Friday, May 06, 2005

TGIF, kids. Yes, it's Friday, and that means the new column and the Kink Calendar are up. Enjoy.

Time-Wasting Link of the Day: Now, I'm not a celebrity-watcher. In fact, I'm not at all pop-culture savvy when it comes to TV and movie stars. Not only have I never seen an espisode of "Desperate Housewives" or "American Idol", I honestly can't even remember the last time Max and I turned on our TV. It may have been to watch the presidential debates last November. I do see TV shows when I'm at the gym, so there's that. But I frequently have no idea what they are, unless they feature someone immediately recognizable, like Oprah or that idiot remora of hers, 'Doctor' Phil.

I only go to movies occasionally, because I'm just too bloody busy. (Although Sin City was great, so I'm glad Roman made me go see it with him.)

I admit to reading People magazine in the grocery store checkout line, but I never actually buy it. So 90% of my information about movies stars and such comes from reading stuff online. And I don't spend a lot time doing that.

However, I am a female creature, and as such, I do sometimes have...a catty streak. That's why this site delights me so. After all, I am a high-ranking officer in the local fashion police. And it's human nature: slagging celebrities off about their fashion mistakes lets us indulge our vicious side without guilt, because hey, when you're famous, having strangers tear you to shreds in absentia is part of the job description.

(Yes, I know what you're thinking: But Matisse, don't you already get to be vicious? Shut up. Yes, I often do, but this is a different brand of nastiness. And it's fun.)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Letters to the Mistress

may i ask your advice? how does a man like myself -- a big-hearted, genuine person of high intelligence, solid wit, diverse interests, and a not-exactly-repulsive physicality -- meet a dominant woman that possesses these attributes, as well? i don't want mere play, but rather a grand, marvelous love that is suffused with care, great and challenging conversation, infectious laughter, reciprocal influence, and an ever-deepening intimacy ... and a pervasive undercurrent of kink running continually throughout. ardently individualistic, i have never identified much with groups or any particular community and so i am having difficulty navigating the too-murky waters of bdsm. i hate to be so bold, but i just don't see many deep, intellectually engaging, beautiful, dominant women that are seeking something a bit More. certainly, the entire seattle bdsm community is replete with people that want to play, but even in that broad demographic, i find very few that are both intellectually/emotionally interesting and physically appealing. in fact, sadly, i see (what appears to be) a lot of people leading (again 'apparently') truncated lives (which is, of course, true of any impassioned group). i'm just curious if you have a suggestion on how i can more effectively pursue that which i seek. thank you so much for your time (even if you merely read this and do not reply -- it feels good simply to write).


Ah, a true believer in love and romance. I get letters like this a lot, although usually not as nicely written. But this particular letter-writer aroused my sympathy, as he's going to have an even slower-than-usual journey towards his dream. That's because he's not just seeking a hot time, he's seeking True Love.

Now, I'll all in favor of love. But it's hard enough for people to find the Right One for them even without dealing with the kink issue. Think about all the things that you are/were looking for in a partner, and how many people you've met who have some of those qualities, but who also have relatively inconsequential traits and habits that, nevertheless, disqualify them from Potential Partnerhood. So, a grand, marvelous love, great conversation, infectious laughter, and ever-deepening intimacy, with a deep, intellectually engaging, beautiful woman? Worth striving for, certainly, but no piece of cake for anyone to achieve, kinky or not.

And once you do add in the kink factor, the pool of potentials shrinks dramatically. It's worse luck for him that he wants a dominant woman, since the competition for dominant women is ferocious. That's because there are generally more would-be submissives than dominants, and because there are generally more men than women in the out-and-visible community. Thus, female dominants are hugely sought after. (How do you think I stay in business?)

I always wish I had some magic answer, but the fact is, you just have to keep looking. So the advice I'm giving this man the same advice I give everybody who's looking for someone. Get involved in the community, even if you aren't a joiner. If you're not involved in the community, I'm not sure where you would see any "deep, intellectually engaging, beautiful, dominant women that are seeking something a bit More"? You have to go where the ducks are – there's just no other way to do it. Sites like alt.com and bondage.com are sometimes okay, but there's simply no substitute for real-world interactions.

And don't go to one event, look around, decide that your one true love isn't there, and go home forever. That's not how you make friends, and guess what – that's what you're going to be doing when you first venture out: making kinky friends. No one meets The One at their very first party. But you start making friends, and those kinky friends you make? They're the ones who will in turn introduce you to some nice potential lovers.

PostScript: Think about developing your own erotic-dominant side. I think being willing and able to switch roles, at least occasionally, would increase the number of women who'd consider being involved with you.


