For most of this year, I taught a beginners rope class once a month. It was an exciting way to contribute to the kink scene and make a few extra bucks to feed my chocolate cake and sparkle water addiction. It didn’t hurt that it was also a good excuse to flirt with the kind and beautiful lady who was my regular stunt bottom for the classes.
Recently I decided to take a break from teaching. I didn’t have the spoons to deal with the Portland kink community anymore. As happens like clockwork at least once a year, an incident of poor behavior was brought to light. Instead of people coming together to make the scene a safer place, the discussion became the same victim-blaming circus it always leads to in Portland. Goddess forbid something bad happens to you in the kink community because everyone will rally around and somehow make it your fault, it’s the only logical conclusion. I know it all too well from experiencing it first-hand. So it’s hard to feel safe contributing to a group of people who would rather roll around in juicy gossip than provide empathy and support.
As if that wasn’t disillusioning enough, at the last class I taught a very gross, very unnecessary thing happened to a good friend of mine. We share an abuser so I’m highly attuned to only wanting the very best for her. So I get especially angry when my attempts at kindness end with her being triggered
There are inevitably a handful of single dudes that show up to my classes (all classes, really) and line the back wall of the venue, making no effort to communicate beforehand that they need a partner. They won’t partner with one another and they’ll talk shit about a class if they don’t get someone to tie with during an event they paid for. So I have to find a way to pair everyone in the room up.
It shouldn’t be my job to play match maker but I understand social awkwardness and being new to the scene and how that can be especially difficult when you’re a single dude. So I try to be kind by pairing my partner-less friend up with one of these men, giving him the benefit of the doubt. How does he repay me for this safe space I’ve created for people to learn in, and my friend for the trust she’s showing by tying with him? He goes ahead and acts like a fucking creeper!
Continually throughout the 2 hours class he triggers her, even after she tells him to stop, even after she distances herself from him. I’m trying to teach 20 people at once so I don’t notice this happening, besides he’s conveniently on his best behavior when I’m watching. So I don’t know what happened until the end of the class after everyone else has left, when brownies and group hugs are the only thing that can help her return to earth.
A sexy class shouldn’t fucking end in tears. I shouldn’t have to police safety in my own classes. He should take no to mean no the first time and shut his mouth. My friend shouldn’t be triggered, well ever, but especially not in a space for learning.
How did I not know he was one of the assholes? How could I make the mistake of pairing them up? How did I not see it happening?
Come to find out this isn’t the first time for this particular dude-douche. He’s been making the rounds at rope events, being creepy as fuck to anyone who’s kind enough to pair up with him. Because we all want to think the best of one another and help out a newbie. But once the pattern of douchery was exposed no one has done anything about him so he gets to keep coming to events and creeping women out. He made it to my class because no one called him out.
I try but I’m tired and I can’t do the consent fight and outing of a creeper again. I shouldn’t have to do that once a year. When it is someone else’s turn to fight that fight so I can have fun and not always being the girl no one wants to play with because she’s screaming about rape and consent? Better yet, when can we all respect one another so this stops happening?
So I found it better for my mental health to give up and stopped teaching. It was too much to have the never ending battle of consent brought into my classes where I thought we were safe. I just want to teach, I don’t want to vet everyone who shows up. It’s exhausting. And it’s not fair to the decent people who want to learn that a couple creepers ruin everything for the group, but that’s how it goes. I had to do for my sanity. I took a step back and started focusing on learning instead by going to intensives and partnering with someone who screams about consent as much as I do, so I knew I was safe.
So I’d all but stopped thinking about teaching until last night when I found myself in the cozy living room of a new fellow. He showed me the dress form with pool noodle arms he uses to practice rope on, the cousin of my own plastic male torso. Then he showed me his rope. Then he tied a simple single column tie on my arm.
He beamed with such a happy, self-satisfied smile the while time. It was contagious. I found myself teaching him a trick to make the tie better and his smile got wider. I saw the learning click and his eyes go big as it set in while he put that puzzle piece into place with the other things he knows. And I’ve become a little tiny sliver of his rope journey now.
Something I do as second nature has lit him up. And damn its beautiful watching someone get it and get excited and think about how they’re going to utilize that tie later with a lover. He thanked me as he repeated the tie until it stuck, us laughing the whole while. Until he coiled the rope and we cuddled into one another, touching for the first time.
This is why I teach. This is why I love rope. I adore rope people; they are my clan. I can’t live without it and I shouldn’t have to just because of the creepers.
And yes the evening felt great for more personal reasons too. After dating someone for two years that wasn’t very nice due to his battle with his own inner demons. And then over correcting by briefly dating a very sweet and beautiful person who just had no interest in rope. I was delighted to be spending time with someone who was both totally into playing lets-tie-one-another-up games and could talk endlessly about books and writing. Holy fuck…swoon!
That handful of simple single column ties was super erotically charged because I could feel myself tipping back over to being less guarded personally and professionally about rope.
Maybe I can start teaching classes soon and feel good about it again. What I do know is, I feel absolutely lovely about where the rope-induced intimacy took this new fellow and me that evening. But those filthy, gorgeous details are between me, him, and his rope practice mannequin for now.