The Men’s Group

In The Doubtful Guest by flagg25 Comments

I am more and more pleased with the evolution of the Men’s Group at TES.

When I first took it over, it was an afterthought, and a catch-all for lonely, dispossed TES members with nothing better to do. Four, five attendees at most. Soon it was thriving, with up to twenty men in atttendance at a time… and genuine discussions of relevance happening. The first time a woman walked into the room, and all conversation came to a sudden, stilly halt, I knew we had created something. But Lone-wolf and I had taken it as far as we could.

Enter Sweetcandymike, who co-facilitates with me. With his help and input, we have moved even further. There is a good right-brain/ left-brain dynamic at work; our strengths seem to compliment each other, and I take great pleasure in working together with my peers, spending time with them. An evening with Sweetcandymike and Lone_wolf is always time well spent, that is no surprise to me; but the fact that I am feeling a kinship bond form with the Men’s Group as a whole- that comes as a great surprise.

There is a pack dynamic slowly forming here, based in a unity and commonality not designated by personality or common interest, but instinct. I was never an enthusiast for “gender-safe space”, but when we went to the Eagle, surrounded by men of every discription and no feminine presence at all, I felt oddly soothed- safe, at home. When a woman did walk through, my hackles shot up- I would happily have helped throw her off the roof, if a mob had surged forward to do it. No malice, just a sense of intrusion.

Cigars, beer, pack and peers, and a great summer night. Next time, I’m getting my hair cut. And there will be a next time. Fantastic idea, Mike. Perfect.

  • You guys have done a great job with the men’s group – you’ve raised it to something that men make a priority to attend, and that the women envy. 🙂 Congratulations on all of your creative ideas and hard work.

  • When a woman did walk through, my hackles shot up- I would happily have helped throw her off the roof, if a mob had surged forward to do it.

    While I understand the argument that camaraderie among men is a good thing, misogynistic comments like this serve little purpose, especially in an organization devoted to Safe, Sane & Consensual conduct, IMHO. And yes, man-bashing comments by women’s groups are equally objectionable.

    • I thought it was kind of a hot thing to say.

    • Sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities, Alan…

      But it was a way of expressing a truth, however unpleasant: It was not anger, not rage, not hatred- but a profound and unusual sense of intrusion. A feeling so odd, and so unusual for me, I decided it was of note to say.

      Luckily, I am not cursed with an abundance of social conscience whan it comes to what I choose to express in my LJ. It was something I found unusual, interesting and worthy of note – thus, I mentioned it.

      • Re: Sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities, Alan…

        It does seem that the women who read this post forgot to be offended; luckily, you were there to do it for them.

        I’m sure they owe you a debt of thanks.

        • Alternately, other women read the post and felt too uncomfortable to respond if they were offended, and probably less so now that you’ve demonstrated a willingness to chastise someone who does bring the potential issue to your attention.

          Not everyone has the guts to say what they feel, whether it is about their own ideas or in defense of someone elses.

          Your journal, your rules.

        • I forgot to be offended!

          I forgot to be offended again! Dammit!

          I will hafta leave myself Stickie notes with reminders.

        • Re: Sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities, Alan…

          First of all, I never presumed to speak for all women, nor anyone else other than myself. Secondly, you can rest assured that my sensibilities have not been disturbed.

          Nonetheless, the comment was misogynistic. Expressing a desire to throw a woman off a roof merely for committing the crime of “intrusion” simply fits the definition of misogyny. At the very least, the comment was awkward and in bad taste.

          I could care less if you have these feelings or not. However, TES is an organization which expounds to be one where SSC is taught and people are made to feel welcome. I have no problem with exclusionary groups like the men’s group or women’s group. If you want to have a “Little Rascals” type clubhouse with a “Girls Keep Out” sign, by my guest.

          Nonetheless, I just found a comment about a mob of men tossing a woman off a roof a little disturbing.

          • Re: Sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities, Alan…

            Hi.

            Woman here, and not offended.

            But I will say that for me, I think it’s a matter of context. I totally get what Flagg is saying when he’s talking about being in an all-male group – that gathered specifically for the purpose of being all men, in a space that is only for men – and feeling like a woman’s entrance would be intrusive and make him feel violent.

            However, if he had said that he was just hanging out at a restaurant, or at a TES meeting, and he suddenly felt like throwing the next woman who entered off a roof, I might feel differently.

          • Re: Sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities, Alan…

            I wouldn’t use the word offended to describe my thoughts reading that sentence, but it did raise an eyebrow. It was the jump from “feeling like a woman’s entrance would be intrusive” to “make him feel violent” that did it. There’s a big difference between thinking someone should be expelled, immediately, and possibly even with some outraged remarks at the trespass, and wanting to throw them to their death. I would say the dynamic of the men’s group is intense indeed if it provokes that effect. Or maybe the instinct for mob violence is just closer to the surface in people than I think.

          • Re: Sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities, Alan…

            The ironic thing is that people keep saying that I was offended by the comment. It takes a little more than that to offend me. Nonetheless, I still felt the comment served little purpose and was disturbing. Frankly, it distracts attention away from what supposedly good things have been done with the Men’s Group. Although, I suppose I’ve now given the Men’s group a rallying cry. (i.e. throw ’em off the roof).

