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I don't know what is real anymore.

I'm starting to feel like a grumpy old man.

I miss the days when people moved slowly. When SM and kink was this huge fruit that was meant to peel back slowly, cautiously, step by step.

When I was young, the world of SM stood in front of me like the tallest skyscraper in the world. Huge, endless, terrifying. Holding my first flogger was such a big deal! I couldn't imagine moving past that... how the flogger so captured my attention. Canes, singletails... they were scary! I didn't try them for years after. They captivated me and terrified me, and I didn't dare touch them until I was ready.

I've had 20 year olds tell me about all the types of edge play they want to try. Shit I didn't get to until my 30's. I remember I was so rare when I came out... someone in their twenties being able to find organized SM, to find education, to be exposed to all these new edges. That in the late 90's, which is so not that long ago(!), it was people in their 40's that were finding these kinks for the 1st time.

It took me years to become who I am today. Years of exploring... step by step. I would try kinks or techniques one at a time, slowly, surely. Gradually wading into the pool so that I didn't go too deep too fast.

I feel like people do that much less today. It's so much... faster.  I see the things people are teaching, myself included... I see how people soak it up, people the same age as when I started. The hyperactivity of it all, the whirling dervishness of having to try everything now now NOW!

Rope suspensions used to be such a big deal, such an accomplishment! Now it's the first thing people try. Needles were so advanced, so edgy! Now its an afterthought.

Am I really that jaded? Have I really turned into the curmudgeon parent who I used to snide about? Am I now guilty of romanticizing the past, just as I have accused others of?

I'm so uncertain of myself. I can't figure out if what I am feeling is reality, or if I'm simply rewriting my past, if I'm growing wistful for something that really didn't exist.

Maybe today is the way it always was. Maybe I didn't see it, because I didn't have my eyes open. I didn't have the perspective.

I just know that I'm a tad bit sad about it all. And I don't quite know what to do about it.

I'm tired of bitching. *sigh*


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 16th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
I've been old and grumpy in similar ways lately. "Kids today move so fast." Part of it, for me, is envy of the opportunities they have and the freedom they feel to seize them. Then again, I like the fact that big new steps are big new steps for me so... perhaps I wouldn't trade.
Oct. 16th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
We think too much
I know we were just talking about this outside, but I figure it should be a part of the conversation.

We came in when we were so much younger, and because everyone really was (or at least seemed) oh so much older, it was like we had to force our ways in. And everything was so slow. And it was so hard to find what we were looking for, our pace was dictated by our surroundings. And then you had the people who were older than us coming in with so much life under their belts, having already been married, had kids, and wanting to try something new, a fantasy they always had but had never done, we all went at the same pace.

But now, you have people coming in, at any age, and so much of it is there. And out and easy to find. And you can jump right into the deep end. And they go hard and they go fast for a couple of years or three or five and then they are done. And they are 25 or 26, and then go on and have a "normal" life with marriage and kids and they look back on their crazy years. It because it wasn't sustainable. Because it isn't necessarily sustainable.

It seems a bit backwards from what we did.

Ken was right, when we had the discussion so many years ago. The internet isn't watering kink down, it's making it easier for the really scary, fucked-up kids to find each other. And that's fine, they should be able to find each other. Hell, we found each other, but it's so out there and in your face now, new people cannot help but look at that and think automatically it is what they are supposed to work towards achieving. Because it is the "scariest" stuff and we're taught that life moves from easy to hard. And obviously that's hard, so that's where you are supposed to go.
Oct. 20th, 2010 03:33 am (UTC)
Re: We think too much
I have to agree. At the very least, with the increased visibility (and thus increased levels of "live up to.")

If anything, it may be that the lesson we are now learning is how to take the time and appreciate and savor each stage. Then again, that may just be the lesson I'm coming to learn in my own life.
Oct. 16th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
I responded on Fet, but I'll do so here as well. :) It's amusing when we actually agree on something. I occasionally see the progressions and shake my head, but I wonder what it would have been like for me to have found the scene (and had abundant social networking) in my late teens to early 20's. I still try to see the wonder in things and not get jaded and bitchy (trust me it isn't easy sometimes).
Oct. 16th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
The now Now NOW thing is generational. The young ones are that way about everything. But that's also partly because the information is out there for them to consume. Thanks to the internet and TNG (:-p) kink isn't big and scary anymore, it's friendly, accessible, and out on collage campuses recruiting.

