Category Archives: Leather

A Real Post, Sort Of

All right, so I am here and more or less back to normal.

I haven’t unpacked, of course.  I’m still working on pictures, but I’m closer now.

I’m still processing, I think.

One of the things that was funny was how many people from Louisville were at International Mr. Leather.

We left for Chicago about 1 or so.  Chicago traffic is always challenging, though I was not driving, which is always a plus to me.

I went with Jay and Karen, my Leather SIR and Leather Ms.  Neither of them had ever been to IML before.

We were staying a ways out because I had gotten a deal on a hotel room, thanks to a friend.  We were going to at least see how the train worked, and it did work pretty well for the first two days, though taking a train limits what you can do and wear, so the third night we paid exorbitant parking rates and it was worth it.

We got checked in and by the time we had gotten to the hotel and changed and figured out the trains and actually got to the hotel it was too late for me to get my press credentials, which was fine anyway.

We walked around the hotel for a few minutes, which is packed virtually to the rafters with hot gay guys who are, if not fully naked are somewhere between half and three quarters naked.

We had not eaten on the way up, so Karen and I went to dinner.  We walked a block or two to a grill and were having a very nice meal when Karen said, as someone walked by, “Isn’t that Chris?  Donald’s Chris?”

I looked up and indeed it was Donald’s Chris and Donald, too, and another friend or two of ours as well.

You have to come to Chicago to see your friends, I suppose.

We didn’t do a lot that night, we went back to the hotel for a bit after dinner, had a drink, talked to more hometown folk we saw, as well as some out of towners I don’t often see.

Eventually I will catch up on sleep.

More tomorrow.

Event Drop

I had a great time at International Mr. Leather.

I saw lots of people I knew, met tons of people I didn’t.

I laughed until I cried more than a few times.

I took the train by myself in Chicago, which if you know me makes you afraid for me.  I didn’t have any incidents, by the way.

I bought one new toy, nothing fabulous, but a long quirty thing.  It was from a vendor I have bought toys from for 15 years, I didn’t have anything like it and it was very inexpensive, particularly for IML.

I had great seats at the contest and took, literally, close to 500 photos, I think, and I need to get through them.

Tonight, I am dead tired, though, and I’m not even going to write a proper blog.

Look for me soon, I swear I will be back.

My Weekend – Part 2

So, when last I left, we were at the Bizarre Bazaar and the party was about to start.

Actually, before it started, I took the opportunity to have the fabulous Sir Markos take some photos of me with slave drew for our Christmas picture.

He did a wonderful job and we ended up with at least three contenders for the position.  I think it will end up being the one I posted last night, which I am referring to as “Peekaboo,” since I seem to be leaning to one side.

Later in the evening I had him take a few absolutely priceless photos with Elf Devon, one of which I posted here yesterday, too.

One of the things that has been important to me over the last few years is the bringing back of the tradition of earned Leather.  At the Great Lakes Leather Alliance weekend every year we give earned Leather during the brunch.

One of the things that matters to me about that tradition is that your Leather is earned, that it’s not just something you necessarily go buy, but something that you earn through your work in the community.

Traditionally, earned Leather can only be given by someone who has earned three pieces themselves.  It’s rather like being vested, in a manner of speaking.  You can’t give Leather until you have earned your own.

I’ve given Leather to ten people over the years.  One was, in retrospect, a mistake, but not of such magnitude that I would take it back.  I’ve given thought to it, but always decided against it.

In 2010 and 2011, I gave Leather at the Louisville Munches, but wasn’t offered that option this year, so the ceremony was moved to the event itself.

Giving someone Leather also makes them a part of my Leather family, in a formal sort of way.  Or, as those members tend to joke – I think it’s a joke, anyway – one of Ms Constance’s bitches.

Because of that, it’s not a quick decision, or one I make lightly, although I do already know who will probably be given Leather next year, unless something happens between now and then to make me change my mind.

I look at who works in the community, first.  I pay attention to who devotes time and energy, at who volunteers, and maybe more importantly, at who doesn’t wait to be asked to volunteer.

I like to have two other people speak about the people to whom I give Leather, in addition to my speaking.  Sometimes I say more, sometimes I say less.  One thing I do, too, each time is pass the piece of Leather itself among the people there.  I like the concept of each of them adding a trace of themselves to the Leather.

One thing I do each time I give Leather is read the same thing.  Part of it is what is read at Great Lakes, too, a piece that was written by slave ziggy, from whom I have permission. slave ziggy and his Mistress, Suzan, share the titles of International Master and slave 2006.

The first part is a short paragraph I wrote.  The part that I read each time is this:

The Leather community is a tribe.  We come from many different perspectives and backgrounds, but we come together as a group to honor those among us who have, through their dedication to and work within that community, earned a piece of Leather.

As an elder in this tribe, I have the right and the privilege of presenting that earned Leather tonight.  You are our tribe, and you are, then, also our witnesses.  Because you are our witnesses, the Leather we will be presenting tonight is being passed among you.

