Saturday, September 15, 2007

Weekend Fashion/Social Blogging

I love dresses – even when I’m stressed or cranky, when I put on a dress that I really feel good in, it can totally change my mood. Jet came to see me yesterday, and he brought me a great little black dress and these boots, both from Kenneth Cole. With black patterned Wolford hose, they're a perfect outfit.
But let’s be real, I live in jeans and casual tops most of the time. I caved in and bought a pair of Chip And Pepper jeans, which I’ve been wanting ever since I tried on a pair in Nordstrom a few weeks ago. They’re really soft and velvety, and something about the way they are cut makes me look like I'm two inches taller, which I like. Now, of course, I want more of them.
Some of you are going to hate them, but I’m sort of digging on these gold jeans. I’m all about metallics this fall, and this top would look cute with them.
Other items on the shopping list: something like this. It'll be warm, which is big for me, since I am always cold. And it's black and shiny!
And another pair of leather pants. Can't decide between this pair and this pair.
Now I have to think about what I'm going to wear tonight, because Monk and I are going to - get ready for this - a non-kinky-people's party. That's highly unusual for me, I'm curious what it'll be like. The last time I went to a non-kinky party, I wound up corrupting Scarlett. (Or at least speeding her along the path to corruption, since she probably would have gotten there anyway.) I wonder who Monk and I might collect at this shindig.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The new column is out. But first, a small rant...

I get a lot of emails about my Stranger columns, and most of them are very sweet and thoughtful, and I love getting those. Some of them also have really good insights to offer, and I like that, too.

Occasionally, however, I get email from people taking me to task about this column or that, and most of the time, it's about poly issues. What people actually say varies, but the underlying theme is: you talked about how you do poly, but that's not how I do poly, so your column is bad. I have been accused of "doing more harm than good" by presenting only my own views and experiences and not other people's.

Let me just point out a few facts. First of all, I have a very short column. As much as I try to narrow down each particular topic, there are always going to be aspects of whatever it is that I simply cannot include because it would exceed my word count. Expecting me to touch on every possible permutation of every poly situation is unrealistic. The way poly people whine at me about this reminds me of the column I wrote about the gotcha games that queer people sometimes play with each other. I have, in fact, interviewed other poly people for the column, and I'm sure I'll do so again. And if you read all of my poly columns instead of just one, you may find that the things you think I'm dismissing are topics I have had to split off and address separately.

Second: The Stranger is a free weekly tabloid. It's a great little paper, but it ain't the New York Times. The first law of writing this column is that I must entertain and amuse the readers - most of whom aren't dedicated poly people. Each column must be written so that a casual page-flipper who's never even heard of polyamory (or whatever I'm talking about) could pick up the paper, read the piece, comprehend it, and find it interesting. Thus, the columns need to be fast and fun. Anything that isn't fast and fun doesn't make it to the page.

Third: Perhaps you've noticed that I do not call myself Dr. Matisse. That's because I don't have a Ph.D, and my column is not a scholarly work. I'm a damn professional dominatrix writing about my personal opinions. Demanding that I cite sources or quote studies is ridiculous.

I have been writing this column every week for almost six years. It has been a great thing for me, but it has not been easy. There are weeks when I stress myself into a knot trying to come up with something witty, pithy and sexy to say. (And I can look back at certain of the columns and see clearly that I did not succeed. Ouch.)

So I am fine with suggestions, but if you write to me just to tell me how wrong, wrong, wrong I am doing this, then my answer to you is: If you can do better, please tell me the name of the paper where your column is published and I will read it and learn from it.

Or you can just bugger off. Your choice.

Okay, that's the end of the ranting. Here's the new column, about (you guessed it) polyamory.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I had dinner with Miss K last night, and we wrestled with the ever-absorbing (to us, at least) issue of control. The non-erotic kind, that is. As in: you see someone you care about – an adult person, capable of taking care of themselves - starting down a path that looks to you like it’s going to end up in a trainwreck. What do you do?

Plan A) Shut up. Grown-up people get to make their own mistakes and work out their own destiny. As amazing as it seems, millions of people actually conduct their lives every day without your personal guidance. You may have suspicions, but unless you’ve got a crystal ball, you actually don’t know the future, so don’t harsh their squee by dumping your issues on them.

Plan B) Tell them your concerns ONE time, then resort to Plan A. No fair acting pissy and resentful if they don’t take your implied or stated advice.

Plan C) Do whatever you think you must to prevent the Bad Thing from happening, even if it’s less than strictly ethical or honest, and even over the protests of the person to whom you fear they will happen.

One of the over-arcing themes of my life is learning what things I really have control over and what things I don’t, and how to be peaceful, and even happy, with the latter category. So I am a highly sensitive instrument for this type of situation, having been through it, oh, about forty-seven thousand times myself before I learned how not go there.

Whether you are eventually proved right or wrong has nothing to do with it. The question is how much control you get to have over other people’s lives. The answer: not much. And yes, I say that as someone for whom ritualized demonstrations of control are both a sexual orientation and a profession. How do you think I know so much about it? Why do you think it’s played such a big part in my life? I know the shapes and the boundaries of control very well. The kind of control I get when I do BDSM is like an ice-cream cone – it’s delicious, but you have to consume it on the spot, you can’t put in your pocket and pull it out to eat later. And when it's gone, it's gone.

So if it’s a relatively minor issue, then I go with Plan A. If someone wants to get a haircut, or a lover, or a pet that I think they’d be better off without, well, unless they earnestly and specifically ask me what I think they should do, I don’t say anything.

It’s a bit trickier when worst-case scenario might involve, say, a doctor, or a lawyer. Or a tattoo-removal technician. That is when I will implement Plan B.

But Plan C? Don’t ask me what a bad idea I think that is. Unless you really want my opinion.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Kinky girl Hannah had something very right-on to say today about how tops must trust their bottoms...

"I hear a lot from people that tops who bottom make better tops, that it helps them to understand what their play partners go through, that it makes them more empathetic and more tuned in to a scene. And that's certainly all true and valid. But I think topping is going to make me a better bottom. Being on the opposite side, relying on Nina and trusting her to be honest, to partner with me in this so I can deliver an experience we'll both enjoy and's daunting, and I have a whole new appreciation for the skills of a top."

This struck me because I have had a few clients come to see me lately who were people I'd only met once or twice before, some three or four years ago. They were nice guys, but I was sharply aware of the difference between playing with them and playing with the guys I see all the time. It's trust. I don't have to think so much with people I know well, I can just do it. There is a charm to a new bottom, but I really value the guys I know so well....