April 2009


doggiemasks1
I stumbled across this video the other day in the New York Times.  I wish I could embed it.  I really liked watching it.  It’s about two working-class brothers who made their fortunes by launching a leather business in Pakistan.  It took them time to succeed because in a place with an extensive garmet industry, they had to identify a niche market.

You see where this is going yet?

They make bondage gear.  The first thing they made was a straightjacket.

What really moved me about the story was not the rags-to-riches tale of the two brothers, who really do seem to have been through the school of hard knocks, but the attitude of the journalist.  There was no sneering or giggling-behind-his hand at his interview subjects.  In the wake of the publicity bizarre articles like the one SF Weekly recently published about Kink.com, kinky people can become paranoid that everyone hates them and that the media is out to get them.

It’s nice to remember that it ain’t necessarily so.  It’s good to see that some folks, like the lovely, 25-year old woman who has designed and sold garments for the company for three years, can look at a dog collar and recognize both their own desires and the desires of others as part of the great pattern of human nature.


doggiemasks2

[Picture?  Oh go-on. I’ll put a picture up later.  I’m at work–you do some work too.]

Edit:  Okay, pup, your patience is an inspiration.  Here you go.

Sometimes, I think I am getting almost defiantly used to being broken up with Robbie.  A few months ago, while broken up, I took a literal (and yes, petty) step in moving on.  I changed the passwords to this blog, my fetlife profile, and my yahoo email account, altering it from the password we created together to one that I made for myself.  I changed the locks, literally and figuratively.

The only problem is that I hate the new password.  I came up with it on a day I was feeling particularly low and self-loathing (probably around the time I was chain-eating donuts) and when I type it now, I feel correspondingly glum.  I loved the last password, and so I guess it’s back to the drawing board.

And speaking of drawings and locks and playin’ around . . . I give you a selection of the inventive designs of Fernando Vicente . . .

fernando-vicente

. . . found via ponyXpress.

oncebittenI always hate admitting that I am a masochist.  But certain events in my daily life make me unable to avoid concluding that I love pain.  This weekend I noticed that the lack of steady pain in my life is making me zany.

Yesterday, my friends and I were in the garden at the house pruning some spikey undergrowth.   My friends’ thumbs are just barely chartreuse, and so there were no gardening gloves around for us to use.  I didn’t mind; in fact, I could barely feel anything on my hands.  My friend must have asked me at least a half dozen times–and perhaps a dozen–how I could manage to pull back the bush and the stickers without benefit of the suede driving mitt she had scavenged from a closet.

I dunno how I did it; it wasn’t difficult.  My hands were scratch free after the afternoon’s exertions, but when I went inside the house later, I felt a little tingling on my legs.  Oh, I thought, perhaps those plants WERE scratchy.  I looked down and saw blood trickling down my left calf, but my chief reaction was an inner smile.  I love the marks of pain on me, even if those marks are not inflicted by a lover.  They make me feel tough.  I was never much of a tomboy or a jock, and the cuts and bruises I accumulate from adventures–outdoors or in–are the closest I get to feeling like my body accomplishes things.

There’s more to my masochism than a feeling of achievement, though, or even a high pain threshold.  Actually, there’s a lot more to it.  I feel like I could write posts and posts on it.

Today what I want to say is–last night I bit my lips raw, without noticing what I was doing, just, I think, because the scratches on my legs reminded me that I was itching for pain.  I noticed my lips today while drinking some hot coffee, and I was thinking about the pain, and how I process it, and thinking that when masochists tell vanilla folks, “It doesn’t feel like pain”, that that’s a lie.  It does feel like pain.  But it doesn’t feel bad.  And all I could think of, because of my burning lip, was the way that spicy food hurts your mouth–and about how very much more I like spicy food than I like bland food.

I’m feeling stumped about how to get pain without doing something kind of yucky or self-destructive.  I think that realizing that I want the sensation is actually a good thing, a good realization.

This post has no ending.

Picture from the very cool and cooly-named tumblog Every 7 Seconds.

jumelles1-vason

The other day, Dev over at Devastating Yet Inconsequential talked about some stuff that had come up in recent scenes with her boyfriend.  She expresses her own thoughts better than I could express them, so I’ll quote her:

Writing this post is very fraught for me.  I’m in territory that actually feels too personal for a blog post, but this is still the best medium I know of for really working out my thoughts, and the context I include so that other people can understand me often turns out to help me understand myself later.  I worry that this post will make me and/or Joscelin look bad, or really stupid, or completely misguided, even though, from my perspective, we have always had more or less sound reasons for our actions.  So I am going to try to write it.

And she did.