But I'd wager there are still people wadding in slowly, still hiding behind their computers looking at awe at the big scary world of SM. We just don't run into them often because they are still at home or just barely sticking their toes in the shallow end, far far from the advance caning classes or big scary suspension demos.
Oct. 17th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
i was about to say the same thing. well-said :)
Oct. 16th, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
I think it has to do with the fact that both of us have been involved with large scale events for so long. We've seen lots more than a lot of people in a much more condensed way. Right now, I can't think of a thing I really want to see that I haven't already seen that isn't an image of me doing it. No, that's not self centered...it's just that I'm a jaded old bitch too.

The things I haven't seen, I don't really want to.

I also think it's how people are introduced to the scene as well. I went to one munch, saw scary idiotic rednecks slapping their doormat girls around and said, "if this is me, then I'm not this." Over a year later, I went to my first Gummi party. Dark and loud and drunk and raunchy (can you see where the germ of Frolicon started?).

Everything since that has been cool, but not quite the same. Nothing's the same once you've seen the patterns and aged in it. That's why it's so hard for us to keep the childlike wonder in anything in the world, not just BDSM. Trust me, I totally get where you're coming from.

You are a little young to be bitching quite yet.
Oct. 16th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
I seem to remember *someone* introducing me to kink at a pretty rapid speed. But it was the speed I wanted and needed. And I'm still learning new things, still trying new things. Maybe the path these kids are on is different but that doesn't make it wrong or unhealthy, it's just different.

And, really, why is it your concern? Maybe you are romanticizing your past but so what? Maybe kids today are learning at a faster rate than you did but, once again, so what? How does that change your kink or your experience?
Oct. 16th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
I was like that when I first started too, but I gorged myself on as many experiences as I possibly can.... almost nothing fazes me anymore. The fact that the younger generation is doing stuff we used to think of as cutting edge and scary earlier I see that happening too and sometimes with no safety instruction. Kinda scary that.

Edited at 2010-10-16 11:20 pm (UTC)
Oct. 17th, 2010 01:42 am (UTC)
Yes probably some of you is becoming a curmudgeon, but it's understandable.

This is the fruit of your loins- you worked very hard and broke a lot of trail to let this happen. I'd agree a lot has changed- and a lot is repeating as it alway has.

But you also know it doesn't matter how fast they go to play, relationship skills and self awareness only goes as fast as the individual is ready to grow into it. This kink is just a symbol.
Oct. 17th, 2010 05:00 am (UTC)
I'm an grumpy old man too ...
I've been a grumpy old man most of my life, but now I have the years to back it up!

I find that I am not so bothered by people around half my age (when the hell did that happen?) trying and reaching for things, such as you describe, that one might call (or at least used to call) advanced. Everyone reaches at a pace they can handle, and it is a different world now than it was say for you or for me.

What bothers me? The attitudes that often are associated with youth or, alternatively, with newness. I have a laundry list, but looking at it, it all boils back down to not recognizing one's own lack of experience and lack of a reasonably informed sense of judgement. That's a life skill development problem which is not just a problem of youth.

I wonder much more about how many new people I meet, young or not-so-young, will get burned by a bad, ill-considered relationship choice or by being an ass than about who might have a bad outcome from trying the latest cool new fad in advanced-stunt-sex.

Besides, you know who's fault it is that all these fresh young faces want to try all these edgy things, right? Anyone who has taught an accessible class or put together an accessible event with classes that taught these things. Anyone of us who has offered to do any of these things to someone because that someone was cute.

Okay, I also can't stand most teenagers, and really, most college undergrad-aged kids these days, so this huge influx of under-25 year-olds is making it really hard now to pick out which ones in that age range I would ever consider dating. It used to be so much easier. It's a horrible disaster I tell you.</snark>

Oct. 17th, 2010 07:03 am (UTC)
At the very least, some of these youngin's (cough cough) are reasonably intelligent and are learning both the big scaries and how to take care of themselves at equal rates.

