Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Debauched and deluded?

I recently got emailed the following question:

'Do you think you like roleplaying because you're unhappy with your own life?'

Which I thought was a bit cheeky, and for me isn't the case at all. In fact it's all pretty fantastic - I have a job working towards saving the world, which is what I've always wanted. I live in London with three fabulous flatmates, and although I complain about the commuting, smog and expense it's a great place to be as a youngster. I have wonderful friends of both vanilla and kinky persuasions and a social diary that often leaves me gasping for breath. I'd like to be thinner but on the right day in the right outfit I look pretty damn hot, and I'm training for a half marathon, which makes me feel happy. I have a boy interest who appears to be able to reconcile the vanilla and kinky Rebeccas and is lovely and nasty in equal measures (this is a good thing). I suppose in a perfect world I'd have a ten day week, earn more money, own a condo on some desert island or be off to run a refuge camp in Africa but even those things wouldn't all work at once. I also think that without the rain we can't appreciate the sun to the same degree - I'm under a lot of pressure at work right now but it's making me appreciate my playtime at the weekend and in the evenings far more. Right now just sitting in the living room with a gin and tonic at the end of the day is pretty heavenly, and I like getting so much pleasure from the little things.

I think enjoying roleplay is more about taking advantage of the chance to get into a different head space and to be someone else for a little while. Enjoying roleplaying as a schoolgirl doesn't mean you want to go back to school - for me it's more to do with the power dynamic, outfits, regimented structure and being able to be quite silly and have a laugh with the other girls if it's a group scene. Likewise I don't think I'd really want to be a medieval innkeeper's daughter but playing at being the innocent maiden taken advantage of by the powerful landowner is very hot. I suspect part of me actually might quite have liked to be a regency lady - the dresses, the food, the dancing and manners, a surprising interest in embroidery - it's all good fun. However being totally decadent and enjoying this isn't because I'm unhappy - being able to with wonderful friends is just an extra frosty bit on my big pink Rebecca cake (bad analogy, I know).

The other thing about roleplay is that it lets you adopt positions or dynamics that feel difficult or unnatural. I'm not really a wilting violet and have to be very comfortable with someone and have a lot of feelings for them to be very submissive, even if part of me wants to. Creating a scenario where your character is of a more pliable disposition or forced by situation to behave in a certain way can help to get around this. Some time ago we did a 'Story of O' type roleplay and in that context I was able to relax and do things that would normally evoke much more of a struggle. Playing that type of scene has built my confidence to play more submissively without the roleplay, which is also a good thing.

So in short Mr Email Man no, I'm not unhappy and hiding in a fantasy world to deny it. I'm me - I just sometimes get off on being someone else ;-)


Jessica said...

Hmmm. Someone emailed you to say that?

I am always having this argument with people that somehow, roleplay is a bad thing. Well of course, it is escapism. But it doens't mean you want to swap your life for something else. It just means you want to make the most of it in as many ways as possible!

Graham said...

Maybe ask the dude if his being so judgmental and rude is a projection of his own insecurities?

Role-play is fun and imaginative and theatrical and hot... There isn't any more escapism than you find in other creative arts/activities.

I agree with Jessica. It's all about being well-rounded!

Eliane said...

Absolutely... no one would ask an actor if they were doing it because their life was unsatisfying... sigh.

Indy said...

Nicely done, Rebecca. Thinking of a reason to be subject to physical discipline as a grown woman requires a suspension of disbelief anyway, IMO. So why not have fun with it by playing all sorts of imaginative games? I also love the chance to say all those things I wanted to be able to say at school all those years ago-- or that I bite back at work on a daily basis. The social constraint of adulthood can be so tiring!