Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I was 22 and I was in love with a bouncer. It’s like being in love with a bartender but easier, since bouncers are usually less busy and quite bored. He worked at a bar some friends and I had begun frequenting in the West Village at the end of my senior year in college and he won this English major’s heart the night I noticed he was reading Ulysses at the door. Once, he came over to my table and recited a poem about love and roses. I am not kidding, though I cannot remember what prompted the recitation at all, but it was a good poem.

I knew this was his game or whatever, that he had memorized that poem to recite to the ladies, and that he was probably not making much headway on Ulysses in a bar, but it didn’t matter. I got drunk and hung out with him every Thursday, I wasn’t interested in anyone else, I found him attractive; that was enough for me.

The bouncer was six or seven years older than me and prone to acting more like that divide was maybe 20 years. He offered me advice that an older sibling or a grandmother might. He also offered more racy social advice, like when he told me I should sleep around some more.
After we’d known one another about a year or so, he introduced me and my roommate to another bar, an after-hours bar that was often open until 8 a.m. and whose clientele consisted of bar workers, drunks, cokeheads… and then me and my roommate. It was here that he would drink with me and occasionally we’d talk about sex or, more specifically, the possibility of us having it. He was very open about the fact that he was into sadomasochism, though at the time I had no idea if this was an unfulfilled fantasy or the reality of his sex life. Probably not the constant reality, as I’d seen him leave both bars with drunk patrons and I doubt those sloppy one-night stands involved a lot of heavy bondage play or whatever. Plus, during these conversations, he was always referring to himself as a degenerate. I couldn’t tell if this was a self-hating thing or some kind of S&M terminology. Possibly a way to identify other S&M enthusiasts at bars? Like you introduce yourself, you say that you’re a full-time accountant but really just a degenerate, there’s a wink and a nudge and someone is eagerly fingering the nipple clamps in his pocket, maybe?

His dream was to be a sub and I not so subtly indicated I would be willing to participate, but he’d have to be the dom. Not only do I get stage fright, but I’m pretty sure no one just bursts onto the S&M scene as an amazing first-time dom. Like I said, I was kind of in love with him. Failure during our first time wasn’t an option. I figured no one can fail as a sub, because you just have to do what you’re told, right?

After countless conversations about the possibility of consummating this bouncer-patron union, we set a date – a Sunday night, when he would be bartending. He’d contact me with “instructions” and I would meet him at the end of his shift. I knew I needed a few drinks first, so that night my roommate and I visited the bar we lived above and drank, expectantly awaiting his call… waiting, and waiting some more until I was kind of drunk and figured he was breaking our big date. Could I text him? Can the sub request instructions, or do they have to be proactively given? Would I get a literal spanking if I prodded him? Would I mind if I did? Eventually I did text him and he quickly responded with a list of items I was to buy.
These included: A dog collar and a silver bullet, which my roommate had to tell me was a vibrating egg type thingy. He also requested cheap red lipstick and either a body stocking or a French maid’s costume (at this, my roommate and I shrieked with laughter and made a solemn vow that neither of us would ever, ever wear a body stocking. Ever).

I bought the cheap lipstick at the Duane Reade near his bar. Luckily for me – and for everyone, really – there is a 24-hour sex shop on 6th Avenue kitty-corner from Duane Reade. It was here that I bought a maid’s costume, which I found to be a ridiculous waste of money since it was completely sheer, as well as a much-too-expensive dog collar and the damn silver egg, much to the amusement of the middle-aged men who worked there. Mission accomplished; I already felt like the slut I was going to play that night.

I met him at the bar and he gave me a free beer, which I quickly and nervously drank. After the last patron had left, he went through my bag and gave his approval. He closed up and we took a taxi to his place.

When we got there, he ordered me to go get dressed. I exited the bathroom in an embarrassingly revealing outfit to find him still in his shorts, t-shirt and baseball cap. My dom was wearing a baseball cap. That’s awkward. I asked if he wanted me to apply the red lipstick, figuring it was intended to make me look even sluttier and more ridiculous. He said it was for something else.

We went to his bedroom, where he indicated I should kneel on two pillows he’d placed at the foot of the bed. Then he pulled out the… shackles? It was a set of handcuffs attached to a set of anklecuffs. These were not playful plastic cuffs covered in cute zebra-print faux fur. They were solid, heavy metal cuffs. So, apparently he was not bullshitting about this S&M stuff. I let him chain me up and he made sure I had my balance before blindfolding me. Fade to black.
I would love to give you a specific and heavily sensory account of what ensued, like a really great description of what IcyHot feels like when it’s put in your ass as a punishment, or at least a detailed account of which dildos and vibrators were placed where. Embarrassingly, I barely remember the things I was punished for; I think I was primarily ordered to perform oral sex to his stringent specifications. But it was years ago and, frankly, I was slightly drunk. I have more of a snapshot memory of the whole thing, interrupted frequently by the whole blindfolding business.

I know that there was also a ball gag. Like straight out of the gimp scene in Pulp Fiction. Of course I secretly rejoiced at that because I love that movie! I also remember that at one point, the purpose of the lipstick was finally revealed. He blindfolded me again, gently laid me on my back, and wrote on my stomach with it. I was to guess the words he was writing. Mostly I giggled and guessed dumb things like my name. Of course, he actually wrote things like “Slut,” “Bitch” and “Slave.” Whoops.

It was quickly becoming obvious: I was not, in fact, a very good submissive. Not at all. I found most of it amusing, I was unable to believably act afraid or nervous or pretend to be in pain. I couldn’t guess the obvious words being written on me and I smiled and laughed too much. I enjoyed the experience because it was something else I’d tried, an extra-special notch on my headboard, and there was the possibility I was impressing him – though that was doubtful. Let’s face it, my only previous exposure to S&M had been erotica and softcore porn. Maybe if I’d rented some more amateur S&M stuff, I would have expected the overly bright room, the ridiculousness of the whole set-up, and the fact that the players were not movie-star attractive or even really worthy of a Kmart sales page in the newspaper. The Boy Scouts have it right: always be prepared, lest one choke on a ball gag with laughter.
Then it was time for the sex. Off came the cuffs. He turned off the lights, produced a condom, and we got to it.

Okay. For some reason, I was under the impression that the whole act ended once the fucking commenced. I don’t know, maybe I’m overly polite but I think it’s kind of rude to call anyone but a one-night stand a “bitch” the first time you put your dick inside them. Most likely – and embarrassingly – I actually wanted him, to, like, Make Love to me. Instead, he caught me looking at him and said, “Don’t look at me, bitch.” And that was awkward. Where should I look? I glanced around the room and accidentally looked at him again. He again ordered me to look away.

Then there was the actual sex, which was… just not good. I’m not sure if I had totally failed to notice a lack of chemistry, or if an extensive prodding of my lady-parts combined with the alcohol had left me kind of numb. It didn’t feel bad, it just didn’t do anything for me. I probably wound up lying there like a cross-eyed rag doll, anxious to look away and somewhat unresponsive. Honestly, I don’t even think he came. At this point it was nearly six in the morning and I had to work at nine. We called it a night, climbed into bed, and cuddled. Which was my favorite part. Everyone should groan here. I should have inwardly groaned at exactly that point, because I was seriously deluded.

I left the next morning stupidly proud of my, you know, experimentation and stuff. And he didn’t call, or text. He acted like nothing had happened the next time I saw him, and the time after that, and so on. And I was torn. On the one hand, nothing we’d done bothered me. I still found it amusing more than anything. On the other hand, I wanted him to care for me enough to ask, “So, were you cool with all that?” We had some minor drunken spats about this. He was infuriatingly obtuse and calm during these. I’ve never wanted to be that girl who naively nags someone after the first time they sleep together, and there I was doing just that. This is probably the point at which I belatedly groaned.

In response to his rejection, I was kind of depressed and drank too much and engaged in questionable behavior with questionable young men for awhile. Gradually I got over him, and he eventually found his happy ending. He met an older Canadian woman online who was somewhat disabled with back problems, but was really into S&M. They did the long-distance thing and eventually he moved to the Bahamas with her, where I imagine they are very seriously role playing with all kinds of props as I speak.

Before he and I both left New York, when I had come to terms with the very platonic nature of our relationship, I visited his bar on a Sunday night. I can’t remember if that was the last time I saw him, but let’s say that it was for the sake of neatly tying up this story. I got a little tipsy and accompanied him to another bar. He was friends with the bartender and in introducing me, he casually mentioned that I would do anything for him. I protested with mock amusement but later, as he walked me to a cab, he repeated it. I was annoyed but I admitted that, yeah, I probably would. This was the closest we ever came to being truthful rather than simply flirtatious. It was actually enlightening to realize that he was aware of the balance in our relationship. It meant the whole thing hadn’t been a giant misunderstanding and I could resent him slightly, knowing that he had been aware of my feelings for him. Of course, the pain was dulled by time and I look back fondly (with rose-colored glasses, I’m sure) at the hazy night of ball gags and IcyHot.

Me? I moved to Chicago, I found the Sunday Night Sex Show, and I eventually engaged in submissive behavior with a straight face. You see, Tyra Banks taught me that I can just smile with my eyes.