Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BDSM: Part III – All Hands On Deck at Paddles

In previous blogs I discussed some book-learning aspects of our BDSM Workshop for Writers hosted by Dr. Charley Ferrer. Now we get to the nitty-gritty: our visits to Paddles, the open BDSM club located in lower Manhattan, a thirty-block cab ride from the hotel.

Friday would be relatively quiet, Dr. Charley had explained, so we’d be able to explore the club’s features, ask questions, and talk with the owner as well as the sponsors of that evening, DomSubFriends, a New York City-based BDSM education/support group.

I didn’t know what to expect as we passed some of the ubiquitous scaffolding that seemed indigenous to New York City to reach an innocuous white door standing ajar, its inner surface painted simply “Paddles.”

I had written some mild BDSM scenes in my Ellora’s Cave books, but everything came from my imagination. This was the real thing.

My heart raced, my legs felt shaky as I descended an angled series of steep, narrow stairs to a true dungeon, complete with locked door and password. (The password was my name, which was one of eight on Dr. Charley’s list.) That password got my hand stamped, a welcoming smile from the attendant, and entry into a new world.

Dark. Musky with incense. A hard bass rhythm throbbing from hidden speakers. Folks wearing street clothes or leathers, milling around a small bar that served only water and soft drinks, murmuring greetings, getting acquainted or reacquainted.

In stark contrast to that everyday picture, directly opposite the bar a naked woman stood on a small stage, cuffed arms and legs stretched wide, her back to the audience. No model-slim figure, no silicone-enhanced chest, no salon hairdo, someone whose appearance wasn’t all that different from mine. My first reaction was, how would I feel in her place? Omigod, warts, cellulite and hysterectomy scars displayed for anyone’s eyes. Standing all alone. Awaiting her Master? For humiliation? Punishment? Delayed gratification?

No time to ponder. We were led to various points of interest:

The jail cell, where the ambidextrous Viktor waited with matching floggers to display his mesmerizing artistry on a willing subject or five. I was locked inside for a few uncomfortable minutes, absorbing the atmosphere.

The Chair, beams at shoulder level extending outward and sporting D-rings for binding arms to it, with an ingenious split seat on hinges that caused restrained legs to open wiiiiide.

Large wooden X’s, or Saint Andrew’s Crosses, up in the low-ceilinged loft and elsewhere.

Nooks and crannies and corners filled with devices, but no doors anywhere except in the restrooms.

On a long, padded bench with upright posts at the corners, I volunteered to be cuffed hand and foot (why not? I thought; at the time, only a handful of other players besides the intrepid eight populated the entire space). The thick, felt-lined leather cuffs were too large for me, and I easily slipped my hands through.

In retrospect, a submissive would probably have kept them where they were placed. Me? Not so much.

But before then, I did get antsy when Doctor Charley rucked my skirt up to my hips to uncover black bikini panties then undid the zipper of my top to show my fair-to-middling cleavage in the daring demi-bra I’d purchased from Purple Passion earlier that day. But hey, I was still overdressed compared to many.

It was my first BDSM experience. And I was determined to see it through. For research purposes.

And boy, did I experience. Doctor Charley bade me turn over onto my stomach, and I received my first adult spanking from a handsome young man. It was two or three minutes of fun. Tingly. Over too soon.

Wait. Did I say that?

Never mind. On to the flogging lesson.

A sweet-natured older man volunteered to be our target and eagerly placed his upraised hands on the cross. Dr. Charley demonstrated some techniques, including a how-to on the Florentine (floggers in both hands, much more complicated than the Double-Dutch jump-ropes of our childhood), then offered us each a turn at the volunteer’s back.

Trying to coordinate shoulder and wrist movement, keeping the impact rhythmic and fluid, and avoiding the lower back (kidney) area proved to be very tricky to us novices.

One of the most important parts of any impact scene, we learned (and put into practice), was periodically stopping to ask the subject if he was okay, assuring him we could stop whenever he said so while caressing his skin. And, bless him, he withstood all our fumbling efforts and appeared to enjoy it.

