From the Klein Bottle to Shibari, and back again

  As a lifelong student of Topology it is tempting for me to claim that my recent discovery of the ancient art of knots and ropes stemmed from the same mathematical interest, the link being the gracious curves of the rope as it is shaped into pentagrams, and other lovely sinuosities. This would be a shameful lie, and I am not enough of a “faux cul”, as we used to say at college, to sully this – mostly – honest blog.

Topology is a magical (the contradiction here, is but all superficial) branch of pure mathematics, with wonderful real world applications, and some surprising constructs. Take the Klein Bottle. This, goes the definition, is a two-dimensional manifold – as you may have guessed already. Well… it’s always looked pretty much 3-dimensional to me, but then, combinatorial topology proves me wrong with such ease… Topology is the art of continuous deformation in the plane: that’s a better definition.

The maths on all of this is far from trivial – at least to this blogger. However you may go back to the classical Möbius ring to get my meaning… They say that the edge of the ring is topologically equivalent to a circle: what could be simpler?

But I have to come clean: what inspired me to do a bit of research, as one does, on Shibari, was not, initially, the abstruse, intricate and beautiful way knots can be tied, but the sheer eroticism of Japanese damsels in distress, whose pictures ornate specialised art galleries and, inevitably, afficionados’s blogs. Shibari is merely the preferred western name for Kinbaku, the “beauty of tight-binding”.

According to Wikipedia – in this, as in most things, an inexhaustible source of priceless – and thus free – information, “The aesthetics of the bound person’s position is important: in particular, Japanese bondage is distinguished by its use of specific katas (forms) and aesthetic rules”…

 I have to admit to a particular fascination with this genre. The use of soft ropes and bamboo sticks, the artful, eerie suspension of roped, naked and endlessly desirable creatures, appear to me such a blend of medieval barbarity and exquisite delicacy, that it titillates my writing imagination (I hear your laughter, dear reader!) Seeing a master at work is a great visual pleasure, in the slow, unravelling demonstration of skills, the helpless submission of the victim (?), the explicit or semi-hidden nakedness.

Rooted in 16th century Hojojutsu, and ancient Japanese martial art, itself part of the Budo school of unarmed combat, Kinbaku is a relatively recent art form, revived by Seiu Ito, a Japanese painter, born in 1882.

Now armed with (some) knowledge of the subject matter, I am building my own Klein Bottle full of wonderful knots and ropes, I have even started pinning!

On the True Devastation of Social Stigma

 I meant to write on this ever since I read Gillian’s post of 24 May on this very subject. “For the entirety of my life”, wrote Gillian, “I’ve fought this pointless war of my urges versus societal expectation.” And this makes finding the “right” partner so much more difficult, as we hide “blue”. It may be tempting to take the “social science” route to approach the problem: individual desires – “urges” – versus society’s repression. Indeed the Freudian explanation for psychological disorders caused by the effect of repressed desires is well understood. However I wish to take a somewhat different angle on this, that of the writer, of a writer’s role. Gillian is a marvellous blogger, always interesting, and supremely honest. I suspect that she is also a very interesting fiction writer, although I am far too junior in this game to comment with any authority on her talent as writer: let me just say that I enjoy reading what Gillian writes, and the Black Door Press is one of my very favourite spaces on WP.

Coming back to the subject, we know since Lady Chatterley, quoted by Gillian, that tartuffery is alive and well, and not only in officialdom. D. H. Lawrence’s work had to wait until 1960 to be published freely in Britain! Of course we knew that before, and we all have met people who pretend to condemn and be shocked, whilst being as prurient as any in their demonisation of x or y: “ Did you see what she did?” Bigotry and prurience are time-honoured bed-fellows… One of the reasons for the continuing success of the so-called tabloid press must be the sulphurous appetite for the dirty details, and the prettier the celebrity, the uglier the details, and the more copies of those rags are sold. Those “papers”, their management, readers and censors do not represent “society”, they represent the contemptible end of it, to be polite. The collusion between politicians  – paragons of virtue as we all know – and the “media” has been exemplified by the current judicial enquiry in the UK.

