“You don’t own me
Don’t try to change me in anyway
You don’t own me
Don’t tie me down ’cause I’d never stay”–Lesley Gore, “You Don’t Own Me”
Hey, my kinky, polyam peeps! It’s my favorite time of year, the NFL playoffs! My friends always find it interesting that I’m such a sports nut because, to put it bluntly, I don’t exactly fit the mold. I’m not hyper masculine, I play Dungeons & Dragons, I’m basically an all around nerd. Honestly though, when you look at pro sports, a lot of it is a numbers game, and it’s the numbers and strategy that fascinate me. I just wish my beloved Philadelphia Eagles didn’t check-out from the party so soon this year.
I realized the other day, while pondering about topics for the blog, that despite the name of this project being “The Bratty Cat”, we really haven’t done a deep dive into bratting. I talk a lot about what it means to be poly and what it means to be a submissive, but I haven’t done a hard dissection on what is such a core aspect of my personality. So today, we’re gonna dedicate this post to exactly that.
So, like my last blog entry on NRE, before we get started, I wanted to share a couple of fantastic resources I found that I would highly reccomend reading when you’ve got some time. First comes this article from Men’s Health, and second, this article/video from Subsmissive Guide author LunaKM. I’ve pulled a lot of her stories from when I used to work on the podcast and she always has great material.
In order to understand how to properly brat, we must first understand what exactly a brat is. As LunaKM states in her video, brats, like submissivies, vary widely in their actions and motiviations. Some brats merely want to test their doms, others want to be conquered, and yet others really do want to win that fight, but still take pleasure in the punishment if they lose. While brats are sometimes bad-mouthed in the BDSM community and seen as “not real subs” due to their defiant nature, depending on the type of brat you are, this isn’t always the case. While brats often straddle the line between submissive and bottom, for me, while I love the fight, ultimately, I don’t want to win. I want to submit, but I want to be beaten into submission. For that reason, I feel comfortable identifying as a sub as much as a bottom.
I mentioned how brats are sometimes considered the red-headed step-child of the submissive community, but I don’t want to overexaggerate the situation. At least in my personal experience, the discrimination against brats really isn’t all that bad. It’s easy to understand why the community would have a distaste of brats. Who wants to spend time with a submissive who constantly acts up for attention? If you google the definition of the word “brat” you come up with “a child, typically a badly behaved one.” What kind of fun is that?
The truth of the matter is that BDSM is in many ways is a form of theatre. A scene is nothing more than a performance and everyone involved plays a part. Much like no one believes the actor playing the super villian in a movie really wants to destroy the world, brats are playing a part in a dynamic that is unique to themselves and their dominant. Much like no one needs to understand your dynamic, you are under no obligation to understand someone else’s. You merely have the obligation to respect it.
I believe that it’s because of this inability to understand the difference between actor and character that brats can be viewed as disobedient, obnoxious, and entitled. There’s a difference between being a brat and being an asshole, as we will soon discuss. Much like submissives don’t bow to every person they see in public, brats don’t engage in bratty behaviour to every person they meet. Rather, bratting, even in group settings, is reserved for those that we have a pre-arranged agreement with and is constrained to its own limits, just like any other BDSM scene.
So now that we’ve explained what brats are, let’s talk about what constitutes good and bad bratting behavior. It’s important to remember that intent that does not equal impact. How we intend our actions to be perceived is not the same as how they are actually received. With that said, intent does play a role in our response. When engaging in bratting, remember to make your intent clear and ensure that those who are impacted by your actions have consented to the impact.
DO ask for consent – This is really the cornerstone of all bratting. You can’t just brat with anyone at anytime. The brat/brat tamer dynamic is no different than any other D/s dynamic. I think because bratting involves so much hostility that it gets confused for disobedience, plus the fact that “Good subs do what they’re told” lends creedance to the theory that brats are disrespectful, and again, “not real subs”. In Penguin’s own words “I know what I signed up for”. A good brat is always open and honest about the dynamic they want.
DON’T get carried away – I’m not gonna lie: being a brat is pretty intoxicating. Like the mythical Ring of Gyges, you’ve been given a golden ticket to act out your craziest desires. As Uncle Ben Parker once imparted to Peter: “With great power comes great responsibility”. Never take for granted the gift you are given. There’s a fine line between playing with your Dom and being outright disobedient. Walk it like a tightrope.
DO apologize when you fuck up – And believe me, you will fuck up. About four months after Vixen and I started dating (who also identifies as a brat), while we were still trying to define our BDSM dynamic, or more specifically, if we even wanted to have one in the first place, she made a self-depricating comment about her appearance, and in my bratty nature, I doubled down on it, which… was not the right thing to do. Our relationship hit a major road bump that night to the point where she gave serious thought to breaking up with me. I apologized profusely, I cried, and she forgave me, because she’s an amazing woman. The point I’m making is that you will cross that line occassionally, particularly in a new dynamic, and when you do, it’s important to recognize it, apologize for it, and make sure not to do it again.
DON’T expose the public to your dynamic – This goes along the lines of consent. Much like the general public didn’t consent to a dom walking their sub on all fours in a leather harness through the grocery store, they didn’t consent to watch you brat in public. I think this is one of the reasons brats get such a bad reputation. Bratting is one of the few BDSM behaviors (along with calling your Dom “daddy”) that submissives don’t really think twice about doing in a public setting. Remember: no one knows the details of your dynamic other than you and your Dom. To the outside world, you look like an asshole, and no one wants to be forced to hang around an asshole.
DO give your Dom plenty of love and aftercare – As much shit as I give Penguin, she will be the first to tell you that I am always there when she is having a tough time Just the other day she was having a hard time getting motivated, so I offered to run some fresh brewed coffee over to her house. Your Dom or Brat Tamer puts up with a lot, and that means that you need to make them feel appreciated for all the emotional and physical labor they put into your dynamic.
They say that submission is a gift given to the dominant. I feel bratting is the gift the dominant gives the submissive. Penguin and I have been together six years, and there are still times that I wonder “What does she get out it?”. I tell myself that’s not a question that really needs to be answered, because I need to accept her happiness and her happiness is what brings me happiness. They say a brat’s love language is violence. The truth is, the bond I feel with my Dommes when I’m bratting is something I wouldn’t trade for the world, and I think, as brats, it’s important that we remind ourselves of that every day. To Penguin, Bunny, and Foxy, this one’s for you.
Until next time, stay kinky, my friends…
–The Bratty Cat
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