Max and I have very few friends who aren't kinky. It's not that we think there's anything wrong with people who aren't into BDSM—bless their vanilla hearts—but it's more satisfying to spend time with people who share our culture.
However, Max does have some old friends, a couple we'll call "Brad and Janet," that he's known from way back when, who had no idea that he was living a kinky life with a notorious dominatrix. Until lately, that is. Max and I had a date to see a play with them, and pretty much as soon as we walked into the lobby of the theater, Brad pulled a scrap of newspaper out of his pocket. Before he'd really even said the words, "Have you seen this?" I knew what it was. It was my advertisement, as Mistress Matisse, that runs in this paper and in Seattle Weekly. The one with my picture.
I wasn't upset. "Yeah," I replied, smiling. "That's my ad."
They both just looked at me for a moment. I think they had expected me to deny it, or be flustered, or something. Then Brad tried to recover his poise. "Well, that's your business, of course, we don't care—but I know you model some, and I was just making sure no one was using your picture without you knowing it."
"That's very sweet of you, Brad, but no, that's my ad." I tried not to smile too much. Brad has a quick, somewhat acerbic wit, and he is not slow to exercise it upon those less sharp than he. It was amusing to see him thrown off balance for once. "Did you want to ask me any questions about it?"
"No, no, I mean—that's your business."
Well, yes, it is—literally. But it's also who Max and I are as people. For us, BDSM is more than just what we do in our bedroom. It's a defining factor in our lives. That being the case, we'd talked about coming out as kinky to Brad and Janet, because we like them, and when you lie to your friends—or even just creatively omit information—it limits the relationship.
We'd had qualms, though. There are several ways coming out kinky can go badly. The most obvious one is when the vanilla person acts like you've announced you're the spiritual heir of the BTK Killer. That's a defensive reaction. When non-kinky people realize someone they thought they knew well is into BDSM, it forces them to question whatever preconceived ideas they may have had about kink, and some people cannot tolerate doing that. Someone I care about is one of those weirdos? No, that's simply too unsettling for them.
But another common response is for them to respond as if you're giving them information about your sex life that they're grossed out by and would rather not know. While I don't understand this, I do try to be sensitive to it, and it was this scenario that we thought might happen with Brad and Janet. So rather than risk giving them too much information, Max and I chose to say nothing, even though it meant continually editing out a very large chunk of our lives.
However, when Brad raised the topic himself by asking me about that ad—well now, that changed everything. I look at it kind of like the rules of a scene. By asking me a question, you consent to having your question answered, even if that answer makes you uncomfortable. If you say, "No, I don't have any more questions," then I'll stop giving you information. Until you ask me more questions, of course, which people usually do.
Brad and Janet were no exception. At dessert after the play, Brad looked at me. "I just want to ask you one question."
"Brad, you can ask me anything you like." I meant it—Brad's an intelligent guy, and I was curious to see what he'd ask.
"What kind of guys come to see you?"
I've heard this question before. "Oh, mainly middle-class white guys in their 40s and 50s, educated, professional types."
"You know, Brad—a lot like you," he said.
Thanks, Max. I couldn't have said it better myself.
THE BEDROOM CLUB
Live burlesque shows, and pinup models to photograph. Suggested dress: pajamas or lingerie. Fenix Underground, 109 S Washington St, 405-4314, 8 pm, ladies free.
VAGINAL FISTING: A WORKSHOP FOR COUPLES
The class is taught to show both partners' perspectives, and includes a demonstration. Register at www.sanctuaryintime.net, 7–9:30 pm, $60 per couple.
LOVE LOUNGE SEATTLE
An "adult social club" designed to bring together bi women and male/female couples—no single men. www.lovelounge.net, 9 pm, $10 donation, membership required, 21+.
MEN'S UNDERWEAR PARTY
Strip & drink. Seattle Eagle, 314 E Pike St, 9 pm, 21+.
LIPS SERVICE: THE ART OF KISSING
A lips-on workshop designed to enhance this fundamental skill, by Tracy Bartlett. Come with a kissing partner(s). Wet Spot, firstname.lastname@example.org or 270-9746, 2:30–4:30, $35 for two, $20 more for a third.
Find out the truth about the G-spot, from earth-shattering orgasms to female ejaculation. Babeland, 707 E Pike St, 328-2914, 7:30 pm, $30/sliding-scale available.
Wondering if it's a good idea to wrap someone in cellophane? Get answers at this "playful and informative" Pacific Science Center exhibit, exploring the use of science in risk and risk-assessment. Pacific Science Center, 200 Second Ave N, 443-2001, 10 am–6 pm, $7-$10.