Friday, June 29, 2012

What does “Leather” mean to me?

The great philosopher Wittgenstein pointed out that language doesn’t work like calculus.  Words don’t have exact meanings.  Language is fundamentally poetic and metaphorical… rarely is it rigorous and literal.  (Literarily “leather” is just the hide off a dead animal, right?)  Recently, my Owner and I have been talking about “leather” and “the community”… and I think there was some underlying confusion in the conversation b/c we were using the words (like a lot of people do) in different ways.  I don’t want to imply that either one of us is right or wrong… but I just want to explore what it means to me to be “leather.”

The best statement on this I have yet seen is Boymeat’sspeech at South Plains on “The Future of Leather”… so I will borrow heavily from it.  In his speech, Boymeat started by pointing out: “In September, guest columnists from all walks of life posted pieces on trying to answer the age old question – “what is leather?” And no matter how many essays you read, you never really had the answer.”  Presumably b/c there is no “the” answer.

Okay… well let’s just, for the sake of argument, start w/ the traditional leathersex image: gay guys in old-style motorcycle gear cruising for rough sex via the hanky code in biker bars.    

Let me quote a section of Boymeat’s speech:

“So does leather still live and breathe?

"Let’s look at the evidence against – the leather bar, dying in some places and dead in others. Recon and FetLife… rising in its place… The art of the cruise replaced by the art of the instant message or the tweet. The space where all are welcome vs. the secret place that you had to be in the know to find.

"That’s what everyone says these days.

"Now let me tell you what I see.

"I see evolution.

"I see leather as a world of sexual outlaws, doing what outlaws do. I see a history of people looking around at the world they are in, deciding what parts of it they liked and what parts they didn’t, and building their own lives with their own rules and their own protocols all with the intent of one thing – to get off. Whether getting off physically, or emotionally, or spiritually, or some combination of all of the above….”

My own interest in “leather” is largely as an armature mythologist.  Myths (and rituals) create the paradigms through which we view the world… both personal myths and collective, cultural myths.  “Leather” is partly about joining a tribe and having a mythology – complete w/ “Great Old Ones” in form of the legendary (more fable than fact) Old Guard – and rituals, costumes, rites of passage (i.e. earned leather… or earned ink), transformative experiences (hook pulls or cuttings or floggings or whatever)… all of which adds up to give one a different paradigm through which to view the world.

I use “leather” as a term basically synonymous w/ “urban aboriginal” or “modern primitive.”  Or Boymeat’s term: “sexual outlaws.”  It has to do w/ sex.  It has to do w/ tribalism (a loose, somewhat anarchist, community… or, really, network of mini-communities – i.e. tribes).  And it has to do w/ following your own heart (or libido) in the face of what “good society” tells you that you should be doing… whether your thing be S/m, D/s, bondage, gear-fetishes, swingers, group sex, sexual role-play (littles, puppies…), gender queer, polyamoury… All that taboo stuff!

So, what about the (protocol heavy) M/s dynamic?  From reading Geoff Mains’ 1984 book Urban Aboriginals (and he was there, first hand, in the gay leather scene in the 70s and early 80s), the M/s relationship was actually rare!  Most of the men he profiles only enter D/s relationships during a scene (while playing/having sex), but not as an ongoing structure.  (Of course, some were into M/s 24/7.)  Most of the men he profiles are switches.  (Some were not.)  And resistance play seems to have been pretty common in that community… men would wrestle and fight to see who would be “on top.”  This is a very different picture of “leather” than you would get if you just think of some of today’s high protocol (stick-up-their-butt?) Masters.  The scene Mains described was a lot rougher, less structured, more anarchist… and primal!  The play too, I get the impression, was a lot more hands-on… less flogging and more punching and bighting.

For Mains, the underlying theme of leathersex is an open embracing of our animal (primal) side.  It’s about being a human-animal… dominance orders… sex & aggression… pissing to mark your territory.  Embracing, not denying, our instinct-system and our animal biology is, in large part, at the core of the leather mythology… at least, for me.

Okay, then… so what is the “community?”  I agree w/ Boymeat.  It includes Fet and Recon.  Munch groups.  Kinky karaoke night at The Roux.  Bars like the Eagle and the Woodshed.  Education groups like CAPEX, party groups like Dominion, cons like Frolicon or SELF, dungeons like LF and the Warehouse, and swingers’ clubs like the Estate.  Yes, there are big differences among these different segments of the “kinky” population… but that’s why I think the analogy of “tribes” is so helpful.  And even back in the 60s and 70s, there was no uniformity among different “leathersex” tribes.  It’s always been mixed-up… diverse!  We are outlaws and rule-breakers, after all.

