Ben recently came into town to spend a few days with me, and let me tell you, with two kinky leathermen living under one roof, shit got crazy.
And by “crazy,” I mean we contentedly flopped on the couch and watched Brian Friedman choreography videos until our eyes bled.
Can you get much hotter than that? I submit that you cannot.
Eventually, we were like, “Oh, wait, right, we’re kinky leathermen.” So we gussied up in some cowhide, grabbed my bag of paddles, and headed to Ripcord to put on a floor show. The bar was busy when we arrived, but the St. Andrew’s Cross was free, with nary a straight girl mistaking it for a jungle gym. Ben climbed up on it and slipped his hands through the restraints, I pulled out a Scottish tawse to warm him up, and we let ourselves slide into the scene.
A semi-public BDSM performance comes with an expected amount of exhibitionism, but when there’s a solid connection between the participants, the outside world melts away, and a trance-like state develops, ebbing and flowing with the thud of weighted wood against skin; the sting of chrome; the soothing caress of a hand. So caught up was I in the moment that it took a few seconds to notice the two drunken preppies standing just a little too close for comfort, pointing and giggling and offering unnecessary exposition.
Stealing a quick glance, I decided they were annoying but harmless, and I returned my attention to Ben. I’d just administered a hard smack to his posterior, and — finding his reaction agreeable — had pulled back to deliver another, when one of the preppies leapt forward and tried to swat Ben himself.
“Back off,” I said.
Now, this is where our stories differ. I remember speaking firmly, but not aggressively; Ben, however, recalls a rumbling, demonic growl, reminiscent of the Death of the Universe and the End of All Things. Either way, the preppies took the fucking hint and bustled away, hopefully back to whatever appletini factory spawned their misbegotten souls in the first place.
The interruption by no means ruined the experience, but I hung onto some resentment nonetheless. So the preppies thought that what we were doing was funny: alright, fine. Their opinion of me is none of my business. But to purposely cause disruption for their own amusement… goddamn them on multiple levels, if only because of the injuries that could’ve resulted. I could’ve gotten distracted by the intrusion and hurt Ben; I could’ve accidentally hit the interfering preppy; hell, I could’ve lost my balance and broken my nose on the concrete floor.
None of those things actually happened, though, so I was ultimately able to let the anger go and stay present. The scene came to a close, and — with dizzy grins on our faces and little puffs of smoke wafting out of our ears — we wandered out to the patio to cool off. I was perched on a comfortable bench to give my sciatica a break, and Ben was standing next to me, when a dude I know peripherally through mutual acquaintances moseyed over and struck up a conversation.
“Hey, Ben,” he said, presuming familiarity. “How’d you like that spanking?”
“I liked it very much,” Ben replied.
“Well, then we’ll have to get you back down here for another one.”
“I certainly plan on coming back soon.”
“Oh, good,” the dude said. “Except when I spank you, you won’t be wearing pants.”
His arm snaked around Ben’s waist, and he reached for Ben’s ass.
“Are you seriously hitting on him in front of me?”
I’d like to say it came out harsher than I intended, but that would be a damn lie. It came out nowhere near as harsh as I intended, but it was still more than enough to make the dude jump back a few feet. At this point, it also occurred to me that I’m kind of tall. Dude’s about 5’7″ in heels, so I slowly rose to my full height and towered over him, vibrating with menace, and he sputtered a few semi-coherent apologies before removing himself from the premises.
There’s this thing in the straight kinkster world about “protection”: Like, if you look at a given FetLife profile, it might say, “Owned by Master Sobriquet, under the protection of LaFonda and Frisco.” The concept always seemed kind of weird to me, like some sort of takeaway from the Society of Creative Anachronism, but after my run-in with dude, it makes a lot more sense — if Master Sobriquet is not around, and dude starts harassing the kinkster in question, he will have LaFonda and Frisco to reckon with. And while I would hate to be accused of cultural appropriation, we LGBTQ+ kinksters could definitely use a similar approach when dealing with trolls and other monsters.
Ben is now under my protection, because there are a lot of douche-nuggets out there who think “submissive” means “community property”; who aren’t going to accept “no” for an answer, if they even bother asking before crossing boundaries. And fortunately, there are people who understand how power exchanges actually work, and who have no problem stepping in when a situation starts going south — but frankly, there are nowhere near enough of us.
Guys, truly, don’t be afraid to speak up if you see someone forcing themselves into a scene, or onto a target who is clearly antipathetic to their advances. Every community has its predators, and that’s probably not going to change, but there’s nothing saying we can’t use every tool (or paddle) at our disposal to take all their power away.