Sunday, July 28, 2013

Vanilla Dating And Being An Introvert

How did people date before the days of the internet? Did you have to actually talk to people when you were out places? That means you had to go out to places to start with. Ugh. Sounds awful. The internet became commonplace when I was about 13. I am definitely part of the impatient "I want it now and how dare this page take 1 minute to load" generation. Immediate sharing and knowledge. I like taking in all the information and then deciding what to do with it later. That goes for people, too.

As an introvert, I'm happy to have grown up in the internet age. On the plus side, it makes in person interaction less necessary. I can browse someone's online profile and know if we like the same music and movies and if we may have similar senses of humor. I can also decide if they are a douchebag who takes a lot of chest pics and has Nickelback tattoos. That helps me make the decision to not spend my energy on getting to know someone where it is bound to go downhill from there.

On the down side, it makes in person interaction less necessary. How much can a single page and a few pictures tell you about someone? If that's all a person was going by to "get to know" me, I'd probably be screwed. Okay, so she's sort of cute but weirdly into Peeps and Justin Timberlake. Crazy alert! Next profile...If someone is a horrible person who hates Peeps, it's probably best we never talked to begin with. But maybe there is more to them and to me than a strong preference about ridiculous amounts of sugar. Nickelback tattoo guy seems like a major douchebag, but maybe he made one bad drunken decision and isn't so terrible. Now we'll never know.

Dating sucks. It's hard work. You're opening yourself up to rejection on many levels. Being an introverted personality and dating is even harder. I was burned out in under a month. I met 7 different guys in about 3 weeks and I longed for a night at home alone doing absolutely nothing. I needed to recharge. Meeting people in general gets to be physically exhausting. Meeting people for the purpose of dating even more so because I am having to talk about myself, decide what bits of information are relevant, and where the line is between honesty and oversharing. 

That is a big question. Where is the line between honesty and oversharing? In a world where we now expect so much immediate information, how do you decide what is relevant and what is going to make you sound fucking crazy, but probably wouldn't be so bad once they've already gotten to know you? If I met someone in everyday life and we went out to dinner, I wouldn't feel the need to tell them everything about myself in the first hour. I spend half of my life around coworkers who don't really know all that much about me and my personal life and that's been working just fine.

If there is a mutual interest and things were going to get more serious with someone, I would want to delve further into certain subjects. There are things that could certainly be deal breakers for someone and I'm not intentionally hiding them. "Oh by the way, I'm dating a guy who is married." That would need to be said at some point. To open with though, I've left it at "I'm seeing someone but we're not exclusive." If someone is bothered by that and seeking a serious monogamous relationship, then we know to go our separate ways.

The relationship status is something I state up front, though don't go into all the details unless asked. Kink is a whole other matter. At what point do I mention what the hell is in the box under my bed? Where it is that I'm going all the time and how I know so many people across the country when I've mainly been a resident of Utah? Why I have bruises at the point they are seeing my body? Maybe it is a bigger deal in my head than it would be to the other person hearing about all of it. I don't know.

I've only mentioned it to one vanilla date so far since he was someone I went out with 3 different times. I opened with, "So do you like anything kinky?" He didn't really know what that meant so is definitely vanilla, but said he's open to trying things. I didn't say anything else until later he asked me why I asked the question and if I'm into something kinky. I said yes, I'm involved with BDSM groups and like to be spanked. He didn't ask any questions and I didn't offer any further information.

This is a part of my personality.

And so is this.

A potential partner does not have to want to participate in that with me. But at this point in my life I'm not willing to hide such a big thing to ensure someone else's comfort. Kink is not my whole life, but it is part of it. It is how I know many different people. It is how I spend some of my time. It is why I travel across the country twice a year. It is the reason I sometimes grimace and then smile when I sit down. It is why I'm texting so damn much and often laughing. That is a lot to just leave out.

The simple answer may be to just not date vanillas. It's not that simple though. I know a lot of truly awesome kink friendly folks. I don't like the idea of only fishing out of an already small pool.  Do I want to date all of them? No. Are they all even available anyway? No. Do I want to end up having 10 poly relationships at the same time? I don't know. Do I like the idea of having someone to take home for family dinner who isn't married? Yeah. Is that a completely unrealistic and outdated expectation? Maybe. I have a lot of questions and not many answers. These are my rambling thoughts for today. In summary, dating sucks.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Feeling The Quirt

A quirt
On Saturday night, S and I attended a local play party. I think the theme was "Try not to melt!" Okay, maybe not officially. I hate summer. It has been so fucking hot this past month and sadly, August often has even higher temps than July does. Ugh. Not looking forward to that. We made the best of it though and tried to distract ourselves. I also may have hogged the hallway for quite a bit of the night standing directly under the swamp cooler.

