Friday, March 06, 2009

I'm off today on a little overnight retreat with Armani. We're going to a secret location to have some spa time - hot stone massage, mmmm... And then a decadent dinner together. A lovely mini-vacation.

And - I'm not taking the laptop. I know! Shocking! 24 hours without a computer, me? That never happens. I'll have the B'berry, so I won't be totally cold turkey. But still, it's a slightly edgy choice.

I'll be back Saturday afternoon, whereupon I will immediately get started unpacking the dungeon and getting things ready for Monday, when the grand unveiling of the remodeled space will begin.

Not a minute too soon, either. This has been a rather stressful time for me. My space - emphasis on the my - is important to me, and having it all in turmoil and unavailable to me has been... Well, it's worked out okay, but I've had to expend a fair amount of energy to make it work out okay, if you know what I mean. My dear close pals have been extremely helpful and accommodating about this whole process. I get by with a little help from my friends.

So if I owe you emails/phone calls, please bear with me for the next few days, as I get my normal routine and surroundings, that I am so very fond of, back online after a month of construction.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I myself often look at random people and try to imagine what they'd look like naked. Sometimes I do so while waiting in line at the bank or the dry cleaners, just to pass the time. I also do it with people I know are soon going to be naked in front of me, and then when they are, see how accurate my mental image was.

If you'd like to hone your skill at this, I have a website for you: It's all in German, so I have no idea what the text says. But click enter, and then click on the picture of the clothed person, and presto, their clothes melt away.

Maybe someone who speaks both German and English fluently will tell me what the heck this site is saying about itself. (I get a lot of letters from non-English-speaking people who have obviously used online-translators, and it's almost impossible to understand what they are saying, so I'm not even going that route.)

But these are obviously regular people - not professional models or porn performers - all ages, shapes and genders. Perhaps this is some sort of statement about showing us what non-model people look like nude? Or maybe it's just someone saying, "Hey! Check it out, I got all these people to take off all their clothes for me!"

Hat Tip to Gander!

I have had a lot of very cool people send me translations of the site text. It says:
"Clothes are your second skin. They cover, they reveal, they are able to express what we feel inside or, on the contrary, hide it. Clothes can enable us to show what we work as, what our social standing/class is or they express our emotional state. A suit may lead us to peg someone as being a banker, an office worker or an insurance salesman, etc. In our society, this is a characteristic of "being serious".
But to what extent is this judgement correct? Can we blindly trust the shell? What is really underneath it? Can the illusion be shattered if a tattoo is revealed underneath the suit or does the person remain inscrutable? Here, you have the possibility of experiencing the different effects a clothed or naked person make on you.
If you are interested in participating in this art project as a model, please write me an email. If you want to sponsor the project by donating, you can do so by pushing the PayPal button."
Thanks to German speakers Anna, Nina, Nils, Lu, MK, Kari, Tom, Art, Lief, Aviva, and two nice people who didn't sign a name, for translating it for me!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Literary Masochism

I recently finished the Dan Simmons novel, Drood. And that is no mean feat, my friends, even for a devoted (and fast) reader like myself. It's 785 pages. I browsed it in a bookshop, weighed it in my hand, and thought, I'm not sure if I should read this or use it as a boat anchor. Thank god for my Kindle, tamer of bursitis-inducing tomes.

Here's how the New Yorker describes Drood.
"In this creepy intertextual tale of professional jealousy and possible madness, Wilkie Collins tells of his friendship and rivalry with Charles Dickens, and of the mysterious phantasm named Edwin Drood, who pursues them both. Drood, cadaverous and pale, first appears at the scene of a railway accident in which Dickens was one of the few survivors; later, Dickens and Collins descend into London's sewer in search of his lair. Meanwhile, a retired police detective warns Collins that Drood is responsible for more than three hundred murders, and that he will destroy Dickens in his quest for immortality. Collins is peevish, vain, and cruel, and the most unreliable of narrators: an opium addict, prone to nightmarish visions. The narrative is overlong, with discarded subplots and red herrings, but Simmons, a master of otherworldly suspense, cleverly explores envy's corrosive effects."
Now, I like history, so Simmons's meanderings into historical trivia about London and Dickens did not bother me overmuch. Simmons clearly indulged himself with the length of this novel, and of course, it suits the period he's writing about.

And I agree, it's a very deftly done portrait of seeming friendship being poisoned by envy. The Wilkie Collins that Simmons portrays is sympathetic - at first. The bombastic Dickens, who was indeed the literary rock star of his time, is pretty condescending to Collins, and you feel both his anger and his impotence over it.

But then, as you get to know him, Simmons shows you that his Collins is actually a nasty piece of work. And then the story shifts from being mostly about the petty slights and insults that two dear friends can inflict upon each other, and takes a turn into a very Collins-esque sort of horror.

So, yes, it could have been cut down quite a bit. But I enjoyed getting to know all the vile twists and turns of this fictional Wilkie Collins. Makes me want to re-read The Woman in White.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I had an email exchange with someone lately that reminded me, for one thing, how happy I am that I don’t have to see anyone new unless I think we’re really well-suited to each other. Because this man and I were clearly not a good match.

Essentially, he wanted to do a boxing/punching scene in which I punched him, in the face and head, until he went unconscious. (He would not fight back.) His exact phrase was “The session ends when I am knocked out, or just can't get up.”

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this as a fantasy. Chester French videos aside, this kind of masochism isn’t as sexualized as often as, say, spanking. But there are men around who like it, and I know of women who do it. Still, it’s not my specialty, and so I do not have vast experience doing boxing and punching.

Thus my response was that I was willing to discuss a scene where I hit him, but I was definitely not willing to beat him unconscious. That is not a safe thing to do. Frankly, I’m not sure that I would feel comfortable punching someone in the face, period. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, given that I do other painful things to people. From what I have seen, one generally wears boxing gloves for scenes like this. And people box and get hit in the face every day. But still, I have no training in how to hit someone in face, and even if I did it lightly, it just seems like a really easy way to damage someone. And my personal limit is that I will hurt you, in ways you consent to, but I will not consent to damage you.

There’s a big difference, to me. Pain = sensation in the moment. Or at least something that’s short-term and that will heal. A bruised butt is painful in the making and sore for a while afterwards, but it’s not damage. I define damage as: a permanent change to your body that impairs normal function and/or causes ongoing emotional distress. A big scar that you didn’t want, for example, is damage, even if it doesn’t impair your functioning.

So in the course of my response to him, I said, “Any scene with me ends when I say it does.” Meaning, I wasn’t going to keep hitting him if I judged it to be a bad idea. Even if he wanted me to.

Well, he didn’t want me to have that limit. So, he and I are not going to meet. It’s funny, when people talk about consent in BDSM, they always talk about bottoms getting pushed past their personal limits. You don’t hear as much about a bottom trying to make a top hurt him/her beyond the top’s boundaries. However, my right to safeword out of a scene is just as valid as a bottom’s. Consent has to be present on both sides. The minute that's not there, what you’re doing is no longer anything I consider healthy BDSM. So I think we’ll call this negotiation a Technical Knock-Out.