This is the last time it will be appropriate for you to touch these pieces without the permission of the owners, but as part of the tribe, it is entirely appropriate for you to touch them now, to add a trace of yourself to the Leather.

At Great Lakes Leather weekend, we read these words before we present earned Leather.  They were written by slave ziggy.

“Beginning with a condensed version of what I understand to be a rudimentary history of Leathermen:

Servicemen in wartime had experienced the stress of war and the company of other servicemen for long periods. Upon returning, they sought each other out as a way to find support, to fit in, and to try to make sense of their shared experiences. The life they lived in the military was one of discipline and hard work. They often found it hard to assimilate back into a society that simply would not understand.

Those experiences did not translate into a new lifestyle, once outside the military structure. Tightly knit groups of men formed, and they developed a language and specific practices that only one who was “on the inside” or had been in military service would understand.

Most of these groups remained highly exclusive out of necessity. It was only through someone on the inside, that another was allowed access. There may have been hundreds-perhaps thousands-of these groups throughout the country. Each had their own twist on protocols and practices, yet many adhered to what had been taught to them in the military. Although there were varying degrees of discipline and order, a few concepts were consistent in each of these groups.

1. Honor: The way one interacts with others, maintaining a good name and reputation.

2. Integrity: The way in which one handles one’s affairs and one’s adherence to accepted ethical codes.

3. Trust: Due to the nature of their practices, both socially and sexually, trusting a fellow Leatherman was as important as the trust one had in another when in combat. Their lives and their practices depended on it.

4. Respect: In the military, these men developed a mutual respect not only for each other, but also for authority. Seniority in rank and experience took a front seat in combat, and in these groups.

5. Loyalty: As in the military, these men developed strong alliances to the groups they were involved in, sometimes to the point of exclusivity. Outsiders were outsiders. Anyone wanting in would have to gain admittance through an insider, who then became responsible for him. People who wanted in were subject to testing just as one is tested in the military through boot camp. If they didn’t cut it, they were pushed back out on the fringes of the group where they stayed.

As with the military, everything one has is EARNED. This is what formed the tradition of earning one’s Leathers. Regardless of where one ended up on the Dominant or submissive scale, nearly everyone started out at the bottom and earned their way up. I also suspect that a Dominant could take the fast track through earning His Leathers, but not the respect of His fellow Leathermen.

Now, folks profess their Mastery with words from a keyboard, or clothing from the local Leather shop. Sadly, it has lost its original meaning of longevity of service or knowledge. Thankfully, there are people who still value the idea of earning what you are given. There are people within the community that value this symbol and are working to bring the tradition back.”

This year, I gave two pieces of Leather, one to Cerrin, and one to Shane.  Normally, I end the ceremony in exactly the same way, too, though I made a slight change this year.

Once the other two people who speak for the one being presented Leather are done, I bring up the person who is to be given their Leather.  Usually they don’t know until the first time their name is used during the presentation.

I say the same words to them, normally, every time, though this year I did make some changes.  What I normally say at the end is this:

“By presenting you this piece of Leather, which you have earned through your service to this community, you become a formal part of my Leather family.  I know that you will make me proud by continuing to earn it.  Do you promise to continue working for others and for your community?  Will you continue to do something nice for someone else every single day of your life?”

Some of the Leather I have given over the years has been new, sometimes made specifically for the person, and some has been used.

When it’s possible and appropriate to do so, I like giving Leather that belonged to others.  This year I gave an apron, which was made specifically for Cerrin, and a vest, which I actually bought at the silent auction at the International Transgender Leather Person contest in Atlanta.  The organizers, Wayne Brawner and his slave, Keith, had donated the vest, and the fact that it carried some of those Leather men, too, is appealing to me.

Once I’d finished the Leather presentation, I realized that all but three of the people I have ever given Leather to were there, so I asked all of them to join me.  In addition, I had slave drew join me, because he is clearly part of my family, and Ms Tammy.  I was involved in presenting Ms Tammy her first piece of Leather, too, and she is also family.

Interestingly, and meaningfully, the person who presented me my first piece of Leather on behalf of the community, back in 2003, was also there, and I asked him to join us, too.  Master David presented me my Master’s cover shortly before we headed off to Dallas to compete for the International Master and slave title, saying, “We wouldn’t send you to Dallas bare-headed.”

The final part of the presentation was for me.

Sandy “Mama” Reinhardt is a fixture in the Leather community.  You can read about her here.

If you go to events much, you’ll notice lots of people wearing small brass pins that say, “Mama’s XXXXX.”  There are something over 1600 members of Mama’s Family.  Often at events, there will be a moment when they do a photo shoot of Mama’s Family attendees.

One of the primary requirements for being part of Mama’s Family is working for the community and for charity both.  When I was at an event in Lexington a month or two ago, Mama approached me to ask me to be part of her family.  She also asked Ms Tammy, too.

You have to choose your name, of course.  I suggested Mama’s Bear Hunter to Ms Tammy, since she is so fond of bears, and I’d settled on Mama’s Party Dominatrix, since that’s what I’ve called myself for years at GLLA.  Ms Tammy had been pinned by Mama at a recent Lexington event which I didn’t make, and Mama had given her my pin.

