Actually, that’s all I’ve got to say right now. The wedding’s over. Ill have more for this space a little later.
In bdsm, details matter immensely. A session is as intricate as a Japanese tea eremony.
Must the submissive keep his or her mouth open, or closed? Stand on tip toes, or pigeon-toed; both make them more vulnerable, but in different ways. Does a submissive woman, pleasuring her master, bend at her knees, or keep her legs straight and bend at the waist.
I’m in Nova Scotia today. A family wedding in the icy wind. I’ve got the choice of going dressed as Wyatt Earp or David Hume. That’s the choice for reasons too complex to explain here. I think I’ll go Hume. It’s more colourful.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage;
But birds, impervious to command,
Captivity can’t understand;
When you knelt, bound, so meek and still,
Unfreedom was your own free will;
My iron embrace was your delight;
Your body held, your mind took flight.
I do not think the heavens resented
Submissiveness so sweet presented.
Sorry for starting this poem with Blake lines and then continuing with mine. It’s like sticking another ‘tache on the Mona Lisa, isn’t it? Except that it’s meant respectfully. It may even be so, just as giving unfreedom can be an act of love..
One day I’ll write something about the woman who inspired this poem. She liked cages. My engagement with cages is specific to her and my relationship. I’d never used one before, and haven’t since. They’re not calling me, so unless I get a hint from a charming submissive woman to the effect that she thinks she’d look cute behind bars, it may stay specific to that one relationship. I did enjoy it.
But this poem was about her stillness, when she was waiting in her cage for me to “notice” her. In her mind – you know how doms and subs know these things, even when they’re not said – she was a captive, abducted from a beach or a railway station, trained to wait, neatly ready for her captor’s pleasure, and to be put away again, like a toy, after use. She was not meek, even when submitting, but she liked the thought of being meek.
I was going to post something more explicit about pleasure and power today, but I’ve been out digging and unblocking drains, because of a sudden and heavy rainstorm, dumping more water against the walls of the house than the drains and gutters could handle.
I think I’ve headed the water off. Reaching down to where metal pipe meets ag pipe, about 18 inches below the ground. The rain down my back and between my buttocks while I pulled out the Japanese maple roots that were causing the blockage. If that means nothing to you, you’re lucky.
On the other hand, the sudden GAWP! sound when you’re cleared it and the water starts to drain is good.
But I’m soaked and freezing. Now I’m for a hot bath and a cup of coffee with a drop of rum.
Steamy sex will have to be posted later.
Story continued from “The Tawse’s tale #2”.
The sexshop keeper, who was not a goth, whose skin was the colour of the bloody tissue on raw chicken bones, who was shaped like a teardrop, with legs and a stripy caftan, gestured at his cash register and then the thing on the counter. The thing on the counter, which was not a tawse, lay on its back with the palm-shaped little tags at the split end splayed like the legs of a pissing puppy, one that hadn’t yet learned about standing up and cocking a leg. Like that puppy, the thing was wet and looked like it wanted its tummy tickled. As a bdsm instrument, it lacked presence. It lacked gravitas. It lacked resonance. It had never heard of sinister glamour.
“So will ye be takin the tawse, noo?”
“Well, it’s not really a tawse, is it?”
“Ah…” And he was right. For all practical purposes that was an unanswerable question.
“It’s a sort of party novelty. Like a squirty flower.”
He sighed. He’d tried, and all he got was ingratitude.
“Well, do you know anyone else in Edinburgh, who might actually have a tawse? I mean a real tawse: leather, split, fairly hefty.”
“Oh naw, we don’t get much call for that. It’s the English who go in for that sort of thing.”
“What?” I was wasting my time, but this sudden retreat into nationalist self-righteousness was surreal. I can’t resist surreal. “You. You’re Scots. You guys invented the tawse. It’s yours. That’s why I’m here trying to buy one. In Scotland.”
“Well, aye, but… We didn’t make a, a sex thing of it.” He was standing beside a life-size plastic woman in a nun’s costume, whose wide, red mouth was one of her Three Penetrable Holes.
“It’s okay to hit children with a tawse, so long as they’re not adults, they’re not consenting and they’re shit-scared? But it’s not okay to …” I shut up. Another customer had come in, and the miniskirted plastic nun was shaking her head gently. Customer had left the door open. “Okay,” I said. “Okay. I’ll pass on the tawse. But thanks.”
“Would ye be wantin anything else?”
Asking for anything I wanted here would be surreal. I’d had enough surreal now. The other customer was staring glumly at the magazines. He couldn’t ask for what he wanted until I’d gone. “Right now I just want the far side of the wall.”
The answer us that it sounds exactly like an Arabian Night.
But really it’s a Parisian night, from the early twentieth century, put into English a little later by a London-based Welshman, Edward Powys Mathers.
