Monday, April 30, 2012

Love Hangover

Saturday's Aftermath - 10 floggers lay in an array (each flogger was used for 10 minutes)
Saturday night Serafina and I have an especially long and intense scene.  It was a marvelous evening, even if I don't have the energy to describe it for you right now. There's a reason I don't have the energy . . . Basically, I feel hungover, despite the fact that I didn't drink a single drop of any alcoholic beverage.

What I'm here to write about today is a phenomena most commonly known as "subdrop" - a physical and mental condition that can effect dominants too.

Subdrop is a condition that seems to be directly related to the intensity of a BDSM scene.  The heavier the play, the more deeply an individual goes into subspace, the more likely it is that they will experience at least mild symptoms of sub drop.  That's also true for dominants, just substitute the word "top" for "sub".  The heavier a dominant goes into "topspace" the more likely they will experience "top drop".

It's been suggested by some that those two conditions are a long term result of the large endorphin release associated with subspace / topspace, which then depletes the body's stores of those chemicals.  At it's essence, it takes some time for the body to recover from the intensity of a scene, and during that recovery period, it's common to experience a variety of unusual and somewhat unpleasant feelings.

Essentially, it's like feeling hungover after a night of partying, although to my experience, it more closely resembles the day after an LSD trip.  That makes a lot of sense to me, because I long ago found similarities between the mental states of subspace/topspace and a mild acid trip.

Like a true hangover, there are measures a person can take to help minimize the effect of top drop / subdrop, such as staying well hydrated, which is essential to preventing the morning after headache.  But, even with preparation and planning, some effects are probably unavoidable.

And some of what I'm feeling today has nothing to do with endorphins, instead it's just a case of over exertion.  I don't swing floggers for 100 minutes every day, not even once a week generally, so it's not terribly surprising that my right arm is tender and tired from the night's exertion.

But the light buzzing in my head that I felt for an entire day after our scene, the inability to concentrate or write effectively, the desperate desire I felt to just crawl back into bed and sleep the day away, those are all symptoms of top drop.

In the end, the physical and mental effects are temporary, but the memory of Saturday night will remain forever.  I may not particularly enjoy the effects of top drop, but it's not enough to deter me at all from giving my slave/wife all the dominant attention she so richly deserves.  I'd wager that Serafina's ass is ready for more right now . . .

If only I could actually raise my right arm over my shoulder, she'd be getting one tonight.  Instead, she'll have to wait for my dear friend Arthritis S. Tylenol to come and work it's magic . . .

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Bruises We Don’t See

My dear and good friend Cherub, an infrequent contributor I've introduced before, (usually found healing people or trying to make our planet more livable,) has shared an essay on a very important topic, bullying.
I don't know that we spent a lot of time discussing my childhood, back when Cherub was part of a BDSM triad with Blissful Torment and myself, so I'm not sure if she is aware that I was a victim of bullying in my youth.  It was probably mentioned in passing but never discussed at length, as it's not a topic I dwell upon or discuss much.
My Father's solution to the bullying problem was to teach me how to fight back, as he taught me more than a few fighting tricks he'd learned himself as a youth attending Military School, where he'd been bullied himself. I learned to defend myself well enough to turn the tables on bullies when they tried to push me around.
The most sure way I found to put a bully in their place was to respond in kind, and teach them what it felt like to have someone sitting on their chest pummeling them senseless.  I know that as a former victim it felt very good to turn the tables.
As a rational adult who's no longer threatened with bullying, I realize that answering violence with violence is never a solution.  I do know in my heart that the best answer, is always prevention.  
Meaning a focus on awareness and education . . . 

A PSA FROM AN OTHERWISE TYPICALLY SELF ABSORBED NAVEL GAZER (OR, SIMPLY A CRASS PLEA FOR YOUR TIME AND MONEY)

Good morning, or whatever time it is as you’re reading this. I find it easiest to express myself in real time stream of thought (s); I’ve been lying in bed contemplating the forthcoming subject and usually I think about something, then get up and by the time I’ve had coffee, heard some news and got on with my day the thoughts are processed but unrecorded. Today I don’t have to get ready for anything anytime soon, I don’t want to be distracted by one more crushing scary current event, so I’ve sat down with my tunes to share my musings.

April 23-30 is Anti-Bullying Awareness Week. It seems to me that people of the BDSM community are well placed to speak to the issues of the consequences of living in a culture that torments the queer. Taunts them to death in some cases, with merciless psychological and physical abuse. This would be a good place for our editor Michael to cite the sad statistics of suicide, homelessness and the myriad attendant results such as prostitution, drug abuse- all the afflictions of the outsider caste.  If you are lucky to be reading this on your computer at home, with a nice internet connection and all the accoutrements of civility, and are drawn to, or our living the reality of a BSDM consciousness in your life you are a fortunate brave minority.

I tend to take my life and freedom to be who I am for granted. I forget that in more places than not in our great democracy being queer in any fashion and owning it is inviting others to torture your sense of self into a warped self-loathing vision of what you think you’re supposed to be to escape the pain of not being accepted by your family and the world at large. I’m not suggesting that anyone living an alternative life come out en masse as show of solidarity for all the young misfits, that is unrealistic. I do suggest that you in some manner mentor, or support the programs out there that are reaching out to LGBT youth, and along with them, the kids who aren’t even sexually identified, but who by their inherent sensitivity and creativity are targets of bullying. (It’s not just other kids bullying, it’s grown ups too.)

I feel comfortable speaking to the issue because of my personal experience- I was an odd kid to begin with, different because I was raised in an open minded, liberal, affectionate family. They advocated for, and supported my dissent. Alas, I still had to go to public school and was subjected to the humiliation of being myself in a paradigm that glorifies conformity.  Think about how terrifying it would be to have to endure the hell of being picked on, with no support from loved ones, because if they knew the truth, they would hate you too. What would it be like to feel brave and inspired by some celebrity touting equal rights and acceptance for gay people, to come out, and find yourself thrown on the street in some shitty little town with no shelter, (or maybe even worse, sent to some militant Christian hetero boot camp…) Perhaps you escape to a big city, where you are taken in by unscrupulous people who will exploit you in the guise of accepting you.

The next time you pass by a pack of dirty, obnoxious scary looking crusty punk kids, remember that in different circumstances, without the serendipity of meeting a few right people at the right time, that could be you at that bus station, or in that doorway totally helpless and with no basic resources to even begin to figure out how to save yourself.

Michael has noted often that people into BDSM are typically well educated and have some amount of extra income.  I hope that after reading this you will give some thought to donating time, clothes, food or money to the groups that are trying to help outcast kids.  Without intervention, if they survive these kids grow up to be outcast adults, and the chain of abuses and exploitations grows longer.

The shelters and kitchens that serve teens and adolescents are in desperate need and are only kept going by individuals who identify with them, but were lucky enough to escape being pushed to the fringes of existence. I know that times are tight, and it is hard to even support oneself, let alone attempting to share the burden of helping those in need. It is possible though- and if material or emotional support isn’t an option for you, mention a bit of this essay in your blog, and encourage others to pass it along.

I know that get so caught up in maintaining the integrity of my “otherness” in this world, that I forget that there are other others out there that could really benefit from me/us acknowledging them and letting them know that we think they are amazing beautiful people whose birthright is to be happy and safe.

curse of the generalist

I'm a little jealous of true fetishists . . .

It's not so much that I wish to be something other than I am, as I'm more comfortable in my own skin than ever.  No, I'm a bit jealous because it seems that having a solitary focus for one's sexuality would be so very simple compared to someone like myself, who is turned on by just about everything associated with BDSM.

I guess that makes me a generalist in terms of my BDSM interests and practices, a jack of all trades.  Now when I was young I was taught the expression - jack of all trades, master of none - a little turn of speech that I've come call the - curse of the generalist . . .

Although it's not necessarily a true curse, it does sometimes make it a bit difficult to focus.  The generalist has so many options available, it can become difficult to choose.

For instance, our BDSM toybag holds such an incredibly widely varied assortment of gear, that I sometimes fear we don't get proper value from any one individual toy.  It can be months between uses for a tool, simply because there are so many varied options available to use, and I really do truly enjoy them all.

If I were a true electro-fetishist, our assortment of electric toys wouldn't sit languishing in storage between uses, instead they'd be found readily available, perhaps sitting on my bedside stand.  I do know that Serafina wishes I used them on her more often, and that's true for almost all of our toys, with some rare exceptions.  She'd also like more spankings, more floggings, more nipple play, more exploration of strong sensations (clips and clamps) on her pussy, more rope bondage, additional vacuum and other sensation play, a little more exploration of choking, etc., etc, etc. . . .

