I mean, on the one hand, I think I’ve gotten a much better handle on flirting in the last year or so. I am better at making eye contact, etc. That said, the “touch” stage is still my most awkward phase. In the kinky world, I’ve learned enough about how to generally get someone to play with me without having to outright ask. Usually, initiating conversation with a Top/Dominant fellow and subtly directing the conversation to kinky interests is enough for someone to inquire or flirt themselves into the “want to play?” discussion. It works. Now, for more than that, who knows? My romantic kinky relationships have all started out clearly that way, with upfront discussions of what someone was seeking and a very distinct “we are dating” going on. I had regular play partners in Pittsburgh, but one was clearly not romantic at all from the beginning and the others weren’t since they were poly and I’m not.
Thing is, I’m still always drawn back to the whole thing from the movie/book He’s Just Not That Into You. Basically, when a guy is interested, you’ll know. If he wants to date you, he’ll make it happen. If that’s the case, than a guy not making efforts to clearly “woo” you – flowers, dinner, meeting friends, text-flirting, etc. – indicates he’s not romantically interested. I wish I could fully embrace that, but I just feel like there are so many ambiguities that likely men are confused too, so they may not know the proper way to signal either, making it a convoluted mess.
Basically, in life I tend to be a person who works best with boundaries. I like certainty. This makes me sound a like a high-strung control freak, but honestly, I like to know expectations. I like being able to prepare myself mentally for all possible outcomes, weigh the likelihood of each in order to minimize disappointment/hurt, and come up with adequate spin in order to mitigate negativity. I’m a realist, and while about some things I’m naive and idealistic, for the most part I tend to prepare for the worst. The kinky community constantly has me falling on my ass, so to speak, because there is so much uncertainty about everything. There are entirely new social protocols to learn and adapt to. There are seemingly limitless possible outcomes for every interaction.
I acknowledge that I need to learn to live more in the moment, relax, trust in those around me, and accept the risk of getting hurt. This is easier said than done. I’m used to protecting myself and maintaining kind of a distant perspective on things, but I find myself more and more drawn away from that. As I have attended more events and gotten more involved here in DC, there are more risks and I have less control since it is less about my independent journey and more about the people and connections I’m making. Combined with the rest of the uncertainties surrounding social protocol in the kinky community, it just gets really confusing sometimes.
More than all that, I’m finally at a place in my life where things are steady enough that I could be in a serious relationship. Added to that me finding this guy who I really like and am attracted to, and it’s hard to be ok with play only. I want more. I want him to meet my vanilla friends and be a part of my life. I want him to want that of me. I don’t know how to tell if he’s interested in that. Thing is, if we can just be friends with play, that’s ok, I just need to know so I don’t get too attached. I just don’t want to ruin what we have now by asking too soon. I’m too afraid of potential rejection. I’ve never been in a play partner scenario, so it’s hard for me to know how it really works.