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Dear Mistress Matisse, I am new to Seattle. I am a woman in my mid-50s, a bottom, and somewhat shy. I would like to play with a professional dominatrix, but I'm not sure where to begin looking. (I was disappointed to discover on your website that you are not seeing women at this time.) Do you have any suggestions for new woman in town?
Thank you,
Shy Bottom

Well, in general, reading my answer to the letter above would be a start. If you're looking for female attention, though, I'd suggest the women-only parties at the Wet Spot. There's one tomorrow night, as a matter of fact.
If you insist on a professional, I'd call Lady Lydia.


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I want to offer a little heartfelt gratitude for what you've meant to one anonymous soul out in cyberspace. When I moved to from the East Coast to California in 1997, I was wet behind the ears, right out of college, and I knew I was kinky. But I didn't know where to start. While surfing the web, I stumbled upon Bob Berkowitz's old show on Eyada. Enter Mistress Matisse and the Kink of the Week segment! I loved that show. In a nutshell, you were one of the first voices of BDSM reason that I encountered. It really was a revelation that here was someone who's very bright, with a good head on her shoulders... and she's kinky. Up until that point I was starting to think I wouldn't encounter normal, well adjusted people in this scene. A few years after Eyada folded, I discovered your writing through the Control Tower, and now through your blog. (Your writing style is fabulous.) I'm writing this now, because I'm finally in a place where I'm ready to explore my interests in greater detail. And you've had a positive impact on the path that has taken me to this point. So thank you for having shared your life with strangers like me. At the risk of laying it on a little too thick, you've been an inspiration.

Oh, Lord - someone who remembers me back from the Eyada.com days! Sometimes ya'll are so sweet you almost make me cry. Whenever I feel cranky about stupid phone calls and emails from rude people who annoy me, I go back and read letters like this. I don't know how to truly express how happy I am made by them.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Books On The Bedside Table

Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography, by Dominic Streatfeild.
A lengthy, if slightly flippant, history of the drug. (Which I've never tried, interestingly.) I'm skipping around in it, rather than going cover to cover. I haven't seen Blow, although this book sort makes me want to, because it discusses the real person, George Jung, whose exploits are depicted (with some artistic license, I'm told) in that film.

The Burma Road : The Epic Story of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II, by Donovan Webster.
"From the fall of Burma to the Japanese in 1942 until the end of the war, the Allies strove to keep China supplied with material from India - by air over "the Hump," and overland via the Burma Road, which stretched 700 miles to the Chinese city of Kunming." Not at all my usual historical period, but I've gotten interested in the history of Burma/Myanmar for other reasons, and this seemed like an interesting chapter of it. I'm about halfway through, and I'm finding it uneven: some pages I'm skimming and some utterly absorb me. But I like it overall.

Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner.
"Levitt argues that many apparent mysteries of everyday life don't need to be so mysterious: they could be illuminated and made even more fascinating by asking the right questions and drawing connections." That line alone in the publishers review drew me in, because I am all about asking questions and drawing conclusions. Just got it and definitely looking forward to reading it.

Opium: A History, by Martin Booth.
Good historical information, although the writer's style is, rather appropriately, the opposite of the book on cocaine - slow and somewhat ponderous. (And I actually have smoked opium a couple of times - a college roommate from Delhi smuggled some over. It was quite nice. I recall thinking it was probably just as well I couldn't get any more.)

Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes And How To Correct Them: Lessons From The New Science Of Behavioral Economics, by Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich.
Just got this as a gift from one of my very favorite boys, and it looks fascinating. I've already started dipping into it. It was accompanied by a book called Stocks For The Long Run, which I will not be reading cover to cover, because the giver informs me I don't necessarily need to. It's got a lot of charts in it, and it's thick enough to club seals with, so I'm sort of relieved by that. I bet I wind up reading parts of it, though, because I'm quite interested in this whole investment thing.

Gosford Park: The Shooting Script.
Everyone in Robert Altman's movies talks just like me: fast and sometimes hard to understand. I'm sure some of my loved ones wish they had a script for me. But even though I'm usually pretty able to listen as fast as I speak, I did miss a lot of the good dialogue in this film, so...

Sherlock Holmes' Lost Adventure : The True Story of the Giant Rats of Sumatra, by Lauren Steinhauer.
Have I mentioned that I'm instantly attracted to any book (or movie, for that matter) that purports to be about Sherlock Holmes? But I have learned to approach anything outside the canon with carefully guarded hopes - Conan Doyle is undoubtedly revolving in his grave over some of the truly dreadful imitations in print. My favorite homage-to-Holmes author is Laurie King. But she isn't writing fast enough to suit me, so I'm casting my bibliographic net further afield. This book got good reviews, so I'm looking forward to trying it.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Long busy day yesterday, late night last night, and another busy day today...That means we'll return to our regularly scheduled blog tomorrow. Meanwhile, enjoy this charming image from Engrish.com