I don't think I have bought an item of clothing in at least a year because I really hate shopping. Early Saturday I went in search of some new things though. I have a 10 second rule with clothes shopping which can make finding something more difficult. "Can this item be pushed aside/removed in under 10 seconds should a spanking opportunity present itself?" That is what I ask myself. I found a few things that made the cut, including 2 dresses.

I very rarely wear a dress or a skirt because being a tall woman really blows when it comes to clothes. Things that are meant to be near floor length on a woman of average height end up a weird mid calf length on me. Knee length for a woman of average height is a mini dress on me. I was happy to find something in between and ended up wearing a red print above the knee dress that was a light material good for the fucking heat. I was constantly looking over my shoulder throughout the night to see who people kept complimenting so it seemed to be a good choice.

The next morning
Enough about clothes, you are here to read about spankings. T is someone I've talked to before about playing but the opportunity had never come up where we happened to have time and be at the same party. He was there, and I was there, and my dress was moved out of the way in under 10 seconds. That rule is paying off already! A while back on Fetlife, he had posted a picture of a quirt he had. A quirt is something I've never seen in person before or come across in a spanker's implement collection. It is a forked type of stock whip which typically has two leather falls at the end, like the tails of a tawse. Stupid me was like, "What's that? It looks interesting. I've never been spanked with one of those. I'd like to try it." He happened to have it with him at the party so try it we did.

We found a space and I bent over a massage table, my dress easily raised. T had a crop, the quirt, and a delrin cane looking thing which I eyed suspiciously. I typically do not like acrylic toys but said I would try it. A few strokes later it was vetoed by me for being much too thuddy. I cannot handle a lot of thud and didn't want the scene to have to end that quickly. He switched to the crop which was as stingy as most crops tend to be. I was struggling staying in place already. He mixed in a few swats from his hand which jolted me forward. I discovered he's one of those people whose hand is just as bad as an implement. Ha.

24 hours later
After that we got around to the quirt. It had caught my interest in his photo because it looked like something that would be stingy. It was, but still had some weight to it on impact. The first few strokes with it weren't too bad but when it'd hit in the same spot a second or third time it was much harder to handle. It caused a deeper pain and I could feel a few spots where I was definitely going to welt up. I kept jumping up from the table. He switched back to the crop for a bit with a few swats mixed in from his bionic hand. I was feeling pretty well toasted so we ended things there with a hesitant hug due to all the sweatiness. Ha.

You can see the marks that developed in the pictures above. My final review on the quirt is that it fucking hurts! I don't know if I'd want to be spanked with it again or not. I'm sure some of you are looking at the first picture in this post and saying, "Duh Lea, you didn't figure that out to begin with?" Well shut up! Now I know for sure! I had been wanting to play with S that night also and got a hand spanking from him afterwards. He didn't break out all the toys since I was already marked. I know I complain that he's always so mean but sometimes he does shit like that to throw me off. ;-) All in all, 2 spankings and being told I looked pretty added up to a nice night!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

NLA-U's Graydancer Weekend Event

Last weekend was a whirlwind of activity at NLA-U's weekend event with Graydancer. Graydancer is a BDSM presenter, sex positive educator, podcaster, performer, and activist. (Taken from his website.) And I quickly discovered that he is also a really cool guy. He even remembered my name the second time I saw him so how could he not be cool? :-D I copied the below paragraph from his website to tell a bit more about him.

"Graydancer has been teaching, performing, and advocating for kink and BDSM for over a decade. He  professionally rigs, photographs, shoots, edits, and consults in web, video, and social media for several clients ranging from to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom to the Kink Academy. You can also hear Graydancer as a guest on various podcasts such as Polyamory Weekly and Dart’s Domain, or his own Ropecast (the longest-running kink podcast on the web). Gray was featured on Our America with Lisa Ling: 50 Shades of Kink which aired in January of 2013 on the Oprah Winfrey Network. While his roots lie in bondage, Gray’s focus has evolved over time to subjects such as power exchange relationships, cigar play, and the educational aspects of kink. He was the first to apply Open Space principles to a kink event, creating GRUEs which have been held at over 45 locations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Currently he resides in the Bondage Capital of the World, Madison, WI where he is working on becoming a total GILF."

Preparations for the event began much earlier, but it kicked off on Friday night with a cocktail party and reception for Graydancer open to NLA-U members. Everyone looked lovely and spent a few hours chatting and having some cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. I ate something with tofu and there were lots of vegetables too. Yes, you read that right. That speaks to how good they made everything look. :-) There was also one thing with bacon. Mmm. Bacon.

