When you think of a BDSM club, what kind of place comes to mind? A place full of Gothic characters, wearing black spandex, spikes and too much hair gel, whipping anyone and anything to the beat of overly repetitive techno music? Maybe an old mansion far off from the road, filled with red silk drapery, black leather couches, women in absolutely nothing, men with Indiana Jones style whips attached to their hips and the scent of sex heavy in the air? Or maybe you think of ropes, Saint Andrew’s crosses, spanking benches and the screams, moans and giggles from various subs and slaves as their Masters and Mistresses flex their power over them. Whatever you think of, I bet (or hope) it’s clean, tasteful, respectful and a bit mysterious.
I’m not exactly sure what Master thought of before we went to the BDSM club here. I know what I was thinking though. I pictured an old mansion with many rooms and two or three floors. I pictured subs in collars, eyes downcast, ears tuned for their Dom/me orders and needs. I pictured clean, polished floors, soft couches, and lots of play areas. Ropes, leashes, handcuffs, and whips galore. In my mind’s eye I saw men and women conversing on the best way to train a sub, or how to handle certain misbehavior. I saw subs in training wiping down equipment, bringing people drinks and helping find a Dungeon Monitor if need be. I pictured etiquette, respect, honor and trust between members who have been there a while and those who wanted to come back.
When I thought about the owner (or owners even) I pictured someone highly respected in the community, who had the kind of natural authority everyone listened to. The kind of person who cared deeply for those who visited his or her club, and made sure that everyone was having a good time. I pictured order, organization and control from not just the person who owned the club, but the club itself. I could almost picture it so clearly that I could smell the mixture of wood polish, leather cleaner, sweat, tears and sex. I could almost hear the moans from a sub who has just reached subspace, the cries of the girl being reprimanded in the corner for not showing proper respect in public, the quiet voice of the Dungeon Monitor reminding someone of the club rules.
What I did not picture was an old dusty house that was falling apart at the seams. I never pictured used sex toys strewn all over rooms in a careless manner. Never once did I imaging the owner would be a pompous prick who wanted all women to be submissive and serve him. The thought of Dom/mes who only wanted someone to wait on them hand and foot never crossed my mind. Sure you get those kinds of people everywhere, but I never assumed there would be such a place where they all seem to congregate. I didn’t expect to find couches peeling from lack of proper care, bedbugs hidden in the folds of their cushions, or the distinct scent of musk and body odor pouring from the furniture.
There were roaches scrambling away in the kitchen, desperate to hide under another appliance, cup or plate. The grass grew so tall it made my thighs itch as we walked across the unkempt lawn. The entire place screamed “white trash” and “stay away!”. I half expected to find a rebel flag hanging in the backyard, across the garage or over the shed. I actually did see several unused, broken down cars in the yard.
The club members drank beer and wine to the point of tipsy, if not fully drunk. Most of the people looked as though they hadn’t seen a dentist or doctor in years, as though somehow we had stumbled upon the poor, downtrodden and kinky.
Master and I stayed for a few hours before we’d seen enough and had to leave in disgust. We kept hoping it would get better, that something would change. Maybe someone would jump out and say “April Fools! The real club is over here” and take us away from this retched place. There were a few people who were kind, gentle, welcoming and apologetic all at the same time. As though they knew this wasn’t the best place in the world, but it was all they had to offer. There were even a few people I actually liked, that I clicked well with but knew I would probably not see again any time soon. Truth be told, unless they go through a huge remodeling, Master and I will never be setting foot back in that “club” again.
We learned a lot from our first experience in a public BDSM place. We learned what we are and aren’t willing to tolerate. We learned what it is we want out of a club, what we expect and how high our standards apparently are. We learned that “public, all are welcome” kinds of places are probably more for those who have been kicked out of all the other places in town. Jay Wiseman in SM 101 talks about the 90-9-1 rule in BDSM. Out of 100 people you encounter in the BDSM world, 90 will basically be stable and sincere enough to handle BDSM, 9 will be genuinely interested in SM but too unstable to work out well in the organization, and 1 will be malicious, outright crazy, and/or dangerous. This club seemed to be full of 9′s and 1′s (as Master and I started calling them). We couldn’t help but wonder where the other 90′s would go in this town.
I am saddened by how much of a letdown this club was. I really had high hopes for such a place. Master and I hope that the good places here in our city are just the kinds of places that don’t broadcast their names. They’re the kind of ”private, invite only” clubs, and maybe that is why we haven’t found them yet. At least that’s our hope. Maybe we just didn’t look hard enough. Whatever the case, we will not be returning to this particular club and that saddens me a bit. Even though this was by far one of the dirtiest places I have ever seen, it saddens me that it failed so miserably to meet my idea of everything a BDSM club should be. It infuriates me that people are actually OKAY with this kind of place being the way it is. You should never be tolerant of the attitudes we had the displeasure of coming across here. Just because someone is submissive, it does not mean that they are submissive to EVERYONE. This club was like a flashing example of what you should avoid at all costs. It was full of the “Doms” your warned about, full of “submissives” who should be in therapy, not out and about. My heart goes out to the people there, but not to the degree that I would step in and fix any of it. This was like walking down the ally ways of Brooklyn Heights and expecting to find Tiffany and Company, The Plaza or Per Se hidden among the dumpsters.
I am certain that some people reading this will not be happy with my review of their club, but at the same time, honesty is what I am known for here. It has been weeks since we went to this club and I have tried to write this blog post a dozen different ways, desperate to find the good in the dirt, decay and debauchery we saw there. I had hoped that maybe I was just over sensitive, maybe my view of the club would soften over time, but I feel it has not. It is my deepest desire to find a place that Master and I click with, that holds up to our expectations and enlightens us to other sides of the beauty that is BDSM. But until then, my hope is that many of those we met at this club will wake up and realize how much better it could be, and then do something to change it.
What kinds of things have you found at BDSM clubs near you?
With deepest regrets and hopes that there are better places out there,