One final quote from Boymeat:
“Leather is not the fabric of your clothing…Leather is not your protocols. Leather is not Master and slave, or hard core SM…  Leather is not the rules you keep... Leather is not your gender, or your sexual preferences, top, bottom, Dominant, submissive...

"Leather is all of those things and then some. Leather has no gatekeeper; it has no board of directors, no leadership committee, and no dictionary definition. Leather is in the hands of the individual, the sexual outlaw, meeting up with other sexual outlaws and doing what feels right to them at that time.”

Monday, June 25, 2012

Earned Ink

Saturday, I received one of the most amazing gifts of my life from my friends and family around the CAPEX community.  I have been an active part of this community for ten years now.  I’ve seen the club at its best, at its worst, and everywhere in-between.  Salad days, growing pains, bitter “winters”… and at least three re-births after everyone declared the club dead.  For ten years now, I’ve been at CAPEX for at least seven or eight of the monthly events each year… and I’ve volunteered in some capacity at most of those.   I’ve done pretty much every job there is… from carrying furniture around (I recall a couple of months back in ’03 when Ash and I were the entire set-up crew) to putting out fires (mostly metaphorical) to cleaning blood-spray off a hotel wall (ask Stick about that fun story some time)… making phone calls, fielding emails, driving the U-haul, going to meetings, writing and re-writing and re-re-writing the bylaws, bringing food, inventorying never-ending boxes of merchandise, building bridges, burning bridges, working the CAPEX table at cons, balancing the books, driving presenters to and from the airport, making and hanging decorations, turning a lot of miles on my odometer driving down to Charlotte and back (about 70 miles each way) – sometimes two or three times a month…

I’ve done all of that w/ joy (well… mostly), and that’s b/c of the people I’ve met in this community! We’re a diverse group… but all and all I’ve found the people in and around CAPEX to be some of the most welcoming, easy-going, un-pretentious, fun-loving, and generous people I’ve met anywhere. I’ve made friends who lasted only a season… and I’ve made friends who will last a lifetime… and some of the people I’ve met in or though the CAPEX community have become part of my family. Eight years ago I drove down to Charlotte one weekend to help a fellow CAPEXian move into her first house. In turn, at her housewarming party, I met the woman who became the love of my life: the fantastic Shdwkitten. I can’t imagine where my life would be w/o her… or w/o many of the other wonderful people who have come into my life by way of this group. Whatever my life would have been w/o CAPEX and its surrounding community it would have been a lot lonelier for me (and Bedford Falls would be called Pottersville).

Through all this, and through the relationships I’ve built, I’ve grown. A lot! Ask those folks w/ really low contributor numbers (if you can find them) about that quiet, geeky, twenty-six year-old subby-boy who started lurking around in the background ten years ago. I knew nothing… except to watch, listen, and ask appropriate questions. Now I can say that I’ve taught classes at cons and clubs around the Southeast, and now I have people asking me for advice. The physical, social, intellectual, and emotional experiences I’ve had by way of the Charlotte-area BDSM community over the last decade have made me the puppy I am today. This community has shaped me beyond my ability to overstate.

Saturday, as I stated at the beginning, I was given one of the most meaningful gifts of my life. There have been a few times over the years that NCMaster, w/ the support of some key members of the BDSM scene, has given earned leather to someone in our community – boots or a vest. These gifts always come, not from the club itself (CAPEX doesn’t identify as a “leather” club), but from the community in and around it… which to me makes them all the more valuable than the join-the-club-and-get-the-vest variety. For me, however, they chose a variation on the tradition. Instead of leather, they gifted me w/ earned ink – a tattoo, in recognition of my decade of service. I have always wanted a tattoo but never got around to it, so it means so much to me that my first one comes as a gift from people I care for and respect and love. *wags*

A few quick thank you’s: NCMaster, you have been a tried-and-true friend to me personally and to our whole community… next time I see you, you have a great, big puppy-hug coming your way! Jade, you did an awesome job handling the presentation. Stick, you rock… and you are still the only man I’ve made-out w/ inside a coffin! (Doubt you can say the same.) Norm… I’ll always be grateful to you for locating my cell-mate’s watch. Thank you to my poly-family: CF and her husband (who drove all the way up from Atlanta just to see me get all teary-eyed in public). Most of all: Shdwkitten, my Owner, my companion, my best friend, my favorite person… I ruff you!

I know that this year my focus has shifted a little away from Charlotte. In search of new energy, new experiences, opportunities to grow and expand, I’ve been sniffing around the Atlanta leather community. A couple of months ago I was super-proud to be accepted into a pack of gay leather pups and now find myself in a situation where I am in service to both my wonderful Owner and an amazing Alpha pup – my Ma’am and my Sir. Although I am exploring new horizons, I certainly am not leaving the Charlotte scene behind. CAPEX and all the great people I’ve met there will continue to be an important part of my life, and I will always think of you as my home group. As I’ve begun to discover my identity as a leather-pup, the things I’ve learned from you and the inspiration you’ve given me will continue to serve me and motivate me to grow. The tattoo that I will wear on my skin will be a daily reminder of the fantastic community that I belong to.

