Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Mistress's Saturday Night

Last night Max and I dropped by the SNM Underworld party for a little while. I didn't think I was really in the mood for a party – we came over right after working out at at the gym, and I was feeling rather low-energy. But Max, who is actually much more of a social butterfly than I am, insisted.

It turned out to be quite crowded – good news for Sam, the owner. The new shop looks great – from what one could see of it, given that it was stuffed with people. A lot of Goth kids in wild outfits, some kinksters I'm sort of slightly acquainted with, and a handful of what I think of as "my crowd" – Allena, Malixe, Lydia McLane, and few other folks.

I was hanging out by the food table stuffing grapes into my mouth – we hadn't gone to dinner yet – and being amused by the fact that I was one of the most non-fetishy looking people there, if you went purely on clothing. Many of the other guests had really pulled out the wardrobe stops – there was a lot of PVC, leather, rubber, corsets, you name it.

Now, I do own a fair amount of fetish gear like that - but you know, most of the time, it seems like a lot of bother to wear it. I dress up a bit for my clients because they deserve that, and I can enjoy getting all decked out for big-deal fetish occasions. But while Sam is great, and I wish her continued success, there's no way I was going to put on a rubber dress and thigh-high boots to come to the store opening party. Nine times out of ten if you see me at a local fetish event, I'll be wearing some skimpy, stretchy little cotton tank top, leather or PVC pants that are cut like jeans and are thus comfortable, and a pair of New Rock boots. Sexy, but comfy.

Last night I hadn't even bothered with that. I was wearing what I almost always wear when I need something slightly nicer than jeans: black slacks – from The Limited, no less - a plain black long-sleeved T-shirt, and boots. There was a time in my life – long ago and far away – when just wearing all black was a "statement", and people regarded nervously someone who was dressed so. That day is over. Soccer moms wear all black now. But I just haven't quite admitted that to myself, because I am so not a fashionista.

I noticed that almost all of my friends were also dressed down. Max was wearing jeans and a cotton shirt. (Though it was black.) Allena was wearing jeans and one of Monk's tank tops. And I'm pretty sure I remember Malixe wearing basic black jeans and shirt. So I was smiling to myself over the fact that three of the people who I knew to be quite advanced and ferocious BDSM players were really not dressing the part. Four, if you count me. (Lydia was the exception. She was dressed up in a very fetching little fetishy outfit, and she is a disturbingly creative sadist. Lydia has a way of laughing that makes even me a little uneasy.)

But I've observed this phenomenon more than once at Seattle fetish events over the years. I wouldn't exactly say that the newer/less truly kinky the person is, the more dressed up they are – that's not quite right, although sometimes it would be an easy conclusion to jump to.

But I do think that once you get to a certain place in BDSM, you realize that fetish clothes really don't matter so much. You no longer need to bolster up your sense of yourself as a kinkster, or to prove something to other people. If you just like them – and lots of good people do, including me occasionally - that's fine. But they become non-essential.

In spite of the fact that Max wasn't dressed up, he apparently got a bit toppy with one woman. A female acquaintance approached him, bringing with her a second woman, who promptly informed him that she was there to grovel to him. Max has no philosophical objections to strangers groveling to him, but as he said to me later, he likes to know why.

After some more conversation it became clear that she was groveling with the hopes of getting into the sold-out Bondage Intensive class he's teaching next weekend. (She wasn't actually down on the floor, in case you're wondering. This was apparently to be sort of a verbal groveling.)

Max kindly but firmly said no dice, the class is full and that's it. They had a discussion about some private lessons, which she seemed interested in. Max finished by saying, with a smile, "And by the way, I like the wrist cuffs you're wearing, and I'd be happy to take a rain check on the groveling."

Looking slightly startled, the woman allowed as how she was really more of a dominant than a submissive.

Max replied, "Well, if you're dominant, you should make eye contact with me when you have a conversation with me." Because she wasn't. Looking down and away while you talk to someone isn't exactly the best way to come across as all domly and shit. (Never mind the whole issue of groveling and wearing wrist cuffs.)

He was telling me this story over dinner afterwards, and I asked, "So? Did she make eye contact with you after that?"
"Yeah, she kinda did that slightly wide-eyed, I'm-not-looking-away thing."

Oh, that's not quite right either, although I'm not really sure what the truly domly thing to do what have been there. And Max has a way of putting one in a position where no matter which way you go, he's gotcha. Either way, her fetishy outfit didn't seem to be doing her much good.

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