What can I say, I collared and married a wonder!  But, the truth be told, all those options and desires do occasionally make it just a little difficult to focus.

If my slave/wife and I were both foot and/or shoe fetishists, then my mind tells me that planning a scene becomes fairly simple.  I wouldn't necessarily fear getting bored with it because I am blessed with a creative enough mind to keep foot and shoe fetish scenarios inventive and fun for a really long time, not to mention the wonderful variety of shoes available today on the web.

Somewhere on my "to-do list" is to have Serafina learn to give a proper pedicure, so she can serve me in that manner, as a Master's feet can get a bit gnarly.  I'd feel much more comfortable and sexy doing foot play with properly maintained feet, ya know?  But, it just never happens because there are two dozen other interests of higher priority on my personal to-do list.

That's the curse of the generalist.

As problems go, it's what I was once trained to call a "high level problem" - it's the kind you want to have.  In the campaign and organizing world, a high level problem would be something like having too many volunteers for your space.  In the business world a high level problem would be a product in such great demand that you can't ramp up additional production fast enough to keep your product on the shelves.

So, with that in mind, I know how fortunate I truly am.  I am blessed with a slave/wife with interests and desires as strong and varied as my own, a woman with a strong libido, an inventive mind, and a kinky streak that's almost certainly at least a yard wide and a mile long.  For the most part, I have all the BDSM tools a Master could ever want, with perhaps the exception of a vacuum bed and a Sybian, and when I really want those badly enough I know they'll appear in my life somehow.

What's not to like?

Well, other than having to make all those damn pesky choices . . .





Friday, April 27, 2012

travelling back to Gor - Master's Bookshelf (pt. 1)

Serafina and I lived many years as caregivers for my elderly Mother who was ill and infirm for the better part of the last decade.  For more than three years we maintained our own residence, but I only ate my lunches there, as it was conveniently located close to my work (you know - the office with the view I mentioned in Prelude to THE Kiss.)

It was hard to give up our own home with beautifully refinished hardwood floors (compliments of Serafina) and real oak woodwork throughout, but it never made economic sense to leave it uninhabited, and Blissful Torment (who was still partial owner) refused to sign off on allowing tenants.

So we reluctantly packed up belongings and moved.  We were forced to move our full three bedroom home's worth of belongings (including full attic, basement, and 2 car garage) into less than half of the actual space of Mom's small 1970's split foyer residence.

Obviously, many things remained in storage, packed away in boxes, stored in the rafters of Mom's garage, stuffed in corner of a shed, stacked along the wall of the basement.  My best book collections made it to my antique glass front bookshelves, a family heirloom I've prized since childhood, but John Norman's Gor series has never exactly fit the description of being among my best books.

I'm not trying to rain on the parade of anyone who's in absolute love with the Gor series, as I certainly know it has more than it's share of adherents.  But in my house some rules are simple, paperback books don't sit behind antique glass that originally decorated the offices of the President of the Union State Bank.  So, the world of Gor languished in boxes, packed there by a angry Blissful Torment who didn't care for the series.  It likely had been as far back as 1998 when those books last saw the light of day.

They are out of their boxes now, I'm rereading the series one by one.  I'm actually finding it more enjoyable the second time around . . .

What are your feelings, my dear reader, about Gor?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

You're Just Dreaming!

photo by Serifina Samadhi

I know I dream, but I can very seldom remember them; let alone use them as guidance.  I do know people who say they use dreams all the time and I wonder why and how they manage it, because It does not happen for me.
  
I do remember as a teen I had a lot of flying dreams, and occasionally I'd dream that I was on the very edge of a roof and there would be fire or tigers and lions ready to swallow me up.  Another one was that I would climb up and up and then be immobilized to move and be stuck in that dream what seemed like forever.

What is unique to your dreams?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

another TMI Tuesday


Mirrors on the ceiling & pink champagne on ice... - TMI Tuesday 4-24-2012




1. What is your sexual personality?
a. The Controller – initiating sex, twisting your lover into positions you want, and driving scene play by play
b. Sex Slave – You love to be used and at the mercy of your lover. You don’t initiate but follow and do as you are told. You love to be used.
c. Daredevil – Sexual adventure and sexual thrills are what you are all about. You get off on the risk factor.
d. Subdued – Sex is a necessary part of the relationship so you are available when needed.

Quite obviously, I am - a. The Controller - No surprises there . . . 

2. How many times have you sneaked away from party guests to have sex in another part of the party venue. Where did you sneak to? Were you ever caught? For example, at a wedding reception you sneaked to have sex in the coat room. At a party, you sneaked to have sex in a bathroom or closet.

When I was 16 my first real girlfriend and I slipped away from a Luther League meeting and managed to slide into the darkened chapel for a sexual liaison which included a long make out session, some heavy petting, and a blow-job.  In all honesty, just about every single time I had sex at age 16 involved some kind of sneaking off from a group.    I've also told the story of a quick liaison with my 1st wife, at age 18, in my 1st apartment, with a guest just a room away, in a previous post about handgags.

3. Your sex partner that you are mad crazy for has requested you do one of the following, which one would you grant consent to do:
a. Bondage/light restraint with your hands, legs tied while having sex
b. A sexual spanking that leaves light marks
c. Record the two of you having sex
d. Have sex in a mirrored room where you can see yourselves having sex from every angle

This one's really simple - the answer is - e. All of the above - We do bondage and spanking all the time, and there is a mirror above our bed, so the only thing on this list that isn't a regular part of our normal activities is C

4. Do you act out your sexual fantasies (select one)? Why?
a. I act out all of my fantasies.
b. I act out many of my fantasies.
c. I act out some of my fantasies.
d. I act out very few of my fantasies.
e. I don’t act out any of my fantasies.
f. I don’t have any fantasies.

While I do act out most sexual fantasies, some fantasies fall into the realm of unrealistic or impractical actions, so for me the best answer is - b. I act out many of my fantasies.

5. How important is sex in your life (select one)?
a. I could hardly survive without it.
b. It is very important.
c. It is somewhat important.
d. I could live without it.
e. If it were up to me, sex wouldn’t even exist!

Serafina and I are very sexual creatures, but sex isn't the only thing that defines our relationship, so the best answer is - b. It is very important.

Bonus: Finish the following phrase.
Sex is ______________ .

Sex is a spiritual experience.

Monday, April 23, 2012

asking for bastinado . . .

Serafina and I were partaking in some BDSM style activities Friday night, we'd been playing with clothespins and other goodies in our current sleeping space.  My darling slave/wife was well into into what is commonly called subspace, when it seemed to my mind, that Serafina was in a mindset where her inhibitions were down, and I might try to talk freely about her darker desires.

It's hard, sometimes, to discuss BDSM activities without eliciting odd feelings.  We know in our hearts and in our minds that there's no shame in saying what we want to give or receive, but yet it's hard to put those desires into words.  Sub-space isn't always a productive mindset, there are times it's so deep that a submissive has trouble vocalizing anything, let along forming coherent sentences about desires.

That first edge of subspace, before she's fallen deeply, does seem to me to be a good point to "extract confessions" from a submissive.  I'm not talking interrogation, that's an entirely different mindset for everyone, instead I'm simply talking about getting a girl to open up when she's really feeling her submission, feeling owned and safe enough to allow herself to become vulnerable.

It was at a moment like this, when Serafina asked me Friday night to experiment on her with a technique called bastinado . . .
Foot whipping, variously known as bastinado, falanga (phalanga), and falaka (falaqa), is a form of corporal punishment in which the soles of the feet are beaten with an object such as a cane, rod or club, a stout leather bullwhip, or a flexible bat of heavy rubber. It is sometimes favored as a form of torture because although extremely painful, it leaves few physical marks.  (from Wikipedia)
That wasn't the only "confession" she made, but it was one which opens a new door for us.  Of course I'm excited to open another chapter in the way we interact, not to mention work on new techniques and torments.  Without a doubt, I'll combine some foot tickling and some other sensation play (think wartenberg wheel) into a scene with the bastinado.  And, I certainly won't confine myself to just using my canes on the soles of her feet, I'm interested in the effects my floggers and crops will have as well.

If there ever was a time to think of me wearing an evil grin, my dear reader, it's now!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Difficult Lessons?

photo by Serifina Samadhi


One of the most difficult lessons for me is patience.  I dislike waiting. Yet it seems that I have been waiting for one thing or another for more than half my life. 

