Munches  

DragonWycke 63M
91 posts
8/31/2006 9:21 am
Munches

Munches


What Is A Munch?

A munch is generally just a fairly casual get together for people interested in, or involved with, the scene. The term "munch" comes from them often including food, though that's not essential. They are just a chance for people to get together and talk about the scene in a comfortable environment.

This Section

This section covers general information on munches, what to expect, what is involved in organising one and so on. It also provides information on the D/s UK Community and their munches which is hopefully both useful to their members and as a case study of an existing munch.

A Quick Guide To Munches

What Is A Munch?


A munch is generally just a fairly casual get together for people interested in, or involved with, the scene. The term "munch" comes from them often including food, though that's not essential. They are just a chance for people to get together and talk about the scene in a comfortable environment.

Munches are usually held either in people's homes or in bars. The idea is to provide a comfortable environment where people feel safe to discuss whatever they are interested in. They're usually non-play environments, where anyone hassling anyone else will be heavily frowned upon - again, the idea is to keep things as comfortable as possible for everyone.

If someone is making others uncomfortable, it is usually a good way to get asked to leave and/or be barred from future munches. While tolerance of individual kinks is usually a priority, drunken behaviour, drug use, intolerance, insults etc. are not tolerated as they spoil the event for everyone involved.

Organisers usually want to keep things completely legal. If the munches are held in a bar, they want to be allowed to use it next time. If it is held in a private home, the last thing they want is to be held responsible for someone else's crimes. Try and be considerate of this and save any illegal pursuits until you are the only one who will suffer for them.


Common Questions


Dress Code


Dress code is usually "street legal". When the munch is held somewhere public, the reason behind this is pretty obvious. When it is held in someone's private home there are neighbours to deal with. Either way, street legal dress keeps things comfortable without people feeling like they have to dress to some code that doesn't suit them.

Street legal is generally open to interpretation. Collars are usually fine, if you normally wear leather, PVC, etc., that's usually your choice. On the other hand, just because you can get away with something without getting arrested doesn't mean you should. Wear what makes you comfortable, just remember it's casual.


How Should I Act?

Treat everyone with respect. Their kink may not be your kink, that doesn't give you any right to abuse them over it. Equally, if someone's doing something that makes you uncomfortable and you've done your best to avoid it, politely ask them to remember others. Most things can be sorted out if everyone stays calm. If an argument is building, speak to the organisers - it's their munch, let them deal with it their way.

What If Someone Gives Me An Order?

Apart from the fact that most munches are non-play events, ordering someone who has not given you permission is just plain rude. Different communities have different takes on this. In some, it may be acceptable. In general, if you have not given someone the right to give you orders, they are being plain rude. Explain this to the person involved. If you are still uncomfortable or they do not back off, speak to the organisers. Most organisers go to a lot of trouble to keep things comfortable for everyone and will want to know if they have someone causing trouble.

If you have given the person involved the right to order you, it gets a little more complicated. Most munches are non-play environments. Quite how that gets interpreted varies from group to group, so check with the organisers first. Generally, fetching drinks, subtle orders, are accepted. Overly obvious, or overly sexual orders are usually not approved of.


Organising A Munch

Organising a munch is generally a lot more hassle than it should be. In theory you have a group of people who all want to get together in a relaxed environment and talk about the scene. The reality is that you have to deal with: far less people turning up than promised; general apathy from people who claim excitement; finding a good venue; finding a good time; publicising it; security and safety; general policies; and processions of Hare Krishnas (long story, but it has happened to us). When it works, it is very rewarding, but it is a lot of work.

Who To Invite

You'll probably already have an idea of who you want to invite.

If it is a group who meet up on the net or via some other forum, the unfortunate reality is most of those who are telling you what a wonderful idea it is won't be able to afford the train fare, are busy that day, can't get a baby sitter, or, for any one of a hundred other reasons, can't make it.

If you're an established group of friends, it makes life a lot easier. Friends can generally be relied upon to turn up, though make sure you give them plenty of warning. You also know what your friends are like. If you are trying to get a munch off the ground, make sure you consider who you invite - more on that later.

