Pool stripes

I once agreed not to cane a woman because she was going swimming the next morning and she didn’t want to show the marks.  

We found other things to do.  But ever since I’ve regretted being such a softie. She said it’d be humiliating and she hated humiliation. “Oh, okay,” I’d said kindly.  Now I think of Brer Rabbit and the briar patch: “oh, please don’t mark me.”

I should never have let that poor girl go to the pool, unstriped. She’d have hated the stripes, all wriggling and blushing, and she’d have come back wet as the pool.If there was a real problem she could have worn a more modest bikini.

Doms don’t always read it right, when a submissive gives them what they probably think is a signal.

Well, I don’t, anyway. 

I’m working. Proper service resumes tomorrow.

Bdsm and vanilla consent #2

So … in vanilla sex you can do something like push a woman’s skirt out of the way, or slip your hand between her thighs, based solely on the fact that she’s been looking at you, closely, for longer than half an hour.

Well, eye contact plus you’ve been agreeing with each other through that time (“I hate people who ironically pretend to like Glee”, “oh god yes, it’s still boring as a dog’s arse even after you’ve put quote marks around it”), about stuff you’d think was incredibly inane if it werent for all the eye contact. Or having fun disagreeing, with lots of animation and preening and all the rest of it. 

So, eye contact and preening is accepted as consent for actions that, if you guess wrong, would be a serious sexual assault. I’m cool with this, by the way. I’m just pointing it out. 

But in bdsm the rules on consent are much more rigorous. I felt great about sliding Diane’s skirt up for her, but I’d felt bad about asking for consent to reward and punish her after she was already turned on, because that conversation should have been held between two calm people.

So there’s a double standard. For vanilla sex, consent doesn’t have to be explicitly spoken, and for bdsm, mere explicitly spoken consent isn’t enough. There are also rules about how and when you should go about getting that consent.

I’m working for money today, so I’ll have to think about this tomorrow. 

Vanilla and bdsm consent #1

Back at the start of the Vampire girl saga (Vampire Girl #1, obviously), I mentioned how, only an hour or so after Diane and I had met for the first time, I’d slid her skirt up to her waist – on the left side, anyway – in a bar.

I didn’t ask her for permission, because if you slide a woman’s skirt up to a socially risky extent then it’s sexy if she likes it but creepy if she doesn’t. But asking first is never sexy. I decided it was worth the risk.  

Turned out that Diane thought it was hot, and I still think, looking back, that it was a cool thing to do. Which is good. If I join together all the time in my life during which I’ve clearly and unequivocally been cool, it probably adds up to about half an hour.  

II did it because by then I was pretty sure we were going to fuck, though we’d only just met. It felt like time to make a move, and I thought Diane’d like a direct one.

If I’d guessed wrong Diane would have called me a dickhead, and tugged her skirt back down while giving me the look you’d give a fried egg with a cigarette butt in it.

And told me to calm the fuck down: jeez. And finished her drink and left. Diane had a good line in withering contempt, and she relied on that to put down most male bad behaviour. It would have worked on me. No matter how many years passed, I’d still be making a sob-of-embarrassment noise any time I suddenly found myself remembering it. If it had failed. 

But pushing her skirt up worked, so therefore it was cool. Because it was a vanilla sex thing and not a bdsm sex thing, it was okay to do it without getting consent first. You find out if you’ve got consent by doing it and seeing if you get knocked back.

But you’d never take that approach in bdsm. It’s interesting, isn’t it?

Bdsm in the workplace: a confession

Today’s a working day. 

I don’t have time to continue the Diane anecdote today.  

Here’s a much shorter story. It’s a confession.

I edited a magazine for a couple of years. A typesetter I hired in the second year kept doing the punchline from the Galahad sequence in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. That’s when all the castle virgins cry out: A spanking! A spanking! And after the spanking … the oral sex! Well, “After the spanking, the oral sex,” was pretty much her catchphrase.

Also, she was a terrible typist. Slow, and inaccurate. Anything she typed  I’d have to wait for, and when it came it’d be full of mistakes. A proof-reader’s nightmare.

Fate was trying to set me up with a strict boss/naughty secretary scenario. Dropping it in my lap, as it were. And … I never did a damn thing about it. 

What does it mean, “oh please sir not the cane i’m a good girl really”? 2

Umberto Eco wrote – I think it was in “Travels in Hyper-reality” – that there are some things that people can’t say in a post-modern world. His example was that you can’t just say, “I love you”, because those words have been spoken so often, for example by actors in daytime soaps and characters in true romance novels, that it just sounds insincere or else naive when someone says it in real life.

