Diary of a Darklady
I like to visit Los Angeles. One of the things I like most about visiting Los Angeles is being able to leave and return to the magical kingdom that is my office in delightfully overcast Portland, Oregon, where my deadlines and other responsibilities stand ready to greet me. One of the many things that a recent trip to LA revealed to me is that it can be just as overcast as Portland – it’s just that we have clouds and an ambient glow, while they have smog and sun. I’m happy with the clouds. I know the sun’s out there somewhere. I don’t have faith in much, but I do have faith that the sun is out there somewhere.
While in LA as a judge for the GayVN Awards, I co-hosted my first play party in the area and did so in a delightfully unexpected setting. Gemini Manor <http://www.geminimanor.com> is the kind of funky little walk through Alice’s looking glass that one would expect to find in the Bay Area, yet it literally grew from the seismic activity of a densely packed neighborhood in Hollywood, California. Parking sucks. But Gemini Manor is worth the hassle. Magic stuff happens in Gemini Manor – and I say that as a confirmed atheist who’s done her time in the civilian equivalent of more than one battlefield foxhole. Gemini Manor is actually two small homes that are bound together by a small bridge. Together they contain a number of wildly eclectic rooms, each fabulously decorated with found items. Some of my favorites include what I think of as the Princess and the Pea room, the Wet Dog Smell room, the Hot Tub room, and the Bathroom of the Hovering Clown. Within the Manor and on its grounds are old church window frames, a giant pocket watch, walls of clocks, claw foot bathtub fountains, and a steep, narrow stairway that leads onto one of the roofs, where patio furniture and a fire-fueled heater await sky gazers.
This was the stage upon which I presented myself as an expert of sorts on matters alternatively sexual; an intimidating claim even in the least stressful of circumstances, but additionally fraught with peril at a play party, since there’s always the risk of encountering someone who knows more than I do but doesn’t happen to be a writer. Such was the case that night, much to my cathartic delight.
The evening started off slow, with quiet, friendly conversation going on in the courtyard, but not anything along the lines of actual play going. As an icebreaker, I began feeding my guests whipped cream covered strawberries in what felt like a faintly perverse form of communion. I watched with pleasure as each of them made love to the sweet confection and its accompanying berry with their tongues and lips. As well as being a tasty bit of performance art, it was a fun and subtle way to learn a little about each of them by watching how they interacted with the food, with me, and with one another during our brief public food play scene. Some nibbled the berry shyly, others boldly focused on the cream, licking the berry like a plump clit and flashing me lascivious looks while doing so. There was laughter and sounds of approval from the audience, and the mild social tension of strangers together began to melt away.
One of my guests finally confessed that she was disappointed by the lack of kinky play going on at the party. She explained that her handsome new beau was vanilla but open minded and that she had hoped that by attending he would be able to see some of the things that good natured perverts such as ourselves like to do for fun. As the “expert” and co-host of the party, it fell upon me to resolve this unfortunate situation.
I don’t tend to travel with “toys,” especially now that American’s post 9-11 airport insecurity inspectors have decided that things as benign as vibrators, nail files, cell phone, and laptop computers are to be viewed with suspicion. Fortunately Felix, a now local dominant imported from the east coast, was better prepared. Although his bag of tricks only contained a few items, those items included two of my developing favorites: double edged knives and a single tailed whip. As we negotiated our scene inside the Princess and the Pea room, a curious crowd gathered around us. The knowledgeable Dom carefully explained to those assembled what it was that we were going to do and how the intensity of a scene’s progression depended upon the various players’ familiarity with one another, as well as their strengths, weaknesses, and agreed upon mutual boundaries. Fortunately for me, Felix had not only a splendid patter, but also exquisite skill and control. Here, then, was an opportunity for me to teach, to learn, to experience, to grow, to live – and eventually write — from the inside out with the kind of intensity that I adore, that drives me to the keyboard, that compels me to create.
It makes for good performance art, too, which is important when you’re the traveling “expert.”
The week had been an enjoyable but exhausting one for me. Constant driving, multiple social engagements each day, meeting new people, mapping out new destinations, high energy promotional opportunities, and a steady series of always enjoyable but sometimes intimidating situations requiring me to be in charge and in control. Throughout it all, there continued to be my pre-existing personal and professional obligations, as well. Here was my opportunity to relax and let someone else take be in charge for a while.
Submitting to the whip is a lot like submitting to a deadline; at first it licks at my back, hinting at what is to come, reminding me to breathe, to relax, to lean into the storm and ride it out because there will be a reward at the end, because the storm is beautiful and fearsome, because it clears the air and calms my thoughts. Both challenge me to exceed my reach and reaffirm that I am nearly always within my grasp. After my wonderfully frantic week, it was a delight to allow Felix to lean into me, whisper both his praise and his selfish desire, stroke my skin softly with his sensitive hands and then spread fire with a sadistic flick of his uncoiled whip. Once we had finished our dance of pleasure and pain, I sat quietly and allowed myself to return to the day-to-day world around me, such as it was. The handsome vanilla boy and his girlfriend visited me briefly, asking questions about what they’d just observed and then said goodbye. I have no idea whether the experience resulted in their exploring kinky activities together or not, but I do know that it gave me one more thing to add to my growing list of things that I like about LA.