Ms Tammy spoke briefly about what being part of Mama’s Family meant, and then she pinned me, which Mama always does right over your heart, allowing you to place it on your leather where you’d like.

In vest protocol, your club pins, the things that show your affiliations and your memberships, go on the left, the same side as your heart.  The pins for places you’ve been, your “run pins,” go on the right.  Traditionally club colors or leather patches go on the back.

It was meaningful to me to have all those people there, and I’m glad I was given the pin in front of my community.

So, yet again, my family grows.

So now we’re about half way through Friday night.  I haven’t even TALKED about the appearance of Santa on his sleigh pulled by Gypsy, the red-nosed rein… pony?

More to come tomorrow.

Earned Leather

I got back this evening from a going away party for a friend, to whom I presented a piece of earned leather.

It was a long night, a drive to and from Lexington, a ceremony there.  I have to be up again bright and early.

So this will be very short.

I am pleased to note that I had tears in people’s eyes during the ceremony.  I always say that if I can’t make someone cry during a leather presentation, I didn’t do it right.

Giving a piece of earned leather makes someone a part of my leather family.

I have given eight pieces of leather in my life.  I will give another piece at GLLA this year, and I expect to give two more pieces at the munch in November.

My family grows.

Judging

I was just asked to judge the International Master and slave contest in March in Dallas.  That lead me to remember something I wrote a while back, which I am again going to retread, about judging a Leather contest:

I spent last weekend in the rather strange position of judging other members of our community.

Let me clarify, since to some extent, we judge others all the time in all kinds of ways.  I was officially judging them.  It wasn’t just the usual passing of a yay or a nay about someone and the choices they made in partner or wardrobe.

I was one of eight judges on a panel to pick a Leather Sir, a Leather boy and a Bootblack, all of whom would go on to the International Leather Sir/Leather boy and Community Bootblack Contest.

It’s an interesting thing to come into a room as a sort of designated “expert” on the Leather community.  By my informal estimate, I would guess that the eight people on the panel have a combined length of experience in the public Leather community of about 150 years.

I know, from having been on the other side of the judging table, that we might well have seemed very intimidating.  I went into it knowing three or four of the other judges, though none of them particularly well.  Interestingly, judging together does tend to create a bond between you.

The next time I see any of them, we’ll meet as at least acquaintances; some I’ll meet as friends.

The goal of a judging panel is to choose those who will represent our community, those who will carry a title that says, I am verified, I’ve been tried and tested by a worthy panel of judges and they have set their seal of approval on me.  They agree that I am what I say I am, and that what I am is what they agree a Leather Sir, or a Leather boy, or a Bootblack should be.

And what did we, as judges, think they should be?  The first thing we believed they should be is qualified to hold the title.

Like most Leather contests, this one has a couple of requirements for contestants.  There are two primary and inviolate rules to hold the Sir or boy title.  One is that the contestants must identify as male legally.  Until recently, only those who were genetically male were allowed to compete, but that was changed to allow transsexuals as well.

The other inflexible requirement is that you must self identify as being gay.

The Leather Sir and Leather boy titles describe themselves as the bad boys of Leather titles, because the titles are considered “player” titles, created with a focus on S&M as opposed to relationships.  It’s expected that those who compete will be interested and experienced in different activities, which might include flogging, singletails, needles, mummification, bondage, electrical play, etc.

The title is the successor to the Drummer title, which was retired early in this decade, but it still maintains the Drummer credo.  It’s a quote from Henry David Thoreau: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

The Bootblack title, like many Bootblack titles, does not have gender or sexuality requirements.  The Bootblack title focuses on your skills at caring for leather, as well as your interaction with those who own the leather for which they care.

It is expected that they will be technically skilled, and that their personality will be engaging and appealing.  We were very lucky to have two excellent contestants for that title, both of whom could have won and represented us well.

It was interesting to see what was important to each of us in judging another person to determine if they should represent those titles, and by that, ourselves.  It seemed as though each of us had different interests, different kinds of questions we wanted answered.

One of the panel asked about the connection, for them, between sex and S&M.

One of us asked about their community service, another expectation for the title, that they will be visible in the community and working for charitable causes, both lifestyle and non-lifestyle related.

One of us asked about the kinds of S&M activities each one of them liked, while another asked about the current and former holders of the titles for which they were competing, and for which they would compete if they won that contest.

One of us asked the Sir and boy contestants what had happened in June of 1969, and in June of 1981.  The answers, for those of you who are interested, are that in June of 1969 the Stonewall riots occurred in New York City, which is marked as the beginning of the gay liberation movement, and the AIDS epidemic is considered to have officially begun in June of 1981.

Most of the contestants could answer the first; none of them could answer the second.

My questions were primarily about the leather they wore, how they’d acquired it, and what it meant to them.

The judge’s interviews are probably the hardest part of a contest for those who are running for a title, but it’s not the only area on which they are judged.  We judge them on a speech, on their “Leather Image,” and on a fantasy they present on stage.

