Sunday, February 5, 2012

Clique- A Four Letter Word?

From Merriam-Webster: Clique (noun): a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially: one held together by common interests, views, or purposes. 

Synonyms: body, bunch, circle, clan, gang, community, coterie, coven, crowd, fold, galere, klatch, lot, network, pack, ring, set

Those synonyms are interesting. "Gang" tends to bring to mind a negative connotation whereas "community" is generally a positive one. The topic of cliques has been on my mind after having heard it used so negatively to describe many in the spanking scene. The criticisms some express refer to those in the spanking scene as being cliqueish, snobby, and petty. It kind of pisses me off to hear things like that because I know that the majority of people are NOT like that at all. The spanking scene has a wide variety of people in it, just like any subgroup you'd pull from the general population. So are there some out there who might be snobby or mean or petty? Of course. Just like there are in any other area of life. We've all had that family member or coworker or acquaintance who we couldn't stand. But that shouldn't be used to stereotype an entire group.

That's like calling all Yankees fans elitist. Hmm... moving right along. In my mind, the word "clique" just means a close group of friends. Don't we all have one of those? Why does that have to be a bad thing? In the above definition it states "held together by common interests, views, or purposes." Technically that would make all us spankos one big clique. Isn't that usually true of any friend? There's something that makes you become friends in the first place. You generally have a few things in common. I have Friend A who will always go out for sushi with me. Then there's Friend B who likes the same kinds of movies. If Friend A and I are going out for sushi we don't purposely exclude Friend B from coming, but if she doesn't like sushi then she just won't participate in that.

A lot of close friends have inside jokes, those "you had to be there" kind of moments. Some people think that having those jokes between one another is a bad thing too and excludes others. I don't believe that to be true either. Just the other day at work, I was telling a coworker a semi-funny embarrassing story about when I was in high school and we both were laughing so hard we were crying by the end of it. It honestly wasn't that funny but the stressful mood of the week had caught up to us and came out in the form of insanity and hysterical laughter. Anyway, someone else in the office came up front and asked what we were laughing about. I said "Oh, you just had to be there." Because sometimes you just do. I could certainly explain it all again but retelling things doesn't always have the same effect.

Trust me, I'm no Miss Popular. I never have been. I've always been the type that stays pretty neutral between various groups but can get along fairly well with most everybody. I think so anyway. Maybe somebody out there thinks I'm a total bitch, I don't know. What I do know is that when I came out into the spanking scene I encountered one of the kindest and most accepting groups of people that I've ever known in my life. There is no way that I ever could've gotten into all of this without the people. I've made so many good friends through this common link that we all share. I'll always be thankful for that. And if they'll accept a shy, silly, Peep obsessed girl like me, I think it's pretty fair to say that they're very welcoming to everyone.

The spanking scene is just a microcosm of the general vanilla world. You find all types. Some people you may click with more than others. I don't think that someone should be made to feel bad that they aren't super close friends with so-and-so if they just don't have that vibe with that person. It's the same as with choosing play partners. It's there or it isn't. If you have to force it, then it's not working. Even if a particular person isn't the top of your list of who you want to chat with, we should all still be able to be civil. It goes back to the Golden Rule- treat others the way that you want to be treated. And before you negatively judge someone for being clique-ish or snobby, stop and think if you are doing the very thing that you are accusing them of.  

"The worst cliques are those which consist of one man."- George Bernard Shaw


sarah thorne said...

Amen girl! I have more to say and will be back when I am not on my phone, and have an actual computer in front of me to expand on my thoughts! :)


A.S.S. said...

As a general rule the spanking scene is open and inviting. Most folks remember being a newbie and being treated well as they emerged from the shadows. The protocols and such are relaxed and usually just being a friendly person is enough to get you in. It can be a far bigger challenge in other BDSM cultures where there are specific rules about interacting with people and your level of experience has a great deal to do with your standing. Spankos tend to be far more relaxed.

There are cliques though. Like you say, you find those everywhere in life. They develop naturally. Again though, those tend to be pretty friendly to newbies. The very first party we ever attended... Shadow Lane in Las Vegas... we were welcomed with open arms into several different "private" suite parties. People knew we were newbies and many used that fact as a reason to go out of their way and welcome us. That included some well known people... like Erica Scott.

There are, however, a few that are cliquish and snobby to a degree that is unwelcoming. While they might seemingly be friendly from the outside, you find yourself being treated as a 'less than' once you're actually interacting with the group. There is a peeking order based on a criteria you don't quite understand. Some score the better treatment... some don't. And some are flat treated like 'interlopers.' Easy to get sucked into that too, because you start believing if I just do the right things... including engaging in the same cliquish behavior advocated by the group... I'll score that invitation to the main house and be part of that coveted inner circle. It's a lot the same way the social scene was structured in the Jr High cafeteria. That is something to avoid.