            I suppose that this whole discussion has also raised another question about the men’s group. Not only is there the reaction to a woman “intruding” into the Eagle, (I didn’t know a public place could be intruded upon), but the reaction to an unpopular opinion appears to be even more objectionable. Look what reaction I got when I offered an opinion outside of the groupthink. I think I’ll stay away from the edges of buildings. 😉

    • I’m curious–what does Flagg’s personal writings have to do with TES or the men’s group? Are you saying that one should have self-edit in their own “space” for the sake of the bigger group? That one is first and foremost a representitive of that organization?

      If you want to call someone out for being misogynistic–great. What jumps out at me is that it sounds like you are NOT coming from a place where you are concerned about Flagg on a personal level but, rather, concerned that his writings may portray TES or the men’s group in a negative light.

      • “I’m curious–what does Flagg’s personal writings have to do with TES or the men’s group?”

        Nothing. It’s just an old tactic people use to try and get others to toe the party line. The idea is apparently that if you hold any position at TES you aren’t allowed to think or speak independantly.

        What hilarious about this is that Alan’s blog itself has an article critical of the ACLU for adopting a policy of disallowing it’s people from speakign in ways the organization doesn’t like.

        But hey, why be consistent 🙂

  • If anybody has a problem with what I said, they are welcome to say so-

    …that’s part of a comments field. However, they should expect that I will express my views in turn, especially here.

    Can’t please everyone, don’t intend to try.

  • Been away…

    Busy throwing women off roof tops.
    So..
    What I miss?
    -Mike

  • So is it misogynistic if a woman wants to throw a woman off a roof top?

    • Nope… Just sociopathic…

    • If she wants to do it simply because that person is a woman, then it might be.

  • First – that is awesome. To create a space like that is hard at best – and it is such a necessity.

    Second – I do not think your comment suggested misogyny – it was not a “hatred of women” as the definition reads. As you stated, it was a feeling of intrusion, not hatred – so possibly, if anything, a hatred of the intrusion itself, not women.

    Third – to respond to the statement that this type of comment serves little purpose, I believe it does serve a number of purposes – among them to communicate the level of bonding that this group has developed.

    Finally, if the comment had been made from the perspective of animals – that a wolf pack had hackles rise at an intrusion by another animal – or heck, even of a wolf not of their pack, it would be taken as a given. Why should that mentality not exist for human animals? Oh…that’s right, it does, but only for women. Men cannot join Curves or ‘women only’ gyms, but most ‘guy only’ gyms had to be open to women.

    Feh.

    To me, it is far more safe and sane to allow people of like-mind to bond without intrusion if they wish. Men cannot grok pregnancy or the menstrual cycle, women cannot grok whatever it is men are/have/do. It is not exclusion, it is nature.

    So, whether it is because they are men, women or believe they are from the planet Argon, they have a right to meet with a lack of intrusion. I consent.

  • The fact is…

    I did not actually think “throw that bitch off the roof” or any such thing when I saw her. I was startled and felt powerfully intrued upon, with an intensity that totally surprised me. My “roof” comment was my way of illustrating the powerful alien-ness of that state of mind.

    But people read what they want, react how it suits them, and I’m not changing a word because people might be offended by what they think I said or meant. No point.

  • I’m pretty sure anyone with some appreciation for visual writing got the point you were trying to make. I’m not going to spend time trying to restate what others have already stated more eloquently than I might, I will simply say I got what you were saying.

  • I wish I could just take my eyeballs out of my head and roll them around at people and their delicate sensibilities. Good grief.

  • It is always an amazement at just how sensitive folks can get. You illustrated your feelings by using a powerful statement. I doubt very much you spend your spare time bothering to toss people off roof tops. Besides, i would think if you were going to do so you would start with “stupid” people instead of a gender 🙂

  • This is a late comment, but it was a great event – and kudos to you and Mike.

    What is interesting is that I also found the presence of that woman intrusive, but wasn’t as much because of her sex, as it was I felt it was because she was there to gawk, out of curiosity and not respecting the space. I would even suspect she was there because she knew her presence would demand attention. I think had a woman been there, but been a truly leather oriented person, who you know respected where she was and the environment, I wouldn’t have felt the same. Similarly, if a couple of guys came in and were more ridiculing than respectful, I would have felt just as intruded upon. That was more the root of my dissatisfaction.

    As far as your comment, I’ll write back, I have to go look up misogyny.

    – Ken

  • I posted this over on Alan’s thread. I put it here in case it gets deleted for some reason 🙂

    ——————–

    It’s easy to see why the silliness like recent posts on the TES list comparing people disagree with the NCSF and serial killers gets so much play in the BDSM community.

    Let’s for just a moment say that someone who was IQ challenged honestly believes that an offhanded comment like that was to be literally taken as truth (clearly, as evidenced here, such possability of learning disabilities exist). Let’s pretend that deep down in his mind Flagg had the image and thought of throwing someone off a roof. He didn’t. Nor did he act to attempt it. Nor did he advocate it. Nor did he express regret that it hadn’t happened.

    In other words, even if the comment was literally a true expression of a flash impression from some deep dark and animal part of Flaggs personality – his higher ethics were firmly in control. Just as they should be.

    But hey, don’t let that get in the way of a good echo chamber like outrage festival. Everyone needs a hobby.