East Meets West: Whips and Chains (They Don’t) Excite Me

I had been in Vancouver for about a year, and a pal of mine, enthusiastically, and as a total non sequitur over coffee asked me “Hey! Want to come to fetish night with me this weekend?”

“Sure, what’s the dress code?”

Hold the phone, huh?

I've never proclaimed to be a club kid. Sure, back in Kitchener, I use to hit the now-gone institution that was Club Abstract, the “Industrial” club, that played NIN and Tool and Bjork, and I would wear too much black eyeliner and got kicked out on Christmas day with my cousins. I sloshed around Sneaky D’s and Dance Cave in Toronto fueled with the insatiable vigor of youth and too much tequila. And Karaoke Kops and Lottie’s might have seen me not at my finest on George Street, yet I’ve always been more of a pub gal, tucked into booths making others laugh uproariously.

But now, I was in a new city, I could do and be whoever I wanted to be and the only way that I was going to experience this city is if I went out there and did just that. And that Saturday night, I poured myself into a pleather corset, made my hair big, and trusted my pal to be my white rabbit as this Alice fell into kinky wonderland.

Vancouver has a reputation of being the more liberal, hippy, all bets are off, you do you, part of the country, with all our weed smoking and nude beaches and all. I was becoming exposed to the total opposite of the nuclear family; non-monogamous relationships, kink, and fetish, topics that I had only read about in Dan Savages’ column, Savage Love. Vancouver educated me as I saw so many relational and sexual practices being challenged, celebrated, enjoyed in the flesh, as it were. Obviously these things clearly exist all over the country, just new to me and the new people I was meeting.

The club itself was full, not sardines packed in a can, but flush enough that I still had people apologize for bumping into me with their submissive. Initially, it was just another club, split level, dance floors and bars, flashy bright lights. What was the difference? Tons and tons of nudity, and everyone dressed in accordance with the dress code of the night, which is one of the codes of conduct to be permitted entrance.

The event I went to was hosted by Sin City Vancouver, which is still thriving away in this minxy city today. Yes, play is high on the agenda for an event but so is, all together now RESPECT AND CONSENT.

The Code of Conduct for events is as follows:

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Within my first 10 mins of arriving I had someone ask me if I wanted to be suspended and flogged. "Umm no thanks, I'm good". I was met with a flirty “too bad”, and left alone because I said no, how refreshing!

I followed the flirty stranger and peeped in on what was being offered to me; there was a full on dungeon with people being taunted and teased, blind followed and moaning, spanked and swooned over. So you know, there’s that. Oh look, my drink is empty.

I’ll say this; being there intimated me. Instead of being inspired by all these people who were so unabashedly being themselves, it reinforced that this wasn’t my jam, and even though I was wearing more clothes than most, I felt terribly naked.

The other facet, interestingly enough, it was boring. Everything was just hanging out. I'm not saying that I'm Victorian and seeing an exposed ankle is what really revs my motor, but mystery, allure, anticipation; that does get me purring. I enjoyed carrying on a conversation with some really interesting people, sometimes snickering internally that discussions of the latest thing we watched or read was done while a 6’4 tall man was basically just wearing socks and chaps.

I did, however, dance in a cage, cuz that is who I am, and the jams were good and I’ve got a bit of a go-go girl in me.

Well, Madonna, I'm still figuring out what it looks like to express myself not repress myself. Don’t worry, I still have that corset.