Saturday, May 5, 2007

Gentlemen, start your engines...

This blog was, in point of fact, created as an assignment for my English 1020 class. Y’know, the one every university makes you take as a way to bilk an extra few hundred dollars out of you? I went into it expecting another slow spiral into the depths of boredom, like every other English class I’d ever taken, going over the same old crap yet again. A quick glance over the syllabus confirmed my suspicions. A profile paper, a position paper, a…. wait, a blog?

What is this strange instructor with the asymmetrical haircut trying to pull? (And yes, Mr. B., I went home and described you as “hardcore Myspace” to my husband. For that I am sorry. At least until grades are posted. :P)

Now, I am an internet junkie. I admit it. My favorite pastime is to chain smoke and live vicariously through the lives of others. I wake up an hour early in the mornings to get my webcomics read. I am a forum lurker, a blog subscriber, a passive farker. I feel more connection to people who live on other continents than I do about my next door neighbors, whom I know nothing about except that they like to have really loud sex in the wee hours of the morning. This is less than endearing.

I never joined the party, assuming my life was not nearly exciting enough to be of any interest to anyone but the most entertainment starved. I figured that if I were to write a blog, and someone were to read it, it would be because they had read every other thing out there, even the Shatner music aficionado forums. The true end of the internet.

I started a Myspace page (I know, I know… I repent!) a while ago, largely as another way for cute girls I met in clubs to contact me without the pressure of a phone number. It turned into a way for people I already knew to invite me to stuff me without the effort of actually getting it to me on time, and for creepy guys who stalked me in high school to find me and pick up where they left off. The few journal entries I wrote were, well, drivel, usually drunken drivel.

I viewed those with well-read, fascinating, addictive blogs the way one views bestselling authors. Surely there must be some kind of initiation process? At least some kind of screening to keep out riff-raff such as myself?

But then, a revelation! As I made a half-hearted check to see if any of my classmates had deigned to leave their required comments on my scribblings, I found a quick note from an unfamiliar name. And it wasn’t an order from the Powers That Be ordering me to cease and desist pretending at being a true denizen of the net. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? You mean anybody can read this thing? And they did?? Holy crap!

And so, I made a decision to give this a shot. If I get cornered in a back alley by an angry mob of staunch protectors of the purity of the blogosphere, the blame’s all on you, belledame222. And if I end up at a swanky soiree surrounded by fawning admirers who “just love my work”, well, then it was all my idea.

Seriously, though- thanks.

A quick addendum: If I accidentally breach some form of netiquette, please, beat me about the head and shoulders with salmon until I fix it. I'm not entirely sure of protocol around here. Halp!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Riposte

Okay guys, I gotta get this out- I know I'm a little behind the times, and the American People (tm) have moved on to brand new shiny things in the news, but I ran into a feminist blog this morning that brought it up in a very... interesting light.
Essentially she said that the men who responded to this gentleman's post are horrible terrible people that would rape a woman in a second and generally unfit to live among the "enlightened". This may or may not be true, however I feel the need to defend my kinky brethren.
Now, I’m not in any way trying to make light of true abuse. To be hurt by a partner you trusted in a way that is not negotiated beforehand, looked over, analyzed and picked apart in the name of safety is a horrifying, traumatic experience. However, this is not what Jason Fortuny advertised for, whether he knew it or not. Notice the words “safe and sane” in the post? That’s two of the three commandments of the kink community: Safe, Sane and Consensual. Allow me to explain:

Safe: No true harm is done, whether physical or mental. “Harm” and “hurt” are two very different things. Hurt is what happens right before the endorphin rush and leaves cool marks to show of the next day. Harm is anything that doesn’t feel good afterwards. Boundaries regarding marks, pain levels and potential triggers are unflinching. Proper technique and the appropriate base knowledge are paramount.

Sane: Keep your head. It’s the pinnacle of stupidity to let yourself get carried away by a fantasy. Absolutely no intoxicants in scene. Ever. Always remember that this is called “play” for a reason. It’s supposed to be fun. Keep it within the parameters defined. Define those parameters to death. If it takes you 5 hours to go over your checklists and you think it’s totally anti-erotic, deal with it. Better a wounded mood than a wounded partner.

Consensual: Goes along with parameters. Make sure you know your limits, and set them in stone before a scene. Be honest with yourself and your partners about those limits. Don’t try and be a badass and say you’re cool with being lit on fire when you’re not. Better a low-key scene and happy participants than years of therapy. Your first concern is always to ensure that everyone involved is comfortable with what is happening. You have your entire life to fulfill that one hot fantasy. It is not worth the damage you might do to push someone beyond what they are ready for. That is the kink version of date rape. Very, very bad.

