Under most circumstances, I’m no fan of dress codes at kinky events. Back when secrecy was more important they had their uses in telling real kinky people from tourists, but these days little serious harm is likely to come of a vanilla person accidentally wandering into a kinky party. If a play party had a dress code, I think it would be entirely reasonable to question the point of requiring people to dress up when they’re supposed to be there to play.
However, if a party is all about dressing up and is clearly advertised as such, then it’s reasonable, even necessary, to have a dress code. Have you ever gone to what you thought was going to be a costume party, only to discover you were the only one who actually dressed up? Or completely misjudged how formal an event was and shown up dressed completely inappropriately? Feeling stupid and out of place is the exact opposite of fun. Obviously, fetish parties are much more fun if everyone is required to ‘fetish up’ if they want in. These parties are also supposed to be safe places for people to indulge their clothing fetishes (latex or leather, for example). That’s why they’re called fetish parties. Without a dress code, people tend to tone down their costumes for fear of ending up as the one latex catsuit in a sea of slackers who couldn’t be bothered to dress up. That’s hardly a safe place for a fetishist, now is it?
Fetish parties are also collaborative in a way I really enjoy. A fetish party isn’t something you just show up to, it’s something all the attendees create together. Without everyone pulling their weight, the party falls flat. Going to a fetish party without even attempting to dress up is like showing up at a potluck without so much as a token store-bought veggie tray and expecting people to be happy to see you.
But! What if you just don’t like dressing up? What if your friends want to go, and you want to hang out with them, but you don’t care for fetish wear? I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know I have a very simple answer for you: STAY HOME.
It really is that simple. The world will not end if you miss one (1) party. Your friends will still be your friends if you take the drastic and unprecedented step of saying ‘Fetish parties aren’t really my thing. Have fun, we’ll get together later.’ Is your desire to go to this party and see your friends really more important than everyone else’s desire to have a safe space to wear their fetish gear? Is the effort the organizers and other attendees put in worth so little to you that you’d rather shit all over it than deal with the minor inconvenience of missing a single party?
Of course, if you’re worried that there may be someone in the local scene who isn’t aware that you’re a whiny little princess, then by all means argue that you should be given an exception to the clearly stated rules. For extra princess points, bitch and whine about the dress code when there is one and only one public party in the local scene that has ever so much as suggested a dress code.
I am no way exaggerating with that statement. The Kink Underground Fetish Revue is the only party in Victoria that I know of to ever have a dress code of any sort. Other kink events in Victoria include:
Sagacity play parties: these have no dress code and never will.
Sagacity munches: these have the absolutely draconian dress code of regular, everyday street wear. Because munches are casual get-togethers, fetish wear is actually discouraged.
Sagacity workshops: regular everyday street wear, comfortable clothing you can move in encouraged.
Rope nights of various sorts (Rope Dojo Without The Ego, Kinktastic Enterprises rope nights, Victoria Ropettes Women’s Bondage Experiment, etc): Again, comfortable clothing that’s easy to move in is recommended.
It’s almost like there are lots and lots of things you can do in Victoria without ever changing out of your tshirt and jeans. Kink Underground was also very clear about the dress code and the intention of the party. They even offered fetish makeovers to people who weren’t sure what to wear or who didn’t have any fetish wear. I don’t know what they could have done to be more inclusive while still having a fetish party.
Even with all that, people still whined and cried about the dress code. Apparently most fetish wear for men looks submissive, dominant men prefer to just wear black street clothes, for the purpose of getting into a fetish party submissive women are fashion accessories, and people who have been involved in the scene for a while should be given exceptions from the clearly stated rules. Let me count the ways all of those statements are complete and utter bullshit.
1. Supposedly, most male fetish wear looks ‘submissive’. FAIL. No, no it does not. And even if it did, so fucking what? Will the sky fall in if (gasp) you leave the house in anything less than a complete leather police uniform?
2. So, what you’re saying is that dominant men are lazy little shits? I hope you cleared that statement with all the dominant men who are either fetishists themselves or aren’t complete fucking slackers. FAIL.
3. In what parallel universe does the dress code for a party apply to groups, not individuals? Even ignoring the fact that submissive women are people and not fashion accessories, it simply makes no sense whatsoever that you should be allowed into a party with a dress code because you brought a woman who meets the dress code. Would you invite someone to a post-move thank you party because their friend helped you move? No? FAIL.
4. This is where I get really angry. Supposedly people who have been involved in the scene for a while shouldn’t have to follow the rules. Specifically, if one of the reasons to have a dress code is to keep people out who might not know how to behave at a party full of scantily clad people (that is, people who might not know that bare skin is not an invitation), and this supposed paragon of the community knows to keep his hands to himself, we should just let him in. Never mind that it’s little tough to tell at the door who has been going to parties for years and who just dropped in to see some tits, never mind that letting one person in who doesn’t meet the dress code but not another is blatant favouritism, never mind that people at the party might not be comfortable being stared at by some jackass who couldn’t be bothered to dress up even if said jackass is familiar with the kink scene, never mind that the intent of the party is to create a feast for the eyes for everyone attending.
Especially, never mind that people who have been in the scene for years should fucking know better! If we can’t expect people who have gone to kink parties before to understand and respect the rules, who can we expect to follow the rules? If anyone gets a pass, it should be people new to the scene who couldn’t have known better. People who have been around for a while should be held to higher standards, not lower ones. After all, they’ve had plenty of time to learn what’s appropriate and what’s not. Who’s to say that someone who thinks they’re above following a simple dress code doesn’t also think they’re above keeping their hands to themselves unless specifically invited? Why should I trust someone who believes that his desire to attend a party is more important than the other attendees feeling safe and comfortable at that party?
Finally, why should I have the least bit of respect for someone who whines and cries about a dress code? If the rules of an event are a minor inconvenience for you by all means state your case, but please shut the fuck up after you do so. Incessant whining about how you should get an exception because you’re such a special snowflake impresses precisely no one. Next time,skip the whining and just wear a tiara, princess.