Catering to the LCD

A post from a scene friend on Tumblr yesterday gave me pause about something that has been niggling in the back of my head for some time now.
It has to do with the BDSM scene and kink in general and how society as a whole seems to be attempting to deal with it on the Internet as well as elsewhere. For a while now, those of us in the kink community have been pretty closed off and content with that considering how open society views the scene. Generally, if you’re labeled as ‘kinky’, you’re considered to be on the ‘outside fringes’ and well worth keeping a distance from. Certainly, people who are kink friendly have shown up in news reports doing ‘odd’ things like walking their girlfriend through a mall in NY as if she was a dog or pet. Personally, I think that’s an extreme case and not really the best way to put your best ‘kink foot forward’ since a mall is a place where children are likely to be present, and you’re causing others to be privy to what you normally do in the privacy of your own home. Doing it at an event that’s specifically geared towards kink practices is one thing, out in public where you’re making others uncomfortable is not. So I can easily understand how sites like Facebook and Tinder would be less inclined towards those that promote themselves as being kink friendly.

Less so for sites like Tumblr and Instagram. In December of last year, came an event that unofficially was dubbed ‘Tumblrgeddon’, where the owners of the site decided that they were going to almost unilaterally remove a good deal of porn from their servers, and effectively sequester the rest as much as the could. If you had an account that was strictly geared towards kink, or porn, whether it was yours or just being reposted, it was excised from public view. Worse yet, if you had anything that (in their rather poorly stated words) promoted “female-presenting-nipples“, it was summarily banned or hidden from others’ view. So essentially 90% of people who were working with accounts that were kink related had to find somewhere else to put their interest. Within a couple of days, enterprising people were setting up sites called pillowfort.io, bdsmlr.com, Humblr.com as well as others that wished to freely accept anyone that wanted to leave Tumblr.

Within the last month or so, Instagram has more or less decided to do the same. (I note that it’s not a coincidence that Instagram is owned by Facebook btw) About 3 weeks ago one of my Insta accounts was deactivated by TPTB (The Powers That Be) and I received notice that it was mine no longer and it wasn’t going to be reactivated due to a violation of the TOS. When I asked what the violation was, they wouldn’t tell me. I’ve heard about others that have had similar experiences, much like when you’re relegated to ‘Facebook Jail’ and they won’t divulge the reason you ended up there. Just that you’re going to be offline for a specific period of time and that’s that. The people who run these sites know they’re in the catbird seat, and you’re basically powerless to do anything about getting censored. You can lament all you want about how ‘unfair’ its become, but anymore they’re the only game in town. It’s certainly become far more difficult in the last 20 years in terms of connecting with like-minded individuals of the kink persuasion, as the sites to which we’re allowed to gather become more and more restricted. People talk about ‘Freedom of Speech’ but that doesn’t apply to multi-national conglomerates or these companies that, like Wal-Mart in a way, gather millions of people on their servers, and squash (or buy then liquidate) the smaller websites that might do the same thing, but when they’re the only game in town, things become far more restricted. Especially when those companies become publicly traded entities. When Facebook was a private company, it did things very differently than now when they’re beholden to shareholders.

Just a FYI, for those that say Twitter or Fetlife are suitable alternatives, honestly they’re really not. Twitter doesn’t have the same capabilities of a Tumblr or Instagram, and Fetlife by its very nature isn’t a personals site. Yes, people use it as if it was one, but that’s not the purpose of the site. About the only reason that Fetlife hasn’t been more restricted or censored is the fact that the home servers are located in Canada. If they were located in the US, they probably by all purposes would have been shut down by now. I equate the current situation to what happened to the website Insex around the time it ceased production around 2005. At that time, there was another Republican Administration in the US in power and by and large they were cracking down on a lot of US porn (and kink) producers, stating that the money that they were making was being sent to purveyors of terrorism (a huge lie) and many sites were being shut down or being threatened with lawsuits. The creator of Insex decided on his own that he was going to shut down the site, and move the content outside of the US (to the Netherlands to be specific) so as not to lose his work to a sudden possible seizure by said government. Which was actually possible. At the same time, he created several other sites that were a LOT tamer in comparison to the original, and they’ve been operating for the most part ever since. Though as of this writing, they’re slowly being updated infrequently, and probably in a few more years won’t be around at all. The original creator of Insex is now in his 70s, and as I understand it has mostly retired from active online participation. He has basically one ‘apprentice’ that carries on his work in Oregon, but he’s a mere shadow of the ‘The Source’, where all the diabolical ideas came to life way back in a little place in Brooklyn circa 1995.

