Tag: interaction

What’s in a name? (with backstory)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

With the scene at large, many of us use names that aren’t our own.  I’m not talking about titles like Master, slave, Sir, Ma’am, Mistress and so on.  I’m referring to our other names, like the one I’ve been using since I first broke into the scene around 1982-83.

At that time, there was no Internet the way that we know and take for granted today.  The best there was at that time was a small cobbled together intranet of corporations and colleges, and fledgling companies with names like Compuserve, America Online, GEnie, Prodigy and so on.  In order to connect to these latter places, you had to have a physical piece of hardware called a ‘modem’, that hooked into your telephone line and the telephone dialed a number to connect.  It was a long, laborious process, but it worked.  Well most of the time.  Speeds were incredibly slow, but still, it worked.

Once you connected, like websites today, you had to create an account.  Account, password and then you were assigned a username.  Compuserve assigned numbers. (So far as I know they were the only system that used that method.)  Once you’d gotten past the sign up process, that username (or number) was the way that people identified you from then on.  Except in places like chat portals, where like today on IRC, you were able to choose a ‘handle’, a name that was unique to you and you could then interact somewhat anonymously.  Compuserve’s chat forum was called ‘CB’, a throwback to Citizen’s Band radio, which at the time was still being used in people’s vehicles as well as commercial trucking because cellphones (or car phones) by and large were nothing like they are today.

When I first located CB and signed up for it, I chose ‘Leathers’ as my handle, because someone else already had chosen ‘Leather’.  Even then I had a very prominent leather fetish, so for me it seemed appropriate.  Over the years I’ve owned several domain names with ‘leathers’ in the name (leathers.org, dungeonleathers.com, leatherspride.com) as well as being the one on Fetlife with that nickname, so for me it continues and will continue in the future.  By contrast, my wife has always used the handle/nickname ‘Christabel’, there are people that we’ve known in the scene for the last 25 years that still call her by that name, because really, that’s the name that they know her by.  (As an aside, when we were both on Compuserve in a certain forum, while she was eternally called Christabel, my nickname at the time was YM.  It doesn’t really fit nowadays as I’ve gotten considerably older….)

Nicknames by and large are something that we’ve come to know and expect in the BDSM scene, but it’s a double-edged sword.  When you use a nickname, there’s initially no baggage attached to it.  Essentially you’re creating a whole new person, because people who you meet aren’t aware of any history that you’ve had prior to creating the new persona.  So people can take advantage of that, like in the case of ‘Michael Makai’ for instance.  He’s someone who was in the news a couple of years ago, a respected and admired scene educator, but he had some outlandish ideas that for the most part should have stayed in the books he had written.  Instead he attempted to bring them out into reality and caused more than a few problems, for others as well as himself.

A story like that is always something I keep in the back of my mind when I talk to people in the scene.  Yes, many know me by my given name, but many others only know me by the name ‘Leathers’.  I try to make sure the knowledge they have of me is always truthful, accurate and doesn’t deviate from what my ‘vanilla’ friends know of me, but there’s always things that don’t translate, that you don’t want one or the other to know and so on.

Just have to keep your personas straight!

Why We Fight

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Yesterday afternoon, during my lunch, my girl and I texted as we almost always do.  It’s a respite in my day, and it keeps her engaged, so why not.  During the course of the conversation, she asked if we could video chat after I finished work.  I don’t live very far from where I work (a little over a mile) so the travel home is almost non-existent.  Before she moved, and changed jobs, what we used to do is have our video chats on the weekend, because she didn’t work weekends.  I do, but that’s beside the point.

Nowadays, we don’t video chat as often as we used to.  So she asks if we can during the week occasionally.  Unless there’s some pressing need for me to be home immediately (there usually isn’t) I agree, and we have our conversation. It usually lasts about an hour and then I go home.  My wife rarely says anything about why I’m late, sometimes an aside comment about me ‘dawdling’.  I either agree that I was, explain why I was, and then go about my evening.

Before I get into the meat of the post, I need to mention something.  I’m not by nature a social person.  I force myself to be, because it’s how you get along in the world.  I can be perfectly happy in a solitary space, not talking to much of anyone for hours, if not days.  When my wife and I started in our marriage, she used to try to engage me in conversation many (many!) times a day, but it’s not really me.  Nowadays, we talk about things that matter, things about the house, each other, upcoming appointments, what’s for dinner, what we might need in the larder or refrigerator and that’s about it.  We don’t generally have long protracted conversations.  She has friends for that.

