Category Archives: slave thomas

Winding Down

The year 2012 is winding down.

There are three days left and then this year will be over.  I can’t say I will be unhappy to see it in the rear-view mirror.

It hasn’t been a bad year, in many ways.

In February, my own Bluegrass Leather Pride contest went well, despite having lost two venues in the last month or so before.  We ended up doing it in a private home and the upstairs of a local restaurant, and while it wasn’t ideal, it worked.  My contestants didn’t end up competing at GLLA, but that happens sometimes.

I was also in Indianapolis in February for Beat My Valentine, an event sponsored by IMAS, Indiana Masters and Slaves.

In March I drove out to Dallas, to South Plains Leatherfest, to watch Charles and jacki compete for International Master and slave.

In April, we went to Fort Lauderdale for Beyond Leather, for the International Power Exchange contest.  I presented there, including a brand new presentation on crops and canes.  slave thomas also came and met us there, which was particularly nice.  We spent a bit of time in Sarasota, and in Sanibel Island, one of my favorite places on the planet.

In August, we had another very successful Great Lakes Leather Alliance, despite some curves thrown at the last minute.  One of my scheduled cocktail parties didn’t work out, but I had anticipated the possibility and made arrangements for an alternate plan.

I also presented there, one class that I always do, a class for newcomers to the event, and events in general, and another new class, So You Want to Be a Titleholder.  I also played more at that event – three times – than I ever have before all put together.

In September, I was in Atlanta to present at the International Transgender Leather contest.  I did a humor class there with Ms Tammy.

In October, slave drew and I went to Chicago for Kinky Kollege, and had a very good time there.  Chicago has never been my favorite city, but we had a better time there than I had before.  We really enjoyed it.

I worked to found the first Masters And slaves Together chapter in Kentucky, MAsT: Derby City.  It is running successfully now and I’m proud of that.

We started creating Fringe Elements, a 501C3 Queer Community Center.  We’re close to finding a physical venue, which has always been our goal.  I took the Executive Director position, and I’m comfortable there.  I’m good at running things, I like all sides of it.

I started this blog.  I wasn’t sure I’d keep up with it, but I have. I posted for the first time on May 26, which was 216 days ago.  This post is the 210th, meaning I’ve missed a total of six.

I’ve only really forgotten to post once, I know once was a power outtage issue, and I didn’t post for several days while I was at GLLA, but I think missing  less than 3% is a pretty good percentage.  I’ve seen the number of people who read, and comment, rise, too, and that’s been really gratifying.

It was the 15th anniversary this year of the Louisville Munch, an impressive run for any group.  I added three new people to my formal Leather family by presenting Earned Leather to Gabriel, to Cerrin, and to Shane.

We all lived through an apocalypse, or should I say, another apocalypse.  It reminds me of a line from my favorite episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a musical episode called, “Once More with Feeling.”

“What can’t we do if we get in it?
We’ll work it through if there’s a minute.
We have to try. We’ll pay the price.
It’s do or die. Hey, I’ve died twice!”

How many apocalypses have there been and, so far, we’ve lived through them all.

There have been the usual problems and challenges.  Issues with people, the usual things one encounters when one is involved in groups, the usual struggles there.

I’ve been profoundly disappointed in a few people this year, which is also part of living, I think.  People disappoint us.  Other people have stepped up, risen to challenges.

I’ve gotten closer to a few people, and that’s been nice.  I’ve met other bloggers, both face to face and virtually, and that’s been an experience as well.

I lost at least two awards this year, and was “presented” one on a stage in front of a couple hundred people that turned out to be for someone else, though I wasn’t made aware of it until the award handed to me had another person’s name on it.

I know, I know, you should be flattered to be nominated, and I was – one was a Pantheon Lifetime Achievement award, which is a very significant award in the Leather community.  The final result, however, was that I lost.

I turned 55 this year, and I have not liked that at all.  I know, I know, I’m aware of all the things that are good – experience, wisdom, a level of acceptance, my health is good, and it’s far better than any alternative, but I don’t like it.  I doubt I ever will.  It is, however, what it is.

So, three more days and it’s all just one more memory.  I suspect that our New Year’s Eve celebration will end up being a quiet one at home, us and the pups, probably one of those years in which we don’t even stay up late enough to greet 2013 officially until the morning.

And I’m ok with that.

Thanksgiving

I spent a good deal of years working in healthcare accounting.  I understand cost reports and step-down allocations, volume and intensity based budgeting and reporting, and a lot of other boring things.

I used to think, on cold mornings especially, I wish I didn’t have to go to work, blech, I don’t want to go to work…

My drive to work took me by the Wayside Christian Mission.

