Some were more welcoming, some were less.  Some lasted, some disappeared after a few months.

And in the end, they all had value because they all gave the community a place to gather, and a group of like-minded people to gather with.

And wherever they were, that’s the important thing.

An Embarrassment of Riches

So, we had the Special Interest Group this afternoon.  This is our sort of annual business meeting.

In November, we talk about potential changes for the next year and set our topics.

In December, we have a fun topic, but this time we’re going to do a Kinky Gift Exchange.

It’s a game you may well have played at an office party or family gathering.  You bring a wrapped present, in this case something under $10.  If there are 20 people there, you write the numbers one through 20 on pieces of paper, and each person chooses a number.

The person who draws number 1 picks a package and opens it.  Person 2 then has a choice to take the item that Person 1 has, or open a different package.

If he takes one of the previously opened gifts, then the person whose gift has been “stolen,” can choose to steal a gift from anyone save the person who has stolen the gift from then, or opening a package.

And so on, to the end.  It’s a game in which later number are really better than earlier, but it can be quite amusing when you have a few gifts that everyone wants, or something that one or two people REALLY want.

So, we’ll do that next month, then start the whole thing again in January.

It was a smallish group, probably because next week is the holiday and lots of people will take off this week to visit family, or the holiday festivities are just beginning.  aisha, one of my favorite people, was there, and Cerrin and Charles and jacki and Cuffs and Joy and Fred and Sarah and Caile and some other folks as well.

Usually we have some social time but this is the one time in the year when we have business, so I was doing almost all of the talking.

We talked about maintaining D/s dynamics, the first time we’ve talked about that, and while it had value I need to tweak it.  It had little for single people, or people who were kind of new to it, it’s hard to maintain what you don’t have or are still growing.

I got, I think, the biggest laugh when I said that my concern with slave drew being the one to pull the plug because, knowing him, he’d say, “She’s probably going to die anyway, and look at all the electricity she’s using!”

While yanking the plug.

I believe aisha nearly choked on that one.

As I’ve said a lot of times before, we have an embarrassment of riches in terms of community in this area.  We have more things to do than you can do, sometimes in a literal sense and always in the sense of having enough energy/time/money to do them all.

It’s not egotism to say that the kink community in Louisville most certainly and even, to some extent, bears much of my mark.  I mean, I founded the munch which really kind of founded the community as a whole.  I came in early on the wave from the Internet that brought in so many people, and I was always able to ride the storm, to continue the metaphor, even when it was stormy seas.

In any case, I have genuinely never seen “competing” groups as being competing, not really.  We have a newish Club FEM group – it’s been around a couple years, maybe a bit more, but I think with some fits and starts, we formed a MAsT chapter here in the last year, we have another new group that’s recently formed.

We have a lot of meetings and groups and opportunities and most of them are lead or headed by different people.  There is some crossover, certainly, and I am involved in many things, but not all.  I never felt that we should look at it as a pie that could only be cut into so many pieces, but more like an ocean in that, you could never take out enough to fill one thing to empty it.

For most people it isn’t a choice of either/or, it’s a choice of this or nothing.

When Paradox was still around and active and the two groups were very friendly, it became obvious that it was not a case of people having to choose, because people didn’t have to.

We were very careful, all of us, not to schedule things against each other and we often collaborated on events or attended each others’ gatherings.

And yet, not a lot of people attended both.

Some did.  I went to most things, or at least went to nearly everything at least occasionally, from Louisville Munches to Paradox to Lexington to Elizabethtown to Indianapolis to Bloomington.

I was probably the only one who attended all those things, but there was some crossover, always.

But not as much as you would think.

It became clear that people got different things from different groups.  There was no reason to feel other groups were a threat.

I am in the top percentage in terms of how much your kink absorbs your life in a sort of non-personal sense.  I spend what is probably an inordinate amount of time thinking about power exchange and kinky relationships and the dynamics of this lifestyle.  I socialize extensively with people who are also kinky and hardly with anyone who doesn’t at least know I am.

I go to probably a half dozen events a year, every year, and that’s not counting a run to Lexington or Cincinnati or Indianapolis for a contest or a meeting or party.  Almost all traveling I do has some kink dimension to it.

