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New year, new direction for The Rabbit Hole

As we head towards the end of 2020, we are at crossroads.

Remember the dream vision The Rabbit Hole was meant to be?

Well now, as we approach 2 years old in the midst of a global pandemic as well as personal challenges for the hosts, reality is setting in.

At this point in time, as wonderful and affirming as The Rabbit Hole is, the overwhelming feeling is that some things are going to need to change if TRH has any hope of being sustainable long-term. We are very much looking forward to New Year’s Eve 2020 Party, which is a cocktail event; after which we will adopt the new direction TRH will take in 2021.

2019 for The Rabbit Hole was an idyllic fairytale. It was a lot of hard work requiring 100% commitment and dedication, but we were richly rewarded by the sheer delight and positive validation from each of you who came along and loved it. We had built something simply quite amazing! 2019 wasn’t without its challenges of course, but they were surmountable.

As we entered 2020, little did we (or anyone) know what lay ahead. Our 1st birthday party had me a little teary, the warmth and love of a community I hadn’t expected to form was wonderfully nurturing. Then of course chaos descended in the form of Covid-19, and we held our last party on March 14th ahead of a 3-month hiatus.

Lockdown had its associated stressors, as I lost my FIFO job and The Rabbit Hole couldn't host events, but we were able to make the best of it. Luckily we were able to keep afloat financially with small events as well as support from our community hiring the venue for private events when restrictions lifted slightly. So with only part-time work and Dave’s health improving, I was able to pour energy into continuing to build TRH. I concentrated on refining our Raining Men private events, and then as we emerged from lockdown, we worked hard at trying to adapt our regular events to meet our community’s desire for connection whilst adhering to prescribed home gathering restrictions.

At the house, we continued slow but steady work on the outdoor extension. We enclosed the spa area with well-insulated walls and windows, installed the open showers as a fun wet playspace, and set up the kink area at the other end complete with suspension points and a winch. Then in October, as Dave received his clean bill of health, he transformed the outside area into a delightful fairytale garden!

Behind the scenes however, unbeknownst to most people except to those closest to me, by the time we went into SA’s first lockdown in March, I had been getting more and more rundown over the preceding 6 months, and was almost at breaking point. I had been juggling 2 jobs (one a FIFO job), 2 partners (one who was going through cancer treatment), and was also trying to maintain a new business on its crazy roller coaster ride. I had too many balls in the air, and couldn’t put any of them down. I was utterly exhausted. Losing my FIFO job during the first lockdown was actually a blessing in disguise; having more time enabled me to catch my breath and re-centre.

I threw everything I had into The Rabbit Hole over the next 6 months, I wanted (and needed) to get it running smoothly like a well-oiled sybian. I went to bed thinking about TRH, I woke up thinking about TRH, I lived and breathed TRH. When TRH had to close its doors again due to our brief second wave in November, I am satisfied we did our absolute level best. The 6 week break from events has allowed us to take stock of where The Rabbit Hole sits at this point in time, where it is headed, and how we want to move forward. Essentially … do we want to continue as is? CAN we continue as is?

The short answer is no.

Much as we love the warmth and vibrant community built around The Rabbit Hole, every rainbow has a rain cloud.

Much to our dismay, even as The Rabbit Hole has become the cornerstone venue for Adelaide swingers, the parties are becoming more work, and less fun for us. I am devastated that so far, reality is unfortunately not living up to my vision of The Rabbit Hole being the joyful, safe, welcoming and fun space for the sex-positive community I dreamed of.

The sobering lesson we have learned is: As much as we envisioned a fairytale Wonderland full of happy fun sex-positive sexy people, here on planet earth we are mere mortals.

We all have our flaws and foibles, and whilst personality clashes are inevitable, some of us are prone to petty grievances and childish squabbles. Some of us cannot manage our nervousness without medicating with substances (alcohol) or technology (phones), and really struggle to maintain decorum and appropriate behaviour. And then there are those of us who are too self-focused to play well with others, let alone remember that they are guests of The Rabbit Hole and are expected to respect the establishment.

And sometimes, people just simply don’t get along. Some guests are not going to get along with each other. Some guests are not going to get along with us. And sometimes, we are not going to get along with some of our guests.

Reality is dream-crushing sometimes.

Moving forward, as much as we would love to be able to welcome everyone, for the reasons explained above, we cannot. We have agonised over this for weeks, and have come to the sad conclusion that if The Rabbit Hole is going to be sustainable long-term, your hosts are going to need to have firmer boundaries around which guests will fit in well at TRH and which guests won't. We need to get back to loving hosting parties for you, we need to get back to having fun, we need to feel like all the massive amounts of work we put into The Rabbit Hole is worth it.

Secondly, TRH remains passionately sex-positive and inclusive of all genders, all sexual orientations, and all relationship structures. Remember though, we are a swingers venue that host parties where sexy scantily clad people get very intimate with each other, so we do expect that guests make an effort to look good, smell good, and present well. We will be moving towards a more upmarket feel at our events, where we will expect adherence to stylish presentation and respectful adult behavior.

Think sexy.

This means no daggy T-shirts, no shorts, no flip-flops, no sneakers. Unless they are of the sexy kind. Guests will not be permitted entry if they are not appropriately dressed.

Thirdly, as part of this new direction, from 2021 we will also be increasing the general entry cost slightly, now that the house extension is finished. Running costs have increased significantly in the last 1 year, and we have not raised prices since we opened our doors 2 years ago. We hope that you believe as we do that spa/shower area with all the adjacent delightful play equipment is a quality upgrade at a superb venue, and well worth the small price increase.

If you think I sound weary, you'd be right: It’s 4am in the wee hours of Tuesday 3 days before the calendar flips to 2021. I hope this new direction will bring some fresh enthusiasm back into our events, and will make party nights smoother and more fun! I guess we have been so busy focusing on creating a space that’s safe and fun for the guests, we forgot that it’s just as important that The Rabbit Hole is a safe and fun space for us too!

To all of you our Rabbit Hole family, we thank you for your support over the last 2 years; and hope you will continue to support us as we move into the next phase of the evolution of TRH. It’s a journey through uncharted waters for us, the water does get a bit choppy at times, so we're just going to hang on tight and follow where the boat goes, and hopefully we'll get to the smooth sailing part soon!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year,

Wendee on behalf of The Rabbit Hole team x

Dec 2019: The spa was so big it needed to be craned into The Rabbit Hole!
Dec 2020: Completed 70sqm playspace

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