May 232015
 

A relaxing soak in the tub — that’s a thing normal people do with free time.

Without the stress of potential career collapse, for the first time in over a decade, I have free time. I’m glad, but if the past few weeks are any indication, I have absolutely no idea what to do with it (or myself).

I also have a bath tub. It’s beautiful — big enough for two, deep enough to drown in, with bubble jets, water jets, and a thermostat — but it’s completely wasted on me. I haven’t used it in well over a year, so it needed a thorough scrubbing to remove a year’s worth of dust, cobwebs, and whatever creepy crawlies that might have taken up residence in the plumbing. I cleaned every accessible surface, poured a healthy dose of liquid bleach into the intakes and returns, and scrubbed until it sparkled.

While it filled with scalding hot water, I rummaged around and found a floral smelling bath ball thing to toss in, (long ago, I learned that bubble bath + water jets = a very bad idea), and I eased into the water. During an episode of Louie (I am incapable of just sitting there), I struggled to find a balance between the hum and gurgle of the jets, the iPad volume, and the echo in the room. During the second episode, I engaged in brisk exfoliation with an extra gentle human sander loofah thingy. That felt productive, but I got out before the episode was over — I had nothing else to do and I dislike being still unless I’m doing something.

It’s been an hour since then and my skin still looks freshly scrubbed and pink in places. By “freshly scrubbed,” I mean excessively scrubbed. By “pink,” I mean irritated.

I’m thinking I should have run water through the system to flush out the bleach before I filled the tub. I didn’t think of that. Instead, I sat in a scalding hot, self-agitating mild bleach solution for almost an hour while I scrubbed my skin raw.

I do feel like a new woman… mostly because I burned off the outermost layer of the old one.

So fucking relaxing.
 
 
 

May 212015
 
we move in oblong orbits
our distance inconsistent
over time
increasing space
reduces gravity

“Animation of the moon phases / Lunar libration with Phase 2″ by Tomruen, (2005). Image released into the public domain.
May 192015
 

kinkbnb-logo-leather-pride-flag-2KinkBNB’s logo is terrible.

First, and perhaps most egregious, is their use of Impact font — popularized by LOLcats, the typeface has been the standard for image macros and internet memes for the past decade. Impact font…. seriously? Like, were there no other simple sans-serif typefaces they could have chosen?

While I can’t imagine the logic (if any) behind that choice, KinkBNB’s allusion to the Leather Pride Flag is as subtle as a sledgehammer (or perhaps, as subtle as a spanking).

It would be disingenuous to say I carry no purposeful, physical markings of cultural identity, but I prefer to think of them as aesthetic choices rather than ideological ones. They are about appearance — not about identity or affinity[1]. While you won’t find a triskellion, venus, or other membership/pride emblem on my person, my automobile bumper, or my online identity, I absolutely recognize their meaning and value (even if they aren’t all that important to me).

That’s why this KinkBNB’s allusion feels more like appropriation, and it doesn’t sit well with me[2]. (Excuse the reduction and non-linear chronology of what follows).

Obviously, KinkBNB’s logo is an allusion to the Leather Pride Flag, which is an ex post facto symbol with origins in gay leather culture post-WWII and its rejection of mainstream sex culture. More than that, leather subculture’s appropriation of biker culture’s aesthetic (leather) was a visible counterargument to stereotypes that painted gay men as effeminate and weak. Leather meant something, and wearing leather said something important.

feminist-marketing-campaigns

[Aside: While gay men’s leather culture developed in the late 1940s, the Leather Pride flag wasn’t introduced until the International Mr. Leather conference in 1989[3], a decade after the annual event was first held. While leather culture was still primarily associated with gay men when Tony DeBlase presented the flag in ’89, cultural membership had already expanded to include straights and women — those enjoyed the BDSM aesthetic, rejected normative sex practice/identity, or perhaps both.]

Anyway, branding a business with the symbols of a sub(/counter)culture organized around rejection of the mainstream rings insincere to me, particularly for a service that draws its name from “bed and breakfast” (which denotes entrepreneurial aspirations of those with means to have them and travel accommodations for those with funds to reserve them) and makes a profit by taking 10% of all transactions off the top.

I think it bugs me because of so many recent, high visibility marketing campaigns that have diluted, coopted, and misinterpreted feminism as a means to sell stuff. Women’s empowerment is trendy at the moment, and so it’s been employed in branding and marketing for pop stars, pornography, fashion, and toiletries[4]using feminism rather than being feminist.

It’s a strategic deployment (a manipulative appropriation of buzzwords, aesthetic, and iconography to sell products) rather than an ideological employment (a principled effort towards equal rights and opportunities for marginalized populations).

KinkBNB’s appropriation of leather pride symbols bothers me for the same reason Dove’s appropriation of feminist buzzwords does. Clearly, Dove is a million times more strategic (and worse) — their deployment directly opposes many feminist goals. KinkBNB’s appropriation of symbols just seems careless, and that’s a shame, because being more thoughtful about the movements that enabled its existence wouldn’t hurt its bottom line.

Is it a big deal? No, but it bothers me when people take things that don’t belong to them and use them carelessly. Are companies obligated to respect or participate in cultural movements? No, but it would be nice.


[1] Yeah, I know I’m kidding myself.
[2] Before anyone gets their leather knickers in a twist, I’m not calling for censorship or change, and I’m not even leveling that harsh of a criticism. I’m saying it doesn’t sit well with me and I shared my thinking because I’m a thoughtful motherfucker with an overthinky brain.
[3] According to Wikipedia (the source of all human knowledge): “Leather Pride Flag.”
[4] Beyonce at the VMAs; “feminist” porn (specifically the Feminist Porn Awards); Chanel’s faux feminist protest; and Dove (fuck Dove).
May 142015
 

vampire-gloves-images

Reader questions on vampire gloves, dumb ideas, and foolproof indicators of submissiveness.