Getting back to the title of this, it’s my opinion that we’re increasingly catering to the Lowest Common Denominator in many things and Kink seems to be no less of a victim. It’s sad to see how far we’re falling, and how it’s all going to play out over the next few years.

High time for a rant

I watch the calendar day by day and note that it’s been almost a year since the last time my slave and I were able to be together and see one another in person.  We could have gotten together sooner, but there’s a wrinkle that I’ve had to impose due to financial realities.  The last two times we got together, I pretty much paid for everything.  I went down to where she lived in southern Virginia back in 2017, rented a car, drove down there (10 hours each way) and spent several days with her.  It was great, we bonded, had play time, did some sightseeing, but in the end, it cost me about $1500. (about half of that was the rental car…which even now seems a little obscene)

After that, we kept in touch via online abilities.  Text, video, email, phone.  With an LDR (Long Distance Relationship), you have to keep in touch the best way you can, or things tend to fall apart pretty quickly.  Our plan post meeting was to get together more often, keep things fresh, build on what we had set in place at the face to face meeting. As oftentimes happens, life gets in the way, and time marches on.  So, we didn’t get together again until June of 2018.  That time, instead of me driving all the way to her, we decided that we’d meet ‘somewhere in the middle’.  Since I’m a bit better with logistics, I found a place that was approximately equidistant from both of us and searched for a suitable town/city and then a hotel for our stay.   Since she’d recently moved a bit further north towards northern VA, Harrisburg, PA ended up being the best place to meet. I booked a hotel, got the time off and this time took the family car instead of renting a vehicle.  A bit cheaper, but again I paid for most of the cost of the trip.  All said and done, somewhere between $900 and $1000 for the entire adventure.  

After this second meeting, I had to inform her that I wasn’t going to be able to foot the cost of our meetings anymore.  She had to help out or else it was going to end up being unacceptable for me to continue.  I’m not wealthy, I’m very much blue collar in my finances.  Granted I don’t live paycheck to paycheck, but there has to be give and take in other things than just the BDSM.  She agreed and admitted that she was feeling somewhat guilty that I was paying for everything but her finances were in a poor spot at the time.  Consequently, our plans to get together more often after the June meeting had to be shelved.  Summer passed, then autumn, and now winter has gone by the wayside.  We’re back to Spring, and we’d had tentative plans to meet at the end of this month or the beginning of May.  Those plans included ‘closing the circle’ per se, having her come all the way up here to visit, stay at my house to cut costs, (as well as having her here in my comfort zone) and as before the visit would be 3-4 days.  Any more and we’d be encroaching on The Wife’s patience, and that’s not a good thing to do.

However, between money and other things happening, that’s had to be shelved for the time being too.  It’s getting very frustrating for me.  And for her as well I know.  Relationships are kindled and developed with face to face interaction.  Yes, I’m reminded that couples have managed to stay married and in relationships over long distances through war and strife, through long trips and distances over the centuries when communication was a LOT more spotty than it is possible today.  Still, it’s not the same.  I want to DO things with her, in person, not through text, not through emoticons and messaging one another.  Saying in words, like last night when I put her to bed ~”I come into the bedroom and see you cuddled under the covers, I lift the blanket edge, take the metal shackle and encircle your ankle with it, you can feel the cold of the steel as it steals the warmth of your skin, hearing the lock click as it’s secured, hearing the clink of the chain as it is secured to the bed leg, knowing that you’re secure and going to stay in place all night long”~ is all well and good and engenders nice feelings, but it’s most definitely NOT the same thing as doing it in person.  Which we’d both rather be doing.

