Friday, January 31, 2003

It was so nice having boy-boy (that would be my dog) with me at work today. Just with me. He behaved really well. Although, in comparison to Boss Sunshine's yappy teacup poodles, there was a lot of room to maneuver for him. I had vague notions of going to the Eagle tonight. But I think not. Rather, I'm going to write for a while, then get to bed. Tomorrow a.m. I have to make a trip into the city, and then I head to MP Uniforms and Supply in Allentown, PA. I'm imagining a vast warehouse filled with offduty cops and uniforms from around the world.

I've never been a big uniform fetishist. In fact, I sort of prided myself back in high school gym class in always being out of uniform in one way or another. Ditto for the Boy Scouths. I sort of go for something that will in some way stand out. I have never seen anyone running around in one of those Propper one-pieces that I bought. (Think S*W*A*T, the police show from the '70s.) My softball coach is a big uniform fetishist. Among the most interesting things I've seen him wearing, and that I wouldn't mind acquiring, is an NYPD issue bicycle cop summer shirt. It's NYPD and all, but it's done in cotton/lycra. My absence from the gym has sort of stiffled that desire though ("Ahms like a tvelf yeah olt gerrrl" as Hans und Franz would have it.)

I'm procrastinating at getting down to business on the writing. Last night was marathon, and I did some truly fiine work. Will the muse pay another visit to the humble abode? I'll light a candle in the window and see if I can summon her down.

I'm feeling myself getting prepared for the dungeon demo I'm doing tomorrow night. I'll be whipping my boy wonderful at the LURE at some point between 7pm and 10pm. (Y'all come!) Then, I spend the night chez b.w.

Anyway, to work!

Very cool. I've got my dog at work today because they're fumigating my building. (I'm on the side of the mice. I told the exterminator to go light on my apartment. If the mice want to take refuge there, that's okay by me.) My dog is, of course, a huge hit. Everybody loves loves loves him. He is pretty wonderful.
Guh-Huh. Guh-huh-huh-huh. Ehe heh heh.

Which Golden Girl am I?


width="238" height="196" alt="Blanche Devereaux
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target="_blank">Which Golden Girl Are You?

...of course.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Even though he's evil, he has a sense of humor

Boss Sunshine: I put the psycho in psycho-drama.
Me: That is nothing to be proud of.

Okay. At work, we're sending around a birthday card for Boss Sunshine. Everyone is having a really hard time coming up with something to say, other than, "Happy Birthday. Drop Dead." When it was my turn, I was as stumped as everyone else. Earlier today, I had sent off email to Special Guy, someone for whom my feelings are heartfelt, sincere, and favorable. My email to Special Guy read as follows:

Happy Birthday, Special Guy!
I hope it's a good one, the first great day of a great year. A year when
everything is golden, when you are showered with blessings, when you get
back all the love you give tenfold.
No backpain, no gastro-intestinal disturbances, no aching feet, just the
good stuff.
Happy Birthday, you wonderful man.
All my love,
Moi. I adopted and adapted, and here's what I ended up writing in Boss Sunshine's card...

Happy Birthday!
I hope it's a good one, the first golden day of a golden year. May you be showered with blessings and hosed down with love.
Your devoted Chief-of-Staff,

After I had written it out in the card, I burst out laughing. What was clunking around in my subconscious just now? Read it again. Here. Maybe this will help you understand what struck me as funny...

I hope it's a good one, the first golden day of a golden year. May you be showered with blessings and hosed down with love.

I wonder if Boss Sunshine will pick up on that? It's probably deniable, but I couldn't pull it off with a straight face. It was totally unintentional, I swear. I swear!

Here's an interesting line of inquiry. One of my abiding interests is evolutionary biology. It's part and parcel of my prime directive: Figure Out Why. Evolutionary biologists procede in their work by a process of 'reverse engineering': They look at some aspect of physiognomy and ask, "Why would that make our ancestors more fit, and thus better able to pass on their genes?" For example, a mutation resulting in keen eyesight would benefit the creature who received that, and that creature would thus be able to get more to eat, and have more offspring who would outcompete those with less acute vision. Some adaptations are fairly obvious, and some avail themselves to no more than a best guess. Some are downright mysterious. Like this one... why would it be that men's assholes are the locus of more nerve endings than almost any place in our bodies, with the possible exception of the prostate gland, found just inside the asshole?

Now why would that be?

Huh. Whaddya know. There were five Wednesdays in January, thus I did not miss a GMSMA program last night.
[deep sigh of relief]
My Gold Star for Perfect Attendance is still a going concern!


It's 'Give To Me Your Leather, Take From Me My Lace' Day. over at Girls Are Pretty
What are you doing to celebrate?


Today is both the birthday of Boss Sunshine and Vice President Dick Cheney. So Happy Birthday wishes go out from SingleTails to two Big Dicks!


Today is also Special Guy's birthday. (This coincidence grows increasingly freakish, huh?) As far as I'm concerned, that just blows astrology right out of the water. Dick Cheney, Boss Sunshine, Special Guy: there are no similarities there. Nada.

Word has it that Special Guy is in Palm Springs. Geez I miss him. We took it as far as we were able to, sublunary beings that we are, but I do miss him.


I'm way crushed out on this guy. What beautiful.. prose.


Oh. My. God. I have a weblog, and so does RuPaul! I am beside myself. It was a long, long time ago, back in my knocking-around-the-East-Village-going-to-clubs days, when I was floored by a realization: I will never be fabulous. I think of the witty rejoinder the next morning in the shower. I take a chance on the fashion forward pants and realize when I get home that it's eight inches too large in the waist. When I meet a celebrity I just about lose control of my bladder. I don't have that gene. But RuPaul Charles was graced with fabulousness in abundance. If you've never seen her up close and personal (preferably in some divey hotspot on Avenue A), just give it up. But, the fact that RuPaul has a blog and I have a blog, sort of makes me feel vicariously fabulous, or fabulous (however marginally) by association.


Mystified by the complicated physics of Semi-Conductors? Let Britney explain it all to you! She knows this stuff inside and out.


Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Criminy. I do a good chicken. Stuffed with Vidalia onion, oranges, salt and pepper. Roasted at 500 for fifty minutes. Served with roasted potatoes and parsnips and a nice mesclun salad. Oh, and the gravy I whipped up was sublime.

Now, off to do the dishes, and then spend some time writing.

Now here's an odd thing. I totally forgot that there was a GMSMA meeting tonight. I had therapy, so I wouldn't have been able to go anyway. I could have sworn that there was a meeting last Wednesday, although general meetings are the second and fourth Wednesdays, and the Board meeting is the third Wednesday. It was a good program, too, and I was looking forward to it. Huh. Go figure.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Tea at Starbucks
...there's a Haiku here somewhere...

As for 'two Awake teabags in a venti cup. At some Starbucks (and I can tell you which ones exactly if you're interested) they fetch you a cup of hot water and you take the tea bags out of the little rack there by the cash register and put them in yourself. No no no no no no no NO! It is critical that the steaming hot water gets poured directly over the teabags. And then, you pay, you survey the chocolate covered Graham crackers (did you know that Graham crackers were originally marketed as a product to dis-incline youngsters from mastrubation? It's true!), you dawdle, you look at the headlines on the New York Times. You leisurely make your way over to the fixings station. First the sugar. Just a touch. Tilt the cannister and as the sugar flows, count to four. Enough. Then the milk. Take a langourous moment, your last, before you add the milk. The milk, of course, cools the water, however slightly, and this is basically the end of the brewing. It's the final step. The denoument.

And enjoy.
Wanna Come?

The ever helpful and felicitious Lolita emailed to let me know that the fabulous vendors of all things Propper were M.P. Supplies. They don't have a website (tragically) but I managed to track them down on the web. 2733 West Emmaus in Allentown, PA. So, I'm heading there this Saturday. M.P. Supplies is apparently a non-kink operation, selling uniforms to cops. Now that's sort of interesting. They had a table at Mid-Atlantic Leather, and all the guys working at the booth were gay. That could only mean that someone at M.P. Supplies is down with the whole SM-leather-fetish thing, or, perhaps, they all are. I wonder if the police officers and State troopers who go there to buy their uniforms complain that those guys spend soooo much time taking measurements for a fitting when all the stuff they sell comes in standard sizes and you're buying off the rack. ("I just wanna measure your inseam one more time; we don't want this uniform to be too tight in the crotch.") Or maybe the police officers and troopers don't complain at all, and that's the reason that M.P. Supplies is able to do such brisk business even without a website.

So if any NYC-area readers are interested in taking a trip to what may bee a lusty, steamy, iniquitous mecca for uniform fetishists, y'all let me know. I'm heading out about 11 a.m. on Saturday.

And of course, there's more shopping afoot today. I'm going to run out over lunch and purchase... a shower head! I can't count the number of mornings I've stood underneath the tepid trickle of water running down my chest, surpassed in volume by the tears of rage and frustration running down my face. Basta, muchachos! If I could get a firehose nozzle and hook it up to the water pipe, I would. And, of course, between the new shower head and the pipe will hang that instrument of bliss, the Shower Shot.

The danger here is that I may never leave my apartment again.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Yahoooooo! Whoopee! Oh yeah!!! Yes yes yes yes yesssss!!!

I just managed to remove the shower head from the shower in my apartment. I assumed that this was impossible, because it had been sealed with some white plumbing gunk, that made it impossible to turn by hand. Working at it with the pliers made all the difference. And now, the way is clear for me to obtain a Shower Shot. I cannot wait. In the October Archives of Singletails, roundabout Columbus Day weekend, I made the discovery of the sublime pleasures of 'cleaning out' whilst attending a wedding in Portland, Oregon. I think I blogged on for about 6,000 words about how much I enjoyed the experience. I was heart-sick upon returning home to learn that it would not be possible to enjoy this here at the humble abode, because of the white plumbing fixative gunk. Well, hold on to your hats, folks. Tomorrow at the Leatherman I'll be purchasing one of those lovely chrome wonders.

