Monday, January 23, 2012

Fundraising Through Better Fisting

For my title year, I’ve decided to focus primarily on two fetish activities: fisting and foodplay.  Foodplay because there is so little focus on it that I can make it my own and have an impact as a result, and fisting because I’m already elbow-deep in the activity.  So something to polish and something to stretch; you decide which is which.

I have been “into” fisting (depending on how you define “into” it) for over a decade.  I could run down the details — yes, I call tell you name, location, and date of my first time — but suffice to say that I have played very regularly for the last few years.  And for the past two years, I have been hosting regular fisting play parties.

Fisting Parties

Part of what came out of my last relationship — in addition to us simply getting off on playing with others as well as each other ("good, giving, and game” — thanks Dan Savage!) — was play parties.  And after attending several together — including a small fisting party, a local monthly suck-n-fuck party, and a naturist potluck/orgy gathering — we hosted a holiday party for the naturist group at my house and decided we’d like to do a fisting party.

That first one was in January 2010, and we had about a dozen guys with two slings, a fuck bench, and a futon for play spaces.  I drew heavily on experiences with various other parties I had attended, large and small — the various locals ones I mentioned before, fisting and otherwise, plus FFA at MAL, MAFIA at IML, and Wet n’Hot.  Since then, I have done seven additional parties (plus another Olympians one), refining everything from the invite list to housecleaning to playspace layout.  I also did a Tribal Instinct education session for Seattle Men in Leather on “Play Parties: How to Go and How to Throw”.

Who Gets to Come, and Who Gets to Cum?

The fisting parties — dubbed “Chez Poing” by one of the attendees — average over 20 guys over the course of the evening, with the average attendance having inched up over time, dipping a little in the colder months.  (August 2011 was the most heavily attended, with 27 guys on the 27th.)

My invite list is collected primarily from people I or my ex have played with, so we know that they are suitable players and aren’t freaks, or at least are only good freaks.  (Yes, he and I are still on good terms, and he co-hosts the parties most of the time, helping with set up and being a play instigator.)  I also encourage regular attendees to bring guests along if they wish, but to let me know their name ahead of time.  Finally, I post that there will be a party on the Northwest Leather Calendar and on my online profiles, requesting people email me for an invite; if a guy will then send a name and facepic (“So I know who I’m opening the door to”; if they will put themselves out there enough and show me who they are, they are probably okay), I typically send them an invite.

The one thing I don’t do is to put out a “blind” invite — “Here’s my address, denizens of CraigsList, come one and all, and especially you tweakers!”  No, no, no!

The invite list is currently a bit over 90 people, and “Yes, I’ll attend” responses come in at 30–40% of that.  I cap the reservations at 35 guys (the limit I think the space can handle), asking people to (a) commit early and (b) if they have to cancel, cancel early so I can open up a slot for someone else.  Of the positive RSVPs, I expect around 75% to show; some cancel, and some just don;t show.

I also maintain a spreadsheet of replies and attendance over the last 5 parties (a year and a quarter).  Guys who attended regularly get recorded, but more importantly, guys who RSVP and then don’t show or who never RSVP also get recorded.  Get enough strikes against you for not showing and you get removed from the invite list (since you apparently don’t really want to attend).  It’s fine to cancel, even the afternoon of the party, but if you don’t show at all, then I’m left wondering if you’re dead in a ditch somewhere!).  Never showing up to a party at all, even if you do RSVP each time that you can’t attend, will eventually get you bumped of as well.  I also have a section for invitees from out of town — guys from Vancouver and Portland, but also as fa away as Houston — whom I know probably can’t make it, but whom I’m happy to invite on the off chance they will be in town; these guys don’t need to RSVP to stay on the invite list.  (And you know, if a fisting buddy from out of town was coming in, I would likely put together a party just for him if he wanted me to.)

(After reading all that: why yes, I am a Virgo, thanks!  But you know, it works!  I’m able to maintain a good handle on who to expect and have had no significant problems to date, beyond removing a couple people from the invite list who didn’t seem to be a good fit.)

I don’t actively try to keep a balance of top and bottoms.  That proved very difficult the one time I tried, and frankly, many of the guys are are least somewhat versatile.  The goal being the journey, we’ll all find some way to entertain ourselves even if there isn’t exact parity.

One last thing of note: as I say in more detail below, the selfish goal of these parties is for me to get some good fisting time in.  Attendees are encouraged to ask the host to play!

Pay to Play

When it came to being Northwest LeatherSIR, one of the fundraisers I was supposed to do was to benefit our titleholders travel fund, to ensure that I/we have the funds to travel both to the International contest in July and within our title region.  That sort of fundraising can be challenging, because while people and businesses are often willing to pony up donations to benefit a charity, “gas and hotel money to attend a contest in Portland or a bar night in Boise” doesn’t come as easily.

I have never wanted the play parties to become something that I tried to make money off of — they are intended primarily to grow and strengthen the local fisting community.  (Okay, even that is the secondary goal — the primary one is for me to be a huge fist piggie a few times a year!)  But putting the parties together does have a significant time impact (4-6 hours setup, usually with two of us) and costs $50–100 in supplies (snacks, beverages, lube, towels, gloves, etc., some of which carries forward for a future party or two.  No one has to worry about needing lube or supplies at my parties!).

After the first few parties, something I added was the Fist Kitty, a jar for donations, and a couple parties later, I added a maneki neko next to it (that’s one of the Japanese “lucky cat” figures, the sort with one arm raised up in a fist).  I then added the thumb of a black latex glove to the cat’s paw, making it a safer-sex Fist Kitty.  This one is animated, in fact: a battery keeps the arm moving.

More than recouping my costs, though, I know that strengthening a community happens when the community members are invested in the community.  I ask people to bring some snacks or beverages to share, or to donate to the Fist Kitty.  This allows people to feel some small piece of “ownership” of the party — even if they only brought a bag of chips, they are still contributing rather than just attending.  It earns them the right to feel that they belong at the event, and if they need to, to give me feedback about things.

During my title year, the Fist Kitty donations beyond the absolute costs are going directly to my title travel fund, and I’m letting people know that in the invites.  The last party raised $115 for the Fist Kitty travel fund, which puts me on track for perhaps $500 through the year — which should be enough to get me to Anchorage in June or to an event in Boise or other places.

Next Party

The next party is Saturday, February 4.  Want to come?  Send your name, pic, and a request to  The party is intended for fisters with at least some experience.  You don’t have to have years of experience under your belt, but you should at least know enough of what you’re doing as top or bottom to not need a lot of hand holding (well, other than an ass holding the hand!).  In particular, you should come expecting and prepared to play; while you might end up socializing or watching instead, the goal is the journey and that involves play.

If you need mentoring — and even experienced, advanced players can have something to learn — there will be guys glad to help you with that, top or bottom. Now and then, we do have attendees lose their top or bottom cherry at a party (in August, one guy did both!), so even novices have a place here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

(Leather) Vacation in Palm Springs • December 24, 2011–January 3, 2012

(This post covers the small title piece of end-of-2011 vacation in Palm Springs.  The lengthy report for the rest of the trip is located on my Sounds Kinky-er blog.)

As Northwest LeatherSIR, I did take the title vest with me, wearing it out to the local leather bars, the Barracks and the Tool Shed. There was very little leather title presence during the time we were there (no events going on, of course).  I did run into former Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2009 John Kunz (whom I met last summer) and last year’s Southern California LeatherSIR 2011 Todd.  Stuff Todd told me reinforced that GLPW is honoring and supporting this year’s Northwest titleholders very well.