Friday, October 20, 2000

All I Really Need To Know About Leather/BDSM I Learned in Kindergarten

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #141, October 20, 2000)

The following was inspired by further reflection on the dungeon etiquette seminar that was the subject of last issue’s Leather Life column. I present it here with apologies to Robert Fulghum, who wrote the original All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten (Leather Life column published in 1989 by Villard Books, a division of Random House).

All I Really Need To Know About Leather/BDSM I Learned in Kindergarten

• It’s not nice to hit people (unless you have their consent).

• Don’t hog all the playground equipment. Take turns.

• Be polite. Learn to say “Please, Sir” and “Thank you, Mistress.”

• People will be more likely to play with you if you’re dressed and groomed attractively.

• Not everyone will want to play with you. Don’t take it personally. That’s the way the world is.

• You don’t have to play with someone if you don’t want to. And you don’t need to give a reason why you don’t want to play with them. A polite “No” is sufficient.

• If it’s not your property, keep your hands off. Don’t play with other people’s toys unless they offer them to you.

• Stay out of other people’s games unless they invite you to participate. Nobody likes a buttinsky.

• Basic sanitation is important. When you’re done playing, clean your toys and put them away. Keep the playroom clean, too, so it will be ready to go the next time you want to play.

• Curiosity is good. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s one of the best ways to learn.

• Learning is good. It will make you a happier person and a better member of society.

• Respect the people who supervise the playground. They’re not there to spoil your fun—they’re just trying to keep the playground safe for everyone.

• Learn the rules first before trying to break them. You can only color outside the lines effectively once you’ve mastered coloring inside them.

• It’s hard to play nicely with other people when you’re upset or angry. Sometimes it’s good to take a time-out and simmer down.

• Even the most energetic person eventually runs out of steam. When that happens, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break (or even a nap.)

• This is a free country. We all have the right to be ourselves, and we’re all entitled to our likes and dislikes. But other people are also entitled to theirs. If we all respect each other, even those whose preferences might be different from ours, we can all get along.

• Finally: If you can’t control the scissors, don’t run with them. You don’t want to put someone’s eye out.

International Mr./Ms. Deaf Leather 2000

PHOTO: Left: International Mr. Deaf Leather 2000 Buck Rogers (his real name). Right: International Ms. Deaf Leather 2000 “Black C.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Marcus Hernandez

More new leather titleholders: The tenth annual International Mr. and Ms. Deaf Leather contest was held on Friday, Sept. 22 in San Francisco as part of San Francisco’s Leather Pride Week (which culminated with the Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, Sept. 24). The new International Mr. Deaf Leather 2000 is Buck Rogers (his real name) of Washington, DC; the new International Ms. Deaf Leather 2000 is “Black C” of Tucson, AZ.

These new titleholders will spend their title year as highly visible representatives of the deaf leather community. You didn’t know there was such a thing? Try typing “deaf leather” into your favorite Web search engine—you’ll be impressed with the number of web pages your search will return. The existence of the deaf leather community speaks highly both of the general leather community’s commitment to inclusion and of the deaf leather community’s resolve to live life to the fullest without letting their hearing impairment get in the way.

If you want to find out more about the deaf leather community (and the deaf bear community as well), here are some websites to get you started: visit www.deafleather.com or www.bladeaf.org (the website of the Baltimore Leather Association of the Deaf).

Friday, October 6, 2000

Dungeon Class 101 and Drummer v2.0

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #140, October 6, 2000)

PHOTOS:

“Dear Mr. Manners, Sir: I was at a dungeon party the other night, and the most unspeakably rude thing happened. Without even asking me, someone picked up my brand new flogger— I hadn’t even had the pleasure of trying it out yet —and started using it on their submissive. I wanted to interrupt them and ask them to give it back, but they were enjoying themselves so much that I waited until they were finished. Unfortunately, I found myself fuming about it all evening, which rather ruined the party for me. What would have been a better way to handle the situation?”

That was only one of the scenarios explored at a dungeon-etiquette seminar recently presented by local kink group MSDB (which stands for “Minnesota Stocks, Debentures and Bonds,” but they’re not a financial services company—read the initials in reverse). The seminar attracted an audience of about 25, ranging from newbies to seasoned dungeon enthusiasts. A moderator and a panel of six speakers (including your humble columnist) started with an overview of general BDSM etiquette before moving on to the more specialized topic of how to properly conduct oneself in a dungeon party setting.

