Savage Love Letter of the Day: What To Say? Beats Me.



This is why rough-and-tumble play has rules and safewords. Next time you, BF and guest star mix it up, tell them up front: no bruises or cuts on the face.

"Stupid me, I went and overcooked the pork chops again."
You're going to have to dial back the slapping. As for work, use an allergy excuse.
Go to Sephora (or wherever) and get a mini lesson on how to use concealer. Kat Von D and Makeup Forever have some really good ones, along with full coverage foundation. If there isn't a place near you that will teach you how to use the products and make it look natural, Youtube has tons of tutorials, lots made by makeup professionals.
Say you were in a fender bender and the airbag deployed - that can cause facial bruising. And tell Mr. Slappy to take it easy on the face next time. Enjoy!
Say you decided to try... boxing over the weekend. You had a good time, but didn't realize what would happen to your face until you saw the bruises the next day. You may try... boxing in the future, but are going to ask your partner to go easy on the face next time.

Any yes, say it with just the slightest of pauses before "boxing." The conservatives will take you at face (heh) value, while the libs will know what you really mean.
I loved every minute of it... until the next day. Thankfully it was a weekend and I could stay in the house to hide my bruised cheek, busted lip, and black and blue neck.

To each their own. I like something other than vanilla, but my preference is more like cappucino chip (from Husky Deli) instead of black and blueberry.
You don't do anything about the work situation, because there isn't one. Unless and until someone asks you about it, or gives you side-eye, there is no issue. Going around now and saying "Oh, I got mugged, that's why my face was all bruised up last week!" just calls more attention to it.

That said, have a more complete story ready if you do have to deploy "I got mugged." Nothing too detailed, just a likely location, what the crooks got away with, you filed a report but don't expect anything to come of it.
'wonderful . . . relationship'. Oh boy.
I don't think lying outright will have a beneficial outcome in the long run.

Be deliberately vague: "The first rule is that I can't talk about it..."
I wonder whether any of the others have ever come in to work hiding bruises.
I agree with #8. Don't worry about it until it becomes a problem. And honestly I'd stick with something like 'I tripped', or the 'boxing' excuse.
Another, mostly truthful, explanation to give:

"Things got a bit more (intense/vigorous/similar adverb) than usual and (I didn't notice getting a bit banged up until later/we slipped and you know where the nightstand is). The (dinner/massage/other nice thing BF is known to be good at) that he apologized with was almost worth it."
Don't say anything now. Don't engage in play that leaves facial bruises in the future. If this is a *pattern*, your colleagues may express concern. If it never happens again, they'll brush it out of their minds.
if you're asked (and only if), how about, "Let's just say I remembered why I quit riding bikes."
"You should see the other guy"
As someone in a wonderful monogamish 7-year relationship with a 36-year-old waifish, 145-pound spa-and-facial-loving Asian guy, I have an opinion about this.

My opinion: LW’s partner is a brute. Or, at the very least, he is bad at his kink. A “busted lip”? HBIATWW could have “loved every minute” of that encounter just as much if his partner had the chops to enact the scene without creating actual mayhem.

I can only hope that that this letter was edited for length, and the part in which LW recounted the partner’s mortified apology for his poor skills — despite years of practice with “any number of wonderful play partners” — was left out.
@14/BiFanDan is right on. It's too late now to address what has already happened, and what they already observed, and bringing it up may only force you into concocting a more elaborate lie.

Your partner sounds like an experience kinkster. He gets a big demerit for not considering the ramifications for marking your face, which is something you recognize now, but were not experienced enough to consider before hand.
I think I'd go with, "I was horsing around with a friend and things got out of hand. I'm good."

For the future, arnica creme helps fade bruises. Also capillaries do toughen up so that bruising of the same skin becomes less and less likely from repeated impact play. Arnica tablets help prevent bruising as does mega-dosing vitamin C.

While I applaud the LW for going with the flow and having a good time, the valuable lesson here is that marks should be negotiated (along with other things). It is not a good sign that his partner let this happen, as he should have known better. Especially for first time play, anything above the chest should have automatically been off limits.
I agree with most here that the LW doesn't need to say anything unless pressed. Even then the "I could tell you but I'd have to kill you", "The first rule of fight club...", "I had more fun than intended", etc answer should be good enough. I don't think this is where the LW needs to focus his energy, though.

I'll echo @17 in having mild concern for the marks left by his experienced partner. In 20+ years of kink, I've found that leaving bruises is usually harder than you'd expect. (I can't remember ever leaving a facial bruise, even with face slapping.) It could be a case of the LW being more delicate than his partner is used to playing with or it could be something less complimentary to the partner.

If he still considers the experience a positive one, LW needs to establish ground rules before next time around and then proceed to have some more amazingly hot sex!
Ditto clashfan@8: don't create a problem that doesn't yet exist. And if anyone does ask, boxing/fight club is the way to go. If you're vague enough, it's not even technically a lie, just an incomplete truth since you DID get smacked around by someone in a consensual physical altercation, but you're leaving out the sexual framing.
"um, it's a bit saucy to talk about at work but believe me, it was fun at the time."
Also, it took me WAY too long to notice the pun in the post title. Well played, Dan or whatever editor or staffer came up with that.
Say "I don't talk about Fight Club"
Take up martial arts and blame it on sparring.
"I fell off my bike."

