I read the 50 Shades series during a week at the beach and talked about the books with my hubby. We talked about things in the movies, other books, and things on TV that were related in one way or another and then out of the blue I said…”I wonder if there is a kink site in Pittsburgh! I think I’ll Google it!”
Oh, the power of Google. OF COURSE there is a group in Pittsburgh! I sat there, kind of dumbfounded, and looked at my hubby and said, “I gotta check this out!” He looked at me, laughed, kind of did the ‘oh, there you go again look’ and said, “Go for it.”
So, I did. I researched the local group and that led me to a larger umbrella group that is worldwide called Fetlife. Now, there are a number of other groups out there I subsequently learned, but, from all that I was reading, it seemed that Fetlife was the group most favored for a number of reasons, safety being at the top.
Well, the local group’s website was filled with all sorts of wonderful information about the group itself, its history, and the manner in which one might become involved. It was also fairly easy to be in touch with the leaders of the group and they very clearly indicated that they were open to answering any questions that anyone might have. You know me….questions GALORE!
I learned that every month, most of the groups around the world have open meetings called Munches. The purpose of the Munch is strictly socialization, come eat and talk. Come meet some people in the group and ask your questions. Seriously? Just walk into one of the very public and popular restaurants in Pittsburgh and walk right into the room reserved for the group for the evening and have a chat! Hmmmmm, I sent an email message to one of the group leaders and expressed my interest also stating that I was actually rather nervous at the prospect of meeting this group of people. I carried ALL of the preconceptions that I believe most people have about the entire BDSM thing. I got a pretty prompt response assuring me that I was most welcome and that I had nothing to fear. People would be friendly and willing to talk with me and that there was absolutely no attempts at cajoling one to become a member of the group. Interestingly, in Pittsburgh, the group is actually split by age….This Generation is for individuals 35 years and older and Next Generation is for 18-35. Another thing I learned VERY QUICKLY is that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES is anyone under the age of 18 permitted to even attend a Munch, and, on top of that, they absolutely ‘card’ everyone in the younger group to ensure that alcohol is not served to anyone under 21. They take age restrictions very seriously.
Hmmmmmm. My interest was piqued. I would be in a completely open and public place, there would be no shenanigans going on, I could have some intelligent conversation (hopefully) with some nice people (hopefully) and get my questions answered. In the interest of full disclosure, my husband was a bit nervous about me checking this all out BUT, he said, go ahead, have a good time, be safe. He knew exactly where I was, how long I would be there, and I had my cell phone.
So, I went to my first Munch! I was a nervous wreck walking in the restaurant, looking around not sure where to go. Would the people be dressed all leather-like or lacy or what?! Would they be walking around getting their freak on? Would they all be full of tats with pink and purple hair? I just had no idea what to expect. I asked a waitress where the group was meeting and she directed me to the meeting area…and
there were lots of people
sitting around tables and at the bar
smiling and having a lovely time…
One of the leaders noticed me looking around and immediately came over to greet me, introduced herself and guided me right over to a small group sitting at the bar. She introduced me to the two couples and then took her leave. The two men and women immediately turned their attention to me and introduced themselves and asked how I came to learn about the group. Easy, comfortable, nice conversation!
I spent the next three hours munching and talking to about 25-30 different people, most were in their 40s and 50s…a few in their 60s and one women was 70! Talk about diverse!!! All nationalities, all ethnicities, all levels of kink engagement from Master/Slave to top/bottom/switch…all kinds of interests/fetishes. YES, I did engage in that conversation because I wanted to know, I was curious to understand and EVERY SINGLE PERSON was open and willing to talk to me and explain their particular ‘thing’. As I said in the first entry on this topic…these interesting people were no different than you and me. I met computer programmers, nurses, accountants, stage and costume designers, college professors (several), a microbiologist, an equine trainer, a neurobiologist, a model, a floral designer, a dancer….we shared pictures of our children and grandchildren!
I was enthralled! There were so many questions I had and I had found a group of people who genuinely simply wanted me to understand and get my questions answered.
As an aside, though, one wonderful gentleman in particular (who has since become a very good friend) warned me to be careful. He indicated that there are always unscrupulous pervs in any group and that if I decided to get more involved, then I should find a good friend who I could trust and vet any person who might seem to get too cozy. Excellent words of advice!
So, that was my very first experience in the world of BDSM. I went home, excited to share, and wanting to learn more.