Oh you wouldn't even know most of the time that I was waiting for something, because I seldom sat around to watch for what I was waiting for.  I grew up on a farm doing all things required for farm life. Milking the cows in the evening and then running it through the separator was my job.  As was cleaning out the chicken barn, laying in the feed and gathering eggs. 

Every other night it was also my turn to wash dishes from a whole days cooking and eating which added up to quite a lot with 8 people in the family, and multiplied greatly when we were cooking for the harvest crew which meant feeding another 4 to 6 mouths.

Patience. . lots of patience!

Friday, April 20, 2012

being driven by one's obsessions does not a Master make . . .

further observations on 50 Shades of Grey
A Gorean Slave Girl - John Norman's Gor series, despite violating the laws of physics and being total fantasy, is perhaps more plausible than 50 Shades of Grey by EL James
My darling slave/wife Serafina just completed the first part of a recent slave assignment, to review the book 50 Shade of Grey by E.L. James.  With that in mind, I'm now freed to make my own observations about the book, and the phenomena behind it.

Let me begin by saying, that I do believe Serafina is intellectually honest, and certainly is capable of forming and holding her own opinions.  But, I also know that a Master can have an overwhelming influence on their own slave's thinking.  For that reason, I've delayed putting any of my own impressions into writing, as I preferred to avoid unduly influencing Serafina prior to completing her assigned post.

I'd like to start by addressing the audience for which this book was written.  Now, I know that some authors don't believe in writing for a specific target audience, for instance kinky author and online friend Sadey Quinn said to me:
I don’t write for specific crowds, and I don’t think it’s fair to say one book isn’t appropriate for a group of people.
You are a nice lady Sadey, but I'm very much of a different opinion.  To my mind, if you are writing for everyone, you are really writing for no one.  I think it's always necessary to think about one's audience when writing.

I'm very positive that Laura Antoniou is writing for a different audience than EL James.  I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I'd be "all in" on a bet regarding those two author's intent.  Anyone care to wager?

If 50 Shades of Grey were a movie, I'd categorize it among "chick flicks".  It's much closer to being a harlequin romance than to any kind of serious literature.

At the same time I was reading 50 Shades of Grey, I was also reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, as well as rereading Tarnsman of Gor by John Norman.  If I were to compare my three most recent reads against each other, the outcome will not be at all pretty for 50 Shades of Grey.

I'd say that as an author, EL James isn't worthy to shine Oscar Wilde's boots, there's that great a difference in the quality of the two works.  Some might say I shouldn't be looking for real literary qualities in a book designed to titillate, and they might be right.  Oscar Wilde wasn't simply rewriting fan fiction like EL James.  It's ridiculous to try and compare 50 Shade of Grey to any kind of serious fiction, it's a different beast.

I don't know that anyone has accused John Norman's series of books about Gor as being a serious literary work, although in making that assertion I might upset a great number of online Gorean slaves, so be it.  The comparison between these two books is much more apt.

If you aren't familiar with the world of Gor, it's a Counter-Earth on the other side of the sun that's shielded from detection by Priest Kings who apparently have the ability to overrule the laws of physics.  It's a world where there are no guns or modern weapons, where power is won by guile and the strength of one's own sword arm.  It's also a land where men are men and women are (mostly) slaves.  As with most constructs, it's a world created in the imagination of a single man.

With that said, all of the science fiction elements asides, the individuals who inhabit the fantasy world introduced in Tarnsman of Gor are more believable than the characters introduced in 50 Shades of Grey.


I'm pretty sure that EL James was trying to create the impression of a Christian Grey who was sort of like a really pale version of blaxploitation film hero Shaft.  He's supposed to be a complicated man, and no one's to understand him but his woman.

Instead he strikes me as an insecure weasel who's lack of personal self control would be more indicative of an individual destined to respond with queries like - "How may I serve you?" and "Would you like to super size that?" - rather than an individual who pilots helicopters as well as single handedly building a prosperous corporation.

Throughout the book I wanted to say - "Dude, take a deep breath . . . I guarantee it'll be better if it's not over in less than the length of a commercial break!"  I know busboys screwing inside walk in freezers who had better stamina and longer actual encounters than Christian Grey's demonstrates with Anastasia, the story's narrator.  He screws like a baby crawls, quick and in short spurts.  He has the studied stamina of a rabbit.

He's not dashing, he's desperate, which makes perfect sense if you really stop to think about it.  I'm not even going to get too far into the deep insecurities about his own sexual prowess that Grey demonstrates by pursuing a 20+something aged virgin.  But I do think it's fair to say that the only woman who wouldn't recognize his inept lovemaking for being the height of personal selfishness would someone who is totally inexperienced, who'd never even had a boyfriend, not ever.

In that way, Anastasia might be a bit more believable than the ubiquitous Mr Grey (for God's sake don't misunderstand - I'm being sarcastic!)  I'm still looking for demographics indicating there are great numbers of college women who not only have perfect IQ's and perfect figures, but who also enjoy a perfectly intact hymen and a perfectly blissful ignorance of the joy of orgasm at college graduation.  Uh-huh!  I'm guessing, if I went searching for such a creature in real life, I'd feel like Diogenes, wandering the campuses of North America with a lantern on an endless quest.

Still, despite all those flaws, 50 Shade of Grey was a fun read, if only for just a moment.  It's like white sugar, it tastes good enough at the moment, but you know it's not good for you.  There's nothing wrong with white sugar, but remember that too much is guaranteed to make you sick.

Despite all the hype that's surrounded the book,  50 Shade of Grey will never ever be considered for rereading here at Castle Samadhi.  There are enough good fetish authors like Laura Antoniou and Patrick Califia who's works do deserve rereading, I simply don't have time for any more EL James.

50 Shade of Grey is really just disposable fiction, nothing more.  Appropriately marketed, it would be printed on toilet paper.  It's fair to good bathroom reading, and it would serve a more useful purpose when complete.

Fifty Shades of Grey Book review and discussion

In Slave assignment 3/16/2012   I was asked by Master Samadhi to read a fictional book  titled "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James.   I am not normally keen on fictional works because most of my reading is some form of self-education, but I have read enough fiction to know how to know the difference between a good novel or a waste of time.  The time wasters don't make it very far before abandonment.  Apart from a couple of grammatical errors the story is quite readable.  Unfortunately there are some darker issues with exactly who the original author or authors are, and plagiarism is amongst them, however I am not going to sort that out here.

I very much enjoyed the book.  I needed to say that before I began taking the book apart!  I am not going to join the mobs that criticize every aspect and detail of every action of the characters.  Those types of reviews can be found abundantly.  I found that many of Grey's qualities reminded me strongly of Master Michael.  The shudders the heroine describes echo mine whenever Gray uses intense staccato words and especially the mantra "you belong to me!" or "you're mine!"  Good stuff.

What astonished me was Grey's inability to have self-control.  In fact it was one of the first things Master queried me about  if I had noticed . . . I had!   The couple barely gets into the sex-play and he lets her cum a few times before he dives in and he explodes and then it's over.  Fortunately he did seem to have a short recovery, which was enough to redeem him. I think most stories come from a personal experience base; and so when I read those "Mr Grey's" often are unable to contain himself for extended play, I have to think that my Master is quite unique in that way of long protracted play.  Many others have noted it is actually pretty mild.

I am sure I am not a good person in judging it if is worthy of BDSM.  I had only a handful of Hustler mags to reference to and that was back in the 60's.  And a stack of Penthouse and Hustler Letters in the mid-70's that belonged to my ex. So my exposure over all has been limited until these past wonderful years with Master Michael.  Only I do know more about the obvious lack of understanding the workings of corporations and the interconnectedness  of politics, and it certifiably is not accurate portrayal in the book.

Perhaps, overall it is an entertaining read that has a large audience, and for most it might be a brief holiday from daily dull lives that we live.  Is it a movie yet?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

take this one off my bucket list . . .


bucket list - A list of things to do before you die. (definition from Urban Dictionary)
The term "bucket list" is a fairly new one for me, just a year ago I'd probably never heard the word - (I really should get out more eh?)

It's not so much that we didn't have something similar when I was growing up, we just called it a different name. My friends and I always called such things "wish lists" or "to-do lists", so I guess this isn't a case of an old dog learning a new trick, instead it's simply an old trick with a new name. There might be some subtle differences between the wish lists of my youth and today's bucket lists, but to my eye they are one and the same, just like a quote about a rose smelling as sweet with a different name.

