Flavor Of The Week: Hell Bent For Leather

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I was particularly delighted when a friend invited me to a Brooklyn lesbian S&M bar called Submit on the Saturday night before Memorial Day.  What better way to celebrate a national holiday, I thought, than by gazing at scantily clad women kicking the shit out of each other in their thigh-high leather boots? 

Hence, at midnight, after beers at a bar down the street, we found ourselves smoking and loitering outside an ordinary, slightly shabby apartment building on Fifth Avenue. Morgana double-checked the address.  Normally, she said, the events were held in clubs, or private rooms in bars or dungeons. I squinted through the glass doorway in front of her and saw a figure in black, sitting on a stool.  Morgana liked the sketchiness, and was amused by the nervous way I puffed at my cigarette. I had to explain that it wasn’t the prospect of beatings and whippings that bothered me, but rather the worry that we’d get inside and find a bunch of dykes milling around a cheese plate. I don’t do house parties.

I should mention, by way of full disclosure, that Morgana is not my friend’s real name. It is, however, her real dominatrix name. Although she took early retirement at the tender age of thirtysomething, she resurrects Morgana, or another one of her identities (oh, yes), whenever she finds herself in what she refers to as “the scene.” We recently went to Paddles, a dungeon in Chelsea, and hadn’t been there five minutes when a man came bounding up to us, extended his hand, and said “Hello. My name is Judas.” (Of course it is, I thought. If Judas was anywhere, he’d be here).  Morgana promptly introduced herself as “Leila.”

There were no Judases, only Judiths, at Saturday night’s Brooklyn bash. The invite made it clear that the party was restricted to lesbian, straight, bisexual, queer and transwomen, and transgender bois, boys, men and FTMs.  In other words, “If you were born male and sometimes wear women’s clothing or makeup, Submit is not your party.” This information was vital when, later that night, I caught myself trying to figure out if someone was male or female: Some of them had sideburns, while others had cleavage. But they were all, in some way or another, chicks.

I followed Morgana down the stairs and through a curtain. We were in a room with black walls and next to a large four-poster bed with black sheets (were they rubber? I didn’t like to go up and prod them. I might’ve disturbed the nubile lass perched on the corner.) We watched as a mohawked figure holding a riding crop leaned over her slave, who was lying face down on a bondage table. They were whispering to each other, and then the Mohawk barked: “Who are you talking to, your hands? Move them.” She then set about diligently cleaning up stray spots of blood from her slave’s back, using cotton pads and disinfectant. I sat back against a padded bondage tilt board and settled in to watch as the Mohawk produced a beautiful shiny hand knife, and began to run it up and down her slave’s flesh.

Morgana grew tired of the knife play, so we walked down a dark corridor with peepholes running along one side. I looked in, and was rewarded by the sight of bits of moving, unidentifiable, fleshy body parts. The air was full of moaning, groaning and bleating. We moved on to the chill-out room, where girls congregated around snacks. Behind them, a 300-pound naked woman was tied up and kneeling on the floor. She had what looked like a block of wood in her mouth. I immediately averted my eyes in what I realized was an ingrained, but misguided, sense of British propriety. My gaze fell straight—plop!—onto an Asian midget. Then I remembered my politically correct sensibilities, and I relabeled her as a little person from the Pacific Islands. She was head to toe (all 4 feet and change of her) in gleaming fetish gear, with elegantly buckled black boots.

We peeped in the final room, where a gorgeous chick in a black leather corset was lying prostrate on a bondage table, while a boi in a T-shirt that read, “assume the position” whipped her with a crop. The corseted girl moaned in a particularly satisfying porno flick way when she was struck. I took a seat, and shot a sideways glance at the tranny that had sat down next to me. She looked to be significantly older than the rest of the crowd and reminded me of someone’s Auntie Jean. Bravo, I thought, patronizingly. At least she’s getting out. Good for her. I turn back to look at the hot chick groaning, and then I got distracted by the lesbo porn movie playing in the corner.  Auntie left.

In the far corner next to an empty prison cell, a submissive had her arms tied up with chains and raised above her head, with her pants around her ankles. Two women were flogging her with a multi-tailed whip that, I noticed, didn’t quite produce the same satisfying sound as the crops did. It sounded like more of a thud than a whoooosh.  Thud.  Whoosh.  Ahhh.  

After five more minutes of assorted grunting and beatings, Morgana wondered if the fat woman was getting any play. We found her having her butt kicked by a muscle-bound butch. Morgana flopped down to watch, and, as my brain was full, I looked ahead toward another one of those black rubber-covered beds. This one, I noticed, was propped up by upside-down milk crates and had camouflage netting spread above it. Then I saw a tiny pair of black leather boots on the bed, sticking out from underneath someone in a black miniskirt. Holy shit, it’s the Asian midget. There was someone on top of her. It was Auntie Jean. Holy shit. The Asian midget reaches down and pulls down her tights, or her panties, or something. I looked away.

And then I looked back, because I figured that was my one chance in life to see this shit. Auntie Jean caught my stare, and held it. For some reason, I thought that my voyeurism rendered me invisible, but there I was, in all my vanilla finery. Fortunately, our eye lock was broken by an “Oh my God! You’re here!” as two girly types stepped between us to accost a friend on the other side of the room. “Oh my God! It’s been, like, forever!” They failed to notice the midget-granny coupling on the bed just inches away from their waists.

Morgana tutted. She explained afterward that such behavior was against “the rules.” Chatter was supposed to be kept to the chill-out area, lest you interrupt someone’s “scene.”  Other rules included: No booze, and no beating the shit out of someone until they are so out of it that they can’t even utter their safe word. She said that, above all, it should be a “sex positive environment.” All good, and interesting, but I wanted to know if Morgana was turned on by anything she’d seen that night. Not really, she said. I vocalized the thought that, if the same scenes were played out by, say, really hot Brazilian lingerie models, or lipstick lesbians, then it would be a different story. If this was a subculture of fantasies fulfilled, I wanted to know where I could get mine.

“That,” said Morgana, “you’d have to pay for.” She paused. “And you’d have to get naked.” Hmmm, I thought. More rules.

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