Dungeon Etiquette
by Jack Rinella

(Leather SINS, Kinky Kollege and Master Z sincerely wish to thank our good friend Jack Rinella for writing this article for us. Master Rinella's support and participation in our events, since their inception, is greatly appreciated.)

for Issue number 27
Saturday, June 07, 2008

Dungeon Etiquette
By Jack Rinella

My friend Master Z of Chicago is putting together a beginner’s package for attendees to Kinky Kollege and Sinsations In Leather so he asked me for a column on this topic. I’m happy to oblige him. As an aside let me note that I always give people permission to repost and/or preprint my columns as long as they don’t omit or change anything in them including my copyright, my URL and my email address. So if you want this for your organization’s use you may have it, though I hope you will still ask me for permission.

I’ll begin with a few general suggestions because everything you really need to know boils down to using common sense. On the other hand, in today’s world, common sense seems to be anything but common. Therefore let me make bold to remind you that what you see and hear among us, must stay right there. Naming names, telling stories “out of school,” and just general gossip is not socially-acceptable behavior, in or out of the dungeon.

On the other hand, if you see something that deserves a comment, such as unsafe play or illegal activity, tell those responsible for the safety, legality, and appropriateness of the space. Let them deal with it. Unless there’s some kind of emergency, there’s rarely a reason for you to do so.

Newcomers to our subculture can be easily overwhelmed by our language, dress, and activities. I know, since I once felt like a kid in a candy store. Knowing what to do and what not to do poses a myriad of questions about how to act and what to think.

So “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Learn what is the usual practice and follow it. If you don’t know what the usual practice is, then ask. Asking is always the safer course and doing so makes you sound smart, no matter how stupid you think the question is.

Another good way to figure out the local practices is to read their dungeon rules. They are often posted on the wall or in their program book. If they’re not, then ask where you can find them.

My mom would add lots of other clichés here, such as: Look before you leap; It’s better to be seen than to be heard; Listen first then speak. Avoid the appearance of being a “Know it all,” even if you are the most experienced player in the room. In every case humility is a real advantage.

Remember, as my mom would never let me forget, that “While you’re under my roof, you’ll do as I say.” Dungeon rules, suggestions, protocols or laws (call them what you like) are going to vary immensely from space to space. Believe me what you can do in Seattle ain’t going to fly in lots of other cities. Therefore go with the flow in the space you’re in, not the flow that works somewhere else.

Play safely. Doing so probably means that you need to arrive ready to play safely, i.e., bring your own condoms and lube, etc., though to be honest penetration isn’t allowed in very many public spaces. If it is allowed it’s likely that only certain kinds of insertion will be permissible. I know. I know. I can’t figure out why you can sometimes fuck with a dildo but not with a prick. Thank god that dungeon masters don’t patrol hotel guest rooms.

Safely also means that you remain a safe distance from whipping scenes. That whip master, after all, wants to hit his or her bottom, not yours.

Which reminds me that in every case I’ve ever seen, the Dungeon Master (DM) is the ultimate authority so do as he says.

What will he or she say?

Keep your socializing in the social area. That means that conversations shouldn’t be held in the play space. Take them elsewhere.

Illegal activity, such as recreational drug use, prostitution, and bestiality, have no place in our places.

Watch but don’t touch. The intimate activity that the voyeur in you admires so well is just that: Intimate. Don’t intrude or disturb. When both the play and the aftercare is obviously over, then you can politely ask questions, give compliments, or even see if they’ll give you a similar experience.

Touching also applies to anything that’s not yours: toys, tools, equipment, such as floggers, ropes, chains, restraints, slave girls and boys, and all the rest. I know you learned that in kindergarten but reminders never hurt.

Don’t be an equipment hog. Stated otherwise, if people are waiting to use what you’re using, take your turn and let them have theirs. As a rule, an hour is more than sufficient for a scene so don’t take longer, unless no one is waiting. When in doubt ask the DM.

By the way, that hour? It includes cleaning up after yourself. You’ve heard your mom tell you what mine told me: “Clean up after yourself. I’m not your maid” and “”When you’re done with it put it back where you found it.” This also means to clean the equipment as well. No one wants to play in your sweat, tears, or other body fluids.

Be courteous, kind and welcoming. Does someone appear to be a newcomer? Show them around; show them the rules; and make them feel at home.

Dress appropriately coming to and from the place where the play is held. As my Leather forefathers said “Don’t scare the natives.” As we say these days, “Be street legal.” The idea is that you don’t want to attract undo attention to the group and its activities.

Though it’s not something you’re liable to see posted on the wall nor told in an orientation class, don’t confuse roles or status. Unless some other kind of relationship has been clearly negotiated, we are all equals. A master is master to his or her slave only. Likewise being one person’s slave, miss, boy, maid or puppy doesn’t make you everyone else’s. If you feel your rights are being violated then consult with the DM.

In the meantime get yourself one or two introductory books on what it is that we do (WIITWD). In no time at all you’ll feel included. Welcome to our lifestyle.

Have a great week. You can leave me email at mrjackr@leathermail.com or visit my website at http://leatherviews.c.topica.com/maalRSaabHTKfaCHAXAb/ where you can subscribe to this column and receive it weekly.

Copyright 2008 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.

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