Easy, plausible, common.
Hit by a bike messenger, or you burned dinner, whichever.
I've found bruising to be unpredictable. The same blows affect different bottoms differently. I wouldn't expect a "mortified apology." But I would check to see if he has a preference as far as what you say (or don't say) about the bruising.
@28: Maybe not for even moderate bruising, maybe, but a split lip?
"Now I worry they think he's a brute who beats his waifish Asian mail-order gayshaboy." Well, he is. And he did. Beat him, I mean. I call BS on enjoying, "every minute of it". Because he's not enjoying this minute of it. And every minute he's bruised and cut. Those minutes prompted a letter and some lies. Not enjoying the minutes at work or lying. Or being stereotyped (granted, a stereotype I have never heard of...)

It was domestic. And violence. Whether it's domestic violence, I guess we wait to hear down the road.
Nobody asked, so why worry about which lie you won't have to tell?

@9: Says the basement-dweller.
@29, if the bottom knows the top plays rough, and agreed to rough play, and didn't complain at the time, then in my world they both bear ethical responsibility for the split lip, not just the top. Same if you're wrestling with a friend and one person accidentally gets hurt. Either both people showed bad judgment or neither one did. Bad things can happen without someone being at fault, ethically. (Legally -- that's another matter.)
I bruise somewhat easily and have never gotten bruises from face slapping, but I did get a bloody nose once. Who knows, maybe the split lip was bad aim or something. I'd say taking up martial arts (or saying you did) is the easiest excuse if this is something that will happen again. I've considered it since I occasional have visible bruises on my neck or arms.
EricaP, I don't see the issue here as bottom vs top but as experienced vs naïve. The top in this case was the experienced one and could have been expected to know when the play was heading in the direction of publicly visible marks. In a different situation the bottom might have been experienced and led the play in a direction the top wasn't prepared for, but in this particular case it was the top.

Also, aren't marks something that are negotiated before a scene starts?

Marking someone without confirming ahead of time that it's okay is very bad form. You don't decide in the moment that you're going to mark someone's face and then turn around and say "You never told me not to!"
Alison, I don't think the top meant to split his lip or leave visible bruises. If he did mean to, and didn't make that clear ahead of time, then he's an asshole and "mortified apology" doesn't begin to cover it.

Marking someone on purpose without prior negotiation is very bad form. Leaving marks by accident is an accident. And "experience" plays both ways -- if the top had played at that level without it leaving marks before (not all facial slapping leads to bruising), then his so-called "experience" could have led him astray.

Should they both have been more careful and experimented with milder play before this intense scene, to learn more about the bottom's tendencies to bruise? Yes, that would have been wise. But I see that as a shared responsibility, not a burden on just the top.
Erica @37, I would agree with you about care and communication being a shared top/bottom responsibility, if LW were an experienced bottom. But according to his letter, he had previously avoided rough play, preferring to let his partner outsource that action to others. So how would LW know that he was supposed to make special requests beforehand? How likely was he to mull over the possibility of bruising and what the folks at the office would think, when he was caught up in the distraction of mixed pain and pleasure unlike anything he had ever experienced - with not one, but TWO tops beating up on him?

I put most of the blame and shame on LW's partner, who probably got a little too excited about getting to share his lover with their guest star - to the point that he ignored his responsibility to look out for LW's welfare during the scene. I'm only into BDSM "lite" (probably super-lite, by your standards) and I've never been in involved in a three-way scenario of this type, but I can't help but wonder if the two tops got a little competitive in seeing what they could inflict on their bottom - once again, paying too much attention to each other and not enough to the rookie.
Does there have to be "blame and shame"? Is that a requirement, when someone is unhappy?
Alison @35, thanks for the link -- very interesting scenario.

You're welcome!

Not necessarily blame and shame. But... a word of caution to the bottom: is your boyfriend as trustworthy as you need him to be? Is your problem one that could be completely solved by good makeup, or should you be concerned about his judgement as well? If your boyfriend is an experienced top with no understanding of negotiation, do you consider that normal? Were you all playing while drunk? As Capricornius wonders, does he interpret his role as dom/top to require caring for you or impressing other tops? If he's not trustworthy, or if one or both of you use substances in a way that results in problems in your professional life, you have some decisions to make. Unwanted split lips are not caused by kinky sex. Other people have kinky sex and have no problems at work the next day. They are caused by poor judgement and poor negotiation.

LW can choose to stay with boyfriend, but should do so with the knowledge that boyfriend's judgement might be poor or that one or both of them may be using substances inappropriately. Armed with that knowledge, LW can choose to take responsibility for caring for himself.

Not about blaming and shaming, more about avoiding a "Well yeah, what did you expect?" reaction. Kind of like advising that just as having sex with strangers is not an invitation to be raped, having kinky sex with a boyfriend is not an invitation to be visibly marked.
Brava, Alison. I will happily retract my"blame and shame" comment. You and I share similar concerns about LW's boyfriend, his judgment, and his priorities, but you expressed those concerns much more eloquently than I did.