Getting back to the forum group, rather than trying to organise munches for everyone from the start, get to know a few of the regulars, face to face, on a casual basis. Once they are friends, you can usually rely on them turning up. By using a core of friends, you can guarantee that there's always the basis of a successful munch - a reasonable number of people who can talk about the scene without causing too much trouble. Then you can open it up to others. Whether others turn up or not, you've got a successful munch going and any absences matter a lot less.

While building up a regular core, you do not want to get to the point where a clique forms. Unless it is very specifically for one group of friends, you will want to keep it approachable and cliques are a very good way of ensuring that does not happen.

It is important to consider the make up of the munch. You don't want to be too demanding - a load of rules just leave people uncomfortable and if people are not comfortable, you have already killed the munch off yourself. While you do not want to be too demanding, you need to ensure everyone enjoys themselves. Some things to consider are: If you're just starting, is there anyone who is too aggressive, too depressing, etc. for the group to want to keep meeting up in their presence? (Unfortunate but important to consider); How are you going to deal with there generally being more males interested than females? (Accept it? Don't allow single males? Only allow people who are invited by an existing member? Some other way?); Is it for just subs, just Doms, just D/s, just S/M or pan-sexual (open to everyone of all sexualities)?


Finding A Good Venue

If you are planning on holding it in a home: Does the person whose home it is want people knowing where they live? Are they prepared for whatever your security and safety arrangements haven't taken in to account? What will the neighbours say? Does the person whose home it is care? Do they have children? Will the kids be safely out of the way? What happens if a neighbour reports those kids as being in danger?

If you are planning in holding your munch in a public place: Can you get a private area or do you have to accept anyone walking in off the street? If it is private, will you have to pay for it or can you bring in enough extra, well behaved business for them to let you have it for free? If it is public, what will you do about the person you banned last month wandering in, or hassle from other patrons? Is it a good place to chat? Is there music and is it too loud to talk over? (A lot of bars play loud, fast, music to encourage people to drink quickly and buy more. They may not be prepared to turn it off/down) What's the place like at the time you are all meeting? (We've learned the hard way that a quiet bar mid-week can be both loud and busy on a Saturday night). Is there enough seating/space? (A regular venue we use is a great place but never has enough seats).


Finding A Good Time

Think about who you are aiming to have come. We first assumed that Saturday night would be a good time. After all, people are busy midweek, right? In reality, a lot of people have plans at weekends. Divorced parents are seeing children, couples are going away, etc. Moving to a week-night clashes with other things but may actually turn out easier for people to make. In the same way, afternoon munches are a great time for people to leave their children with friends for the afternoon or for teenagers to be trusted at home alone, they allow people time to travel there and back home afterwards. It is worth asking people when suits them best, you might be surprised by their answers.

You may want to consider trying different times/days of the week. While everyone may tell you a given time is difficult for them, they may actually still be able to make it along with a lot of others who could not make it before. Just because everyone told you that a given time was bad for them, does not always ensure it actually is. Be careful with changing dates and times around. If you are planning on organising a regular munch, keeping a regular time people can plan for makes life a lot easier. Whenever you arrange, some people are not going to be able to make it. Unfortunately, with any sized group, you can't please everyone. Find a time that the organisers can make and then as many as possible of the others.


Conclusion

I know, there are a lot of questions there and not too many answers. How you organise your munch is entirely up to you. These are just some of the topics that ought to be addressed first, along with what advice we can give. How you answer the questions will define the style of your group and that is entirely up to you.

SoulThief

A First Munch


We run (or at least are involved in) a small munch in London that meets the second Saturday of each month. We both have been asked what a munch is like, and what to expect the first time. Munches are on the surface a very daunting thing: after all, these people whip each other--and they like it!

I went to my first munch in Minnesota, USA, in the middle of the summer of 1999. The munch I went to was a well established, well run group that had been in the area for some years. This was to be the group that I considered 'my' group for the time I lived in Minnesota. That does not mean, however, that I was not initially terrified. I was going without my Master (he was in London) and it was the first time I would be 'out' about my personal lifestyle choices.