The Bootblacks are judged on a speech, their image and grooming, and how well they are able to care for leather.  One of the ways that’s judged is by giving contestants a boot that has seen far better days and a set amount of time in which to “rescue” it, condition it, repair it, and polish it.

Each time, as you watch them, observe how they speak, what they say, how comfortable they are in their own skins, you then translate that into a number.

If the total points they could earn is 60, how well did they do?  Was it a 90% effort?  Or was it an 85% effort?  Should I award them a 50, or a 55?

What if you think they did very poorly?  What’s the worst you can legitimately score them?  Is it ever fair to say a zero is appropriate, for someone who was willing to put themselves on the line, so to speak, to compete?

It’s a challenge to decide how well someone did, from one’s own personal perspective.  Suppose I think their community involvement is really great, but they don’t know anything about their own Leather history?

Suppose they seem very comfortable in their own skins, but very uncomfortable in the leather clothing they wear?  Should that matter?

It’s somewhat of a comfort to know it’s an Olympic scoring system which throws out the highest and lowest score for each category, so if you mark them much higher or lower than others, that anomaly in scoring won’t cost a worthwhile competitor the title or award it to an undeserving one.

In the end, we crowned a Leather Sir, a Leather boy, and a Bootblack, and I’m comfortable with all the winners we chose.  Some have more work to do to prepare for the next stage than others, but I don’t think any of them will represent us poorly, will make me wonder if I made the right decision, if I should have been more conservative in the scores I gave, more demanding in what I expect from someone who will represent me.

I am confident, too, that each of them will grow personally in their representation of our community, and that the people I see in six months competing for the next level will be more prepared and even more comfortable in their skins and their roles than they are at this moment.

On the other hand, I’m back to wondering what it is that makes me qualified to judge someone else.

Some of it, certainly, is my time served, so to speak.  I have been around in one way or another closing in on a decade and a half.  I’ve proved that I can walk the walk as well as talk the talk, both in terms of play and in terms of work in the community.

I’ve made it clear by the way I live that I’m not just a tourist, here to look around, then heading off for the next edgy community, for the next thrill.  This is where I live, the community with which I identify.

I’ve run for titles myself, won a title, lost another, produced contests and titleholders myself.  I’ve seen any number of contests, and this isn’t the first time I’ve judged.

On one hand, we tell each other that we shouldn’t judge others, that we can’t effectively judge anyone until we have walked in their shoes, seen their lives from their perspective and felt what they feel.

I think perhaps we should look at Leather contests and those who compete in the same way dogs are judged in dog shows.

In a dog show, the judge walks down the row of beagles, or dachshunds, or Scottish terriers, and looks at each of them, one by one.  If you don’t know better, you assume he’s comparing each of them against all the others, asking if this is the BEST beagle of that group, or the prettiest dachshund, the most perfect Scottie of all the Scotties he sees in front of him, but he’s not.

What a judge is charged with doing is comparing each dog he sees to the perfect representation of the breed, what is called the breed standard.  That standard describes very clearly what the judge is to look for, what is acceptable and what is not.

It says, for instance, that the beagle’s eyes will be “large, set well apart with a soft and houndlike-expression, gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel color.”

It says that the dachshund must appear “neither crippled, awkward, nor cramped in his capacity for movement,” and adds that “inasmuch as the Dachshund is a hunting dog, scars from honorable wounds shall not be considered a fault.”  Notice that even they consider that the wound should be honorably gained.

There are qualities for which the standard tells a judge that he must disqualify the dog, too.

In a Scottie, it insists, in capital letters that the American Kennel Club itself has chosen, “NO JUDGE SHOULD PUT TO WINNERS OR BEST OF BREED ANY SCOTTISH TERRIER NOT SHOWING REAL TERRIER CHARACTER IN THE RING.”

If the dog doesn’t behave as a Scottie should behave, if it appears timid or frightened, even if he finds it perfect in body, he cannot name the dog as a winner, even if that means no winner is chosen.  Better to have no winner than to have one who is not what he should be, who does not behave as he should behave.

The judge is expected to carry a mental image of the perfect representation of that breed and superimpose it on the animal he is judging.

So, perhaps we should be doing the same thing as a judge.

We should be envisioning our perfect Leather Sir, or boy, or Bootblack, and measuring this contestant against that standard.  Where does he fall short, where does he meet or even exceed what we might expect?

Is his capacity for movement awkward or crippled?

Are his scars those that have been gained honorably, and should therefore add to his value, not detract from it?

Does he show, perhaps most importantly, the true temperament of a Leather man or woman, of a Bootblack?

Perhaps in the end, that’s the single most important quality a judge should be looking for – a true titleholder temperament, one which will serve us well and represent us in a way in which we can be proud of the choices we made.

Perhaps the next time, that’s what I’ll focus on myself.

Awards

I have, in the course of my time in the community, been nominated for a fair number of awards.  I never win any, to be clear, and that’s really ok, though it’s always easier to lose when you lose to people whom you would vote for over yourself, too.

