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Playing the game

Posted at 00:23 on 3 Dec 2010 by Pandora / Blake

Tags: dominance and submission, Finishing School, kink, learning curves, meta-analysis



One of the problems with being a good submissive at a kinky roleplay event is that well-behaved characters don't get punished, and can end up feeling a bit left out. (The exception is if the tops know you well enough to pick on you unfairly. Leia-Ann Woods would probably argue that this situation is not desirable at all, but I did find myself envying her, strange as it seems - I'd have found being singled out much easier!)

In private D/s scenes and social contexts like play parties and clubs, deliberately bratting, being disobedient or causing mischief in order to earn a punishment has always made me feel uncomfortable. I can't get over the idea that I'm being horribly self-involved, rude, demanding and attention-seeking. More generally, I've never really liked being made to feel "naughty" when I'm being punished. I much prefer to please my partners - and if I please them by being punished, so much the better!

But in a social roleplay like the Finishing School weekend, what's the best approach for a good girl who likes to play hard? Should I only roleplay with tops I can trust to set me impossible tasks, single me out unfairly, pick up on every little misdemeanour, deliberate or accidental? Not easy to achieve unless I only roleplay with my partners - and if every bottom in a scene needed such treatment, the tops would have their work cut out!

The first public punishments of the weekend were meted out at the Saturday morning assembly. Emma-Jane had organised matching Little Miss Trouble panties for everyone to wear instead of our regulation knickers. She'd made sure a pair was provided for me, but I agonised stupid amounts over whether to participate or not. I really wasn't comfortable playing a bratty persona and deliberately earning punishments. It's just not my style. But I didn't want to seem like some snotty goody-goody thinking she was better than everyone else, either. I'm more susceptible to peer pressure than I'd like!

In the end I decided that it was foolish to pressure myself to do something I wasn't comfortable with, and wore regulation knickers. I was in on the joke, but when Mrs Darling and Miss Hammond-Grant whacked their way down the line of naughty bottoms, mine was passed over (apart from a couple of over-enthusiastic, accidental swats from Miss H-G on her way past the first time, which was more funny than anything else!)

I think it was the right decision. I wasn't excluded from a big scene, and the teachers didn't go on about my abstention to the extent I felt embarrassed about it. But interestingly, as we stood there in assembly, skirts lifted to show Mrs Darling who had participated and who had not, I realised that despite my misgivings I probably would have felt comfortable if I'd joined in, after all. Okay, it would have felt a bit artificial, but it was no big deal and all in good fun. Next time, perhaps, I'll have the confidence to join in for the sake of the joke. After all, if my character doesn't misbehave somehow, my real kinky self won't have much fun.

I've already decided that at future roleplay events like this I definitely want to take a character, with a different name and backstory (I have a few ideas already...), to make it easier for me to indulge in this sort of play without guilt.

Being good out of character is great. (Being responsible and helpful, being nice to people, pulling your weight with chores, not being selfish or annoying). But my character and me have different aims. I like playing hard and want to be included in the kinky fun. My character, however, wants to avoid getting into trouble. Both of us want to please our tutors and get on with my classmates. But is being good in character necessary to be a good play partner?

The only kind of scene I've played for fun before involved crimes committed offstage, or unfair scenarios with sadistic tops taking advantage. An educational setting with fair, likeable teachers is very different. It's unfair to expect two tops to take responsibility for satisfying a whole group of kinky girls without any input from them - it's reasonable that we should help them along by giving them something to work with. Really, if you think about it, misbehaving is the right thing to do in this sort of context!

Outright bratting may not be my style, but creative mischief to amuse my classmates and enliven a group roleplay feels less self-involved - it enhances the experience for all. My teachers' characters won't approve, of course, but the real tops trying to pull together an entertaining and satisfying group scene will appreciate imaginative contributions (and are almost certainly finding it as funny as us). The consequences are an out-of-character reward as much as an in-character punishment. I favour active rather passive submission, and I think this sort of "misbehaviour" is the equivalent in certain types of roleplay.

One rule Adele Haze mentioned at the weekend which several classmates agreed with was, "don't commit the crime (in character) if you can't take the punishment". But I think it works the other way, too - if you want the punishment, you have to earn it somehow! Part of being a grownup, after all, is self-reliance - it's not fair to expect other people to do all the work for me.

There's a difference, of course, between the sort of imaginative, entertaining mischief which enlivens a scene, or cheeky retorts witty enough to make people laugh, and being genuinely annoying or aggravating. This line might be obvious to hardcore purveyors of mischief, but I'm just trying to puzzle it out - helped by following the good examples of my fellow Finishing School students.

Here's what I've got so far: think of this as Finishing School Etiquette (the unofficial version)...

  • Mischief and cheekiness are all very well, but unkindness and snideness are rarely justified. Creativeness and generosity of spirit aren't incompatible with rule-breaking!
  • Targets should be chosen with care - mean characters are fairer game than nice ones, and of course one should show solidarity with one's fellow students! Other people "playing the game" are better targets than those trying to be good.
  • Disobedience should be frivolous and entertaining for onlookers - attention-seeking behaviour is more justifiable if you put on a good show and raise a laugh.
  • "Naughtiness" shouldn't be an excuse to get out of chores or unpleasant duties, especially if this makes more work for your fellows. Same goes for bothering people while they're doing something difficult, unpleasant or necessary.
  • Just as tops can be expected to look after our limits, we should look after theirs. It's better to ease off when they're particularly tired of dealing with naughty pupils rather than demanding more attention from them.

What do you think? Is that a reasonable approximation of "bratting etiquette"? Are there any I've missed?

I think all my fellow players last weekend had an instinctive grasp of these rules. As well the teachers showing us how to be more ladylike, the other Finishing School pupils offered a masterclass in responsible naughtiness. Watching so much entertaining cheekiness and mischief has left me feeling much more confident that I could enjoy breaking the written rules, once I've got a better sense of what the unwritten ones are.

I've realised that so much of effective naughtiness is about confidence. Answering back is impossible if you're too tongue-tied to think of witty retorts. It's easier to cause trouble if you can trust that your play partners will enjoy the consequences. One of the reasons I default to obedience is if I feel shy or insecure and don't want to call attention to myself. I'm worried about seeming like one of those demanding, pushy bottoms constantly competing for attention. But this weekend offered a crash course in creative ways of getting into trouble that are fun for all involved, and by the end I was feeling more confident that I could join in without making a genuine nuisance of myself. Now I just need more practice - clearly, I'm just going to have to do more roleplay!

I'm not sure what Mrs Darling and Miss Hammond-Grant will make of the non-curricular things I learned this weekend. I'm sure Finishing School was intended to make me better behaved, not worse...

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