Well, upon discovering the new-fangled invention of the aforementioned "bucket list", Serafina and I began discussing sexual things we'd like to do, and I added in some things I'd like to own, which is probably closer to the wish list concept of my youth than a bucket list, but I certainly don't want to argue semantics, like I said, it's all the same to me.

Which is all part of my very long winded way of saying that through a serendipitous turn of events, I'm about to cross an item off of my personal wish list, the biggest single purchase an individual / couple / triad / polymorphous-perverse-group into BDSM would realistically dream about, unless of course your name is Peter Ackworth and you are in the market to purchase something like the San Francisco Armory.

Yeppers, I've made the commitment, we're buying a Dungeon Bed!  Serafina and I are purchasing a Queen sized Dore Alley model that's going to be customized to our specifications.

I suppose it's a good thing my Mother isn't around to hear about this one, it might have given her a coronary and finished her off. Without a doubt she'd rate it up there with the time I used my student loan money to purchase a pair of ADS Studio Monitor speakers.

Of course some folks would rate spending one's college money on a pair of speakers to be the height of folly, and perhaps it was, but I'll never see it in that light. Up until the last few years, I'd never heard better sounding stereo than that produced by the speakers I've owned and cherished since 1982, and I've know some fairly serious audiophiles.

I'm pretty sure I'll feel the same way about my dungeon bed 30 years from now, assuming I make it that long, I'd be 78, if I'm still kicking in 2042 that is . . . . And, as a strange aside, I met a man the other day who is close to that age, he's 74, who has a 2 month old baby (if you hadn't guessed already, he's someone I knew from politics - horny bastards!) So I'm hoping, like him, that I'll still be doing more than just kicking in '42, although I'll pass on any lil' bundles of joy.

I figure you only live once, and I've always felt it's better to have regrets of being too reckless in my youth, than it is to have regrets of being too cautious. It's that attitude that led me to places like the Grand Canyon and into community organizing, and it's the same attitude that's going to put a bed with a base price approaching $3K into my bedroom.

I'm very fortunate that Serafina shares my enthusiasm for this purchase, as it's not something I'd do without her enthusiastic support and consent. Even if I am her Master, and she my slave, she is also my wife, partner, and best friend.


I know she'd tell me I'm free to do as I wish, as after all I am the Master, and the final authority in our lives.  But, this is as big a purchase as we'll make until we buy our next car. I trust Serafina's judgement implicitly, and if she were to tell me I'm a hopeless dreamer and our dollars could be better spend elsewhere, I'd listen.

She said no such thing. In other words, we're getting a bed! Serafina and I are purchasing a display model which will be shown at International Mr. Leather 2012 (IML2012) being held this Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Boy-howdy the old Windy City is going to be full of kinky folk that weekend. The 25th through the 28th of May are also the dates for the 9th Annual Shibaricon, happening at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, just a hop, a skip, and a jump across town.

One of the coolest things about any Dungeon Bed, is the great number of accessories that can be added to the base model, things like an under bed cage (shown above), extra restraint points, sling extenders, votive candle holders, removable curtain rods, and top crossbars. A permanent St Andrews Cross can even be made a part of the footboard should you choose.

Although our bed will be displayed at IML2012 before it comes to Castle Samadhi, it's being built to our specifications as we speak.  We didn't add the permanent St Andrews Cross because that would conflict with the sling extenders, which Serafina very much wanted to be part of the package.

The votive candle holders were considered an absolute must, they will twinkle and sparkle beautifully, creating wonderful ambiance, enhanced by the mirrors we'll put on the wall just behind the headboard.  Woot woot!

The top rail restrains were also considered a must have item, and so were the Top Cross Bars, as they are not only sexy looking, but also very functional.  They provide a good handhold for someone getting into, or out of, the sling.

Obviously they can also serve as additonal restraint points for sleepsack suspensions and the like.  The Top Cross bars are actually solid hammered steel bars that are passed through the Top Rail Restraint hoops and then anchored.

Last, but not least, we did add the Under Bed Cage option.  I've always wanted a real cage for my dungeon, not just one of those wire folding dog cages.

I had a large wire dog cage in my dungeon for the longest time, but eventually it was co-opted by my ex, Blissful Torment, to become an abode for her rabbit.  At that time I swore to myself that if I ever owned a cage again, it wouldn't be something for wee little bunny rabbits.

Of course my new cage would be absolutely perfect for a human sized rabbit, or similar creature.  Who's to say what Serafina and I might bring home after our next visit to the woods!  Now we're talkin!

I mean ya only live once, right?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fighting Depression

Photo by Serafina Samadhi
Self talk matters!

Self talk matters- A lot!

Sometimes when I feel I have failed at something I go into self-hatred.  Master has noticed my predisposition and I now have an edict that forbids me to continue destructive behavior.  Yes I am aware that there are some who carry that behavior by cutting or otherwise harm themselves physically.  When we speak self-debasing things about ourselves, we are doing as much, if not more damage, because it is not as apparent.  Therefore it can do far more harm, and ultimately destroy us.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TMI Tuesday - Michael - Honest Abe Tax Day Edition

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction . . . Sadly, this isn't one of those times! 
Michael's "Honest Abe Tax Day Edition" of TMI Tuesday.
1. Do you know how to pick a lock? Have you ever used this skill to gain unauthorized access?
I don't really know how to pick a lock, although I do know the "credit card" trick to popping a door open.  I've never used my knowledge to gain unauthorized access anywhere, only to get back into a house where keys had been accidentally locked.

2. Do you know how to open a safe with a rotary combination lock? Have you ever used this skill to gain unauthorized access? What did you find?
No I can't crack a safe.  I do know a guy who could do this for me if I asked, for a small fee.  In my mind that's better than knowing myself . . .

3. Have you ever made a copy of a key you were not supposed to have? Did you use it to gain unauthorized access? What were you looking for? Did you find it?
I'm afraid this particular TMI Tuesday is going to elicit boring answers from me.  I'm a Master, which means I enforce rules, and I'd be a rather hypocritical character were I to go around breaking rules myself.  I've never made unauthorized keys or used them to gain unauthorized access anywhere.  I think the worst I'd done was in my days as a chef - habitually borrowing my food manager's linen closet key to grab a fresh clean apron part way thru the day when one apron per day was all we were allowed.  Pretty daring huh?

4. Have you ever stolen or guessed a password? Did you use it to gain unauthorized access? What did you do?
Yes, I am guilty of this offense.  Something like 12 years ago, when my Mother was going thru a nasty divorce she asked me to crack my Father's email.  It took me three days of guessing passwords, but I eventually did get into his email for her.  Rather than passing along any of his personal information, which I didn't feel comfortable reading anyway, I decided to simply deleted everything in his inbox.  I knew he couldn't help but notice all the missing correspondence and take measures to change passwords to something more secure.  I'm disappointed with myself for this action, ashamed really, but Mother's do know how to push their son's buttons . . .

5. Do you know how to get data from a computer that requires a password you don’t know?
No I don't, I'm rather boring.  I do know a guy who could do this for me if I asked, for a small fee.  In my mind that's better than knowing myself . . .

6. Do you know how to record a telephone call? Have you ever done so secretly? Did you hear anything interesting? What?
I'm clueless as usual, just call me Sargent Shultze, I know nothing!  Seriously, I used to work in politics - everyone remembers Richard Nixon's tapes - so the LAST thing anyone would want is recorded phone calls.  I didn't even keep notes, having been advised that written notes can be accessed with a subpoena.  Having no notes and no real record records of calls and/or meetings also makes Freedoms of Information Act requests very easy to fulfill.

7. Have you ever used a webcam or nanny cam to photograph someone secretly?
I've used a nany cam/web cam setup to monitor my home when away, but it didn't lead to surreptitious photographs.  It was a homemade security system, to deter my ex-wife and her boyfriend from continuing to break into our former home where I was living during the divorce.

8. Have you ever used an infrared camera to photograph someone secretly in the dark?
No, I've never done that either . . . At my 16th birthday party in the 1970's I did sneak up on a friend who was laying in my bed making out with a married woman he had worked with . . .  and I snapped a flash photo with a Polaroid. Not exactly a Kodak moment . . .