These guys thought this post was from a kinky sub chick who wanted a kinky dom guy. They are kinky dom guys who wanted a kinky sub chick. Of COURSE they responded. If someone presented themselves to me as a kinky sub boy, knowing that I'm a kinky dom girl, then showed up where we were supposed to meet for coffee with a news crew and some rant about Feminazis, I'd be pissed. REALLY pissed.
Here's the thing, guys- a few bad apples aside, most kinky folk are probably MORE concerned about your wellbeing while playing with you than the average asshat at a bar. After all, we know what kind of damage can be done, both physically and emotionally. That is where safewords come in. It's all about living a fantasy, baby. (A rather common one, at that- one full third of the population, according to Kinsey.)
When I am topping someone, the whole goal is to get that look of "Wow, that was amazing." after I take the down from the ceiling or whatever. I want them to walk away feeling better and stronger for the experience. I know that certain fantasies should be kept as fantasy (aficionados of snuff films, take note). I also know that some fantasies are freaking AWESOME when acted out. And I've met enough kinky people to know that whatever your tastes may run to, you can find a consenting, legal partner who would just LOVE to act that out with you. Over and over again. It might take a while to find that person. In the meantime, you keep it in fantasy.
I was surrounded by kinksters for 4 days or so just recently at DomCon. I talked to a good number of them, and the affection was evident in their relationships. And those big angry looking guys wearing the equivalent of 4 sides of leather? They recoil in horror at the thought of an unconsenting partner. If they wanted to take advantage of somebody, the girl hanging out in the hot tub by herself at 11 at night would have been it. Instead, I got a friendly wave. That's it.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that the guys who were maligned by this twit on Craigslist are most likely nice people who in fact, just want to have some good ol' fashioned consensual, if slightly heterodox, fun, and were playing their roles accordingly. I’m curious as to how many polite, well worded inquiries were received but not posted due to the lack of shock value.
PS- If you’re curious, the ratio of "Here's how you hurt somebody" stuff to "Here's how you avoid doing any serious damage" is about 1:10. I probably know about as much about gross anatomy as a first year med student, all in the name of keeping things Safe, Sane and Consensual. If only my vanilla partners would take the same kind of care.

Gloria Patria

I really, REALLY miss my dad lately. I called him on the other day, and they were just sitting down to dinner, so he called me back later, pretty toasted, and we just talked and had long distance cocktails (ie, sit on the phone and drink. Weird, but it works. God bless free long distance.)
It's always odd to talk to my dad when he's drunk... He vacillates between being the strong, kinda stoic SuperDaddy I always thought of him as when I was little, and the painfully human, vulnerable, aging man that he is. He and Laurie are moving to Tucson as soon as they get they can, like, a matter of days, and he's scared- he said that, those exact words. It's such a cognitive dissonance to try and reconcile SuperDaddy and scared... I can't help but realize that in fact he is just an old man trying to get by pounding nails and doing his damndest to do right by his debtors, his creditors, his wife and his daughter. He talked about how he's been using more than one credit card to pay for groceries, because they're all maxed out to within $20 of the limit... He's been turning down all other work in favor of getting the house spitshined to sell, so he's "got people standing on his tongue waiting for money" (his words, not mine), and he's got precisely nothing until Laurie's house closes.

The first point I'd like to make in reference to this is, he's always told me that getting my own gig and working for myself was the way to go, no bosses to answer to except yourself... While that would indeed be nice, I'm not sure I'm ready to trade the security of a nice steady paycheck every week as long as I show up and don't kill anyone, in favor of the uncertainty of working for myself but only maybe sometimes sort of getting paid...

The second point is this- I know how a contractor's money situation fluctuates, and I know how hard the times are when you've just spent ton of money for supplies and materials for a job, but nobody's gonna cut you a check for a week or two... Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to turn down some poor shmo's credit card because the balance is maxed out, and he gives this resigned sigh, just like my dad does when something screws him, and I know full well our computer system allows us to force a card through????

The third point is this- Why in the hell did they have to put me in housewares, where every time I walk through those damned aisles, I remember all the times my dad took me school supply shopping at the hardware store, not understanding that I NEEDED the Lisa Frank folders (remember those?) and special pencils, and I didn't understand that kids don't come with instructions, and he didn't get to spend enough time around me to really know what in God's name was going on and why I was crying, he was just doing the best he could, and taking me somewhere that he knew in an attempt to familiarize the unfamiliar...

