everything you ever wanted to know about BDSM scene names but didn’t even know to ask . . . (part three)
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet
~ William Shakespere / Romeo and Juliet
What we call ourselves really does matter. You name will influence how others treat you. Despite the classic line by Shakespeare, a rose by another name might actually not smell so sweet. In so many ways it’s true that perception is reality. So, there’s no denying that the scene name you choose for yourself creates a “reality” that will impact how others see you.
I’m not going to bore you by citing studies about the impact people’s names have on their future and career in the business world. Nor will I inflict studies from academia on how a name impacts performance in school. If you have an interest in such things, you are already aware of that news. If it’s not of personal interest, those kinds of reports might just put you to sleep, and the point of Michael Samadhi’s Joy of Kink isn’t to be a sleep aid!
Just know that all the recent research and studies I’ve seen show that our names will affect our lives in both academia and the business world. Why would it be any different when exploring the joy of kink?
by any other name
“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”
~ L.M. Montgomery / Anne of Green Gables
A random listing of scene (and screen) names of people I’ve known (or encountered) would include: Serafina Samadhi, Alpha1Bull, MaximusLycan, Omega, mouse, Dark_Kitty, dragonmoon, PassionAndSoul, Star, Natasha, GermanChick, PMBondage, SableBinder, Master Dream, Precious Treasure, Gaspar, Blissful Torment, dione12, Chief_Ironwood, Gatekeeper, Remembrens, Dahlia Grace, Lord Cholm, Lady Jane, EssenceofRed, JackHammer, Twisted Monk, Nameless One, StarsROn, Dark One, MasterJohn, swt14sir, FireRunner, knottylilmonkey, QCShadowPuppet, Lady_Jennifer, Lady_E, Scott Paul, Sartan, SG Sue, and of course Michael Samadhi . . .
The list could go on and on, seemingly forever, if I thought for another few minutes I’m sure I could add another 40 or 50 new names to the list. Scene names can be (and are) as diverse and varied as the human mind. They do have a certain power all their own. While I may know QCShadowPuppet’s real name, I think of him as simply “puppet”. That’s the name his Mistress calls him, so that’s what I call him. His given name is an afterthought for me. By any other name, he simply wouldn’t be the same person in my eyes.
And lets be quite honest, I’d be a bit different in your eyes if I were wearing a different moniker. If the author of this site wrote under the name – DeSade4u – I’m guessing the same words would carry more than a little different tone than when written by Michael Samadhi. The words could remain the same, but by any other name, their meaning would change.
what not to do
Jason scratched his head. “You named him Festus? You know that in Latin, ‘festus’ means ‘happy’? You want us to ride off to save the world on Happy the Dragon?”
~ Rick Riordan / The Lost Hero
In theory, choosing a scene name for yourself is a simple task. As we discussed earlier in this series, it’s kind of like picking a stage name or a nom de plume. Just imagine yourself as who you wish to be and pick a moniker that suits. Right? Hahaha, life should be so simple!
Rather than start with a how-to, it might be best to start with how not to choose a scene name. For a little help with that, we’ll look to some snarky advice dispensed by a lovely writer/dominatrix from Seattle, Mistress Matisse. This excerpt is from a short article she wrote for a Seattle weekly newspaper – The Stranger:
I’m too late for the perverts who’ve already chosen scene names, but let me lay out some rules for all those fledgling Jimmys and Jennifers who are poised on the brink of reinventing themselves.
1. You absolutely may not use Wolf, Bear, Hawk, Dragon, or Angel in any form. There are already way too many people using these names. I’m thinking of instituting a Kinky Names Registry, and anyone who wants one of those names will have to get on a list and wait until someone who’s already using it either dies or goes vanilla (which I see as roughly the same thing).
2. You must choose a name that people can say without snickering. By “people,” I mean me. I’m fine with unusual names, but there’s a difference between being unusual and being ridiculously descriptive and self-aggrandizing. I am simply not going to address you as “SexyAngel”–unless I’ve got a handful of your hair in one fist and the other one is up your… oh, never mind. I’m just not. I’m also not going to call you SteelDom or SweetSub. If you want to style yourself thus in a chat room, go ahead. But if you introduce yourself to me like that at a party, I’m going to give you a look like Simon Cowell gave William “She Bangs” Hung.