And all of that is an incredibly long-winded way of saying, I wonder if more people would be like me if they had the options we have, and the freedom that I’ve been lucky enough to have in terms of other commitments and opportunities.

I know I’m a bit of an anomaly, in that in some ways I am very public, but still very private in others.

If you’ve been invited to my house, then you’re on a short list.  If you have my cell number, it’s a bigger list, but you probably have it for a reason, not just because you HAVE it.

But I am clearly unusually public in how I live my life and my sexual and relationship choices.

Are there people out there who think, “Wow, I’d do that, too, if I could, if that much was available, or if I had time or energy or money.”

Or do most people think, “My kink is private and I don’t need my social life to center around it, or my whole life, for that matter…”

As often happens, this is not the blog I started to write.  I even had to change the title, I was going to call it “The Fallacy of Time,” and talk about how time fools us.

I had a long list of things that I would have time to do this weekend and guess what, it’s 10pm on Sunday night and I did not do many of those things.

I did some, but not a lot.  Some were bigger tasks, like getting the dining room together, figuring where things will go, where will they fit, how will they fit, trying to group like things together, that’s more time consuming than one would think.

I’m close to having dishes put away, but there’s still the living room to empty from the rest of the dining room, chairs, etc.

There are a couple of pictures to hang, a shelf and a panel to install.

Then I have to empty the kitchen of the things that go into the living room that have been there because the dining room had to be emptied and so on and so forth.

So, now I’ve not done something else while I wrote more about not having time to do all I wanted.

I think there’s a pattern there.

Post Munch Redux

So, I’ve been to two munches in two days.  That’s a fair amount.

Friday’s munch was at a Chinese buffet, and there were quite a few people, 40 or more.  The air conditioner had been off in the room so it was, I am told, quite hot, though I wasn’t uncomfortable.  Heat rarely bothers me.

The buffet had crab legs, and I got some, cracked them, went and washed my hands, then cracked a few more, then went and washed my hands again.  As I turned to leave the room, something caught my eye and I thought, “Why are there urin– Oh, my god…”  No one had been in the bathroom, obviously, either time, for which I am grateful.  I went in again one last time thinking, well, maybe they look just alike and I didn’t go into the wrong one the first time.  It was clear I was wrong, however.  I was in the men’s room both times.

Oh, well.

I got a gift Friday night from friends at the munch.  They had gone to a flea market and found these at it.  They said, “We knew these were for Ms Constance.”  I actually have two more just like them, so I now have a set of four juice glasses, which is particularly nice.

I left the munch relatively early, but that’s easier to do when you know there’s another one the next night.

Saturday’s munch was at Bearno’s by the Bridge, the original location of the munch and our home for the first dozen years.  An enormous stadium was built literally a block away a couple years back, and really made it unusable as a venue for a couple of years and it’s still problematic.  When there’s nothing going on at the stadium, it works fine.  When there is…

In any case it was kind of an appropriate location, since it had an old home week flavor with all the blasts from the past who were there.

One of the things I learned from doing munches for so long was that people come and go.  There are few constants, people who stick around and come regularly, but even they fade over time.  The munches will celebrate their 15th anniversary this year, so that’s a long time.

Time passes and things change.

Sometimes people come in to test the waters.  Sometimes this works for them, sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes the issue is that it turns out it’s really mostly a sexual thing for them, not a “lifestyle,” and they find us a little hardcore, in the end.  And that’s ok.

Sometimes people come in to find a partner or a playmate.  The find it, and they disappear, presumably exploring whatever it is that interests them.

Sometimes life intercedes.  They get a new job that has more or different hours, or lose a job and don’t have the energy or wherewithal to attend.  They have a baby or their children’s lives and needs come first, which is understandable.  They suffer ill health or a difficult diagnosis.  They move, they marry, they divorce, they go to college or they graduate.  Life interferes.

Sometimes they seem to simply have gotten all they can from the group and they move on, and that’s also fine.  There’s no time limit, it’s open to anyone with an interest, they don’t have to commit.