Maybe I shouldn't work in a hardware store until I get all this shit with my dad worked out... Mostly I just want him to know that I admire him, and I want to grow up to be big and strong just like him, so I always eat my veggies and drink my milk, and that time he came to pick me up late and my mom wouldn't let me answer the door because she was angry, the whole time you were knocking, I was leaning on the other side of the door listening and wanting nothing in the world more than to run out and hug you because I love you and I missed you, but I was afraid, and I wasn't strong enough to just say so.... I'm so sorry Daddy. I wish I could have been a better little girl to you, but now I'm all grown up, so I'll just try and be the best daughter I can now. I want you to be proud of me... I want you to show off my picture in your wallet to people, I'll get you a recent one, I promise, no mohawk, and you can tell them all about how your daughter is going to college, and has a good job, and has a good future. It's thanks to you, you know. My mom taught me the tricks of how to get by, how to balance a checkbook and make a bed, but you taught me the kind of person I want to be... I might want kids more if I could be a dad like you.

*sigh* I guess the combo of liquid honesty and the anonymity of the internet coincided to make a driveling idiot out of yours truly...... Just do me a favor and call your dads and tell them you love them without a Hallmark holiday, k?

It's 5 o'clock somewhere

My day job isn’t all that bad, really. I work in a hardware store. I get to wear jeans and steel toed boots to work. It could be worse.
However, it is retail, and so is soul crushing and dignity robbing. It’s in the employee handbook. Seriously, page 17, right after the section on “Why You Have to Wear This Doofy Uniform”, but before the section on “Thou Shalt Not Tell Customers What You Really Think of Them, No Matter How Much of a Twat They Are Being”. And so, in the interest of keeping my sanity, this is a list of things I would love to post in the breakroom, but instead will post on the internet under a pseudonym. That way I have plausible deniability, and might get to eat for another two weeks. Hooray!

First, for my coworkers:

1. If you've had a bad day, week, month or life, that sucks for you, but don't take it out on me. If you don't have the strength of character to confront the person that's the problem, shut the hell up. Nobody else cares. Guaranteed.

2. Don't go on power trips. You manage a neighborhood hardware store, you don't rule the world, aight Ghengis?

3. Do your job. That's what you're paid to do. You are not paid to take 17 "cigarette breaks" to go make out with/ argue with your junkie boyfriend outside. I'm trying to do my job, and I can't do that if I'm busy doing yours.

4. Quit showing up high/stoned/drunk/whatever. It makes you entirely ineffective. I know you all think you're "high-functioning", but there's no such thing. You're just better practiced at it. I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse.

5. If I'm walking out the door, don't ask me to mix 17 gallons of paint. I'll do it because you're incompetent, but while I'm doing it, I'll be plotting your untimely demise. Just so you know.

And now, for the customers-

1. If a key has "Do Not Duplicate" stamped in GREAT BIG LETTERS on the front, it's for a reason. Your landlord doesn't want people that he's evicted coming back and blowing the place up, and he doesn't want people that aren't paying rent living there, and he doesn't want easy access for potential thieves. All of these are very good reasons to keep track of a finite number of keys. If you argue with me about it, I will run your fingers, one at a time, under the duplicator blade until you agree with me. For Christ's sake, people, do you even know what "duplicate" means???

2. Yes, I work here. Yes, I am a girl. Yes, I know what I'm doing. Don't patronize the girl holding the sledgehammer.

3. I am wearing a nametag for a reason. Sure, it says “Frederick”, but maybe my parents were weird. You never know. If you must address me, use that as a guide. My name is NOT sweetheart, darling, honey, sugar or any other pet name that little mind of yours can think up. I will call you schnoogum-boogum in front of your wife and we'll see how you like it. (The only exception to this is if you're from the South, and even then, you're on thin ice. Schnookums.

4. I am here because I'm paid to be, and I have a job to do. Unfortunately, part of that job is helping your bewildered self find what you think you need before you give and call in a professional. I am not here for the social scene, and given that I'm wearing a wedding ring, you would think one could safely assume I'm not here for the dating scene. This is not so, apparently, so let me clarify- You cannot have my number, I'm not interested in dinner, I'm not old enough to drink anyway, and my feelings on older men are that natural selection needs to be helped along a bit, and I'd be happy to oblige it if you continue in this vein. I know I'm cute. Too bad you're an ugly motherfucker, huh?

5. This is a hardware store. Not the largest, but our selection is decent. If you come in and ask for "little blue plastic thingies", you'd better be prepared to elaborate, or if I'm feeling vindictive, be shown *every* thing in the store that is or might ever be blue, small or plastic.

6. Change is annoying anywhere. There's a bank across the street, they change tender, that's what they do. Go there first. Unless you're paying me in gold ingots, and I get to keep them, I better see some foldin' money. Anything over 2 dollars is just ridiculous.

7. Same with big bills. And if you're going to try and break a $100 bill at 8 in the morning, you'd BETTER not haggle over a $2 purchase. BANK!

