Plan to Mistress Cyan

When I first started thinking about this story, I wanted to base it on Pangaea at the Sanctuary dungeon near LAX. However, that never panned out due to scheduling conflicts (she was at Dom Com in New Orleans!!).

After taking another direction with another dungeon, Threshold, I was led back to Sanctuary. As I learned from my interviews, the community is very close. Dungeons compete, people know each other very well, and there’s all kind of small-town-like drama.

Anyway, I’m quite excited to talk to the Mistress. It is my understanding that she is the Dungeon Master, and quite a big deal. I wonder what color her hair will be.

Anyway, I already have an audio source for the multimedia–It still fascinates me that though people are very honest and open about their part in the community, and though they are “out”, they still are hesitant to release their name or image to a wider public.

Reflecting on this, I learned a lot about this community. My first interview with Janice was quite awkward because I really knew nothing. After that, my interviews were very smooth. I was throwing out terminology.

I think our meeting will be fine.

 

Feminism and BDSM…duh!

It never occurred to me that being labeled an anti-feminist was an issue that many people in the BDSM community dealt with. And yet it makes so much sense as an afterthought.

Women are typically seen as the “fairer” sex, the weaker, and docile of the species. In BDSM, there are typically two roles in a power dynamic that the mainstream knows of: dominant and submissive. Usually, it is expected that women in the scene are submissive and men in the scene are dominant. Women who fall into these roles are criticized by some as perpetuating gender stereotypes–they are doing nothing for the plight of woman.

A woman I interviewed voiced these exact thoughts when I asked her about some misconceptions from mainstream society that added to the stigma that caused people in the scene to remain in the closet.

“I’ve had friendships end because people think that I’m some kind of self-hating person or that you can’t be a feminist and be kinky and all men who have rough sex hate women,” she said. “I have a huge problem with that because every responsible dom that I know has a tremendous amount of respect for consent.

Communication and consent is such a huge thing. People have a hard time wrapping their minds around it because in their head you don’t hit the people you love, you don’t cut the people you love. With stuff like “50 Shades of Grey”, people just see stalker man controls woman, woman for some reason likes it because she is a doormat. That’s occasionally a problem in the scene, but it’s not indicative of us as a community.”

I interviewed a psychologist who is in the scene and has a lot of clientele from the community. I’ve never read or or seen, nor have I planned or ever intended to, “50 Shades of Grey.” I know about the hype and I know what it is in a nutshell. I know people hated it because it was badly written and because it was a poor representation of the BDSM community, but I didn’t know how damaging and hated it was by the community.

She explained to me a few problems with the depiction of members of this community (which I will neatly lay out in bullet points):

  • Grey is kinky and dominating and overbearing because he was abused. Now, according the psych, some people do use BDSM as a means to work through trauma, the bad thing about this depiction is that, his actions were at times not consensual nor negotiated. Furthermore, his aggressiveness was seen as almost villainous.
  • Vanilla girl saved him. According to the psych, who said she read the entire series out of pure obligation, Grey’s salvation is him becoming more vanilla and less kinky as the stories progress.

I’m sure there are more, but those are the two that stood out to me (that I remembered).

A kinky feminist. I like the sound of that.

 

Overdue Three quotes I <3

“And I’m like ‘No, no no. Oh no, my mom is kinky!’ I got up and went into my mom’s room and I said, ‘So you’re into BDSM?’ So she gets a purple gym bag and plops it down and asks me, ‘Do you want to see my toy bag?’ and she pulls out this giant purple dildo and I’m like, ‘No, I don’t want to see your toy bag! No, I changed my mind!’”

I love, love, love this quote. It’s almost as if you can here her emotions and the tone in which she said this. It makes the story more interesting. Her mom is also into BDSM! And neither knew the other had an interest in it. It’s almost like kinkiness is a part of her nature and not nurture. I just love how coincidental this common interest is. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

“Whereas, people who are TNG are like ‘I’m going to go out and get five pounds of sprinkles and I’m going to beat you until it explodes.’ The easiest way to describe the difference would be a TNG person might hit someone with a ping pong paddle, whereas an old guard person may take a ping pong paddle and put nuts and bolts and screws on it and hit someone with that.”

As a complete outsider, there is a lot of terminology that I do not know. I even googled “old guard” and hardly found anything. Here, Janice explains the difference between generations in the community. There’s the TNG (the next generation) which is made up of 18 to 35 year olds. I really like how visual her explanation is. It is possible to imagine the younger generation as playful, bubblegum pop and sprinkles. Meanwhile, the older generation is really hardcore and more dangerous because of their experience.