9. Have you ever learned anything important by deliberate eavesdropping?
Only things I wish I didn't know . . . When I was 14 I evesdropped on a conversation my Mom was having with her best friend and learned that the best friend's daughter had been raped by her own father . . . ugggg

10. Do you know how to hot-wire a car?
Don't have a clue!  I don't even know a guy for this!

Bonus: Have you ever been paid for your sexual skills? What skill(s) did you perform?
The simple answer is yes.  From the age of 12 to 14 I was sexually abused by my piano teacher who had a penchant for performing fellatio on young boys.  He arranged with my parents to hire me outside of piano lessons to perform "odd jobs" around his apartment, which meant getting head.  When I put all those together, it means I've been paid for allowing a man to suck my cock.  I did protest and say I didn't want to go, but couldn't bring myself to tell my parents exactly why, and my parents didn't mind a weekly infusion of cash in my pocket which freed them from paying an allowance.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Welcome to Wisconsin! - How I Met My Slavegirl (pt. 2)

We left our last installment with . . . "She'd been near despair, as she'd begin to fear that all the dire warnings and predictions she'd heard prior to her trip to visit me might have come true.  I assured her that my affection for her was very real, and that I was very much a man of my word."  Yes my dear reader, it was a real wonder that my Serafina ever made it to meet me, as a number of individuals had taken it upon themselves to prevent our meeting from ever happening.  

You see, Serafina and I did meet first online . . . 

As Serafina and I walked to the car, I very much wanted to bring up the turmoil at her website, where a battle for the very soul of what Serafina was working to accomplish had been occurring.  It was an emotional issue for us both, but it wasn't the kind of thing one discusses walking through airport concourses, at least not here in the US.

Instead, as we were greeted by a picture of a smiling Richard M. Dailey with the caption, "Welcome to Chicago" as well as some marketing catch phrases, I decided to give Serafina an introduction to life in Illinois.  I guess I was probably trying to show off a little too, although I actually detest folks who practice name dropping like it's an art, I know I was guilty of that myself.

"That's "Richie Rich" as I like to call him privately," I said, nodding at the poster as we walked past.  "Although most folks call him Hizzoner," I continued, "To his face, it's always Mr. Mayor.  He's without the doubt the most powerful man in the sate," I confided.

"His Father was Mayor before him," I added, conveniently leaving out the power vacuum that occurred with Richard J. Daley's death, the Jane Byrne and Harold Washington eras.  "Daddy was the one who stole the votes to elect President Kennedy back just before I was born, and it's his machine that rules city politics still today."

Serafina, while looking pleasant enough, didn't seem to be terribly impressed by my stories of machine politics, so I was thankful that my truck was quickly approaching.  "That's my Toyota over there," I said, pointing at a black 4x4.  I unlocked the passenger door and helped Serafina step up on the running board and into the cab, before excusing myself to lock her luggage in the back.

Once I joined her, I took more than a moment to just look Serafina in the eyes.   With my only planned line and move of the day, I said, "I've been waiting for this for a long time," as I grabbed the back of her head and kissed my darling friend for everything I was worth.

It felt like she melted, at least a little, and I felt goosebumps on her arm when I finally pulled away.  I know her smile was brighter after that first truly passionate kiss.  Serafina grabbed my right hand tightly, as I pulled away from the parking area to begin our drive home.

"Where's Bliss?" Serafina asked.

"She's at home right now making sure everything's ready for your arrival," I replied.  "She's really excited about your visit and she wants to make everything perfect."

"Oh, I just thought she'd be along," she added.

'You know we haven't even lived in our own home since Mom tore her achilles tendon and needed help," I told Serafina, "So your visit helped give us the excuse to finally escape.  I don't want to sound callous, but Mom has been able to get around well enough to care for herself for some time, but she's been incredibly needy ever since Dad left her, and the achilles tear just compounded everything."

Just as I was finishing my soliloquy about being a caregiver, it came time to pay a parking lot attendant, so I reluctantly had to pull my hand away from Serafina's grasp in order to grab some cash.  Soon enough I'd merged into interstate traffic, and was able to return my hand to Serafina's tight grasp.

"So, should we discuss all the drama at your website?" I asked.

"Oh Michael, I just don't know . . . " Serafina replied before trailing off in thought.  After just a brief moment, that somehow seemed interminably long, she said. "I'm here to see you, and I'd really like to focus on that."

Serafina continued speaking softly, saying, "I don't want anything associated with that site, the petty squabbling in the forums, all the fighting and nonsense, to cause problems for us while we are here."  I had to lean over more closely towards Serafina, to better hear what she was saying.  She leaned in more closely herself, like she longed for nothing more than to just curl up in my arms, and grasped my hand more tightly in hers.

"Just know the only thing I want, my only agenda, is to help you fulfill your vision . . ." I said, trailing off, my sentence and point still unfinished.  I wanted to tell Serafina that I'd fallen in love with her vision for helping others before I ever fell for her, yet I knew that wouldn't come out sounding correct.

"Frankly dear, I don't care what Bud, CT, or Lily . . . I don't care what any of those other fools want, or even what they say," I blurted out.

"It's YOUR site, it's YOUR vision, it's YOUR mission, and I want you to know that I'll fight for that, and I'll fight for you," I added, starting to get myself a little worked up.  I've always had a terrible penchant for fencing windmills it seems. Mom always said I relished the act, saying I'd mount my white charger, grab my lance, and charge off to battle like a knight errant.

"THEY don't know you like Bliss and I do, THEY have never been to visit your home and your family, THEY don't know the name of your childhood horse, or ANY of the other important things about you."

"Michael, why don't I set up a site for just you and me . . . I'll walk away from CK . . . We'll start our own . . . " my Serafina began to reply.

Before she could finish her sentence I stopped her.  "No," I said, "That's too big a sacrifice for you to make."

"Did you ever read my beehive essay over at MSP?" Serafina asked.

"No," I said.

"I'll show it to you when we get to your house," Serafina stated.  "It's a parable," she added.  "The bottom line is pretty simple though."

"OK," I said, growing curious.

"Sometimes it's time to start a new hive, and that decision rests with the queen bee . . . " Serafina said trailing off again.

"OH FUCK!" I said.

"What's wrong, did I offend you?" Serafina asked, drawing away.

"No darling, the sign we just passed said - 'Welcome to Wisconsin' - meaning . . . " I trailed off with embarrassment.

"Meaning, for the last half hour I've been driving in the wrong direction," I said, my face turning red.

"Oh well, that just gives us more time together, just you and me," Serafina replied, snuggling back in against my arm.

 I reversed course at the first exit I found.  Looking over and down upon a smiling Serafina, I said with a wink . . .

"Welcome to Wisconsin!"

Saturday, April 14, 2012

not fan fiction . . . 50 Shades of Sellout

It's not everyday that a book with BDSM content makes best seller lists. Sadly, it's not always the best books that become the best sellers either.  I suppose that's true for other art forms with a popular side.  

For instance, the so called "Bubblegum Rock" of the 1970's was vastly popular in it's day, generating lots of airplay and record sales.  But, it is rarely played today, not even on stations that exclusively play music from that era.  

The converse is also often true.  The first album by the Velvet Underground originally had dismal sales, The Velvet Underground & Nico topped out on the Billboard record charts at #171, but it's gone on to become one of the most influential records of it's era.

Obviously, as in the world of book publishing, the popularity of a album isn't a good indicator of it's quality and ability to stand the test of time.  Why would BDSM fiction be any different?

I have great respect for author Laura Antoniou, her BDSM fiction is very well written.  Antoniou's treatment of the BDSM lifestyle is done with such style, realism, and panache; it's become the inspiration for a number of other works in a variety of mediums, Kink.com's The Upper Floor being just one example.

While the Marketplace series obviously takes place in a world that doesn't really exist today, her characters are realistically written and generally have real depth.  That's something that can't be said for most other writers of BDSM erotica, who it seems struggle to have their cast of characters become anything more than cliches.

So, when Laura Antoniou publicly roasts an underwritten but over-hyped book that has won a popularity contest or two in the vanilla world, I'm going to take notice.

Furthermore, when she appends the words "Feel free to share!" at the end of said parody, my darling Serafina had better run off to a riverboat and bet her sweet submissive ass that I'm going to repost . . . 
 
50 Shades of Sellout

"Double Crap!" Tiffany extrapolated, as she realized her perfectly perky 37D breasts had gained another D overnight. "Now what will I wear to the company party! I must make a good impression on Mr. Momzer Macher, the new President and CEO and CFO and CBO and...oh, whatever he is!" Sighing with frustration, the gorgeous blonde gazed at her mirror image and fingered the honey gold waves of her naturally wavy hair. "I know! I will wear that daring leather bustier that my gay BFF talked me into buying at that strange street fair he took me to in San Francisco! Gee, I wonder if he worked things out with that hunk he met that day. He said he was into leather, but when I asked him where to find a good purse, he just laughed."

