Vetting. Vetting is such a weird thing to me. You ask a person’s friends, ex’s, and/or enemies to tell you about a person. As if you are going get the “truth” you are seeking. “Hey Dayo, tell me about your Master”, and you trust that my answer is not blindly bias? Or do you try to read between the lines of all the answers that are being provided? What if a person has a frienemy, and you only realize it in that persons blatant sabotage of their answers. Do you take their input with a grain of salt, or does that answer weight as heavy as gold? We are told over and over that vetting is largely important in the BDSM Lifestyle, and to a point, I believe that it is. But understand that vetting is only to be used as a baseline to your opinions. You have to use your common sense, things you’ve witnessed personally, and the most importantly (FOR ME) your Spidey Senses, a.k.a. your gut feelings.
In my mind and practice, vetting comes in 3 different levels. Let’s explore them together…
Level 1 – Vetting for an Event
In this scenario, I am only doing surface level questions to people on your public profile, and/or folks I’ve known you to hang with. I have 3 questions for 2 – 3 people. I ask if you have any known consent violations. I asked if you are banned from any playspaces, and I want to know if that person feels you would be a good addition to the even I am vetting for. The reason being, is if you have not been known to violate any major community rules/guidelines, you’re probably an okay person to come to an semi-public event. People will be around watching and learning more about a person, the more they are active in real life (IRL). This will better help with the next time that said person is being vetted.
Being vetted is kinda like applying for credit. You have to have a good history to be trusted, and you have to be trusted to build a history. This is why public classes and events are a good place to start in the lifestyle, so when it is time for you to be vetted, at least people have seen you around, and can attest to you being a pretty chill person, to an extent.
Level 2 – Vetting for Play
Now we get deeper. I ask the person I am looking to play with for a list of a few people they have played with before. And I allow them the time to come up with a short list; because I would expect them to ask the people on this list for consent to disclose the fact that they have played with them. I ask the same questions as I do in level one, and add a few on top of that. I ask their previous (bottoms, in my case) If the Top I am vetting agreed with, and stuck to all of their outlined limits. I ask if the Top was well skilled in whatever type of play I am looking to have with them. I ask if they know this person outside of play, and if they consider them of good character. If I ask any more questions, it is specific to the players. This will usually give me a good idea as to if I want to play with a person or not. The rest depends on chemistry and energy.
Level 3 – Vetting for a Dynamic
Honestly, I do not look to be in a dynamic with someone I do not know well enough to “skip” the vetting process, OR the vetting has already happened previously. For me (I know I keep saying this, but I really want to stress that these are only MY thoughts and practices), the consideration period is used as an extension and deep dive version of vetting. What I mean by this, is I use this time to see if this person can live up to who they said they are, and who others believe them to be. But I do include the questions of level 1 and 2 into level 3 as well. I try to use people that both me, and the person I am vetting know, and trust.
When vetting, at any level/for any reason, you want to go to people you can trust, if and when you can. You’ll never get 100% of the truth, as with anything else, it’ll all perception. Be careful, and use your common sense and again, trust your gut.
What are some of your personal vetting tips or woes? I would love to hear from you!