Monday, August 21, 2006

Clothing Optional

Clothing Optional

Essays on a life of P.E.
August 1, 2005
by shadow

Being new or fresh into town, BDSM play conjours up lots of fantasy ideals about what people wear when they meet for kinky sex.

Most of those fantasy writings are pure b.s. made up by folks that have never set foot outside of their computer room, many of whom do not even believe that there IS a real BDSM subculture in the world.

Meeting people, and being out in the public scene is very exciting, full of fun and laughter and sharing. Keeping in mind that this is NOT an Anne Rice novel and that you are trying to find real relationships and not kink fantasy should be high on your list of priorities.

The kind of venue you attend, and the event, will often dictate how you should look. First and foremost however, is that you start out with a clean, shaved, well groomed YOU. Wash your hair and clean under your nails, make sure that your teeth are brushed and your breath is nice. The friends you will make are just like anyone else in the world- they remember your first impression.

Unless you are attending an actual private party or dungeon, your attire should be clean, normal, vanilla casual wear for most meetings. Most munches are held in public restaurants with other patrons, and few people in the scene want to draw attention to themselves or create issues for their restaurant hosts. Dressing in clean jeans, pressed shirts, and walking shoes is always a good choice. While flamboyant, outre, devil may care dress may be your personal style, and *you* may have no reason to care who knows about you or your life, the other people at a munch or class might have a different view. Dressing to fit in rather than stand out while you make new friends will help.

Classes are another place where more restrained attire is a good idea in the beginning. Some classes are held in public dungeons, some in rented classrooms, some in private homes or even in hotels. Until you know the location and what is acceptable, lean towards the more restrained items in your wardrobe, thinking more of what you would wear to dinner with friends or dressing for a casual job interview. Cut offs, torn pants, trendy shredded things might be great with the gang, but are probably not the best choice for a first visit to a new venue.

Some classes, such as those about protocols, ethics, or legal rights, tend to be populated by more people that have more clothing. Hands on classes such as rope knots, flogging, or group demos tend to be a bit more casual, especially if advertised as workshops in private locations where the class members can shed some clothes to facilitate learning (fisting class would be a great example).

So. You think that now you have mingled a bit, met a few folks, and had a meal or 2 and it's time to head down to that public dungeon.

Now what do you wear?

Well, unless you have already spoken to a lot of people and feel really confident, try the classics. Black shirt and black pants with black shoes for males, simple nice evening wear for women. You are probably not planning on a play date that first time, and so dressing comfortably but with some care and that aura that says "tonight is special" sends out great vibes and makes it easy for others to strike up a conversation. Sandals, cut offs and T shirts should be left at home- you want to dress to impress. Use lightly scented personal hygiene items sparingly- you will be indoors and possibly in a location where there is little fresh air.

No one expects new members to show up in fetish wear, low cut blouses, lacy sleeves and a fedora sporting a shoulder full of floggers and a rash attitude. No one expects a new person (or anyone else for that matter) to come dressed in *any* particular fashion or with any intent. Those that put pressure on new folks to "get naked" at a dungeon right away are NOT the norm.

Dress sexy. Dress nice. Dress respectfully as if you were visiting old friends rather than a place where you might see nudity and sex. Keep jangly jewelry and noisy accessories to a minimum. Give yourself a chance to enjoy the night without adding to your worries with clothing that does not reflect "you".

Men have it easy in the scene. Black on Black on Black with a touch of black sox and they are fairly well *done*. But for us ladies, fetish wear and is often part of our play. It makes us feel vibrant and slim, sleek and pretty, helps us step out of "ourselves" and become that woman we want to be. Fetish wear however, does not come cheap. The average corset can easily cost $200.00, and some of the better leather ones run to $500.00. Nylons get torn, shoes need to match the nights outfit (and those heels!), and we like to have different outfits for different days and moods. You do not, however, have to spend an arm and a leg to be dressed to play.
Lots of ladies are on a budget. Shopping for fun things can run the gammut from sales at Mervyns to discount Wednesday at Good Will (which is a GREAT place to shop for tear away/knife play clothing!). Sexy night gowns are marvelous to wear before play, and if you have any flair for style simple bolts of yardage can be turned into fantasy gowns. Yes, there are lots of lovely and exspensive things to buy, from Ren Fair costumes to push up bras, but you don't have to spend a fortune.

Don't forget, once you get to playtime at a party, clothing is optional!


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