“There’s quite a change in her attitude when you’re around, I’m a bit disappointed that you haven’t noticed.”
“How so?” I ask, stepping right past the paradoxical expectation of having noticed a change from something I couldn’t have observed.
“She becomes less submissive. More bratty. I think it may be because she’s nervous.”
“Perhaps,” I answer sheepishly. I hadn’t noticed.
But I knew I was doing the same thing.
I first noticed when reading comments, well before I was brave enough to join in. I was in awe of these women, the ones who could banter playfully beneath the most beautiful and thoughtful of writing by the most dominant of authors.
It jarred, this jokey lightheartedness in response to something so moving, something that touched a feeling deep within me that I was barely beginning to be able to describe. And I was jealous, jealous that they seemed to understand all of this already, jealous of their easy friendship, jealous of their casual familiarity with these authors I admired, jealous that they felt comfortable enough in this world to make light of it.
And yet, when I began to reply as well, I did the same. It was a way to fit in, but it was also easier to joke, to not take things so seriously. Easier to have a bit of fun while the complex understandings and harder lessons of this lifestyle work their way into one’s consciousness. Easier to be bubbly and friendly while seeking acceptance.
I carried these habits into the real world of kink (and perhaps the real world of vanilla as well). The banter helps form bonds, unite against a manufactured meanie, provoke playful retaliation at the next opportunity. It helps to build community.
But the banter and bratting, while fun and worthwhile on its own, masks a deeper intimacy, blurs over the intensity of D/S dynamics, places everyone on more equal footing for a proper discussion.
It also helps to know when to step away, when to calm down, and reflect more seriously. To let friendships grow in more than just the superficial realm. Sometimes the light must be dimmed.
But never for long.