One of many things I have learned in my years hanging around, exploring, and dissipating in this community is that there are just about as many labels and titles that people use to define themselves and/or their partners as there are people in the community. Dom/sub, Top/bottom, HoH/TiH, Master/Mistress and sub or slave, boy/boi, girl, Daddy/Mommy and probably quite a few more that I’ve left out. The one that I use most often to identify myself is Brat.
I first encountered that particular label reading M/M DD stories. The Top/brat genre is a well-established classic subset of that particular type of story. If I’m perfectly honest, in the beginning, although I enjoyed the stories, I didn’t really relate to them very much. Most if not all of the brat characters I encountered seemed to be impulsive in the extreme and more than a little juvenile. I understood the attraction of having a partner to count on to be the responsible one, but it wasn’t me. In most things in my life, I’m the responsible one.
Then, I found the Falls Chance Ranch series, and it quite literally, in more ways than I can talk about in just one blog, changed my life. The men they referred to as Brats were ones I could actually relate to. They held down jobs and responsibilities. They didn’t, usually, throw random tantrums. They were actually fully functional adults. They defined Brat, not as a character or behavior definition, but as a lifestyle choice. What’s more, it wasn’t at all a sexual definition, like sub usually is. Instead, they defined it as someone who felt most comfortable and safe inside boundaries, and who choses in the context of their relationship with their Top or Tops (the main characters are poly, with three tops and two brats in a plural marriage) to define those boundaries and rules and give their partner permission to enforce them. It had nothing whatsoever to do with who was in charge in the bedroom.
That made sense in a way that most of the D/s stuff I had read did not. I’m not in the least saying there’s anything wrong with having a primarily sexual dynamic. There’s not in the least, but I’ve always known that my own with more than that. This was the first time I had ever seen any kind of label or definition that explained and acknowledged that. It solidified pieces of my identity that I had been struggling to make sense of for years. Since then, I’ve called myself a Brat. It may be an unusual choice, but it fits who I am.
PS. As an extra B topic, check out the Beyond the Last Page spotlight on me by Crystal’s Many Reviewers.