I got a notice in my email today that I’d been nominated for a Pantheon of Leather award.

The Pantheon of Leather is one of the major award groups in the Leather community.  There are some other awards, too, obviously, but Pantheon is kind of the Academy Awards of Leather, in that there are a lot of different awards for a lot of different categories.

There are six or eight regions, and there are usually between four and six nominees in each category.  There are also some more national categories, Man and Woman of the Year, Couple of the Year, Male and Female Community Choice, multiple President’s Award, Large Group, Large Event, Small Group, Small Event, Business Person, Canadian Awards, etc.

It’s a lot of awards.

I’ve been nominated in the past for Southeast Regional Awards.  I’ve been nominated for Woman of the Year and slave drew and I have been nominated for Couple of the Year also.

The Pantheon site has this to say about its process last year:

Nominations were accepted in January and February.
A committee selected Nominee Finalists from the list of nearly 450 submitted.
There were about 190 Nominee Finalists in a total in 27 categories.
Nominee Finalists were notified and given an opportunity to supply a biography in their own words for the Selection Panel to consider.
The Selection Panel, made up of individuals who received awards last year, cast their votes in mid-May to determine this year’s award recipients.
Regional Award Recipients were announced during a press conference on the Leather Mart stage at International Mr. Leather.
All Pantheon of Leather Community Service Awards including the Regional Awards and the Major Awards were presented at the Sanctuary Studios LAX on Friday  night, August 5.

So it really IS an honor just to be nominated, because simply having your name submitted doesn’t guarantee you a nomination.

I was nominated this year for an award I’ve never been nominated for previously, the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lifetime achievement is a pretty broad description, isn’t it?   It does tend to make me think about my lifetime and what I feel that I’ve achieved.

Not as much as I wanted, certainly.

More than I thought I would.

The Louisville Munch is still going strong, nearly 15 years later.

I’ve presented at probably 60 or 70 events, at least.  That probably represents close to 1500 people in one class or another.  I’ve done classes where only one showed up, and classes where 40 or 50 showed up, and everything in between.

I’ve written things that have been useful to others, and that they found insightful.

I’ve put on events, produced Leather contests and Leather contestants who went on to win other titles.

I’ve founded groups, and worked on them.  Some of them worked out, some of them didn’t.

I won’t win this award, I would be beyond shocked if I did.  I don’t know who else is nominated this year, but I know the caliber of women who are, and I am not being disingenuous when I say that.  Last year’s nominees included Glenda Rider, Jill Carter, Joanne Gaddy, Laura Antoniou and Sharrin Spector.

That’s pretty heady names among which to list my own.

How to Impress Me Redux

I kept a blog on another site for a while, about three years ago.  Had we done as I wanted, when I wanted, I imagine we’d be the Fetlife site now, but I couldn’t do the coding part and The one who did saw no urgency, so by the time it was up and running, so was Fetlife.

A few friends posted articles and blogs there, but in the end, there just wasn’t enough traffic to sustain it, and it died on the vine.  Six months or more of my life was basically wasted on it, not to mention a certain amount of money.  Software of that sort isn’t cheap, fyi.

Anyway, I am going to occasionally repost something I wrote then, because it’s one way of ensuring I actually put up a new blog on a daily basis, and I want to do that.  So, here’s the first.  It was written 05/29/2009, so just a few days past three years ago.  I may edit a bit, but I won’t do much to them.

Nothing has changed.  I’m still a bitch.

So, how to impress me.

That’s not to say that any of you are particularly interested in impressing me, though it’s a nice thought, anyway. I’ve been a popular girl of late and have been talking to a number of submissive men all of who have expressed some kind of interest in me.

Most, if not all, of them won’t read this, but that’s ok, too. I tend to think my reactions aren’t all that unique, particularly among female dominants.

So one thing that would impress me is among male submissives is the sense that I represented someone to them who might be more than an anonymous top who will tie them up and do things to them.

Often when someone does contact me and I say, why did you contact me in particular, their answer is, “You were close.” Gee, thanks. I love being told that I was convenient and chosen in the same way you chose which Blockbuster you would frequent.

Now, to be clear, I don’t mind that close factors in. I’m not interested in anyone 1,000 miles away, either, but a submissive has to have more going for them than sharing the same zip code. Surely there was something else in my profile that made you contact me, I hope. If not, well, honestly, I’d just as soon you didn’t contact me.

Another way to impress me would be the willingness to do something that benefits me before expecting me to beat you. Beating someone can be fun, I am the first to agree. However, it is also some work and I can find a lot of people to beat.  I feel fairly certain that if I went to a local munch and said, “Hey, I want to beat someone tonight, any volunteers?” that I would have some takers.

To be brutally frank, most of the time the male submissive is nothing special. I know this because when I say, “Why should I be interested in you?” they never seem to have an answer. Their profiles often offer no clue, either.  You’ve seen them.  “Don’t know what to say,” “I’m just a regular guy,” “Hate to write these things…”  You know, if you think you’re uninteresting, likely I will, too.