Standing outside the doors as I drove off to my job was a line of people, waiting for the Mission to open, waiting to come in out of the cold, waiting for a hot meal, waiting for such small things that I took for granted.

It always made me ashamed that I had complained.

As crazy as my mother was, and as poor as we were, she gave me a clear understanding of how lucky I WAS.

I never went hungry; my mother did.

I knew that however poor we were, I was still luckier than most of the planet.

I feel pretty thankful, honestly, most of the time.  Things can always be better, but things can always be worse, too.

I am thankful for the health of my family and my friends and myself.

I’m thankful for the people who have served me, over time.  I know I am not the easiest person.  I am demanding and critical and I have an opinion on everything.

I have been lucky to be served, and loved, by extraordinary men, and I am grateful.

I have extraordinary slaves now, and my life would be far emptier, far duller, and far more boring without them.

I am lucky to have people around me who care about me, who indulge me, who scamper to get me things and look properly alarmed if I look stern.  I feel lucky to have people who know me and still feel that way.

I am thankful that I feel as though I have made a difference, that I have done good work.  I’ve never been lazy, and I have genuinely always held the community’s best interests at heart.  I’ve done well by that community, I think.

I’m glad to have the first world problems of a house to clean and things to find places for and the mess of a minor renovation from which to recover.  Those are good problems and remind me, as driving by the Mission used to, that I should think far more about the good than the bad, and to remind myself of the grace their is in gratitude.

Compliments

I am suspicious of extravagant flattery.  Tell me on first meeting that I am the most amazing and beautiful and sexy woman you have ever met and you will likely notice my eyes narrowing and the set of my mouth becoming tighter.  I am thinking, if your standards are so low, and pretty words fall so easily from your lips, then how can I trust what you tell me about anything else?

Having said that, let me also add that, like most humans, I do like and appreciate compliments.  I was thinking about them this afternoon while weeding my garden.  I don’t know if there’s some connection there or not, but it was when it occurred.

The compliments that have meant the most to me were based on knowledge of me.  The ones that matter to me, too, were based on knowing myself, as well.  Tell me that I’m sweet, and it won’t matter much, because I know I am not especially sweet.  Tell me I have integrity, and it will, because I believe I do.

One of the most moving compliments I ever received was given to me long ago, by someone I discovered a month or so ago had actually passed away nearly a decade ago.  I found myself unexpectedly affected by that, though we’d had no contact at all for seven or eight years anyway, and no significant contact for a dozen years.

He handed me a rose once, and said, “Here, Madame.  Teach this beauty.”

A silver-tongued devil, he was.  He told me once, too, that my heart was too big to fit in a smaller body.  That was a nice one, as well.

My first male lover told me once that I was a “banquet, a feast.”

Much more recently I was told I was like a “delicious little truffle.”

Back in the late 1990’s, when I was living in Indianapolis, I had a favorite playmate, one of those things where our tastes matched and meshed and our play times were always intense and pretty sexual.  There was a time when I had him tied to my bed, spread-eagle on my bed, while I sat astride him, fucking.

I was very good at knowing exactly when to stop moving to keep him from coming, and at one particularly erotic moment, he gasped out, “You’re so sexy when you’re mean.”  I always liked that one.

Another favorite lover once paused mid-thrust to thank my mother and father for certain of my anatomical attributes.  That was both flattering and made me laugh.  I told him once that a waiter had flirted with me quite concertedly in a restaurant and his response was, “The man had eyes, didn’t he?

slave drew is relatively lavish with compliments.  He often tells me how grateful he is to have me in his life and that he would be lost without me.  One of the nicer compliments, though, wasn’t directly from him.  Years ago, I was talking to his brother’s wife – the brothers themselves were off doing something else, and she said to me, “You know, when you’re not around, you are all he talks about.”  That was a very sweet compliment, even if a roundabout one.

slave thomas has paid me lovely compliments as well.  A year or two we were discussing something in email and he told me that he had only known one extraordinary woman in his life, and he had been lucky enough to wear her collar.  He told me lately that he wanted me to know he was proud to be my slave.

On a less delicate note, years ago we had a man in the community, Rusty.  Rusty was a former Navy Seal and taught survival skills for the Army.  He was red-headed and red-bearded and built just like a fireplug.  I remember at one party long ago he and I sat under the stars and he would sing an Irish drinking song and I would recite a poem.  We did that for a couple of hours there, people coming and sitting for a while, then drifting away, others drifting in.

He told me I was “one hell of a dame.”

Now THERE’S a compliment.

 

Great Lakes Leather Alliance

I have spent my day confirming the various schedule for GLLA.

