One thing that has not changed over the years is that it is still very common to hear as a first suggestion to a new person in the BDSM scene that they attend a munch, but what are these munches and what happens there? Munches are gatherings of kinky folks in a neutral environments, usually a restaurant. It gives people a chance to meet face-to-face, ask questions in a non-threatening space, and socialize with new or old friends outside of a dungeon or party setting. It’s a nice safe way to meet people over a meal where no type of play happens and usually the appropriate dress attire is street casual. This morning I was thinking about my experiences at the various munches I’ve attended over the years.
As I was baking chocolate chip cookies this morning for a friend, I started to think about the very first munch I attended in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was something around 29 and having had a small taste of “BDSM” in my private life I wanted to find and meet more people like me face-to-face. I researched a bit on the internet and found something called a “munch” that met in a restaurant and also a “slave auction” at a place called “Club Kink”. The munch met monthly at a local restaurant in a back room and we had a long buffet style table that fit everyone. I attended with my husband who was 35 at the time. There were probably around 15-20 people and most of them appeared to be a lot older than we were. We learned that a lot of people at the munch attended “Club Kink” and some people also went to a party called “The Fetish Factory”, both were local to the Ft. Lauderdale area. The one person I still am able to remember from that first munch was Mistress Elizabeth. Over the years I never really got to know or be friends with Mistress Elizabeth, but she is someone who always stood out in a crowd where ever she went. She was quite beautiful, graceful, and classy. I have to say that over all though my husband and I were not at all impressed with the munch and never went back. Looking back I think we suffered the term that is used now-a-days in the TNG era known as C.O.P. (Creepy Old People) syndrome. Everyone seemed a lot older than us and somehow it felt a bit awkward and creepy. We did end up going to Club Kink and The Fetish Factory parties and meeting some people that are still my close friends to this day.
Fast forward, some years later I found myself single again and after some time away from the public scene I went back to try to find my leather friends. I found a new women’s group called WOLF (Women of Leather Florida) had formed in the south Florida area. An incredible coincidence happened when I joined the women’s group. I discovered that the partner of the group’s owner was a former co-worker of mine that I had introduced to the “scene” just before I took my hiatus. We reignited our friendship and these two women, Miss Rea and her pet chris, became my anchor within the community. I am introverted, so I truly dread going places alone without some type of human shield. They were my shields and I was invited to attend with them the South Florida Munch. It was run by a fantastic woman named Ally who made everyone feel warmly welcomed. I loved this munch and over the years I found myself attending whenever I was able. Eventually this munch grew to be so large it was averaging something like 60-75 people and I believe near the time Ally stopped organizing the event it was at 100+ people. This munch was truly the epitome of community. All were welcome and it was the picture of inclusivity and diversity. Some of my favorite memories were when Ally and carol were gifted leather vests at the munch for their community service. When I recall these memories at the South Florida Munch it is really easy to miss being there and it also bring to the forefront of my mind what leather really is and means to me. I love my south Florida leather family.
Last week I went to the NYC Munch in Manhattan sponsored by Dom Sub Friends (DSF) that is owned and operated by Sir Viktor and Mistress Lin. I have been to a couple other munches in the city, but this one is the one I like the best. Sir Viktor is very much a social butterfly and makes sure to greet all his guests. Mistress Linn leaves it to him, but she can be counted on to chat up a new person sitting near her and this night was no different. Somehow it seems whenever I do get a chance to go to this munch I always end up sitting next to Sir Viktor and Mistress Linn’s slave. I enjoy her company tremendously, so this is a good deal for me 😀 The attendance at this munch is probably around 20-25ish and it is in the upstairs room separated from the rest of the restaurant. It’s held at the Potluck Restaurant and I have to admit a part of why I like the munch is because it is my excuse to treat myself to a bento box. The restaurant staff is accustomed to the monthly ritual and always does a good job of serving the group. The table is seating is one long row like a buffet and reminds me of that very first munch I attended in south Florida in this way, except there is no C.O.P. factor… unless it is that I have aged and now I am the C.O.P.! ha! Nah, I don’t think so. As usual, I had a fantastic time meeting new friends and catching up with old friends. One of my leather sisters, Stacy, just moved back to NYC and I had a date with her to meet here. Neither Stacy nor I are new to the scene, but we are both single and are trying to be a little more social in the local scene. I got there a bit late (damn train delays!), so there was no seat by Stacy. I got lucky and found and empty seat, you guessed it, next to Sir Viktor and Mistress Lin’s slave! Great conversation ensued and afterwards stacy and I ventured across the road to Paddles, NYC’s last BDSM club, to enjoy DSF hosting Santos on a educational demo about Medical Play. The class was AWESOME! (They host a different presenter each time.) If you ever make it to NYC on the first weekend of the month I highly recommend coming out to this munch and following the crowd across the street for the demo and play party that follows.
There are an enormous amount of munches in NYC’s five boroughs. You can find a munch anywhere from Brooklyn to the Bronx. There are TNG (The Next Generation), Queer, Pansexual, Novice. Midnight, and more types of munches. NYC is home to mucho munches. I’ve never come across any that are large like the one I used to attend in south Florida, but the NYC community is nothing like the south Florida community. This is a city that runs 24 hours 7 days a week, so there must be something for everyone and different hours and days. Sometimes I feel it is not diversity that happens here in the city, but instead it is more of water seeking its own level. If you are new to BDSM or been doing it for a NY minute I feel munches can be fantastic experience and help bring people together is a good way. I have pretty much found my munch home with DSF in Manhattan and I encourage new folks and veterans to the scene to reach out on occasion and attend a munch to reconnect with people in a quieter face-to-face setting where you can really just get to talk and get to know people outside of play settings.
Hope to see you out at a munch soon!
In Leather and Steel,