A profile of politeness

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Submitted by Nigel, aka LondonSubNigel (3), 30 October 2015

 

Index

In common with many other sites, BLUF provides profiles for members to write a bit about themselves, alongside their photos. And, just like on other sites, sometimes you see things that make you think "What's going on here?"

Often, people use words and phrases without really thinking too much about them. But the internet is a global community, with people from many different nations and religions taking part, people with different views and different life experiences.

Sometimes, when you write things on your profile, it can be a good idea to think "How might someone with a different background feel when they read this?"

Before you write that off as "political correctness," please just stop and think a moment. I'm not telling you what you can and can't say on a profile (though our rules on BLUF do specifically forbid using your profile to harass or comment on other people or groups). But choosing how you say things might well make a big difference to how you come across, and make people more likely to want to talk with you.

What do I mean?

Sometimes, it can be little things. For example, if you say something like "HIV- tested clean May 2015" that might seem fine to you. But to other people, it can easily suggest that you think being HIV+ is "dirty", which is hardly a polite way to refer to around 12% of our community, is it?

Using phrases like "clean" or "DDF" (Drug and Disease Free) come across as judgemental; it's actually a lot easier than you might think to pick up some STIs. And, of course, it's quite possible for someone to believe they're HIV- and the opposite to be true.

Say what you want, not what you don't

A list of what you don't want in people runs the risk of making you look a bit negative. If that includes attributes based on skin colour or race, it runs the risk of making you look a bit racist too. "No fats, no fems, no asians" is all too common in the world of online profiles.

You can say "I'm not racist, it's just what turns me on," but honestly, have you met every single Asian guy? Grouping people together in one homogenous lump and making assumptions about them - and yes, some people even do that about BLUF members - is horrible.

Of course, often we're attracted to people similar to us - that's human nature. But another thing about human nature is that it's constantly capable of surprising us. Don't write off groups of people, especially in negative ways.

Using phrases like this on your profile may save you the "bother" of responding to a few people that you don't find attractive, but it will also very probably mean that others you might fancy decide not to message you as well.

Don't run down other people's desires

People on the internet are in to lots of things. You might think some of them are weird. On BLUF, of course, everyone's into leather - but there are plenty of people who think that's odd on other sites. Each to their own.

Within the world of leather, there's a huge spectrum of different things. Some people like SM, some people don't. Some are into cigars, some like fisting. And a lot of people are really flexible - just because I like cigars and bondage, that doesn't mean I have to involve both every time I meet someone.

So, you're not into fisting, say. No problem. But that's all you need to say - and perhaps you don't even need to say that. What you certainly don't need to do is to put something on your profile like "I can't understand why anyone would want a fist up their arse" or "Not one of those SM sickos"

Again, there are plenty of people who might do those sometimes, but they don't have to do it all the time. They might even find you attractive, until they read the bit where you call them a sicko.

There's a place for most things

One other point - sometimes on profiles you'll see people complaining about the site or app they're using. I can tell you from experience running BLUF, I only notice those if someone points them out to me. If you have a problem with a site or app, there's almost always a way to contact them.

Use your profile to sell yourself, instead of asking visitors to scroll through a customer complaint. Not only do you run the risk of no one helping you solve your problem, you may make people think you just love to complain about things, or want attention. ("I'm leaving this site soon! Look at me!")

So what can I say?

Lest anyone get confused, you can say anything you like. Some sites, of course, have specific rules usually outlawing things like overt racism, or maybe sexually explicit text. You should obviously obey those - the BLUF rules are here.

But I don't want to tell you what you can, and can't say. Really, I just want people to think a bit. If you're writing something on a profile about a group or class of people, try to think what it might be like to be in that group, and reading what you're writing. Put yourself in other people's shoes.

Avoid being negative, and saying what you don't like, or what annoys you about other people. Say what you like, what makes you happy or horny. Be positive, and above all, be yourself.

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