Talk about a buzz kill. It happens all the time, though: I'll get an e-mail or some sweet thing will sidle up to me at a party, there's some conversation, and she/he will ask me if I'd like to play sometime.
"What a charming request," I'll say. "What kinds of things are you into?"
Then they say it: "Anything you want, Mistress." Or the variation, "I'm a no-limits slave."
Boom, forget it, you've totally lost my interest. Never tell me you'll do anything. Never tell me you have no limits.
Why? Because I don't believe you. Trust me, kids, I can think of some things you won't do. Lots of things. Can I shave your head, for example? Eyebrows, too? Organize a gangbang with you and some guys from the Millionair Club? Hogtie you and roll you around naked in a pigpen? Quick-setting concrete bondage? Dental drills? Staple guns? Bone-marrow donation? Those aren't things I usually do when I play, but if you use the a-word, then you're telling me that I could do them with you.
With the very wide variety of activities that fall under the heading of BDSM, why would someone say "anything" to a kinkster like me? I think the most common reason is simple naiveté. For these folks, I don't even have to get out the staple gun. I just mention a few of my everyday favorites and they turn pale and start backing away. Like, how about bloodsports? Golden showers? Electrified catheters? Oh, that's not what you had in mind? Learn a lesson from this: When you say "anything", it doesn't mean anything you can think of, it means anything I can think of.
Sometimes people say the a-word out of shyness. I understand that it can be hard to talk about one's kinky desires, but it's unfair to expect me to guess what's on or off the menu. You can make a list on a piece of paper and hand it to me if you have to, as long as you communicate somehow. Another possible reason: mental laziness. Such a person might really be experienced and have broad limits, but be unwilling to bother clearly defining a yes/no/maybe list. But you know, if you want me to go to the trouble of creating a scene for us, the least you can do is offer up some thoughts about what's likely to work well. Show me some effort, baby.
It's relatively easy to correct a-worders like these. There are other, less-innocent examples of the breed, however. There are the low self-esteem manipulators—they're the ones who think that if they state limits, I won't agree to play with them, so they pretend to not have any. Only after the scene has begun will their limits start trickling out.
More sad and disturbing are the people who've been brainwashed into thinking that being a good slave means you aren't allowed to have limits—you have to do anything, anytime. I hear about this a lot and not only is it bullshit, I think it's a terribly unattractive concept. Some of the pleasure I take in kink is the continual seduction of consent. I love the fact that I can get my partners to let me do things to them that they never thought they'd let anyone do—and better yet, I can make them like it. That's hot.
Don't get me wrong, it's great to be omnivorously kinky. However, it's normal and healthy for people—even people who think of themselves as slaves—to realize that there are at least a few things that they simply won't consent to. It's a sign of self-respect. I have encountered very few people who I came to believe really would do anything, anytime, with no limits. I have a special name for those folks—I call them "batshit crazy," and my electrical toys do not have sufficient power to give these people the shock therapy they desperately need, so I don't play with them.
So before you present yourself to me or any other high-caliber kinkster for possible playtime, sit down and figure out what you do and don't want from the scene. Just think how weird you'd look with no eyebrows.
SATURDAY 10/15FLOGGING WORKSHOP
Led by noted percussionists Russell H. and Erika, this discussion/demonstration of basic flogging techniques is open to all genders, orientations, and experience levels. Everyone pairs off and takes turns being the practice dummy, so bring a heavy jacket and a flogger if you have one, although some loaners are available. Wet Spot, info at firstname.lastname@example.org or 650-5234, 2–6 pm, $35, membership not required.'MR LEATHER' SCREENING
Jason Garrett's debut documentary follows contestants in their quest to win the largest leather event on the West Coast. Harvard Exit, 807 East Roy, www.mrleatherfilm.com, 7 pm, $9/$8 for Three-Dollar Bill members.CELTIC FLING
This annual fall celebration features the Seattle Highland Dance Association, bagpipers, crafts, tea, and the kinky pièce de résistance: a solo display dancing competition for men. St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 111 NE 80th St, 9 am–5 pm, free.LITTLE RED STUDIO MEN'S PARTY
Interactive erotic entertainment for men, with dance and spoken-word performances. Little Red Studio, 328-4758, www.littleredstudioseattle.com, 6:30 pm, prices vary, RSVP required.
SunDAY 10/16SPANKING 101 WITH MISTRESS MATISSE
Do you find yourself wishing your lover's soft caress would turn into a spank? I'll be teaching hand spanking, paddle, and flogging techniques to warm any bottom, plus physical and emotional safety for both partners. Babeland, 707 E Pike St, 328-2914, 7:30 pm, $35, sliding scale available.PARADISE POOL TIME
A clothing-optional "swim and be social" event at an indoor pool. The Longhouse in Redmond, email@example.com or 270-9746, noon–6 pm, $10, RSVP required.