Cage at Paddles

Around midnight, Michael, the owner of Paddles, surfaced and answered our myriad questions about the club and the lifestyle. (The cage photo, from the Paddles website, is used with his permission.)

Then he took us next door to the private club Pandora, a warren of small rooms with lockable doors with red (occupied) and green (free) warning lights above, opening onto dim, skinny hallways. Guests at Pandora—high-powered career people who are averse to publicity, to having someone see their face— pay for the room and the services of a Dominatrix by the hour. Everything at Pandora is strictly private.

Some of the setups there:

A schoolroom with teacher’s desk, student’s desk-chair and chalkboard, and lots of paddles hanging on the wall.

A doctor’s examining room with all kinds of stainless steel implements, gurney and table, IV (enema?) bags and tubes, and a vintage wheelchair.

A padded “wrestling” room.

A medieval-looking chamber of horrors, including a rack, a dog cage, and a huge Katherine Wheel where the bound person can be turned upside down.

A Pilgrim-type stock with cut-outs that would hold head and wrists between two boards.

Our group’s favorite spot: an ancient Egyptian throne room, with soaring ceiling, a decorative throne up a riser of stairs, and pillars where Samson might have been chained after his haircut (except for the electronic suspension rig dangling above).

We left the club around two in the morning. As we stepped onto the street beyond the scaffolding, a taxi stopped right in front of us and discharged a fare heading into the club, which still throbbed with life. We grabbed it and headed to the hotel, weary and minds full of scenes for our books.

Don't forget to check out Kathy Kulig's blog; she'll be talking about Paddles and BDSM today, too. Next week’s blog: Saturday at Paddles, including waaay edgier play. Join me there, won’t you?

16 comments:

  1. I envy anybody that has gone to a club. Sounds like you had fun. :)

    Marika

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow Cris! What an experience. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It was fun and awesome. Thanks, Harlie and A.S., for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post, Cris! Very descriptive. I bet that was a fun research trip.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Loved reading this. It was most informative.
    Can't wait to see you soon!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I always wondered what those clubs looked like on the inside. Thank you for sharing.

    Janice~

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, how much fun that must have been. Thanks for sharing the experience with us.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I want to be invited to the next research trip. Sounds like you had a lot of fun.
    Thanks for sharing
    Lynda

    ReplyDelete
  9. LOL! I can see myself now, hung up on a scaffold with every inch of me bare...while all the club members screamed and ran for the exits, covering their eyes to avoid being blinded by the glare. (Not to mention the 60 pounds of extra weight). Nope...not for this old fart. You gals who look good in bras and panties are welcome to it. Snort. And Cris looks good in bras and panties...just sayin'...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you, everyone, for commenting. Yes, it was fun and educational. Fran, you would be surprised at the range of sizes in the bodies that were nearly nude in this place, and both the women and the men were totally unselfconscious about it. Nor did age matter. In both cases, an eye-opener to me.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great post, Cris. It's cool to read your perspective. It was a fun experience for sure and will help with the writing. Yes, people are very comfortable with who they are, very unselfconscious. And the people were also very friendly.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow, good for you...You might or might now be braver than I... Love to experience new things. Helps me with a book I'm doing now...Thanks..

    ReplyDelete
  13. You got your first adult spanking? I'm so happy for you. May you have many more to come, and not just for being a naughty girl ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi, Kathy, looking forward to your next blog about our weekend at Paddles.

    Jean, come back next week to see how brave I really was LOL.

    Thanks, Shoshanna, see you at Romanticon? Maybe we can compare notes *grin*

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh my - the whole experience sounds quite "exciting". Wish I was there.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Cris,

    As I recall you said something along the lines of "bring it on". So I merely helped you fully embrace your bravery. chuckles.

    Though all joking aside, it was an honor sharing your experiences and discoveries during my BDSM for Writers. And even more so, seeing you overcome your fears and apprehension to enable you to explore.

    I look forward to seeing you again at next year's BDSM for Writers 3-Day workshop. As you already know, every event will be different.

    Live with passion,

    Doctor Charley...

    ReplyDelete