I wish I were as brave as many bloggers whose work I read.  I have, it seems, finally gotten over my challenges in producing smut.  If any smut were happening in my life, I’d be happy to tell of it (schedule permitting, of course.  One by-product of a long distance relationship is that when you do get smutty, you pretty much want to concentrate on it, and jam it in, as it were.)

As for putting pen to the personal, I’ve been able to produce a good amount of personal junk.  I am good at whining about my state of misery.  Or at least, my whines are prolific, if not original and full of flair.

Writing about things with Robbie is harder–increasingly so.  There is so very much to say, and so little I feel I can say online.  He regularly and repeatedly denies it, but I regularly and repeatedly have the impression when I write something here about him, he gets woefully upset.  There have been specific times when something I’ve written here has sparked a problem between us, and other times when I think it has just increased our pre-existing level of frustrating, miscommunication, and disappointment.  And it has always been the case that while writing helps me work out my own thoughts, Robbie gets lost in my verbiage.  (I wrote “gets lost in his own verbiage”–a Freudian slip, since his long missives often confuse me, too.)

The main point here, if I’ve not reiterated it to the nails-on-blackboard point, is that I understand the urge to protect yourself and your partner in writing.  The thing is, the same impulse is a high-priced ticket to a fan-fucking-tastic case of writer’s block.

So today I’m going to venture into the world of things that make me look bad, stupid, and completely misguided, and admit that there is a blogger out there–a really popular and well-loved one–whom I hate.  I mean, hate with a red-hot, cinnamon-stick passion.  I mean, hate so much I would consider e-stalking the person, if it weren’t so immoral, vile, and pathetic.  I mean, hate so much that I have to exert my utmost self-control not to write evil comments on this person’s blog.  I mean, hate in a way that makes you wonder whether you’re really a nice person after all, because, dammit, nice people don’t have feelings like this.

I have only a hazy idea of why I hate this woman–for it would be difficult to hide the fact that her femininity is part of why I dislike her.  I know I am jealous of her sexual and writerly powers, while, at the same time, feeling certain that I am sexually and authorially superior to her.  Whatever insight, soul, gentleness, passion she has–I am convinced I have more.  Whatever wit, deviance, education she possesses, I know I am cleverer, more twisted, more brilliant.

She has a better body than I do, undoubtedly.  She has more readers, demonstrably.  She has more people commenting on her work, evidently.  If you are reading this, you are almost definitely not she.

For a long time, I thought I hated her because I hated her kink, and that her turn-ons represented something that I could never embrace.  Then, for an equally lengthy period, I thought that I hated her because I craved her kink, and because I couldn’t bring myself to embrace what I most deeply wanted.

Having ventured, sexually, into some of the deeper waters that this woman has explored, I feel confidant in saying that it’s not whipping or punishment or spanking or control or orgies or waterplay or rope or bondage or 50s-style marriage or breast torture or infidelity that I fear.

But something about her just irritates the fuck out of  me.  If I wrote more about this person, she might be more identifiable, and so I’ll try to bring my rant of distaste to a close.

jumelles3-vason

The problem is that my story has no moral, and stories without endings leave me nervous.  I certainly have not learned to love this person.  I have not reconciled myself to her, nor become indifferent.  I still stop just shy of stalking her, internetically, and still wonder, every time I feel the upsurge of anger when reading her words, exactly what my problem is.

I think I have to admit, though, that if I can fall in love with a stranger over the medium of the internet, as I did with Robbie, then I can fall in hate with one.  And that is a very unsettling thought.

Images by Manuel Vason, stumbled upon thanks to ponyXpress.

a-calypso-beckmann

A couple weeks ago, a friend asked me what I write about here if I’m not having sex.

Exactly.

Last night I was lying in bed, late, and from nowhere my mind conjured Robbie’s smell and taste.  If I named the components of his smell, it would not sound flattering: tobacco, coffee, soap and shampoo, a hint of urine, the oil from his skin.  Rolled together, the scents smell like chocolate or toasted almonds or anything light and edible.   I started to cry.  I chided myself for getting emotional, and then I thought, well, that’s stupid.  Cry if you want to.

Today I got up and started to get ready for a weekend at home with my family.  The last three Easters in a row I’ve spent with Robbie, but this one is just not in the cards.  I just pulled down my suitcase to pack (my plane leaves in a few hours; typical) and I realized that I hadn’t unpacked after my last, most disastrous trip there, the trip during which I gave him back my collar.  The suitcase was full of clothes that I’d left at his house for months, and the clothes were full of the smell of him.

Now I’m sitting at my desk with a lapfull of soft black cotton shirts and pants.  They are drenched in his smell.  I want to hug them and hold them until I can turn his smell into solid him.  But I’ve got to go catch that plane.

I’ve got the feeling that it’s a lonely time ahead.

Odysseus and Calypso, by Max Beckmann.