Mathers’s version is probably still the most popular English-language version of “The Thousand Nights and a Night”. But he didn’t know a word of Arabic. He translated the French version by Joseph Charles Mardrus.
Mardrus knew Arabic, but he also wrote his own mildly erotic Oriental fantasies, like his “The Queen of Sheba”, which is all gold costumes (underwear that goes “clank” when you drop it), yearning glances and shuddering thighs. Then in the early 1920s, Mathers did an English version of Mardrus’s French. The original is two generations away from the English version.
I discovered all this when I went searching for other translations of the Princess Abrixa scene when I was researching my “Between the Lines”. “Between the Lines” among other things tries to sketch in a cultural history of bdsm. I wanted to show that there’s awareness of bdsm pleasures in pretty much all world literatures, not just the European ones. But when I checked the Burton translation, the bound and spanked girls weren’t there. There were only some chaste athletic competitions.
So I checked other translations, and discovered that the bondage and spanking doesn’t appear in any other translation. Mardrus and Mathers had made it up. Well, the athletics was probably enough to keep Sharkhan happily watching, hiding in his tree, but it isn’t quite so saucy for the reader. Mardrus and Mathers knew what an Arabian night ought to be like, even if the original Arabic writer didn’t.
I fixed the immediate problem for my book by dropping the “Arabian Nights” reference, and substituting some early medieval Arabic medical texts that showed some awareness of bdsm, or at least of sexual responses to whipping. But it was a pity to have to lose that warm, all-girl spanking night by the pool.
I’m going to interrupt the tawse story for a moment or two.
In my edition of “The Thousand Nights and a Night”, there’s a playful bondage and discipline scene early in “The Adventure of King Omar al-Nenan and his son Sharkhan”.
The young Prince Sharkhan is beside a pool when he sees a group of beautiful girls approaching. So, as you would, he climbs a tree so he can hide and watch them. This is most rewarding, because it is the beautiful Princess Abriza, with a retinue of serving girls almost as beautiful. And they undress and slip into the water, which runs sleekly over their peach-firm, lion-brown breasts, bellies and buttocks, their soft thighs and their sacral dimples.
Sharkhan is a happy man, though not a gentleman.
Then the beautiful and naked Princess, tiring of her beautiful and naked maidens’ silly chatter, threatens to tie them up and spank their bottoms with her belt, one by one. By one, by one. Having delivered the threat, she makes good on it. Let’s say there were a dozen serving girls. It must have taken ages.
So the scene is one of spanked, mildly flushed servant girls in one heap, and an orderly queue of unspanked girls waiting for the Princess to get to them. The sound is all girlish squealing, the slap of leather on sun-warmed serving-girl buttocks, and an oddly human sighing sound coming from the tree above them. As for the scent … It must have been a nice place to be, though I doubt Prince Sharkhan was feeling comfortable.
That sounds like an Arabian night, doesn’t it?
In Edinburgh I did my book shopping first. Although antiquarian bookshops are sometimes run by incredibly old men who dress as Dickens characters, as seen in movies, there are also the women who spent their university years as LUGs (lesbians until graduation), majoring in English and sociology, who finished up slightly puzzled in the book trade.
They can get purse-lipped about customers browsing for David Hume first editions while carrying an instrument of discipline which, since his haircut’s so bad he must be heterosexual, must be for use on the bodies of young women.
The young women, though absent and hypothetical, are even more depressing, letting the side down by consenting and, worse, probably having more fun than they had. Anyway, I’ve had a couple of fraught encounters due to mixing my bdsm equipment foraging with my book searching expeditions. This time I was going to do my shopping in the right order. At least fetish shops don’t start complaining if you walk in clutching a first edition of Medwin’s “Conversations with Lord Byron”.
I was looking forward to the Goth bdsm shop in Edinburgh. I was hoping there’d be a nice Goth girl behind the counter, with a velvet and leather corset, talcum powder face and fire-engine hair, and that we could have a pleasant conversation about thud versus sting, whether she knew of any parties, and … Maybe my sexy non-Scots accent would carry me some distance, possibly even to a pub after work, me with my new tawse and her with her firm, proud corset. And so on. Silly and shallow, me.
But when I finally got there I was met by a couple of blow-up sex dolls on the stairs, tethered but swaying gently in the wind, one dressed as a nurse and the other as a policewoman. They didn’t look very Goth.
Inside there were signs of recent Goth occupation – some ornate collars, bdsm jewellery, and a few black and purple leather wristlets, ankle cuffs and so on. But these things were massively out-numbered by sex-shop tat: dvds again, plastic fantasy costumes, Adult Party Games! lots of lubricants and lots of cocks made of coloured jelly, some vibrating and some not. And lots of magazines, as if the internet never happened.