Thank you, everyone.
Pup Emrys

Friday, June 22, 2012

Don’t Taunt the Kitten

So recently my Owner, the sensational Shdwkitten, was topping someone who should have known better.  Ma’am was using a heavy flogger that has a lot of thud but not a lot of ouch.  Her bottom started taunting her, and said something like, “Is that all you’ve got?”

Mid-swing, Ma’am tosses the flogger into the air, catches it by the tassels, and swings it in a reversed position, slamming the handle into her bottom's ass… the handle which was weighted w/ lead shot.

The bottom crumpled to the floor and, instead of taunts, started screaming.

Ah… I love my Owner.  She makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

“That woo-woo shit”

My Owner is connected to the wolf-dog rescue community.  We have one, ourselves, and he’s the second rescue we’ve adopted.  Because wolf-dogs are illegal in many states, animal control will put them down and animal shelters won’t take them… so there’s a need for volunteers like Ma’am to occasionally help rescue and place them.  We have a friend in NC who had to give-up one of her wolf-dogs b/c he wasn’t integrating w/ the pack (the alpha didn’t like him)… so Ma’am found a home for him in GA.  Tejon’s 110 lbs, but he’s very submissive and gentle.  Here’s Tejon at his new home w/ his new kitty-cat friend:

So, Ma’am was going to attend Faerie Escape Atlanta w/ me… but when our NC friend’s mom dies, we had to step-up the adoption, deliver Tejon to his new home, and then she had to drive back to NC to pet-sit our friend’s other two wolves for 2 nights.  So I had to go to Faerie Escape solo on Saturday…

FEA is a cool, little con.  A smaller, more focused version of the Mythic Journeys conventions, it's a place for conversation, art, crafts, theatre, magic, and fantasy.  I enjoy these b/c I have always had a strong interest in comparative mythology, medievalism, Celtic lore, archetypal psychology, and all “that woo-woo shit.”

I got to see some good panel discussions on Saturday… and a lot of what I heard dovetailed remarkably w/ things I’ve been thinking about regarding parallels pup play and shamanism (see this post) and what I’ve been reading in Geoff Mains Urban Aboriginals (which draws on psychology and sociology to examine the leathersex scene as a tribe of modern primitives).

A highlight reel from Faerie Escape would include these thoughts:
  • Myths (and rituals) create the paradigms through which we view the world… both personal myths and collective, cultural myths.  (“Leather” is really about joining a tribe and having a mythology – complete w/ “Great Old Ones” in the legendary Old Guard – and rituals, costumes, rites of passage – i.e. earned leather – transformative experiences… all of which gives one a different paradigm through which to view the world)
  • Western culture’s mythology today is economics… our paradigm sees everything in terms of buying and selling goods/services/rights... and the heretics in this mythology are the poor
  • The were-jaguars of South America are shamen who change forms w/ the phases of moon (which gives more credence to my theory that the roots of were-creature myths lie in shamanistic animal “role play”… similar to what we do when we pup-out)
  • As humans, we have become so cerebral that we are so much less in-tune w/ our senses that other animals… and one fascination w/ were-animals is the desire to reclaim those senses of smell and hearing and night-vision
  • Our brains bring in a lot sensory data that our minds ignore b/c it can’t be put into words.  Smells for example.  It’s really hard to describe a smell w/ words… so our very word-oriented mind tends to disregard that data.  (Pup-space, for me, largely involves letting go of the words and opening myself to my senses – especially touch and smell…)
  • Empaths and hyper-intuitive people (shamans, mentalists, wizards…) are those who are better in-tune w/ all that disregarded sensory data… they pick-up on slight changes in smell or body heat, process that data (unconsciously – pre-verbally) and are able to “read” others very well b/c of that.  One speaker used the analogy of whales born w/ legs – throwbacks to an early form of the species.
  • In talking about getting more in-touch w/ our sensory capabilities on speaker longingly cried out, “I want that!”  (I thought, ‘Well, what’s stopping you.  Put on an animal skin, get down on all fours, and go for it!’)
  • “My animal totem is a troll.”  The guy who plays Ik the Troll talked about how this character he plays at Renaissance festivals is really an expression of an inner personality that he normally can’t use in our society, but is important for who he “really” is.  (Just as I can’t act the leather-pup everywhere I go b/c society makes other demands on me) 
  • Ik also mentioned how the more he plays the part of the character, the easier it is to instantly get into character  (Just like, the more time we spend in our scene-identity – pup or Sir or slave or whatever it may be – the more it becomes a natural role... w/ or w/o the costume)
  • Masks & costumes don’t conceal who we are so much as reveal who we are inside.  Ik the Troll made an interesting observation about how his big, scary troll costume in some paradoxical way puts people at ease and allows him to get away w/ behavior normally not acceptable.  “With this costume on, I can make jokes about eating babies… and mothers hand me their babies to hold for a picture!  Out of costume I could make the same jokes and get slapped.”  (And a lot of our leather & rubber gear is about allowing us to break normal social conventions by shifting to a new identity that permits new behaviors.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Doms to the left of me, Doms to the right...

