Play Party, Day 2
I’m naked except for the boots, thigh-high brown leather. She’s fully dressed in all-black leathers, smooth on my skin when she comes in close. My palms are flat against the wall, my feet spread wide so her canes have plenty of room to slip up and down my inner thighs. She keeps a hand or a cane on me at all times, watches my breath and my body, makes me count and politely ask “Please, may I have another” (until she’s heard enough and starts striking when she wants), forces me to decide how many total I’m going to take, adds one more. When she’s done she pulls my hands away from the wall and folds our arms together, pushes me against a vertically propped mattress with her whole body weight, tips my head back against her chest and smothers me for an instant with the crook of her elbow. She leaves deep welts that bruise pretty for a week on my asscheeks and upper thighs. I’m content falling asleep in my prison cell at the hostel that night.
Workshop, Day 3
The grey-haired Master sitting next to me, about to start facilitating her workshop on control, asks her slave, “Where you at babygirl?” and I hear her voice asking that question for a month afterwards. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone so publicly and unabashedly and offhandedly announce their butchness and their domness and their kinkiness, in such a concise but complete way. In theory, all she did was ask if her slave had somewhere to sit. In practice, what she did was be what she is confidently, without a second thought, fully grown into it and comfortable holding all the care, strength, sweetness, responsibility, power, and, yes, control that go into creating butchness, domness, kinkiness. No wonder when someone asks who came because the facilitator was hot, half the room raises their hands, from the Harvest virgins to the five-year vets. Seeing her command of this room as she gives and takes contributions to the discussion, seeing respect in the room for that command, I see the particular wisdom and strength of lineage, the lineage of leatherdykes I came here to join.
Dinner, Day 3
We’re at least two, maybe three, maybe four femmes at three tiny round tables. The definite two are me and a grad student who gave a lunchtime talk the day before; the maybes are the girl in the sweaterdress one table over from me who’s not saying much and the older dyke who started the conversation: “This is the second time I’ve heard someone talk about gender and go straight to butch and femme this weekend. Why?” It’s the four of us, femmeish, plus someone I’d ballpark as genderqueerish, talking about the evolution of concepts of gender and the resulting changes to gender identities and who can claim them. We two for-sure femmes are explaining what femme means for us, elaborating each other’s definitions, refining exclusions. We agree that queerness and invisibility are inherent elements of femme. The other two youngish queers at the table protest our delineation of borders; I feel a hint of my usual frustration at the idea that everyone can and should be able to be everything (identities mean nothing if everyone can be them). The other for-sure femme says her gender is femme–she’s not a woman; I say mine isn’t (or isn’t only) femme–I am a woman. Amusingly, our reasoning is just about the same: it has to do with not fitting conventional standards of womanhood. I’ve found the geeks, which means I’m at home.
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