And then I'll be happy all the time.

I'm still fairly humming and glowing from the visit to wonderful boy last night. I'm totally looking forward to Saturday, when not only do I get to whip him again, but I'll be spending the night at the Penthouse.

Oh. And here's a wee bit of info I neglected to mention in last night's recital of events. I was getting ready to leave when I said, "I'm feeling a little hungry. Anything I might be able to chow down on?" I was thinking, "I wonder what sort of cereal is stocked here." b.w. asked me if I'd rather eat in the library or in the kitchen, I said 'kitchen,' and headed there to see what I might be able to score. About 30 seconds behind me up the stairs came boy wonderful, who presented me with steak frites, piping hot. I didn't even ask. Perhaps the inordinately wealthy now have access to some Star Trek like technology that allows them to summon up gourmet meals with a few clicks of a mouse. Perhaps it was his own uneaten dinner delivered by the french restaurant down the street. Who knows. I sat at the counter in the kitchen eating my perfectly prepared steak whilst b.w. laid at my feet with my booted feet resting on him. Good food, and a good boy right where he wanted to be, and right where I wanted him to be. It doesn't get much better.

I'm also on a quest for a second Propper Public Safety One Piece. I bought one at MAL from a vendor from Allentown, PA. (Alas, I didn't get their card... but hey, it ought to be on my credit card receipt when it comes in. I stopped at Weiss & Mahoney and Dave's Army Navy on my way home tonight. Alas, nothing of the sort. W&M had Propper, but not what I was after. But cool stuff nonetheless. The reason for this quest is that I want another one like the one that I bought for my Chicago Hellfire Club and GMSMA patches. A sort of 'play suit,' like Dennis the Menace used to wear. Lots of pockets, well made, and I look damn hot wearing it. Can't beat that.


Sunday, January 26, 2003

Well that was nice. I got together with my boy this evening, after the GMSMA special interest group. I had a sort of elaborate scene planned.

Step One: Secure his hands behind his back up against a post in his dungeon.
Step Two: Using vet wrap, bind him to the post around his head (as a blindfold), abdomen (right below the chest), knees, and ankles.
Step Three: Using the new flogger with the thin kangaroo tails, whip him liberally to get the blood to the surface and get the endorphins pumping.
Step Four: Apply as many clothes pins as possible to the exposed areas.
Step Five: Tease him gently, running my fingers along where the clothespins are attached.
Step Six: Remove the clothes pins by knocking them off with my weighs-a-ton elk flogger.
Step Seven: Aftercare and TLC.

Alas. I was finishing up Step Three when I noticed he was sweating, but his skin felt cold to the touch. Clammy, in other words. I did a check in. It turns out he was having stomach problems, maybe a touch of the flu. He was starting to feel light-headed. I had him out in about eleven seconds (responsible Top that I am).

So was I gravely disappointed? Not a bit. The flogging went well. (I swear, I am very good at flogging.) The new kangaroo flogger is all I had hoped. He said it felt great. And then, we talked. Probably for the first time. He told me about his family (it sort of resembles a Columbo episode, only Peter Falk hasn't come on the scene to solve the case yet. Although the DA did re-open it in the wake of public outcry. And you thought you had a crazy family, huh?) I told him about my family. We discussed briefly the fact that he's extraordinarily wealthy. He said that a lot of Masters he's met run for the hills, because they don't know how it's going to work. He said "even though I'm rich, I'm still a boy." I told him that issue had given me pause, but I thought he was too wonderful to let it stand in my way. It was wonderful.

We're going to play next Saturday night (I get to whip him again! Yay!) at the GMSMA dungeon demo at the LURE (C'mon down! Starts at 7:00 p.m., $15 at the door). We decided that I'd spend the night, bringing my dog over that afternoon, then off to the demo, hang at the LURE for a while whilst we have a beer. Then back to the Penthouse, where I'll spend the night.

Last time was just so perfect. I can't wait to have him drop and take off my boots, then I get into bed in the room with the roaring fire he built, and then he does enfleurage (a massage term I learned today) on my back until I go to sleep. And then he sleeps on the floor outside my door. I'm going to have him shine my boots this time, too.

He truly is boy wonderful. He's very grounded and centered. boy is an aspect of him that emerges when boy senses that he's wanted, cared for, and safe. At this point, I call boy forward just by addressing him.

It's pretty nice. So, I'm really looking forward to next Saturday. And, I'm looking forward to Friday, too. On Friday evening, I'm meeting up with a bunch of guys from my softball team at the Chelsea Piers batting cages.

Alas. Five days of work staring me in the face. It's like looking down the barrel of a snub-nosed revolver with five bullets in the six chambers. Ah well. It'll be alright. Whatever happens, I'm whipping my boy next Saturday night. If his stomach problem doesn't get worse...


Saturday, January 25, 2003

I'm a happy guy. Today, I hauled three garbage bags full of paper down the stairs and out to the garbage cans out back. And, the paper that remains is neatly tucked away into file folders. The apartment is neat as a pin. I met up with Current President to go over the books of GMSMA this afternoon. We're almost there. So close to perfect I can taste it. Then, I met up with Glenn of Glennalicious for coffee. Truly enjoyable. He, too, has been to Moscow, having spent time as a student there. We both loved the Mayakovsky House Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery, although he never made it to the Sandunovskii Banya, my little bit of paradise here on earth. I stopped at the Candle Shop on Christopher Street. I decided that some candles would be a worthy addition to the Den. And that instinct proves correct. The St. Andrew's Cross looks charming bathed in candlelight . Unfortunately, this will mean points off at Alas. Now, I'm gonna get this place vacuumed, and then head out to the LURE. Tomorrow afternoon is the GMSMA Novices Special Interest Group (we're covering erotic massage and ass play, I believe). And tomorrow night, I'm gonna pay a visit to my slave at the Penthouse. I learned that Sunday and Monday, the staff has off.

A friend of mine who has since moved to San Francisco used to live at Riverbank West, a luxury highrise building (corridors wide as boulevards) on West 43rd Street. When he would go out of town, I used to stay in his apartment. Which was lovely, although I couldn't get used to the doormen. They would fall all over themselves to open the door for me when I came back there after work, in an officious way that made me feel really weird. I would try to sort of slink up to the entrance unnoticed and get in there before they could open the door for me, which caused them to sort of go on red alert and dive for the door when they saw me. I mentioned this to my friend, and he quoted the husband in the movie Rebecca, about the new wife who gets all kinds of weird vibes about taking the place of the dead wife, especially from the housekeeper, who tells the new wife not to worry about the odd things the housekeeper is saying with, "Don't be afraid of them darling, they're only servants."

As my stoner buddies say, "It's all good."

Friday, January 24, 2003

Fait Accompli

There is my St. Andrew's Cross. Painted black, fixed to the wall with eyebolts mounted into the brick. There are my tools--rope, restraints, vet wrap (lots of vet wrap), duct tape, chains, padlocks, candles, drop cloth, J-lube, Neoprene fitted sheet, clothes pins. All at hand and waiting in their respective plastic storage containers. There's ample floor space, the lighting is good.

Somehow I have the feeling I'm forgetting something...

Oh. That's right. I don't have a date this whole weekend. Gotta cure that.

So I seem to find myself in possession of sufficient vet wrap to mummify a small army.
Y'interested? Just let me know. I'll even give you a souvenir roll to take home.

I hate paper! Where does it all come from? Housekeeping would be such an easy thing if it wasn't for all of this damned paper. Stacks of it. And no more than a month ago, I filled up a very large box with paper (magazines, junk mail, mail, Christmas cards from 2001, and the like) and put it out on the curb. Somehow, I've got to find a way to regulate the paper that comes into my home.

Amusements for the Simple-Minded: Penny Hunt!

Stand with your back to a grassy meadow. Throw a penny over your shoulder. Throw it high! Throw it as hard as you can! Now, find the penny!!!

Mr. Smith Builds His Dream Dungeon

Yessss!!! I got home from work, and wondered if perhaps I couldn't take care of my trip to K-Mart to buy plastic storage boxes tonight rather than tomorrow morning. I found a Jersey City store, called and found they were open till 10 p.m., and headed up Grand to Communipaw, Communipaw to 440, and thence to K-Mart. They had the storage boxes. Tragically, they only had white lids. Perhaps more appropriate for storing knitting supplies than duct tape and chanins, but so be it. But--and this is the really good part--what did I pass on my way to K-Mart but the Mecca of Kink, Home Depot! Oh yeah. I hadn't even thought about what I wanted from Home Depot, no list or anything, so I just sort of wandered in. I bought a nice heavy duty drop cloth (silver), some lengths of chain (4 feet, four feet, six feet, and eight feet, some false links, 100 feet of camo rope, two fifty foot rolls of hemp rope, and the eyebolts I'll need to secure my St. Andrew's Cross to the wall.
On the way home, I stopped at the Jersey City IHOP on Rte. 440. That proved interesting. First off, half the people in the place were homos. Apparently, there's something going on at IHOP that I was unaware of. Secondly, everyone--my waitress, the host, the other waiters and waitresses, the other IHOP diners--everyone was so pleasant and courteous and friendly. Not in a creepy Stepford Wives kind of way, or even that friendly-stupid kind of way. Just really pleasant and smiling. There were two women and a little boy in the booth next to mine. The little boy and I had a real thing going. He is gonna be a stunner when he grows up. He had eyelashes about an inch-and-a-half long. I debated giving him my card and saying, "Here kid, call me in fifteen years."

Now, I walk the dog, make a cup of tea, put on some music, and plunge into the world of Better Homes & Dungeons.