Often they try and give the appearance of being interested in service. Their profile tells me that they want to serve, do errands, clean house, do yard work. Interestingly, when I ask about that, it turns out that actually, they don’t really have time to commit to regular assistance, no, they’re working two jobs.

Or they’d love to come and do something, but not this week. Or next. And not during the week, or weekends, or in the evening.

Or they’ll do some things, on their terms. They’ll clean my house if they can do it naked with me right there, but they’d not like to do it while I’m gone, or to pull weeds in the yard because they can’t be naked doing it.

There is often a sense, too, of quid pro quo. Now, to be clear, I don’t really expect anyone to do something that provides them no payback at all, and I’m not naïve enough to believe that their payback should always and entirely be my satisfaction at their service, but I do think the willingness to pay into their account with me before trying to make a withdrawal is something I should be able to expect.

If you are willing to do some of the things that make my life a bit easier, I am likely to be a bit more interested in beating you, to put it simply.

On the other hand, I don’t feel compelled, after you have spent an hour doing something around my house, to then immediately beat you for an hour. It’s not that simple and most of the time, I’d just as soon do my own chores as have to trade out tit for tat in beatings.

It’s uncommon that you will do it as well as I, and I’ve now invested two hours into an hour of housework or weeding, that I could have done in, oh, an hour.

Pay attention, that will impress me. When I first speak to someone, I almost always ask them four things. “Age, occupation, location and marital status?” Four things, count ‘em. You would be utterly astonished, or at least I am, how many of them miss at least one of them. It’s four things, four things that you know the answer to immediately, and you can’t list them all?

And no, it’s actually not usually marital status they miss, that one they’re often seemingly very honest about, but how am I supposed to be impressed with you when out of four things, you miss one of them?

I cannot stress this strongly enough: don’t fuck up my first impression of you.

Missing one question out of four does that.

Sending me messages that say “i am happyiestn nin life when i am pleaseing others,” does not impress me. And yes, an actual message. His keyboard sticks, you know, and he was using his phone and he was in a hurry to send it to me and he’s sorry.

So, clearly, that makes it all ok, right? Because he’s now shown himself to be inattentive to details and good at offering excuses when he does poorly.

Why does it seem to be so hard for male submissives to understand that I won’t just overlook those initial missteps, those early mistakes wherein I’m shown that they don’t take time to look over what they send before they send it, and this is in a stage when you’re assumedly trying to impress me.

How are you going to be once you feel comfortable and we are past the early stage? I can’t feel that you’re actually going to pay attention to details then if you don’t do it now.

I think I’m worth some effort and if you don’t, then that early disagreement is going to be a problem.

Don’t assume that I want to be treated like your former Mistress or that I will treat you the way she did. She wanted to be called Miss, so I clearly do. She wanted you to be naked when you talked to her, so I clearly must. She expected you to be hard and ready at every moment, so clearly, I would, too.

There’s only one variety of Mistress, obviously, and just as it is in every other role in life, all women are just the same and really appreciate it when you make it clear you see us that way.

What would impress me is someone asking me how I wanted to be addressed, how I wanted to interact with them, what I expected of them, as opposed to just assuming I want to be treated like someone else.

Here’s another revelation. Your dick is not the center of the universe in general and it absolutely is not the center of mine.

I recently had an exchange with someone who was, he said, terribly interested in me. He proved this by sending me naked pictures which did not show his face.

Clearly, what would matter most to me was not his face, why would I care about that, what I really really want to see, obviously, is his genitals.

My conversation with him made it clear that his entire world revolved around those genitals and what I might do with them. He was unable to send me a photo of his face, he was way too paranoid about it, but sending naked pictures apparently didn’t bother him at all.

I don’t want your dick size included in a general description. I’m not an overly shy girl. If I’m interested in your dick and its dimensions and appearance, I’ll ask. Trust me. Until I do, though, keep that information to yourself. I don’t much care, to be blunt.

It’s fine to offer me your phone number, but don’t pester me to speak on the phone. It is easier on the phone, for you at least, and that’s part of the reason I won’t do it. I’m not trying to make it easier for you.

I don’t care if it’s easier for you, particularly in the beginning. If you always want the easy out, the immediate gratification of a phone call, of not having to actually choose your words and make sense of them because you can keep talking until you think I understand, then I’m not interested in you anyway.

I’m not overly fond of phones. Your repeated whining that it would be easier for you if you didn’t have to actually type and use real grammar and not have your hands free will not convince me that you are the submissive for me, thank you.

So, if any of you out there want to impress me, here’s how to do it.

If you contact me, be prepared to have an actual conversation.

Have some clue as to why I would be interested in you, know what skills and talents you bring to the table, be willing to invest some time before you see the pay off, and have a sense of humor.

If my profile says, send me a photo, then send one.

If I ask you four things, give me four answers.

Read what you’re saying before you hit that send button.

Try and impress me, try and stand out from the crowd.

Yes, I am a bitch, thank you for noticing.

Dangerous Curves

I like knives.