The one thing that can happen to me is someone who hasn’t come for a long time, or at least not come regularly, shows up.  I am the only familiar face they see, so they gravitate to me.  That’s fine, but they cling to me as if I am the only thing between them and drowning, while saying again and again that they just don’t recognize ANYone, that no one from “the old days” is there.

Now, bear in mind, their “old days” and my “old days” are usually not the same.  They mean three or five or eight years ago.  I mean ten or 15.  And the reason there are no familiar faces is because they do not come regularly.  They expect, I imagine, that the world remains static in their absence, which it never does.

And it isn’t that I mind visiting a bit, but it can be delicate when they plop themselves down beside me and don’t make a real effort to meet any of the people that ARE there.  When they do that, for instance, there isn’t always room for the people who come regularly, whom I genuinely consider friends, and with whom I really do want to visit.

So, last night was a good night, with familiar faces and some new folks, some folks I like, some I actually don’t, and some I haven’t bothered to form an opinion on.

In other words, it was a typical munch.

Late Night

It is quite late now, well after 1am, particularly late for someone who’s been getting up at 6am or so of late.

Another munch is history, a big one tonight, 85 people or so.  Lots of new folks, and lots of old friends, which was nice to see.

Harold, who came to the very first munch, was there, and sat next to me.

aisha, one of my favorites, sat across from me.

Ambrosio, visiting from Texas sat across from me.

Alan was there, too, another face that we don’t see often these days.

There were lots of new folks, too, as there always are, and lots was said and done and I’m sure I’ll be more able to blog about it comprehensibly tomorrow, when I have had a bit more sleep.

For now, however, my pillow beckons and I don’t intend to keep it waiting much longer.

A good night to you all, and since this is short, I’ll add a poem by my favorite poet of all time, Sara Teasdale.

 

Morning Song  (1920)
by Sara Teasdale

A diamond of a morning
Waked me an hour too soon;
Dawn had taken in the stars
And left the faint white moon.

O white moon, you are lonely,
It is the same with me,
But we have the world to roam over,
Only the lonely are free.

 

What to Expect at a Munch

It occurred to me that I have never posted the single piece of writing that has been used more than anything else I’ve ever done.  I wrote it years ago, back in 2000, because I got so many people asking me about munches.  Since then it’s been used in introductory packets all over the world, literally – I got a request from South Africa, years back, and if you do a Google search on it as ” What to Expect at a Munch,” the first 150 or so, at least, references are to this article.

 

What to Expect at a Munch

If you’ve never been to a munch before, the prospect can be very intimidating. What should you expect, how should you behave, how should you dress, what might happen, what might not? When you add that to a lifestyle that can seem terribly intimidating on its own, the terror mounts. I thought it might be helpful, particularly for novices, to know what to expect on a rather detailed level.

A munch is a social gathering. They’ve been around for quite a while, after legendarily starting in Portland, Oregon, a city known for the scope of BDSM activities available. It’s a combination of the word lunch or brunch and meeting. There are also other meetings called sloshes, which are similar, only the focus is less likely to be on a meal. Bear in mind, too, that there are a number of people in this lifestyle who are recovering alcoholics and drinking to excess doesn’t usually fit well with the things we do. The word “slosh,” then, refers to the liquid refreshments, not to the state of the attendees. If you prefer not to drink, no one will think it odd in any gathering if you stick to soft drinks or coffee. You won’t be the only one.

Munches are designed to provide a safe and public location for people with a common interest to gather. Not every munch or every munch organizer has exactly the same agenda, so bear in mind these are general truths. It’s a good idea to let the host know you’re coming to a munch if you’ve never been before, just to make sure that your information is current or that you don’t need an invitation or a reference from someone. In addition, some locations make it necessary to know how many people to expect. Most munches are open to the public, but rules do vary, so it’s wise to check. The host will appreciate knowing to expect a new face, as well.

What you can expect to happen at a munch is not really much different than what might happen at a company party or a class reunion or a bowling banquet. If you accidentally wandered into the room, what you’d see is a group of people, numbering from 10 or 12 up to 50 or 60, depending on the location and popularity of that munch. Munches are almost always held in public locations, so fetishwear isn’t appropriate. You might note a few more pieces of leather clothing – vests, skirts, jeans – but not of a style to cause comment and nothing to tip off anyone. You might notice some collars in the room, but nothing that couldn’t be passed off as a fashion statement. On first glance, we look like any other group of people, which we are, after all.