This is what I have learned this weekend: If I eat lunch w/ Sir and Ma’am, and I sit in-between them, I will come away w/ small, matching bruises on my inner thighs, one on the right, one on the left, from under-the-table pinching.  And just so you all know, it is not true that you can’t punish a masochist w/ pain.  I don’t care if you are a pain-slut… pinches on your inner thighs just hurts like a bitch!

Monday, June 18, 2012

SELF (part 4) Sunday

Sunday morning, Sir and I were the first two to awake in our pack's hotel room.  He invited his hound into bed… and I went to work “wishing him good morning.”  Tebow (in bed next to Sir) woke up and soon joined in.  (Bonus!)  Now… this was also 19 days since I had last been allowed to shoot… so I was a very horny puppy-dog.  Fortunately, my Owner had sent Sir a good report card, so Sir allowed me to have an orgasm… which in turn led to Sir asking me, “So, just out of curiosity… when was the last time you shot over your head?”  ;)

Finally it was time to dress and pack-up.  First, I knelt before Sir for him to unlock my collar so that I could shower (I was a sticky, sweaty puppy-dog), and then afterwards, I knelt again as Sir locked my collar back on.  It was a quiet moment w/o fanfare, but not w/o significance to me since, in seven years, no Dominant besides my Owner has been allowed to (un)lock her collar around my neck.  My Owner has been so wonderful and encouraging in allowing me to pursue a secondary D/s relationship.  At SELF (and also at SITS), Pup Nitro talked about the importance of allowing boys to grow in the direction they need to go, and Ma’am has been awesome in helping me explore this new situation in my life.  (Thank you, Ma’am; I Ruff you!)

(By the way… I just realized that I have gotten this far in my narrative and as yet failed to explain that my Owner, Shdwkitten, decided to skip SELF.  (1) She wanted to spend time w/ this new boyfriend she has.  (2) She’s feeling a little burnt-out on the kink community – LF weekend-before-SELF, The Warehouse this weekend, CAPEX next weekend – and felt the need to take a little break from it.)

Sir went to the Masters’ Roundtable (he said something about how w/ the three of us he needs all the help he can get... I don't know what he was talking about...) while the pups loaded-up the cars.  Tebow won a basket in the auction, so I went w/ him to pick that up.  He got a nice motorcycle jacket that looks damn good on him.  Appropriately my new pack-brother bought the basket donated by my old pack-mate, Andy, who won the Bootblack title at SELF.

When Sir’s roudtable let out, I had an opportunity to introduce Sir to NCMaster (an old friend of mine and the elder patriarch of Charlotte-area pansexual community).  NCMaster told one of his great stories about a particularly evil interrogation scene he did… after which a grinning Alpha pup declared, “I like your friends!”  We’re talking about maybe holding an interrogation party in Atlanta… and I shared my view that in interrogation play, it’s best not to do it w/ someone you have a D/s relationship w/ b/c the play is so antagonistic.  When we do it (in NC) the Tops always trade bottoms, and that has worked well.

The pack spit-up for a couple of hours… I just wandered and said “hey” to some folks.  Then Sir and I joined-up to sit in on Pup Nitro’s class on being a boy.  It’s a very good class – enough so that, I think I got as much out of it seeing the second time as I did when I first saw it at SITS.  Plus, I also just enjoy being able to sit at Sir’s feet while in class.  I rub his legs… he scritches my back and plays w/ my hair… it’s a happy place.  :)

After Nitro’s class it was time to feed.  They provided burgers, dogs, and grilled chicken.  We ate while they drew door prize winners.  CAPEX cleaned-up; I think almost half the prizes were won by CAPEXians... and Sir managed to snag a paddle and a box of cigars.  And then it was time to say goodbye and head for home.

I had a very good time spending the weekend w/ my pack.  It wasn't perfect, and we had a road-bump or two... but all four of us are new to the puppy-pack dynamic, and we're all experiencing things for either the first time or in a new way... so we're still learning.  As I like to say, life is like playing a musical instrument in public while you are simultaneously learning both the music and the instrument as you go.  There's plenty of "bad notes," but if you stick w/ it and play w/ passion then you get better at it w/ time.  For us right now, most of it is about us learning to trust one-another (beginning w/ putting our trust in Sir Loki and filtering down from there)... and on that score, I think we're proceeding fairly well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

SELF (part 3) Saturday night

After my wonderful ride on the bondage and sex highway, we acquired a blue raccoon, and got some Chinese food sent up to our room.