I’m looking for spikes as used on the gloves you mentioned. Would you help me to find out, where I can buy such spikes and how they are named?
Kindest regards from Austria.

Hello Austria. What an interesting name! (heh)

If you’re looking for the gloves with spikes, they’re called ‘vampire gloves,’ ‘vampire mitts,’ or ‘spanking gloves.’ If you’re just looking for the spikes, my hunch is that they come already attached to some sort of fabric. I’d recommend contacting Mistress Serene over at Love Bite Gloves. She sadistically lovingly makes vegan, fabric vampire gloves by hand, so she would know.

I would like to be trained to be a slave, I am married she doesn’t know, if you train me I will only obey you my mobile number is 075-JERKOFF†.

She doesn’t know you are married? Or she doesn’t know you are married to her? Does she know she’s married at all? Holy shit… if you’ve married her and she doesn’t know, you’ve achieved Silver Dragon Ninja level stealth submission. Kudos to you.

grammar-for-assholes

Despite your piss poor grammar, I’m going to assume the most likely situation: you’d like to go behind your wife’s back in “submitting” to a Domme. Aren’t you a fucking gem?

All the same, I can overlook the fact you’re a terrible human being if you’re serious. You’ll obey only me, hmm? Excellent! Slave training begins today.

  1. Buy a grammar book. Learn everything in it.
  2. Slam your cock in a car door.
  3. Use your new mastery of grammar to write your wife an apology for being such an awful person.
  4. Talk to your wife about what you want. Have a fucking conversation. Maybe she’ll be into it. (Maybe she won’t, but at least you’ll be slightly less of an asshole for being honest with her.)
How do I know if I will make a good sub?

Do you know what it means to be submissive? Do you like being submissive?* Are you good at being submissive? If yes to all of the above, then you’ll probably be fine… or whatever.

Short of knowing you and making a prediction, you could just buy one of those over-the-counter submission tests. It’s like an OTC pregnancy test, only instead of peeing on the stick, you jerk off onto it.

clearblue-otc-submission-test-2


† What, you thought I would list his phone number? Fuck no. I hope he slams his cock in a car door, but I’m not sadistic enough to publish his phone number.
* There are big differences between aptitude, ability, and enjoyment. Do you have any idea what restraint I employ to  resist the urge to parse out those various meanings? You’re welcome.
May 112015
 

With companies debuting kinky dating apps, it was only a matter of time before someone launched a kinky version of Airbnb. KinkBNB is a pretty good business idea (damn good, actually), and while there’s the potential for similar problems as bookings on Airbnb, at least orgies won’t be unexpected (actually, KinkBNB hosts can indicate whether their listings are “orgy friendly”).

KinkBNB home page screen shot

The prices are surprisingly reasonable, ranging from $150 a night (Violet Room* in San Francisco, CA, which appears to be a private home) to $650 a night (Le Fleur De Lis Club in Redlands, CA, a well appointed commercial “dungeon”).

Of the 17 listings currently live on KinkBNB, there are a mix of private residential properties and commercial play spaces, many of which boast kinky amenities (spanking benches, St. Andrew’s Crosses, sex swings, padded cages, vac beds, stocks, and suspension rigging points) alongside more conventional lodging appointments (private kitchens with flatware, coffee makers, and complementary refreshments; full bathrooms with luxury bathrobes, toiletries, towels, and hair driers; as well as wireless internet, surround sound stereo with iPod/iPhone docks and Pandora subscriptions, memory foam mattresses, and concierge service).

KinkBNB home page screen shot showing featured listings

I suppose KinkBNB might save someone the trouble of getting a bunch of sex/play toys through TSA for cross-country kinkery, but the idea of using someone else’s toys squicks me the fuck out.

screen shots of amenities (toys) from KinkBNB listings

clockwise from top left: Dungeon West (LA, $250/night); La Douleur Exquise (LA, $250/night); Love in the Lascivious Lair (San Francisco, $300/night); InnThrall (Seattle, $395/night)

All the same, booking a vacation with KinkBNB might be a great opportunity for kinksters without the funds, space, or commitment required to access large, expensive BDSM furniture and equipment.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have access to your own “American style” prison cell, you can rent one. Prison Cell (Regis-Breitingen, Germany, $200/night) does NOT include amenities such as A/C or heat, furniture, equipment, toys, or room service… but I imagine people looking to rent a prison cell aren’t interested in room service, fluffy towels, or complimentary coffee.

KinkBNB listing, Prison Cell, Germany

I’ll be curious to see how KinkBNB develops and the degree to which they parallel Airbnb in terms of posting safety information, warnings, and ‘best practices’ for being a good host/guest, etc. So far, KinkBNB has no such information posted on their website (aside from the TOS, which doesn’t really count).
line-break-flourish-sm

What do you think about KinkBNB?

  • Would you consider using KinkBNB to book kinky accommodations?
  • Would you consider renting a private residence? A commercial dungeon?
  • Would you use someone else’s furniture, equipment, and/or toys?

KinkBNB website images courtesy of KinkBNB. All property/listing images courtesy of their respective owners.
* From the watermarks on their images, the Violet Room appears to be listed on Airbnb too, though I can’t imagine it’s listed as such. The Violet Room listing also shares one image with Love in the Lascivious Lair in San Francisco, so I don’t know what’s going on there.
FYI, KinkBNB’s not-so-subtle allusion to the Leather Pride Flag didn’t escape my observation. More on that another day (yes, really).