Oh, here's an interesting thing. This LA Guy that I met at Inferno and have gotten chummy with since has a book he's written on... How to design your in-home play space. Perhaps this whole little tear I'm on is the result of some kind of inspiration osmosis. We didn't talk about that at MAL, but since I've gotten back, it's been something of a preoccupation.

Anyway, my boy needs a trip around the block.

Yo. As if I didn't have enough issues around public toilets (I hate the thought of a line of people waiting for me to pinch out a loaf, especially because that activity has the Zen quality of 'when you rush it, ti takes longer.' Now there's this to worry about. Angels and Saints preserve us!

Actually (and the faint of heart might want to scroll down here), one of my first jobs was working in a facility for the severely developmentally disabled. Altoghether, it was a wonderful experience meeting and forming relationships with the residents there. But there was one woman who had the unfortunate habit of reaching inside her butt and pulling out her---what would it be, her cloaca?--basically, the part of the large intestine that is just at the other side of the sphincter. It was an interesting reddish-purple, and slick and shiny. The first time you saw it, you usually screamed like Janet Leigh in 'Psycho,' but in a weird way, you got used to it pretty quickly, and you'd just need to alert the nurse who would put on a glove, lube up with KY, and... uh.. stick it back in.

It's sort of interesting what folks won't get up to who are for whatever reason outside of the usual conditioned responses of disgust and aversion. I like my plumbing to stay behind the walls myself. Although I certainly don't mind it being snaked out now and then.


Thursday, January 23, 2003

Work went fine. Boss was all sweetness and light. Laughing, joking, counseling. Which would be fine, except all of us sort of knew that we couldn't trust it. Our laughter was nervous laughter.

But I got out of there, having accomplished a lot today regardless. I headed down to Christopher Street where I spent $32 on tea. Then, I had a quick dinner at the Factory Cafe, and headed home. I came in, fed the dog, and sat down to write. That was two hours ago. I've been at this since Tuesday, and I've got twenty pages. (Twelve point type with one inch margins.) I think it's good stuff. I'm enjoying writing so much. I'd love to post some of it up on my blog, but that would almost be jinxing it. Here at home, life seems sane. My bed is made. There are no dirty dishes in the sink. My den is coming together, slowly but surely. This weekend I'm going to solve the storage problem, buying bins of some sort. Large bins for restraints, vet wrap, tape and Saran wrap, and dropcloths. Medium size bins for rope, butt toys, candles, chains, clean-up supplies, J-lube. Small bins for clips and panic snaps, handcuffs, padlocks, safety razors. This will enable me to be free to be inspired during a scene, to feel less the need to script it out beforehand and not deviate.

Here at home, life is good. No, life is good. Life is very good.

I had an exchange on Leather Navigator with He Who Plays With Knives the other night. We were talking about MAL. I said that coming back and going into work on Tuesday was like taking a bucket of cold water in the face. "Right," he said, "Back to reality."

"No," I replied, "This is not reality. MAL is reality. That's what's real. This is sleepwalking."

Or it can be sleepwalking. If you let it be sleepwalking. But it doesn't have to be.

How can it only be 1:45? How can it be that I only walked in the door here four hours ago, and I have four more hours to live through. Criminy. Boss Sunshine is at one of his eleven therapy appointments per week. (Talk about narciscism, huh?). Before he left, he said that when he came back, he wanted to meet with all of us. We're all dreading it. Whatever happens, it's not gonna be good. A mass firing? More screaming? Or, worst possibility of all, a group therapy session? Staffetto reported this morning that he had an anxiety attack last night. If you listen closely, you can hear the refrain of 'hate my job' whenever anyone here is on the phone.

I swear, it's become like daily oral surgery. There must be a way out.


Wednesday, January 22, 2003

So after work, I went out for a drink with my fellow staff members. Note: I certainly hope this blog doesn't become the chronicle of my descent into alcoholism, but never in my life have the words, "I need a drink" crossed my lips until today. We retired to an Irish pub near the office and bemoaned our fate. We're all dreading tomorrow, sure that Boss Sunshine is going to continue in his foul temper. We sort of parried suggestions on how best to cope with it. It doesn't work to get mad back because his rage is inexhaustible. There's no reasoning with him. You just have to ride out the storm. And there's always the chance that tomorrow he'll be all sweetness and light. You can never tell.

That's when it dawned on me. It's just like how it is for children growing up in a house with an alcoholic parent. You never know when good old mom is going to stop off for Mar-too-nies on the way home, and come in the door a raging drunk, spitting venom and rage. So kids try to read the tea leaves in everything, observing closely, looking for some sign of the impending nightmare. The effort is pointless, because the behavior is irrational. Mom isn't getting drunk 'because' of your bad report card, Mom is getting drunk because she consumed a lot of alcohol, and she did this because she's an alcoholic. My boss, like my Ex, are both alcoholics in recovery. I think that although they left the drinking behind, they still rely on the behavior. One of my fellow staff opined that Sunshine's emotions are like that of a child. There's no complexity. There's just 'happy' and 'angry.' For most folks, anger is multi-faceted. You feel cheated, or hurt, or taken for granted, or wronged, or abused, or lonely, or tired, or stressed. For Sunshine, it all just comes out as angry, irreducible and unexamined. And boy, does it ever come out.

I will not let this get to me. This will not cause me stress or anxiety. I didn't cause it. I can't control it. I can't cure it. All I can do is do my job the best I know how. And work like hell to get myself out of there. I lived with this for seven and a half years and at times, it wrecked me. I'm not going to abide this one minute more than I have to.

Window on Insanity

I am having an out-of-body experience. I'm floating up on the ceiling, looking down at the scene transpiring below, which is too frightening to be a part of. Boss Sunshine is back from China. He is insane. I'm sitting here with my co-workers, and we're trying to remember stuff from Psych 101 courses we took in college to try and figure out just what the flavor of his particular insanity might be. I'm not sure if there's an entry for 'Total Asshole' in the DSM-IV, but that kind of hits the mark.

Two wee vignettes...

Staffalina got a call from Boss Sunshine. The conversation went as follows:
BS: Why am I calling you? Why aren't you calling me?
S: I didn't know you needed to talk to me.
BS: Didn't you get the message that I wanted to talk to you?
S: No, I didn't. Who did you tell you wanted to talk to me?
BS: I don't remember.
S: Was it just now?
BS: Yes. I don't remember. S., would you please call everyone in the office over to your desk.
S: Okay... Everybody, could you please come over here.
BS: Now repeat after me.
S (repeating after BS): "When I tell you that I want to speak to S, that means that you need to tell her that I need to speak with her. Is that clear?"
All: Yes...
S: So what do we need to discuss?
BS: I don't remember. I'll call you back.
S: Okay.

BS: Staffetto, I asked you to fax me that flyer.
So: Right. I'm printing it out now for you.
BS: Staffetto, I want you to call everyone over to your desk.
So: Alright. Everybody, could you please come over here?
BS: Is everyone there? Put me on speakerphone.
BS (on speakerphone): Can everyone hear me?
All: Yes.
BS: This is the way things need to work in my office. When I tell you to fax me something, I want you to fax it to me immediately. To stop whatever you're doing and go over to the fax machine and fax it to me. Do you understand? If you can't fax it to me immediately, I want you to tell me that then. Do you understand?
All: Yes...
BS: And when you send a fax to anyone, I don't care who, I want you to call first and make sure that there's someone there to receive the fax, and tell that person to wait by the fax machine. Get that person's name. After you've sent the fax, call back and ask for the person and ask them if they've received the fax. Do I make myself clear?
All: Yes.

And just so we're clear, Boss Sunshine is screaming the entire time. Every word is delivered at the top of his lungs. This was one of a string of conversations that he had with everyone here, although I was only privvy to the one he had with me. And he was yelling. Things he was yelling about included not receiving a coupon book, a meeting of a local political club that he'd been invited to that conflicted with one of his eleven psychotherapy sessions per week that the club declined to reschedule (it was their regular monthly meeting), refusing to go ahead with a press interview for a profile piece in which he was invited to discuss 'whatever he wanted' as he felt he needed to be briefed first.

So after work (in two hours, twenty one minutes), we're all going out to have drinks. I hope I won't be too looped to fulfill my Treasurer obligations at the GMSMA meeting tonight.

There is nothing good on Craigslist. Maybe I need to look again. At this point, I'd take a job gutting lambs in an abbattoire if it would enable me to make my rent, car payment, and DSL bills.




Lolita and Past President wrote to inform me that white hankies have been claimed. Lolita said for novices, and Past President said for hand jobs. Novices I could see sort of as being valid, but I refuse to cede white to hand jobs. That's even more ludicrous than blow jobs. Blowjobs, by the way, are apparently light blue. Lolita had the brilliant idea of using a color not quite white, but more the color of mashed potatoes. Which I'd be fine with, although I'm not sure how easy it would be to find mashed potato-colored hankies. Although most of my handkerchiefs that were once white have sort of resolved themselves to that color after years of wear and tear and washing. If I wanted an associative color, I think I'd go with 'golden brown,' as in scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, curly fries, pancakes, toast, and grilled pelmeni.

I wonder if flannel is taken? That could be an interesting departure. Flannel, as in my flannel sheets that I love to curl up in with someone on a cold winter night. Flannel like jammies that I give you to wear while I whip up some cocoa, the likes of which you'll find nowhere else. And, flannel could be in any color, incorporating the hanky code variation. For example, if I'm flagging gray flannel left, that means I want to tie you up, but in a fun, playful, comfort sex kind of way, as opposed to, "You're goin fuckin nowhere for a while, huh pigboy?"

I spent a few hours last night working on the re-design of my den. Essentially, I've moved desk, daybed, chairs, filing cabinets over to one side of the room, and I'm leaving the entirety of the other side of the room open as play space. I discovered that I can direct the floorlamp I have so it's shining into that corner of the room. That will provide ample light for whipping and flogging, and serve the dual purpose of obscuring the bottoms ability to see my desk, the coffee table, and such.

