I've been around the leather community for over 15 years now, and I learned a long time ago that there are scenes that I enjoy and scenes that I shouldn't be doing. I like playing with sensations and intensity, sometimes a lot of intensity, but it has to be done in a way that feels cooperative and affectionate. I don't play power games. I laugh and snuggle a lot when I'm in the dungeon. Sometimes, not too often anymore, I play really bloody hard. Even when I do, it feels cooperative, like something we're doing together rather than something that I'm doing to someone.
I can't stand play that feels antagonistic or hostile-- it pushes buttons in some really bad ways. This is especially true when I'm bottoming, but it applies to topping as well. This is a pretty damned strong limit. It rules out a lot of things like humiliation play and dominance/submission, but those things really aren't interesting to me at all. I also don't do roleplaying, largely because I can't take it seriously.
So the other day, P and I were plotting a scene for Friday night, and I got this intensely intriguing request from him:
ok, here are the rules: (a) you may not hurt yourself, (b) you
may hurt me, (c) you may push or break limits, within some level of sanity, (d)
do not return me non-functional
(e) you are not required to push or break limits
In case it's not obvious, that's a really unusual and intense request, and one I did not take lightly. I immediately set my mind to work plotting.
Push or break limits is a pretty broad field. There are lots of ways to do it-- putting him in a skirt and heels and parading him around the dungeon would break limits nicely, but it was obvious to me that wasn't what he asked for. I let it ferment for a while.
The first mental image I had was of wrists bound together, ankles bound together, and then wrists bound to feet. that would put him in a sort of semi-fetal position, and prevent him from fighting back. I wanted to pointedly take away the use of his hands, so that he was deeply aware that they were useless and that he wasn't going to get away. After looking at various bondage mitts, I realized that boxing gloves would be perfect-- you can't use your fingers, your thumb is held into position, and they're so big and fat that you're extremely conscious of this. Boxing gloves with leather cuffs over the wrist part would be perfect-- the cuffs would help hold them in place, as well as providing anchor points.
Ankle cuffs could be generic, so long as they could be struggled against comfortably. I also wanted a blindfold or hood, at least to start. This would allow me the element of surprise, and also help keep me from cracking up laughing.
Somewhere in here it became obvious to me that the right way to do this was as an interrogation scene. That would allow me to push and be brutal, but give me a framework for doing it. It also would set up some interesting mental dynamics-- he could fight back (as much as he could with limited movement), swear at me, call me names, and be as belligerent as he wanted. It would be way far out of my usual repertoire, but I thought I could imagine myself doing it.
This brought forth a mental image of baseball bats and knives. I knew he hated electrical play, so a relatively-weak taser seemed like a good addition. After chatting with a friend, he offered to let me use his lamb prod as well-- it's a shock device, but an extremely mild one. A baseball bat was really not quite what I wanted, since it's too hard to hit with. A Nerf bat would be perfect, but the new ones aren't as good as the old ones. I wandered into Home Depot, and found 2' lengths of flexible PVC, as well as pipe wrap. They fit perfectly together. I got two pieces of pipe, and a length of insulation. One pipe got wrapped in pipe wrap and then covered in duct tape. The other length was left plain. Both were nasty, but the uncovered one was really evil-- it was like being whacked with a heavy rubber hose. Perfect.
I felt along until I knew what the shape of the dialogue would be, and even went so far as to script some of it out. The goal was not to have a hard script, but rather to use it as a framework for thinking through the flow of the scene. I also knew that my question was going to be, "OK, where the fuck is it?" I wasn't going to say what it was, and in fact there was no it. The secondary line was, "Don't give me that bullshit. You know exactly what I'm looking for." The answer? There wasn't one. He was never going to figure out what I wanted or tell me where it was. This would provide an excellent mental challenge, and give me a great framework for hanging things on.
Clothes mattered. In particular, I wanted to be able to kick him around with boots. I also thought they'd matter to my mental state. It's really hard for me to stay "in character" for stuff like this, so having minor clues in costume would help tremendously. I wound up in a black wifebeater, Doc Martens boots, and jeans.
On the other hand, we had dinner reservations beforehand, and I wanted to look reasonable. That turned out to be an asset and an opportunity for mindfuck-- pink blouse, pink miniskirt, pink shoes. I looked harmless, and not at all like a brutal interrogator. I originally planned to change once I got to the dungeon, but realized during dinner that the best time to change would be after I got him tied up and blindfolded-- it would give him time to stew, and also keep him from being tipped off to the change.
And then, a serious mental sanity check. This was way fucking far outside of my normal range of play. Worse, it was well into the Things I Don't Do list. Was I OK with that? Yeah, I was, with a very low risk of breaking emotionally. Was I going to be able to stay in character? A much harder problem, but I thought so.
As always, it came down to packing the toybag. The list: was knife, stun gun, lamb prod, padded hose, unpadded hose, boxing gloves, wrist restraints, ankle restraints, carabiners, hood. I also needed clothes to change into, and I wanted a soft fuzzy blanket to wrap up in just in case one of us crashed hard. That seemed unlikely, but not impossible.
In addition, I asked P to bring one of his own toys-- something that he really would prefer I not use on him. I also asked that he take the train into the city rather than driving, so that I didn't have to worry about him driving home after getting the shit kicked out of him.
And for the next day, I spent a lot of time rehearsing lines in the form of talking to myself. while I was driving, I kept up a constant, "OK, asshole, where the fuck is it?" ... "No, don't give me that bulshit. You're smart enough to know exactly what I'm talking about." "Look, you can just tell me know, and I'll untie you and let you go. Otherwise, it's your problem not mine. Nobody would know if I killed you right here."
I even figured out what order to do things in. I wanted him in the ankle cuffs first, then in the hood so he couldn't see the rest. After that, boxing gloves, cuffs, and then fasten the restraints together. Once he was there, I'd unpack the rest of the toys, but he wasn't to see them before the scene.
Was I really, REALLY OK with the hostility of calling him asshole and fucker, and kicking him in scene? Yeah, I thought so, but I knew that I might need some reassurance after it was over. I needed to know that we were still on good terms and affectionate, so I made a plan to communicate that to him. I was more concerned that I wouldn't have the force of personality to make it convincing, but resolved to just stay in character and do my level best.
More later... I'm falling asleep.