I haven't been to a lot of munches. Whilst I really enjoy going out clubbing or meeting up with small groups of kinky friends the slightly artificial group dynamic of a munch really phases me, somehow. It's perhaps the air of an extended family get together, full of people you have heard of but never met: people who are you are connected to in name, but who you don't know. I used to be very shy, I've worked hard to overcome it, and the bits I haven't managed to quite get rid of, I have painted over with bravado. New people is one of the areas that I need a lot of bravado for. And the London Munch is a big munch, so there were lots of new people. It's interesting the areas that I feel lacking in confidence and those that I don't - naked in the middle of a club, fine, more than fine, fantastic, but talking to strangers? Perhaps because my mother warned me of the latter but not the former.
When The Photographer and I arrived, the room was already filling up, so we took a deep breath and a big slurp of gin (dutch courage in lieu of any actual courage) and then took a good twenty minutes or so of staring hard at the bar before we went to actually speak to someone. That someone was the very charming Painted Lady, whose fantastic tattoos, straight talking: "oh, I'm not sure I could top a couple, but you both make me want to!" (flattery will get you everywhere) and penchant for showing off her nipple piercings ensured we got off to a very good start. I have some hope that we will meet again, as exploring bisexuality and group play is one of my belated resolutions for the year. As the numbers swelled, I recognised a few people I knew from round about, Switching Sides turned up and some members of The Collective were there and we had a brief catch up, and I began to feel a lot more calm and at home.
What was really pleasant was the range of folk there - all sorts of shapes, sizes and ages, and there were a few newcomers as well as familiar faces by the end, but everyone was chatting. Quite loudly. Which meant that it was a bit hard to have a long conversation with anyone, which was a shame, because we had arranged to meet Mixed Doubles, a poly family of Doms and switches who we had been in contact with via our joint profile. Although we only managed to talk briefly, we were both very taken with their level-headed and honest attitude to kink, they obviously really enjoy it, and really know their stuff (as well as almost everyone in the room) and they also seemed keen to do something with us in the future so we are attempting to set up a date, possibly a club night as in-house play is a little difficult to co-ordinate.
I was musing idly about how munches fare against the Internet for garnering potential partners, and although it is easier to contact a lot of people online and you have access to a much wider range of folk and fetishes (all handily searchable, and available for spell checking), I think that the signal-to-noise ratio is much lower at a munch and it is certainly a very safe environment to sound someone out. All in all, we felt we came away having socialised and had fun despite shyness (a win for both of us) and with a list of potential people, and therefore activities for the future, which is a definite success