Category Archives: Fringe Elements
It was a busy, albeit fun, weekend.
On Friday night we were in the Gay Pride Parade, on our Leather Pride “float.”
Our Leather Pride float was the truck belonging to my current Master and slave couple, Steve and kim, with their car trailer attached.
We used bungee cords to secure camp folding chairs back to back down the middle, about a dozen of them. People rode in the back of the truck, too. We had a Fringe Elements banner, and signs for Bluegrass Leather Pride, and a Leather Pride flag.
We also had scented bubbles and cans of silly string.
We met in a lot behind one of the local gay bars, and waited for a bit, then moved into the sort of pre-staging area, which worked out really well for us because it was a very sunny day and could have been unpleasantly hot, but we were under an overpass, so it was quite pleasant. It was a lovely day, clear and dry, plenty warm but by the time the parade was actually starting it had cooled down and the sun wasn’t so bright.
We had quite a few people who were on our float – Steve and Kim, Charles and jacki, Karen, Meg, Christie, Russ, Caile and Ms. Tammy and Ms. Tammy’s goldendoodle, Honey, and Kim’s 20 year old daughter and her friend.
In the truck we had Kody and Jessie and another couple of friends of theirs.
Walking beside we had Daddy Donald and Chris, slave drew, Bootblack Bella and Bootblack Astro, and Jay walking beside, along with Sir Charles part of the time, and his son, Nick, and Kenny drove the car.
All together, it was a pretty good turnout, nearly 25 people.
And, again, I assume because we were near the front, we were also what a couple of local stations lead off with in covering the pride parade.
As the newscaster says, “And it was the Gay Pride Parade in Kentuckiana today…”. you see Nick walking by the camera, then you see Ms, Tammy, and jacki and me and Charles and Kim and Steve. Then the coverage moves on, but you can see us quite clearly.
I look incredibly domme-ly. I have a can of Silly String I am apparently trying to understand how to use.
Not much earlier, they’d been playing with the silly string a bit, making sure that they were all open and caught the attention of a kid, mostly by spraying him accidentally and kind of scaring him, so we had to give him a can after that.
The first thing he did was spray us back, rightfully so, and I got a spotty sort of mist of green Silly String particles all over myself, face and vest both. Poor Charles and jacki were nearly beside themselves trying to get it all off me, saying things like, “I’m sorry I’m touching your boob, Ma’am, I am just wiping off your vest.”
I saw an old lover at the parade, someone who was covering it for one of the local media. I haven’t seen him in a long time, it was a pleasant enough encounter. He still looks fabulous.
The parade had a few protesters, though the only ones I actually saw were a pair of men who looked like Mormon missionaries – short sleeved “dress” shirt, tie, conservative haircuts and dress slacks – with signs.
The signs were great, one had signs that said something like, “Don’t be pitching a tent around my cub scout,” and “FALSE Preachers + Teachers, There is a Hell, You’re on the HIGHWay!!”
The other had a sign that said, “Celebrating STRAIGHT NORMAL PRIDE 365 DAYS A YEAR.” Actually, neither of them looked a bit like they were celebrating anything at all.
There were a couple other ones at the end of the parade, which was the Gay Pride celebration, but I didn’t get out there. I stayed on the back with a few other people as we rode around a few city blocks to get back to the gay bar.
There was a Mary J. Blige concert downtown last night, so between them, us, and the drag queens, there were a lot of high heels than normal on the street last night.
Which I really wanted out last night, but that clearly did not happen.
I set myself a tight deadline and knew it would be painful, and it was.
But I think it’s done.
However, I still have to dash out on the last dog run of the evening for my friends, and by then, it will be late, and I am still working on photos.
Other than that, though, I’ve been lounging. Obviously.
I have finally gotten all the Kinky Prom photo edited and all but five of the 250-ish I took have been sent out. Three of those I am just waiting on an email address so I can send them out, and two are of a person neither I nor any of the six or eight people I have had look at the picture knew her.
