I would not want to be a new player entering the lifestyle right now. Considering the current witch-hunt mob mentality it’s nearly impossible to play with folks new to the scene.
I understand that I am hyper-aware of safety, transparency, and the effects of same on one’s reputation. Those things combined with the current climate means that not only will I not play with anyone new but also that I’m extremely hesitant to play with already established play partners. Things are so toxic, the risk : reward so heavily weighted toward risk, that I seriously considered walking away from everything.
I am being persistently pursued for play by someone brand new to my local scene. They asked around about me. They heard about my reputation for safety. They aren’t considering play with anyone else. Brand shiny new to the scene and they’ve found someone reputed to be super-safe and latched on like a barnacle. Which is awesome … for them.
What about me? How do I play with someone I have no way of vetting? Sure, they seem nice. Their desire to vet Tops when they are brand new speaks well of their level headedness. Sure I can look at their Fet history and see if there are any red flags – public rants about exes, writings clearly driven by sub frenzy – but that’s it. They haven’t been around long enough to expose who they are when they stop being cautious.
How do I play with them knowing that, in a very real way, I’m placing my hard won reputation on the line and not just from the risk of playing with them? I would also tacitly be granting them the ability to say “Oh sure, I play with AnonymousChick” giving them the currency of my reputation as rider, and perhaps making it easier for them to get other play partners. I’m not okay with that. In the same way that having you on my Fet friends list doesn’t mean you are my friend. My friends list is not an endorsement, neither is the fact that I’ve played with someone. I understand that. I also understand there are those who will view it as such. The answer is, I won’t. I cannot and will not take that risk. The climate in the scene is far too volatile.
So, why then, do I bother staying?
I don’t know.