Jay (brian1789) wrote,

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Initial "cuddle party" experience... unimpressed

This past weekend I went to Orinda with cyan_blue... a friend of hers was hosting a Cuddle Party, and I'd been curious about the experience. I didn't expect I'd be stretched very much, compared to given past non-PG-rated events I've attended, but it was kind of a cultural reference point (Like, say, watching an episode of "Firefly" just so I could understand the browncoat references). Besides, I already know Reid.

However... hm. I was unimpressed... it was a workshop on boundaries with some snuggliness, marred by a couple of guys whose idea of cuddling was to jump on top of women they didn't know, in the missionary position, but clothed. This left me in DM/caretaker mode and too careful of scanning the room for the predators to actually relax and ask for any cuddling myself. These two guys seemed to have the attitude that since clothes remained on, they could move far faster and more aggressively with a woman they didn't know than at a "normal playparty" (whatever that is... ;). One came on heavily to Geri (she deflected him, but had to get blunt in doing so), then went over, asked someone else to cuddle, and when she said "I guess so" he jumped on her and literally pinned her in a wrestling hold, shoulders down.

There are Rules about saying yes, saying no, maybe = no, and so forth... the facilitator (who had done a similar party 2 weeks earlier at Tortuga in Mountain View) had gone through these, and "practice saying no" exercises. However, none of the women that were pounced-on by the over-aggressive guys yelled for help or "No!" (honestly, it was like watching an Impact training session, except the guys weren't wearing big helmets and pads). And none of the women kneed the guys (possibly because of their initial "yes"...) and clothes remained on, so nominally all of the Rules were being observed. But it was still unnerving to be around.

Finally, the only way I could get out of caretaker-defender-mode was to go to the opposite side of the large room, and look up at the ceiling (from a friend's lap) and breathe and destress. When I left awhile later (scheduled date in San Leandro), the facilitator asked me at the door how it had gone... I described the above. Her response was "there were a couple of times I nearly went over and intervened, but held back since no one was complaining." Followed by "You should have called me over, or checked in if their behavior was too much." Blaming me for not calling her in to deal with the misbehavior... when this was my first cuddle party and I had little idea of what the allowable behaviors were. How would I know? Maybe wrestling holds and clothed thrusts between legs are perfectly normal at these things.

I find it hard to reconcile my experience on Saturday with the generally-favorable reviews I'd heard about cuddle parties... even from friends who had had the same facilitator, two weeks before. Maybe it is the difference between a CP held among a community, most of whom already know each other, vs. a group of mostly-strangers brought together via advertising on sfbay-poly and other public mailing lists.

[Update (3/2): after I left the party, the given facilitator received similar comments/complaints about those guys from two other people. The issues have now been (respectfully) resolved for all concerned, and I would now consider trying it again.]
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