The munch was held in the basement party room of a local bar. I walked through the doors of the bar, found the stairs and went down. At the bottom I took a deep breath and said a few reassuring words to myself and checked that my shoes were fastened tight in case I felt the need to flee. Then I walked through the doors and found... complete normality.

I wondered for a moment if I was in the right place. It was after all possible that there were two staircases, right? As far as I could see, these were adults--a lot of adults, I'll grant you that--who were sitting around eating dinner, talking, and laughing. Where were the whips? Where were the chains? Where were the bloodcurdling screams of agony? I'd turned the wrong corner and walked into a church party.

I looked around a bit and noticed a small table to one side where I could get a nametag. Stepping up, I grabbed a pen and wrote my name as the man commandeering the table started to talk to me. I braced myself for personal questions, but all I got was, "Is this your first time at TIES? Feel free to order from the menu, there's waitresses around who will help you. If you have any questions or problems just find one of us here with blue nametags and we'll help, okay?" I nodded dumbly and turned away, only to be thoroughly daunted by meeting new people. Frightened, I turned back and had a conversation with J* for a few minutes.

"J*! You're not supposed to monopolize the new people, especially not the cute ones!" I jumped in surprise at the voice behind me, and turned to face D*, the man who ran the munch. D* smiled at me, and J* grinned and grabbed the person standing next to him. "I was just going to introduce her to someone!" J* defended himself. "Here, you two, you have the same name, go talk." With that I found myself talking to someone new (someone who would in time become a play partner, under Master's bequest).

I spent the rest of the night generally chatting to people around me. Rarely we talked of kinky things, and when I stated that I was collared I got knowing nods and no problems. Instead we talked of body piercings, and tattoos, and music, and school, and all the things you talk about when you're just getting to know a person. Some people, such as a lovely little blonde pixie named j*, let me know that if I needed any help or advice I could find her and she would do her best to assist me. I did get one or two leering looks, but I didn't feel threatened as I knew that at any time I could find a "Blue Nametag" and have help.

That night I talked for hours. I did not drink (this was a personal choice, not a rule) but I managed to relax anyway. I did talk a bit about my Master, but only to the extent that I established that yes I was collared, yes I loved my Master very much, and no I was not allowed to play without Master's permission. Otherwise, we just filled the hours with general conversation. At about midnight D* yelled, "TIES has left the building!" as the organizers left for the night. With that, I left too. I got home and called my Master on the phone, and was up until 4am that morning telling him about my first experience.

So, will your first munch be like mine?

If you are going to an established munch, the people who run that munch are always available to help or to answer questions. Munches are NOT play venues. They are not the time or the place for sceneing. You will not be assaulted. Generally you are not obligated to talk to anyone you dislike, nor are you obligated to participate in anything that makes you uncomfortable. Because munches are often held in public bars or pubs, normal 'street-legal' clothing is the order of the day. The underlying rule, as in most places, is that you be polite and respectful. No matter how you identify yourself, you are not expected to kneel for anyone nor is anyone expected to kneel to you.

People often meet partners of one sort or another at munches. This is just like meeting people in any other place. You talk, you decide you'd like to take your interactions further, you check to see if anyone else knows what sort of reputation your interest has, and you progress as appropriate. You do not cede your personal rights when you attend a munch. You still determine who you talk to, who you play with, and who you avoid.

At your first munch, a good first step is to determine who is in charge. There will generally be several people who are regarded as being 'in control'. If someone is bothering you, let that be known. If you are being repeatedly harassed, let that be known. In such a society it is necessary that we watch out for each other, and if you are having trouble with someone harassing you, we want to know about it so we can protect ourselves and others.

After establishing who to turn to if there's a problem, talk to people, be polite, and have fun. These are friendly get-togethers, meant as a safe way of meeting others who agree with and support our lifestyle choices. Enter into a munch to meet people and have fun, and your experience will be Safe, Sane, and Consensual.
*k



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