Saturday morning I was back for the first class. "The Defining Moment: Getting What
Graydancer at the class
You Want Out Of Kink." The class description: This class is a practical, step by step guide to fully realizing your kinky self. Starting from fantasy, Graydancer takes you through a process that gets you to that defining moment, the ineffable feeling of fulfillment when that fantasy is made real. Along the way you will also learn tools of risk-management, figuring out what aftercare is needed, and most of all answering the most important question: How can we do that again? Whether you’re into rope, leather, chains, or fuzzy bunny suits, the Defining Moment can offer you tools to take your play to a more visceral level, from a place of internal motivation rather than external. What do you want to DO? Rather than start with what you saw in a picture or book, let’s focus on the results you want. Whether you want to play for sex, for pretty, for pain, or some combination, the focus will be on how to DO what you want to do, using principles rather than step-by-step processes. It’s an interactive class with plenty of class participation, and demonstrations. The skill level of this class is appropriate for anyone from the rank beginner to intermediate and advanced, because of its focus on practical skills and principles-based instruction. This has been one of Graydancer’s most popular classes at venue after venue because of its value to kinksters of all levels and interests.

Graydancer at the class
When seeing the class schedule before the event, this is the one I was most looking forward to and felt I could actually apply to myself. Everyone headed outside to a tent that was set up for the classes. I think it was record breaking heat throughout the whole weekend. Yes, I was outside and eating things with vegetables in them throughout this event. I had not expected it to be such a limit pushing weekend. The tent was great for shade and with the help of a misting fan, we all made it.

Someone stepped up and raised their hand to share what they pictured their defining moment to be. Graydancer wrote that idea down and worked with it from there. He led us through the process of identifying causes that make the scene work and what they wanted present, a plan of action and risks that could be involved, resources of people/skills/tools needed to make it happen, outcomes that could be positive or negative and other implications, and risk assessment of what did and didn't work. There is a handout on his website that goes over some of it as well. It was a really interesting class and his energy and humor was present throughout.
Some of the food
We broke for lunch and then returned for the second class, "Full-contact Dom." The class description: A combination of dance and martial arts, this class focuses on methods of maintaining and utilizing a physical connection between the top and the bottom. Whether you’re focusing on takedowns or sensual rope, using full-contact and focusing techniques can increase the enjoyment of any scene. Remember, if you’re not cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.

The class focused on rough body play and takedown type scenes. The demo bottom was NoviceCub and he and Graydancer worked well off the other. We learned about Graydancer's "masculine sheen of invincibility" (aka sweat) and how it can help you slip out of a strong hold. I won't tell all his secrets though. :-) He went over how to use your core against someone else to bring them down and many other maneuvers. It was a very entertaining class.

On Saturday night people returned for a play party. I'm kicking myself for not getting a close up picture of them, but I was finally introduced to SyrBigDog's famous fried mac 'n cheese bites. Oh my god, they were good. And they are now a fetish on Fetlife. It's exactly what it sounds like, deep fried squares of macaroni and cheese, and absolutely delicious. Hey SyrBigDog, my birthday is in August. :-D Just sayin'.

And now what you have all been waiting for. I finally got a spanking. At last! And I needed one. I was so exhausted and stressed out and getting grumpy. The spanking bench had been set up downstairs after I promised I would use it if it was there. And I did. S had me bend across it and lifted my skirt. He started spanking me with his hand. I was feeling sensitive to every swat and already squirming. He went through his toy bag and used the rattan cane, delrin cane, the awful wooden stick/paddle, the really awful round wooden paddle, and a tawse. There may have been something else. I was too busy squirming and muttering things to notice. I think the wood caused most of the marking. He stopped after I was well roasted and I peeled myself off the bench and hugged him. I was ready for bed but still had a few hours to go. I did get a nice back massage later. That's what vibrators were originally made for, you know.

Sunday morning I was back and ready for the first class. Graydancer was doing a special presentation for the Wasatch Academy for the Refinement of Ladies and Gentleman of Leather. Say that 10 times fast! His talk was on leather history and culture. I've never attended a class about anything like that before so it was all new information to me and it was interesting. It turned out to be quite emotional as others attending shared some of their stories and experiences. Kind of like a testimony meeting with leather people. :-) (Mormons will get it.)

