A guy who came over recently (let's call him Jerry) wrote me afterwards that he had had a good time and wanted to take me up on my offer"to train" him. He's a handsome young man and I find the idea of doing so to be quite attractive. So I invited him to come back.
Unfortunately our schedules didn't match well so he had to postpone our second meeting. In doing so he sent me an email:"Actually, can you tell me about my lessons? Do you have a plan in training me and what I can expect during each lesson/training session? For me, I do not want any permanent marks or anything written on my body, no blood, no scat, nothing around my neck, except for maybe a leash or choker (for fashionable purposes, but not to be played with. I felt a little uncomfortable when you were pulling on the tie you put around my neck). Also, I have a hard time breathing through my nose, so preferably a gag that I can still breathe through. If I can still breathe around a ball gag that isn't as large, that is fine. Do you use any safe words or signals?"
The questions are both welcome and appropriate, as open and honest negotiations ought always to precede any scene.
Now for a little background.
Jerry doesn't have much experience. He wants to develop his feminine side through cross-dressing and to become a slave, though it's not clear which is a higher priority nor what he really means by either of those terms. He's also a bisexual switch. Now either he's wise to cover all his bases or he's still exploring what he wants.
For our first scene he wore red mesh stockings and we danced to slow music. There was no BDSM. For my part I wore a tie and sport coat and played the part of voyeur who picked up a stripper and brought her home. I know, you never thought I had it in me, but I do.
Now for the analysis.
At times we use vocabulary with little attention to meaning. Therefore I have a few questions for Jerry in return. What do you mean by training? Is it merely a euphemism (the act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for a harsh, blunt, or offensive one) for play or do you really want to learn some pleasurable BDSM?
What are your priorities? Shall we concentrate on helping you become an effective cross-dresser, a damn good slave, or a damn good feminine acting and looking slave?
I had my first job as an educator (high school English) in 1969 and as far as I can tell education involves change. The really important question, then, is how much do you want to change, Jerry? Before I can answer your question I have to know what you want to learn. It really means that we have to have a discussion about of what your curriculum will look like. Therefore we need to talk.
The question about the euphemism is the killer. Without being willing to explore, experiment, and give up one's pre-conceived ideas of how things should be and what one will do, there can be no real learning. What I feel, and yes I feel it strongly, is that real training, i.e., an education, means that Jerry has to be willing to let down his walls and therein lies the difficulty.
Walls are essential to a sense of safety and security. They afford protection, privacy, and discretion. They keep us safe from the weather, from prying eyes, and from un-necessary and unwanted disclosure. Believe me, I'm glad that I have a home with walls (and of course a roof over my head) so I am not knocking the idea of walls.
On the other hand, it is a simple fact that the walls that keep people, things, and events out are the same walls that keep me in. They are the ones that keep me from the experiences, the pleasure, and the learning that I seek. It is a matter, then, of knowing which walls stay and which ones we go through. When I say "go through" I mean that we find the doors in some walls so we are free to be what we want while other walls keep us safe to do so.
Let me give an example. Jerry wants to become a cross-dresser. One of the easiest ways to begin this process is to do an Internet search for cross-dressers in Chicago. I did that and found a monthly meeting where anyone can go and meet with experienced cross-dressers, ask questions, and learn "stuff" about the fetish. Of course, that means that Jerry has to take down the wall that keeps him from going to the meeting.
There's more to that than just a wall. In fact, the word "wall" is another euphemism, for fear, paranoia, reticence, reluctance, refusal, blockage, hang-up, psychological obstacle, or whatever you want to call an impediment to learning.
As a matter of fact walls offer us the best example of why we need to negotiate well. When I qualify my statement with the word "well" I am emphasizing that good negotiation needs to include a discussion about the walls that each of us has around us as we begin to play. Of course, I mean that statement in a relative sense, "walls" may just be another way of naming limits (which is another euphemism for walls!). Stating my idea that way, we can see that some limits are helpful and need not come down, some limits can stay without interfering and some limits, like the ones I encountered and discussed in last week's blog, are going to effectively ruin the session.
Limits, like walls, are relative. A limit, for example no sexual contact, may be very acceptable in one situation and a deal-breaker in another. Only the two participants can conclude where lines should be drawn, where they are unrealistic, and whether they both can have a good time with (or without) them.
OK, I do have some answers to Jerry's questions, though you'll forgive me if I answer some of them with another question.
"What will I teach you, Jerry?" I don't know because before I can answer that question I have to figure out what you want to learn. Therefore, my friend, nothing's going to happen until we talk about your goals and desires and I can learn both your priorities and your willingness to explore and experiment.
I can live with the gag thing, Jerry, so don't worry about it. I am glad, though, that you told me now and not after you had struggled to breathe during a scene.
Don't worry about permanent marks. There won't be any until we negotiate them. As a matter of fact, it took my slave Patrick more than nine years to get his first tattoo (the one with my name on it). You see, in your desire to let me know your limits, you didn't ask me about mine. I have no intention of marking, bleeding, or otherwise ruining you. Some things are best left between players who know each other very well. Before you think I'm going whole hog on you, don't worry. I won't do that until I know you very well.
The collar thing is something else, so I have to ask "What do you mean by a slave?" For me, slavery mean obedience. If obedience is not in your realm of doable, then I can't teach you how to be a slave. I can teach you how to look and act like a lady, a boy, a tramp or a brazen hussy, but in my vocabulary slaves obey and if I say "Wear it" he or she does. That said, you are welcome to find a teacher more to your taste. For me, having a slave who won't obey is a hard limit.
And safe words? No problem. I will be glad to use any word you like, though my preference is a simple request like "Please stop." You say it and I'll stop. As far as I'm concerned, ignoring a safe word is another hard limit. See I have walls too.
Have a great week, Jerry, and everyone else too. Jack
You can send me email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at http://www.LeatherViews.com. You can also subscribe to my blog at LeatherMusings.blogspot.com. Copyright 2011 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.