I have liked knives for a long time.  I don’t do cuttings with them, I use them mostly to threaten and intimidate those who like such things, and sometimes to leave scratches on the skin.  I have never intentionally cut anyone with a knifes and if drew hadn’t moved his leg that one time, well, there was a bit of blood and, I think, a small bandaid was required…

I remember the first time I played with someone who was always one of my favorite playmates.  He had worn a heavy metal cock ring and every time I tapped the knife blade on the ring, his cock would twitch.

One of my early submissives was a West Point grad and I used to enjoy laying a knife blade to his throat while he sat in front of me.  Something about that posture with military training…

Years ago, I was talking to a friend, a knife vendor who had always had a bit of a crush on me.  His knives were laid out on a table in a lobby and we were getting ready go to dinner in a bit.  I wanted to reapply lipstick, but I didn’t have a mirror handy, and there was not a reflective surface of any kind in the lobby.  I am far too much of a klutz to put on lipstick without looking.

I was looking around for SOMEthing to use and suddenly noticed one of his knives, a very wide blade with a mirror finish.  Perfect.  I picked it up and used the reflection to put on my very red lipstick.

You know how you feel a certain stillness in the air, like a storm coming in almost?  I felt this sort of intake of breath and looked up, and he was staring at me, clearly transfixed, watching me.  I have always wanted to recreate that image in a photo but I actually DON’T have a knife with a wide mirrored blade.  Go figure.

I really like knives.

A few weeks ago, I said something to slave drew about my not having THAT many knives.  Then we started to count them up.  There are two very nice, very sharp knives on my desk right now, a wicked little Spyder knife, all stainless with finger slots and a thumb grip, and another Master (how appropriate) knife that is more of a folded hunting knife with a sort of camo look to it.  They are both very sharp, very serious knives.  They were given to me by a gentleman caller who knew my tastes.

There are also three more pocketknives on my desk, nothing fine, things I picked up at a yard sale or something.  One is a simple folding, single-blade knife with a buffalo and Indian design on it, another is a keychain butterfly knife with some other tools on it, too, scissors, etc, and the last is another cheap folding knife that isn’t in great shape.  I think I got it because I felt sorry for it.

I know there’s one in my desk drawer that has DCFB engraved on it.  I got it from a friend, years ago, three of them.  I gave one to the two other people who had helped me organize the Derby City Fetish Ball, as a remembrance.  Just a small, folded knife.

So that’s the six knives within reach at this moment, that I can claim and see.  Were I to actually look through the desk drawer, it’s entirely possible there might be another two or three small pocketknives in there, too.

Upstairs, in my bedside drawer, are more knives.  One is a knife with a plastic handle and plastic scabbard, not a particularly fine knife, but it’s very sharp and I’ve always kept it beside my bed.  Someone gave it to me years ago, shortly before he lost his mind and began to use various electronic forums to attach me.  I also have, oddly, a set of leather wrist and ankle cuffs he made me, back when we were friends.  Funny, isn’t it?

There is a switchblade in that drawer, too, one I bought purely for the sound.  The *snick* when you open it next to someone’s ear was the entire reason.

There’s a punch knife in there, with a wooden handle, one of those with a triangular blade and a short, t-shaped handle that you grasp in your hand and wrap your fingers around.  It’s meant to be used exactly as you’d expect, to “punch” at an attacker with it.  I worked in Indianapolis for a while, in a not great part of town and often worked late.  I would wrap my hand around it and stick it – carefully – in my pocket on the walk to my car.  I never needed it, but it made me feel better.

There’s probably at least one or two more knives in there, too, nothing special, just… knives.

I have two kind of decorative knives with plastic handles and scabbards with designs on them, the kind they sell at knife shows.  I got them along with a bunch of other stuff I bought from a friend once when she needed money.  One has a Japanese figure of a woman on it, the other is more swords and sorcery.  I’ve never really used them, they’re not great knives and they’re rather long, probably about 10″.

The first knife I bought hangs on my closet door, in a tooled leather scabbard.  It is a curved knife, with the outside curve holding the edge and the inside curve dull. It’s about eight inches long, and I always find it just to be a sexy knife.  The curve of the steel, the glint of the blade, the heft of it in my hand.  Did it just get hot in here?

I have a leaf knife that hangs on a chain around your neck and opens up to reveal the knife.  It’s not a fine knife, but it’s a pretty little necklace that a gentleman bought for me a  year or two ago.

There are at least two knives in my car, small Swiss-army sorts of pocket knives, just in case.  There are also probably three more of those in various places in my bedroom, too.  Tucked in a drawer or on a dresser.

So, we are up to six knives (at least) at my desk, between four and five in my nightstand drawer.  Two decorative.  The sexy knife.  The leaf knife.  Two car knives.  Three more small pocket knives.  Um.  I think that’s 19 knives.  Maybe 20.

The knives that means the most to me, though, are two that belonged to my father, simple pocket knives he carried with him for years, which live in my jewelry box.  They are horn handles, the blades noticeably narrowed from repeated sharpenings.  The smaller one originally had two blades, but one is broken now, snapped off, no doubt, when he was using it to pry something out.  The other has one blade with a broken point.  Used knives, in every sense.