8. I have access to thousands of feet of cordage. If you do not restrain your children, I will, and I guarantee my way will leave marks.

That is all.

Libertas Per Submissio

I just watched Secretary again tonight- it reminded me of so much of what I want.
There's these two parts of me, the dominant and the submissive. They are simultaneously at odds with each other, and one and the same.
The submissive is the big one, the one I came to terms with first. I want to be cherished and loved and taken care of and polished and adored, and in return I want to serve and adore and obey. Is it so wrong that I want these things? It took me a long time to determine that, for me, the answer is “No, it’s not wrong.” After all, it's just a more extreme version of what people tell their kids: "If you're a good little girl and do what you're told, then we'll take care of you and you'll be safe." Really, who doesn’t occasionally wish for a return to simpler times?
But for years I was told that was not love, that was a dysfunctional relationship. And truth be told, to have a relationship like that without the communication and honesty that comes with admitting it’s a kink, it is. The difference comes down to consent. IF you go into it knowing what you’re getting into, then it’s no different than any other relationship expectation, be it “Please call me if you’re going to be late”, or “Please don’t sleep with random strangers.”
More truth be told, before I figured out that last part, it did get me into more than one dysfunctional relationship. I took on more than my fair share of the work, expecting my unwitting partners to step into the dom spot, and all the responsibilities that entailed. I acted like a doormat, so they treated me like one. My bad.
I want to take into account the little eccentricities of my Master, remember just how he likes his (or her) drinks served, what time I should bring them their coffee in the morning, how they like their clothes put away, what they do and do not like to eat. I want to be told what I can eat, what I will wear, what I will do that day in exacting detail. I want to know that all I have to do is follow the rules, and I’ll be fine. I want to not be responsible for myself, to become an extension of someone better then I, more knowledgeable, more confident. Someone who isn't so clueless about this world. I want to have that safety.
I’m so terribly tired of being independent. It’s wearying. The constant uphill battle with the world, trying to obtain some ethereal “meaning” to my life, but at the same time, fighting tooth and nail to keep a roof over my head and food in my cupboards, because I’m supposed to be able to do all this myself, but nobody is telling me how.
I want to be able to adore someone unabashedly, to put some one on a pedestal and have them stay there, simply because that's where they belong, the pedestal so many before them have taken spectacular swan dives off of. Perhaps I really am too trusting and na├»ve. The person I spend the rest of my life with, or really, any part of my life with, is supposed to be a Prince Charming, right? That’s what I was told. Hans Christian Anderson has a helluva lawsuit coming, that’s all I’ve got to say. He never mentioned that everyone I’ve ever met (including me) has flaws that run so deep, and are so glaring that I cannot trust them to handle their own lives, much less help me with mine.
But that’s still what I want. I want to clean their house, have them dole out my cigarettes as a reward, have me help them with whatever it is that needs to be done. I want them to guide me. I want to know I’m safe. I want to know that someone will catch me if I fall. I want that so badly, I can feel it in the pit of my stomach.

I think the dominant side of me knows so well what I as a submissive wants, that I want to give that to someone else. The ultimate act of submission, I guess. I want to have a prized possession that is mine, and mine alone. I want to reward them when they are good, and punish them when they are bad. I want to keep them in line, improve them until they are exactly what they need to be. Of course, this side of me also has the natural, more acceptable human instinct for power- this is the part of me that, when I contemplate serving someone forever, screams and cries and shakes the bars and says "But what about you??" What about me? I'm not that impressive, and if I am, I'm certainly not capable of using that potential fully. It would take capable, careful hands to mold me correctly.

I think I find service more satisfying than sex. I remember one of the first times M and I were "rough" in bed. My favorite part, the part that I remember clearly, is when we were done, he told me, "I am going to lie down on the bed, and you are going to rub my back until I say you can stop." I was so happy at that moment, perversely, ecstatically happy.

How on earth am I ever going to reconcile this with...everything that I'm supposed to be? I know that it's healthy when it's done right, and I'm so sick of "Masters" that think that having a slave is just like having a really lifelike sex toy. If you are one of these, I can't stand you- you have no ideas of the responsibilities it takes to be a good top, it is so much work...The dominant has to extend their concern for themselves over the submissive, and protect them just as they would themselves, even placing the submissive’s needs above their own. Like when you’re poor and can barely eat, the cat gets fed first. It’s your fault they went hungry in the first place, but they love you anyway. This person has given themselves up to you, placed themselves entirely in your hands- you owe them nothing less than the same devotion, albeit in different ways. I’m not sure I could handle that responsibility. I can barely manage my own life.

PS-For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, read a Jay Wiseman book. It is not the stuff of music videos and bad porn. And if you insist on keeping a closeminded view, do us all a favor, and keep it to yourself.