A couple weeks ago someone wrote me with some questions about Shadow Lane’s parties. They’re considering going to one of them and wanted to know what to expect. I was really flattered to be asked my opinion and happy to recommend attending. But as I wrote answers, I started thinking that someone else might be wondering too, especially given that the tickets are already on sale. Here are my answers. Note that they’re more directed to women planning to attend than to men.
Not prejudiced toward females (well, not much anyway), but rather, I’m writing from my own experiences.
Most people are quite friendly. However, it does help to get to know a few people ahead of time. There’s usually a couple hundred people at a Shadow Lane party so it can be easy to get lost, especially for someone that isn’t very outgoing. On the other hand, as I said above, most people are friendly and it’s generally easier for women who are there alone to meet people then it is for men (or even couples).
Something I would recommend, if you decide you want to go, is to join one of the spanking discussion groups — either Shadow Lane’s own member site or somewhere like HappyTails, a few months before the party. Post that you’re going and a bit about yourself (only as much as you’re comfortable doing of course). By doing that, it’s really likely that you’ll connect with a few people and that’s really all you need.
Everyone seems to be in their groups already, what is it like?
Hmm… Shadow Lane is sort of like a spanko convention. And prom. All the events feels very normal, strange though that may sound. Tony and Eve work pretty hard at that.
Friday night is the first big event right, is it just like a big party? Would i just go and try to talk to people like at a party?
Friday is the vendor fair. There’s not a lot of food (just snacks), so usually people arrange to meet at some different places beforehand for dinner (trust me, there will be information up on various boards about that). At the fair, people walk around and look at spanking stuff and try various items out, meeting new people and greeting old friends. That can be a pretty good icebreaker. And yes, looking for people who look friendly and chatting with them is definitely welcomed. As in any group a few people may not be as friendly as others and some others may be focused on old friends rather than on meeting new ones (in some ways this is a lot like a reunion for some of us), but there’s always people interested in meeting other spankos.
In that respect going to Shadow Lane parties is a lot like joining / belonging to any community. You do have to put yourself out there and bring a friendly face and good manners. And things will work out.
Usually at the parties on Friday and Saturday, information is passed on what suite parties are going on in what rooms. Some of those will be open to anyone coming to SL. Others will only be by invitation.
Are the spankings all considered public? Is the public part of the spankings presumed?
No. Only spankings in the main room are public and most of those are playful. Some people arrange dates in private and other semi-public spankings go on in room parties in the suites.
Getting spanked or spanking isn’t required. I know a number of people who either don’t get spanked at all or only get spanked by their partners. Most everyone is very polite about taking “no, I’m not playing” for an answer.
Spankings at Shadow Lane are only public if you choose to spank or be spanked where there are other people! In my case, except for occasional swats and my infamous hand tawsings, spankings have generally been private.
Are there really 7 men to every woman? I read that on the SL site!
Good lord! No way! There are slightly more men then women but I’d be surprised if the split were even 60/40 and I swear sometimes that 10% of the men do 90% of the spanking but then word about skill gets around. I think SL is pretty close to a 50/50 gender split these days.
How does meeting people work in practice as opposed to theory? it does seem like everyone is already friends….
It’s like school that way. There are people there who already know each other. But there are a lot more that are coming to meet people for the first time. It’s a mix.
I am very shy and at my first few parties I didn’t really mix at all except with a very few friends I knew well and who were kind enough to look after me. Last year I made an effort not to just hang in my comfort zone but to meet some new people. It wasn’t hard.
The other thing of course is that there seems to be so many young pretty girls who go to these parties.
There are a lot of beautiful women and men who go to these parties. I think most of the spanking models in the US try and come to Shadow Lane. They’re into the scene and they’re lots of fun. In addition, there’s some stunning spankos.
It totally intimidated me at first because of my own body image insecurities. But there aren’t as many models as you’d think from the party pictures. I mean, if you think about it, of course spanking models are likely to be in the most spanking pictures seen on the web after a party because they’re willing to be seen in public and on camera.
Whereas I am a middle aged slightly overweight regular woman. Will I be okay?
In a weird way, being a little older also makes it easier to attend the party, at least in my opinion. This is hard to write because I feel bad about it, but some of the younger 20 somethings have commented that it can be hard for them to connect with some of the women my age (okay, they didn’t put it that way, but I knew what they meant) at parties — that not all of us are very welcoming. Personally I’ve never experienced that, maybe because I’ve never attended as a sweet young thing that might somehow been seen as a threat.
By the next SL party I’ll be 40. I’m Chicana and wear size 10 or 12 jeans and fill out every bit of space they give me. I do my best, but gravity does take its toll. Yes, there are men out there who only want to spank the young and the pretty. But in my experience, they don’t make up the 10% who do most of the spanking. The worst of them spend their time stalking around a few feet behind their favorite models and actually get spank no one.
There are also a few men every party who really really want to meet people and play but lack the social skills to actually connect. It’s okay to make it clear they need to leave you alone and if they don’t to ask Tony or Butch to tell them to back off. But this is a worse case minority and thankfully rare.
My experience is that the group we’ll call the “10%” — the male and female tops who do much spanking– know that spankees come in all shapes and ages and are able to appreciate and make those of us who don’t look like Bailey, Niki or Sierra feel beautiful too. Of course there is a real thrill at watching some of the spanking film stars get spanked live and in person, but that’s another story.
Honestly, also, the parties are expensive. Not that many college aged kids or even young twenty-somethings, male or female can afford to come. The average age has to be somewhere between 30 and 50 and I’d tip the balance more toward the 40-50 range. Personally I feel like I’m just coming into my SL prime party years. ::happy grin::
This is my big question though, you are a very professional woman and yet very public about this. Has anyone from your work life ever asked you about this part of you, the spanking part.?
No. I don’t think they know. My close friends know but that’s it. The thing is, even though it feels very public, we in spanking are actually a pretty small subset even of BDSM subculture. I’m only well-known as a spanko within that subset.
No one vanilla has ever asked. If they did, well, I’d be dismayed, but I’d suck it up. It was the risk I took when I decided I wanted to try and be more public. Paul (that’s Pablo) and I are more public than most — most of the people we know in the scene and at SL parties have a lower public profile and we’d walk over glass to protect them.
The other thing I kind of count on a bit, especially with regard to being in the background of spanking pictures is that people DO frequently look like other people. I suspect someone who didn’t know me well might well see my blurred picture and think “wow, that looks like…” but not actually think it was really me. If that makes sense.
This is what has always stopped me from going for it. What if people found out! what would I do then? I’m a known professional in my field and it would be weird for someone to ask me about it.
It would be weird. And you do have to decide how you feel about it, because I won’t lie, there’s always a risk (though the story I hear most — and it’s rare — is someone running into someone they know at the party. But if they’re there, well, they’re into it too).
At the parties people ask before taking pictures right? I am afraid to end up as background in some group shot and then someone I work with will see that.
Yes, I’ve always seen people ask before they take pictures. And crop out people that they don’t know or know wouldn’t want to be in. Other times when pictures are only shared between friends there’s an understanding they’ll go no further. But, if you see someone with a camera and think you may have gotten in a shot, it’s okay to just ask them to crop you or hide your face. They probably would anyway, but different needs for privacy are understood.
That was kind of fun. Please let me know if there’s anything else. I really like being able to answer questions about Shadow Lane.