One of the projects I work on all year is GLLA.  The GLLA Mission Statement, from the website, is:

The mission of the Great Lakes Leather Alliance is to build bridges between the Leather, BDSM, D/s, M/s, fetish, and alternative sexual lifestyle communities.

The Great Lakes Leather Alliance hopes to promote education and enhance communication between each of these groups, and it seeks to promote the success and welfare of the individuals and organizations within our combined community. We especially want to protect against threats to our freedom of expression.

We will not discriminate based on age, sexual preference, gender, race, or any other diversity. We plan to show that each of us is equal without doubts or fears of what others may think of us.

With the formation of the Great Lakes Leather Alliance, it is our hope that we will help to form the building blocks to accomplish these goals.

You can check out the page yourself at http://www.greatlakesleather.org.

My first contact with GLLA was the first year it was held, back in 2001.  I was asked to join the group of people that were putting it on.  I worked with them for a few months, mostly via a Yahoo group and found there was, in that iteration, way too much drama for me.  It also conflicted that year with one of my all-time favorite events, Ohio Leatherfest, so I bowed out and went to OLF that year.

The next year, though, I went to GLLA, back in 2002, and watched the contest, went to classes.  I might even have presented, I don’t remember.  Watching the contest, though, was of great interest to me, and the next year, slave drew and I ran for Great Lakes Master and slave, the first time the title was awarded.

It was also the first time I’d spent a lot of time with Ms Kendra, the Executive Producer of Great Lakes Leather.  She has, in the years since, become someone I consider a close friend, and whom I respect greatly.

slave thomas was with us that year, too, and it was there that he was actually designated officially as “puppy slave.”  I didn’t realize until years later that at least one person, Ms Tammy, always had thought that meant that he had an interest in puppy play.

Where that designation actually came from, though, was because the year we ran, we had Belle, my Scottie, with us and slave thomas’ official job was to take care of her, make sure she was walked, etc.  It was one of the first times I ever told him that if I needed something and Belle needed something, then he was to see to Belle because I could actually take care of myself.

In any case, drew and I competed and won, and went on to compete at South Plains in Dallas for the International title, which we lost to Master Z and slaveboy tony.  Master Z has done wonderful things with the title, and I consider him a friend now.

What was funny about that year, though, was that slave drew, slave thomas and I helped Ms Kendra clean up after the event.  She didn’t have a slave at that time and I remember thinking that if we hadn’t stayed and helped, she’d have had so much to do by herself.  I offered to help in whatever way I could, and suggested a few things that might be good fits.

In September of 2003, I was asked to join the Board of Directors, the first addition since the creation of the Board.  I came in as the Administrative Director.  That meant that the first few years, I ran the registration system.

GLLA was smaller then – we run around 500 attendees now, counting volunteers, presenters, judges, etc., but registration is still a big job.  I did it for a couple of years and it really wasn’t my strong suit.  It’s a very daily kind of job and lots of routine, and I honestly don’t do terribly well with that kind of item.

So, the next year, in 2006, I took on a new role, that of Special Events Director, which is what I have done ever since.

I enjoy it infinitely more than I did registration.

My “job” is to set up cocktail parties and receptions, mixer events and an odd assortment of additional items.  The primary thing I do, however, is run and organize the silent auction and the poolside auction, wherein we auction off people and things to raise money for the titleholder travel funds.  I’ve raised as much as $7500, and rarely less than $3500.

What I have on my list of events this year, beginning with Thursday night, is a Titleholder kickoff cocktail party, a wedding reception, author signings, a kissing booth, STD and HIV testing, the silent auction, two ice cream socials, a pony, puppy and littles reception, a general mixer, an Olympus titleholder reception, a laughing yoga session, a covering ceremony, kinky gaming, a cigar and bourbon “Ash Bash,” the poolside auction with a cookout and cocktail party, a pre-contest cocktail party and a post-contest cocktail party, a door decorating contest, and a late night pool party.

Now, bear in mind, that’s not ALL the events at GLLA.  We also have classes, play space, five contests, a brunch and more things than I can even recall.  We work all year on for the one weekend in August.  We usually have a half dozen or so Board meetings, and often Ms Kendra and Ms Tammy and I also spend an evening talking about GLLA.  She often comes down for an overnight trip, and after we do our usual socializing and chatting, we start talking about GLLA.

Last time we talked for, literally, six hours straight, from 9pm to 3am, about nothing other than GLLA.  We decide what we want to do, how we want to do it, and when and where we might be able to make it happen.

I would guess I devote between 200 to 250 hours a year to GLLA, or something around six 40-hour weeks.  There are others who put in as much, some who put in more.  During the weekend itself, I normally am consumed with GLLA from Wednesday of that week through Sunday.