Pardon my sass, but I think part of the speedy introduction is due to the fact that you and yours created a path through the jungle that was, not too long ago, entirely unpaved.

Where once there was impenetrable mystery, there is now a slip-n-slide into the candy store. The candy store of pain, humiliation, super-gluing plastic monkeys to friends and horrible, inexcusable after-thought pie.

I, personally, am grateful to have people like you out there that have so much to offer. I feel truly lucky to have the opportunity to be learning so much about myself at my age. Both your edge play education and your words of caution are some pieces of what is helping me find out who I am.

I want to dance in this dark ballet for as long as I can; thanks for being a part of it. :-)
Oct. 17th, 2010 09:30 am (UTC)
I have felt so many of these same feelings, had these same thoughts. I think it's one reason I've all but lost interest in going to the local stuff, because I want to look at these 20, 21, 22 yo kids and say SLOW DOWN.

Someone told me a long time ago, that I spent the latter part of my 20s and early 30s making up for "lost time" (married essentially 18-25).... and now, I see what these kids are doing at 20... what are they going to be doing if they keep at it????

Scares the hell out of me to think about it! (Especially as I have a child nearing 18, and tend to look at people in that age group as "my kid's age"....

when did we get so old? we need rockers for the porch at camp, to sit and yell at the young whippersnappers.
Oct. 17th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
I'm tired of bitching. *sigh*
Start slowly. Take baby steps. And, slowly but surely, just like you used to back in the day, stop bitching. ;)

Maybe we should tell those darned kids to get out of our playrooms?

Seriously though, I'm getting you on FM.
Oct. 18th, 2010 01:18 pm (UTC)
Weren't you one of the founders of TNG?

You should be grumpy, but still proud - this change has as much to do with you as with anything else. Oh, and the internet, of course....that is a lot of it also.

Oct. 18th, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
I see that trend, too. It doesn't necessarily make me grumpy, though - just surprised. And I've got a bit of admiration, too. I came into the scene at age 28, and it took me months just to talk to anyone, months more to play. I don't regret any of my steps in my eight years in the scene, and in many ways, going so slow made everything so special - my first time at Paddles, my first private play party, my first public scene. Everything was a big deal and a big step. When I would tell people my limits, they would often say, "Oh, you'll eventually do X." And I would say, "Sure, maybe, when I'm ready." And that's why it was incredibly special to open up to needles and do a needle scene after 8 years in the scene. Because by then I knew I was ready, and I knew what I wanted and who I wanted to do it with and how to make it special, not just something to check off a list.

But I do admire the younger generation coming into the scene and going after new experiences right away. I wonder if they'll rush through everything and then leave the scene, or if they'll have bad experiences by rushing, or if they'll continue to push the boundaries of what it is we do even further for all of us. Whatever it is, it's their experience, and they're allowed to have it the way they want. Do I want to tell them to slow down sometimes? Sure. But it's not for me to say how they should experience the scene, just as it wasn't for veterans to tell me when I was a novice. (In fact, 8 years in, I would like to announce to all those people who told me when I identified as a bottom that I would be a switch before I knew it... phhhht.)
Oct. 18th, 2010 11:35 pm (UTC)
I think a lot of this has to do with how easy it is for people to "find" BDSM now. It's all over the Internet. It's in movies. It's on TV. Hell, every teenager now has a computer, and it takes them about 10 seconds to find BDSM porn, BDSM dating sites, and BDSM chat rooms.

Everything IS happening at an accelerated pace now. I don't particularly like it, but I don't know that there's any way to change it now that it's happened.

This kind of reminds me of some 20 year old kid complaining that they've been looking "for so long" for a dominant (or submissive) and worried that they will never find the right partner. None of them have any concept of time, and anything period longer than six months seems like an eternity.
Oct. 21st, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
love this post.
I agree with much of what youre saying, and the grumpiness with which its said *g* ... however, *insert diety here* bless 'em. It wasnt like that for us... but if they can find some fucked up kindred spirits easily, then thats great.
Do I think the speed and seeming casualness with which a lot of the edgy stuff is chewed up and spit out is great? nooo... but *shrug*.. its a new time.

If I wasnt incredibly sleep deprived, Id probably have more (and more well said) opinionating to do. lol.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )