Friday, June 20, 2014

Goths on Wheels

“Right, let’s ride!” And with that he pulled out of his bag (and mounted to the front of his bike) a small stereo speaker, which was, of course, connected to his phone. Oh this modern age. And from that speaker road forth some high-quality goth music: wafting melodies along the lines of New Order, Joy Division, Gogo Bordello, with a little weird thrown in, like silly showtunes for no readily apparent reason. It was pleasing. I swallowed my fear, and drove my bike off the curb, into the bike lane, and onto the street with all the angry traffic rushing around me.

We took a path that cut through the heart of the city, sticking to streets crowded with cars and traffic, many of whom have a real hate for bikers. It seemed dangerous and reckless, while being at the same time perfectly safe. Just knowing that there were cars on either side of me, while I rode down the center of streets made the fear somewhat more present, while at the same time filling the moment with adrenaline.

To help with the fear I stayed close to the front of the pack, trailing the other member of the ride behind me. In my leather jacket, short black skirt, and stockings, I felt rather like a goth on wheels. The wind in my hair, the fetid exhaust smoke, the freezing cold wind in my face, the push toward the top of the city from the center; it filled the entire trek with a sense of wonder, a sensation of being so alive. Face flush, hands shaking, my entire body warm with peddling and moving. Even though this was my third workout for the day, there was little fatigue, only a sense of powerful motivation to move, to keep up with the leader, cutting through intersections in a slightly devil-may-care way, peddling along with the music, moving and smiling and taking in the entire city as we wound our way to dinner.

When we finally reached out destination I felt resplendent, wound up, worked up, oversexed even, and I just wanted to keep going, and going, and going again. It was lovely.

For the next dinner, I rode again; sadly no one joined me. Most recently it was another troupe of three, with our leader back from Australia, and me (again) dressed every bit as goth and feeling, every bit as goth on wheels. Divvy proved to be more quarrelsome on this ride, but the bikers were patient in their waiting, and we ended up on Michigan avenue before I could get a bike. Being so close, we decided to take the lake path, rather than cutting up through the heart of the city, and just as before, the wind was cool, the city covered partially in clouds and fog as we rode. The light, the textures of the city, the sounds and the smells inspired much picture taking from the three of us, annoying the fuck out the hardcore 50 mph bikers commuting down LSD, and getting dirty looks from not a small number of runners as we rode by, Depeche Mode blaring from the speakers and all our gothness fluttering in the wind.

Just as before I finished flushed and satisfied, and worked up to a certain extent. Even with the Divvy frustration it was wonderful and worth it. Now, I find sometimes that it haunts my dreams, and I wake up to the feeling of wind in my hair and the swirl of Chicago behind my mind’s eye. It’s a dream, beautiful, hard to wake from, making life hear just that more livable for the moments that I stay.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Overcome Fear with Groups

In my quest to make friends in Chicago, I continue to go out and do things. Sometimes this results in me meeting new people, and on at least one occasion I’ve managed a new friend. I try not to get bogged down on the glacial speed it seems to take to meet anyone or make significant new connections. I keep doing it though. I have worked to not allow myself to become disengaged because of the lack of engagement from others.

As the weather has defrosted a touch, but not really, I figured riding a bike would be a nice way to meet people. Actually, I discovered the Sex on Wheels group, and it seemed like we might have something in common. The group rode on a somewhat regular schedule, so I decided to join up for the next one happening on a night that would theoretically be warm enough for me to ride and not have an asthma attack. The goal was to ride around five miles from downtown, then uptown toward my regular somewhat weekly dinner with the kinky folks, with my love picking me up after for the drive home.

The issue, then, of course, became one of having a bike. That problem was partially taken care of by the city of Chicago, which offers the Divvy bike service. However, the Divvy bike presented its own special sort of challenge. The bikes generally were only used for thirty-minute rides, and anything over thirty minutes would cost a bit extra. There was also the challenge (sometimes) of getting a bike as popular locations tended to run short of bikes sometimes. However, the overcharge fee was relatively low, the bike ride was only around 4.5 miles all together, and it would be a chance to meet new people.

Of course, the breezy May afternoon on which I was slated to take my first ride was frigid. I had a jacket and gloves, but it was still barely above fifty, and close enough to forty that I was mildly concerned that my asthma my try to reassert its authority. All things being equal though, I figured I would live through it, so I got to the site early, found a spot near the Divvy bikes to sit and wait for the rest of the gang, and did just that.

Within a few minutes a handsome gentleman dressed all in black, with black hair, black fingernails, a black topcoat, on a black bike, pulled up.

“Are you here for the ride?” he asked.

“Indeed, I am.”

“Lovely. Where is your bike?”

I explained my situation, which he smileed politely about, and we exchanged a minor amount of pleasantries, mostly about Australia, as he was headed in that direction soon, and I had been before (still a little upset about the lack of midget tossing). We waited for the final member of the troupe that planned to arrive and I grabbed a bike off the rack before the ride was scheduled to begin.

“I am absolutely terrified,” I said out loud, more to myself than anyone else.

“Really, why?”

“No idea. Never ridden on the streets in Chicago before.”

“Are you going to be okay?”

“I’m fairly sure. I find when something scares me I like to do it in groups.”

“Really. Does that work?”

“Got me over my fear of sex,” I smiled back.

“You were afraid of sex?”

“Not anymore.”

“Because of groups?”

I just smiled.

Our troupe’s dear leader smiled back.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Beware Surfers in Cockrings with Riding Crops

“Is there anything you want to check out?” At this point I had picked up the dildos I wanted, some new gags, a few restraints, the crops, and an assorted array of odds and ends here and there, as is my way when shopping.

“I’m still kind of curious about these cockrings.”

“They're back downstairs.”

So we slipped through the crowds, bobbing and weaving until we ended up back at Gearworks, where one of the hawkers dressed in a jock strap, sports socks and sneakers, smiled at me; he flashed white teeth and beach-bum blonde hair.

“How can I help you?”

“My friend here is curious about cockrings. I told him this is the place.”

“That it is. What do you know about cockrings?” he asked Faust.

“I…not much.”

The surfer guided Faust to a gentleman behind me, where they began to engage in a discussion about the nature of cockrings.

“I wish I could have a cockring.”

“I don’t see why not; you could get a gland ring.”

“A gland ring, what’s that?”

He pulled down his jock strap and shows me.

“Purely ornamental, of course.”

“That would look pretty hot on one of my dildos.”

“I can’t see why you can’t put cockrings on a dildo.”

“Don’t you just want to put cockrings on everything?” I asked.

“Look at all this flesh. All these hot men. I just want to smack all of them.”

“I totally understand.”

The surfer reached out and slapped the exposed ass of some leather man in a jock strap walking past.

“Ow.”

“Here,” and I passed him a newly acquired riding crop.

“You don’t mind?”

“Of course not.”

To which surfer boy jumped into the aisle and began to thwack the asses of every exposed leather man walking by with a smile of pure, unadulterated glee on his face as he did it. In the meantime, I looked behind me to find Faust, pants around his ankles and engaged in quick discussion with an attendant who was all business while working with his client, who was exposed to most of Chicago. I was amused, and turned back to the riding crop-wielding surfer, dancing around and smacking asses everywhere he could find them, cackling with joy when he managed to make contact with flesh as he whipped left and right, until finally he returned to my side, flush with fine beads of sweat on his forehead.

“Thank you; that was awesome.” I smiled, and about this time Faust was at my shoulder.

“You get your questions answered?”

“Yes, I think I did.”

“All right, it’s been lovely,” I smiled and curtsied to the surfer, who returned the same and handed back my riding crop.

“Dildos; I need more dildos!” And with a war cry we moved back out into the crowd.

“What did you think of the cockrings,” I asked over the hub and the noise as we moved away.

“Yeah, I bought one.”

“Awesome. Where is it?”

“Well I’m wearing it, you see.” I laughed and shook my head.

“Perfect.”

With that we lost ourselves for the next two hours in the market, looking at dildos the size of small children, watching the boys and girls, and bois and grrls at play, and rest, shopping. We danced to the disco-ball lights of a leather man in a homemade disco-ball harness; we traded conversations here and there, until finally my bag grew heavy enough (and my wallet light enough) that I decided it was time to call it and pack it in. As the leather men continued to wind up for a flesh-covered party in earnest, we quietly slipped away into the cooling Chicago weather to watch the sun fall, and examine our acquired goods.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Market Menagerie

Of course, the IML market was not all super-buff leather men, Alphas, and puppies. (Although it was a lot of the market.)

“These guys really work out,” Faust noted at one point.

“Yes, that is sort of the point.”

It was the point for the leather men, but at the market you saw all sorts. A grandmother wandered around in a steampunk corset with 7-inch platform heels. A ancient granddaddy leather man, withered and frail with age, with wrinkled skin, a leather cap, leather vest, and naked underneath, walked up and down the market, covered lower in a leather jock with assless chaps, his wrinkled chest and wispy white chest hair poking out.

There were big girls, and small girls, tall boys, fit ones, ones that have never seen the inside of a gym, slave girls, bikers, slave boys, and mistresses, all walking about and mingling. As it reached close to four in the afternoon in the market, the smell of leather and bodies and unrepressed sex washed over us.

We moved out of the way for a couple of lesbians, one pushing the wheelchair of the other while they moved down the hall. We passed a boy walking about with canes attached to both arms. The market was a cross section of humanity, all brought together by a common thread of the amorphous human sexuality.

It was more menagerie than market: a beautiful, dazzling, thrumming living space.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Leather, Cockrings, and Puppies

Faust was properly impressed by all the hustle and bustle, all the leather, and of course, all the half-naked men walking around in nothing more than jock straps and chaps.

I took him up to get his bracelet, that would prove that he was both old enough to get into the market, and of course, that he would promise not to be offended by all the things he might see. The standard waiver for these sorts of events is generally that you acknowledge that you are at an event that basically caters to sex, sexuality, and fetishes, and if you were willing to walk through the door than you are willing to take the chance that you might see some public displays of sex, an occasional porno, and a lube fountain.

“You know, I’m not sure that the consent form really makes clear how depraved this is. I feel like I needed to be asked more for my eyeball consent. I’m being visually assaulted,” said Faust.

“Speaking of assault, I have dildos to buy.” And with that we wandered toward the entrance of floor one of the market. Having had a previous chance to figure out what I wanted, on this round I was buying, but also making sure that Faust had time to check things out.

“What is that? What are those? What is this?” Where questions I was all to answer for Faust. First, we ended up at a nice little cane stall where I had previously stopped in, and I bought myself some new riding crops and a glow in the dark cane, a must have for the girl who has everything.

I thwacked Faust with it.

“Ow."

“Exactly.”

It was most amusing. I had a reputation going all the way back to 1998 for thwacking people unawares with a riding crop, so I didn’t feel too bad about that thwacking.

Faust was taking the tour with me and mostly just sort of awed by the amount of what was going on. I pointed out major landmarks on the way.

“This is Gearworks. They pretty much do the best cockrings on the planet.”

“Cockrings, huh?”

“Yes. They are known for doing cockrings and ball weights, but since I’m a girl I don’t get to shop there.”

“Cockrings?” It was both a question and a curiosity.

“Do you want to check it out?”

“Maybe.” We continued on past the lube fountain, a gigantic display of leather mitts, and a puppy, who was donning a rather impressive and realistic-looking puppy mask and doing a barking display for a friend, who was recording it.

There were several packs of puppies wandering about, frolicking and being genuinely excitable. At one point when I was looking at a variety of different floggers, I noticed a pack of alphas standing just outside a corner. When a group of young puppies would walk buy one of the Alphas would step forward and start barking. A puppy from the group would invariably break off to look over at the Alpha, coming over to sniff around him and jump, until after being petted he would go back to join his troupe. There was something terribly amusing about the human interaction of Alphas and puppies sort of allowing themselves the freedom of public pack mentality for a weekend.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

I'm only French over Cabernet Sauvignon

There was minor amount of wandering, mostly just checking out dildos until the Electrician arrived. Then we covered some ground as a troupe, until the Bard needed a rest and I wanted a glass of wine. We headed out the door and I bought enough tickets for her to get a bottle of water and me to get a class of wine. 

I walked up to the aging geriatric bartender, who must have been 70, and whom I remembered from last year’s IML. 

“What do you want, sweetheart?” He said with an unmistakable Chicago accent.

“I’ll have the Cabernet Sauvignon.” 

“Well, are you French?”

“No, I just drink a lot of wine.”

“You say that very well. Like you're French.” He repeated it back to me saying it almost the way I had, rounding his mouth on the final syllable of Sauvignon. I smiled and the Bard and I took the super-secret elevator down to the sixth floor for a quick break. 

There was chitting and chatting while I waited for a phone call that never came. Fortunately I did see the text message that had come in. 

Faust: I’m here. So much leather. 

I fired off a quick shot that I would be down in a second, climbed off the couch (a corset does not always make it easy to be graceful), and took the super-secret elevator down to the first floor. 

Faust: By the Starbucks.

I walked through the see of Leathermen having drinks at the bar downstairs and found Faust ordering a coffee. 

“Oh, gods, coffee, yes; I’ve barely had any.”

“Look at you all dressed up,” replied Faust. I supposed I was all dressed up. Between the devil horns, bracelet and my new corset, I was feeling pretty well equipped. Now I had some serious shopping to do. 

“All right, I’m going to get a coffee, then we must hurry. I have dildos that need buying.”

We finished our drinks quickly and headed up to the toy store.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

What size am I, really?

Last year it happened like this. I went to Marvelous Mayhem Corsets set on not buying anything. I saw a purple-and-black corset. I had a bit of a swoon moment. I talked to the guy, who asked if I knew my corset size. I told him I’m a 38. He measured me anyway. And confirmed that I was a 38.

The corset I lusted over was a 34.

“Want to try it on anyway?” he asked.

“Sure, what the hell.”

He tied it on me and I just gave him all my money. That was that. The corset did not come off me until after dinner. It was most awesome, so I promised myself I would get a different one at the next IML. Something not patterned and perhaps more subtle.

Me.

Subtle.

I stood in front of the corsets.

“Do you know your size?” asked most helpful shopkeeper.

I explained what we had learned last year, and so he reached for a muted red in a 38 and we tied it on.

“Whoa, you are NOT a 38.”

“What?”

“Do you feel that?”

“Yes, it needs to be tighter.”

“I put it on you and it tied right down to there. There is no tighter.”

He was right. I was swimming in this particular corset, which sort of defeated the purpose of having a corset at all.

“All right, I guess let’s try a 36. Maybe with purple? I’m not feeling this color, or it may be that it’s just too big.”

We tried the 36 in purple.

“Huh.” he said.

“Yeah?”

“I don’t know, I think you might be a 34.”

“Is that as tight as it gets?”

“It’s pretty much almost closed.”

“Wow.”

We talked about it and decided on the 34. It was around this time that the Bard found me, and roughly at the same time I was presented with a bright, bright, flashing red-and-black corset in a 34.

“Oh yeah!”

I unsnapped the busk on the corset I was currently tied into.

“She did not just do that,” he looked at the Bard. “Tell me she did not just do that. You should not have been able to do that. Yeah, that is definitely not the right size.”

So he tied me into the 34.

“Yep, that is the take-my-money button.” And he did.

“You know, it matches your bracelet and your devil horns,” said the Bard. And she was right. I’d managed to get a flashy red corset that was absolutely not subtle. I was surprisingly okay with that.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

The Best-Laid Plans

IML weekend is always a bit more fun when you know you are going to meet some kinky people there. It’s even MORE fun when you get to take someone who has never been before. A kid in a candy store has nothing on a fetishist visiting IML for the first time. With this thought in mind, I invited Faust to join me at IML, since he had never been before.

“What do they have?”

“Leather. Lots of leather.”

“Okay. I’m in.” That settled, I had a half lie in, did some work, had a shower and some lunch, and then wended my way down on the train to the IML-ness. I totally emptied out my bag, deciding that it would fill up pretty quickly, so it was best to have it empty for the trip as I planned to fill it. The previous day's shopping had given me much to think about over the night and I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to buy the next day.

I got to IML and it was pretty clear from who was on the train that I was not the only one headed there. Granted, I was probably the only one headed there sporting devil horns, but that is how I tend to roll sometimes. I was feeling rather butch and buff in my leather jacket, and pretty happy with myself overall. On the train I saw a few well-muscled men clearly on their way to the event. On the street I saw an assortment of boys and girls in leather shorts, leather armbands, kilts, halters, and hair of all colors. This was an event that brought out the kinky people, the goth kids, the freaks, and the weirdos. Chicago: my kinda town.



I went through the secret kinky bat-cave elevator with several other people who looked like tourists. Even though the elevator was filling up with kinky people the boys asked in a quiet whisper where the event was.

“Hit the button for the fifth floor,” I said, putting all my Domme into it.

They did, and looked almost chastised. I smiled, devil horns wiggling a little, as we went up, and finally off the elevator. It was not yet super crowded but clearly starting to get busy. I had about an hour and a bit before Faust showed up, and the Bard and the Electrician were supposed to be on the way. So I set out to do the first thing I knew I was going to do.

Corset shopping.

Monday, June 02, 2014

IML is Here Again

Memorial Day means International Mr. Leather weekend in Chicago.

Huzzah!

I had rented a room practically a month in advance for this scared holiday of kinktasticness, and was very excited for the weekend. My plans were to have too much wine, buy too much gear, and do the best I possibly could to enjoy myself for the two-day fete-a-kink, in downtown Chicago.

As last year, this year IML was very easily situated downtown, easy to get to and not far from the office where I worked. Apparently work was so excited about IML weekend that it let everyone out to go and traipse about the city some four hours early. I was staying in Lincoln Square over the weekend, so I took my extra time, grabbed my bags, and small amount of gear, and headed uptown to check-in. Airbnb, you have not failed me yet!

With my bags secured and nothing much to do until dinner time, I figured what the hell and went back down to check out the Leather Market, which was what IML was mostly about for me, skipping about on a train to downtown Chicago, rocking my leather jacket and my favorite black party dress. The weather had been going back and forth between warm and freezing your ass off, and seemed to be entirely uninterested in doing anything consistently normal for what few days remained of spring. So the  leather jacket could still be rocked, which was just fine with me.

At the hotel, I took a moment to take in all the fine male leather men milling about in the lobby, having drinks, talking, and chatting each other up. Some were dressed in leather pants, others chaps; most wore at least a leather armband. Many had leather shoulder harnesses strapped on. Some were buff workout guys, some scrawny tweakers, with a smattering of bears, and boys, but all were happy to see each other. The sense of "Today I can wear my leather jock strap and nothing else and it’s totally, totally cool" was awesome. Having learned where the super-secret elevator up to the market was last year, I took the super-secret elevator up to the market this year.

My plan for this trip was just to get a lay of the land while it was relatively quiet in the market. Since the market was spread out over two floors I wasn’t sure what I was going to see and what I could acquire and I wanted to carefully plan out and spend my meager budget for this particular shopping weekend. As long as I was in country to go to IML I would barely spend any cash on toys any other time of year. I was in the market for a few new dildos (they have saved me on more than one occasion after all), a corset, some new gags, maybe a new flogger if I could find just the right one, and restraints. You could never have enough restraints.

IML delivered.

The first thing that hit me as I walked in on Friday was the smell of leather. The Leather Market does not fuck about with the smell of leather, and you could easily enjoy the wafting scent of leather flowing out of the market. I was rather impressed with just how powerful the smell of leather was in the market, good stuff. Most of the vendors do cater pretty exclusively to the leather crowd, so there were a lot of leather jackets, leather hats, leather chest harnesses, leather vests, leather skirts, and ties, leather boots and shoes. Leather-bound books and leather oddities; if you wanted it in leather, they had it in leather, and if they didn't have it in leather, they would fucking make it in leather for you because leather is life!

Of course, you couldn't have one of the largest queer events in the city of Chicago without having a lot of other types of sex gear, and IML delivered on that as well. You hac Oxballs, with their particular brand of cock-and-ball-combo harness rings, made out of silicone and guaranteed to deliver. Square Peg was hiding around a corner somewhere with anal plugs so large you couldn't imagine if it didn't quite look like someone was giving birth when using one of those things. Everywhere you looked there were fountains of lube. I wasn't sure the lube fountain thing was sanitary.

You could get your medical play gear (although that was not as heavily represented this year), kilts for all your kilt-wearing needs, shirts and T-shirts describing your particular state of D/S/leather/puppy state, and of course, lots of puppy masks and puppy-play gear. The puppies always came out in force at IML. There were leather masks, and corsets, male supplements, and leather smack gloves. There were floggers and spreaders and videos and books, and a few live shows in case you got bored. There were swings and slings, and full-on heavy-duty dungeon beds, in case you needed to make a statement and or tie up a bitch (gender here could be anything), and at least one guy was selling products with fur.

All in all it was a pretty good selection of gear for anyone who had the money, the time, or the inclination to get some gear. Even though there was hardly anyone in the market, and I was doing my damndest not to shop, it still took me two hours to go through the market.

And of course I ended up buying a pair of devil horns. I am, after all, the SaraDevil, and my last set had been lost without suitable replacement being found. Having secured purposeful accouterments, I wended my way back toward my home for the weekend and the dinner I was looking forward to having.