After the first 30 hours or so of the festival this weekend (some, of course, spent sleeping, so perhaps they shouldn't count), no one had shown any interest in me that wasn't just regular friendliness. At least not that I could notice. (Now, I don't want to rule out that I might have lacking abilities in discovering when people are flirting. If I do, that could be part of the problem.)
I'd been participating, asking questions, meeting new people, dancing, and even (for the first time in over two years) drunk enough to make me slightly tipsy. I'd been very frank about being poly and about being sexually liberal, open and interested. I'd also talked to quite a few people about my interests in kink and in particular in bondage, though not in great detail.
I made a decorative shibari pattern of yarn on my name tag, as a sort of kink-recognition trap. You either see what it is, or you don't, and if you do... Well, we could have overlapping fields of interests. I also carried a half-length of rope on my body during the evening hours, so as to be able to show people rope stuff in a social context, if they were interested.
I was trying to present myself and my interests in a way that was light hearted and fun, so as to not come off as too aggressive. I also wanted to leave people the option of pursuing those topics further if they wanted to, but also the option ignoring those topics and just talk of other things.
After well over 24 hours, I was slowly becoming disillusioned and concluding that still practically no one found me attractive enough to show any interest beyond friendliness. I was seriously considering seeking out the French guy whom I'd gotten to know during the previous week, even though I didn't really fancy him at all. At least it would be some physical attention, even if I didn't feel quite comfortable with the idea.
Then, due to a series of random events, I started talking with a guy at a party (edited to add: This is the guy I've since named Dane.) I offered him some of my cider, and he commented on my name badge (with the shibari-like decorative pattern on it).
I showed him the length of proper shibari rope that I "happened" to carry on my body, saying half-jokingly that I was looking for "willing victims" to tie up. I asked him, like I'd asked everyone else I'd talked to about it, to spread the word to anyone who might be interested. However, as opposed to everyone else I'd talk to, he said "I might be a very willing victim".
Admittedly... Not quite in the way I originally wanted to.
It was not someone who saw me, found me attractive, and started flirting with me.
It was not someone who viewed me as a sexy and interesting person, based on who I am or how I look, and therefore desired me.
It was someone who saw me as an available dominant woman, and who desired me for that. For what I could do to them. For the experience I could provide. The service I could give. Not for who I am.
After the comment about being tied up, things quickly developed. We talked a lot, got to know each other better, negotiated, kissed and played and had fun. I loved the time I had with him, and really grew to care for him over the two short nights that we had. I have no doubt that he enjoyed spending time with me, liked me as a friend, found me intelligent and interesting, and that he liked the things I did to him.
However, the idea of being desired for who I am, and not for my skills or the service I can provide, is an old insecurity of mine. I wrote about this already back in 2012, and although I'm somewhat more confident now than I was then, most of that blog post is still true. I am not just my looks, of course. I also consist of my experiences, thoughts, ideas, temperament, and all those other things. But my looks is my weak point. (If not in reality, then at least confidence wise.)
I had a great time with him, I'm glad we found each other and very happy that we played. I'll probably write more about it at some later point. But just like with Swede (and back in 2012 with Tight), I have a very hard time to believe that this guy actually desires the person I am.
It might just be a personality issue...? Thinking back, I notice that both that guy, Swede and Tight (and Corvus and Mondage, before them), are rather reserved people. Not all of them are shy, but all are careful in social contexts. They sometimes struggle with what to say, they over-think, and they aren't among the most "popular" or loud guys in a crowd.
However, that description fits Saint as well. And I feel very confident that Saint desires me for me. I've been able to trust that since the first week we played. So personality isn't the whole explanation...
Besides, as opposed to Swede, Tight and Corvus, this guy is really, really good at speaking his mind. He seems to be more in contact with his emotions, he articulates both feelings and intentions clearly, he expresses his needs and he's able to explain (to a large degree) how he "ticks".
So am I just misreading him? Putting too much weight on observations and behaviors, and not enough into what he actually says? I'm not sure if I can do otherwise...
Maybe I'm the one over-thinking things?