Originally posted on FetLife in 2012 but slightly re-edited for posting here.

A perennial topic in BDSM circles is predators and what to do about them. Rather than rehash the same dry statistics and the same very good advice, I thought I’d attempt to put a humorous face on something we should all be vigilant for. I’ve used masculine pronouns for convenience, not because I think predators are all men.

Many of you reading this probably recognize specific people in each archetype. It is not my intent to hold up a mirror to anyone; they’re called archetypes for a reason. Unfortunately, each of these archetypes hews close to a harmless version that is almost exactly the same, with a huge difference in intent.

One of my greatest fears as an outspoken community member and Dominant is that I’ll be mistaken for or the victim of a smear campaign making me out to be one of these archetypes. After all, most of us share similarities with each of them. Be vigilant and never accuse without evidence.

How to Spot a Predator:

The conventional wisdom has it that predators are always male, usually white, and mostly uneducated. Unfortunately, predators come in all sizes, shapes, colors, economic classes, and species, even when they conform so closely to one of the archetypes below that it seems they’re using a character kit from Predator: the Bullshitting.

1. Cool Guy

  • Cool Guy is cool, period. He’s always on top of the latest “edgy” trend, to the point that he looks like a walking “bad boy” stereotype or member of a BDSM-themed boy band. His hair and beard are immaculately groomed; not that he knows how to do that, he just keeps a hair stylist in his harem and swaps him or her out every year or so for a new model. He’s been in the “community” for years but only attends private functions because “Rules and shit!” (…and not because he’s banned from everything within 100 miles!)
  • Cool Guy uses his status, his looks, and his ability to make any lie seem reasonable to lure unsuspecting newcomers into his sphere of influence, but only the really hot newcomers. (Anyone bigger than a size 0 model is “fat and ugly”, after he’s screwed them a few times.) He will often use other members of his harem to…entice…newcomers to rally around him when accusations start flying.

2. The Mentor

  • The Mentor is very similar to the Cool Guy, except the Mentor uses his vast array of cheap toys and half-assed but reasonable-sounding advice to convince the naive newcomer (particularly the good-looking, very young newcomer) that what they really need is a mentor who will teach them everything they need to know about almighty BDSM, as long as they agree to bottom to him and introduce him to their young and impressionable friends. (This applies even when the newcomer is top-oriented; the Mentor tells them that they have to bottom first to truly understand being a Top.)
  • The Mentor, unlike the Cool Guy, is often a regular at community events, even if it’s only to troll for fresh meat. There will often be a faction of former victims and disenchanted friends who have nothing good to say but, due to his ingratiating nature with group leaders and willingness to open his checkbook, that faction is often given a “sour grapes” dismissal.

3. The Guru

  • The Guru wants everyone to know how they, personally, are responsible for the entire existence of <BDSM_ACTIVITY>, even if their grandparents weren’t even born when it was invented. They always know more about something than you do, even if you DID, in fact, invent that. That the Guru usually works a dead-end job (if they work at all), and never for more than a few months at a time, in no way reflects on their brilliance, it’s just “a slow job market” or whatever. The Guru typically comes in one of two flavors, the hippie or the nerd, with the main difference being the type of unwashed clothes and length of the beard.
  • The Guru is insidious in that they are able to weasel their way into prominent positions in community organizations. This is how they find their acolytes and, ultimately, their victims. By engaging in long-term empire building, they insulate themselves from criticism through a network of surrogates, while they use their prominent position to cajole and pressure newcomers and status-seekers into compromising positions. Fortunately, for future victims anyway, the Guru often sees their position as a means of getting more than ass and abuses their power and access to the company finances to a point where the organization collapses or tougher authorities than a beat cop get called in.

4. The Nice Guy

  • The Nice Guy is, on the outside, precisely as he appears. He works on community projects, hosts parties, and gives to local causes. He’s fairly well-off and almost everyone likes him. He always has a nice word to say about someone. He’s practically a kinky Ned Flanders. If you hear anything negative about him, it’s usually the barest hint of a whisper of impropriety, usually from an “unreliable” source.
  • The Nice Guy is possibly the worst predator of them all. He’s been around for years and has built up the reputation of a go-to guy, with a shoulder to lean on when you’re really broken down; that’s how he finds victims that he can use and abuse with impunity. He’s the guy newcomers go to when they need advice or, better for him, when they’re in an emotionally vulnerable state. “Just rest your head on my shoulder and cry it out. Have a glass of wine. You’re tired? You can put your head in my lap. Oh, that’s awkward, but it’s okay if you want to…” When you’re looking out for this one, pay attention to those whispers of impropriety and follow up quickly.

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