Today and tomorrow, I am *off,” in that I don’t specifically have plans to do anything in the evening.
Of course, it’s also Derby week, and we have two parties planned for this weekend, so it’s not like I’m really slacking off, of course. I do have some paperwork to do, and some emails I need to answer, but I don’t necessarily have to be anywhere or do anything.
After this weekend, too, it will get a bit quieter. The Center will take a lot of time, but much of it will be time that I am already spending on kink-related stuff, and we will have most of the bugs worked out, too.
I need to get out in my garden and do some weeding, clear out some of the growth that didn’t get cleared out before from winter, see what came back and where I might have an open spot or two.
I need to clean my house, which is not so much terribly dirty as it is wildly disorganized at the moment. I haven’t unpacked the things from Saturday’s party yet, so the chairs in my den have bags in them.
My desk is piled high with magazines and notebooks, computer gizmos and random odd things. An ancient fortune cookie in the wrapper. A pair of beaters from a mixer.
A bag of tiny, mint-flavored, bone-shaped treats for the dogs.
I need to put the couple boxes of Bluegrass Leather Pride stuff on shelves in the garage, and deal with the contents of a garden basket I won at the dog show this spring, and move the 10 pairs of my shoes that have accumulated in the living room back upstairs.
And I will do all of that, honest I will.
But it won’t be tonight. Tonight drew and I went out on the scooter for the first time this year and it was lovely.
And I was, in the 20 minutes I was away between that line and this, I trimmed a small shrub that was beginning to block a walkway, took the beaters to the kitchen, the dog treats in their cannister.
I can see the top of my desk again, one chair is mostly empty, and my blog is done. How cool is that?
I am SO freaking happy to announce that I finally have my blog up on my own domain, something that has been on my agenda for a couple of months.
If you’re reading this on MsConstanceExplains at WordPress, well, I’m still very glad to have you.
However, if you’re reading this on my own domain, at MsConstanceExplains.com, well then, I’m even more glad to have you.
To give credit where credit is more than due, I had little to do with this.
My good friend Charles did the migration for me. I had tried and played at it a few times, but just never got it to work. I was worried I’d lose everything because I’m not that much of a tech person. I had spent a couple of hours trying to figure it out, and a month kind of playing at it.
I gave Charles the information last night, and he had it done before noon today.
Now THAT’S a geek.
In the best sense of the word.
So, I am very pleased to have this done, to be able to check it off my large to do list.
On another note, I started sending out questions to my crew that are planning to run for Leather titles, and I plan to do that daily.
The thing about Leather Contests is that it’s not unlike a job interview. You are, in fact, interviewing for the job of a title holder.
International Mr. Leather, for instance, there are usually in the range of 50 contestants.
IML is a BIG deal. Participants are judged on stage presence and personality (Pecs and Personality), leather image, presentation skills, and physical appearance. To be named as one of the top twenty contestants is a big deal, to be named top three is extraordinary.
I hold a Leather title with slave drew. He and I are Great Lakes Master and slave 2003. We competed at GLLA, where we won, then went on to compete at the International Master and slave contest, where we did not win.
When we ran, there were no feeder contests for the regionals.
There are, for most of the major contests, three levels of competition.
You compete at the state level, then at the regional, then at the International.
I can produce five titles, if I have contestants. I can produce Bluegrass Leather Pride Master and slave, Bluegrass Leather Pride Bootblack, Bluegrass Leather Pride Sir, Bluegrass Leather Pride boy, and Ms Bluegrass Leather Pride. I produce a state contest.
All of my contestants then go on to Great Lakes Leather Alliance, which is the regional contest.
Some of the winners of GLLA will go to specific international contests.
The Great Lakes Master and slave, for instance, will go to South Plains Leatherfest, where they will compete for International Master and slave.
The Great Lakes Leather Sir and Leather boy will go to International Leather Sir and boy Contest.
