I have spent most of today trying to figure out a *nice* way to write about what I’m thinking about. No matter the mental gymnastics I do, I can’t figure out a way to talk about it that isn’t direct and open. So be it.
To begin, I’d like to discuss something about myself. I’m a very loving person, I try very hard to be likable, and I usually have no ill will towards people until they have done something very bad to me and/or my family. (The usage of the word “family” also includes those very close friends that are like siblings to us.) My biggest problem is that I don’t know how to sugar-coat things. I don’t try to hurt people when I am pointing things out, I just don’t know how to do the subtle delicate dance required for most relationships nowadays. It’s why most of my friendships with women fall to the side…I don’t know how to navigate the intricacies of supporting a person without calling them on their shit. My lack of social fluidity often leads to people believing that I am being a bitch, attacking someone, or am a generally unfriendly person, because I don’t whitewash for nicety’s sake.
This inability of mine has come to a head in my local scene. On our group in FetLife, a thread came up suggesting that using a contract could result in much less heartache and hassle if something went horribly wrong and there were charges pressed. Now, I believe that contracts are useful in getting to know someone’s preferences and desires, to judge them on certain things, but they hold little to no goddamned weight in a court of law. Because of their inability to be enforced, I generally believe that newcomers to BDSM should not be advised on how wonderful contracts are, how protective they are. Instead, I believe that common sense, awareness and time should be used to find partners least likely to call you in the next day. It’s a false sense of security, in my mind.
When I sought to bring this up, the reaction was less than pleasant. The original poster had mentioned they were charged; whether this contract really helped get them off the hook was unclear…but the inquisitive part of my mind is going “How?!” If a person can’t consent to being abused nor kidnapped, how could the contract work to negate the charge? Yes, it could possibly be used to frame the plaintiff as “someone who asked for it” but does that really legally exonerate the defendant? Who is to say that the defendant didn’t go 2,000 times beyond what was asked for in this contract?
So me being socially retarded me, I make my case against the widespread canonization of contracts. I say the things I am thinking in the most logical way I know, trying to not step on people’s feet while maintaining my core message. Instead, the original poster mentions “being attacked” and swears up and down that the contract saved them, therefore it is priceless as a defense.
Having talked to a lawyer friend in Michigan, I myself would be terrified to have a contract like the one the original poster suggested. The lawyer friend mentioned that the contract itself, signed, indicates an actual confession of deeds done, (when signed both before and after session).
I get the impression from the posts on the thread that my heretical idea that contracts aren’t really worth the ink they are printed with was not cool. I started feeling a little resentful and baffled. Why is crowing about the legal benefits of contracts okay, but arguing for common sense and judgment not? What was I saying wrong? Am I to stifle myself every time I have an opinion that isn’t the group’s consensus?
This is where I suck at social aspects. I can’t just accept being drowned out when I believe that logic is not prevailing. I can’t understand why people would go for the extreme and exciting when the common-sense and practical works just as well. Add in a dash of confusion over how I perceive someone and the way everyone else perceives them, throw in a shake or two of social anxiety et voila! You have someone suddenly less sure about belonging to a community.
I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, nor be the nit-picking thorn in the side. I also don’t want to ignore facts and logic just to fit in. When given those two options, I really just prefer to hide and wait for the world to end in 2012.