Friday, October 20, 2000

All I Really Need To Know About Leather/BDSM I Learned in Kindergarten

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #141, October 20, 2000)

The following was inspired by further reflection on the dungeon etiquette seminar that was the subject of last issue’s Leather Life column. I present it here with apologies to Robert Fulghum, who wrote the original All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten (Leather Life column published in 1989 by Villard Books, a division of Random House).

All I Really Need To Know About Leather/BDSM I Learned in Kindergarten

• It’s not nice to hit people (unless you have their consent).

• Don’t hog all the playground equipment. Take turns.

• Be polite. Learn to say “Please, Sir” and “Thank you, Mistress.”

• People will be more likely to play with you if you’re dressed and groomed attractively.

• Not everyone will want to play with you. Don’t take it personally. That’s the way the world is.

• You don’t have to play with someone if you don’t want to. And you don’t need to give a reason why you don’t want to play with them. A polite “No” is sufficient.

• If it’s not your property, keep your hands off. Don’t play with other people’s toys unless they offer them to you.

• Stay out of other people’s games unless they invite you to participate. Nobody likes a buttinsky.

• Basic sanitation is important. When you’re done playing, clean your toys and put them away. Keep the playroom clean, too, so it will be ready to go the next time you want to play.

• Curiosity is good. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s one of the best ways to learn.

• Learning is good. It will make you a happier person and a better member of society.

• Respect the people who supervise the playground. They’re not there to spoil your fun—they’re just trying to keep the playground safe for everyone.

• Learn the rules first before trying to break them. You can only color outside the lines effectively once you’ve mastered coloring inside them.

• It’s hard to play nicely with other people when you’re upset or angry. Sometimes it’s good to take a time-out and simmer down.

• Even the most energetic person eventually runs out of steam. When that happens, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break (or even a nap.)

• This is a free country. We all have the right to be ourselves, and we’re all entitled to our likes and dislikes. But other people are also entitled to theirs. If we all respect each other, even those whose preferences might be different from ours, we can all get along.

• Finally: If you can’t control the scissors, don’t run with them. You don’t want to put someone’s eye out.

International Mr./Ms. Deaf Leather 2000

PHOTO: Left: International Mr. Deaf Leather 2000 Buck Rogers (his real name). Right: International Ms. Deaf Leather 2000 “Black C.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Marcus Hernandez

More new leather titleholders: The tenth annual International Mr. and Ms. Deaf Leather contest was held on Friday, Sept. 22 in San Francisco as part of San Francisco’s Leather Pride Week (which culminated with the Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, Sept. 24). The new International Mr. Deaf Leather 2000 is Buck Rogers (his real name) of Washington, DC; the new International Ms. Deaf Leather 2000 is “Black C” of Tucson, AZ.

These new titleholders will spend their title year as highly visible representatives of the deaf leather community. You didn’t know there was such a thing? Try typing “deaf leather” into your favorite Web search engine—you’ll be impressed with the number of web pages your search will return. The existence of the deaf leather community speaks highly both of the general leather community’s commitment to inclusion and of the deaf leather community’s resolve to live life to the fullest without letting their hearing impairment get in the way.

If you want to find out more about the deaf leather community (and the deaf bear community as well), here are some websites to get you started: visit www.deafleather.com or www.bladeaf.org (the website of the Baltimore Leather Association of the Deaf).

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