The Great Lakes Bootblack can choose to compete at International Mr Bootblack, or in the case of a female, International Ms Bootblack, or International Community Bootblack, which is affiliated with the International Leather Sir and boy.
Great Lakes Ms. Leather Pride can choose to go to compete for International Ms Leather, which is called IMsL for short – pronounced “im-sill” – or she can go to compete for the International Ms Olympus contest.
What the regional and state contests endeavor to do is create an experience as close to the international contests as is possible. We basically take the application from the International and use it for regional, and from regional and use it for state.
The more often a contestant going through the same contest, the better they do.
Virtually all contests have some of the same components – an interview, a speech, and a pop question. Some, like the Master and slave, also have a presentation.
M/s couples are also judged on their Master and slave dynamics; those qualities that make them a Master and slave as opposed to simply a dominant and submissive couple.
Some of the Leather contests also have an image or appearance component, but you shouldn’t interpret that as meaning that only traditionally perfect people compete and win. One of the good things about the Leather community is that we tend to have a broader view of what’s attractive, and often, it’s far more about being comfortable in your skin.
So, we are working on preparing people for interviews by asking questions. Next week we will work some on speeches, which is often one of the things the people find terrifying.
So, once again, I hope you visit my new home. I’m very happy to have gotten moved in finally.
We had our second open meeting for Fringe Elements tonight.
We had expected more people than actually showed, but that was fine, too. We had about 25 people, I think, plus the six of us who sit on the Board of Directors.
We had set it up so we talked about the venue search, our financials, marketing, administration and volunteers.
We’ve been searching for a venue since we started and have had no luck. We’ve found places that didn’t work for various reasons – location, structure, access, ownership, neighbors, etc., etc., etc.
We talked about having looked at 113 venues, and dealt with something like 90 agents.
We actually have a viewing scheduled for Monday, too.
We talked about our finances, where we were, how much we’d made and from where.
In addition, we talked about how many meetings we had held, how many events, where we’d been represented, what we’d done.
Then we talked about our marketing and our legal status, and then our volunteers.
All in all, it went very well. I’d spent three or four hours in the last day or two putting together the information, figuring out the flow, preparing for questions we might get, getting some things done that we wanted to have available and ready, etc.
I am glad it’s over, and glad it went well.
If you’d like to take a look, our website is here.
I read an interesting blog by jade, on Queen Bees and service. I recommend you read it, here, it’s really an interesting entry.
I think that often one of the things that’s hard for people to understand about being a dominant is that being served is not always as easy as it might seem.
For one thing, being served well requires training someone in how you like to be served and that means, then, that you put up with less than ideal service for a while, because no one is going to get it right the first time.
I often use tea as an example in explaining service.
I drink a lot of hot tea. I think I’ve had four or five pots of tea today. The morning started with a couple pots of Blackberry Sage tea, I had Rose Petal Tea in the afternoon, then a pot of a new tea I had ordered, a green pear flavor, and then a pot of my favorite green tea at the moment, a pink grapefruit.
So, as you can tell, I take my tea fairly seriously. Only one was a tea bag kind of tea, the other was all loose tea.
If you were going to serve me for a day or two, you’d need to know how to make tea. Not only that, you’d need to make tea the way I like it, and even slave drew, who also drinks tea and knows what teas I like and how I like my teas, and once in a while I get a tea that isn’t really what I wanted at that particular time. It’s unavoidable.
For you to get my tea right, you have to know if I want black tea or green tea or white tea, do I want it flavored or plain, how strong do I want it?
Black tea and green tea and white tea all have different kinds of brewing times.
I like mugs, largish ones, not small cups.
You can’t boil water in a microwave and make tea with it. I don’t’ know why, but it’s disgusting.
So, if you’re going to make me tea, most likely, I’m going to have quite a few pots of tea that aren’t exactly what I want.
To get good service, too, I have to be able to articulate both what I want and how I want it, and that’s not always easy.
In addition, I have to KNOW what it is I want.
That’s harder than you might think.