The next thing you might notice is that the people in the room are doing a lot of laughing and talking. If you wandered around the room, you’d overhear conversations about the preferred material for floggers, or the new corset that’s just been ordered, but you’d also hear conversations about a child’s graduation, or the car that broke down, or the movie that was on television last night. We are a regular group of people. We have, by and large, regular lives. We pay taxes and obey traffic laws (well, ok, MOST of them), and have jobs and houses and families.

The usual age range in most groups is late 20’s to late 40’s. That’s not to say that you won’t see both younger and older people there, simply that the bulk of people would fall into those ranges. If you’re older or younger, don’t feel disqualified or unwelcome. You’re not. Please make sure that you’re of legal age, but beyond that, age is unimportant. There are some groups that are more geared to older members or younger ones, but I’ve never known anyone to be sent away because of their age, as long as they were over 21. That is the youngest most groups admit.

Munches are usually a good mix of males and females, of singles and couples and of Tops and bottoms. That is not to say that it’s evenly divided among those catagories, only that it’s a mix of them. It seems that there are more submissives than dominants, but the ratio is not usually wildly skewed, either.

What shouldn’t you assume a munch is, unless you’re told otherwise specifically? It’s not a dating service. It’s not a singles group. It’s not a swinger’s club. The purpose of a munch is not specifically to find you a date and/or a partner. If the only reason you come to a munch is for that reason, you are likely to be disappointed. Relationships take time and effort and relationships in this lifestyle are no different. If anything, they require more of both. It’s possible you’ll meet someone who is appealing to you, and that something will come from it, but if that is the only reason you go, you’re unlikely to find it. At best, the expectation is unrealistic. At worst, it’s predatory behavior and completely unwelcome in responsible circles.

The best reason to attend a munch is to find people who have similar interests as you, people with whom you can talk and learn from, whether you are a novice or an experienced player. The more people you know, the more likely it is that you WILL find someone who captures your fancy. Consider, too, the odds of dating in the vanilla world and just hoping that you’ll find someone who won’t run screaming into the night when you bring out the ropes. At least at a munch, you know that issue is already dealt with.

As to what to wear, dress as you would dress for dinner and a movie on the weekend, wear what you’d wear to go out on a date. If you like to dress up, this is a good place for it. If, on the other hand, you want to wear a sweatshirt and jeans, feel free. No one will throw you out and you won’t be the only one. Clothing at an average munch will range from relatively casual to party clothes, and all of them are welcome. Again, this isn’t the time to wear that fabulous new latex dress with the cut-out breasts, because they’re normally at public locations. If you’re still unsure, check with the host. A good bet for the first time is something in the dressy casual range, nice jeans and a sweater, khakis and a sport shirt.

What you should expect to happen at a munch is that you’ll talk to some pleasant people about a lot of things, nothing more. There won’t be an orgy in the back booth, there won’t be an intense scene at the table next to you, you won’t be expected to participate in anything other than conversation. Nothing will happen at 99% of munches that you might not see from a fairly rowdy and happy group in any restaurant. If you’re a submissive, you’re not expected to be anything but courteous to anyone, unless you’ve expressly agreed to do so. If you’re a dominant, the only submissive you have a right to expect anything other than courtesy from is the submissive(s) with whom you have that relationship. Don’t expect someone who is not employed by the establishment to fetch you a drink and don’t feel compelled to offer to fetch anyone else a drink, unless you truly want to do so.

If you feel uncomfortable with a situation, please tell the host. We would very much rather deal with something at the time it happens than find out later that there was a problem we never knew about. Bear in mind, too, that these ARE public events. While it’s probably a good start that the person you’ve met who seems so interesting is attending a munch, it does not vouch for his or her character. Don’t assume that everyone you meet there is safe and trustworthy simply due to their presence. Most are, in fact, but you still need to behave as responsibly as you would had you met them in other circumstances. If you do run into someone you’d like to get to know better, giving your email address is usually safer than giving your phone number.

