Question: If You Could Have a Scene with Any of the Judges…

12 Dec

The Question

If you could have a scene with any of the judges,  who would it be and what would you do?

There are many variations on this question, such as:

If you could have a scene with any famous person from history (or infamous person, or porn star),  who would it be and what would you do?

and

Your boyfriend is going to throw a sex party for your birthday.  Who do you tell him to invite and what will you do at the party?

While we have this grouped under Stage Questions, versions of this sometimes get asked as an Interview Question as well.

What They Are Really Asking

The number one thing the judges (and the audience) want to see here is that hot sex of some sort is always at the front of your thinking.  While you may do a lot of community service and fundraising and teaching as part of a leather title, you got into this because leather makes your dick get hard.  (Even if you are female or trans, you know what I mean!)

And the judges want to see not only that you have sex actively in your consciousness, but that you can and will speak freely about it at a moment’s notice.

In the “which one of the judges” version of the question (the most common variation), they also want to see that you are aware of who your judges are, that you have researched them, that you know at least a little bit about them.

How to Answer This

Since this is such a common question, it is also one you can easily prepare for ahead of time.  The worst thing you can do when this is a Stage Question is to “Um, I don’t know” and spend time thinking about it with the spotlight on you.

Pick one of the judges.  Even if you have not met or been able to find out about all the judges before the contest Meet & Greet, pick one and use him or her if you get this question.  (Really, pick any judge.  Just pick one quickly.  See below for what to avoid on this selection, though!)

Preparing for the other variations of this is harder.  Still, there are enough possible questions about historical figures that you can give some advance thought to having two or three at the tip of your tongue.  Especially useful are ones you can map to particular fetishes, be that Julia Child to foodplay or Pharaoh Ramses to mummification*.  The key thing here is that there is no perfect, right answer; pick one quickly and answer.  If a version of the question throws you off-kilter — like asking for an infamous person — you are probably best picking the first appropriate (!) name that comes to mind and using that.

(As for porn stars, again, pick one quickly and answer.  If you genuinely don’t watch porn and need to answer that way, come up ahead of time with a witty way of answering it.)

If you have a personal favorite fetish — it doesn’t matter if it is boots or fisting or chastity — use that for the “what would you do” part of the question.  Not only should leathersex be frequently in your head, but what you do in leathersex should be there.  There is a good chance that this fetish will have been mentioned on your app, or shown up in the judges’ research of you or in conversation during the Meet & Greet, or be known to some people in the audience.  If you make use of what is naturally yours, you will come across better; if the judges know your favorite fetish and that is not what you choose, that leads them to believe that you are not willing to talk about it.

If one of the judges has a fetish that you know matches yours, you get an easy answer.  If you know one of the judges does not like your fetish, avoid that.  (Exception: if the fetish involves non-consensual play and you can get a laugh or “Eewww” reaction from the audience or the judge because of your choice, go for it.)

There is a tendency  for gay male contestants to select a female judge (or sometimes the reverse with female contestants, but less often), or otherwise one that people know you would never play with.  Sometimes this is for shock — “OMG, he wants to do a scene with her?!“ — but more often, it is because it feels “safe” to choose the one judge with whom you would presumably never have to follow through on what you say.  Do not do this.  Unless you have indicated previously that you are into the opposite sex (or that person), the message you are sending is (a) you aren’t willing to put yourself out for what you really believe/want, and (b) that you don’t respect that judge enough to make a genuine play offer.  (Exceptions: if the scene would be service or non-sexual — bootblacking, for example — go for the judge who best matches that, regardless of gender; appropriateness of answer is always best.  And if you are going to go for an off-the-board selection, be sure to defend that choice as part of your answer, so no one things you are dodging it.)

While we said before to not spend a lot of time standing in the spotlight, thinking about your answer, the reverse is also true: if you have prepared an answer for this, don’t try to beat the clock.  Take a breath or two — count “1… 2… 3…” in your head — and then answer.  Give the impression of briefly thinking about it.

If you are in a monogamous relationship with your partner, do not dodge the question using that as an excuse.  You are not cheating to answer it.  If you need to call out the monogamous relationship as part of your answer, and specifically acknowledge the fantasy nature of the question, go ahead.  (But really: unless you are newly legally married, if your relationship structure requires you to push that detail in answering a fantasy sex question, maybe you should think twice about competing for a title where, if you win, people may well hit on you in various ways at every event you go to.)

* — Note that if you get asked a “historical person” question, now that we have mentioned them, you should not use Julia Child tied to foodplay or Pharaoh Ramses tied to mummification.  If you read this blog and use that answer, remember that your judges may have read this blog also.  Use your own answer, not ours!

Question: If You Could Change One Thing…

3 Dec

The Question

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be (and why)?

There are two major variations on this question:

(The magical version)
If a genie granted you one wish, to change anything about yourself, what would it be?

and

(The self-improvement version)
What aspect of yourself would you like to change, and how are you doing that?