I’m not certain what the solution is at this point.  I’m actually about to the point of saying ‘fuck-it’ and put something together willy nilly and go see her.  Just because I’m tired of the situation the way it is, and the way it’s been and continues.  Of course, when I stop being emotional and look at my debt spreadsheet, it brings me back to reality and down to earth.

My pseudonym/name is Leathers, this is my rant and I fully support it.

Contractual obligations

I’m on vacation again.  But this time I’m using up my vacation days before I lose them from not using them. [Say that 5 times fast]  It’s something I go through every year around this time, due to the fact through my work I’m due 4 weeks of time off yearly.  Technically it’s 160 hours of vacation and 24 hours of personal time.  According to the union contract, (fortunately) it doesn’t have to be taken a week at a time (40 hours).  I can use it sparingly, or in larger chunks.  However, due to the nature of where I work and how short-handed we are (didn’t use to be this way), if I were to try to take off 2 weeks at a time, there would be several peeved off managerial types.  So I make every effort not to rock the boat in that aspect.

It just so happened that this week coincided with monthly inventory, so in theory this could have been a problem taking the time off.  The department manager prefers to have me present for inventory, so I make it a point to be at his beck and call and keep things on the level.  Consequently, this week I worked Sunday & Monday and took off the rest of the week for 3 vacation days and my normal 2 days off.  Next week I have 2 days of vacation and 2 days off, then back to work on April 4-7 to round out the week.  So, 9 days total.

As with all my other vacations, I have lofty plans, which usually almost never come to fruition.  If someone were to give out awards for laziness, procrastination and stubbornness in not getting things done, I’d have a basketful.  Certainly much to the chagrin of the wife, and my slave.  I’m not always spot on with keeping my promises, even if initially they’re made with good intentions.  As always, something to work on.


This morning while I was scanning through blogs I’ve started to follow, I came across one entry where the owner of the blog was railing about the necessity for contracts in BDSM.  Not just railing mind you, but making it quite clear that she believed they were essential for any BDSM relationship to be successful.  Furthermore she seemed quite convinced that the Fifty Shades model of contracts was the best one to be used.  Add in a link to a PDF she’d created with the contract in question (blank of course), and I suppose I shouldn’t have been too shocked to find there were a litany of responders to the post all pretty much agreeing with her.

Honestly, I couldn’t just let that one go.  Had to put my own take on it, though when I looked through the homepage of the blog, it hasn’t been updated since January, so it’s entirely possible my comment is falling on deaf ears.  Furthermore, since all comments to the blog are moderated, it would have to be approved in order to be seen by someone from the outside.

4 days down, 5 to go.

Collar 2.0, revisited

Last year I made a foray into collaring my slave.  Given that we’re separated by 3 states here in the US, and she has a job where she interacts with the public a great deal, initially we had decided on something that was, or could be ‘mistaken’ for something less than it actually was.  Unlike fiction, anything can be considered a ‘collar’, per se.  With a previous submissive, we settled on an ‘Eternity’ cuff, a steel circlet that could be made semi-permanent by the fact that it was secured with a screw.  If I had kept the allen wrench that controlled the screw, then (at least in theory), I could control when it was on and when it was off.  If my submissive were creative, and wishing to be ‘bad’, she could get an allen wrench on her own and remove it if she wished.  But we didn’t have that sort of relationship, she honored the cuff as well as the symbolism which it engendered, and I allowed her to have a wrench in case it needed to come off for some reason, unforseen by either of us.  And it worked, for as long as the relationship lasted.  I still have the cuff, she returned it to me about 6 months after we parted ways.

For my current charge, after searching high and low for the ‘right’ collar, I found an artisan on Etsy that crafted jewelry that was both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.  Granted the artisan in question lives/works in Russia, so getting something from her was going to take some time.  Too, since my slave informed me that she doesn’t so much like a necklace/collar that rides too high on her throat, I had to have a longer than normal version of the collar crafted to accommodate her needs.  All in all it took a little less than a month from the time that I initially contacted the artisan, to the time when the collar arrived in my mailbox.  Fortunately, it coincided with my trip to visit with my girl in Pennsylvania last year and during a little ceremony in our hotel room, I presented her with it and she began wearing it as close to 24/7 as she could.