There was no-one guarding this treasure. But eventually I heard sighing from beyond the fly-strip doorway that led into the back-of-shop area, so I waited. It took about a minute before the flystrips parted for an enormous stomach in a stripey caftan.
The man behind the stomach got himself fully into the room, looking just like the offspring you might expect if Aleister Crowley, in his fat-Elvis period, had had sex with Keith Richards’s liver. He said, “Hrrrrr?”
“Um, hi. I was under the impression this place was run by Goths. And you had fetish gear? The internet said so. But, well, something’s happened to them, hasn’t it?”
“Och, aye, yerr. There were some young people here, a while, bout a while back. Oh aye, they were very strange, yerr.”
“Yes. I bet. Anyway I see they left some stock behind. I was hoping you might have a tawse for sale.”
“Like a leather strap. Long piece of leather, fairly stiff. Split at one end.”
He frowned, not getting me.
“It’s an instrument of discipline. They were used in schools. You know. Here. In Scotland.”
“Ah. Yesss, they did leave a few things like that behind when they – When they … Excuse me.”
I never did find out what happened to the Goths. A few minutes later he parted the flystrips again, and put something on the counter. “They left a tawse indeed.”
We looked at it, both of us disapproving, if for different reasons. It was a leather thing, half-way between a paddle and a strap, about a foot long. It was split at the end into two little leather tags, side by side, vaguely resembling hands. It wanted to be a cheerful, ingratiating, little party thing. “So will ye be taking the tawse?”
To be continued, like life.
I was in Glasgow for a couple of weeks last year. But the story about that that’s fit to tell is about buying a tawse. It’s a Scots implement of discipline, and it’s given a starring role in a lot of Victorian bdsm porn, like “First Training”, “A Man with a Maid”, and so on. You don’t see them often these days, so I decided that I wanted one.
There weren’t any tawses in Glasgow. I tried leather shops, and I tried the few sex shops, which mostly sold plastic meter maid costumes and little kilts. Which was odd, because Glasgow girls don’t wear little kilts.
There were also lots of porn dvds, which is something I haven’t seen in a while.
Porn is a data stream or else it’s a book, with paper and such. Anyone too young to enter the premises would know what porn is, but soon they won’t recognise those plastic dvd cases. Dvds feel kind of historical.
Anyway, I saw an ad for a slightly goth-and-bdsm flavoured shop in Edinburgh on a website for Scots fetish people, so I drove over to see if the Goths were selling tawses. And to cruise the second hand bookshop district.
I’m going to have to continue this story tomorrow, because tonight I’m doing a barbecue and showing an outdoor movie.
I haven’t settled on the movie, but it’s a very non-bdsm event so it’ll probably be Mary Poppins. I like the animation sequence with an Irish fox jeering at black and tan English hounds. I don’t think Disney knew what that bit meant.
It’s been a virtuous day in the mountains. I’ve been mowing, mulching, chain-sawing and pool-vacuuming.
The pool-vacuuming, especially, should be a porn film scenario. The maid comes out, is supposed to net all the leaves, and takes off her cossie and plunges in instead. Then she gets spanked by an actor so bad he could have been in the original Star Trek. The end. I could do it, but I’d have to practice my Cherman accent.
But there was no pool porn, just me and my, ahem, hose and scrubber. I was mildly sad because a frog had got in and died there after a few laps, because chlorined pools are a bad decision for a frog, and he couldn’t get up the pool walls.
I’ll have to make a little ladder. Anyway, I’m ready for a shower and out for dinner shortly.
So I’ll have to start the tale of the tawse tomorrow.
Welcome, readers, nice to see people dropping by. And because of the kind of day I’ve had, I’ll leave you with a picture of a wheelbarrow.
Traditionally, your pornographic tawsing goes something like this:
“After supper came those terrible two dozen with the tawse. the tawse is a Scottish instrument of punishment, made of a hard and seasoned piece of leather about two feet long, narrow in the handle and at the other end about four inches broad, cut into narrow strips from about six to nine inches in length.
Alice had never seen, much less felt one.
She was commanded to bring it to her uncle, and had to go for it naked – not even a fan was allowed! How could she conceal the least of her emotions? Oh, this nakedness was an awful, awful thing!
She brought it, and opened her book and knelt down and said:
“Please give me two dozen with the tawse for being ashamed and trying to cover my nakedness, and for my disobedience.”
“Across my knee.”
“Across – your – knee.”
“Very well! Get up. Stand sideways close up to me. Now,” taking the tawse in his right hand and putting his left arm round her waist, “lean right down, your head on the carpet, miss,” and holding her legs with his left leg, he slowly and deliberately laid on her sore bottom two dozen well-applied stripes. Then he let her go and she rolled sprawling on the carpet with pain and exhaustion.”
The first time I used a tawse, on a 21st century girl, it was quite a bit less efficient than that. Story for next time, I guess.