(Admit it… that’s the best opening line since the first sentence of 100 Years of Solitude.)

The raccoon was a furry named Sparks, who joined us for the evening.  There was some debate about whether to even bother going downstairs or just wait for the men-only party to open on the 15th floor.  It was a given that none of us wanted to see the beauty pageant thing going on in the main ballroom… but I waned to scope-out the main dungeon and maybe see some more of my CAPEX peeps before we wound-up at the men-only party on the 15th floor.  So Sparks put his tail on, and I put my tail in, and we headed downstairs, and waited in the hall for the contest to warp-up so they could open the dungeon… and waited… and waited… and waited…  (One of my regrets from SELF is that I never got to spend time in pup-mode… and it only later occurred to me that I should have asked Sir for permission to pup-out during our interminable wait for the dungeon to open.  At the time I was just too focused on waiting and waiting, and it didn’t occur to me until later that it would have been a great opportunity to pup-out.)

Eventually the show let out and the dungeon opened.  Pepper had arranged to have a wish of his fulfilled: suspension.  However, in order to get suspended, somebody had to take his DM shift up at the men-only party.  Sir wanted to watch the suspension, so he assigned the DM shift to Tebow.  Meanwhile, my plan was to hang w/ my fellow CAPEXians in the main dungeon before heading upstairs.  That turned-out to be a bust b/c none of them were there… which was surprising, b/c CAPEX had a very strong showing at SELF – more, I think, than any other club.  I counted up 18 CAPEXians there including myself.  But… we were in the dungeon pretty early, so I guess they all showed-up later.  I did have a nice conversation w/ a pup that was in Sir’s class Friday and had questions about my experiences w/ pup play.  Wish I got his name… but I’m crap w/ names & faces anyway, so it probably wouldn’t have mattered…

After Pepper’s suspension scene (which was pretty cool) we went upstairs… to find a very angry beagle pup waiting for us...

The poor kid had been sitting up there by himself for over an hour.  Nobody had yet showed-up for the men-only party… including the hosts!  Tebow was pissed… and I can’t say I blame him.  In retrospect, I wish I had taken the DM shift, so he could have stayed and watched Pepper… especially given that none of my peeps were in the dungeon downstairs anyway.  (I'm sorry, kid.)   :(

Sir went ahead and got the party started by taking his violet wand to the aptly named Sparks.  It was the raccoon’s first S/m scene of any sort… and Sparks turned out to be a giggler.  I mean, giggling like a schoolgirl.  This provided lots of fun for those of us watching.  More folks finally started coming in.  Sir at last got a chance to practice using his brand new whip on me.  I think he did pretty well – he didn’t wrap at all.  (But Sir, I still think you should practice on me a lot more… you know, just to hone your skill.)

I randomly ran across this sentence on the web today.  I don’t know what t means, but it’s cracking me up:  “Developing a romantic relationship with your electrical power animal is a requirement [sic] it takes time and strength.”  Um… My mind went so many places… I’m not sure what to add to that…  LOL

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SELF (part 2), Saturday day

I missed the first day of the con (Friday) b/c I had to work.  That really bit b/c it meant I couldn’t be there to help Sir w/ his puppy play class scheduled at a ridiculously early time Friday morning.  *grumble*

So I arrived at the con Saturday morning.  Sir was in Boomer’s 3 hour whip intensive acquiring a new skill. (Yeaaaaa for whips!)  Pepper was working a volunteer shift… so I joined Tebow for breakfast.  It was nice to have a chance to sit and talk w/ my little brother-pup.  SELF marked his one-year anniversary of being active in the lifestyle.  In many ways, he does actually remind me of me about 10 or 15 years ago…  (And it turns out that he hates making phone calls almost as much as I do!  LOL.)

Sir got out of his class just in time for me to run off to join the CAPEX crowd for a special presentation.  On behalf of the community, NCMaster presented a very deserving lady w/ her leather boots.  In my opinion, this lady receiving her boots in front of a dozen of her friends was more significant and meaningful than all the beauty pageant contest stuff that SELF is built around.  This was someone being recognized by her community (not some panel of judges) for years worth of sustained effort (not “I fell off the turnip truck yesterday, but I made a pretty speech and look good in a cocktail dress/jock strap”).  And really I don’t want to poo-poo on the title holders…  Some of them are very worthy of accolades.  (Some… are not.)  My issue is really w/ this contest system that’s aimed (it looks to me) at putting on a good show for the audience (pageantry) and thus earning money for event producers… rather than recognizing and sponsoring community teachers, organizers, and mentors.  When you base the selection of your community leaders around who does or does not tuck their shirt in…  I mean, come on!