But what of the writer’s role in this?  “Writing and sharing my thoughts on all things sexual”, writes Gillian (emphasis mine), “actually makes me feel like I’m contributing to breaking down barriers that cause so much pain in our lives.” This is, of course, at the opposite end of prurience: it is openness, honest expression of the true – or imagined – self. This clear difference – to oversimplify – between exploitative pornography and writing about sexuality, “marching for healthier fucking”, as Gillian put it, is honourable, and must be supported by all of us, great and small, in the writing community. But so is marching for saving the whales. Could it be though that exclusive concentration on the one single issue – am I showing my age here? – might make us miss the real target? How about homophobic tartuffes? How about agism? How about the demonisation of the poor (the “socially disruptive” of the British conservative press)? Am I mixing things up badly here?

I think not. The very barriers Gillian wishes to break down, have, in sometimes unpredictable ways, be consolidated by single issues interests. The taboos of D. H. Lawrence’s time have survived in even more nefarious ways: for example the refusal, by the mainstream media, to admit to the brutal exploitation of poor girls from the “liberated” baltic countries, in clean and democratic Sweden, as Stieg Larsson described in his best selling novels. What I am trying to say is that we have to be inclusive: “I’ve lived my life in fear and shame of my urges, my thoughts, and my desires” writes Gillian. But the diversity of urges, thoughts, desires, has to be respected also, now that some of the barriers appear to have been, if not broken down, seriously weakened. And, please, please, let us not forget that social stigma is often a smoke screen for exploitation.

Our fellow blogger, delightful and youthful Sextails, writes about hot and healthy heterosexual encounters: some may read her posts as innocent musings, others as risqué. Others write beautiful stories about gay love. Two characters in my unfinished, and probably never to be published novel – moaning now –  are, respectively, deaf-mute and paraplegic – and exquisitely beautiful. All those views are respectable. Yet if I write about BDSM, and the treatment of submissive human beings by cruel masters or mistresses, am I writing women (or men for that matter) as sex objects, as opposed to sex subjects? Am I guilty of that ultimate sin: being a Tartuffe myself, claiming the one truth while really supporting the other, that sex, in writing, films, pictures, merchandising or bodies, is a cheap and eminently sellable commodity.

“We need to drop our masks and embrace our sensuality, our sexuality and not settle until we find our compatible partners rather than trying to change to fit into a culture that is, at its core, dysfunctional and unhealthy.” I searched for Blue, and found her, but am I honestly fighting the dragons of bigotry and stigma as a writer? I am marching with Gillian, knowing I am somewhat dysfunctional myself.

Prelude

We are now in Summer, the Solstice has passed, and the rain is spoiling the rose garden. In the lounge, browsing the book shelves, I think of the day when Helena first came to my house. Helena… The thought of my beautiful and devoted novice fills me with pride. I recall the day of her collaring, when she and her sister Lucy became mine.

I have to start planning the precise layout of the party. We shall celebrate Lucy’s and Helena’s coming of age in splendour. I have invited thirty one Mistresses and their favourite subs, in total over one hundred guests. From experience, I expect eighty percent of the invited dommes to turn up, a few apologising for ill health, or simply fear of not being seen at their best. My parties are well sought after, and equally well remembered.

I look forward to seeing again some far away friends, exceptional beings, who share my tastes for beautiful and obedient subs and who make this community so alive and exciting. We meet only in those special occasions, when one of us has someone to celebrate: a new sub, a freshly minted slave, more rarely a wedding.