But then tragedy struck.  The collar was lost during a trip she had made to a local (for her) beach.  To her credit, once it was discovered as missing she immediately went back to the place where she had been (it was close to the middle of the night) to search for it, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be found.  Needless to say, I was less than pleased.  I paid a good amount of money for it, and in the space of a couple of months, it was gone.  Just like that.  I have to admit, it was the first anything of that nature that a submissive of mine lost.  Considering that it was only in her possession for a little over a month, I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to get something else in the same vein.

It’s now been seven months since the last collar escaped.  In that time we’ve had several conversations about ‘when is she going to get a new collar‘.  As before, it’s not an easy answer because it’s not an insignificant investment.  Especially since we now can confirm something that can be removed can easily be lost.  So in spite of the fact that she has a preference for something that’s loose around her throat, I’m thinking that it’s going to be my preference this time, that it be something that’s difficult to remove.  Not impossible, since we’re separated by mileage and hours, but something that requires invested effort to remove.

So, the main purveyors in this genre are Eternity and ROS (Ring Of Steel).  (There’s also Damax on the continent, but due to shipping issues and overseas exchange rates I’m mainly concentrating on domestic suppliers) ROS has a version that’s they refer to as a ‘Stealth’ collar, in that it’s only 1/4″ diameter steel tubing.  Consequently, it tends to be less noticeable, or allows it to fade into the background, as it were.  Of course, as I’ve noticed over the years, it’s usually the person themselves that either call attention to something or not, depending on how they wear it.  If the wearer treats the item as an extension of themselves, then others don’t necessarily look at the item as something unusual. If it’s the reverse, and they’re uncomfortable with it, then it tends to get noticed more often.

In order to do this right of course, I need an accurate measurement (again).  We have a visit planned for the end of April or the beginning of May, so I can get her neck measured and if I’m completely certain, I can send off the order to whichever business I determine is going to give me the best bang for my buck, as well as can have it completed in a fair amount of time.  Small time artisans don’t work on an assembly line, they’re not putting out wares for the masses, at least you hope they’re not.  As the old saw goes; Quality vs. Quantity.

There will be updates.  This isn’t the final decision.

Hit and Miss

Even though it’s been a good 8 months since I last played actively in BDSM, I’m still shopping for good bargains on toys.  Fetlife, Craigslist, Facebook (occasionally) and eBay remain good places to find items that others no longer need/want, new items from (online) storefronts at discounted prices, and items that can be repurposed if possible into additions for my toy collection.

Of course, when you do your shopping online, you run into occasional problems in descriptions, some are vague, others claim to be bigger or smaller than they actually are, so you have to be careful in what you’re offering, or agreeing to pay when the seller asks a certain price.

This week I purchased two steel restraints from two different sellers on eBay.  One is an established company down in Texas; Cuffstore.  They sell BDSM items mainly that are imported from Pakistan.  The steel restraints are generally stamped with the acronym KUB, which stands for ‘KUBind Industries‘ and they’ve been around for many years.  Fortunately, there are several US-based companies that do the importing from them, so one doesn’t necessarily have to deal with customs or items that are either lost in shipping or detained at the border.  Shipping internationally isn’t as easy as it used to be, due to changing political climates and so on.

The other restraint actually came from someone that I knew in passing from the old days on Compuserve.  (Small World) He has a fledgling business where he builds extremely pricey spanking benches.  He calls them ‘The Spankmeister‘.  I only managed to recognize who he was from the name that he used on eBay, it was unique and it caused me to remember him. Now I purchased a one-off spanking bench from someone in Oklahoma on eBay about 20 years ago.  As I recall I paid something like $65 for it, and another (don’t quote me) $40 in shipping as it came by bus.  Yes, it was placed on a bus in the luggage/storage bay and I picked it up at the local bus depot.  This fellow prices his bench at a staggering $1500 (USD) and claims that it’s worth every penny.  I have friends that received a prototype of his original design, they painted it purple (her favorite color) and it’s probably still sitting in their house in NH unless someone else is living there now.