I have little that belonged to my father.  It pleases me that I have something that he used, that he held in his hand, that he carried on him, something he wouldn’t have left the house without.  I think it would please him to know that, and that they matter to me.

It pleases me, too, that both drew and thomas carry pocketknives.  drew uses his daily, every day, time and again.  I have always thought it would please my father that I married a man who carries and uses a pocketknife, always, who would feel as naked without one as my father must have.

I’ve given drew knives over the years, too, very nice Case pocketknives.  My knife friend used to give me good deals, and he would notice the ones that drew lingered over when he looked at the display.  My favorite is a slim little toothpick knife that I specifically got for him as a dress pocketknife.

Maybe I am a little obsessed with knives.

Should I mention I also have four swords?

Memorial Day

Today was the last day of a long weekend, and while it was still quite hot, it wasn’t as hot as it has been.  I did not do any real weeding because we’re supposed to have rain tomorrow, which will make the ground softer and the weeds easier to pull, and cool it down a bit; it made more sense to wait.

I did, however, get the patio put together mostly.  Flower pots still need to be moved, I’m not sure of the placement of a couple of pieces of furniture, I have a few more plants to put in pots or the ground, but it’s an enjoyable area now, so did do that.

As I think a holiday like this is bound to, I spent some time today thinking about friends and family that are no longer here.

My father died when I was 2, my mother died eleven years ago this week.  I don’t remember my father and have few pleasant memories of my mother, so I can’t say I ever mourned either of them.  It had a huge impact on my life, obviously, but I’ve never felt the loss emotionally.

I remember my grandmother dying; I was about 8.  I knew her only slightly, though, troubled mother-daughter relationships run in my family.  My other grandparents were all dead long before I was born.

I was named for my father’s youngest brother’s wife, who divorced him shortly after I was born.  She was a lovely person, who saw her husband become more and more unpleasant and angry as he descended into Alzheimer’s, and still visited him daily, and then the other patients she had gotten to know after he died.  She died about 20 years ago.

I had an English teacher whom I was very fond of and kept up with for years, Mrs. Angelo.  She was the first person to ever ask me to memorize poetry, a habit I have continued throughout my life.

Beth, my ex, has buried her father and her grandmother, and I loved both of them.  They were both maddening and endearing, and I have many memories of Christmases where Dad took forever to open a package, admiring the paper, peering at the card, sliding his pocketknife carefully along the seam, and Grandmother Dorris looking at the new dress her daughter always bought her and saying, “Well, that’s so pretty, you can just lay me out in that one…”

The kinky people that we have lost that touched me particularly were Q, Annie and Di.  I cried over each of them, more than I cried over my mother.

I found out recently that someone I used to know through the Internet had died, way back in 2001.  His views very much formed mine, and I found out by accident.

It was both funny and quite like him that today, on Memorial day, I found an envelope he’d sent me, I believe the only one, sent at the end of August of 1999.  Inside was a short card, just a few words carefully written, and a Polaroid of him from an office party, with him hugging Santa.  He seemed to have a knack for making the universe enforce some message to me, and this felt the same.

The four-legged family members I have loved and lost were Missy, a terrier/beagle mutt we had when I was a kid, a good dog, a smart dog, and a funny dog. She was born in our laundry room, and was terrified of thunder.

I didn’t have a dog again until Beamer, my first Scottie, who was complicated and way too smart for her own good.  She spent her life perpetually acting as though she was a 13 year old with incredibly embarrassing parents.

Beamer was also the originator of my “buttered biscuit” theory of life, which I’ll write about another time.

Lulu was a Scottie , too, who was half-starved and newly-spayed when we got her from the Humane Society, having just been rescued from a puppy mill.  She never seemed to forget how much better her life was now, and I will always remember her settling on a down comforter on the bed, every single time, with a big, blissful sigh.

I’ve had cats, too, but while I don’t dislike them, I’m just not a cat person.  I don’t remember their names, even, and I never had a true house cat.  I’ve had a couple of fish I remember fondly, however, including an upside-down catfish and the creatively-named Mr. Pleco.

A few years ago, our minister gave a sermon I have never forgotten.  In his sermon he talked about a man who had lost a child, and come to his minister, who had lost his wife a few years before, to ask how he could bear the pain.

The minister told him grief was like a giant redwood falling in the forest.  It leaves a hole in the forest canopy, and even more, it leaves a jagged hole in the forest floor, where the roots have been torn out, a open and gaping wound.

He told the man that now, as time had passed, the hole was still there, the hole in the forest floor doesn’t heal, but what does happen is the edges get less jagged, time and weather softens them.

In time, ferns grow on the fallen tree and birds nest in it, other animals build their homes in the fallen branches, which provide them with shelter and safety.

The hole in the floor eventually becomes a pond, and it nourishes the other trees, and the animals come to drink.  And at night, the stars are reflected in the pool, through the hole in the forest canopy.

The emptiness never goes away, but the edges blur, and the landscape of the loss changes.

Here’s to Memorial Day.