This time I have a special interest in one guest: a very tall and handsome domme, and old friend of mine, nicknamed the Ghoul, by uncharitable or envious rivals. Her official name is Mistress V. She’s written to me by return on receiving my invitation. She lives in Canada and we meet rarely, but always memorably. My friend is indeed special: she’s a very beautiful and attractive hermaphrodite. She will join us with her two most senior slaves: an albinos eunuch, named Roland, and an extremely rare specimen,  a blue-eyed, superb black female sub, named Melody. Both are exquisite acrobats…

Since this story is a shade outside the scope of this gentle blog, it continues where you, discerning readers, know where to find it… Enjoy!

Aftermath

 This feeling of emptiness is new to me. Helena is now collared, in a scene I have rewritten three times, and am still not totally happy with. Such is a writer’s fate. I enjoyed the story – not sure anyone else will, is they get a chance to read it that is – but I know I can still do much better with those characters. It’s 10k long, possibly a touch too long given the minimalist plot. There will be a follow up, whatever the fate of this first episode, I am just too attached to those people not to do it. Funny thing is, after finishing off the manuscript this morning and compiling it – thank you Scrivener – I’ve found lots of pics that would make up a nice illustrated version (dare I?) Well, another project maybe. But where does all this leave the novel? I am not too worried, it’s been a good break, and now I have new ideas for that little bunch too! I am a lucky fellow don’t you think?

#FiveSentenceFiction: Medicine

 Back at her place Helena felt drained and lifeless: meeting Mistress G had been a challenge, and she was not sure she’d achieved what she wanted, win her Mistress’s trust.

It was hard for her to balance charm and submission, she was afraid of appearing to flirt, to attempt to seduce, instead of what she wanted, learn, mortify herself, seek humiliation without being degraded.

She knew the older woman would see through her, and despite the evident interest she had for her, would not forgive hypocrisy, nor false pretence.

Then she had to tell Sarah about her day – and night – at Mistress’s house: her partner was immensely tolerant, but equally would not take half truths for granted.

She walked slowly to the bathroom cabinet: there was solace for her tortured soul, and, hesitating a little, she picked up the small box that contained sleep for at least six hours, by then Sarah would be back, and she would be safe again, in the embrace of her lover.

Mistress G goes clubbing…

 That evening I felt like going clubbing. That little place, near Mayfair, is just right for an intimate evening: good music, soft lights, good company, fabulous drinks. I take my senior sub Amanda, Manda for her Miss, with me. But, wait a minute, have we met before? Maybe not, so, let me introduce myself…

My name is Mistress G. Well, this is how my girls and other doms call me. My real name you don’t need to know. Enough to say that, in my professional life, I am a medical doctor, and a teacher of forensic science. My passion is to teach girls, young women if you will, the practice and mysteries of obedience and devotion. Yes, I am a “real” Mistress.

We arrive fairly early, a few couples dancing, the band plays smooth jazz, Chic Corea and other classics. Michael, the owner, leads us to a nice corner table, not far from the stage and close enough to the dance floor. S(h)e’s a sweetie, and, I am told, a devoted sub on her own right off work. Manda looks at me obediently, and on my approval look, orders herself a vodka orange. I stick with champagne. We savour our drinks and the music for a little while, observing. Manda’s very elegant, her grey suit enhancing her lovely shape and long legs. She wears her new collar with pride, with her name engraved in gold on the black leather. Her white shirt glows under the club’s soft lights. We dance: Manda is a superb dancer, and she has style, both being led – evidently – or leading. Salsa, bebop, jitterbug, rock, she’s perfect, and, of course so am I… The club is filling up now. The band plays Miles, it’s a slow. Manda asks silently, and I let her place her arms around my shoulders. The closeness of her body, which I know so well, my property after all, inspires me.

