James AKA JRubberCub has become a familiar face in the fetish world over the last few years, thanks to creating and managing the Rubbermen of London social group and club night. He is also an outspoken body positivity activist, plus size model, writer, and he's on a one-man mission to change how we view ourselves and fetish for the better. Here he talks about 5 things to consider as we come out of the pandemic:
The last year has been a pretty insane time for everyone. We've seen our lives put on hold, relationships falter, work dry up, and we've all had to spend far too much time by ourselves. Now, finally, it feels as though things are starting to change (well, in the UK at least). With the lockdown roadmap we now have an idea of when things will be able to re-open, and when we can start to socialise properly again, and of course this includes the fetish scene. For example, we have been happy (and relieved) to announce that Rubbermen of London at The Backstreet will be back on the 6th August, without restrictions, so we can all get rubbery and have fun, which I for one, cannot wait for. But with this re-opening of the world, there comes certain things we could all do to remember when stepping back out in our DMs again. So below is my list of the top things we can all do to make the fetish scene better than ever post-covid.
1. Embrace the bulge
Thanks to covid, none of us have been as active as we might have been before, and we've all been comfort eating to help us get through it, so naturally, our bodies have changed. This is perfectly fine, and totally normal. Don't apply a tonne of pressure to yourself to have to lose your lockdown weight before going back out on the scene. Your body is not a reflection of your worth and shouldn't define you. Focus on maintaining a happy mental state instead. If part of that is hitting the gyms as soon as they reopen, then go for it, but if it's not, then embrace being a bit curvier than before. We have all just gone through a traumatic period in our lives, and have been focused on surviving, so please don't let societal pressures tell you that you have to change your body now that trauma is easing. All bodies are beautiful and desirable, and trust me, having a couple of extra pounds won't dampen your chances of pulling in the club.
2. Be as friendly as possible.
We've all been isolated to a degree this year, but some have been more isolated than others. Those that live alone will be desperate for human interaction, and those that live in households where they can't gear up freely, can't wait to have that freedom again. Social butterflies and wallflowers alike will be gagging to be out and about meeting new people, so it's important to keep that in mind on those first few kinky nights out. If you spot someone standing alone, say hello, invite them into the circle, ask them about their year. Don't add to their feelings of isolation by ignoring them. What - for you - could be a gesture you barely think about, for them, could reshape their entire experience. Fetish bars and events are intimidating anyway, even more so if you're shy or introverted, so I would recommend connecting with people before you go out and go with friends. It makes a huge difference just having those people you know you can check in with if you're feeling lonely.
3. Be patient with people
Thanks to the aforementioned isolation, those first fetish events will be the first time a lot of friends have been able to get together in over a year. I for one can't wait to see my friends from across the scene, catch up, have a few beers and have a laugh. This inevitably will lead to groups of friends spending the evening together, and maybe not being as receptive when meeting new people as they ordinarily would be. That's okay too. If you see someone on a night out that you've admired on social media over lockdown, but they are engaged with friends, be patient. The time will come when you can say hello and tell them how much you love their content. Maybe it won't be that first night, but hopefully this is just the start of a renewed scene, so it can always wait until the next time if need be.
4. Lift each other up
Not only has Ms. Rona made this past year a mad one, but there has also been huge movement in various social issues too. For example, race issues are finally getting the spotlight they deserve with movements such as Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate. Trans and gender discussions are far more prevalent, and the body positivity movement is gaining traction all over the place. If you see people discussing these issues, especially online, lift them up, share their message, and most importantly, listen. Unfortunately, the fetish scene has been quite rigid in the past about how it puts preference on a certain idealised image of male desirability and worth. The people talking about these issues just want to be heard and respected for how they look and identify. It's not about pulling those that fit the ideal model down, it's about lifting us all up to share the light. So, support events, businesses, and creativity by maligned fetishists. Include them in your Instagram shout-outs, and retweet their selfies, because it can only make the scene a far more interesting space for everyone at the end of the day.
5. Have fun!
The last year has sucked a lot. So now it's time for you to get sucked a lot - or to suck a lot if you prefer. Throw off those shackles that have prevented you from trying certain things. Chuck out those inhibitions. Hone in on what it is that really turns you on, and go for it hell for leather. Don't listen to those that judge the things you're into but embrace them instead. Want to be double fisted? Go be a glove puppet. Interested in ABDL? Go buy those diapers. Want to wear 5 layers of rubber and grind against each other? Call me. Whatever it is that you enjoy, whatever it is that makes you happy, this is what you should be focusing on. Don't follow what others on social media are doing, do it your way. Fetishes are one of the most personal things a person can express, so it makes sense that our tastes within that would be deeply personal too. Don't worry if someone at the bar thinks heels shouldn't be worn with leather, or if you're not into whatever the latest social media trend is. Just focus on what you like (as long as its legal), and in the words of Yvie Oddly "Let your freak flag fly".
If you'd like to share your views on fetish, kink or the scene in a member article, send your ideas or a first draft to: email@example.com