I drive to Indy on Thursday.  I drive back on Sunday night.  It also takes me nearly a week to actually recover from the weekend.  During the three nights I’m actually at the hotel, I get very little sleep.  Last year, it was about 14 hours over the three nights.

It’s kind of a running joke among the Directors that you can always tell who we are because by the end of the weekend, we are limping and a little haggard.

Let me make it clear, too, that there are a number of volunteers, people who don’t have an official Board position, who put in nearly as much time.

All of us work during the year to build dungeon equipment, to keep up with registration, to schedule volunteer shifts and make sure all the shifts are covered, that all the event badges are printed, that the run bags are stuffed, that the website is up and accurate, that the run bags are accurate and printed, that the hotel knows what tables to set up and where, that the vendors are arranged and set up, and on and on and on and on.

In other words, it’s an enormous amount of work.

None of us get paid for it.  The only thing we actually get for being Directors or Judges or Presenters or Coordinators is a free registration.  We pay for our rooms, we pay for our food, our brunches, t-shirts if we want them, etc.

One might ask why we do it.

I know why I do it, at least some of the reasons.

I like what it provides.  I like that people can come from all over the country, literally, and hear speakers who are part of Leather history, who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge.

I like that it provides fellowship, and that we genuinely welcome diversity.  We have Leather bears and age-players and cross dressers and straight folks and singles and couples and triads and more.  We have people who have never felt welcome or at home anywhere else, who come to GLLA and find a place that feels welcoming and comfortable.

I like seeing old friends and making new ones every year.

I don’t mind all the work, all the time, the literally hundreds of emails and dozens of phone calls, the fact that I am so busy I usually have to have at least one or two personal sorts of assistants, people who (try to) keep me on track so I don’t miss my own events.

I know it’s a lot of work, more than a lot of people are willing to give, and that’s also all right with me.

GLLA is home for me, too.

Training

I do monthly classes here in Louisville, on “BDSM Basics.”  I had one a couple of weeks ago on safety.  We talked about both the kind of safety as in, how and where you can strike people safely, but we also talked about some other aspects of safety, which for me boil down to behaving rationally, knowing the people you play with.

The thing that struck me, though, was an email I had gotten from someone who had signed up for the class.  I send out a reminder because anyone who wants to attend needs to get pre-registered, so I know who’s coming and they know where to go.

So I sent an email to one guy who had signed up for the class.  He’s pretty new in terms of the community, six or eight months, I think, and considers himself a Top.

In other words, one might think he’s precisely the person who should attend a class.  Particularly, perhaps, a class on safety, since he’s taking a dominant role, so knowing where and how to strike someone, knowing the kinds of questions to ask someone to assess limits and limitations, might be really valuable knowledge.

His response was, he had signed up some time ago, but would no longer be able to take the class, because he had a new submissive he was “training,” and he needed to focus on her…

Hokay.

It’s not that he wasn’t interested in coming to MY class, while I am egotistical, I am not that egotistical.  I am not the be-all and end-all of kink education.  On the other hand, I am the only one in Louisville offering classes, so there is that.

I think the thing that bothered me the most, honestly, is that he is too busy “training” his brand new slave to spend any time on educating himself.

To be fair, I usually find the word “training” to be both annoying and inaccurately used.

Most of the time when a Dominant tells you that they are “training” a submissive or slave, what they mean is, they’re doing a lot of physical things to them.  “Training” them to take a flogger or a whip or whatever.

I think, personally, that’s both an inaccurate and misleading use of the word.  The actual definition of training is, “The action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior.”

I don’t think there’s a skill in taking a flogger, nor do I think it’s a type of behavior to be whipped.  You may disagree, you’re welcome to, this is my blog and the beauty of it is that I can say whatever I want.

So, I don’t think that’s training.

Training to me is someone learning what you like and want.  slave drew, for instance, knows that I want hot black tea in the morning, I dislike and won’t drink herbal tea, green tea is for evening.  I will never ever drink coffee, whether it’s hot or cold.  I drink unsweetened ice tea, but sometimes I’ll drink Diet Coke.  I dislike sweet tea, I don’t like Pepsi much at all, though I will drink Diet Pepsi if it’s fountain, if it’s not, then he’s probably better off bringing me water.

slave thomas knows that I have no sense of direction whatsoever, and if I head the wrong direction in a hotel, he needs to let me know, because I will end up somewhere usually opposite of where I meant to go.  He is also aware that I often confuse left and right, so he also knows that if he says “Right,” and I go left, he needs to say, “Other right.”

In my book, that is training, that is acquainting someone with my tastes and preferences, in order that they can serve me better, with less direction.