Yesterday afternoon, during our video chat, we had a fight.  And it was about communication.  Mostly about the frequency of it.  When I had other submissives, we didn’t talk all that much.  We certainly didn’t talk every day, which is what my girl wishes to do.  (Insists on, more often than not) Yes, we’re a couple, and yes we’re in a relationship.  But it’s a long distance one.  Which (to me) means there can be times when we don’t talk for hours on end.  But we make a point to talk every day.  Several times a day.  It’s not in my wheelhouse, but I do it because she feels the need for it.  I’ve mentioned several times that I talk to her more than I’ve pretty much talked to anyone in my entire life.  And it’s true.  I can tell that she doesn’t get it, because she’s a social person.  People for whom conversation comes easily don’t really understand how hard it is to engage and be what they are naturally.  But again, I’m doing it for her, and to further our relationship while it’s still long distance.  (And yes, we’re working on that, trying to figure out ways to get together more often)

After we fought, there was silence.  And no, it wasn’t blissful.  I could easily tell she was still upset and on the verge of tears.  But she stoically stared into her phone and in clipped tones kept telling me she was ‘fine‘.  When she wasn’t.  And we both knew she wasn’t.  By that time we had been video chatting for about and hour, and I needed to get home.  So when I finally hung up, I knew she was going to cry.  The question at that point was, what was going to happen later.

Before dinner, I texted her to see how she was doing.  Silence.  No reply.  I followed up with a text about making dinner and would check in again later.  When I did, she popped up again.  We talked some more and though the situation isn’t completely resolved, we did talk about what happened and what to do about it.  It’s not going to be an easy fix.   Relationship nuts and bolts don’t always go in easily. Sometimes you need grease, sometimes you need to find the right nuts and bolts to make them go together.  But the upshot is, we’re conversing, not just being pissed with one another.

People in relationships fight.  But it’s what you do afterward that makes all the difference.

An ‘open letter’ to potential future assholes.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Yesterday when my girl and I were having a conversation, she mentioned to me that she received a message on Fetlife from a guy.  That in and of itself isn’t unusual, women tend to get tons of mail in comparison to most any male on the site.  That’s always been the case, no matter what sort of interpersonal website you’re on.  Women are in demand, even ones that have clearly stated profiles that say they’re not looking.  Guys are going to ignore what’s right in front of them and send a message anyway, hoping to get a hit.

She mentioned this one to me, because in her mind, there was something different about it.  She had gone to his profile, and looked it over.  What she saw there raised more questions than answers.  So she was naturally curious about him and perhaps there was a potential for a new friend, not necessarily a play friend, but when you’re quasi-alone in a new area, you want to make a few friends so you’re not bored when you’re not working.  Someone to hang out with, talk to, go places with.  That sort of thing.  Nothing wrong with that, right?  We humans are social creatures.  We don’t do well in a vaccum.  Ask any shut-in.  Being alone is monumentally boring.

The fellow (I’m being generous here with that description) that wrote didn’t give any introduction, salutation or anything of that sort.  Just a quick dash off message.  “Hi, I’m currently looking for a play partner to have fun with.”  Which is fine, to a point.  However, had he bothered to read through my girl’s profile, it clearly states (in several places) that she’s in a committed relationship, she’s most definitely NOT poly inclined and if someone wished to write to her, they needed to contact me first, not her.  So our interloper is already at three strikes and he’s not even aware of it. (Nor as it later turns out, does he care)

My girl and I both live in the United States, and yesterday was Memorial Day, a federal holiday.  Meaning that most people have the day off.  Someone that works in a service industry may not, as in this case.  So after 5 hours of waiting for a reply, (and not getting one because of the fact she’s at work) our interloper sends another message.  Mind you, my girl is aware that he’s written, Fetlife in no way has a method of informing someone writing that the other party has read what was written, so he’s unaware that she’s seen it, or hasn’t.  His second message is a little more pointed.  And in CAPS, so it’s akin to shouting.  It says (exact quote here) “ANOTHER IDIOT”.    Seriously?   You’re looking for a potential play partner and you send this drivel?  Obviously not caring how it’s going to be received, just letting that shit fly.