She blinked her cerulean eyes in her memory and then went to get her fetching outfit. It was tight in all the right places and really emphasized her 37-24-36 shape, and the leather felt so stiff and hot and sexy against her alabaster skin! And how it molded her perfect 110 pounds! "How will I ever get through the night without fainting?" she wondered as she strapped her tiny, delicate alabaster feet into her four inch heels, deciding not to take the really high ones. "Good thing I already threw up."

At the party, everyone was in their fanciest clothes and the music was awesome and loud and there was dancing and great food like chicken fingers and the little hot dogs in pastry and sushi and tapas and stuff. Tiffany said hi to all her girlfriends, except for Boring Brenda and kissed all the gay guys and was licking a cherry popsicle that had a fancy imported liquor in it when suddenly she saw...HIM.
Like. O. M. G. There he was, so freaking hot. In his leather pants from Dolce and Gabanna and his black silk shirt and really expensive black tie and black jacket and black diamond stick pin through the really expensive black tie and his ink black hair and jet black eyes and his big feet in big, black boots, oh, he was so into black.

"you're Tiffany," he murmured as he leaned in toward her, gracefully looking at her plunging cleavage, and her heaving alabaster breasts.

He was so tall! Even with her lithe 5'7" frame enhanced by those 4" heels, he was at least a foot taller! And his piercing black eyes pierced her to her very soul.

"I...I..." Tiffany stammered, letting her booze popsicle drip, drip, drip down her hand to splat, splat, splat on the floor. She bit her full, ruby red lips in luscious lasciviousness.

"I'm disgustingly rich and dominant," he sneered dominantly. "you will be Mine!"

"Oh, wow," Tiffany seized. "Um. Wow. OK. Sure. What does that mean, exactly?"

"I have a checklist!" he said triumphantly, while texting an URL to her. "Go to My Web Page and fill it out, and tell Me whether you like, dislike, or are neutral about the 300 activities and fetishes listed there, and whether you've done them before and with whom, and what you thought about it, and then rate them on a scale of 1-10 on whether you'd like to do it now, tomorrow, next week, or after the Mayan Apocalypse."

"Um," Tiffany coughed out, a delicate flush gathering on her porcelain features, her beautiful, full lips, her high, sculpted cheekbones, her delicately feathered eyebrows and her oh-so-cute upturned nose. "But I'm sure I haven't done anything on your list at all! Despite being an adult in 2012, working at your huge corporation and having been through some form of schooling, I am still completely virginal and know nothing at all about kinky sex! I am beautiful, though."

His anthracite eyes brightened under His heavy, midnight brows and He gazed at her with an acquisitional hunger, like a Guy who hasn't had anything to eat in days. And yet she could see some painful memory, some dark - dare she think black? - secret lurking behind those onyx eyes.

"Then you're really going to be Mine!" he thundered. "Because I Alone can teach you the gift of submission, give rise to your slave heart, grant to you the loving dominance of My Masterful Aggression, all tempered, of course, with rationality and with all due care and attention given to risk-aware negotiation! I will teach you to serve Me with your submissive soul, your passive power, your girly gushiness, train you to come at the snap of My Fingers and find true freedom in your complete subjugation to My Will. Yes...you will even learn...Bad Grammar."

"Triple crap!" Tiffany declaimed. "All that? But...how is that possible? It all sounds crazy! And yet...when I look into your charcoal eyes under that irrepressible lock of ebony hair, as I run my searching, trembling fingers across the steel buttons on your sable silk shirt, all I can think of is...Jesus Christ, I am so horny I can die. I think. But i don't really know, because of the virgin thing?"
Mr. Momzer Macher took her pale, shaking hand and led her gentle, undulating form away from the party into his private boardroom where the table could be set up like a bed and tumbled her back onto it.

"I will teach you, little one," he said with intrepid confidence in himself. "And you will be my prized little party girl possession for all time. Just like the last seventeen."

"Oh, quadruple crap!" she extremed, as he tore away her leather bustier with one hand and fell on her like a ravening wolf. A ravening black wolf.

To be continued...OK, not really.

Feel free to share!
And for SM fiction of a different color, see lantoniou.com
Author Laura Antoniou

Friday, April 13, 2012

scary . . .

Happy Friday the 13th

"13" is Michael's lucky number!

My Mrs Robinson moment . . . or . . . True Love Don't Stink!

This post is about the smell of love, sort of anyway.  

Yes really, that's the subject, the smell of love, in it's own strange biological way . . . 

In my most recent post, telling the story of meeting Serafina for the first time, I divulged a little bit of my history as an avid backpacker and environmental activist.  Well, I've not followed anything like a normal career path, I had a unique history before my time in the trenches fighting for social and environmental justice.  

I was once training to become a Chef . . . 
Today's story begins at Grand Canyon National Park, something like 25 years ago, in the days when I literally called that park my home.

Oh yes, my dear reader, I spent a year living with a natural wonder just a couple of minutes outside my back door.  It was a good year, a tumultuous year, an era where I had an overwhelming number of new experiences in relatively short period of time.  I know the period will remain unmatched in my lifetime, in my personal experience.

I was 23 years old, and everyone I knew, everyone who thought they knew me, everyone everywhere was already telling me, had already been telling me for years, that I was wasting my life.  It can be unnerving being told that you are ruining your potential.  It was overpowering to be told I was going to regret the choices I was making for the rest of my life.

I think I'd been hearing that refrain for 10 years . . .

The thing is, I couldn't just comply with the wishes of my parents or friends, they didn't understand me, they didn't know my motivations, and they certainly weren't going to tell me what to do.  I simply figured that I knew better than everybody else.  I'd already arrived at that conclusion by the age of 17 . . .

In seeking to escape all of my detractors, I slipped away one day with little notice or fanfare, and disappeared to the employ of Grand Canyon National Park Lodges (GCNPL).  It was the time when Japan was looked to as the world's greatest economic power.  And, strangely enough, despite being an employee of a vendor who had an exclusive arrangement with National Park Service for the Grand Canyon, my ultimate employer was a Japanese conglomerate who had purchased the fabled Fred Harvey chain of restaurants and lodges.

At the time it didn't bother me who ultimately signed my checks, as long as they were signed.  There wasn't a lot of money to be made, but ultimately GCNPL took decent care of it's employees, so we did OK, better than most restaurant workers.  We had subsidized housing and subsidized meals, we could get reduced cost airfare to and from the National Park, we could also access reduced cost rafting trips and expeditions.

looking at the El Tovar at sunset
All the benefits were nice, they drew me to a seasonal job with a three month contract.  I stayed on afterwards to train to become a chef under our highly respected Executive Chef, a rising star in the world of fine dining.  I was working at the El Tovar, a 4-star restaurant and lodge situated on the Grand Canyon's South Rim.  I learned to prepare escargot and rack of lamb among others, not to mention a whole world of sauces, gravies, and other gastronomic delights.

It was there I met Nancy, the real subject of today's post.  I was in my 20′s, she was in her 40's, but she had the best body of any woman I'd ever dated.  She was a marvel.

As an literate backpacker and outdoorsman, I read a number of periodicals, Backpacker and Outside magazine being among my favorite selections.  Soon after meeting Nancy, I learned that she had dated more than one of the authors who were regularly featured in those periodicals, and that she'd was an avid mountain and rock climber herself.  Among her other accomplishments, Nancy had been one of the first women to summit Denali (Mt McKinley) in Alaska.

One of the most interesting and pioneering climbers, a fellow who I honestly wished to emulate, had lived and slept with Nancy for over a decade, a fact that didn't escape an impressionable young man like myself.   If you were an outdoor junkie back in those days, you might remember the guy who pioneered the art of carrying a mountain bike to the top of some of the worlds tallest summits, then biking back down.  He was the guy who'd been her boyfriend.  Well, among others . . .

I met Nancy at my dorm room's door, where she was insistently knocking.  I already knew who she was from the El Tovar, where she was a waitress.  Before you get the impression that she was some kind of downtrodden waif, waitresses at the El Tovar made very good money for those days.  It was the Ronald Regan era, and the minimum wage was $3.35 per hour.  On a fair night at the El Tovar, a good waitress could expect to pick up $100 in tips.  On a busy night, it wasn't unheard of for one to earn $200.