Training might be knowing exactly how your Master likes his coffee, or that he likes pepperoni on her pizza but never sausage, or that she prefers her towels folded longways first and no more than four ice cubes in any drink.

I doubt that was what he was doing in his training, though to be fair, I really don’t know, so maybe it is.  Maybe I am simply assuming because he is new and has not made the kind of education of which I am aware a priority, that he is not serious about it.

I imagine he would agree.  I imagine he believes he’s doing right by himself and this submissive, because that is the nature of being dominant, to some extent.  We believe we are correct.  And no one, I suppose, can tell us definitively that we are not.

What I do know, though, is that experience counts for a lot, as does hand’s on education when it comes to kink.  I know that your local community college probably doesn’t offer classes on BDSM Safety, or Kink Etiquette, or Canes and Crops.

It’s funny, too.  If I went to a munch and asked people what they wanted from the community, there would be two answers.  They want parties, of course, because we all love to play.

But they’d also all insist that they want education, that they want to learn to do what it is they do better, more safely,to understand better how to navigate the community.

The next obvious observation would be, of course, “Gee, all your classes must be filled to the brim, since people are so interested in education.”

Sadly, no, and it doesn’t seem to matter if classes or free or there’s a charge.  I have done free classes in the past, and I still do a lot of them, but I discovered over time that people seemed to value it more and take it more seriously if they actually paid, so I offer both.

Interestingly, it’s often the people who are the most vocal about wanting education who never seem to manage to make it.  It’s a work night.  They have a family function.  They forgot.  They have to work, they have kids, they’ve been sick, etc.

All of those are, of course, valid excuses, but in the end we make time for what matters to us.

Friday Night

It’s been a long and action-packed week, with some appliance swapping  that necessitated furniture moving and hustling around.

I have had a six months of appliance issues.  Most of the appliances are the same ones that were in the house when I moved in 1990, and they all still work, but the stove needed some work this winter, and while the fridge was fine, it was an obviously old side-by-side, which is one of the least rational designs ever created.  It is impossible to put a frozen pizza in a side-by-side freezer, at least in this one, unless you take every single thing out of one shelf.  Not practical.

So, now I have that done, and that’s good, and I cleaned up most of the kitchen as well, so that’s a good thing.

On the other hand, I’ve slept poorly the last two nights and I am a little crunchy from fatigue.

I have had issues with insomnia for years, since my early 20’s at least.  My ex-girlfriend snored badly and was an incredibly deep sleeper.  I sleep lightly and not well.  That probably, over the years, didn’t help with the insomnia.

I am lucky in my slaves, because neither drew nor thomas snore enough to mention, and they’re both light enough sleepers so they’re easy to wake.  Their turning over in the night, if required, is not difficult enough for me that it wakes me up profoundly.

Somebody a couple of years ago suggested I try counting backwards from 100.  It works sometimes.

I suspect meditation would, too, but I can never seem to keep my mind still.

I try various things.  Imagining I’m walking through a garden.

Floating in a warm, tropical pool.

I imagine a flame and concentrate on it.

And then nearly invariably, realize that I am actually making a grocery list and speculating on the last movie I saw, instead.

But now the Melatonin is kicking in, and maybe I won’t need to do any of those things.

Sweet dreams.

A Glad Heart

For the first time since I started blogging – not that long, of course, but still – I didn’t blog yesterday at all.

I do have a fairly good reason.

My Internet provider had an “area outage.”  My Internet went down about 3:15pm on Friday and, because I was online, I noticed immediately and called.  They tried a couple of resets, they didn’t work, they decided it must be my equipment.  They would have to send someone out to “recalibrate” it.

And the soonest they could get to me was Sunday at 2pm.

Crap.  Crap.  Crappity crap.

It’s amazing how disturbing that was.  Forty-eight hours without Internet access?  Would I survive.

Then, about two hours later, I thought to check my cable only to discover it was out, too.  Long story only marginally shorter, when I got home a few hours later, all was well.  So, I did a few of the things I hadn’t done earlier, and then went to bed. I was tired, and was going to watch a bit of TV.  I started to drift off…

…And suddenly, in that way you do when you remember something important, I nearly bolted upright.

I had forgotten to post a blog!

I did consider coming back downstairs, or even posting something brief from my phone.

Then I shrugged and went to sleep.

Come on, it’s a blog.

No one is out there with baited breath waiting for me to speak.

So, I didn’t.

What I did do today, though, was teach a class on Safety, along with my friend, Ms Tammy.  She has a healthcare background with a heavy emphasis on psychiatry, so she’s a great resource for both physical and mental health education.  She’s also funny as hell, and we tend to work like a well-oiled Borscht Belt team.