Speaking of which… (after pizza w/ Sir Alan & Nitro) Sir took us to the titleholders’ panel.  Mostly we went to support (or heckle) Pup Nitro, since none of us have any interest in the contests.  It was actually pretty hysterical when an old friend of mine who is now Mr. International something walked in and saw me.  With a totally confused look he was like, “Um… Emrys… are you… thinking about running for a title?????”  LOL.  I assured him that, no, he had not slid into some strange, parallel universe.  And then, as if on cue, in barges She-who-must-nit-be-named.  This “person” “won” a title contest (she was the only contestant)… had her title stripped from her for excessively bad behavior below and short of the call of human decency… ran again for another title and was shunned by a significant portion of the audience… and here she was wearing yet another title sash.  Really!?  Seriously!?  *sigh*

Tebow then went on volunteer shift and Pepper was napping in the hotel room.  Sir wanted to grab a shower, so I laid down for a bit.  As soon as Sir got out of the shower he got pounced on by one very horny wolfhound.  I was quickly on the floor between his legs doing my very best to make Sir a happy Alpha pup… which is how we were when the beagle walked in on us… so he stripped and joined in!  Caught kneeling between my Alpha and his boy, I was a happy, horny hound-dog!

Eventually Pepper woke-up… and I somehow ended-up tied to a chair and hooded.  Sir had to go get his boots blacked and Tebow had to go… somewhere – I can’t remember.  So, I was left tied to a chair and blind w/ the wolf pup to keep me company.  He started running his hands over me… and rubbing against me… eventually I realized that he was wearing a zenti suit.  Yum!  Then I heard Tebow come back in.  “What that hell are you two doing!?”  But in a flash, Tebow was suited-up.  The beta-Top changed my bondage and moved me to the bed.  He pulled off my hood… and I was staring up at one of the strangest and HOTEST sights in my life – two delicious puppy-boys in black zenti suits standing over me while I was bound, almost naked, and helpless on the bed.  *panting*  They both molested me for a while until Tebow threw Pepper into bondage as well so he could molest both of us.  Eventually Tebow got off… and released the two of us.  Which is about the moment when Sir walked back into the room.  "What the hell are you three doing!?"

I’m not sure, but I think the whole scene for me went on for like 2 hours from when Sir got out of the shower until he returned w/ his boots blacked.  It was seriously hot!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our Pack Structure

It usually starts w/ something like, “So… I’m going to be nosey…”  A couple of times at SELF, I had people ask me about my pack and how it “works.”  I gather from Pepper’s post (love the title: “A Pup and his Alpha… andHIS Alpha… and HIS other Pup”) that he has also gotten questions about how our arrangement.

I’ll preface this by saying that dog packs are an organic structure and the relationships are not always defined in a highly formalized way… or as Sir puts it, “As long as you all know that I’m Alpha, I don’t care; you work it out.”  My point being… this is how I look at it, but I would be unsurprised to learn my pack-mates have slightly different viewpoints.

So… Sir Loki is of course the Alpha Pup.  He’s the big dog in charge.  Sir identifies as a Saint Bernard (he has a habit for rescuing strays, and he usually carries some booze stashed on him somewhere).  He started in the community a few years ago as a subby-boy/pup… but after an injury last year left him unable to bottom anymore he managed to get in touch w/ his inner sadist and made the shift to an Alpha pup/Sir.

Then we have our two beta pups: Tebow and myself.  Tebow (AKA OJ) is the beta-top.  He’s collared to Loki but doesn’t belong to him… yeah, that’s a little confusing, but I’ll come back to that.  He’s a beagle.  A self-described boy/pup hybrid, he’s mostly a gear & bondage fetishist who enjoys pupping-out when he gets an opportunity.  (Although at SELF he seemed to be embracing his inner muppet.)  This month marks Tebow’s first year in the BDSM community.

I’m the other beta dog.  Where Tebow is the beta-top, I’m a bit more like an “alpha-sub.”  I’m older than Tebow by about 15 years, and I’m also the most experienced member of the pack.  I’ve been active in the BDSM world for 10 years and identified as a pup for 7 of those years.  (Which is not to say that I don’t still have a few cherries yet to be picked… Sir… hint, hint…)  But this is my first puppy pack, and I’ve belonged to Sir for only about two months.  Still, I’m the most innate puppy in the pack and live it 24/7 at home.  As a serious masochist, I’m also the pack’s pain-puppy.  *wags*

Then there’s our gamma pup, Pepper.  Pepper, who's been in the scene for only a few months, sort of belongs to Tebow… but he identifies as a wolf pup, and thus inherently un-trainable.  So “belongs to Tebow” mostly consists of the beagle barking orders, the wolf pup ignoring him, and Sir & I laughing as Tebow tries to regain some kind of control.  LOL.

