If you spend the whole day in an environment that‘s so different than most cons, why would you throw a party that’s the same?

That’s a question I was asked at the London GRUE, and it’s resonated a lot since then. Lots of GRUEs have no problem setting up a playspace in the evening and throwing a party, but not all locations have that ability. There have been times when the GRUE attendees have been invited to other, already-established parties, or decided to open up the party to people who didn’t attend the GRUE.

This leads to…well, disappointment. People who spent the day at the GRUE have wanted to keep up that feeling of a passionate environment…and instead they get a typical play party.

And there’s nothing wrong with that! I love play parties as much as the next guy. Often people who can’t (or for some unfathomable reason won’t) come to the GRUE during the day hear there’s a party in the evening, and WOOHOO! They come expecting a fun play party like they usually have…but there are these people around with a weird glow in their eyes, tired, excited smiles on their faces, and they keep wanting to talk about this new thing they heard about today, where you take a slice of ginger and lift up the clitoral hood and – oh, you want to get on the spanking bench? Oh, well, ok…I guess…

Basically, the question is: if you spend the day doing things in an unconventional way, shouldn’t the evening’s activities also be unconventional? I believe so; and so, by royal decree,

there will be NO MORE PLAY PARTIES as part of the GRUE.

But…

Introducing: the AfterGRUE.

These are guidelines, and more than that, they are preliminary guidelines. We’ll see how they work, but it’s going to be a process. All of the guidelines are also “…where possible.” I realize that different communities have different laws, concerns, and traditions, and this isn’t meant to trample on them – it’s meant to make the GRUE itself a better experience.

Keep it GRUEvy:

As much as possible, keep the gathering limited to GRUE attendees. Exceptions can be made, but in general don’t force the GRUE buzz on people who are expecting a typical play party, and don’t harsh a GRUE glow by bringing in people who are expecting a typical play party – whatever that looks like in your area.

Space:

It’s better to have a small space where you can do more than a big space where you can’t do much. GRUEs are about participation and passion; if there are rules at the venue that would impede that, or keep people from being able to communicate and interact (such as a loud dance club), that’s probably not the place for a GRUE party. If you can’t be naked, or do even basic sexual acts, it’s probably not the place for people to explore the connections they’ve made or skills they’ve learned during the day.

Equipment:

Don’t worry about it. Follow the principles of the GRUE, and if you (or someone else) is passionate about using some piece of equipment, bring it. If not, don’t worry about it. Kinksters are adaptable, GRUE kinksters especially. Talk to people who are coming beforehand and see what they want to bring, but if all you have is an empty room, have the AfterGRUE anyway! Just as clothes don’t make the dom, equipment doesn’t make the gathering.

Try Stuff Out:

Every time you find yourself thinking “I should have [X] because people will expect it,” throw that shit out. This is not a party, this is the AfterGRUE; expectations should be left at the door. Bring in explorations: black lights & sharpies, a room where photos are encouraged, a Loud Room and a Soft Room and a Dark Room and a Consent Room and a Wasabi Room and a Naked Doms Ranting Room and a Kinky Polka Dance Party Korner and whatever the hell else you want.

Let people set up their own spaces: one of the best things added to a GRUE was the “Introvert’s Corner” invented by Sonia Alexandra in Seattle.

Stop trying to satisfy expectations and start creating passions.

Have a GRUE CRUE:

That’s not “Dungeon Monitors” – the GRUE is about personal responsibility, not being babysat. But it is about facilitation, and that means having people who know where the safer sex supplies are, whether you’re allowed to do THAT on THAT piece of furniture, how to change the music, etc. Do it in hour shifts, so no one is stuck not playing.

Their job is NOT to make the AfterGRUE safe. That’s up to the participants. Their job is to help the participants make the AfterGRUE amazing.

Since every AfterGRUE is unique, each is certainly subject to change and a work in progress. Our goal is to make basking in the AfterGRUE as memorable as the event itself, and from the feedback we‘re getting that’s going really well.