It was a very small class. Some of the ones I expected didn’t make it, but as often turns out, sometimes very small classes are the most interesting.  And I sometimes think that everyone, myself included, get more out of it.

In any case, there were six of us, Ms Tammy and troy, S and k, our hosts, and x.  S and k host my classes, so they kind of have to be there, meaning we really only have one attendee.  She is in a relationship that seems ill-fated, which is obvious to all around her, and yet seems to totally escape her.

One of the things that she mentioned often was that she could and had said “No,” to her Mistress frequently.  No, she wouldn’t do this, no, she didn’t like to do this, no, she couldn’t do this.  How she nagged her Mistress and shook a finger at her when she wouldn’t let x do something for her.

Anyone who knows me and reads this might guess that kind of attitude is not one of which I am fond.  For me, if you do not want to serve me, then do not.  I want nothing that is given grudgingly.

I want, in other words, to be served with a glad heart.

I want to be served because you want to serve me, because you find something in me that inspires service in you.  I want you to choose service, not be pushed into it, or cajoled, or coaxed.

I don’t think that’s always easy, mind you.  I have few illusions about what serving me means.  I am generally quite reasonable, but I want what I want, preferably when I want it.  I expect a lot.  I have a lot of commitments, I spend a lot of time in public spheres.  I am far from lazy, and I expect a relatively high level of industry from you.  I’m critical and opinionated and blunt.

I do have my good qualities, too, by the way.

I understand that perhaps it doesn’t fill your heart with glee to get up early and let the dogs out and make me a pot of tea, which slave drew does every morning he is in the city, unless I specifically say, I won’t want tea tomorrow.

Each morning when I get up, there is a teapot of hot tea, under a pink patterned tea cozy on the counter.  Beside it is a mug, one of the big ones I prefer, with a pink packet of sweetener leaning against the mug.  I never asked for this, by the way.  He developed it on his own, and he’s added to the ritual over time.  First it was tea because he drank it and he’d put a cozy over it so it would still be hot if I wanted some.  Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t.

Then it became more regular.  It was always a pot of tea, and the black tea I prefer, not green.  Green is for evening.

Then he added the cup.

Then he added the sweetener.

That is a glad heart.

He may not specifically enjoy the task, the boiling of water, the steeping of tea, the choosing which mug, but he enjoys what it represents.  He enjoys the dynamic.

I thought I had been harsh with x, because, as she kept speaking about her relationship, wondering if it was really a Master and slave relationship.  She kept coming back and coming back and coming back to this, interspersed with another unconscious retelling of some incident in which she had acted in a way that would seem, to me, to be utterly unacceptable in anyone claiming the title of slave.

She says no, regularly and frequently, about big things – whether she would get her tongue pierced or not – and small things – whether or not she liked the way her Mistress chose to wake her.  (A finger in the ear, apparently, and I cannot say as I blame her, actually.)

Finally, I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer and said, “You keep saying to me that you say “No,” and that you wonder if it isn’t a Master and slave relationship.”

She asked me what made up a Master and slave relationship.  She wasn’t unpleasant, ever, and was asking genuine questions.

I told her that for me, the basic definition of a slave is that he has two choices, he may choose to obey, or he may choose to leave the relationship.  Saying no is not an option, not in any real or significant way.

So, surely someone out there is thinking, if you told your slave to jump off a cliff, would he?

The answer is, I would not tell him to do that.  His welfare is of as much concern to me as my own is.

I would also not require something that would have a significant impact on my slave(s) without their input.  I value them for their experience and their intelligence.  To ignore either would be foolish of me and a poor use of the resources I have at hand.

However, if there comes a time with either of them where I require something that they are unable or unwilling to give, then that changes the essential nature of the relationship in ways in which I do not want to change it.

My way or the highway.

Which is very hard line, isn’t it?  Not a lot of wiggle room, not a lot of warm fuzzies and being told what a GOOD slave you are!

That’s not my style.  One of the things I prefer about Master and slave relationships is the lack of continuous negotiation.  I know who will empty the dishwasher and take out the garbage and mow the lawn.  If I need to for some reason, I can do all those things, and have.  But if a slave is in the house, I will not be doing them.  That was negotiated at the beginning.

I had lunch with Bootpig, who is a fairly well-known educator, back in September of 2011.  She said that she had been discussing slave contracts with her Master, Whip Master Bob.  She was whining just a bit about not having a contract.

Whip Master Bob took a Post-It note, and wrote on it, “I say.  You do.”  He then stuck it on her forehead and said, “There’s your contract.”

I like that.  I believe that I will officially adopt it as my policy on Mastery.

Master says, slave does.

And with a glad heart.

