This past winter I tripped down to Dark Odyssey’s Winter Fire, a hotel take-over weekend in Washington, DC. It was really fun to be in a different space, and this space happened to do a lot of flagging, which was great because in my home community I’m often the only one. In passing conversation someone mentioned to me that they weren’t ballsy enough to flag Orange, and since they didn’t know me well yet they couldn’t figure out if I was brave, hardcore, or insane. I asked them why they thought they needed to be ballsy to flag orange – it’s just a hanky. They replied that weren’t sure they were enough of a masochist to flag orange; and that people often view it as a dare.
Our exchange got me thinking about this strange habit of asking people to prove their identity that often goes along with kink, and what a disservice that does all of us. Are you really a masochist? Are you really a Dominant? Are you really bi? Feel free to insert your own example – I’m sure you have one.
[Side note before we get going on this? I fall into to the anything/just looking orange camp. I really like being able to flag not playing tonight; plus how up for anything can you be if you’re strictly on one side of the field ;)]
I flag orange on the left simply because it signals I’m into a wide variety of sensation play, sexual play, and I’m versatile. I flag orange left because it shows I’m in the mood to play right now should an opportunity for hotness arise. I flag orange left because I’m rarely sure about how I want to play with someone until I interact with them a bit – figure out how I respond to their energy, their chemistry, and trust their skill level. Plus, my limits really ebb and flow based on where I am emotionally and mentally that day – especially when it comes to sexual play, humiliation, or mental regression (little or animal play). Orange gives me a flexibility that really works.
I also flag houndstooth right. Because biting. Always.
Funny thing though, no one has ever asked me to prove that I’m really into biting; just if I own a turtle neck.
Further to that, no one’s ever asked me if I’m really a Hedonist either; or if I’m sure I like orgasms given that I haven’t jumped into bed with them.
So why ask me that about my masochism? Or submission? Or Queerness?
Are you really a masochist? Are you really a submissive? Are you really queer?
Those probably aren’t the questions you wanted to know the answer to anyways. The question you want to know the answer to is how will we play together. Will the amount of pain I like to receive match with the amount of pain you like to inflict? Is my relationship to suffering akin to how you like to see your partners suffer? Do I submit in a way that actually reads as submissive to you? Am I queer who fucks across the spectrum, or does my queerness mean I’m a politically conscious lesbian?
Labels can be so useful to categorize how we do; to drop hints and signal our general interest in something, but they consistently break down when people hold so firmly to their concept of that label they cannot make room for how the person actually wears it.
Flagging is a conversation starter, not consent – it’s certainly not a dare. It shows you my interest levels in a particular activity; it’s not a commitment to you as a play partner. Flagging orange is no less ballsy than flagging any other colour.
Fly your freak flag with pride baby, and be extra suspicious of anyone who says you’re doin it wrong – even me 😉