I'm really surprised at how much space I have to work with now. This weekend, I want to see if I can find some storage bins for not a lot of money. I'm wondering if I should consider a fold-up massage table as a thing to acquire. And, if a rich uncle I didn't know I had were to got to Glory and put me in a codicil of his will, I have space where one of those amazing cages from Mr. S would work well..

And then it will be perfect. I'm ready for my Better Homes & Dungeons close up. Now if I could only figure out a way of talking boys into crossing the Hudson...

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Another nice concept I picked up at Inferno: comfort sex. A guy I halfway flogged at Inferno mentioned that he got in really late on Thursday night after driving straight through from Michigan. He said he managed to find a partner for comfort sex after he got in. Nice. Really nice. Just a simple I-do-you-you-do-me and then we hold each other and kiss. There ought to be a bandana for that. I think that white ought to be comfort sex. Currently, I think that white is blowjobs. Blowjobs do not deserve there own bandana. Blowjobs are a given. Singletails hereby decrees that white is for comfort sex.

Let it be so.

Just a question... Why is it that people who live in California are considered to be sort of crazy, but living in a place where we have days on end of temperatures well below freezing is considered to be a sane life decision?

Now here's great news. I'm writing. As in something that may turn out to be book length. It's a work of non-fiction, essentially a series of essays on a related them concerning various aspects of S/M. As I learned a long time ago with a children's book I wrote, it is best in these situations not to be too explicit. Until it's in the hands of the publisher. I got home, unpacked, and upon setting up my laptop, I just sat down and out it came. I did a rough outline of topics I want to hit. This is actually something that's been kicking around with me for a long time. We'll see where it goes. (As my head fills with fantasies of a book tour...)

The Boss gets back from China tonight. And tomorrow he's out of town. So I guess I really just have Thursday and Friday this week to worry about. I swear, I have never been in a work situation like this, this weird sort of "Yikes! It's the Boss! Everybody be on your toes!" I've always taken the approach that I was working with whoever was above me on the organization chart, although by virtue of a division of labor, they had their responsibilities and I had mine. And giving me guidance and supervision were on their list of responsibilities. Not that I take supervision very well, and not that I haven't ducked into a broom closet once or twice when I was over deadline on something, but largely I learned the protocols and procedures of work when I was cooking in restaurants. There, when the chips are down, everything is everybody's job. "^You! Waiter! Slice up those cucumbers if you want your salad, because the salad guy just got fired." That kind of thing. Maybe I've just been blessed.

In other news, I got an email from a Leather Navigator guy that I met up with at MAL. What a sweet gesture. What a great guy. Lucky for him Toledo is too far away for me to seriously persue stalking.

And here's some more news. (I'm hoping this is the first flowering of a renewed sense of discipline in terms of life management.) I'm re-arranging the furniture! I've got a kitchen, bathroom, a middle room, and a front room. Originally, the middle room was my 'living room,' and the larger front room was my bedroom and office. Unfortunately, I spent all of my time in the bedroom/office, and eventually concluded that the living room was wasted space. Plus, as the front room gives out on the street, and I live over a bar, it wasn't optimal for a bedroom. So, the middle room became the bedroom, and that works pretty well. Now, in the front room, I've got daybed, two chairs, television, desk, and my St. Andrew's Cross. I refer to this room as, the Den. Since I made this arrangement, I have not played in my apartment once. Well, not true. I've done some bondage in the bedroom. But, the cross is about three feet away from my desk, so I sort of have this dread of somebody interrupting my flogging by letting me know that my electric bill should have been paid two weeks ago, as my desk is always cluttered. So, last night, I sort of hit upon an arrangement whereby I could have a substantial portion of the den devoted exclusively to play. And do it up, in a dungeon sort of way. Maybe it's time I get a sling, too. I've heard that there's a guy in New York who has made sort of a specialty of installing slings. I think that's the way I'd want to go. Best of all, I think I could arrange things so that my bottoms aren't perusing the mail on my desk whilst I attempt to transport them to new heights of ecstasy.

And, it is to be hoped that once this mote is removed from my mind's eye I'll see the way clear to make my bed every day, never leave dirty dishes in the sink, get enough sleep, manage to get sufficient protein in my diet, and make the gym a regular part of my days and weeks again. You may laugh, but not infrequently it just takes one small thing--like rearranging the furniture--to get me back on track.

Here's hoping.


Monday, January 20, 2003

Note to Almost Bruiser, who called me on my take on him in a recent entry... I'll clarify, but I won't retract. Here's the deal. I was writing about the feelings you were bringing up in me, not so much about you. In reviewing our conversations, I could see some evidence to what I was feeling, but really not enough to substantiate that, and there was evidence to the contrary. Hence, my unanswered question to myself, "What's that about?"

Sorry if I wasn't clear on that. And I removed the ummm... identifying detail you pointed out. Let's have dinner Friday night. 'Kay? My treat.

I'm back from Mid-Atlantic Leather, the veritable MAL. I could be blogging for days about my experiences, but I don't got no days. So I'll throw out some vignettes now, and add to them as I recall them over the next few days.

Here is the central metaphor: For me, MAL is like a jacuzzi. I ease in. My heart rate lowers. My pupils dilate. I float along. It's one of the few roadtrips I take that doesn't leave me feeling like I want a vacation when it's done.

I'm struck by the fact that the Centaurs, the motorcycle club that stages the event, must give hours and hours of time all year long to pull off this event. And, like medieval monks, they largely work in anonymity and obscurity. Now, ostensibly, it's a charitable endeavor, but basically what they're doing all that work for is to throw a party for other members of their community. Name me another community that devotes so much service without looking for self-promotion or making money.

I packed up all my whips and floggers, and purchased two new floggers and a whip (an 8-foot bullwhip with a 2-foot fall, my first long whip, it's beautiful). I used none of them. I was sort of thwarted at every turn. Boys backed out or failed to materialize. On Saturday, it seemed that people and events all conspired to prevent me from doing a scene that seemed like a sure thing. On Sunday night, I was feeling pretty grumpy about this. And then I had a brief conversation with Lolita that put it all in perspective. She said, "It's not about that. It's not a play event. We're staying in hotel rooms. There is no dungeon set up." Oh. Right. It's not about that. It's about meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances, and deepening relationships. Play can be a part of that, but it's not the point of the goings-on. It's about community and connection. Once that sort of sunk in, I was back to floating along. The Leather Community is a small, mid-western city. Pretty much, we all know each other. Some better than others, but the faces that you see at the supermarket and the Fourth of July parade and at Viv's Luncheonette are all familiar faces, and there are lots of people you know and know about even though you've never spoken to them beyond, "Hi, how goes it?"

So after Lolita's words of wisdom sunk in, I was at peace with the paucity of flagellation. This was the last night of MAL. I was sitting in the lobby of the hotel, taking it all in, and up he walked, with a sweet smile on his face. He started gently massaging my body, every part that he could get to, anyway. It felt wonderful. Sublime. I got so relaxed. I started returning the kindness. Of course, me being me, I focused my attention on his back. And, me being me, I started to slap it, first lightly, then, when his body language signaled that he was enjoying it, with increasing force. His back reddened. Like the sun coming up. I worked harder. "I bet you are really good at flogging," he said. "I love to be flogged." So we pretty much did a little scene--a scene-let, if you will--right there in the lobby. I love to play in public, the feeling of the crowd disappearing, leaving only him and me. There was connection, there was intimacy, there was gratitude flowing both ways. I would have hustled him up to my room and taken my floggers out of the toy bag, but it was 2 a.m., and my energy was pretty depleted, and Past President was busy. But that was fine. Trust that the leathergods will take care of you, and they will.

At Afterwords Cafe at KramerBooks, they had on the menu a Trent Lotte. Separate but equal parts of steamed milk and espresso, that were combined before drinking. Brilliant.

My sole phobia is a fear of snakes. Past President pointed out to me that that means I have a lesson to learn from snakes. And isn't it interesting that I love whips, and whips look just like snakes?

More to come. Unless events in the days to come prove to be more interesting. My sincere gratitude goes to Past President, Sweetheart Sir, Almost Bruiser, Lolita, the Man Of Whom It Might Be Said That I'm Awfully Fond of the Ground on Which He Walks, and the men of Leather Navigator too numerous to mention that made the past four days so wonderful. Thank you all.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Really interesting development in the lawsuit filed against Queen of Mean
Leona Helmsley by her former hotel manager, Charles Bell. Bell alleges he was
fired because of anti-gay bias. As this is New York City, that allegation
would make the firing illegal. However, Leona has defended herself by
pointing out that she has openly gay men among her most trusted long-time
staff. (There was even a horrifying picture of her trusted long-time staff in
the New York Daily News. Horrifying only in that I'm praying that there's not
a floral print waistcoat in my future.)

The front page of the Daily News today carries the enormous headline, "Leona's
Leather Nightmare." It seems that the 'other' aspect of Leona's defense is
that her former employee Charles Bell was not of the floral-waistcoat-wearing,
Manolo Blahnik loafer sporting, Cosmopolitan cocktail sipping, Barbra adoring
ilk of gay men, but rather was a leather clad, satyr-like goatee sporting,
shaved head gay men. In other words, he was into kink. And the Big Crime was
apparently filling up one of Leona's hotels with similar leather-clad gay men
for last year's Black Party.

The plot thickens. And so, we get snipets in the News such as Charles Bell
being grilled about just why exactly he shaves his head, and whether he was
aware that Leona became frightened while riding in the elevator with Mr.
Bell's 'friend' when he was decked out in heiffer skin.

