Every time I hear about IML, MAL, Dore Alley, Folsom, MIR, etc., I personally experience very mixed feelings. Part of me very much would like to experience such an event. I’ve never really attended any sort of public kink event, and it really seems to be an entirely different universe. I even listed to the “IML Survival Guide” episode (no. 136) from No Safe Word. It was interesting and educational, but I’m not sure it entirely put me at ease.
One concern I have is privacy. I really don’t want any pics of me to appear without my knowledge, and I’m not 100% convinced IML can guarantee that. I’m certain events like Dore Alley can’t guarantee it, I see plenty of pics that people take of demos where a lot of the viewing public are seen just as much as the demos. This is the biggest concern I have by far, and it’s one that both I and my husband take very seriously (which is why you never see him on the site at all). Yes, I do realize that I could wear a hood and/or mask, but I don’t think I’d want to be in that all day.
Secondly, I’m not much of a party person. Believe it or not, but I don’t engage in drugs or even alcohol of any kind. I don’t even feel comfortable in bars. I put my personality type as someone most comfortable with librarians. (Okay, I know librarians may drink, but you get the picture.) So those alone seem a bit like dealbreakers to me.
Plus, I’m pretty shy around new people and groups. I know a lot of people go to these events to visit friends and make new ones, but I’m not quite sure I’m outgoing enough to engage on my own. I think I’d end up being quite the wallflower (especially given my aforementioned privacy concerns) without a close friend to guide me. This applies to all social events, not just kink ones. Now to be honest, this is the least of my concerns. To a certain degree, I like being left alone. And I do think there’d be enough outgoing, friendly people there so this wouldn’t become the biggest issue. But it’s out there.
And despite what I do here, I think I’d also feel relatively inexperienced. I suppose in the greater scheme of things, that’s not really that big of a deal. In this sense, I do feel the kink community is generally pretty welcoming.
A friend of mine was recently a demo model for a major kink event. Not just once, but a number of times. And while I was of course thrilled for him, it really gave me a lot to think about. I can’t lie that I was a bit envious. His scenes looked amazing, and who wouldn’t be jealous? His pics appeared in local magazines and websites. It also made me feel a bit like an outsider, knowing that I’d probably never get to experience an event like that. At the same time, there’s a bit of relief, because I’m not sure I want to attend an event like that, or be the center of that much attention. I don’t think I’d really call it a social anxiety, but I think I do want a certain comfort zone, socially speaking.
I freely admit I’m speaking from a view of ignorance. I’d be curious to hear from some of you who have attended these events, and what your experiences are like (even more so if you were a newbie to them). Please share your stories with me!