Nancy was at the door of my dorm room looking for my roommate, who she'd dated the night before.  My roommate Gary was, at that moment, hiding in the bathroom.  Gary had observed Nancy bike up to the dorm, but he was . . . . well frankly, he was a chickenshit little guy who didn't even have the common courtesy to face a woman he'd accepted a blowjob from just the night before.

While Gary hid in our bathroom, I got the task of giving Nancy the bullshit brush-off . . .

Well, my dear reader, I hope you'll be happy to learn that I didn't cover for a coward hiding in the bathroom, I simply stepped into the hall, closed the door behind me so my roomie couldn't easily eavesdrop, and told Nancy the truth.

I believe the words I said were . . .
"Nancy, I know Gary's a good looking guy, and he does talk a good line too, but he doesn't have much respect for women.  I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but he's hiding in our bathroom right now, as he really doesn't want to have to face you today.  He's not planning on dating you again, but frankly, he doesn't have the balls to tell you that, so he sent me to the door to cover for him.  I don't cover for cowards Nancy, and I thought you deserved the truth, as I respect you too much to let him make a fool of you, thinking you were pursuing someone with a sincere interest.  I'm sorry, but that's just not the case."
I don't think that I expected gratitude for what I'd done, in fact I'm pretty sure I didn't think at all before acting.  My heart and my instincts had guided me before my head could really engage.  WTF was I thinking, outing my roommate like that?  I mean, I had to live with this dude!  While my actions didn't endear me to Gary, they did apparently impress Nancy, who the very next day invited me to dinner to thank me for my candor and chivalry.

Now I'm not a guy like Gary, I don't come equipped with any pithy one liners to impress ladies.  When I develop an attraction, I work to build a friendship first, so I've never actually had a one night stand, nor even women who I've only made love to a handful of times.  I'm a committed relationship kind of fellow, pure and simple.

So there were no thoughts of sex in my mind when I went out to dinner with Nancy.  I didn't know her well enough yet to know if we'd even become friends, let alone become intimate.  Then she started regaling me with stories of spending the 60's in San Francisco, of living on a commune, first in the Haight-Asbury district, and then later in a more rural locale.  I heard the story of packing her two year old boy in her car and driving to Alaska, where she talked her way into a job she was nowhere close to being qualified to work.

That was all good and fun.  I'd often wished that I'd been born a decade earlier, that I'd been old enough to appreciate the Summer of Love.  What really attracted me though, were her stories about mountaineering and rock climbing.  My Dad spent all his summers at a YMCA boys camp near Estes Park, throughout all of my childhood I'd been told stories of summits and peaks climbed and conquered.  Now as an avid backpacker and aspiring climber, I'd met a woman who just offered to climb with me.  I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!

Grand Canyon Village is like a small town, everyone there knows each other's business.  It was just the next day when I started hearing comments about my "date" with Nancy, and how her fellow waitresses thought we made a nice couple.  I wasn't so sure about being any kind of couple, but we did go out for dinner together the next two nights,

And it was on that third date that I gave in and slept with Nancy.  She told me afterwards that she was beginning to despair that I'd ever get interested enough in her to make a move.  I told her that she was lucky I gave in so easily, that I usually made a girl work a lot harder before I'd sleep with her.

And finally, we reach the crux of this story, the point all these words are building towards.  That first night I slept with Nancy, not long after we finished with out first round of lovemaking, she placed her nose squarely against my underarm and inhaled.  Then she looked me square in the eye and asked how long before I could do it again . . .

After I replied that all I'd need were five minutes and a cigarette, Nancy told me that she was very impressed with my skills, so she had been checking to see, by smell, if we were going to be sexually compatible in the long term.  Nancy went on to relate that she'd divorced one of her six previous husbands because she couldn't stand his odor.  Even fresh from the shower, he'd been offensive to her olfactory senses, and it eventually led to her leaving him behind.

And there's the point of my sordid Mrs Robinson like tale.  Besides being an exercise in sharing a little bit of my life story with you, my dear reader, this post was also written to illustrate some little known science, not to mention being a response to a posting on Violet Blue's blog by Thomas Roche titled: Love Stinks: The Truth About Pheromones and Pheremone Parties.

In discussing individual’s body odor, Nancy and I used the term “body chemistry” rather than pheromone, but she was very much of the opinion that an individual’s scent after a good workout offered more to her than just the smell of sweat. Nancy swore that she could predict sexual compatibility based on what she called the “sniff test.”

It would be my understanding, in retrospect, that there really may be some science behind what I called the "scratch then sniff" technique (in addition to being a "cougar" before older women who enjoyed younger men had such a name, she was a real wildcat in the bedroom - I did, upon occasion, a wear significant scratches) this has little to do with pheromones.

Instead, it probably has everything to do with some other different factors that do have their basis in modern science. The stories I’ve read related this effect to specific genes called the MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex) that are part of our immune system.

Here's how the scientific theory was explained by the Los Angeles Times:
Researchers have long studied how certain traits -- square jaws in men, narrow waists in women, facial symmetry in both genders, for example -- seem to signal good genetic fitness to potential mates. But recently scientists have zeroed in on specific genes that might play a surprising role in how we choose hookups -- and possibly settle-downs.

Known as MHC (for major histocompatibility complex), these genes control how the immune system recognizes and fights off microscopic foreign invaders such as viruses, fungi and bacteria. Doctors also look at this portion of the genome to match up compatible organ donors and recipients.

Apparently the nose uses these genes too -- albeit for a different type of compatibility. Imagine you were to work the crowd at your singles bar by sniffing potential dates' sweaty underarms. (Urine aromas would work, too, but let's stick with armpits for now.)

Studies suggest that owners of the underarms you found to be most tolerable -- primally sexy, even -- are likely to have different histocompatibility genes than you. And those who have similar immune system types probably smell more like gym socks to you.

It's plausible that natural selection rigged the mating game in its favor, explains Randy Thornhill, a biology professor at the University of New Mexico and an immune-system-genetics researcher. If men and women with complementary immune systems are inexplicably drawn to each other, their kids will have an advantage in fighting off pathogenic nasties.
I learned a lot from Nancy, perhaps more than I thought.  She might really have been on to some things that science is only catching up to today.  It's more than canyons that are grand my friends, life itself is a grand adventure.

I'm pretty sure we'll run across Nancy again.  We had some good times as we dated, our relationship lasted for more than six months, and I know there are more stories worth retelling . . .

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Prelude to THE Kiss - How I Met My Slavegirl

There's more than a little backstory before the tale I'm about to tell, but I've never been very good at putting things in chronological order, at least not good at putting them down on paper in proper order.  In reality this is probably "Episode 4" in the story of how Serafina and I became Master and slave, so the rest will have to come as some sort of prequel.  Call me George Lucas if ya must, I'm sure the only individual who could be offended by such a quip is Mr Lucas.
Anxious.  That's what I remember most, being nervous.  Filled with the kind of nervous anticipation you get moments before a performance.  I remember that in my childhood Mom had always called that feeling, "having butterflies in your stomach."   Well, in this instance, it was the whole freaking Monarch Butterfly migration fluttering around just below my chest cavity.

There I was, standing in a vast terminal in Chicago's O'Hare Airport, waiting for my new girlfriend who was flying in from Seattle.  We were about to meet for the first time, and my anticipation was almost childlike.  Blissful Torment had declared that SHE was the one, and now it was my turn to meet the Princess who had turned my wife's head.

It was not too long after 9/11, and security could only be described as being a serious pain in the ass.  At least the glares of camouflage garbed National Guardsmen armed with assault rifles were gone, replaced by the scowling presence of more subtly uniformed and armed NTSA agents.  Flashing my Legislative ID and business card with the State Seal and bold title - Chief of Staff - didn't impress anyone and couldn't get me past their frowns, so I was reduced to waiting for arrivals with everyone else.

It was hard to just stand and wait, that's not my nature.  I guess there was a reason I'd been called "Action Man" back in the days when I'd been a community organizer, as I'm not one for sitting (or standing) around with nothing to do.  I used to laugh at people who talked about kicking back and relaxing on vacation, I always figured there'd be plenty of time for reclining when I was dead.

My ideal vacation (not to mention vocation) had always been strapping on a backpack and setting out into a wilderness area.  Now that was gone, disappeared with an unstable lumbar spine and severe chronic back pain that was preventing me from even being on the road with my employer, who was unceasing himself in his quest for higher and higher offices.