Graydancer and his Angry Bird
There was a break for lunch and I found an empty room to nap in for a little bit. We gathered for the final class "Rope & Cigar Play." The class description: When you combine cigars with the potential of rope bondage you have a truly unforgettable experience. Graydancer combines his love of the leaf with his passion for rope to introduce and explore the lush experience of a good rope/cigar scene. Learn specific techniques for tying your partner in ways that highlight the ritual, power, and sensation of cigar play, as well as the extra safety considerations that rope adds to kinky play. Explicitly demonstrated by Gray and his partner, you will be encouraged to participate with your own exploration of the dance of rope and ash. This class focuses on the “play” part of cigar play and leaves the esoteric labels to the google-fu of the participants. You are encouraged to bring your own cigars for yourself and for the joy of sharing, but it’s not a requirement – solo, couple, or multiple partners are all welcome to enjoy the atmosphere of knotty smoke!

NoviceCub returned as the demo bottom and he was great in this class. His vast knowledge about cigars added a lot to it also. I had a hard time not looking at Graydancer's Angry Bird. I admit it. Lol. I haven't done much with rope and know absolutely nothing about cigars, so wasn't sure what I'd get from this class. I'm glad I attended though because it was really good and upon leaving I'd consider doing those types of play sometime. Graydancer showed some different rope techniques and many things about smoking the cigar and how to give ash to the bottom. If you share ash with one person you're monogamash and if you share it with several you're polyamorash. He's a funny guy. The interaction between Graydancer and NoviceCub was fanstastic and it was hot. And I don't mean the temperature outside. ;-) 

That was the final class and the night ended with a BBQ. I was ready to pass out in my food. It was a long weekend but everything was wonderful. Graydancer is a super cool, laid back, knowledgeable guy and was a pleasure to meet. I think we're all hoping he considers coming back sometime. This is the first event I've ever gone to like this with a national presenter and it was a great experience. I'm glad I could be a part of it. A big thank you to all who put their time and efforts into planning and organizing and everyone who came out and participated!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Misadventures In Online Dating, Part Two

I was pretty direct in filling out my profile. I wrote that I am a pessimist and a realist, divorced with no kids, and don't pretend to like hiking or walking on an imaginary beach. I'm much better suited for someone who likes watching Netflix while having a beer. I find attached at the hip couples irritating and am an independent person happy to do my own thing. But ideally, a partner would have some things in common with me and we'd enjoy the time we do spend together.

Clearly I sound like a great catch. There was a section about what people notice first about me. I wrote that I'm tall and don't need strangers to point it out when we're in an elevator together. To save time I even answered the usual follow up questions. "Do I play basketball?" If I was in the WNBA I probably wouldn't be standing here responding to your dumb ass. "Are your parents tall?" No, they're god damn Keebler elves.

That's caused a lot of funny messages. "What's it like having Keebler elves for parents? It must've been uncomfortable growing up in a tree when you're six feet tall." My reply- "It was a Redwood." I've had many inquiries about what I like to watch on Netflix and if I've seen the newest season of Arrested Development. I really need to catch up on that because everyone keeps talking about it.

 In Erica Scott's CHoS style, here are some of the real winners in correspondence. The good, the bad, and the grammatically butchered.

"A fucking tall pessimist who hates hiking is the perfect woman." I actually liked that one. A man after my own heart.

"I'm bored with life. I also have a child." Uh... my condolences?

"Hi. Summer is here." Yes it is and that's why I'm reading this indoors.

"Would you ever take martial arts? Do you punch or kick better? How high can you kick? Chest high?" 
Is this leading to a ball crushing inquiry? I didn't think I was on Fetlife right now...

"Do you date shorter guys?" Well that's just about everyone to me, so yes.

"I could be there in 15 minutes." If that's not a creepy way to start a conversation, I don't know what is!

"I'm in town for the weekend and looking for a cool girl to hang out with." Good luck sorting through the line of them outside your door.

"I desire you." He had 50 shades in his screen name. 

"U is hot!" U is stupid!

"I've never seen someone on here that I had such a low match with." That was the whole message. Okay... you just felt the need to share that?

"I think your way gorgeous and would love to chat with you." You had me until your.

"Your gorgeous. Are you taken?" That poor your again.

"Wow I love your smile." Finally, the right your!
"I am in an open marriage and ideally looking for a friends with benefits thing." At least he was honest. But can I attract anyone who is actually available? Ever??

"I am getting ready to go out and mow some lawsns." Would that be a cousin of the lawn?

"hi. Yor so cut. Can I have your number. I like to see you." Look at the picture, it'll last longer.

Some of the winning screen names I've seen are NotGonnaMurderU and injailoutsoon. Man, his inbox is going to be full upon his release!

Ah, the internet.