Getting back to the topic, both of the restraints were delivered in the mail yesterday while I was at work. Upon coming home, I opened them, looked them over, did a little marveling at how they were constructed and so on, then tried them out. On me. Since I don’t have a model available to try things out on, and my girl is 3 states away, I tend to do my testing out with myself as the model. I figure the circumference of my wrist and/or ankle (depending) is in the same neighborhood as my girl, so if it doesn’t fit me, it’s unlikely to fit her. The KUB restraint is constructed a little differently than the black one, it has an oval shape that better accommodates the wrist, so it fits me ok. When I went to secure the black restraint, I discovered it’s about a 1/2 inch too small. Won’t come together without pinching my skin. Too, it doesn’t have the oval shape of the other, it’s merely a circle. As I’ve mentioned to my girl on multiple occasions, if something is too large, there are workarounds to pad her limbs to make it snugger. With steel, if it’s too small, that’s it…it’s too small. Of course, it can be repurposed into something else, like a spreader bar, or hung on the wall of the playspace for decoration, so it’s not as if I’m going to sell it. (Sorry nijntje)

Either way, I figure they’re both a good investment. I didn’t pay over and above what one would for similar products, and it should give me the sufficient happiness factor that I was aiming for when I initially made plans to buy them. Of course, the proof in the end is how well they work on my girl, since that’s who’s going to be wearing them for the majority of the time. So yes, there will be revisitation on this issue.

Saga of the “What If’s..”

giphy.gifI was laying in bed last night, just before going to sleep, and the temperature outside was a balmy -6°F when it hit me.  What if we had a fire in the house right now?  It’s not an impossibility.  The house is over 170 years old.  Having gone down to the basement, there are indications of a previous fire in the neighborhood of the living room fireplace, so in the past history of the house, there was some sort of disaster, or at least some timbers were heavily singed.  Since we don’t know the history of the house really past the 1870s (that’s as far as the title search went) we’re forced to speculate a little bit about the ‘what if’s’ that occurred back then.

But again, what if there was a fire in the house?  Would we get out in time?  How many of our possessions would be salvageable?  Moreover, would we be able to catch the cat to save his little furry butt as well?  Naturally there are pressing issues about scene items, like my flogger collection, and other BDSM toys, how much of them would be destroyed, lost to water damage, smoke and so on.  One of our wedding presents was a flogger made by an artisan who’s no longer crafting her wares.  Matter of fact, one can’t hardly find a reference to her work anymore on the web, but go back 25-30 years ago, and she was a highly respected and sought after craftsperson.  Weird sometimes how that happens.  Lost to the whims of history, even in BDSM lore.

I started this post a week ago, but am finishing it up now, fyi.  A couple of days ago as I was thinking about the scenario that began this post, I thought about buying a safe for my more valuable and less ably replaceable scene items (along with some other necessities, like insurance papers, birth and marriage certificates, as well as other important documents and valuables).  We do have a small safe that my FIL owned, but it’s been in storage for the past 20 years, and it actually weighs about 200 lbs (~91 kgs).  Too, I don’t believe we ever ascertained or found the combination, so at present the safe door is open, so we don’t have to pay a locksmith to open the damn thing.  Consequently, that wouldn’t do very well anyway.  Too small.  I went to a safe website, and looked for possible options and hit upon a possible solution, a ‘gun safe’, one that would be used to protect one’s firearms as well as other valuables.  The only problem (besides price) would be the one I would probably want weighs in excess of 800 lbs (~363 kgs).  The likelihood of something of that nature would be it would end up in the basement, since it would probably crash through the floor of whatever room we wanted to put it in.

So that scenario isn’t a likely solution.  Just another in a long line of musings I’ve had over the years.  Actually, the other ‘what if’ thought I’ve had is, who’s going to inherit my toy collection after I’m gone?  Yeesh.  Gotta quit being morbid.

 

Happy Anniversary, girl.

It’s been a year since we decided to switch things up. With you taking the bottom role and I being your Top.

We did manage to meet once, back in June. We’d planned for more meetings, but money and life got in the way.

It’s been an interesting journey so far.  I think you can agree to that.  Ups, downs, ins and outs.  We’re working towards our goals, and we’re doing it together.

Happy Anniversary.  1 year down, many more to go.