Following this, MSDB presented another seminar dealing with the issues faced by dungeon masters. These are the people responsible for maintaining a safe, sane, consensual atmosphere at a dungeon party—and doing so in a non-intrusive fashion. Once again, a panel of speakers discussed the basics before considering more specific situations ranging from the rude (people who hog the dungeon equipment and keep everyone else waiting) to the possibly dangerous (an inexperienced top who doesn’t know how to properly handle a bullwhip, but thinks he does).

As a bonus, both seminars featured excellent take-home materials that, by themselves, were more than worth the price of admission: “Introduction to Play Party Etiquette,” “A Guide to the D/s Lifestyle,” and “Techniques, Tools & Toys: Extreme Play FAQ’s.” These handouts were “a collaborative effort on behalf of TIES, MSDB, Beats_Me, Atons, Knights of Leather, et.al.”—all the groups represented on the speaker panels and in the audience. If you want to get your hands on those handouts, watch for the announcement of the next presentation of these dungeon seminars and sign up to attend.

MSDB’s next educational presentation will be its fourth safety class on Saturday, Oct. 21. Participants will receive instruction from a certified teacher of the American Red Cross (who happens to be kink-friendly). The morning class will be CPR for adults and the afternoon class will be general First Aid. Upon completion of the two classes, participants will receive certification from the Minnesota Chapter of the Red Cross; the CPR certificate is good for one year, the first aid certificate for two years. The class runs from 9 am to 5 pm with a break from 1 to 2 pm. Folks who need to be recertified on just the CPR portion can attend only the morning session (9 am to 1 pm) for a reduced fee. For more information, visit the MSDB website at www.msdb-mn.org or e-mail msdb-mn-owner@egroups.com.

International Mr. Drummer, version 2.0: “Reinvented”

PHOTO: Standing: International Mr. Drummer 2000 Daniel Clark; kneeling, International Drummerboy Richie Black.

PHOTO CREDIT: Marcus Hernandez

It gives me great pleasure to report that the International Mr. Drummer and Drummerboy titles are alive and well after the relocation of the contest from San Francisco to Florida. On Sept. 16, at the Sun Coast Resort complex in St. Petersburg, Daniel Clark of Indianapolis became the new International Mr. Drummer (IMD) 2000 and Richie Black of Phoenix, Arizona became the new International Drummerboy 2000. IMD first runner-up honors went to Randal Kinnear of Pawnee, Oklahoma; the Drummerboy first runner-up was Derrick Rojas of Baltimore, Maryland.

You may recall that last year an era ended as Drummer Magazine ceased publishing and the International Mr. Drummer contest was sold. By all reports this year’s contest got the new era of Drummer underway with an impressive production (it started with the Drummer Men and boy contestants making their entrances on motorcycles). According to International Mr. Leather 2000 Mike Taylor, “Throughout the contest you could feel the energy, this sense that Drummer was still going to continue. We were realizing that it was happening before us—that our past wasn’t lost, it was just being reinvented.” Happily, for International Mr. Drummer, the beat goes on.

Mr./Ms. Olympus Leather Contestants Wanted

Speaking of leather contests: Nov. 10-12 will be both the Mr./Ms. Minnesota Olympus Leather contest and MSDB’s second annual Bizarre Bazaar. First mark both those events on your calendar, then consider the fact that it’s probably time you entered a contest—if not now, when? This competition is open to all leather/BDSM folk and the focus is on the lifestyle, not the look. Contest organizers stress this is not a beauty contest—they are looking for folks who truly love the kinky life and are proud of it! Contestants will be judged on a fantasy presentation, leather/kink/fetish image, and how they handle themselves in social interactions. For more information, contact David or P.J.

Upcoming Leather Events (for Calendar section)

Atons Leather/Levi Night
Saturday, Oct. 14, 7 pm, Gluek Brewery, 16 N. 6th St. (at Hennepin Ave.), Mpls.
Presented by the Atons, open to all. Drinks at 7 pm, dinner at 7:30 pm. Call the Atons HotLine for more information and to make reservations. Information is also available at the club’s website: www.atons.com.