That covers of the “official” members of Sir Loki’s pack.  We also have some “orbitals” – various other pups, furries, and a blue raccoon (WTF!?) floating around that aren’t technically attached to us.

Now… the question everybody really wants to know when they begin the “I’m going to be nosey” conversation is, “Do you guys all have sex together?”  Well, haven’t you ever heard of a puppy pile?  It is safe to say, the four of us are on very familiar terms, how about that?  ;~)

The next question is, are you all boyfriends/poly?  While there is a large amount of affection, kinship, and brotherhood between us, in fact, none of us are romantically involved w/ one-another.  Sir has a husband he’s been w/ for like 10 years, and I have an Owner – the love of my life – whom I’ve been with for almost as long.  “The children” are each looking for a significant other… so despite the collars and tags, the boys are available.  (Any cute guys out there looking for a yummy bondage-beagle or a very affectionate wolf-pup to take in?)

So that covers the canine branch of my family.  There are various other branches... which is why I joke that my family structure resemboles a diagram of a protean molecule.  But my pack-mates certainly hold a special (and growing) place in my heart.  *wags*

Monday, June 11, 2012

My SELF (part 1)

My experience at SouthEast Leather Fest in seven quotes:

7.  “What do you mean boys have names!?”  (Sir imitating Daddy Alan)

6.  “Well, if we were going to be all ‘Old Guard’ and shit…” (Sir pointing out how his pack is not exactly leather traditional)

5.  "My ass hurts."  (Tebow... every five minutes)

4.  “What the hell are you two doing!?”  (Tebow walking in on Pup Pepper and I in the hotel room) 

3.  “What the hell are you three doing!?”  (Sir walking in on Tebow, Pepper, and I twenty minutes later)

2.  “So, just out of curiosity… when was the last time you shot over your head?”  (Sir, after letting me cum for the first time in 19 days)

And number 1…  “I have very few protocols… but one of them is: you do what the fuck I tell you!”  (Sir speaking to guess-who)

More details to come later…

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I’m a Prosopagnosian Puppy

Last spring I saw a documentary about the famous portrait artist Chuck Close.  One of the things it discussed was that Close has prosopagnosia.  More commonly called “face blindness,” this is a disorder in the the brain that makes it very hard to recognize faces… although other objects are recognized normally.  For example, if Close sees someone from the front… and then they turn their head in profile, he then can’t recognize them.  His brain is unable to connect the person he saw from the front and the profile view of the same face.  It’s interesting, too, b/c Close is famous for painting his paintings from photographs, using a very mechanical grid technique… so his portraits, famously, look more like photos than people -- a painting of a photo.  But this process makes perfects sense, b/c w/ face blindness it would be very difficult for him to paint a sitter from life (every time they moved their head a bit, his brain would have trouble creating continuity between the two different views of the face)… and the grid technique makes sense b/c prosopagnosia seems to limit the ability to recognize the “gestalt” (the collective whole), so Close uses the grid to break down and map the faces he paints.

Now… I’ve always known I was bad w/ recognizing people and putting together names and faces.  After learning about this “face blindness” I began to wonder if I don’t, in fact, have a mild form of the disorder.  I primarily recognize people by hair, gait, voice, and clothing… and people are very context-dependent for me.  There’s been countless times when someone whom I know will come in w/ a hair cut or dye their hair, and I won’t recognize them at first.  At the CAPEX PigPick’n last month, I didn’t recognize somebody I’ve known for years b/c she dyed her hair.  (Nobody knew about my failure b/c Ma’am said something that cued me in on who it was.)

As I said, context is also very important for my ability to recognize someone.  There have been situations where a coworker whom I’ve known for years (not well… but seen them around the building a lot) will run into me on the street or at K-Mart, and I don’t recognize them.  The number of times somebody has said hi to me and my Owner asks, “Who was that?” and I’m like, “I don’t know…”  Just a couple of weeks ago, I had someone drop by to see me at work after hours.  This is a girl that I’ve seen like once a week for several months… but b/c it was a drop-in outside of any appointed time, I didn’t recognize her.  I mistook her for somebody else and handed her the wrong papers… but as soon as she pointed out that I gave her the wrong stuff, I realized who it was and pretended I had known her but wasn’t paying attention to the paper I gave her (less embarrassing than not recognizing someone you’re supposed to know)… and fortunately she bought it.

