The Proper Protocol for a Rigger to Offer Unsolicited Advice.

as reposted, with elaboration, from Fetlife:


Now, lemme ‘splain…

Recently I was lucky enough, in a single day, to be in contact with the leaders of four Hitchin’ Bitches groups. They spanned not only the U.S.A. but also the Atlantic, and I was hearing from all of them stories of well-meaning (or not-so) blokes who felt the need to step up and offer suggestions upon seeing a woman tying in a public space in some way different than their own.  I also heard from the leader of a Rope Bite recently that he’d had to quell a “swarming of the riggers” effect that seemed to happen whenever a female rigger would tie at one of their meetings. Hell, I have even heard about Saki Kamijoo, who is so badass as to make you weep for joy at the speed of her binding, having to deal with “advice” from her male colleagues that was less-than-useful and completely unasked for.

I also found myself watching several teachers, riggers, and even my own girl practicing CBT and having to catch myself from making suggestions when none were needed. I understand the urge! It’s the feeling that in order to be significant, you must be useful, and that person tying over there doesn’t realize just how useful you can be. So you have to let them know!

Sorry. No. Stick your hands in your pockets and STFU.

But Gray! Think of the Bottoms!

This was the rebuttal I heard from a gent in the front row of the class where I first suggested this protocol. His protest (backed up, in his mind, by an incident reported on Fet) was that there are times when someone’s life is in mortal danger. When someone is tying so wrong that it is a moral imperative to step up and save the bottom.

I was dumbstruck for a moment, mainly because the incident he was referring to was one so far removed from the subject of people tying in public playspaces that it bordered on the ludicrous. Something like insisting that all car drivers should wear helmets because you heard about a Formula race car accident…but I digress. I did my best to keep that conversation focused, but since then, I’ve come up with a better way to explain why the Protocol should stand:

  1. Raise your hand if you have been present at a public play space when someone has died as the direct result of a bad tie. Hmm. Not many hands.
  2. Now, raise your hand if you have been present at a public play space when someone has been injured as a direct result of a bad tie. Notice, significantly more hands are up. 
  3. Next – and this is mainly for the riggers – raise your hand if you have ever caused an injury as the direct result of a bad tie. Notice, the hands that are still up are the riggers who have been rigging the longest.
  4. Finally, raise your hand if you tied more purposefully after that experience. Heck, bottoms, raise your hands if learned how to better a tie’s safety and your body’s capabilities as result of that experience.

Thank you, you can put all of those hands down. In case you missed the point, I’ll sum up:

  1. People aren’t dying as a result of inexperienced riggers, and
  2. Riggers who tie badly either:
    1. Ask for help
    2. Figure it out
    3. Don’t tie many people more than once, and have a diminishing number of bottoms available to them.

So yes, think of the bottoms, and the tops, and the need to let them peck their own way out of their New-to-Rope shell so they build the resilience they need. Also, well, hubris, but of course that’s not a problem for you, right?

 If I am Wrong…

…then upon adoption of this Protocol, there will be a vast influx of injuries caused by misguided rope tops everywhere! And those who insisted that their wisdom was needed to avert such disasters will have a huge I-Told-You-So available to them. I, myself, will publicly stand naked on a stage at the event of your choice and recant while a horde of Littles pelts me with lemon-curd. Or something.

In the meantime, please note the Protocol is gender-neutral, so don’t get your panties in a bundle, men. I’m not picking on you; I’m picking on the impolite. So please don’t stand there gawking, making tsk-tsk noises and loudly commenting to your friends how you’d do it differently; all of that counts as unsolicited advice. In case you’re curious, there is an official list of Female Riggers in Search of Unsolicited Advice, and you can consult it as needed to see if someone you see is seeking your input.

I dream of a time when a Protocol won’t be necessary; when the gender of a rigger makes no more difference than the gender of…um…ok, I mean that I dream of a time when gender won’t matter as much. But we aren’t there. And while I know none of you reading this are the culprit, trust me, it is a problem. For now, the Protocol – Don’t – will help make sure that we are part of the solution.

Seriously. STFU.


10 thoughts on “The Proper Protocol for a Rigger to Offer Unsolicited Advice.

  • You don’t need to give the idiot advice, you just inform the rigger of danger and free the bottom. If the top is unwilling to learn properly, your unsolicited advice will make no difference.
    So why elaborate upon just simply “don’t”?

    • Because I am a writer who often thinks he has several clever things to say. At least I’m polite enough to do it on my own blog, so please don’t hold it against me.

      As to the other…are you saying that if you thought someone was in danger you’d tell the rigger and free the bottom? I would hope not. There are mechanisms in place (DMs, for example) to handle safety issues. If you came over to one of my “let’s experiment” sessions and told me it was dangerous (which it likely would be) and started to free my bottom…well, you’d probably have to change your name to UrsusMortis.

      • Haha. Actually, I quite liked your post. And, no. I wouldn’t. I like my name as it is, and as you say, there are usually mechanisms in place. I was only trying to be funny by offering some unsolicited advice, but it turned out less funny and more offensive. No real offense intended. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my comment instead of simply ignoring it.
        PS: Thanks for RickRolling me five times while I was looking around your blog. Whoever invented auto-play can go eat a fistful of sand.

  • Funny thing is….

    I find that most people who do offer unsolicited advice tend to be those who others would love to offer similar unsolicited advice to when they are tying…..

  • I have had unsolicited advice on a couple of occassions. Each time the person was advising about something I was not tying eg “it would not be safe to suspend that harness” when I was very obviously doing groundwork only.

    I don’t mind friendly pointers, but only after I am finished what I am doing and only from people who understood the purpose of the tie

  • 1) THANK YOU.

    2) I’m sort of sad that the acronym for your “Female Riggers ISO” group was not some terrible pun. *sighs*

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