Saturday, I taught at LaFortress. A BJ class and an orgasm class. Had a great time, met new people, and heard something that made my stomach sink.
Someone has used my name, my online presence, and their connection to me as a friend as a reference. And then gone on to be a bit of a dickhead.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time, nor the first person to do this. And also, unfortunately, I hear about it after the fact far more often than I am contacted before things can go wrong.
So, here’s a quick refresher on how to use a reference within the lifestyle:
1. Get a reference.
This could happen one of several ways: Someone gives you a name or several of people that they are confident will say good things about them. Perhaps they mention the name of someone who has a good reputation in the community in passing, as if they know them well. Better yet, you watch them online, and choose random interactions to learn about them.
2. Check the reference.
Yes. You read that right. You actually need to check the reference. That means reaching out, possibly to someone you don’t know, and asking, “Is this person OK? Could you or would you recommend getting into a relationship or playing with him/her?”
3. Repeat 1 & 2.
If possible, check several references.
4. Make your own decision based on what you’ve learned.
Of course, no amount of reference checking is going to tell you everything you need to know about a person. You have to make your educated choices based on your own gut and what people have to say.
That’s how it’s done. Easy.
How NOT to use a reference within the lifestyle:
1. Get a reference.
Someone gives you a name or several of people that they are confident will say good things about them. Perhaps they mention the name of someone who has a good reputation in the community in passing, as if they know them well.
2. Use the fact that they offered the reference (however obliquely) AS A REFERENCE.
This person knows all of these people. They must be awesomesauce. Get nekkid, play, and bare your soul without common sense, because, hey! They know people.
Let me state for the record: I have friends on FetLife I would not and could not recommend for play.
I bet other people do, too.
Maybe it’s because I don’t know them well enough (many people friend me to follow my writings), or it could be because I disagree with how they play, their philosophies, etc. I may have them on my friends list because I want to keep an eye on them…
The point of references is not to find out how many people friend someone on FetLife. It’s not a popularity contest. It’s about checking the overall character of a person that you may choose to share your mind and body with.
To me, that is worth a bit of effort.
More than a bit.
So, I beg you, if you are given my name as a reference, USE IT.
Contact me. Ask me questions. At the very least, you may find that the person who is casually throwing my name around didn’t bother to ask me if I would give a reference (they rarely do, BTW), or you may discover that I have quite a bit to say about a certain person, that can help you make a decision to play or not.
It hurts my heart to hear the stories of people blindly trusting others because of my perceived status…
Especially when my status is really only perceived. I’m not all that and a bag of chips. I fully expect and encourage ANYONE interested in playing with me to vet me carefully as well.
If you are interested in playing with me, or pursuing some sort of relationship with me:
- Look over my profile.
- Read what I have to say.
- Reach out to my relationships (for example, to make sure I’m as open/poly as I say, and not just a liar).
- Go to events and watch how I interact with others.
- Follow my activities on FetLife, and see who I interact with and how: Does the way I communicate and treat people makes you feel safe and secure, warm and fuzzy, or a bit uncomfortable?
- Reach out to people within my local community and ask them about me.
I can pretty much guarantee reviews of Nookie won’t be 100% positive, and that’s OK. No one is loved by everyone. However, if you’re serious about getting involved with me (which means letting me into your head), then you should be serious about finding out as much about me as possible.