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I’m getting used to this posting-more-often thing.  And so even though I don’t have much time to write what I want to write, I’m posting.

I talked to R. last night after a week of exchanging serious emails with him.  I needed the conversation; I’d been having so many sad, grieving dreams about us that I hadn’t been able to sleep through the night on Wednesday and Thursday.  He calmed me down enough so that I can just be for awhile, just do my thing, and let him do his.  That’s good.

As for my thing, I’m heading out tonight to hang out with a woman R. and I met last Thanksgiving.  She’s smart and kinky and kind, so I’m looking forward to that.  And to the chance to see a new place.  Hell, I’m even looking forward to the DRIVE.

I’m not looking forward to getting lost, though.  When I went to have dinner with the women the other night, I got thoroughly lost, and finally resorted to calling my family to get them to google directions for me.  This happens virtually every time I drive somewhere, and it’s only getting worse with time.  My mother’s entire family wanders through the world in a daze of lost-ness, while my dad’s side is more oriented.  On this occasion, my sister, who has a grid in her head, managed to give me perfect directions, complete with landmarks, by looking at a map on the computer in her office, 2,000 miles away from where I was.  I would have hated her if she hadn’t been so nice and I hadn’t been so very fucked.  So today I’m getting a map–if I don’t flake out and forget.

That’s about it.  I’m feeling lucky to be alive, and happy, which is about all anyone can ask for.

And I’m feeling glad that I found this photo gallery–The Night Day, with photos by Keffer, via ponyXpress.

Edit: I just realized that might be a hookah pipe next to the woman in the picture.  I was thinking it was a whip.  Shows where my mind flows . . .

For our purposes, let’s pretend it’s a whip, okay??  Thanks.

silent_stories_lj1

After I started dating Robbie, my social life fell off precipitously, from a rich round of dinners and drinks with friends to basically nada.  This wasn’t his fault, or even mine.  By unfortunate coincidence, five out of seven of my closest friends moved out of state a few months after Robbie and I met, and my work changed in a way that meant I was encountering far fewer people than I once had.

At the moment, I’m living with one of those two friends.  She has a very active social life, and for the moment at least, I’m being encouraged to tag along as she lives it.  In the last week I’ve gone to two women-only dinner parties and met eight new people.  Like someone who’s been in a cave for too long, I’m stunned and blinking at the light.  (And like anyone who’s been alone too long, I have a lot to unlearn.  Last night I caught myself pushing food onto my fork with my fingers–twice.)

In addition to being a sexual switch, I’m a social switch.  Most people think I’m an extrovert; inside, I feel like an introvert.  I spent years training myself to interact fluidly with other humans, and I feel I have lost the knack.  Still, at a dinner party full of women, one has to adapt fast.

This company of women is soothing right now.  They all talk about the same things–husbands, children, in-laws, houses–and since I have none of those things, I don’t feel on the spot.  I listen as stories of other lives flow over and around me, and wonder, idly and with remarkably little panic, whether I’ll ever experience the things they’re talking about.  A year or two ago the prospect of not being married, not having children would have filled me with hysteria.  Not now.  I may just be so stunned by life I can’t feel anything, but that’s fine by me.

I suppose it’s a bit like reading a novel, talking to these women–one of those well-written, contemporary, affirming tales of love and adversity.  For although all my dining companions have all been wealthy, they have not necessarily had easy lives–there are insane relatives, husbands or children with cancer, and the looming economic threat that shadows everyone these days.

But this is not what figures in their dinner conversation, and it’s not what I get out of it.  When I said, a few days back, that I felt vile, fat, and disgusting, I meant it.  I have not paid much attention to my appearance for some time.  Robbie lives in the country, where the main object in winter is to beat the cold rather than to pull together a “look”.  Under our existing agreement, my hair has needed neither cutting nor styling.  Makeup has been optional, and I have opted out.  It would be the usual “letting yourself go”, except it feels unusual somehow.  I can’t put my finger on how, today, so I won’t try.

In the wake of our disastrous weekends together in February and March, I did what any smart girl would do–I bought lipstick.  Being especially smart, I also bought eyeliner.  On alternate days, I even remember to dab some of this stuff on my face.  I seem to remember how to make myself up, which is handy.

My collar is gone, which hurts–it feels like a part of my body is gone, amputated.  On the other hand, this means I get to wear necklaces, and I have been adorning myself with long strands of beads, fascinated by how they look in the light.

I watch the women and look at their scrubbed faces and careful ensembles.  They let me into their circle.  I’m not sure if this is healing, and I am not sure if this is love.  The company of women can be a harsh place.  But right now, its surfaces and appearances, its brittle, glittering rules and customs, are as much as I can bear thinking about.

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The unmistakable Audrey Kawasaki.