Suddenly I see them, a couple who must have just arrived, and who went directly to the dance floor. They are almost enlaced: the tall girl who’s leading is striking, leather clad, but refined, not punk, her face framed by flamboyant red hair, strong hands holding her smaller friend tightly, impervious. Domineering she is, although probably not a dominant, but I am guessing. Our gazes cross, she smiles: a roman profile, beautiful, voluptuous lips, as she reaffirms her ownership of her pliable partner. But it is the sight of her friend that goes deep into my Mistress’s heart: the delicate pale face, the dark large eyes, the short black hair, the delicate silver necklace around the slender neck. I sense Manda’s observing her too. Time for introductions? I wait a little, the band moves on to Chuck Berry, in one smooth and firm move the tall girl comes closer, still holding her friend with one hand, and asks me: “Do you mind us joining you at your table?”

Manda looks at me, hopeful. I smile: “It would be our pleasure”. We sit down, Michael, who observes everything, comes to us immediately, beaming, and takes more orders. The tall woman introduces herself as Sarah, and her friend as Helena. I do the introductions on our side. Manda drinks Sarah’s words, who explains that they come rarely to this place, but may come back again, because of the music, and the company, she adds with a wolfish grin. I smile, ask Helena what she does. It is clear who leads in the couple, but she’s no sub. She answers me directly: she’s a freelance writer while her partner, Sarah, works for the health service. The calm dark eyes dip into mine: my mind is racing. Helena works from home. Sarah works long shifts. Sarah and me exchange a few jokes about the medical profession. She’s noticed Manda’s collar but does not ask any question. Helena wears a thin blue, long-sleeved, cotton dress which does not hide her features: she’s a delicate beauty, and I have to exercise control not to fix her steadily. Sarah offers Manda to dance, Manda looks at me and I acquiesce, quickly and discretely. The two of them disappear through the little crowd of dancers.

Helena’s looking at me, smiling: I stay silent, admiring her mouth, her lips, the fine beauty of her face. “Amanda’s your sub isn’t she?”, she asks playfully. And she continues without waiting for my answer: “I have always wondered what it feels like to be a sub to a Mistress like you”. Mind over body, I repeat the mantra, controlling my breathing. If this is not an invite what is? Yet I refrain from jumping: I wait, smiling my Mistress smile to this elven creature. “How many girls do you have?” asks Helena finally. I invite her to dance. She is not a good dancer: she’s an exceptional dancer, evidently professionally trained. We rock: her feet hardly touch the ground. A few couples stop to watch us. I am aware that Helena’s eyes haven’t left mine, as I lead her through 50’s classics, already knowing that I want her, not to play, to own. “Sarah’s not jealous, she knows am hers for ever” she says matter-of-factly as we start a slow to the tunes of Patricia Barber’s Verse. “Would you accept an invite to my place?” I say finally, forcing my way through caution, sensing the shape of her not merely ethereal body in my arms. She looks at me and says with a crystalline laugh: “I was wondering when you would ask…” She gets closer to me, her thin arms around my neck, so warm, I can feel her heartbeat. She’s a top prize for sure. Thoughts of enslaved Aphrodites pass through my mind… Mind over body, slowly zen breathing…

Back to the table Sarah and Manda are in a deep conversation about sport and female athletes. Sarah smiles a direct smile at me, and as Helena and Manda disappear to the ladies, says in the most charming voice: “Helena wants to know you, and possibly will submit to you. I have no objection, even to you collaring her, as long as you don’t seriously hurt her. If you did, I want you to know: I would kill you.” She’s smiling, serious, I sustain her gaze, smiles back: “I don’t know how you met, and it will not be my wish to interfere with you as a couple. However if Helena becomes my sub, she will remain my sub for a long time”. We look at each other, silent for long minutes. Then Sarah raises her glass to our friendship. We toast, she gives me her phone number and says Helena is at home most days, unless she’s training at her dance club, or attending some newspapers meeting. I give Sarah my card. Then we dance: for the first time, for a long time, I have the feeling of dancing with a rival.

Later that night, with Manda at my side sleeping the deep sleep of a satisfied sub, I think of Helena, and imagine her initiation.

To be followed…