Many people worry about the discretion of attending a public meeting. It IS possible that you will meet someone you know. If, on the other hand, you do, they’re at the same event you’re attending. It’s rather hard to point fingers at someone else for an interest that you share. When and if you run into someone you know from a munch in a vanilla setting, please remember to respect their privacy. Most people won’t mind a greeting, but keep in mind the situation, as well. If you didn’t know that nice man you’ve talked to at the munches was married, and you’re a beautiful blond female 20 years his junior, probably greeting him with a big hug and a kiss in front of the woman who is probably his wife is NOT a good idea. Be discreet and treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

Munches vary in terms of how expensive they are. Most are as expensive as you’d like them to be, meaning you’re responsible only for what you order. If you want to have a single soft drink, then that’s the cost. If you want dinner and appetizers and dessert, that’s the cost. Some have arrangements with the location for a set menu, or must pay for a room and may ask you to contribute something – usually under $5 – to cover that expense. If your funds are limited, check with the host(s).

Bear in mind that as long as you keep servers happy and don’t antagonize other patrons, restaurants will usually welcome you. If you’re in a public room, the people around you did not consent to hear your overly-loud descriptions of the exquisite spanking you delivered last night. They have a right to their privacy and the enjoyment of their meal as much as you do. However, I think conversations held in normal tones of voice are the business of those having them, and if someone chooses to listen, they should be able to deal with what they hear. If you have a more private location, those concerns will be lessened. Take your cue from those around you who have been there before.

Keep your restaurant servers happy. While you may only have had a single soft drink, you still are expected to leave a tip. Munches often occupy tables for three and four hours. I don’t believe 15% is enough to tip in those situations. We, above others, should recognize and reward good service. Your one soft drink may have been refilled ten times. You’re not obliged to tip for poor service, but if the service was adequate, leave a decent tip. If it was good service, leave a good tip. If you’re on a tight budget, you need to take that tip into account in terms of what you order. It IS part of the cost to you and you should not consider it discretionary or optional.

Say please and thank you to the server and keep in mind that one person may be covering a room of up to 40 people, so be patient. Hosts often don’t know how many people to expect, so the restaurant may not be prepared for the number of people that attend. Many times restaurants will make soft drinks available on a serve-yourself basis. If they do, take advantage of that to allow the server to concentrate on food orders. If the service is slow, please don’t sit at your table and complain loudly to everyone around you about it. You’re not there for a fine dining experience, you’re there to enjoy the company of others who share your interests. If you walk through the door expecting to have a good time, you’re almost guaranteed to be right.

© Ms Constance, 2000

What to Expect at a Munch

It occurred to me that I have never posted the single piece of writing that has been used more than anything else I’ve ever done.  I wrote it years ago, back in 2000, because I got so many people asking me about munches.  Since then it’s been used in introductory packets all over the world, literally – I got a request from South Africa, years back, and if you do a Google search on it as ” What to Expect at a Munch,” the first 150 or so, at least, references are to this article.

 

What to Expect at a Munch

If you’ve never been to a munch before, the prospect can be very intimidating. What should you expect, how should you behave, how should you dress, what might happen, what might not? When you add that to a lifestyle that can seem terribly intimidating on its own, the terror mounts. I thought it might be helpful, particularly for novices, to know what to expect on a rather detailed level.

A munch is a social gathering. They’ve been around for quite a while, after legendarily starting in Portland, Oregon, a city known for the scope of BDSM activities available. It’s a combination of the word lunch or brunch and meeting. There are also other meetings called sloshes, which are similar, only the focus is less likely to be on a meal. Bear in mind, too, that there are a number of people in this lifestyle who are recovering alcoholics and drinking to excess doesn’t usually fit well with the things we do. The word “slosh,” then, refers to the liquid refreshments, not to the state of the attendees. If you prefer not to drink, no one will think it odd in any gathering if you stick to soft drinks or coffee. You won’t be the only one.

Munches are designed to provide a safe and public location for people with a common interest to gather. Not every munch or every munch organizer has exactly the same agenda, so bear in mind these are general truths. It’s a good idea to let the host know you’re coming to a munch if you’ve never been before, just to make sure that your information is current or that you don’t need an invitation or a reference from someone. In addition, some locations make it necessary to know how many people to expect. Most munches are open to the public, but rules do vary, so it’s wise to check. The host will appreciate knowing to expect a new face, as well.