I’ve learned a lot of covering techniques like that.  I watch people for clues if we’re supposed to know one-another.  When we go out, I’ll often look to Ma’am for clues if I know somebody – sometimes I just have to quietly ask her, “Who is that?”  When I was running the check-in table at CAPEX events, I’d keep Ma’am close by and have the line go past her first b/c she would be able to recognize everyone whereas I often have trouble recognizing some people I’ve known for months or years.  Little tricks to cover-up… and usually nobody notices.

I’ve always been this way.  I can remember as a small boy, at family gatherings, I would have my older brother identify all the relatives for me, b/c I couldn’t recognize aunts, uncles, and cousins.  The thing is… when you’ve been a certain way you’re whole life it’s hard to recognize that there’s anything “wrong” w/ you (especially if it’s your brain we’re talking about -- you have no comparison to go by).  I mean… I always have known that I’m bad w/ faces (and also putting names and faces together), but when I saw that documentary about Chuck Close I first started to suspect there may be something neurological going on that would account for this (sometimes embarrassing) inability to recognize people.

So today at work was a slow day w/ time to kill… so I found an online prosopognosia test.  I took it.  A normal person will score about 85%.  If you score below 50% you’re considered face blind.  I scored 65%.  I think the test was slightly inaccurate b/c most of the faces were white men… and I have noticed that I’m much better at recognizing white men (maybe b/c I am one?) than women or people of color.  This is one thing that’s especially tricky b/c there’s the old racist cliché of “they all look alike”… so one of my worst social fears is appearing racist by not being able to tell two people of color apart even though I should know them.  (It’s happened to me before.)

But anyway… at 65%, if I don’t actually have prosopagnosia, there is definitely something impaired in my ability to recognize faces.  (On the test, I was unable to recognize Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, and Bobby DeNiro… among others.)

If only I could recognize folks by scent and just sniff everybody’s butts…

Video on Face Blindness:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Exhibit of Seven Paintings

I’ve got some of my paintings on exhibit this month – seven pieces in a large group show w/ about 8 or 9 other artists which I organized.  There’s not really any theme to my work at present… other than it’s always been mostly figurative and mostly narrative; I like art that tells stories and/or captures characters.  If it's not a commission, then I paint for myself, and I just paint things I like... or whatever holds my interest for a few days.

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Choices" by Nikki Giovanni

    if i can't do
    what i want to do
    then my job is to not
    do what i don't want
    to do

    it's not the same thing
    but it's the best i can

    if i can't have
    what i want . . . then
    my job is to want
    what i've got
    and be satisfied
    that at least there
    is something more to want

    since i can't go
    where i need
    to go . . . then i must . . . go
    where the signs point
    through always understanding
    parallel movement
    isn't lateral

    when i can't express
    what i really feel
    i practice feeling
    what i can express
    and none of it is equal
    i know
    but that's why mankind
    alone among the animals
    learns to cry

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sleeping Assignments

My Owner was away from home for most of the last week… but, least I feel neglected, she always left me w/ some “assignments” regarding my sleeping arrangements.  See, I always sleep in my dog kennel beside her bed… but she left me w/ instructions to sleep w/ my tail in and/or my hood on.

I have slept in my leather hood before on a few previous occasions when Ma’am instructed me to do so.  I don’t get to wear it a lot b/c my Owner doesn’t have much of a gear/bondage fetish (except for her leather straightjacket when she bottoms… but that’s another story) – she’s primarily into S/m with some D/s (but that’s really only w/ me)… but she’s pretty light on the B.  I like the bondage/gear stuff, and when I do get to wear my hood to bed, it puts me in a great headspace, and keeps me pretty horny throughout the night.

I’ve never slept w/ my tail in before.  It’s always a toss-up w/ how long I can keep my tail in.  Sometimes it will stay firmly in for hours, but other days it doesn’t want to stay in.  I think it’s a salt-level-in-my-bloodstream thing.  You know, like sometimes how your wedding ring fits loose, but other time’s they’re real tight…  Anyway, this week I was in luck and my tail stayed in all night two nights in a row!  It really helped keep me in a wiggly, waggly puppy headspace all through the night.  :)

Now, this all sounds great, but there’s a catch… b/c my Owner is a sadist.  She hasn’t allowed me to cum in 10 days… and I’m not allowed to cum until (at least) SoutheastLeather Fest, another 7 days away (at which it will still depend on me getting permission from my Alpha Pup… *sigh*).  So my Owner knows how horny I am already… plus she plays w/ me and edges me almost every day when she’s at home… then when she’s away she has me wear my hood and tail – knowing how even more horny that makes me – but doesn’t give me permission to play w/ myself.  Of course, she knows that in that headspace it’s really hard not to – and so that just gives her an excuse to punish me when she gets home.  *sigh*

And of course she said that she’s going to take it up another level and make this next week real hell on me.  I’ve already warned Sir that he should expect to have a desperately horny puppy on his hands (or at his feet... humping his leg) at SELF.

Seven more days…