Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Going Under

Going Under
Here we go again. This got deleted the first time...

A like-minded girlfriend of mine asked me to accompany her to a screening of the independent film "Going Under" at the Roxy. Since the two of us both have an interest in femme domination and psychology, we looked forward to seeing how the relationship between a pro domme and her client (who is a therapist) would be portrayed. The story revolved around their obsessive interactions, which move from weekly BDSM sessions to off-site, informal chats and attempts at more conventional forms of intimacy.

Shortly after the film started, my friend and I found ourselves stifling laughter at various aspects of the storyline. From our point of view as pro dommes, some of the details did not seem believable. It became obvious to us that this was coming exclusively from a client's point of view. There wasn't a sense that the script had even been run by a pro domme or two to get their perspective. For example, there is one scene where the dominatrix meets with a woman who runs a house of domination and they repeatedly refer to their "customers." I have been a professional dominant for almost five years. I don't think I've ever heard any of my peers refer to the individuals who see them as their "customers." It sounds tacky. It's usually "clients," though some of us like to always refer to our people as our subs or slaves. I have only heard men use the word "customer", so when I heard it coming out of the mouths of women in the industry, it did not ring true.

There is another scene where the domme says rather too sweetly and submissively, "Would you like to get pierced?" Her client is laying back - not tied up! - with his arms folded behind his head, looking relaxed and kingly. "Sure," he says. She then proceeds to pierce him using her bare hands. I know there are a few brave souls out there who eschew gloves, but for most of us that is an unnecessary and stupid risk. My friend and I agreed that the energy of the scene didn't feel right. It was too casual and too overtly focused on pleasing the man. My scenes are much more controlled and immersed in a Dominant/submissive dynamic. In this film, it all came off much more as a service being provided. The domme was emotionally fragile and overly acquiescent -- she even cries after one session! Her power is portrayed as little more than a facade.

Though not the most politically correct conclusion, my friend and I attributed part of the domme's lack of leverage to the fact that she was quite plain. One cannot deny that men, who are so visually-oriented, are more easily manipulated by a pretty face. The story felt real in the sense that I could tell it was based on some man's adventures. And in that way, it was fascinating if a bit horrifying -- frankly, he would not have been an ideal applicant for myself, with his boundary-pushing and neediness.

An underlying theme of this overwrought drama is guilt. Confronted about her growing closeness to this client, the domme is told by her girlfriend that she has a "guilty look on your face." The man's wife, who has an agreement with him which allows him to see pro dommes, tells him "You know, you hurt me." All this hand-wringing and agonizing. The misguided desire to take responsibility for other people's emotions. Hang Up Central. Like I've said before, guilt and shame can be a fun game to play. But I prefer real life to be a bit on the lighter side.

The film did provoke some soul-searching in myself about my next steps as a domme. I realized even more how important it is that those who serve me take their role as submissive seriously, rather than see me primarily as a service provider. I plan on going over my site content, making any adjustments which may better reflect my current state of mind. I want to take out any remnants of brazen commercialism. This work is too sacred to boil it down to just that. A subtle, mysterious and sophisticated journey, a sensual-spiritual connection, cathartic sacrifice and ecstatic tribute. These are some of my truths. . .

I am alive with ideas, open both to the possibilities and the sense of not knowing yet what is to come. I embrace my powers, and relish putting these talents to even greater use as events unfold. The wheels are turning!

On that note, for those who remember this picture, Isa will be available to join me in session after next week. As you can see, there may be greater flexibility of activities with a fellow femme player present -- like Mistress busting out her strap-on! And the good news does not stop: I may have a lovely cohort training with me soon. Ah yes, I like the idea of an apprentice.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What I've Been Reading and Watching: Kushiel's Dart, The Gwen Araujo Story

I recently finished the first two books in a fantasy series by Jacqueline Carey. The first is called "Kushiel's Dart" and it is heart-stoppingly good! Set in a mythical post-medieval France, the story centers on a courtesan who is also trained as a spy. She is an anguisette, which means she experiences pain as pleasure. She is trained as an adept of one of the Houses of Naamah. Servants of Naamah are male and female courtesans whose work carries the sacred weight of a spiritual act. Each house has its own focus, including ones for aesthetic perfection, merriment, sadism, masochism, and money fetish. There is plenty of hot BDSM in the novel, as well as court intrigue, romance and epic battles. Ms. Carey is a highly perceptive and daring author, with insights touching upon the nature of human interactions, politics, sex and sociology. I loved it!

I caught "A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story" on the Lifetime channel. I half didn't want to watch it because I knew it would break my heart. No happy ending here. I was really moved by this story, which brought me to tears too many times to count. Gwen's struggle to be accepted by her family, her misguided romance with an ex-Marine who supposedly didn't know she was transgender, her lack of support at high school leading to skipped days and a drinking problem. I think we have all felt the pain of not belonging, of wanting to be loved for who we are, of not wanting to pretend anymore. But even more than that, I relate to TSs in a more subtle way. Even if they want to play at sweet and innocent, their cocks make them a target. It's like "nasty girl" written across their forehead. Too many close-minded people think that means they do not deserve respect. I know what it's like to be oppressed for my dirty mind. Shame sucks when it's not a game.

I remember when I first heard the news of her death, which took place in Hayward here in the Bay Area. She was murdered by 3 young men she had "tricked" at a party. Believing her a biological female, she had messed around with each. Later on, she was lured back so they could take their revenge. She was only 17 years old.

I remember the shock of it. How could this happen so close to San Francisco? Here we are in our golden cage. Hayward? I can't say I've ever been there. In mentality, it seems a thousand miles away. At least that's how it was portrayed in the film. In fact, they didn't even mention its proximity to San Francisco.

After watching her story, the only consolation I could think of was knowing that these men who killed her, who were so afraid of their own sexuality, are now in the hell of jail -- a place with plenty of grim opportunities to test their sexuality further. Revenge is such an empty feeling.