Capitals

No, not capitals as in the capital of a state, although I will tell you that there are four state capitals with the word “City” in their names.  Think about it.  I’ll post the answer tomorrow.

In any case, no, what I mean is capital letters.  While that might seem like an odd choice for a subject, it’s really not and it actually ties in with my recent speculations on BDSM and spirituality.

I have had a computer of some kind for literally 30 years or so now.  My first computer was an Atari, one of the high-end ones that had a word-processing program.  You saved the file to a tape in a special tape recorder.

It sounds almost ludicrous now.  It was a lot like an old VCR where there was no random access, it was linear, basically.  On the other hand, I was taking a creative writing course in college and my ex-girlfriend, who typed far better than I did then typed up all my work from longhand pages I physically wrote.

If you are old like me, you might remember what it was like when a mistake or two on a page of typed work meant that you had to re-type the whole thing.  The concept of being able to reload the file and simply correct or edit what was there was nearly earthshattering.

That also means I had one of the early 2400 baud modems.  If you don’t remember, let me just say that it was nearly faster to send something via USPS.  And if the page you were looking at had photos, forget it.

I say this only as preface to the fact that I used to use a BBS (bulletin-board system) to connect to something called the Undernet.  This was in the early mid-1990’s.  I spent, not surprisingly, a lot of time on channels with names like #surrender and #submission.

In that world, capitals were actually very useful shorthand to know who was a Top and who was a bottom.  Notice I capped Top.  It’s still habit, though I often agonize over it.  Should I cap Top?  Dominant?  Master?  What about Leather?

Those of you who know me know I am a bit of a grammar nazi.  It annoys me when someone uses a numeral less than ten in a sentence, because the rule is, numbers of ten or less you spell out, 11 and over you use numerals.  Unless, of course, the first word of the sentence is a number, in which case you spell it out.  So: “Seventeen million people were affected by the storms.”

So it’s a conundrum for me.  But, I still capitalize Master.  It’s also almost impossible for me to type my own slave’s names, drew and thomas, with capitals.  It feels weird.  They are slaves, so they are small letters.  Not because they are less, no, but, harking back to that same spirituality discussion, when we refer to God, the name is capitalized.

It is convention and convenience, both.  If you see me type that “drew will be coming with me,” or “thomas is coming for a visit,” and you have a basic understanding of those capitalization norms within the BDSM community, you know they are “small letter people,” or bottoms.

It’s hard for me with other people sometimes.  You have no idea how many times I start to type a greeting in a letter and then have to scroll down and see how the person signs their own name.  If you use a small letter, I will, too.  If not, I will not.

Then there’s the issue of people like our own aisha.  I just looked at an email from her to me and because I know her somewhat in the vanilla world, and know her real name, she signs herself as “X/a.”  And no, her name isn’t Xavier, I’m using a made up first name because clearly, the first letter of her “real” first name would make her identifiable, obviously.  Yes, I’m being facetious, but still.

So, isn’t it interesting that in her vanilla life, she is a capital, but to those of us who know the other side of her, she uses a small letter?  If you read her blog, she uses capitals to refer to her Master, and caps references to him, as in, “i went to a party with Him last night…”

I’m not that much of a purist, I don’t remember to cap pronouns.  But doesn’t it make it easier?  And isn’t that little trick of punctuation interesting, in the way it reinforces hierarchy.

Let me say this very clearly.  I do not believe that one person within a D/s relationship is more important than another.  they have equal value, but they do not have equal status.  I cannot be dominant if someone else is not submissive.

And isn’t that interesting, without thinking about it, I didn’t cap dominant when it is a verb, when it doesn’t refer to a specific person.

In any case, back to my thought.  Isn’t it interesting that that one little trick tells us so much.  When you cap a word within the middle of a sentence, particularly one that is not traditionally capitalized, doesn’t it draw your attention?  Doesn’t it say, look, this is important, listen up?

So, let me say first that if my relatively arbitrary use of capitals drives you crazy, I agree.  The two things I do despise are the use of all caps, as in, “Will YOU be coming to the party with YOUR slave?”  It sounds like you’re being arch, emphasizing the “YOU” to make a point which escapes me.  I know you are not, but that’s how I read it.

The other thing I don’t like is the slash method.  You’ve seen it.  It might set your teeth on edge as much as it does mine.  “W/we hope that Y/you and Y/yours will join U/us at O/our party.”

Doesn’t that make your head hurt?  It does mine.

I know that what they are trying to do is include everyone, to try and keep the convention of caps for Tops and non-caps for bottoms, but I do think that sacrificing readability for that sort of inclusion is a mistake.  But then, if I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a bitch.

And while I seem to be on a kick, let me end with the word, “Domme.”  I find Domme to be a useful word in print, because it’s an easy way to indicate gender in a single word.  A male dominant is a Dom, a female dominant is a Domme.

