I don't often mix my vanilla and kink social groups - I try not to on general principle. Friday night reminded why this is a very good idea. I went along to a flatwarming, which was ostensibly vanilla, but I knew there would be a sufficiency of the pagan-kink-alt-misc crowd around to make life interesting. I wasn't in the greatest of moods, but had gotten two messages from people there who were hoping I'd turn up and so felt inspired enough to actually get out of the house. Progress, of sorts.
All was going very well until a collar, lead and flogger came out. We passed them around, made some jokes, commented on the weight of the flogger. Someone got the collar and lead put on them and they were passed around between myself and Different Drummer (the party host) who were clearly the nominated keepers for the night. It was nice to be in a position of power, to have kit in my hands and feel if not good, at least comfortable being in a kink-ish environment without The Photographer. It was the first time I'd done anything even remotely kinky without him for a number of months. We were messing around, very playful, very light, very clothed. The heaviest anything got was forcing the collared person to eat cake from a bowl without hands and testing a flogger on a bare-chested Different Drummer - mostly everyone had a go, good party game for who could make him shout the loudest. So far so good.
Then one of my friends came in to say goodbye. He was clearly uncomfortable: I know that he has issues being around anything vaguely fetish or BDSM and he was certainly unhappy with what was going on in the room. A difficult situation in and of itself, not my party to manage and also he was very much outnumbered by the active perverts and casually interested. His girlfriend paused to give some goodbyes to the collared person, they are extremely close friends and made lots of effusive comments about being totally enamoured of each other. At which point, I jerked a little on the collar and made a joke about how I should be the important one, given the chain of command. My friend went ballistic, shouting "No!" at me across the room, eyes wide and glaring, full of hate and vehemence. He stormed out, leaving everyone shocked and silent.
I followed him down the stairs, he was still shouting at me, refusing to pause or to even explain what had happened. It turned out that he had been triggered, I suppose is the best word for it, by the act of tugging on someone's lead and had thought I had been attempting to put a real world break in the relationship between his girlfriend and the collared person (they are best friends). So, like a knight in vanilla armour he had felt the need to shout at me to prevent his girlfriend getting hurt by my predatory actions. Or something to that effect. I should add that he had drunk a reasonable amount and I was not sober. Different Drummer, who has known him longer than I have, sat on the steps with us both and we tried to work it all out. The conversation ended with awkward smiles and everything seemed ok.
But it wasn't. I still haven't really managed to process what happened. Rationally, it is obvious that he wildly misinterpreted what was happening and that we did not consider his antipathy to BDSM enough. Sadly, what happened from my point of view was that my first interaction with kink sans The Photographer was met with revulsion and anger on the part of one of my closest friends. That he thought my playful SM (it was hardly a D/s interaction) was something cruel directed at his girlfriend, who is also my friend. So by inference he thought I was doing something wrong, something hurtful. In that moment, through that action he believed me to be a bad person, who did bad things. Add on to this a note that large men shouting angrily at me is something I don't deal with very well at all in normal circumstances - shouting in general is liable to panic me, shouting men particularly - when I was younger my father very rarely shouted, but if he did you knew that something was very badly wrong. In light of everything that is going on, I can't cope very well with my friends thinking that of me. Drunk or sober.
Now, I know I am very sensitive at the moment and also vulnerable, especially in these areas. So I expect that this is hitting me a lot harder than it should do. I'm about to go around and try and have a conversation with him to clear the air. I am steeling myself to have a discussion that will centre on "you have hurt me by doing this". I'm getting a little fed up of having these conversations with people close to me and beginning to wonder if it's my own thin skin rather than anything else. In this case, I don't think so. And either way, something needs to be said to clear the air.
I'm just not looking forward to it much.