When I talk about kink I talk a lot about the elusive ‘click’. Click is what makes you instantly warm to someone and thus find yourself giggling over your sixth cocktail and a plate of tapas hours into what was meant to be a quick drink. Or when you start chatting to someone and discover that you both stayed at the same backpackers’ hostel in a tiny African village, have a mutual obsession with Starbucks skinny caramel macchiatos, fancy dress and masochistic attitude towards sports. You just get each other.
Click’s even more important when it comes to playmates – I mean if you’re going to put yourself in the hands of someone you initially don’t know well feeling comfortable is key. In the misty past at my first munch I met someone who went on to be a fabulous long term playmate. He was wearing a red sweater with a shirt beneath that somehow reminded me of Christopher Robin (I never told him that) and I was painfully embarrassed and somewhat weirded out by the greasy men who kept perving on me. There was something vaguely dangerous about him that I liked and he was bemused that I knew what I wanted so young, I think we both saw the other as a challenge. We played scenes I still fantasise about fairly regularly for almost a year until his girlfriend banned him from seeing me (obviously despite never having had sex we’d clicked a bit too much).
It applies in groups too. There are people that you instantly connect with and others that you don’t. In any friendship group some people are closer than others, and over time you grow closer to people that aren’t instant clicks – that’s natural. I can remember thinking that a girl who became one of my best friends was an awful suck-up for coming along to watch us race when she hadn’t made the crew in my first year and was constantly sidling up to the captain. She hated me for being faster than her and I secretly thought she was a bit weak for not being able to push but we ended up becoming best friends and going travelling together. A few years later she’s reverted to being a bit wet but it doesn’t mean we’re not still good friends – I just wouldn’t call her in a real crisis anymore because right now we don’t ‘get’ each other.
The difficult thing is the ‘anti-click’, people that just irritate you. We all encounter them and most of us have at least one in our group of close friends. Generally the peace is kept but every now and again there’s an almighty row – usually when someone says what they actually think. I know for a fact that certain acquaintances view me as an ‘anti-click’ (the interesting thing being that it’s not always mutual) but in the case of the clever ones I may not have a clue. Ultimately we all want to be happy and thus sometimes it’s better just to keep the peace.
This raises interesting issues when examined in the context of the scene and social interactions. Click in a group scene is fabulous – two subs in collusion don’t double the trouble for the top, the effect is definitely exponential as you collectively turn the crank and wind them up. Albino deer in the wilds of the English countryside, Sir Gooseberry Chicken, purple fairy cakes – all manner of fun and amusing things happen when click works in a group scene, and if you’re lucky the resulting chaos and consequences are even better.
What about ‘anti-click’ in a group though? It’s all very well tolerating someone you just don’t particularly get on with at group dinners, birthdays and so on but dealing with it in a bdsm scene moves into different territory. It can come out in tension between characters in a role-play or a total fail of the ability to let go and enjoy a scene, as truthfully none of us like to be vulnerable around those we aren’t sure about. Or things can just not work as well as they might, which in a way is even worse and you’re left feeling like a bad person because someone’s having the affect on you. Ultimately it’s a tricky one because not liking someone and thus not wanting to do something inherently sexual with them does not make you mean or a failed player but it can feel that way, especially if you feel bad for letting others down. It’s especially difficult if naturally you want to like and be nice everyone, so on one level it’s fine and on another it’s really not. I think the difficult bit is finding the line and working out how to keep your unicycle from wobbling too far to one side.