Y'know, that's pretty alarming. I mean, here we are with the ink from the
Governor's signature not yet dry on New York State's Sexual Orientation
Non-Discrimination Act, when it becomes evident that if you indeed suspect
that your employee is kinky, you can fire him or her on the spot.


In general, I think that discrimination laws can be disastrous. Why? Because
if you have an employee who is a member of a protected class (racial or ethnic
minority, female, older, disabled, and now, lesbian or gay), and that person
'just isn't working out' for whatever valid reasons, it's really, really
difficult to fire him or her. So, many employers, unless they're 100%
confident that the person is not going to be a problematic employee down the
road, will think twice about hiring a member of a protected class in the first
place. And, as American society has tended to become more and more tolerant
over the years, these laws can quickly become anachronistic. So, in an
environment when no employer would hire a 58-year-old African American
lesbian, they could help that woman get a job. But, in a society where the
average employer would not think twice about hiring someone because of age,
race or ethnicity, sex, or sexual orientation, those laws suddenly are working
against the woman.

So, I don't know that I'd be advocating laws protecting the rights of
people--such as me--who engage in 'alternative consensual sexual practices or
lifestyles,' but it does seem to me that there is a lot of education that
could be done. Yeah, even here in New York City.

* * * * * * *

A tearful goodbye this morning when I left the house. I won't see my boy-boy
(my Dog, that is) until I get back from MAL on Monday night. He will be in
the custody of our friends at Pet People. Once I'm down in DC, I won't be
thinking about it much. But I sort of dread coming home tonight, opening the
door, and walking into an empty apartment. He, of course, loves his Pet
People pals, and is perfectly happy to go spend a few days with them.

As with much of dog ownership, it's all about me.

* * * * *

Two replies so far to SingleTails' Snowball Road Rage contest. One snowball
hurling tyke was gunned down in Detroit (lotsa snow, lotsa guns), and the
other in the UK. Which surprises me. Not a lot of snow or guns there. So,
that's two Starbucks coffee cards I owe.

I'll post the text of the stories sometime soon. Duplicates don't qualify for
getting yourself a Starbucks Card.

And I guess I should be more clear about the other qualifications for me to
spend my hard earned money on a Coffee Card for you.

1. The snowball thrower must have been shot, and it must be fatal.
2. It had to have happened this winter, i.e., at some point since October.
3. The snowball thrower must be a miscreant youth. Therefore, I think that
18 would be the uppermost age limit. The fact that he or she is miscreant
goes without saying. The little prick was throwing snowballs, right?
4. It must have been reported by a generally recognized media outlet based on
factual reportage.

A special bonus will be awarded if there is anything in the article about the
snowball thrower "getting what he/she deserved."

Nota Bene: SingleTails readers are advised against either packing heat in the
hopes of assasinating a snowball throwing lad or lass, calling in a report to
the local news outlet, and thus earning yourself a coffee card; or in the
alternative, trying to get the local street youth riled up when the next
snowstorm hits and heading off to pelt the local drug dealer, Mafia don, or
unstable local nutjob whom you know to carry a sidearm. I'll know.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Oh. Ananuthathing. I've been busy searching the web for my favorite Wintertime news story. There's at least one every year. In 1999, three of them were brought to my attention. It goes like this: "A fourteen year old boy was shot to death today in an incident that has people in the town/suburb/neighborhood of ________ shocked. The boy was with a group of his friends, and they were throwing snowballs at passing cars/passer-by/people leaving the ______ Homes projects/shoveling snow/. A local man became enraged and shot one of the boys dead. Police have taken the man into custody and it is expected that he will be charged."

I was delighted that with the advent of SuperSoakers, I have something to look forward to during the summer months, too.

I'll send a Starbucks Card to the first reader who emails me with a url to this news item. I know it's out there.
I've been mulling the blog entry I made the other night. The one where I tried to articulate the materialist approach to what might be called transcendence, or even, religious sentiment. The thing about the coffee. I want to clarify. Or perhaps correct. Is it in fact, all just 'good coffee'? Was getting whipped by ARt good coffee? Was whipping wonderful boy and sitting there with him kneeling at my feet just good coffee? The ritual of initiation at Inferno, seeing Noted Author do that amazing whipping scene at Inferno, the Easter Vigil service at St. Luke's, Faure's Requiem, a Frankenthaler canvas, Eliot's The Wasteland... all just good coffee?

No. More than just good coffee. Kind of. Sensations exist for us as electro-chemical reactions, true enough. However, to some degree, each 'experience' rewires the brain somewhat. New connections are formed that have not previously been formed. At a basic level, this re-wiring is called learning. You touch a hot stove and get burned. Your brain is re-wired so that now you associate 'hot stove' with searing pain. I reckon that different experiences have a greater or lesser impact. Getting whipped by ARt, for example, was a major re-wiring job that was done. I was feeling the effects for weeks, suddenly leading a very different emotional life, with experiences having an emotional content they didn't have previously.

I think that profound experiences--those that entail a major re-wiring--particularly affecting the most primitive parts of the brain, are what we might call 'transcendent.'

Another thing I was thinking about today. Namely, the evolutionary basis of the Master/slave relationship. I'm thinking of dogs and wolves. They're pack animals. In the pack, there's is an alpha, and ranked subordinates. People with more than one dog in the house who have read up on animal behavior can generally figure out which of their dogs is the Alpha. Although it's not always obvious. For instance, someone rings the doorbell in a house with two dogs. Both dogs bark, and one goes racing to the door. Wouldn't that be the Alpha? I could be wrong, but I think that would be the subordinate. The Alpha hangs back and lets the subordinate do the dirty work. Some dog owners engage in a bit of egalitarian anthropomorphism, and try to make equality reign among their dogs, thinking that it's 'unfair' in some way. In fact, most subordinate dogs are subordinate because it's in their nature to be subordinate.

Now among wolves, or feral dogs, there are dogs that are 'naturally' Alphas. Each Alpha, generally larger and somewhat differently wired, will naturally assume the role. If another wolf is similarly put together, they will vie for dominance, and if the upstart is successful, the old Alpha, unable to take a subordinate position, will leave to either form a new pack, go solo (wolves can exist equally well independently or as part of a pack), or take some members of the pack with them. In a pack in which there is no wolf that is naturally the Alpha, a wolf that has previously been a subordinate can assume the role, and grow into it, either on a temporary basis until supplanted, or permanently.

Possibly, so too with humans. Some people are natural dominants. Some people are naturally submissive. Some people are fine being submissives, but can assume a dominant role if need be, and might be quite successful at it. Going back to wolves, a naturally subordinate wolf is least likely to become a lone wolf. That wolf finds it difficult to exist outside of a pack, with an Alpha.

I have one tattoo. On my right deltoid is the head of a wolf, over a legend reading 'Stand Alone.' As the artist (Sonny Tufts of South Street Tattoo in Philadelphia) designed it, it read, "Lone Wolf." I thought that was a bit cliche. The most recent good book I read when I got the tattoo a decade or more ago was "Freedome and Dignity" by Erich Fromm. A phrase, possibly a chapter heading, that stuck with me from that book was "Stand alone and live." I asked Mr. Tufts if he could put that beneath the head of the wolf, and he said it was too long. So I settled on "Stand Alone."

I think I know who I am.

Anyway. Time to pack for MAL.

More forward advancement by our brothers and sisters south of the Mason Dixon line. And it totally supports my emerging theory of the essential hypocrisy of the Southern soul. Why did Georgia have a law on the books for 170 years that prohibited sex between unmarried people? Because they didn't want unmarried people to have sex? Nah. It was because it would 'look better' if they had a ludicrous law, just to let folks know who they were dealing with and what their values were. But I seriously doubt that not only has there never been any diminution in extra-marrital sex in Georgia overall because of this law, but I bet there was never any diminution of extra-marrital sex among the people who dreamed up this law, the legislators who voted on it, the Governor who signed it, or the law officers charged with enforcing it. But it's not about what you think or do, it's about how it looks. It's all about the enormous goddamn columns stuck on the front of your Decatur mansion, it doesn 't matter if they're made of plastic.

Holden Caulfield's Lover has a wonderful entry on Why We Blog. HCL frequently has wonderful entries, bu the way. He makes some interesting points, none of which I'd argue with.

But I think I'd add to it. I like reading blogs because it broadens my life, albeit vicariously. If I had sixteen-inch biceps I'd be happy all the time, right? Well, no. HCL has his own stuff to deal with, along with his sixteen inch biceps. I have a blast reading mumblefuck's doings in the world of the New York club scene. I get perspective on my own struggles reading about how Glennalicious contends with his first year of teaching in the New York City public school system. The unique and wonderful perspective of JockoHomo always leaves me with root beer barrels of insight for my mind to suck on all day. The gals at Neversane are a trio of latter day Samuel Pepys. And then there's the prolific and brillian offerings at Uffish Thoughts. And of course, I routinely check in with Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Reynolds to keep up on what's going on in the world. Glenn is dangerous though. I just get lost in there for hours.

As to why I blog, I think it has something to do with the fact that I find it sort of edgy. Dancing around all those issues of self-disclosure. It's sort of like the thrill and fear of coming out, whether it be as a Gay man or as someone into S/M--on an on-going basis. By that I mean, you start off in a place where you think that you're indescribably unique ("I'm the only one"), take the risk of self-disclosure, and find out that in fact there's a whole community of like-minded individuals. And, it's always a risk. That's what makes it interesting. I think to some extent I live in fear of getting an email from a reader that basically says, "Man, you are so fucked up."

And, of course, there's the fact that it's writing, and I spent just about my entire session with my therapist last night talking about how I want to be a writer, but I can't figure out how that would work.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Got this in email when I got home tonight...

"Let me be the first to officially congratulate you on your acceptance into Chicago Hellfire Club. Your application was favorably accepted by the Full Members at Monday's meeting.