What you can expect to happen at a munch is not really much different than what might happen at a company party or a class reunion or a bowling banquet. If you accidentally wandered into the room, what you’d see is a group of people, numbering from 10 or 12 up to 50 or 60, depending on the location and popularity of that munch. Munches are almost always held in public locations, so fetishwear isn’t appropriate. You might note a few more pieces of leather clothing – vests, skirts, jeans – but not of a style to cause comment and nothing to tip off anyone. You might notice some collars in the room, but nothing that couldn’t be passed off as a fashion statement. On first glance, we look like any other group of people, which we are, after all.

The next thing you might notice is that the people in the room are doing a lot of laughing and talking. If you wandered around the room, you’d overhear conversations about the preferred material for floggers, or the new corset that’s just been ordered, but you’d also hear conversations about a child’s graduation, or the car that broke down, or the movie that was on television last night. We are a regular group of people. We have, by and large, regular lives. We pay taxes and obey traffic laws (well, ok, MOST of them), and have jobs and houses and families.

The usual age range in most groups is late 20’s to late 40’s. That’s not to say that you won’t see both younger and older people there, simply that the bulk of people would fall into those ranges. If you’re older or younger, don’t feel disqualified or unwelcome. You’re not. Please make sure that you’re of legal age, but beyond that, age is unimportant. There are some groups that are more geared to older members or younger ones, but I’ve never known anyone to be sent away because of their age, as long as they were over 21. That is the youngest most groups admit.

Munches are usually a good mix of males and females, of singles and couples and of Tops and bottoms. That is not to say that it’s evenly divided among those catagories, only that it’s a mix of them. It seems that there are more submissives than dominants, but the ratio is not usually wildly skewed, either.

What shouldn’t you assume a munch is, unless you’re told otherwise specifically? It’s not a dating service. It’s not a singles group. It’s not a swinger’s club. The purpose of a munch is not specifically to find you a date and/or a partner. If the only reason you come to a munch is for that reason, you are likely to be disappointed. Relationships take time and effort and relationships in this lifestyle are no different. If anything, they require more of both. It’s possible you’ll meet someone who is appealing to you, and that something will come from it, but if that is the only reason you go, you’re unlikely to find it. At best, the expectation is unrealistic. At worst, it’s predatory behavior and completely unwelcome in responsible circles.

The best reason to attend a munch is to find people who have similar interests as you, people with whom you can talk and learn from, whether you are a novice or an experienced player. The more people you know, the more likely it is that you WILL find someone who captures your fancy. Consider, too, the odds of dating in the vanilla world and just hoping that you’ll find someone who won’t run screaming into the night when you bring out the ropes. At least at a munch, you know that issue is already dealt with.

As to what to wear, dress as you would dress for dinner and a movie on the weekend, wear what you’d wear to go out on a date. If you like to dress up, this is a good place for it. If, on the other hand, you want to wear a sweatshirt and jeans, feel free. No one will throw you out and you won’t be the only one. Clothing at an average munch will range from relatively casual to party clothes, and all of them are welcome. Again, this isn’t the time to wear that fabulous new latex dress with the cut-out breasts, because they’re normally at public locations. If you’re still unsure, check with the host. A good bet for the first time is something in the dressy casual range, nice jeans and a sweater, khakis and a sport shirt.

What you should expect to happen at a munch is that you’ll talk to some pleasant people about a lot of things, nothing more. There won’t be an orgy in the back booth, there won’t be an intense scene at the table next to you, you won’t be expected to participate in anything other than conversation. Nothing will happen at 99% of munches that you might not see from a fairly rowdy and happy group in any restaurant. If you’re a submissive, you’re not expected to be anything but courteous to anyone, unless you’ve expressly agreed to do so. If you’re a dominant, the only submissive you have a right to expect anything other than courtesy from is the submissive(s) with whom you have that relationship. Don’t expect someone who is not employed by the establishment to fetch you a drink and don’t feel compelled to offer to fetch anyone else a drink, unless you truly want to do so.