What They Are Really Asking

In both cases, the underlying goal of the question is for the contestant to identify and admit to his or her own limitations.  Part of this is self-awareness and part of it is humility — both desirable traits in a good titleholder.

In the first case, the judge is asking for something that you don’t have (much) control over.  What they would often like here is not only an awareness of these issues, but how you currently work around them as an active leatherperson.

In the second case, the judge wants to know that you have the will to try to improve yourself, that you not only know of your limits but that you strive to overcome them.

What to Avoid Answering

There is a tendency to respond “I wouldn’t change a thing, I’m happy with how I am.”  While the latter part of that is a good sentiment, the answer overall is either a dodge or a lie.  You do have limitations.  There are things you would like to change.  By answering this way, you are saying either that you do not self-analyze or that you are unwilling to share of yourself.

A dodge for the “magical” version is to try and pass the wish on to someone else, especially the leather community.  This is a version of the “World Peace” answer from  Miss Congeniality.  If the judge wanted you to wish away a community problem, that is what he or she would have asked.

Beyond that:

    • Remember that this is a leather contest, so make sure your answer has some obvious leather connections.
    • Even if it is not explicitly included, there is an “and why?” component to the question.  Don’t forget to put your answer in context.
    • Avoid trite, throw-off answers like “A couple million dollars would be nice.”  That doesn’t reveal anything about yourself.
    • While the judge wants to know that you have limitations, he or she doesn’t want all the details.  Keep your answer short and avoid any nasty medical bits.
    • For the “magical” version of the question, don’t give an answer of something that you could solve without the magic, such as weight or skills issues.  That would tell the judge that this is something you are not willing to work on yourself, hoping for a magical fix instead.
    • For the self-improvement version, phrase your answer in the present tense, ar at least with a near future goal.  If you say “I would do this…”, then the judge is encouraged to think “Then why don’t you?”

Contest Scores: Stories

3 Dec

Following up on “Contest Scores Are a Right” with some less-than-good stories:

  • One of the first contests I was in, the only score info I got was at the bar the next day, with one of the producers telling me the rough point spread between the top three contestants.
  • After another one, one of the board members took me into the office and let me look at my score sheets for three or four minutes, apparently doing this on his own initiative.  The score sheets had no judge names attached, of course, but one judge scored me massively lower than all the other contestants in every category.  That is one of the value points of “Olympic Scoring”, to remove likely bias.
  •  I was in one where they apologized to the contestants the next day that we would not get our scores because the sheets had been lost.
  • I know of another one where one of the non-winning contestants asked for her scores several times and was not refused, but was not given them either (but they would still like her to compete again next year, of course).
  • The worst case was a contest where I asked for a copy of my scores and was told no, that they were not going to provide the scores “because that just causes drama.”  Hmm, by refusing to provide the scores, doesn’t that really add drama, encouraging me to wonder what you are hiding, whether the contest was fixed?  I didn’t wonder that before they refused to provide my scores, but I sure did after.  (That contest no longer exists.  They went from a contest weekend to an unspecified panel selecting the winner in advance from applications received [ahem!], and then got no applications for the round after that.)

Of note here: the International Mr. Leather, International LeatherSIR, and American Leatherman contests all provide the scores to the contestants.  Kudos to those organizations for treating their contestants right.

Contest Scores are a Right

26 Nov

As a contestant, you have a right to a copy of your scores.

Yes, I do mean that: you are a contributor to the information contained in those scores.  You have a right to see them, and to not just see them, but to have copy for your records.  (In fact, those scores are of no value to anyone other than you!)  This is basic transparency, proof that the contest was on the up-and-up.

It is a standard line fed to the non-winning contestants at almost any contest (just after the gag-inducing line “You are all winners!”): “We hope you will come back and compete again next year.”  If they don’t give you your scores, though, how can you know what you did well and what you crapped out on?  How can they expect you to improve yourself and do better next year if they won’t give you the one tool — feedback! — that could make that happen?

If you have been in contests and received copies of your scores — your scores, how your totals fared vs. those of the other contestants, and ideally, any notes from the judges — then kudos to those contest producers!  They have done their job and provided both feedback and transparency.  Contestants are not always so lucky.

It is fine these days to provide the scores information only digitally.  (You are using computer spreadsheets to do the calculations, right?  Just pump out a pertinent report to a PDF file.  Be sure that judges are only identified by number/letter on what the contestants get, not by name.)

Some contest producers may feel the need to provide only a limited set of the scoring information (such as not providing the judges’ notes).  In theory, that is fine, but it reduces transparency and feedback.  Be sure you can (and do) communicate such limits clearly.

So I submit again:

  • As a contestant, you have a right to your contest scores.
  • As a producer, you have no valid reason to refuse to provide them.

Since it is not universal that you will receive copies of your scores, contestants should inquire about this before competing.  For producers who are not in the habit of doing this, it helps them be prepared.  And if you are rebuffed or the question is dodged, cut your losses then: you don’t need to compete in a contest where the producers do not respect your rights.  If they are unwilling to commit to proper transparency ahead of the contest, figure that they probably won’t give you the support you need later, either.

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