"You will be receiving your "new member packet" in the next few days via regular mail (or a few more days for those new international members). Please take a few minutes and familiarize yourself with all the information included in the packet. There is important information about the club's operation included in the club's by-laws and standing legislation which you need to be aware of as it will impact you at some point.

"After reviewing the information or in the meantime, if you have any questions, please let me know.

"Once again, congratulations and welcome to the Chicago Hellfire family."

Wow. I'm pretty overwhelmed. My sincere thanks to Past President and Does Mean Well, my sponsors. I hope I'll serve honorably. (Note to self: under no circumstances volunteer to be Treasurer.) I truly feel it's taking on a great responsibility. I hope to live up to the expectations. Maybe (just maybe) I'm taking this too seriously. But it's genuinely how I feel.

Anyway. I need to walk my dog and start the process of packing for MAL. Tonight, toy and gear. Tomorrow, clothes.

It's yet another kink-ster with a blog! Although he doesn't seem quite as prolific. Or perhaps he's just pithier. Love the Leather Pride Flag running down the side of his page.

Candy is dandy...

Y'know what? I've never had a martini. Not even a vodka martini. I think I had something called a Granny Smith martini at K-Bar. Usually when I order a drink, I get bourbon (Jack Daniels' is preferred) with a twist of lime. Although actually, my favorite drink to order is Laird's Apple Jack with a shot of Rose's Lime Juice. On a hot summer night, that sets you right up. Unfortunately, it's been about a decade since I've been in a bar that stocked Laird's Apple Jack. One bartender fielded my drink order with the response, "That's what farmers drink, right?" Where I grew up, farmers drank Schlitz. Now, those farmers have been supplanted by "farmers" who drink obscure California merlots. Such is the trend in agriculture in beautiful Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I think I'll try a martini sometime soon. I guess my concern is, 'what if I don't like it?' But hell, when I was in Moscow, I drank my weight in vodka. (Amazing vodka. Served chilled. Cold in your mouth, like water from a melting glacier. And it went down warm. Omigod that was amazing vodka.) Most of the drinking I did was between the ages of sixteen and twenty four. I really really slowed down after that. Just a beer or two when I went out on Saturday night after that.

More about drinking...

Several years ago, I was off work sick with the flu. I went to my doctor. At that point, he was a guy I picked out of the HMO directory, and I'd never met the man. I picked him because his name was Dr. Martin, just like my boots. (Well, not 'just like,' since my boots were Dr. Marten's.). Dr. Martin gave me a thorough exam, and then said, "You're in serious shape. You're under-weight, exhausted, slightly anemic, and your immune system is apparently shot to hell." He quizzed me about how much sleep I was getting (hardly any), what I was eating (tea and... some other stuff), and my work habits (I stumble into the office at 9:30 and work until 11:30 that night. I really like it when they have me traveling because I can sleep on the plane.) Dr. Martin ordered me to eat right, get enough sleep, and go to the gym. And going over my blood work, he found cause for concern regarding my cholesterol. There's 'good' cholesterol and 'bad' cholesterol. My 'bad' cholesterol was very low. Which was good. But my 'good' cholesterol was very low, too. Which was bad. "Well, I said, how can I bring that up?" Quoth Dr. Martin: "Are you a drinking man?" I said that I usually had on the average 2 beers a week. "Switch to hard liquor," he said. "That should raise your levels to where I'd like to see them." So there I would be, ordering a Jack Daniels at the bar, and saying, "Doctor's orders!"

When I was seventeen, and first going to gay bars, my sister advised that in order to avoid getting carded, I order a 'Cuddy Sark on the Rocks.' So I did. And I never got carded. Unless I was with my friend Ed, who would order a Sloe Gin Fizz. Serious.

My beach going with the folks that I used to work with in various New Hope, Pennsylvania restaurants always included a bottle of vodka and grapefruit juice, buried in the sand to keep cold. Vodka and grapefruit juice always makes me think of the beach.

I used to drink something I called a Side Bord. It was Vodka, Chambord, and the juice of half a lemon. It took all that lemon juice to take the sweetness off the Chambord.

I like Rusty Nails, too. Or just good old Drambuie, my favorite aperatif.

Drinking alcohol often prompts an upsurge in my vasculitis. This doesn't prevent me from drinking, as vasculitis looks bad ("Oh. My. God. What is the matter with your legs??!!!") but I don't feel a thing, and it isn't detrimental, despite the assertions of every hypochondriacal boyfriend I've had that it must mean that a bloodclot was on its way to my brain.

Today, I am the bloggin' fool!

This is fun.
This is pure evil. And people get on me because I don't think I could live in the South. Listen up. I bet those officers where full of "Ha, folks, how y'all doin'? Yer all shur lookin' good today." Smiles and sweetness. My ass. Sugar-coated cat turds. FYI: the dog in question was a fat basset hound and the 'aggressive behavior' involved wagging its tail and panting. Heads should role. Here's the CNN coverage of the story.
Sarah, Alexandra, and Kathleen are starting a cult! It seems to be centered on the being known as 'Gyrating Cosmonaught." Where do I sign up?
Look what was in my email inbox this morning!

"Hello my name is Ashley.I am a 24 year old house wife.
My husband is always gone on business trips, leaving me all by myself.
Sometimes I get to lonely and extremly horney! My problem is solved
now that I have found Fine Horney Wives.I go there and chat with women in
my same situation, sometimes we meet to have a little fun, and sometimes I
find a man to satisfy my wild and crazy desires. We would like to invite
you to join us and maybe you could satisfy me next!
You would not believe what is going on on this site and what people are saying about it!"

I'm sore confused. This was sent to me by someone named "Howard Preston." Could that be Ashley's husband? Maybe she's using her husband's email account. Pretty risky, Ashley! What if someone replied to your email, and Howard was the one that opened the reply? Yo. Wait a minute. If Ashley wants to cuckhold Howard, I'd best stay out of that. I mean, I don't even know Ashley and Howard. I think they should go to counseling. Have they tried talking it through? Could it be that Ashley has some sort of dependent personality disorder that makes her unable to forgo these dangerous liaisons? And could it be that Howard is in fact a homosexual, hence all those business trips and his inattention to Ashley? Okay. Breathe. I'm getting way to involved. I've just got to let go. I'll keep Howard and Ashley in my prayers. I guess that's all I can do.


Oh here's a cool thing. I don't have a cold. My feet don't hurt. I have no cavities. My back is in good working order. I wish there was some wood in my office, as I should knock some. With MAL approaching, I'd best do all I can to maintain that.


Monday, January 13, 2003

My mind is fairly burbling like the brew in a witch's cauldron. Went to a meeting of the GMSMA Program Committee this evening. Coming up in a few weeks is a Wednesday evening program on S/M and spirituality. Past President will almost certainly be one of the presenters, and he is also the coordinator. The ideas flying around the table were wonderful, any one of them worth a chapter in the book I hope I write some day...

The Shamanic aspects of being a Top
...being healer, magician, guide to the sacred, initiator, priest... And I think about Henri Knouwen's book, The Wounded Healer, how bringing healing can only be done by one who has himself been wounded, and bound his own wounds, keeping them ever with him. The sacrifice of being a healer is that you are never healed yourself, as to be healed would mean giving up the ability to heal. The Healer lives with his loneliness, brokenness, and incompleteness, so that he may bring compassion and unity and completion to those around him.
The experience of the bottom as the Journey of the Hero
...the great hero myths in all cultures follow a similar pattern:
The miraculous birth fortold (the Christmas star, Moses in the bullrushes)
Early childhood signs and wonders that set the hero apart as having an ultramundane destiny (the infant Hercules strangled two serpents that Hera had sent into his cradle, the boy Christ teaching the scholars in the Temple)
The Calling, leading to a departure from the earthly father and home out into the wide world to pursue that ultramundane destiny (Jesus' baptism, the calling of Jesus' disciples, those Greek heroes that learn that they are the offspring of the gods, Prince Siddharta who leaves his home)
The Time of Fasting and Prayer in preparation (Buddha under the lotus, Jesus in the desert, Moses in the desert)
The Temptation (Nikos Kazantzakas got it right: the true temptation is to live a quiet life in the bosom of your family, to deny your calling)
Trials, Battles, Miracles (Ullysses, Hercules and his twelve labors, the miracles of Christ... During this time, the hero is refined and tested and gains wisdom and often followers.)
Often, this is thought to be the end of the story. But it's not. Because then...
The Hero Dies and Goes to Hell. (Christ, Orpheus, Ullyses, Dante) Hell can be symbolic of plunging into the subconscious. But basically, it's Hell. You contend with your Demons. In the Christian story, the crucifixion and death of Jesus' mean that everything he believed and stood for (love is greater than hatred, weakness is more beautiful than strength, the hungry will be fed and the poor will have riches everlasting) was a wrong. It doesn't work that way in the world.

But, that's not the end of the story either. Nobody stays in Hell. There is the
Return from Hell, the Resurrection, the coming back to life, the ultimate Victory.

This is followed by Apotheosis: the hero becomes a god (Hercules, Jesus) or becomes identified with his god/father, or surpasses his god/father. (Again in the Christ-story, God raised Jesus from the dead, making all those things that died with him God's things, God's own project.)

And Past President describes architypes: Warrior, Scholar/Sage, Magician. I haven't thought much about these, but it would make for fruitful contemplation.

And other ideas and categories for the Spirituality Program were discussed. For example, Sacred Space. That, essentially, is what the dungeon or playspace is. (Bottoms on AOL so frequently ask, "Do you have a dungeon?" Also probably the underlying reason why so much time and attention at Inferno is spent 'securing the perimeter.")

It occurred to me (I almost want to say, "It came to me in a dream," but I'm not sure if that's true, although I have had some wild dreams lately. That I can't recall, of course) that I know what I want to submit for my fantasy if I go to Inferno this year: I want to be annihilated and then resurrected. But, I realize, I don't want that. I'm not at that point yet.