The spanking scene is filled with warm hearted people that will welcome you with honest open arms... and that's where you want to be. Sure, they'll have shared stories and inside jokes... but they will invite you in, in a positive and fun way. Honestly, in our entire lives... we haven't found a 'clique' as a whole more welcoming than spankos have been.

~Todd and Suzy

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Todd & Suzy (and add, as a side note, that I'm thoroughly impressed with their tandem typing skills). I am grateful that I have been warmly received, despite being a dork and an oddball.

The sad thing is that so many people just don't seem to progress beyond their set of eighth grade social skills. This is everywhere. I don't know why or how to change this. Maybe some people can't stop being elitist any more than I can stop being shy.


sarah thorne said...

I guess my biggest thing about people who complain about 'cliques' is...why are you so concerned with who others are choosing to hang out with? Why is it anyone else's business?

I have found that the ones who tend to complain most about 'cliques' seem to be insecure in general about their own likability. So, instead of looking inward at themselves and focusing on what would make *them* happy and working towards that, they focus on what others have that they want and basically bitch that they don't have a right to have friends, and enjoy their friends, or prefer to hang their friends.

Big deal. People have close friends, and that's who they choose to spend time with. Why is that anyone else's business to dictate? When someone accuses others of being 'cliqueish', they're basically saying, "you have friends that you enjoy, and I have to see it and I don't like it because I'm not involved too!"

How stupid.

People need to focus on their own lives and friendships, and not worry so much about the lives and friendships of others. Cuz I doubt people are gonna decide to just up and say, "OH! This one person doesn't like that I enjoy my group of friends! I suppose I should stop being friends with my friends so they won't call me snobby or elitist."

Yeah. Like I am gonna do that to please someone who doesn't like me anyway for having a group of friends that I can enjoy.

People need to grow up and stop worrying about what others are/are not doing to their own liking, and establish their own happiness instead of bitching about others'.



sarah thorne said...

BTW, you should totally star this discussion on the spanking world, Lea! That is, if someone else doesn't steal the topic for themselves!


Lea said...

@Todd and Suzy, "Honestly, in our entire lives... we haven't found a 'clique' as a whole more welcoming than spankos have been."

I totally agree! I'm happy to have become part of such a great friendly group of people.

@Regan, You're shy?? ;-) I am too but some people just don't believe me. You should've met me back at my first weekend, I was a mess! If you're an oddball you are the most awesome oddball I've ever met!

@sarah, Very well stated. I agree. Some people need to focus more on themselves and not worry about what everyone else is doing. That is a recipe that'll always leave the worrier feeling bad. I'll happily start this on the spanking world group. Don't steal it! ;-)

Erica said...

Sarah said it all very well, and all I can add is two words: sour grapes. I've spent years defending the people at spanking parties and groups, and now I realize that people will think what they think, despite painstaking explanations. Kind of sad and stupid, but what can you do?

Anonymous said...


I agree with you and the comments made on your post about the warmth of spankos and their friendly nature.

I remember how terrific people were to me when I attended my first spanking weekend. Honestly, I have never experienced anything like it in years of attending conferences in the vanilla world. Often cliques in my experience were used to exclude people from the "in" group. I always found that practice diabolical.

This is a great topic for us. As we become more friendly with each other, we must never forget the newbie or the person standing alone at the party. It is very easy to become lost in a conversation with our good friends while people sit by themselves or stand alone and watch while others are having fun. I hope that in our special community we always maintain an inclusive friendly manner and welcome new comers to the group.

It is also important for people new to a group to enter into conversations with people and get to know them. "Can I spank you" is not a recommended first line. "How did you learn about this group" or "Can you tell me about the protocols of the group" are better. Introduce yourself to the organizers and ask if they will introduce you to some of the members.

Excellent topic Lea, thank you.


@ Regan -- you are a sweet, intelligent and lovely young lady.

Lea said...

@Erica, Very true. Most people already have their mind made up one way or another.

@joey, I try to stay aware of all new people because I definitely remember what it was like being the one in that position. And even after being around for a few years, sometimes I can still feel a bit out of it but there's always somebody to lend a hand (no pun intended lol) and pull me into a conversation.

Newt said...

What a great post. While I am extremely out-going in the vanilla world I felt like the new kid on the playground when I started commenting. Within a remarkably short time, I have been embraced to a point I never imagined. I am a total tech spaz- Have had so many people walk me through the steps, had people feature my blog. I was shocked to find how welcoming and open people are. From blogs to forums to twitter. I am not big on the word clique. Instead I will just say how happy I am to be a newbie in this Spanking tribe. Lea, you have left truly touching comments on my bog. thank U.

Lea said...

@Newt, You've been embraced because you are awesome. :-) The spanking/blogging community is full of great people and there's always room for more.

Michael said...

Lea, what a marvelous post. So honest and insightful. I particularly liked when you said:
"In the above definition it states "held together by common interests, views, or purposes." Technically that would make all us spankos one big clique."

Thank you for these precious and wise words.

Lea said...

@Michael, Thank you! And I'm glad we're all associated through this clique/kink of ours. :-)