I know a lot of dominants who seem to expect submissives to read their minds, when, it seems, there’s not much there to read.
You also have to be willing to make a choice, to pick one thing over another.
You know those people, you say to them, What kind of pie would you like, we have pumpkin, apple and pecan, and they say, Oh, it doesn’t matter. Whatever.
My, how helpful.
I’ve told you I have all three. It clearly makes no difference to ME what you have, if it did, I’d not have offered them all.
Or the person to who you say, would you rather have a soft drink or wine, and they say, Yes.
Again, not helpful.
As a dominant, you have to know your own mind, and be willing to state it.
It can be hard, too, to not feel guilty or as if you’re taking advantage of someone.
I know, I know, it’s the dynamic, you like serving, we get that.
When we’re both sitting down, sometimes it feels pretty selfish to say, “I’d like more tea.”
If it’s something less pleasant – getting up in the night to let the dogs out, for instance – it can feel pretty selfish to stay snug and warm in bed while someone else gets up to do that.
During our Fringe Board meetings, we often meet at my house and eat dinner during the meeting. Last time I started to take one of the plates to the kitchen.
I was basically not allowed to, because jacki took it from me, with her usual, Really, Ma’am? Really?
Sometimes that’s odd for me, too – it’s my house, I’m the host, I should take care of people, it’s odd to me to sit down and be waited on.
I know, I know, it’s hard to believe.
I told you being served is not the easiest thing.
We had a Fringe Board meeting tonight, which takes both time and energy.
The good news is, however, that I finally took down the Christmas tree in preparation.
Now, to be fair, I hadn’t done a tone of decorating for Christmas. A small Christmas tree with Scottie ornaments, a few things set out, not a lot. I was not living in Santa’s workshop or anything, but it is the 22nd of January, it was time to take it all down and put it away.
I’ve got things to do on Bluegrass Leather Pride, which I will do some work on tomorrow and the day after.
I seriously need to respond to comments, and that’s on my agenda.
And after 20 minutes, this is all I have, so I think I should just accept that I haven’t much to say tonight.
Tomorrow I feel sure I’ll be more talkative.
Ever have one of those days?
It began with a LARGE dog mess that had to be cleaned up. A mess that spanned two rooms. First thing.
I’ve worked on laundry all day, which I honestly don’t mind, but it’s been a lot of steps up and down stairs, since the laundry is in the basement. There has also been moving the clean clothes up to the upstairs, another flight.
I feel as though I’ve been doing a stair master all day, and while that’s not bad, my joints are beginning to protest.
I had another mess to clean up when the big plastic container of liquid laundry detergent somehow fell off the dryer, breaking the screw top, and spewing a certain amount of soap over the dryer, the washer, and some of the clean clothes.
Then there was the large pool of detergent on the floor.
I got it cleaned up, and now I have washcloths that are going to function as laundry drop-ins, since they are saturated with soap.
It has rained. ALL DAY. I know, I know, we’re getting rain and I should shut the fuck up and be grateful, but it’s rained ALL day. Drizzled. Steady, drippy, boring rain. Gray day, not a ray of sunshine to be seen.
Dogs can’t go out, or when they do, they track in astonishing amounts of mud. There are puppy footprints on the floor where I swept up the puppy footprints yesterday from the rain yesterday.
I don’t know how much rain we’ve had over the last few days, but it’s been a lot. The pool that we’ve never gotten around to draining for the winter because we’ve barely HAD a winter is about to overflow.
And for those of you who know about sub drop, let me tell you, event drop is just as real.
One is on and being all charismatic and upbeat and everything and it went well, but there’s a price one pays, too, in terms of the internal batteries, as well as external.
I’ve not done some of the things I wanted to do, and that’s ok, there’s time, but I feel unproductive, and that is never a feeling I like. Bluegrass Leather Pride looms, GLLA is on the horizon, and Fringe Elements is always there.
I have had to do some bottoming for the community lately, and that’s not my favorite thing. Sometimes we do things we find repugnant because it’s what’s required for the better of the community, and those are never the things that anyone notices. One throws oneself on the sword at times.