But that's what I do want. Eventually. That, in fact, is what we all want: to be destroyed utterly and made new, to have all the toil and weakness and indecision and stupidity burned away. To have the flesh and sinew flayed from our bones,and then have the bones ground into powder, leaving only pure spirit.

So then I went to dinner at Manatus, and I read my book. Right now I'm reading 'The Blank Slate,' by Steven Pinker. Basically it's a discussion of Evolutionary Biology, or Sociobiology. And so it sort of dawned on me that when the flesh is flayed from the bones and the bones are ground into powder, then that's it. There's no more. You've ceased to be. That 'transcendance' we seek and find is really not a lot more than electro-chemical reactions in the cerebral cortex. Specifically, the actions of endorphins primarily. And that's all? Yeah. That's all.

But, why do we have those endorphins that we can exploit and find ecstasy? One theory holds that they are given to us so that women can endure the pain and rigor of childbirth. (That makes it pretty cool to be a man, we get the endorphins, but don't have to pump infants through a too small hole.) But think about childbirth. First, there's the fear and terror, amplified by the sight of your own blood, and the impending travail. Then, there are the contractions, which are rhythmic, and build in intensity. There's the breathing and the coaching, the intimacy of the coaching, by the midwife, one who is expert, and often feared and viewed with suspicion. The birth itself.

My friend Connie had a baby when she was in college. I remember well her vivid description. She said it's unbelievable, searing, destroying, terrible pain, much worse than you can imagine if you haven't been through it. But, the second that the baby is out, all the pain is suddenly over. (Not really, but comparatively, it feels that way.) However, all the endorphins that your body has produced to process and absorb the pain are suddenly without any countermanding pain. So you're flying. It's bliss and joy absolute.

The parallels to whipping, or to fisting, are fairly obvious.

So that's all it is. But, in a way, it's plenty.

One of my all-time favorite movie moments is from Wim Wenders' film, "Wiings of Desire." The plot involves angels, who are insensate. They can't be seen or felt by mortals. But, neither can they feel. Peter Falk is in the movie. Playing himself. He's in Berlin, where the movie is set, as he's filming a movie. We learn that Peter Falk was once an angel, but he decided to 'take on flesh.' Anyway, there's this wonderful scene where he walks away from the movie set to where two angels are observing. "I can't see you," he says, "but I know you're there," he tells them. And then he addresses them, in a soliloquy that sums up just about everything I believe. "Coffee is good. It's hot, and it feels wonderful going down. When you wake up on a cold morning, you ache, and you shiver, and you feel miserable. And then you make coffee. And you hold it in the mug, almost too hot to touch. And then you drink it down, and your senses come alive. And it feels so good going down, and feeling your body respond and wake up. Coffee is good. It's good here on the other side."

That's it. Coffee is good. (Well, actually I prefer tea...) So is the feeling of sunlight on your naked skin. So is the feeling of your body bouyant in salt water. So is the sensation of a kiss. And to be held. And to feel a sleeping body pressed againt yours. And watching firelight. And that feeling after sharing good food with friends. And I love it when it's really cold and you're moving, and even though your bare skin is exposed, it feels inviigoratiing. And the feeling of taking a really good piss. And the smell of a baby. And playing with a dog. Listening to Bach's Fugue in G Minor. And the way your body feels after a long, hard day of physical labor. Or hiking. And the smell of a field after the rain. And a thunderstorm. And lying down in bed after a long hard day and drifting off to sleep. Seeing the Northern Lights for the first time. And fireworks. And the buzzing in your brain from a bottle of wine. And sticking your face in a sink filled with cold water and ice cubes. And tea, brewed strong.

And throwing a whip, and seeing the wee spot of blood on the back, right where you were aiming. And feeling the last bit of resistance melt and your fist slips right up his ass. And feeling his cock slip in and fill you right up. And rendering a strong man powerless and helpless and under your control, feeling the blood surging through his veins, and knowing that if you wanted, you could stop his heart from beating. And tasting his sweat. And holding a weeping man in your arms as he says over and over again, "Thank you, Sir. Thank you. Oh my God. Oh my God that was so great. Thank you, Sir."

That's all good. That's very good. That's divine.
I am soooo looking forward to MAL next weekend.

When I was driving down last year, I called my dear friend Connie is St. Louis. (Heterosexual, married Connie.) Connie asked where I was heading, and I told her I was off to a Leather event in DC, centered around a conference.

Pregnant pause.

“What kind of ‘contest’ is this?” she asked.

I told her that guys who had won contests at individual bars were now competing for the title of Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather, and the winner would go on to compete in Chicago to become International Mr. Leather. Connie starts laughing: “You’re going to a beauty pageant!”

“Well, no… Well, yeah.”

I’ve never been to IML (International Mr. Leather), but I love MAL. I always thought that from what I heard IML would be too much of a scene. MAL, however, has an Old-Home-Week kind of feel to it. Everyone tends to converge in the lobby of the hotel, and it’s all about chatting and cruising and catching up. However, if my application to the Chicago Hellfire Club is accepted before IML, that could provide me with additional incentive to go to IML, as CHC will no doubt have an event at their clubhouse that I could go to.

DC really is one of my favorite cities to visit. I have never not had a good night at the DC Eagle. I have a theory about why the DC Eagle is the best leather bar in the country. People gravitate to New York in order to work, primarily, in fields that include fashion, advertising, marketing, public relations, media, and finance. If you think about it, it’s all about Image. On the other hand, people gravitate to Washington, DC because of power, and they tend to be people who are keenly aware of power dynamics. And that tends to be the basis of S/M. As opposed to the New York Eagle, where people look really really good, but tend to be primarily interested in standard fare from the sexual smorgasbord.

And, my favorite restaurant in the whole world is in DC: Afterwords Café at Kramer Books on Connecticut Avenue. I got to like Afterwords when a former job had me practically living in DC for several weeks. I was staying either at the Mayflower Hotel or right around the corner from there at a little family run hotel. So Afterwards was a quick walk, and the menu was varied enough so that I could eat there every night and not be bored. Also, as I was down there solo, because it was attached to a bookstore (and a great bookstore at that) I could sit alone at a table reading a book while I ate, and not feel like a freak.

I’m picking up Sweetheart Sir at the airport on Friday morning, and then we’re going out for lunch. I think I’ll see about heading there.

Speaking of S’Sir, in preparation for the scene we’re planning on doing down there, S’Sir has ordered me (ahem!) to abstain from cumming between now and Friday. As I don’t take orders very well, I’m thinking of this as a ‘suggestion’ for a preparatory course of action to make the scene that we do all the hotter. That shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’m pretty busy this week, so it’s unlikely that I’m gonna have the free time for a hook-up of some kind that would compromise that. And so the only time I really jerk off is the last thing I do every night before I go to sleep. If in fact I do have problems getting to sleep, I’ll probably resort to that stress-relievin’ activity that releases whatever neurochemical that knocks me out cold every time. (Seriously. The most frequent reply that my sex partners get to the question, “How was that for you?” is “Zzzzzzzzz.”)


I’ll close this entry with a wee little ditty I learned years ago.

I saw her snatch
………………………….the suitcase from the hallway.
I held her but
…………………………a moment in the rain
I kissed her as
…………………………we drove off to the station
To see her brother Jack off
………………………….on the train..

Maybe it doesn’t work printed the way it does when it’s heard sung. Still, a clever bit of Vaudeville nonetheless.


Dang. I agreed to go to this thing for work… “The King of Hi-Di_Ho,” Honoring the Harlem Little League… this entertaining Reel to Real family series pairs classic film and video clips with live performances of music, dance, comedy and drama. Sounds great, right? I love the Harlem Little League. Well, no. It’s on a Saturday. If it meant heading up to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on a Friday afternoon, I’d be there. But the little leaguers are gonna have to trust that I’m solid in my fandom. Well, maybe if I can find someome to go with me. I wonder if my friend Baron von Philadelphia could come into town for a weekend? He’d be great for something like that. And any way, I wish he would move to NYC. Then we could hang out.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

It makes me feel good to know that out there, across the wide river Hudson, in the heart of the great city, is a man who is wearing my collar. Yup. I took the plunge. I got this email...

I am deeply sorry to have missed you and hope and prey I am still in good
graces. Shortly after the First left I felt you coming down the stairs
and could only kneel on the playroom floor for what seemed like seconds and
hours at the same time. I heard the door shut and did open it back up but
all I remember is next the First came in and found no one except one
anxious boy in residence. I am impossibly scared and thrilled and do not
approach for so many reasons all good so Sir without being sillier than I
am I only hope you understand your very presence even through walls and
mortar returns this boy to such happiness me tend to smile and
cry and just hope you understand that we become so perfectly drunk on elixir
we were beginning to doubt existed please indulge my irresponsibility until
I can adjust to the ecstasy again that a boy finds perhaps a handful of
times in his life when the accidental immortal You Sir are alights upon his
person. I hope to be still Your boy.

I forgot about the other play room. It's near the back stairs, and completely soundproof. And how could I not respond to a missive like that? So I emailed and said I'd be over as soon as I was done with some GMSMA business. (Today was a mail party, followed by nine (!) hours of doing Treasury stuff with the Prez. When we were done, much later than anticipated, I gave a call, and told b.w. that after I got something to eat, I'd meet him at the Lure.

I didn't see him at first, but then I did. He was wearing heavy duty kneepads and a wrestling singlet. And locking wrist cuffs. His body felt so nice and warm on a cold night like tonight. I sort of massaged him roughly then sensuously, and smaked his beautiful ass. I said 'hello,' he introduced me to his buddy. And then I put the collar on him. He sort of melted. I enjoyed his body--which now belongs to me--for a while. I got a great idea at one point. I finished my O'Doul's, put my finger in the neck, and had good leverage to rhythmically paddle his balls with it. He kept his head buried in my chest, moaning softly in ecstasy.

