this post about labels a few weeks ago but brat and bratting aren't ones that I got into. Okay, I can understand how to some extent signals can be misconstrued. If one is at a spanking party, isn't anything someone does or says a sign that they want to play? Uh, no. I'm not even talking about over the top (pun not intended) pranks, tying someone's shoelaces together, hiding their paddle, throwing water balloons, or anything like that. That type of thing is what some people would more clearly define as "bratting" and overly irritating bratting, at that.
Lesson 1: Sarcasm Doesn't Always = Bratting
I'm talking about things that are part of my basic personality that in a spanko setting may be seen as signals. I'm really quite shy, really! But once I get to know someone better it all comes out. I have a very sarcastic sense of humor. I tease a LOT with friends, that is how we banter. In everyday life, I also curse like a sailor, but I do make a conscious effort to curb that around people who are bothered by it. Tops, I promise I'm not trying to confuse you with how I interact. That brings us to the second lesson.
Lesson 2: Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is one of the most important things to remember in the scene. In life, really. My sarcasm doesn't really come out full force to someone I don't know well. So if you've had a run in with it, props to you for being a good friend. Lol. I know that if someone is a Positive Polly that they may not love this Sarcastic Sally. Generally I try to surround myself with those who I know will be a good audience, but if Positive Polly pokes her head into the conversation, I'm capable of reeling it in a bit. I definitely tone things down with people I'm not as familiar with because I don't know how they'll take my sense of humor and my intent is not to annoy. And if I did completely gauge someone wrong and they told me to cut it out, I would immediately do so. That takes us to the third lesson.
Lesson 3: Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
This is especially important if you are in a party setting. Be sure to only address the specific person you mean to. If you throw an attitude out to the whole room, don't be surprised if someone besides the one you intended approaches you about it. Don't go over the top with people you don't intend to play with, that's not polite. Especially men, they already have so much trouble interpreting signals. Lol. You don't need to confuse them further. If you are witnessing an interaction between two people though, don't butt in. You may think one is bratting the other but that just may be how they are with each other. Stay out of it. Being aware of those around you also applies to the Alice Attention-Grabbers. You don't have to have your On switch to full brat mode turned on all night. There are others at the party too and trying to make it all about you is just rude to everyone else in attendance.
Lesson 4: Use Common Sense
If you ask 10 tops how they feel about bratting, you are likely to get 10 different answers. If you know the person you want to play with finds it funny to have their paddle hidden, then go for it. Scene created. But if you don't know someone well, throwing that water balloon at them is not cool and probably just ruined their night. Don't be a jerk, use common sense. We're all adults here.
This is slightly off topic, but another phrase I can't stand is topping from the bottom. It is often used in a negative way to indicate that a bottom was taking over the scene. I've never bossed a top around to say "use this implement this many times and then do this", yada yada yada. That is what I think the true definition of it would be. Where I often see it used though is a top not liking the feedback they got from the bottom. My friend Zelle put it best- "I'm the bottom, I'm in control, but I choose to put you in charge." I totally agree with that. Honestly, the bottom does have control. But both parties, especially when playing for the first time, should have that discussion beforehand about likes/dislikes/wants/needs/limits. If I say no wood and you think that's "topping from the bottom", well that is ridiculous and I probably don't want to play with you anyway. I will add that I've played with many wonderful people who have been great about giving and getting feedback and I appreciate that. Don't want to come across as too much of a Negative Nancy. ;-)
Brat on. Or not.