“I think as generations change we go away from the idea that things have to be hidden away in the closet. We are learning to be more accepting of ourselves and other people in society. There are more people that are willing to be unashamed and unafraid of the stigma we hold ourselves to, what we like, what we do, what we practice on the private levels. We become more comfortable expressing those things to the rest of the world. Our generation is more brave than the generation before us. We don’t worry too much about losing our job, we can just start our own company.”

This is a good quote because it speaks of the liberal progression of society. As a culture, we are more accepting of deviancy now more so than before. She was talking about many people in the community being in the closet, much like those who are LGTB. There is a lot of self shame and embarrassment for some people who partake in BDSM. They don’t tell their friends, family, or employers for fear of being rejected or ridiculed. It’s gotten better though, she said.

 

 

Working with leads

  1. Her pink mohawk and her unicorn backpack could potentially lead one to believe that she’s a quirky and eccentric person, but in private, quirkiness goes beyond…..\
  2. Some people call her ‘mama.’ Some call her ‘mommy.’ Some call her ‘mom’ or ‘ma.’ She calls her ‘mistress mommy.’

 

….wow.

Deus Ex Machina

Merriam-Webster defines that as:  a character or thing that suddenly enters the story in a novel, play, movie, etc., and solves a problem that had previously seemed impossible to solve.

Literally translated from Greek as: a god from a machine.

Now that may be a bit dramatic to describe Janice, but for a neurotic closeted worrier like myself, she is just that.

It seemed as though my previous story was going nowhere. I kept hitting some dead-ends. Then, on a whim, I decided to be social and I went to meet with some friends at Pierce. They were in happy conversation with Janice when I joined the group and somehow the topic of BDSM came up (as it seems to be prone to do with this particular circle of friends.)

Janice has been a part of the community for about half her life. Her mother, who she refers to as “Mistress Mommy” has also been very involved in the community. From that fun and casual conversation, I learned so many things about BDSM that I would have never thought existed. I wanted to take out my recorder just then and tape this wealth of information! But i restrained myself, this was not the appropriate time, really. Instead, I told her about the magazine and my story idea. I told her about my pitfalls and like a god from a machine, she told me about all her friends in committees, her photogenic friends, her panel friends, and her sex therapist friends.

I’m more excited than before to get started.

 

 

A: Only one!

Out of the four of us, the person we’d expect to want to participate, did. Of course I’d never! Nope, not Vanilla–I mean Vanessa!

The first thing we did in that club was enter a seminar about safety and consent. I had previously read that this community was very focused on comfort and limits despite its reputation for masochism and sadism. The seminar emphasized the various ways that nonconsent could be implied and encouraged the use of safety words or actions.

The show was going to start soon so we grabbed a table at the very front, conviniently located next to the snack table, and we waited for the performances.

The show was organized and run by volunteer performers who hand-made their costumes and choreographed their own routines on their own time with their own resources.

My favorite performance of the night was a dance tribute to Ghostbusters. The group was dressed in brown jumpsuits and had “proton packs” (those ghost-hunting vacuums) made out of Tupperware, tape, and cardboard. It was fantastic.

After the show, there were several hours left to mingle. We spoke to several cast members and it felt like a fun and mellow atmosphere. It was pleasantly jarring to be able to have a drink and a smoke with someone who was nearly naked on stage 15 minutes ago.

 

¿The Point?

Procrastination and laziness cut the last post short, but I assure you there was a point. The point was: Going to this strange and new form of entertainment was unexpectedly enjoyable and I think it would be visually appealing and fun to read about.

There were several great characters at Pangea–performers and audience members. Everyone was decked out in wild and elaborate outfits and it was very hard to distinguish between the performers and the audience especially because the club was bey encouraging of audience participation. Really, I was the only one who, ironically in my grey blandness, stuck out in a sea of feather boas, leather, and bedazzled outfits.

After the bouncer stared at my ID for too long, held it up to the light, and scratched at it, I was allowed in.

Inside the building a receptionist charged us a cover and explained to us the rules of the establishment. She then explained to us the sticker rule. To distinguish who was comfortable enough to consider “playing” with others, patrons wore cute shiny stickers. This didn’t mean that anyone wearing a sticker was forced to “play”, but they could be approached and talked to about the possibility.

So, in our group of four, how many were brave enough to wear a sticker?