I have a fairly public persona that we actively protect when it comes to stuff “here” and “there.” It drives me a little nuts. When both of your personas are almost entirely online, not getting any kind of bread crumb between the two of them is, if we’re being honest, nearly impossible.
A slipped reference, a missed login… and, if we’re going to get technical, even speech patterns and style suggests enough, over time, to draw lines.
I hate that it’s a problem. I have to actively change my writing style. I have to work to use different browsers for different types of work. I have to hide my phone, then encrypt it, then password it, then put locks on applications that then prompt for logins. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
This whole thing of anonymity and not crossing the streams is just over-the-top silly.
Doesn’t mean I don’t have to do it, but it’s just dumb.
I get so frustrated with it because it’s just a cover story that for some reason we are all required to carry. Why do I say this?
I’ve recently been acquiring certain items (let’s call them paddles, benches, furniture, equipment) that are specific to this part of life. [SSC: Snake Den!!] Now, if we were all so “strange” – the wait times on getting these items would be next to nothing – stuff would be sitting around, waiting to be bought. No problem.
But that’s not the case, not at all. Instead, wait times are 2x and sometimes 4x what’s shown on the sites offering them, because… volume. They are making whatever the item is (or acquiring it from their sources) as fast as they can and can’t keep up with demand. Then look at the mere fact that Amazon is in this business, that all of these other online stores are doing just fine, thanks. You see that this is quite the (quiet, but) viable and popular business.
Then you consider the increasingly mentioned stats about the fact that if you’re kinky, chances are your friends and neighbors (or at least a few of them) are as well. Plus all the other anecdotal stuff, like the whole 50 Shades thing and all of that. Clearly, “rare” is not the word to be used to describe all of this.
A while back I read a post by a certain Rabbit that talked about the fact that it’s not on us to impose our kink on anyone else. Absolutely agree. But to have to hide and everyone pretend they’re not interested in something * that so many are indeed interested in is such a waste of energy.
* Not only pretending to be uninterested, but actually condemning – “THOSE PEOPLE are so weird that they would be interested in THAT STUFF” – from TV to news to conversation to… whatever. It is just plain hypocritical.
I’ve tripped over people who have a relationship with my other life when they follow me on Twitter. [SSC: Thankfully I’m a complete unknown in the muggle world. But, believe me, he was shocked when a colleague followed him.] Should I block them? Why? Then it’s me putting some sort of filter on THEM, which I can’t do. How do I know what they are looking for? If they seek me out and get something from what we write, from our interactions, from this amazing group, great!
I just know that when I get *that look* when someone starts to talk about things in this part of our lives – whether it be in jest or judgement or passing comment – my blood starts to boil and I feel powerless to do anything about it, except turtle. Because I can’t jeopardize my professional (and therefore family) life because of close-minded, judgemental people.
And yet, I know, KNOW, I’ll screw up at some point. The streams will cross, whether it’s a picture that shows an identifiable thing that I didn’t catch or a post that has too much of my other life styling, or a tweet accidentally on the wrong account, or simply someone connecting dots that I didn’t realize were there until too late. [SSC: Or me. Because he has had to edit me several times since I don’t have to worry the same way.] And I don’t really know how to deal with that. I don’t know how to react or consider it…
It would be great if I thought I could get away with …
Them: “Wow – this is pretty weird, this thing you do…”
Me: “Right? Don’t you love it? It’s amazing as I’m sure you know.”
Or something along those lines that acknowledges that fact that we’re all human, we’re all curious, we’re all open to trying different things at different points and different levels of intensity in our lives.
But instead, I turtle. Which, to me, is ME being hypocritical. It’s me pretending and lying and not being honest. I’ve always been about sharing experiences. About helping other people consider things differently. It forces me to be someone I’m not and that disconnect is sad, really, IMHO. Not because I’m so fantastic that everyone simply must share with me, but because there is so much I could learn (along with other interested folks) if this all wasn’t the case.
I’ll get off my soap box now and go continue insulating my streams.
4 Replies to “Crossing the Streams – and Turtling”
If it’s any comfort, I have had those worlds collide on more than a few occasions. When I lived on the East Coast, I was very active in the local leather organization. At one point I ran for the board of directors (I won). While visiting a client, one of the employees there smiled at me and said, “I voted for you.” I nearly fell over. She knew me! She knew my kink! Holy crap!
I thought about it for a while (months). Finally the light bulb went on. Anyone who reads my stuff, goes to a workshop I might give, or guesses my identity from here or the social media, by definition has to be into the same things I am. They are no threat. What are they going to do, tell me that they will out me? Of course not! They are kinky too or they wouldn’t have discovered me.
Like you, I separate vanilla lion from caged lion. Anybody who makes the connection has to have done a lot of kinky reading to figure it out. I think that I wasted endless concern over being discovered. I don’t work for the church after all. I don’t molest children. What’s the worst thing I might be asked? “You let your wife spank you? ARRRG” It’s funny actually. By the way, we have a well-equipped play room of our own. We don’t use it much. I’m hoping that will change.
Great post. This is an issue that must trouble many ‘lifestyle’ bloggers, or hell, even those who merely write on the topic of sex.
I’m probably both more careful than I need to be and not careful enough given the fact I’m actually trying. But for me the bottom line is that the worst-case scenario of being outed would bring about confrontations, drama, and, ultimately force me to explain things when I have no desire to do so.
At some point my own streams are likely to cross. And if it happens, so be it. But I feel no need to be at the tip of the spear when it comes to advancing the cause of ‘acceptance.’ Coming out to defend my actions when I feel none is required, simply isn’t on mt to-do list. Yet I’m the same person writing a certain blog who’s work and presence is desired and respected elsewhere.
But thinking it through… honestly, there’s a lot to be said for keeping things on the DL. Frankly, most of my precious memories are fragments of events which took place under circumstances that aren’t meant for public consumption. And, really, would either of us want ‘everyone’ up in our business?
Speaking only for myself — hell no.
Someone who really wants to cross the streams can; the interwebz are not hardened against that sort of thing.
What I think you’re left with is keeping people (your kids, for example) from stumbling over it accidentally. It should (in my view) be possible to Google “Joe Vanilla” without getting hits for “Bonzo Bondage.”
People hunted for, discovered and tried to use my kink against me twice in my professional life. Neither time was my employer anything but supportive.
Regarding people who say stupid things, well, I would argue that there’s no harm in commenting flatly, “Well, I personally see nothing wrong with it. People should be able to do what they like in the privacy of their own homes.” Invite no further discussion, and I don’t think you “out” yourself.
Ah yes, we don’t cross the streams.
On my desktop and on my phone I use different browsers and email clients, with my, umm, less-vanilla life using the more obscure programs so nobody opens them by accident. And at work, I even have one installed on a thumb drive so it doesn’t show up in my Program List (although I’m the boss, so nobody else should be looking, anyway).