If you feel uncomfortable with a situation, please tell the host. We would very much rather deal with something at the time it happens than find out later that there was a problem we never knew about. Bear in mind, too, that these ARE public events. While it’s probably a good start that the person you’ve met who seems so interesting is attending a munch, it does not vouch for his or her character. Don’t assume that everyone you meet there is safe and trustworthy simply due to their presence. Most are, in fact, but you still need to behave as responsibly as you would had you met them in other circumstances. If you do run into someone you’d like to get to know better, giving your email address is usually safer than giving your phone number.

Many people worry about the discretion of attending a public meeting. It IS possible that you will meet someone you know. If, on the other hand, you do, they’re at the same event you’re attending. It’s rather hard to point fingers at someone else for an interest that you share. When and if you run into someone you know from a munch in a vanilla setting, please remember to respect their privacy. Most people won’t mind a greeting, but keep in mind the situation, as well. If you didn’t know that nice man you’ve talked to at the munches was married, and you’re a beautiful blond female 20 years his junior, probably greeting him with a big hug and a kiss in front of the woman who is probably his wife is NOT a good idea. Be discreet and treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

Munches vary in terms of how expensive they are. Most are as expensive as you’d like them to be, meaning you’re responsible only for what you order. If you want to have a single soft drink, then that’s the cost. If you want dinner and appetizers and dessert, that’s the cost. Some have arrangements with the location for a set menu, or must pay for a room and may ask you to contribute something – usually under $5 – to cover that expense. If your funds are limited, check with the host(s).

Bear in mind that as long as you keep servers happy and don’t antagonize other patrons, restaurants will usually welcome you. If you’re in a public room, the people around you did not consent to hear your overly-loud descriptions of the exquisite spanking you delivered last night. They have a right to their privacy and the enjoyment of their meal as much as you do. However, I think conversations held in normal tones of voice are the business of those having them, and if someone chooses to listen, they should be able to deal with what they hear. If you have a more private location, those concerns will be lessened. Take your cue from those around you who have been there before.

Keep your restaurant servers happy. While you may only have had a single soft drink, you still are expected to leave a tip. Munches often occupy tables for three and four hours. I don’t believe 15% is enough to tip in those situations. We, above others, should recognize and reward good service. Your one soft drink may have been refilled ten times. You’re not obliged to tip for poor service, but if the service was adequate, leave a decent tip. If it was good service, leave a good tip. If you’re on a tight budget, you need to take that tip into account in terms of what you order. It IS part of the cost to you and you should not consider it discretionary or optional.

Say please and thank you to the server and keep in mind that one person may be covering a room of up to 40 people, so be patient. Hosts often don’t know how many people to expect, so the restaurant may not be prepared for the number of people that attend. Many times restaurants will make soft drinks available on a serve-yourself basis. If they do, take advantage of that to allow the server to concentrate on food orders. If the service is slow, please don’t sit at your table and complain loudly to everyone around you about it. You’re not there for a fine dining experience, you’re there to enjoy the company of others who share your interests. If you walk through the door expecting to have a good time, you’re almost guaranteed to be right.

© Ms Constance, 2000

Sunday Munch

Today was the Sunday munch, which was fun, followed by running out of gas on the scooter on the way home, which was less fun, but not a big deal.

We got the side bed we wanted to put in done today, and drew made me a small desk I needed.

We saw friends at the munch, talked to a new person or two, immediately decided whether or not I liked them – one yes, one no – and prepared for another week, basically.

Except now, it’s time for bed, so I’m going to leave with a poem, because it’s my blog and I can.

Sara Teasdale is my all-time favorite poet, and I have memorized her poetry for 40 years now.  This has always been one of my favorites.

Desert Pools

I love too much; I am a river
Surging with spring that seeks the sea,
I am too generous a giver,
Love will not stoop to drink of me.

His feet will turn to desert places
Shadowless, reft of rain and dew,
Where stars stare down with sharpened faces
From heavens pitilessly blue.

And there at midnight sick with faring,
He will stoop down in his desire
To slake the thirst grown past all bearing
In stagnant water keen as fire.

Sara Teasdale