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One of the hallmarks of a SM 101 class is teaching all the different terms and phrasing the SM community has. Every community has its own language, and in order to better navigate it knowledge of some terms helps.

Words like top, bottom, switch, scene, toys, etc.

When you attend an event like Frolicon, the need to understand the words becomes doubly important. Here is an event that is chock full of SM, but isn't a SM event, and takes inspiration much more from Sci-Fi events than SM. While most the following words seem intuitive, it is an interesting thing to contrast and compare.

SM Event
Vending AreaDealer Room

There are other major differences.

At a SM event, there is no photography. At Frolicon, cameras are everywhere, and almost everyone wants to see themselves in photos. One thing that does remain the same in both events is that photography is not allowed in the dungeon. Players still get their privacy.

At a SM event, there is no drinking encouraged. Occasionally the hotel bar will be open, but all official events are dry. At Frolicon, there are drinks everywhere. There are official events like the Party Battles (where party hosts compete for being the best party of Saturday night), the Concoction contest (best drink), etc. Now again, there are some similarities. No drinking is allowed in the dungeon (hell, no outside drinks period), and if you seem to be drunk, you're out.

What I like about the above is that the conference assumes that you are an adult, and that you are responsible for your own actions. From their own rulebook posted on the website:

"Rule #1 - Do not be an idiot – If you insist on acting like an idiot, Frolicon can and will boot out without giving you a refund. If in doubt about any of the following rules, always consider this one first."

I've seen so many SM groups and events feel it necessary to hand hold their members and attendees every step of the way. And yes, I understand that there are social idiots out there, and that the SM community sometimes seems to draw them out even more. Yet events like Frolicon manage to exist fairly barrier free (the only real one being having a minimum age of 21 because of all the drinking), and still manages to provide one hell of a good time without being taken over by the idiots. How? Why?

Things to ponder over, certainly.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 14th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
See? Now that sounds quite nice.

I mean, I get a bit socially anxious, and you know what? The ability to have a damn beer would really help me get over my anxiety of asking someone to play with me. I get legally why so many kink events are dry, but OMG there is a difference between being irresponsible, and social lubricant, knowhatimean? :/

Anyway, it sounds like you had a fabulous time :)

Apr. 14th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
Isn't Frolicon a Sci-fi/gaming Convention of sorts as well?
It would explain where their mentality is coming from.

Cons tend to be more laid back.
The lingo comes from how almost all cons I have been to are based on.

As far as the idiot aspect.
I think it comes from that alot of people in Leather tend to take themselves to seriously. Alot of pomp and circumstance. e

Where at cons? How can you take yourself seriously when you are dressed up like a sexy version of rainbow brite?

People don't go to cons to try and push envelopes or make people gasp or anything like that.
See what I mean?
Apr. 14th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
Great post.
Apr. 14th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
Is there a difference in size between Frolicon and BDSM events?
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
I'm actually not sure how many total people were there. It's tough to say, because no one is one place at the same time.
Apr. 14th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
I think the count was around 1000
Apr. 14th, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
Well, that's way larger than the cons I help to run. I don't know. I think it's great that one CAN run a con that has BDSM and sex and doesn't get uptight about the occasional drink. I do think it must be an insurance issue.
Apr. 14th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
I ask mostly because I run a small LARP con with a group down in the DC-Baltimore area, and we get away with a casual attitude about liquor because we are a small enough group to self-police. Sure, there's the occasional imbecile, but the potential for damage is small. I wonder if most BDSM events aren't so large that the ability to self-police is blunted.

Or it could simply be an insurance issue.
Apr. 14th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
See above you. 1,000 people sounds right.

That's a lot of people.
Apr. 14th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
I think I should check out Frolicon one of these years. I agree that there's a huge difference having done Arisia for years. Do you think it's due in part to the kind of outcry that happens towards an SM event that probably doesn't happen to a sci-fi related con? Or do they get their share of protesters too, and I've just never noticed?
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
No protesters whatsoever. I think it might have do to with it's primary crowd being sci-fi folks - they fly under the radar.
Apr. 14th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
I've always kind of given SM event organizers the benefit of the doubt and assumed that it isn't that they don't trust us to take care of ourselves like adults, but that they feel the need to put on a show of being extra-careful and living up to a "higher standard" to somehow convince the outside world that what we do is okay. Not that I don't also have a problem with that--we should be able to demonstrate responsible adults without all the additional precautions, and sometimes all the overcautiousness can lead to a false sense of safety, and dammit, we shouldn't have to feel like we've got to go overboard to make our consensual activities okay with the rest of the world--but it at least makes me feel slightly less condescended-to by the leaders of my community.
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
I've known of both groups and events making policy decisions with the assumption that they have to corral the crowd and shield people who are less than capable of protecting themselves. It's sad to see.
Apr. 14th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Rules-

I know mine is two pages long. It's two pages long, for three reasons.

1) Some of the wording was requested/required by the hotel and/or the local constabulary.
2) The insurance carrier required something in it.
3) Someone has done something stupid and tried to hold the event responsible instead of their own dumb ass and we had to make a rule.

I'm considering adding Lolita's request from last year under the promise to have fun to include a promise to shower as well.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
I didn't grope him, as I'm not his type. But I did say a hearty hello to him!
Apr. 14th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
He groped me. I can't believe he didn't grope you. Would him groping me count? I thought it was a bit odd myself.
Apr. 14th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
At a SM event, there is no drinking encouraged. Occasionally the hotel bar will be open, but all official events are dry.

Not true with Dark Odyssey.
Apr. 14th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
I am not sure what it all means, myself. I do know that the atmosphere is hella different - I've always ID'd as Leather, yet felt best at FCon or other SM events where the feel is looser. I think it's lack of self-importance.

Not that there aren't asshats at FCon - it's just that the socially inept geek factor balances all that out, and brings the average to where I'm more comfy ;)

I LOVE the most of the Leather events I've attended. I just seem to have a better time where we're just expected to act like adults, rather than watched over by the SSC police.
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
I think the average Frolicon attendee has a different approach to SM than others. It's not about the life per se... it's about fun and sex. It's how they approach the topic which makes it exciting.
Apr. 14th, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
I think you're onto something here
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
Alright, you lost me there my friend. Too Matrix for my exhausted brain.
Apr. 14th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
Yea it's not nice to woo at Phil ;)
Apr. 14th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to say...
Your flogging class ROCKED... and was made even more entertaining from the sounds from the strap-on party next door.
Apr. 15th, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
Re: Just wanted to say...
It sounds like you are aware of other events with a similar laid back feel. Pass the info!!! We've not gone to any Leather events solely because we are not sure how we will like the stuffier atmosphere, so perhaps something closer to a leather event but still having a laid back feel would be perfect.
Apr. 15th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
Re: Just wanted to say...
You two would probably like the camps - Leather Retreat and Dark Odyssey. Leather Retreat is one of my favorite events every year - it's vacation for me.

Apr. 16th, 2009 01:38 am (UTC)
I was really interested in what you said about the photographs. I really miss being able to get pictures at an event. I think con's and BDSM events should set up photo dungeons in a closed atmosphere. Both My sluts love the pictures I take of them and it would really be nice to be able to have pictures of them in the midst of play.

It would be really easy to set up if they would just open their minds to it.

My sluts like to go home and read what I wrote here and see themselves in the throws of submission and pain. I like to give them that.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )