Horoscopes, sado-masochism and thunderstorms are among the diverse subjects chosen by our irrepressible anagogic columnist
Most prejudices are based on misunderstanding and plain pig ignorance. Leather and rubber are kinky. Why are they ‘kinky’? Nobody seems quite to know but, well, they just are! Nice people are not kinky. Kinky people are not nice. The logic appears to be flawless.
What about, I ask, other people whose behaviour deviates from the socially normal such as muggers, joggers, punk rockers, rock dancers, skinheads, egg heads, head shrinkers, behavioural scientists, adherents of ‘theatre workshops’ and users of Citizens Band radio?
If you are going to say (and I’m certainly not going to stop you) that the difference is that dressing-for-pleasurists are all sexually motivated then I am going to reply to you that you must show me that the others are not.
Then you are going to continue this fascinating dialogue by saying what about those who take pleasure in being confined and restricted and like to wear plastic bags and be tied up with ropes? And I am going to ask if you have travelled on the London Underground recently? Even the most ardent bondage enthusiast and sado-masochist would balk at the London rush hour on the Bakerloo Line.
Human beings are constantly finding new ways of restricting themselves, if not physically then mentally. They confine themselves to certain foods, certain literature and a ritual of habits which guides and governs their lives far more fiercely than the rubber slave under the merciless control of a master.
If you look at life critically you see that there is really no such thing as abnormal behaviour. Nor probably is there any such thing as normal behaviour. Behaviour is just behaviour. The rest is a matter of where, and what, and how, and with whom and who is likely to be offended or harmed by whatever you are doing or wearing.
I am writing these remarks at the request of the numerous Hims for the Hers, such as D.D., and also G.R. who write “please, please explain to my wife that I am not a pervert because I like her to wear latex.” No, Mrs G.R., he is not a pervert. He might be a sadist if he asked you to wear latex from head to toe on the beach at Marbella in high summer, but I don’t see where perversion comes in.
Another reader whose letter I have published uses the phrase ‘feeling grotesque’. May I draw her (and your) attention to the style of dress adopted by young people today, exemplified by such trend setters as the dance group Hot Gossip. I have come to the sad conclusion that fashion died a painful death many years ago and we saw the funeral at the recent Royal Wedding – that ghastly Dress!!
I agree you must feel comfortable in what you wear when you are going on public display but there is always, surely, compromise and consideration? No! Indoors in private or outdoors in locations where nobody is likely to care a damn you should be able to wear anything you like or He likes. What does, or can, it matter? Surely you can accept even a little discomfort if it gives him pleasure and turns up His thermostat?
Take a look at the pictures on these pages and tell me, please, what is offensive to anyone? Is it what they are doing, or are going to do that is offensive? Would you feel differently if the material in the pictures was black satin instead of black rubber? Would you react differently if the participants were naked and unadorned like the lilies of the field?
There is, of course, the belief that our quirks, eccentricities, perversions, indeed, all our behavioural patterns have been programmed at birth. We are all computerised. One popular theory is that the personal programmes are all written up there in the sky. A reader commenting on the leather suit and boots I was seen to be wearing in the last issue, remarked that I was, she was sure, ‘Pisces’. Those born under this sign, it seems, are programmed to be very protective and like to feel secure. This, she said, explained my love of leather and also why I am prepared to wear my cloak, or raincoat and boots whenever the weather looks threatening.
Actually, I am a Cancerian (the Crab) and I don’t really believe that the conjunction of the Moon with Jupiter is going to make any difference to my behaviour such as conditioning me to wearing waders on a wet Wednesday. I don’t run my life from reading horoscopes.
(I did just take a look at mine today where it said “One you thought had gone out of your life forever has com: back with a surprise.” That was true. The spider I had put out of the bathroom window on Monday, I found in the coat cupboard where she was raising._ a family of little spiders inside one of :-7 long rubber boots!)
The destiny that Hamlet believed shaped our ends may well be predetermined but surely causes belong to hereditary, environment and childhood influences? One lady, whose pictures have appeared in these pages as recently as page 30 of the last issue, is one of the small number of women who I know is genuinely attracted to rubber. Her childhood traumas and fear of drowning created appreciation of protection and enclosure. She admits there are frequent times when she has an overwhelming desire be completely enclosed in a rubber outfit. Her normal everyday wear in street is one of her many, many mackintoshes. Her husband – who does share her interests – believes it was caused by her childhood fears and experience, but as with most people the origins are very hard to define.
Tina, whose serial story is in these pages is an avid rubber/bondage devotee, and I know of other women like Vroomska who are motivated not just by the desire to please the man but by an overwhelming attraction to the material.
In the years of writing for Atomage I have been totally unable to find any common factor that might explain seemingly obsessive behaviour but even my latest half-formed theory was knocked on the head when I read the following:
“In addition to being a sadist, I have a leather fetish. If I remember my Krafft-Ebbing, that’s another thing women aren’t supposed to do. Oh well. Despite the experts, seeing, smelling or handling leather makes me cream. Every morning, before I go outdoors, I make a ritual of putting on my leather jacket. The weight of it settling on my shoulders is reassuring. Once I zip it, turn the collar up and cram my hands into the pockets, the jacket is my armour. It also puts me in danger when I wear it on the street by alerting the curious and the angry to my presence.”
The words are extracted from an article by a self-confessed sado-masochist lesbian writing in a magazine called “The Advocate” and reprinted in the Newsletter of the Society of Janus. Pat Califia, the author, goes on to say that she gets all sorts of different reactions when she is seen in her leather jacket, trousers and high boots. “Voyeurs drool …well-dressed hets, secure in their privilege, give me the condescending smile of the genital dilettante. Some gay men are amused when they see me coming. They take me for a fag hag. A mascot dressed up to avoid embarrassing my macho friends. Others are resentful. Leather is their province, and a vagina is not entitled to wear the insignia of a sadomasochist…
“When I visit a dyke bar, the patrons take me for a member of that nearly extinct species, the butch. Femmes under this misapprehension position themselves within my reach signalling their availability, not bothering actively to pursue me. They seem to expect me to do everything a man would do except knock them up. Given the fact that I prefer someone to come crawling and begging for my attention and to work pretty damn’ hard before they get it, this strikes me as being very funny.”
Leather is important to help Pat maintain her aggressive non-feminine pose. She says proudly “When I wear it, disdain, amusement and the threat of violence follow me from my door to my destination and home again.”
The motivation here is particularly obscure. I rather doubt even if a psychiatrist could explain it satisfactorily. Pat would almost certainly spurn any psychiatrist’s help. She is very happy and satisfied with her lifestyle and her descriptions of her s/m pleasures are more frank and outspoken than anything I have ever written.
“I wonder if any man could understand how … receiving sexual service feels to me? I was taught to dread sex, to fight it off, to provide it under duress or in exchange for romance and security. I was trained to take responsibility for other people’s gratifications and pretend pleasure when others pretend to have my pleasure in mind. It is shocking and profoundly satisfying to commit this piece of rebellion, to take pleasure exactly as I want it, to exact it like a tribute.”
In writing very succinctly about bondage, Pat betrays very little sign of lesbianism, although she exults in a lover who is her slave. “Bottoms tend to be anxious. Because there is a shortage of tops, they get used to playing all kinds of little psychological numbers on themselves to feel miserable and titillated. They also like to feel greedy and guilty, and get anxious about that. The bondage is reassurance. She can measure the intensity of my passion by the tightness of my knots. It also puts an end to bullshit speculation about whether I am doing this just because she likes it so much. I make sure there is no way she can get loose on her own. Restraint becomes security. She knows what I want. She knows I am in charge.
“I like to come before I do a scene because it takes the edge off my hunger. For the same reason I don’t like to play when I am stoned or drunk. I want to be in control. I need all my wits about me to outguess the bottom’s needs and fears, take her out of herself, and bring her back. During a session she will receive much more direct physical stimulation than I will. So I take what I need. From her mouth she feeds me the energy I need to dominate and abuse her.”
Pat’s long and fascinating justification concludes by asking the question “why would anyone want to be dominated given the risks?” She answers “because it is a healing process. As a top I find the old wounds and unappeased hunger. I nourish, I cleanse and close the wounds. I devise and mete out a punishment for old, irrational sins.”
She admits that sexual contact without SM and leather (“I allow the slave to embrace my boots”) is totally without meaning: “S/M is high technology sex… a good scene doesn’t end with orgasm – it ends with catharsis”.
I must admit to being puzzled by this account written in a specialised language. My own motivation, my own response, my own pleasure is on another plane; one probably so different that Pat and I might be from different planets. For me sex is an enormous entertainment, a pleasure park, and not a punishment. I willingly admit to rape fantasies and a strong curiosity about bondage. That is a healthy attitude towards sex by a woman. Can the same be said of Pat’s fantasies being brought to reality?
Given the assumption that you cannot have really satisfying physical sex without love, the S/M seems to create love solely through pain and punishment. That is a difficult concept for a delicate, generous mind like mine.
Dressing for pleasure is a form of loving that is relatively easy to understand. Dressing in a rubber suit, rubber boots, rubber coat, rubber gloves et al., to wander out into a sylvan setting to please Him is so simple. It is effective. It is protective. But when you add to it the requirement of being tied to a tree, gagged and manacled and then made to suffer – this is an emotional sum I find difficult to add up.
Love for me, and for most women, is based on tenderness and respect and understanding. While I can feel a strong sympathy and understanding for the lesbian or the homosexual I find myself bewildered when I examine the world of the sado-masochist.
There are many who say that women are naturally masochistic because they get penetrated rather that doing the penetrating. Perhaps also the woman is capable of sadism with her ‘Not tonight, I have a headache’?
Yet, I am prepared to excuse almost all forms of behaviour – and encourage quite a few – if in the end there is mutually obtained physical ecstasy created by two people. The ecstasy doesn’t have to be hot spurts and involuntary contractions – it can be as satisfyingly simple as a kiss or a handclasp. Am I being perversely naive? Fortunately, I have someone who doesn’t think so.
GOING TO RAIN
It’s been a funny sort of summer, but then when isn’t it a funny sort of summer? Never mind, there was this heatwave in early August that ended abruptly with thunderstorms and 2 1/2 inches of rainfall within one day.
It is conditions like that, where the weather chart shows big thick lines with little arrows on them spread all over the map of England, which make you admit that rubber raincoats may not be smart but they certainly are waterproof.
It is a curious thing that when you go to the cupboard where you have been storing your rubber coat and your rubber boots during the warm weather you can’t help noticing the very cloying smell. It is as if your rubber coat has gone all broody and is in there seething and upset at not being used. Where my leatherwear remains quiet and patient in the wardrobe waiting to be asked to be taken out, my black rubber raincoat gets all sulky. It not only gives off a somewhat bad tempered smell, but never seems to hang right at first and has collected numerous creases. Perhaps it is this that puts women off wearing rubber garments?
I have come to the conclusion tho’ that most of my sex dislike all rainwear. You’re reading this no doubt with the chills of winter creeping on, but I’m writing it after the worst storm this year (August 6) and I was astounded to see how few people – particularly women – seemed to be dressed in a fitting manner. The rain began before most working people had left home in the morning so there wasn’t any excuse for relying solely on an inadequate and ridiculous umbrella. It was quite astonishing to note on one London bus that out of about 36 people, just two were wearing raincoats and the rest looked as if they had just been rescued from the Titanic. Thank Heavens for my red satin cloak.
I think I shall have to start stopping people in the street and asking them why they don’t wear a raincoat. I thought about this seriously on the day I’m talking about, but it did seem grossly unfair – possibly fatal too – to delay them further with the rain lashing down.
I would be interested though to conduct a survey among our readers. Presumably I am dealing with those who can appreciate what I say, but even so I wonder how many of them own truly waterproof raincoats, and how often they wear them about town?
The daily pressures and anxieties never seem to get less. Even the pleasurable task of producing and distributing a quarterly magazine can wind you up so tight that you can hear the cerebral nerve strands twanging like taut guitar strings.
It is essential to have a way to unwind. Everyone has their own ideas. The Willing Servant has his system, the Henleys have theirs and the other fortunates who read Atomage undoubtedly have their own – all of them surely cheaper and easier than the health farm or the psychiatrist’s couch?
The Henley Treatment (patents pending) dictates that you must be Attired for Attraction. Other than the dressing there are few preliminaries and endearments or tenderness are not obligatory; indeed the coarse phrases of the gutter are those most apt for a description of a Close Encounter of this Kind. It is more physical than squash. It is invariably of brief duration, but it is gloriously relaxing – unwinding a taut clockwork spring in one burst of…speed. I call it FEMP – For Entirely Medicinal Purposes and not to be confused with the other pleasurable forms of conjunction.
Are there other FEMP fans among readers?
Speaking of deviations, I have another question. We have always wondered what conjunction would be like during a, thunderstorm when nature is at its most electric and dramatic? There was an opportunity while dans le pays in Wales to realise this small ambition and I was prevailed upon in the interests of what He described as investigative hedonism to put on almost the entire contents of a rubber wardrobe. For once, our attire was totally and completely suitable and afforded the protection certainly needed but, in the event, conjunction proved to be disappointingly impossible.
It was not because of any difficulty of access through an SBR coat, hip high boots, SBR trousers, a long rubber smock and a latex catsuit (to mention just some items of my persuaded protection) but rather the storm itself. First, the immense noise created by the impact of heavy rain on heavy rubber is too distracting. It sounds like machine gun fire on your head covering. Then the one who is beneath risks drowning without wearing a mask – and with, is blinded by water. Also the critical part needs the skill of a Chinese contortionist if you want to avoid a cold, wet flood down your long boots. We hadn’t and we didn’t!
Has any reader had a successful experience under these sort of unlikely conditions or can anyone offer advice? Replies to me at Atomage please. Bye!