Monday, March 30, 2009

No, I haven't run away and joined the circus. I've just been in full-on leather conference mode for the last three days. If you have ever been to one, you know just how all-consuming they can be.

I say "leather conference" out of habit. That's the term I was taught as a young kinkster. What I mean is a BDSM convention. It works like this: a group of people get together, organize a hotel and a conference venue, invite people to teach classes on various kinds of BDSM-related topics, and throw play-parties in the evenings. There's also a vendor space where a bunch of BDSM retailers will come set up booths and sell everything from whips and rope to books and kinky art.

There are some events with variations on that theme, but that's usually how it looks. So typically one would arrive Friday afternoon, register and mill around in the vendor/social space, and sometimes attend some type of welcoming ceremonies, where the workshop presenters will be introduced to the crowd and some "we'd like to thank..." speeches are made.

The next two days, you spend the days attending classes in whatever topics interest you, and shopping or socializing. Sometimes there are organized dinners, sometimes not. At night, you go to the play-parties.

I used to go to two or three leather cons a year, but the last few years I'm a bit less motivated to do that. They are fun, but the travel is a hassle and certainly not inexpensive. And the thing about cons that's both good and bad is that they are like an alternate universe, and one tends to get completely immersed in the social system of them while one is there - to the utter neglect of the rest of the world. Which leads to some "oh, shit" moments on Sunday night when you realize you've let a ton of stuff slide and tomorrow is Monday!

Still, for some people, it's the only time they do get to immerse themselves in a kinky environment. I'm fortunate enough to get to live that way most of my life.

Anyway, I'll post some stories about various things I saw and did over the next few days, and yes, I am going to publish your responses to last week's letter, too! Today I'm driving back to Seattle to re-join my normal kinky life, which I'm actually pleased to say is already in progress.

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