How To …. Attend Munches
Most people walking into an unknown location or situation will be nervous. They don't know what to expect or what lies on the other side of the door. BDSMers are an understanding bunch, they know newcomers will feel this way and so steps are taken to minimise the anguish.
If the venue is local to you take the opportunity to call in there for a drink some time before the munch date. Go with a friend. Familiarise yourself with the surroundings and layout. This helps you to get over the "what's behind the door" feeling.
Many munches set up a meet 'n greet system where someone will meet you at the door as you arrive. Some even provide name tags for ease of identification.
Having the mobile number of a regular muncher is another handy way of getting into the venue with ease. You can ring ahead and ask what part of the pub they are sitting in or, if you can't take that step over the threshold, you can ring them and ask them to come out and drag you in.
Most munches are not private events and are held in pubs alongside the drinking public. The munch dress code is most often casual, jeans and T-shirt type of wear. This means you are not going to walk into a group of latex and rubber clad fetishers although there will almost certainly be a lot of "regulation" black and the occasional pair of leather trousers. Some munch members may be discretely wearing collars.
Despite the lack of flamboyant fetishwear, recognising the group is usually fairly simple. You will have been given some clue of identification before hand - "look for the table with the teddy bear on it" – or some similar clue.
Since a lot of munches are held on week nights the munchers are also likely to be the only group in the place. If in doubt – ask!! – "Excuse me – is this the toytown munch?". The general public are unlikely know what a munch is so if you get the wrong table the response will be a "no". Rest assured that they are not likely to leap up, point at you and scream "pervert!! pervert!!"
I've heard of some people who have turned up at a venue but failed to meet anyone because they were too scared to approach. You will regret this if it happens to you.
What to expect
A munch is not a play party. It is a group of people with a similar interest meeting to chat and drink and make new friends. People will not be laid across tables and caned senseless. You may get propositioned, as BDSMers are frank and open people who are out to find a partner for their chosen activities.
If you are uncomfortable at all with anyone's approach to you then say so. It is far better, and safer, to speak out than find yourself in a situation you would rather not be in. People who are interested in chatting and getting to know you are a better bet than those who want to know if you'll meet them for a session next week.
Because BDSMers are overt you will find yourself happily talking about things you like without a feeling of taboo. It is not easy to shock a BDSMer, even the most extreme fantasy you hold will bring a "mmmm – might try that" from somewhere in the group.
BDSM ranges from the easy to the extreme, from the subtle to the sublime, so if you just want a good spanking or if you fantasise of being tortured or giving pain, you are certain to find others in the group who can equate to you.
What is discussed?
There is no real answer to this other than "whatever". The talk could be about sessions and toys – or it could be about football or food. One noticeable topic in any organised group is internal politics and gossip. This can create bonding or it can create animosity but since we are all human it is something that can rarely be avoided in any social group. If you don't want to get involved in internal politics then don't.
Personally though I will advocate the use of gossip. BDSM, and in particular S&M, requires a good amount of trust in the sanity of your partner. Some people can seem very sociable in public but a little less desirable in private. Some may proclaim their years of experience and then show themselves to be inept in practise. The exchange of information is like a safety network within the BDSM lifestyle. People may have tales to tell that will stop you being duped or trusting too soon.
Will I have to buy a round for the whole group?
You can if you want but you don't have to. Everyone is skint to one degree or another. A munch will usually have a "whip" where each person is asked to put in £5 or £10 to start with. This works in some strange biblical way – there is always enough to buy the rounds and sometimes there is even some left over at the end of the evening.
Will There Be Food?
The term "munch" is a bit of a misnomer. Food is not generally organised for the event so whether food is available or not is determined by the type of venue the munch is held at. If you intend to eat while you are out it is best to check if the place does pub grub before setting out.
How Do I Find Out About Munches?
If you are UK based then a good resource for local munch events is Informed Consent. Munches are listed there with links through to the relevant websites where you can get the location and dates etc. If you are part of a newsgroup then munch information will turn up in emails. If you are in any of the BDSM chatrooms you will see munches mentioned and, if they are in your area you can ask for further details.
Don't be afraid to ask
Don't get drunk
Don't go off and play with someone you've only just met
Don't be afraid to say "no"
Don't tell lies about yourself
Don't let your mouth write cheques that you body or regular life can't honour