Any time I see someone ask for advice on finding a dom (generally in the Submissive men and women who love them group on Fetlife, so I’ll freely admit my results are probably skewed), they always get told to go to a munch, that there’s no reason not to go to one, that it’s the only way to meet people, that they’ll surely die alone if they don’t go hang out with a bunch of strangers who they may have nothing whatsoever in common with aside from an interest in kink.
All of that is bullshit, and it’s incredibly fucking boring. By all means mention that munches can be a good way to meet people, talk about how friendly the community can be to newbies, but once you’ve done that for the love of god let it go. When you start beating people over the head with what you think they should do, you’re both being a douchebag and wasting everyone’s time. Repeating yourself when you’ve already stated your case just means I have to scroll down farther to see if anyone else has something interesting to say.
Perhaps ironically, I actually do think going to a munch at least once is generally a good idea. Which is exactly what you would expect someone who enjoys munches would say, so you’ll have to decide for yourself whether my bias makes my advice useful to you or not. The big reason I recommend trying a munch out once or twice is that the worst case scenario for most people (I’ll expand on that later in this post) is spending an evening feeling awkward and not having very much fun, and the best case scenario is really seeing that kinky people are actually pretty normal, not feeling like you’re the only one who has these weird interests, making some close friends, or maybe even meeting a partner. For me, the potential reward far outweighs the risk. For other people, that may not be the case.
Considering how much of kink is entirely subjective (quick, define what makes a scene “heavy”), you would think we’d have a better grasp of the idea that people may experience the same event in vastly different ways. My enjoyment of nerdy, theoretical discussions about kink has nothing to do with whether J. Random Submissive feels comfortable talking about his kinks with anyone besides his partner. For J. Random, going to a munch may be a complete waste of his time. He’s not at all likely to have a good time if he doesn’t want to talk about kink with strangers, and he’s not terribly likely to meet his ideal partner there since she’s going to be uncomfortable with munches for the exact same reasons he is. If you wouldn’t decide for someone else how much pain he can take, why the fuck would you decide for him how much he will or won’t enjoy going to a munch?
The idea that there’s no valid reason not to go to a munch is especially frustrating. If you work with children or vulnerable adults, or in politics or any particularly visible position, or have a morality clause in your employment contract, or are dependent on people who don’t approve of kink, you have an extremely good reason not to risk going to an event. If you have a disability, going to a munch may take more energy than you have to spare, be so much hassle that it’s just not worth it to go, or physically impossible to get to (credit where it’s due, that idea is from Namaah’s comment on Tomio’s post about how not everyone wants to be out as kinky). If you work the wrong shift, it may just be impossible to go to a munch (and for fuck’s sake don’t say “Oh, just switch shifts with someone.” People ask questions when you do that, and I don’t know about you, but I’m a shitty liar). If you live in a small town, you might be hours away from the nearest munch. If you just really dislike hanging out with large groups of strangers that’s a good enough reason not to go, dammit!
Lots of people talk about munches like they’re the only way to meet people, which is stupid and wrong. There’s only an entire industry based around online personals, which you would think would be a difficult fact to miss. It’s possible that a few people meet each other that way, not to mention all the people who meet in entirely vanilla contexts and happily discover that they’re both kinky. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend hoping that your date turns out to be kinky as your sole partner-finding strategy, I can’t deny that it does happen.
Aside from personals, sites like Fetlife have some pretty good forums. I actually get most of my nerdy-kink-discussion needs met on forums and kink blogs, since for me munches mostly involve catching up with friends. There’s no good reason to act like munches are the one true way to make friends or meet people or have interesting discussions about kink.
There are plenty of good things about munches if you’re the kind of person who enjoys them, but can we please stop fucking badgering people to go if they don’t want to?