That I'd been forced to trade my backpack and banners for a suit and tie was bad enough, but now I was limited to office work, tied to a fucking desk.  Sure, there was a really nice view out the window of my office, that was some consolation, but the actual consolation was sight for a man who had work to do and a public to serve.  People who visited me always marveled at my view, I always said, "Sure it is nice, if you've got time to look."

It had been a year since I'd driven to Chicago to pick up Ms Torment's previous girlfriend, and I was being less than subtly reminded that my hiatus in travel had been for a worthwhile reason, my back was literally screaming in pain from the day's drive.  Standing and waiting had made it worse.

So, I convinced myself that I needed to walk back down to the video display showing arrivals, to confirm that Serafina's flight was on time.  Walking at least provided some relief from the anxiety and boredom of waiting, even if the exercise on the hard cement floor of the terminal wouldn't exactly help work out the pain.

This was my fourth or fight trek across the terminal, I'd lost count.  I know I was limping by that time, tendrils of the flames from my lumbar had been burning down my right leg for the past hour.  When pressure from inside my lumbar had caused the foot to go numb on the drive to O'Hare, I was thankful for the relief, and for my cruise control too.  I knew that precious numb respite was gone for the day, just as I knew that if I didn't keep moving I'd want to just curl up in a corner and whimper like a wounded animal.

As I limped up to the display, I saw that the flight from Seattle had arrived, so I turned around and began to trudge back towards the arrivals gate.  The walk back across the terminal felt as though like it was miles in length, although I'm sure it wasn't more than a hundred yards or two at most.  My back had gone beyond screaming, and was now laying in my pelvis kicking and throwing it's arms about in a tantrum, or so it felt.

Then I looked up and saw Serafina.  She looked just as tired and worn as me, she was limping, and she looked as though she might break into tears at any time.  She recognized me at almost the same moment, and the look on her face changed to one of glee.

I don't remember feeling any pain crossing the distance to Serafina, I'm told I broke into a near run for those last few yards.  I do know that in my enthusiasm she was swept off her feet, that I bear hugged her with glee.  Serafina remembers me swinging her in a circle, her feet off the ground the entire time, I just remember that in my excitement I did swing her like a rag doll, and hugged the breath right out of her too.

Oh her eyes!  That's what I remember most about that first look at my Serafina, her blue eyes.  They sparkled  despite the dull florescent lights overhead, despite her own pain and anxiety.  Despite everything else, those eyes still managed to draw me in.  When she smiled at me, holding my gaze, I melted.

I quickly learned that Serafina already had long since arrived.  Poor Serafina had even retrieved her luggage, all without seeing me waiting.  We'd missed each other during one of my cross terminal walks to check arrival listings.

She'd been near despair, as she'd begin to fear that all the dire warnings and predictions she'd heard prior to her trip to visit me might have come true.  I assured her that my affection for her was very real, and that I was very much a man of my word.
(to be continued)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

further discussion of the "birth control" debate

Ultimately, I wish that issues regarding our sexuality were never politicized.  Unfortunately we live in a world where everything is politicized, including behaviors and beliefs that are essential to our humanness, spirituality and sex.  Because we live in a political world, and because this is an issue that ultimately deals with our sexuality, I do believe that the overtly political discussion of the ongoing debate about birth control and insurance coverage is appropriate for this blog.

It seems to me that this is an ugly debate, as it touches issues that are deeply felt by everyone.  When discussing issues like economics and morality, we are inherently on unstable footing, all of us.  Despite our personal assurance that many individuals feel, that their faith is the one true faith, that sad truth is that nobody really knows what's on ther "other side", or even if there is an "other side".

Any debate that sets people up for desperate opposition based upon their personal sense of money & morality is a debate that can rupture friendships. So what am I doing, but telling both sides they are wrong.  It's an uncomfortable position to be in, were it not for the fact that some close friends who truly understand my reasons and motivations for entering this debate telling me that these things need to be said.

Here's an excerpt from correspondence with a dear friend, who is both a wonderful woman and very much a progressive, posted here with her permission:
 I work in a hospital, and provide a service that is self pay- I've noticed a glimmer of burgeoning interest of the concept of preventative health care- which the insurance companies don't like, because they want everyone in America tethered to some form of exspensive ongoing test, treatment, pill...I've had clients on the verge of having back, neck or shoulder surgery who have recovered and been able to manage their pain with lifestyle changes like exercises and diet- many people who have had joint replacement who otherwise would have suffered from diabetes or heart disease because of their limited mobility are living vital active lives. Based on my experience, trying to fund our current health care system is untenable- for instance let's say you have pretty good insurance- go to your GP because you have a stiff neck and shoulder pain and headaches...a few vicoden scripts, some harrowing trips to a orthopedist, maybe a neurologist, and several MRI's and thousands of dollars later you're on a cornucopia of drugs that further inhibit your ability to function, and there is no answer or diagnoses... our best customers in the Physical Therapy clinic are Europeans who swear by "physio therapy" because in Europe they treat the causes of structural imbalance before they turn into chronic issues only marginally treatable by surgery or drugs. It seems like the whole system is geared to allowing the un or underinsured to suffer sub-par care, while turning the insured into immobilised zombies. Part of the reason I love my job so much, is that I get to offer people affordable, sustainable relief that is outside the current paradigm of out neurotic approach to health care. So yeah, that's what everyone should be thinking about, not the paper tiger of the free birth control issue- you are totally right that it all obscures the real challenges of health care reform. 
That's so very well said I simply had to bring the perspective to this debate.

Also, because I'm less than completely enamored with the way comments are navigated around and shown by blogger, I'm going to include a comment made in regard to my last post on this topic, as well as my response, which I've further embellished . . .
I think that the problem is that Viagra has been covered by insurances for awhile and birth control is not always covered. I don't think any of it should be free but if one is going to be covered the other definitely needs to be. Seems just a little sexist. Also the cost of no birth control coverage is awfully high for everyone involved. Respectfully, DJ
Thanks for the comment DJ! :)

The state I live in long ago mandated that birth control be covered, and I've have no quarrel with such a mandate. I should have been more clear about that in my essay. If there is a medical necessity for birth control, then I see no problem with insurance covering it.

My big problem is the demand that birth control be available free, which is the strident position of the liberals. The thing is - a fair co-pay for birth control would be similar to the co-pay senior citizens pay under Medicare Part D for their blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes drugs - $15 to $45 dollars - and that's already the average cost of birth control pills according to Planned Parenthood . . .

Involving insurance in the equation simply adds an extra middle man and more cost for everybody!!!

As for the cost of no birth control coverage being too high, I think that is a false argument. For starters, condoms are cheap and effective, and they also come with the side benefit of preventing the spread of many sexual diseases. Seriously, it's not that hard to "wrap that rascal"!

More focus on condoms (as opposed to hormone based drugs) is cost effective and also is a public health boon - so once again the birth control debate is the wrong discussion at the wrong time . . .

When it comes down to insurance coverage for Viagra, I don't personally agree that it should be covered by insurance, but dragging erectile dysfunctional pills into the debate is false logic. If you have a problem with Viagra being covered by insurance, fight that, don't use it as justification for other drugs to be covered.

Furthermore . . .

My ex lied about back pain (counselled by doctor) to get her breast reduction surgery - all paid for by insurance. I'm not upset that breast reduction surgery is covered for women but not for men . . . men get saggy breasts too ya know - but if I went to my doc and asked for a surgical solution - I'd be laughed out of the office!

"Tit for tat" arguments are false logic, it's apples and oranges in a way, and it forwards the agenda of people who wish to stress the differences between sexes, who have a stake in the so called "battle of the sexes".

I've got news for folks there too, smart people, real progressives, now realize that the gender wars were also a distraction forwarded by individuals with real agendas against the so called opposite sex. Gender isn't a polarity, it's a spectrum. There aren't two genders, as there are varied forms of gender expression, and people can change their so called "gender" today.

If you are a member of Fetlife, for instance, you already know that there are more than two available choices for gender . . .

So, for my way of thinking, any argument that's men vs women is inherently archaic, not to mention elitist. It assumes that there are only two gender roles that are available and/or appropriate. People who are progressive and educated in terms of gender roles know that limiting ourselves to only two choices for sex expression leaves huge numbers out of the conversation.

Rather than focusing on the difference between women and men, I believe we should embrace our own unique sexual individuality, just as some Eastern belief systems stress that dual nature within each of us, the yin and the yang.  We are all human, and what we share is the human experience, not the male or female experience . . .