Eco said a young man wanting to declare himself to his loved one would have to take into account all the other times those words have been said or typed, and express his emotion while at the same time acknowledging that the words have become a cliché.

Brady & Chloe, from "Days of Our Lives". Oh god, how they could love

Brady & Chloe, from “Days of Our Lives”. Oh god, how they could love

So instead of saying, “I love you”, he should say, “Well, as Lohengrin once said to Elsa, in the words in which Brady opened his heart to Chloe in “Days of our Lives”, as Paul McCartney’s songs so frequently declare, I love you.”

And so, Eco argues, the young woman will still receive the emotional message, but be charmed and impressed at the way her young man has managed to surround his emotional confession with quotation marks and irony, deftly avoiding cliché.

Eco was one of the least wanky of the post-modernists, but that still left him a lot of room to be wanky in.*

Eco’s claim about the impossibility of saying “I love you” would be fatuous even if it were true.

But the problem of fatuity doesn’t really arise because, first and foremost, it’s complete bullshit.

The words “I love you” are still available to be spoken with sincerity and emotional force, regardless of all the other ways they might be spoken. Anyone who really has trouble saying those words because someone used the same words in a bad soap opera is as nuts as those Christians who think their marriages will become meaningless if gays and lesbians are allowed to marry. 

The school skirt she bought mail order. But finding a desk that looked school-y, ay about the right height: that took serious shopping

The school skirt she bought mail order. But finding a desk that looked school-y, at about the right height: that took serious shopping

So take that phrase, “oh please sir, not the cane; i’m a good girl really”. Let’s say it’s spoken by a woman in her thirties who has bought herself a saucy pleated skirt and a white blouse, and she’s about to bend over a school desk.

She’s just waiting for the command of her dom, or master. Anyway, her lover, who is standing just behind her, flexing a cane.

When she begs not to be caned, she may or may not be being sincere.

If getting the cane is part of her life, then the chances are that even if she doesn’t enjoy the cane strokes at the instant they land, she likes being a submissive woman whose discipline and control includes the cane, and she especially likes being a submissive woman who’s just been caned. Once the immediate pain dies away to warmth, and she’s being comforted in her dom or master’s arms, having just been caned can be a happy, loving, sexy feeling.

Still, she might genuinely be afraid of the caning just before it begins. She knows that begging not to be caned won’t work, except possibly to get extra strokes, but perhaps it’s sincere. 

But when she says she’s a good girl really, what in the world do those words mean? Not in the fantasy they’re playing with, but (ahem) really

* What did I mean, Eco “was”? Well, post-modernism is dead, and a lot of the key pomo writers are dead too, but Eco is still alive. Still, like a lot of people who were once liable to refer to something like massacres in Syria as “discourse”, and to talk about living in “post-modernity”, he doesn’t talk in pomo cliches any more.

Watching a former post-modernist get reminded of something they once said about Lacan, say, is rather like watching a dog-owner walking away from their dog’s turds on a neighbour’s lawn, pretending they never knew about it and it’s got nothing to do with them.

What does it mean, “oh please sir not the cane i’m a good girl really”?

In the fantasy scenario, the girl forgot her gym shoes for the third day running; she called a woman teacher a rude name, she did something. She did it deliberately or unconsciously to attract the attention of the older, but still fit and sympathetic, teacher whose name she whispers to her pillow when it – the pillow – is clasped tight between her thighs.

And now she’s alone with him in his office, about to bend over his desk, lift her pleated skirt, and wonder if she’ll have to lower her panties as well. She hopes not, but when she fantasises about this moment, she always hears the command to take down her panties. When she dares, in her dreams she is told to undress, and she bares herself completely for the man she desires so badly.

She has bent over, and she waits. She listens for information about the man behind her. She hears the faint rattle that tells her he has selected the cane and not the strap, and in a kind of panic she pulls her skirt higher for him.

She hears his slight cough when she lifts her skirt so high, as he takes in the delicate bones of her lower spine, the delicacy of her waist, and her desire to please him. The knowledge that she has moved him with her obedience and her body overtakes her with a rush of emotion and passion. She cries out, “Oh sir, please not the cane. i’m a good girl really.” 

Whatever ‘really’ means.

But in reality, that line is likely to be spoken by a woman in her 20s or her 50s or anywhere between, who left school and tremulous virginity long ago. She speaks the sentence knowingly, mocking it while also acknowledging the power of the scenario in which it’s embedded.