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How to Organize a Munch!
I have been asked by several folks over the past couple of weeks how to do a MUNCH. I guess my postings about the Louisville MUNCH had some effect even if there were not 3200 folks out for it. Anyway I have put together the info below as a help for others who might want to do their own MUNCH.
MUNCH: A gathering of likeminded netters in a non-threatening environment to partake of sustenance, enjoy the company of others and talk up a storm about their mutual interests. MUNCHers are generally those folks who hang around in alt.sex.bondage, a.s.spanking, or similar newsgroups and who may from time to time be found on irc channels with the same interests. A MUNCH is NOT a play party. It is a social event. EDITORIAL COMMENT. It cannot be stated strongly enough during your first few get togethers that a MUNCH is a friendly, non-threatening social time. The Louisville MUNCHes run about 3:5 men to women, and that is because the females understand that they can show up without being attacked, dogged, and otherwise bothered.
WHO: If you are the organizer then you can define who you want to invite to the MUNCH. The Louisville MUNCHes are basically open to most alternative lifestylers: bdsm, bondage, spanking, voyeurs, exhibitionist, G/B/L, and of course those alt.tasteless folks. I place only one limit and that is those members of the RRR are NOT welcome. Its your MUNCH you can place whatever limits you want or define who it is for as you see fit.
WHAT: See definition of MUNCH above.
WHEN: The two best times I have found for having MUNCHes are either Satur- day lunch time or on a Thursday evening. Saturday is generally a day when folks can drag out of bed by noon and will want a bit to eat. You can do a late lunch as well starting it at 1:00 p.m. It also depends on what you want to do, if anything, in addition to the MUNCHmeal(tm). The last Louis- ville MUNCH included a guided shopping trip to numerous alternative shops in the area, and the lunch began at 11:30 so we could have plenty of time for shopping afterward.
Thursday evenings are good because most folks do not have social events planned for that day. Additionally, most restaurants that have room for you are not too busy and will be happy to have a group come in. The Apple- munch is a weeknight, Thursday, and from what I can tell they have a large turnout for them.
WHERE: This is not an easy one. Depends on your crowd, how long you been doing it, etc. If you are just starting then I recommend that you do NOT have your MUNCH at a place that serves alcohol. It can lead to a disaster. Places like Denny's, Shoneys, or your neighborhood place diner are good as long as you can have a semi-private room at least. Do you really want to squick the other customers? And, not be invited back? During the spring and summer you might consider a place where you can dine outside. Just did that here in Louisville, and it worked out well. hmmmm, except for the flies and bees. Also you need to consider what your attendees will want to eat.
Many alternative lifestyle folks are veggies. You need to pick a place where they can get their choice of food stuffs as well as those who like animeat(tm). A couple of other considerations. When you contact the restuarant, make sure they will do separate checks. This is important for a couple reasons, first is so a coffee drinker is not paying for someone's prime rib and second if you have multiple waitresses they get the correct amount of tip(s).
Also consider who may be coming and what they can afford. I can afford one big meal out a month, but certainly not two. If you pick a place that does not do sandwiches it may cut down on attendance.
SIDENOTE: I do a monthly social for the internet serv-ice provider I use. These are NETSocials and are open to all the users of the service. When I first started these I had a helluva time getting a place that would agree to having 30+ folks and separate tickets. When I had the first one, a breakfast on a Sunday Morning @ 9:00 a.m., with 37 folks attending I had the waitresses give me the total amount the group spent and post it over the managers desk. When I was setting up the next one and got a refusal, I suggested that the manager call the manager of the first restuarant and I would call him back in 30 minutes to see if he changed his mind. He called me in seven minutes to say he would be more than happy to have us. I told him perhaps at a later date, but, that I had just made other arrangements. We did go two months later and have been back a couple times. The waitresses fight over getting to work our group.
WHY: See definition above. Let me stress again this is a social event, not a play party. We get together in Louisville to have fun, talk, and meet other folks in the scene.
HOW: Well generally speaking the two interests that all of the group shares are computers and some type of alternative lifestyle interest. Posting to the appropriate newsgroups is the recommended method of announcement for your MUNCH. You can use other methods as well. Word of mouth is good. This last Louisville MUNCH there were two women who showed up, neither of which have a computer or work with them. They had heard a third co-worker talking about it and inquired if they could come. Who'd a thunk it? If you are out/open in your local community about your lifestyle.
Putting on a MUNCH is not an easy task. It takes time to co-ordinate everything when you first start. When they get going and the core group is well established they can be self maintaining. You can set up a day and time and place where you will always meet and then folks show up at the MUNCH on Tuesday evenings at 6:00, down at the Hideaway Cafe.
I hope this has helped those of you who might like to do a MUNCH.