I Was Eaten by a GRUE – and Lived to Tell the Tale
-a first-person account of the L.A. GRUE by CruelTease, reprinted with permission
I just got back from my first GRUE which took place in Rosemead at Bordello of Decadence just this last Saturday, January 18th. Actually I got back yesterday at 4pm, and after drinking some Trader Joe’s Peppermint Hot Chocolate and trying to watch a movie, I sacked out until around 8:30 am the next day, which would be today. Lots of driving, togetherness and fun energy is exhausting for an introvert like me, so I expected to be totally depleted when I got home, and I was!
So what’s a GRUE?
If you’re a nerd like me, you probably fucked off at work at some point playing video game. If you are also old and nerdy, you probably worked on a UNIX platform (cuz, duh), so fucking off often meant playing Rogue, Hack, Hunt, or Zork, when when you weren’t perving alt.sex.bondage. Zork was a text based maze game, and often started with the line:
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
And of course you could ask what that meant:
Q: What is a grue?
A: The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale.
Who knew, but apparently a lot of kinksters are nerds like me, and GRUE turns out to be a fairly apt name for what I got eaten by. Borrowed from the tech world, the unconference and open space technology concepts, the GRUE is the answer to a customized and energetic kink conference, with much more interaction and freedom to get your needs met within the format and space. There was even an “introvert’s corner” at the LA GRUE which meant that if you were over in that corner, nobody should be talking to you because you’re having a moment of “leave me the fuck alone.” Nerdlords and history aside, the acronym now stands for Graydancer’s Ropetastic Unconference Extravaganza, with “Unconference” being the key word. I expected a lot of focus on rope, but I actually only went to two sessions that had rope as a focus. You could go to a GRUE and avoid rope entirely if it’s not your thang. And I will say here, that having gone to many of our homegrown events, events at Threshold and The Lair, events scattered throughout Los Angeles, part of DomCon LA, and all of Dark Odyssey, all of which were amazing experiences, the GRUE was the most fucking awesome thing I’ve done to date.
Why was the GRUE so cool for me?
For me, except for showing up at the opening of the event and the closing circle, both of which were mandatory parts of the event, I could attend whatever I wanted, ask for what I wanted, present on something, if I wanted to, or, I could go outside and sit under a tree, or nap on a sofa, if that’s what I wanted to do. I could come into a session late if I wanted, or leave early if I wanted to. As much time as needed was devoted to any topic, so there was no fixed begin or end time to each session. My own timing–everyone’s timing was honored, and yet it was surprisingly orderly and not at all too chaotic.