When it was time to go, I told him I'd give him a ride home. He went and retrieved our coats. He chatted with nervous energy as we drove to his place. He asked about GMSMA. He told me that he thought being Episcopal wasn't so much a religion as music appreciation. "All that ritual, and none of the guilt," I responded. On the way out, his friend was putting the moves on some boy. He said--for the boys benefit, "It's getting late. You'd better call your parole officer. And I'll get you some more of that ointment. My doctor gets me free samples all the time." He's a jokey boy, and I like that.

In the car he told me that while I was working his body, he came three times at the Lure.

Love that.

So I'm happy. I'm kind of inspired by Does Mean Well. DMW collared his slave at an Inferno pool party several years ago. He did it with the expectation of "once I put this on you, you're mine for the rest of the night." And his slave is still wearing it. Even though slave has become more Number One.

Who knows where this will go. Mebbe nowhere. Mebbe not.

He wears my collar.

Anyway, my boy-boy (the canine one) needs a walk. It's about thirty below outside, but Demns da breaks when you own a dog.

Very tired. Must sleep now. Sure wish I was in The Room at boy wonderful's. The fire going. Him massaging me until I fall asleep. Then sleeping on the floor outsiide my room.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

How does the refrain go? "A riddle inside a mystery wrapped in an enigma"? Something like that.

The short version of the story is, I got stood up. Here's the long version... I show up at the Penthouse, bearing the collar. His friends are there, hanging out and smoking cigarets. I'm told that he is in the shower. So I hang out and smoke cigarets and play with the dogs. Time passes. His friends head out to the Lure, and I say, "Alright, see you in a bit." I sit on the floor and play with the dogs. I lie back, perhaps drifting off to sleep. I look at my watch. I've been there an hour. Hmmm. I head downstairs, calling his name. No answer. I tour the penthouse (all three floors) calling for him. I check in every room. I'm, like, all alone in the Penthouse. Unless there's a secret passageway I'm not familiar with. Which is not impossible. I collect my stuff, including the collar, and head to the Eagle.

The rich are different from you and I. How different? We're talking off the scale on the flakiness continuum. How bizarre is that? I mean, why not just say, "Tonight wouldn't work. I'll give you a call." Why leave me rambling about your penthouse? I guess I could have walked out with a Chuck Close, leaving a note saying, "I borrowed some stuff. Love ya!" Or whatever.

Ah well. Onward!

Friday, January 10, 2003

I shall blog but briefly, as I need to high-tail it over to boy wonderful's digs to present him with the collar I obtained for him. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm a little nervous. I mean, I've been telling myself that I'm not collaring him per se, just presenting him with the gift of a collar to wear so that he may think of me. But I think that Existentially, it's the same thing. And I think I'm telling myself this obfuscation because even though I really really really want to collar him, call him my slave, and embark on a new journey with him, I haven't begun to think through the implications of that. And I should. I mean, I'm not Mr. Benson. There's no padlock on the collar; it's not permanent. Too, I have no special expectations of him once he's wearing the collar. But I do feel deeply moved by his submission to me, and I want to acknowledge that.

In Guy Baldwin's wonderful book 'slavecraft,' he opines that it is a fallacy to think that Masters 'train' slaves. Masters and slaves are different species; the ways of slaves are mysterious and inscrutable to Masters, and vice versa. So really, all I need do is offer him the opportunity to take his place as my slave if he desires that, and if he does, then I'll take my place as his Master. (Jumpin' Jehosophat!) Since there really isn't any reality-based perscription for how that works, especially when the slave pays roughly two-and-a-half times the amount of money for storage of his mechanical engineering hardware as I take home in salary on an annual basis; and I'm not inclined to have someone who has probably rarely--if ever--made himself breakfast start doing that for me, the guidelines are even murkier. Co-habitation is pretty much out of the question, for example. But, I like him, and we really have a connection, so we'll see where it goes. I want to embark on this.

Oh. Here's an interesting thing. Today at work, the cockring I was wearing slipped off and slid down my pants leg onto the floor. Various physiological explanations for that, all of them plausible, but I'm sort of giggling thinking that it was my genitalia got self-protective, and fearing actual castration slid up inside my body. Actually, things are going not so badly at work. I just stay really really busy all the time. And, on Tuesday the Boss flies off to Taiwan on some junket or other. (Al Quaeda operatives, take note...)

(I'd better break myself of that habit of verbalizing my fantasies of my Boss being taken out by terrorists, or else I'll be having John Ashcroft's henchmen cart me off to Camp X-Ray in the middle of the night.)

Thursday, January 09, 2003

What follows is a piece I wrote with the intention of seeing it published in GMSMA's Newslink. I owe a debt of gratitude to Past President for his editing and on-target suggestions. Hope you all enjoy.

Oh. It's interupted between Part IV and Part V by a totally unrelated entry. I was having problems with Blogger last night that seem to have worked themselves out.

Singletails: A Bildungsroman in Five Parts

I. Winter Weekend.

I had nothing else going on that weekend. The weather was supposed to be crappy. GMSMA was offering a two day workshop on Singletail Whips. I wasn’t particularly inclined to attend. I mean, those things really hurt.

My older sister had horses when I was growing up, and I remember once attempting to crack her whip in the garage. I didn’t get a crack, but I did feel the intense sting of the whip on my cheek when the thing recoiled. And, within the past year, I had one used on me (thrown as you would a cat o’nine tails) briefly until I indicated to the Top in the strongest possible terms that that was not okay. They really hurt. But what the heck; maybe I’ll meet some hot men. GMSMA is always good for that.

A. and J. recruited by the Education Committee to conduct the workshop, covered a folding table in the appointed room at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center with an array of whips. They spoke briefly about the history and making of whips.

Essentially, there are three types in common use: bullwhips, snake whips, and signal whips. Bullwhips are built with a stiff rod incorporated into the base as a handle. Snake whips have no rigid handle and have a leather thong called a ‘fall’ coming before the cracker. Every cowboy in the American West had one in his saddlebag. Signal whips were developed for use with dogsled racing. They’re shorter, the cracker is incorporated into the body of the whip, and they’re great for scene play in a studio apartment.

After further discussion, our instructors said they’d be moving quickly to the hands on portion, showing us how to throw side-handed. A. demonstrated. Crack! It sounded like a rifle shot reverberating through the roomMy heartbeat quickened. I think my pupils probably dilated. Wow… what was that?

Whips from the table were divvyed up. I selected a beautiful five foot signal whip, the color of whiskey. I stood with feet comfortably apart, relaxed, cleared my mind. (Why did this routine feel familiar? Of course! It’s just like splitting firewood… If you think about it, you screw up. Trust the wisdom of your body). My arm arced at my side, propelling the whip out in front of me.

Crack! Not a rifle shot, but it was a crack. I felt exhilarated. I did it! I made it crack! I tried again, throwing quickly and repetitively. No crack. I stopped, cleared my mind, focused my attention on a dint in the plaster of the far wall. I propelled the whip forward. Crack! Observing me, A. said, You’re a natural! and smiled.

Over the course of the weekend, we learned the overhand crack and the circus crack. Then, we practiced on sheets of brown craft paper marked with the rough outline of a torso hung between ladders. I loved it, just for the kinesthetic value. It was like dancing. My whole body was involved.

A. and J. described what it was like to do a scene with singletails, trying to find words to express the intensity, the connection that you have with the bottom, the importance of building slowly in order to allow an endorphin fueled response from the bottom.

And then they described aftercare. For the bottom, a whipping scene is an intense and intimate experience. The Top has pretty much taken the bottom apart, piece by piece, and it’s the Top’s responsibility to support the bottom as he puts himself back together. It begins with the mechanics of hygiene: spritzing the bottom’s back with hydrogen peroxide. And then holding, holding him closely (and carefully) while he recovers, while he sobs or giggles or rocks quietly. And just as importantly, following up in the days and weeks ahead.

This had me awestruck. What would it be like to have such a relationship with another man? To play this Shaman role? To hold, and help, and father?

I wanted to find out. The first day after the workshop, I went out shopping for a whip. I found a beautiful, kangaroo-skin black snake whip, five feet long with a two-foot fall. I had only worked with signal whips at the workshop. After caressing and examining the whip, the owner of the store suggested that I give it a throw and try it out.

I blanked. My throw was half-assed, and I almost let go, which would have sent the whip sailing across the room into a rack of chaps. “Like this,” said the proprietor, and he took the whip from me, let it extend out behind him on the floor, and then moved his body forward, his arm, his hand, the whip bringing up the rear, to concentrate the energy. “Crack!” It was deafening. “It’s a little stiff because it’s new,” said the proprietor, charitably giving me an out. I took the whip back from him, positioned myself, cleared my mind, found a point at which to aim, and I threw. Crack!

“I’ll take it!” I said, plunking down money I really didn’t have on the counter as I came to own my first whip.

And I practiced. Relentlessly. Every morning before I left for work, and every night before I went to bed. I couldn’t get enough. On the Internet, I saw some trick throws described. In one, you swing the whip in a wide circle over your head, slowly building speed. Then, you slow down, then speed up in rapid succession. This gives a double crack when you do it right. It took a while, but I got it down.

Because that first whip was a little too long for practice in my apartment (let alone play), I bought a five-foot signal whip (no fall) from the David Morgan online catalog. I had it delivered to my office and, when it arrived, I ripped open the package. To the alarm and consternation of my co-workers, I began cracking it all over the building.

They must have thought that this was a departure. What happened to the placid, cerebral, kind-hearted boss we greeted this morning? Who is this maniac with a whip? A good question, and one I’d been asking myself.