So now my dander is up.  I was fine before with having her just send a quick note (almost in jest) to him saying “I’m looking for someone that knows how to read a profile and follow the rules.”  Perhaps at that point he’d realize his error, and write to me with an apology and attempt to start over, or at the very least make things right.  That’s what any intelligent, contrite and respectful person would do.  Oh no, not our boy.  This isn’t going to end pretty.  She asks if she can write him back.  Sure, I’m fine with that, as long as I get to proofread what is headed back in his direction.  She did a fine job, but got a little snagged at the end with how to conclude.  After a moment I fashioned a suitable closing, with a note that I was now aware of his interaction with her and would be contacting him shortly to make my presence known.

She sent it off and we resumed our conversation.  About an hour later, he wrote again.  Not to me…to her. A final shot across the bow, if you were.  Again, in caps.  “SERIOUSLY, FUCK OFF”.  Eloquent to the last.  At this point, I just informed her that she would be blocking him on the site.  Cut off all future communication, he’s a lost cause.  I fully intended to write to him that evening, but a situation arose here with my wife that took precedence (she’s now come down with bronchitis as well) and that needed to be handled (an e-visit with a doctor and a couple prescriptions before the pharmacy here closed helped immeasureably) so it got stuck on the back burner.  I didn’t actually get to bed until almost 1 this morning, but by then my desire to write back to this asshole had abated somewhat.  But not entirely gone away.  Which is why I’m writing about it here.

Perhaps someone reading this tale that is thinking about doing the same thing to someone else out there will read it, take it to heart and NOT do that very thing.  Be the better person.  Be intelligent.  Read the rules and follow them.  It’s not all that hard.  Follow the golden rule (not the one about whoever has the gold makes the rules), treat others how you’d like to be treated.  Quite honestly, at the time, if this asshole had been in front of me, I would have throat punched him for talking to my girl that way.  No one deserves to be treated like that.  NO. FUCKING. ONE.  He damn sure wouldn’t have done it if we were at a munch and standing in front of him.  So why do it elsewhere?  On his profile he states quite prominently that he’s been in the military and has a concept of what honor and respect are.  Definitely didn’t show it yesterday.

My girl and I had a really good day yesterday.  In spite of this person.  But it would have been even better if we didn’t have to deal with it.


Keeping it fresh from a distance

Reading Time: 3 minutes

My pet and I have an LDR (Long Distance Relationship). We met on the fetish board Fetlife a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of looking for a submissive and just coincidentally she was too. Through trials and tribulations, many conversations and more than a little angst, we tried our connection with her as the Dominant and myself as the submissive and it worked for awhile. But as time passed we both discovered (even after meeting in person) that it wasn’t working as well as it could and switched roles back in January. Since then, it’s been working better, though as yet we haven’t had a chance to see how it works in a face to face capacity. Such is the way of the LDR, you have to try your best to keep things fresh so that you don’t get bogged down with the mundane, or worse yet deep six your relationship by saying or doing the wrong thing when you feel that things are getting stale.

With my girl, we keep in contact daily, often several times a day, utilizing social media as well as text, phone, and email as necessary. Due to work obligations on both ends, it’s not always easy or simple to keep in contact, but I make it a point to attempt to be there in the evening for her, we share our respective days, provide support where necessary and talk about our future. Keeping the future as the mutual target is essential, given that our time together, living under the same roof will be years from now. We both know the risks and the possibilities inherent in our situation, we’ve accepted it and moved on from that. Yes, it can be a little thorn in the side (or in the mind), but we’ve made a commitment to one another and intend to see it through. Having been in more than a few LDRs already, I know it’s not going to be in the least bit easy. We just have to make time for visits, and when those visits come, cram as much as we can into the time together, since it might very well be weeks even months before it happens again.

I’ve also been recording audio for her to listen to as she exercises. Right now it’s chapters from The Marketplace Series by Laura Antoniou. Later on it will be books that I think she needs to be exposed to. A conversation recently touched on Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, which my pet informed me she’s never read before. So she wasn’t aware of the reference I made. I certainly can’t punish her for not reading some of the classics of literature. Or I could, just by recording them on audio and making her listen to them. But she says she likes the sound of my voice! Some punishment, that… hmm.

Getting back to the gist of this entry, we have to keep it fresh, in order to make it to the end. Together.