3. Go gently with any honorifics: Insisting acquaintances always address you as Master or Mistress So-and-So smacks of desperation. The best don’t advertise.
Remember, the power of naming yourself doesn’t come from the letters you string together, but from the act of doing it. The Mistress’ advice: Do not squander that power by over doing it.
I’d like to see Mistress Matisse give someone a look just like Simon Cowell gave William “She Bangs” Hung. I really would! So, I’m not going to tell anyone that you absolutely have to follow her advice, it’s up to you. Hahahahaha! You really and truly are free to describe yourself as you choose. Seriously, I mean that, as I’m pretty sure that a dirty look from Mistress Matisse won’t actually hurt (unless you become a client of hers that is . . . ) With that said, she does make some good points, and it is worth considering her advice if you do intend to become part of your local BDSM community.
It really is best if you avoid giving yourself with an overtly honorific or self aggrandizing scene name. And, it is true there are a lot of folks using the name Wolf, Bear, Hawk, Dragon, and/or Angel in some manner, shape, or form. It really is ok if you do too, but be prepared to sooner or later meet somebody who shares your scene name.
Now, let me say that having someone else who share’s your scene name is probably not the end of the world. At least it’t not the end until it happens that the other “SirWolfHawkDragonMaster” in town starts ignoring safe words when he plays with local submissives. Then you’ve got a problem on your hands.
other things I would avoid
Names are what people sometimes use to excuse their thoughts and actions towards you.
~ Simon Travaglia
I met an educator at a munch a while back, he seemed like a great guy. Serafina mentioned him as one of the most interesting and intelligent people we met at the event. But, while I have no doubts about the gentleman’s intelligence, I do begin to wonder about the wisdom he shows in choosing his scene name. At FetLife, his scene name could easily be connected to his line of work, perhaps not the greatest choice for a profession dealing with people’s children. His list of fetishes from that site includes, “teacher/student (everything to do with it)” along with other BDSM/Fetlife goodies guaranteed to give the members of a local school board apoplexy – “braless women of any breast size” (watching), “i’m old enough to be your dad…for real!” (everything to do with it), “skirts with no panties” (watching), age play (everything to do with it), bare bottom spanking (giving), bare handed spanking (giving), erotic photography (giving), fingering (giving), handjobs (receiving), mutual masturbation (everything to do with it), sex with strangers (everything to do with it), spanking (giving).
Everyone has to find their own level of comfort in becoming part of the BDSM scene, and it should be said that our new educator friend seems to have been part of the community for some time now without any problems. Apparently, he’s had no problems with anyone connecting his fetish identity with his profession. I do wish him luck and hope that he maintains his anonymity from discovery. But, I also question the wisdom of too closely identifying one’s profession with a screen name.
Although it’s not an absolutely hard and fast rule, I’d strongly suggest keeping some real world separation between your profession and and your scene name. That’s especially true when working in an industry where involvement in the kink community might become problematic. While I’ve seen more than my share of ladies working in the health care field using the term ‘nurse’ in their name (Nurse Nancy, SubNurse, naughty nurse, etc) and while I do recognize nurse fantasies are common, I really do question the wisdom of choosing a scene name that’s so intimately connected to one’s means of financial support.
The same advice holds true for individuals serving in the armed forces. While military and uniform fetishes are fairly common fare, playing to them while on active duty could pose problems for servicemen and women if their kink involves BDSM, spouse swapping, or other activities in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice . Certainly having a scene name involving the word “soldier”, while also posting pictures of yourself in uniform on FetLife, is a prescription for trouble with the Department of Defense. “Don’t ask – don’t tell” policies are perhaps a thing of the past, but as an attorney friend has been quick to remind me, “Consent is not a defense for assault.”
Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
That fairly well concludes this particular installment – the “things to avoid edition” of everything you ever wanted to know about BDSM scene names but didn’t even know to ask . . .
Next time, I think we’ll finally get around to presenting some ideas on how to actually choose a scene name.