Now, let’s be clear, this is a totally made up word.  It looks vaguely French, as in “pomme.”  However, in French “pomme” is a single-syllable word.  It is not “pom-may.”

Ergo, if we’re going to base our made-up word on that, it should be pronounced “dom.”

If I need to indicate, I will say “fem Domme,” so you know the gender.

Now, if you really love being a “dom-may,” and you want to call yourself that, or tell your slaves that you want to be called that, well, more power to you.  I do not.  Please do not use it to refer to me, it will make me crazy and I can barely contain my eye-rolling.

And yes, I know, I wasn’t even consistent in my capitalization in here.  It’s driving ME crazy, too, but grammar is a slippery slope, isn’t it?

BDSM and Spirituality

I told someone lately that for me, kink was at least as much about spirituality as it is about sexuality.

For me, one of the things that kink allows me to do is, in a way, test myself.  We tell ourselves that the way you judge character is by how someone behaves when no one is watching, by how they behave when they can do whatever they want.

For me, a Master and slave type of relationship allows me that opportunity.

I have slaves.  Neither of them have safewords, never have.  Neither one has ever refused to do something I asked, either.

Both of them trust me implicitly.  I could ask them to do anything, I imagine, and they would at least consider it, because they do trust me.  I am not foolish enough to tell you they’d jump off a cliff if I told them to, because one of the things I expect of them is to take care of my property, themselves included.

I also expect them to use their own brains, too, I like smart men and part of what appealed to me about both of them was, in fact, their intelligence.  If I asked something of them that was so out of character and so unlike me, I would be fine with them at least pausing to ask if I was all right before they took that flying leap.

But for now, though, let’s forget those sort of dramatic questions.  The question is, I think, how I treat the people around me on a daily basis, how I care for them.  That’s the test of one’s mettle, isn’t it?

I read a blog lately, by one of my favorite people, aisha.  She talked about spirituality, and you can read her work here.

One of the things she talked about was BDSM and abuse, the idea that sometimes people come to this dynamic because they are broken in some way, and I honestly don’t disagree.

I believe, for instance, that I am “broken,” in some very specific ways.

My mother was not a pleasant person.  She died in her late 80’s, and after my father died when she was 46, she never had another person in her life whose opinion she valued enough to trust it over her own.  She never married again, she never had a gentleman friend, she never dated.

Don’t assume that I am mistaken about this, either, I do know this for a fact.  She had no significant relationships with anyone after my father’s death.  She had some friends, yes, quite a few because she was always nicer to them than she was to me, but friends who could be dropped if needed.

If you implied that my mother was imperfect, in nearly any way, or had made any mistake, her response was simple.  You ceased to exist in her mind, until you’d come to your senses anyway, and seen the error of your ways.

It didn’t have to be overt, either.  I remember once, as a teenager, commenting that someone always dressed well.  Bear in mind, I lived in a tiny town in the middle of a great big desert.  No one was wearing Halston or Bob Mackie.  Her angry response was, “If I had the money she had, *I’d* dress that well, too!”

I hadn’t been comparing, I had been commenting, but she heard an implied criticism.

I felt very out of control as a child.  I remember being seriously worried about money, in an adult, what-are-we-going-to-DO kind of way, at five.  I never asked for things most kids had – a bike, specific toys, a class ring – because I knew I wouldn’t get it.  Why set yourself up for disappointment?

The way I dealt with that, I think, was by deciding that if I were always in control, I could make it all come out right.

In my mother, I saw an example of power without counsel, of what happens when no one else’s opinion matters to you.

One of the things I do expect of my slaves, for instance, is to have both the courage and the willingness to tell me if I stray too far into that country.

I have no desire to become my mother.  If I need to be told I am wrong, fundamentally mistaken, I would prefer those words come from someone I know loves me, and holds my best interests at heart, just as I hold theirs.

I hope, if that happens, that I listen better than my mother ever would have, or ever did.

On the other hand, as a Master, I have to have a certain confidence in my opinions, a belief in myself and what I do.  If I seem unsure or doubtful of my own decisions, why would I expect someone else to follow me?

It’s a conundrum, on one level.  How do I inspire and instill confidence, while expecting my slaves to keep me honest, so to speak?

I do it, I think, by having a proven history of good decisions, and a history of caring for and about them.  I wouldn’t ask them to do something dangerous because I value them, and I am charged with caring for them.  That matters to me.

Interestingly, this wasn’t the blog I intended to write.  I want to write a bit about S&M and spirituality, and I got sidetracked.

I guess I already have a topic for tomorrow, don’t I?

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?