I’m tired and probably hungry – dinner is bean soup I thankfully started this morning, and frozen biscuits. I’ll survive, it’s not anything serious, but I would be much happier if tomorrow were a sunny day and the dogs could stay out longer than five minutes without bringing in so much mess that it feels like mud wrestling preliminaries.
I hope your Sunday is more cheerful than mine.
Had I been smart, I would have written a blog post before heading out to the Fringe Elements Taster’s Choice party last night.
I thought of that about the same time I realized that I had forgotten the mascara. It was too late to go back and do it by then.
So the party went well. We had about 120 people, which is a good sized party. Our class lineup was Rope Bondage by Robyn, Boot Massage by Bootblack Bella, Therapeutic Massage by Kristin, Intro to Canes by Ms Constance – yours truly – Intro to Flogging by GypsyPony, Hot Safe Sex by Leather Queer, Intro to Electrical Play by Sir Russ, Intro to Knife Play by Sir Charles, Rough Body Play by Walter Sobchak, Intro to Needles by Ms Tammy, Intro to Littles Play by Johnnie and Maggie, and Massage for Doms by Shawna the Dead.
Most classes ran about a half hour – the theme was Taster’s Choice, a chance to give people a taste of a skill or activity, and introduction to it. A couple ran longer because there was too much to do in so short a time, but I was very pleased.
I actually did my cane class twice, and was surprised at the attendance both times. I probably had about 30 people all together.
I’m always surprised at how many people are interested in canes. I think it’s like anything else that people are afraid of, they’re also fascinated by.
I do a longer class on crops and canes both, and this was an abbreviated version. I also caned probably a half dozen people who were interested in the experiencing how canes feel, so that was fun, too.
It was a good event, but the end result of such things is always that I am fairly exhausted the next day. I actually didn’t stay as late as I usually do, because I wanted to check on slave drew, but I left for the party about about 5:00 or so and got home about 1:00am or so, so I was still gone about eight hours.
Now I need to really start focusing on Bluegrass Leather Pride, which will be my work this week.
If you were there, I hope you had a great time. If you were not, and could have been, then you missed out. If you couldn’t make it due to distance, I forgive you.
Last night was the January Saturday Munch, the first munch of 2013, the first month of our 16th year.
That alone still seems amazing.
Both Friday and Saturday munch were large ones, which is usually the case.
I think the reason is at least two-fold.
On one hand, I think people by January have gotten through the work parties and the family parties and all the holiday festivities.
Families are not always easy for kinky people. We often feel as though we don’t fit in, as though we’re aliens at the table, or at least I do, and I doubt I’m alone there.
We spend time trying to blend and when we can stop it’s a relief and we go back to being who we are with the people we want to be.
Secondly, I think it has a lot to do with resolutions.
I think for a lot of people, one of the resolutions they make is to explore kink in a new year. They’re tired of missing out, or feeling like they’re missing out on something.
They’ve spent a long time, decades sometimes, thinking about things they might want to experience, and now it’s a new year and all the talk about resolutions and life changes get to them.
Some people join a gym, some people come to a munch.
There were, then, not unexpectedly a lot of new people at both munches. Traditionally February was always the biggest munch, for all the reasons listed above, plus the fact that I figured it took January for people to work up their courage to actually walk through the door.
It was a pleasant enough munch, though I did have to address something I’d have been happier not to, but that is not always the case.
There had been, apparently, some gossip that there had been differences between the Munch and Fringe Elements, which is preposterous, which is what I had to speak about.
I reminded people how close the Munch has always been to my heart, and how important it is to me. I also invited anyone who believed there was a problem to bring it to me directly, and look me in the eye to tell me about it.
I doubt there will be anyone who will do it, because there rarely is, but I think I made my position clear, and that was the point of it.
Sometimes making it clear that you’re inviting people to confront you directly is the best way to ensure that they won’t.