Waitress

IMG_8964Northern France. August. Thirty one degrees and sunny. The town square laid out like the scene for a GCSE role play – charcutier, boulangerie, tabac, pharmacie – and barely any of it open for business.

‘Role play.’ The very words make her squirm, and he knows it. He is eyeing up the sign outside the shuttered bar, a busty blonde with cartoon blusher holding a board with holiday dates crudely chalked up on it.

‘Shame,’ he says. ‘I could just fancy a beer.’

They are staying in the hotel on the town square, just for a few days, and she can tell he’s itching to cause trouble. Trouble for her, that is.

She has a friend who likes the role play thing. Who frequently plays at being strangers with her boyfriend in the bars of top London hotels, only to fuck in a huge room, with a big bed, and an equally huge bill at the end of the evening. It sounds fine, she thinks, but it lacks the possibility of humiliation. Sadists trump strangers, in her opinion.

They head back to the room, and he rifles through her luggage. He finds a pink shirt, a short skirt. He lays them out on the bed. And then, without explanation, he disappears again, the heavy door slamming loudly shut behind him.

When he returns, he’s carrying a bag from the toyshop, which, inexplicably, *is* open, and a scuffed metal tray with a white cloth, two beers and two glasses. He makes her change into the shirt and skirt, without wearing a vest underneath, as she usually would. Her tits strain against buttons unused to containing them. The bag contains a plastic, jewelled tiara, meant for a little girl. She fights the urge to giggle.

He puts her hair up himself, pulling it tight before he secures it with an elastic, a promise of good things to come. Her NARS orgasm blusher, though, serves his intentions poorly – he cannot rouge her up in quite the cartoon style he’d like, but he does his best, and when she sees herself in the mirror she is duly amused and horrified in equal measure, because she suspects this spectacle won’t be confined to their room.

He fashions a makeshift apron from the cloth on the tray, asks her to step into the highest heels she’s brought with her and says, ‘J’aimerais deux bières au square, s’il vous plaît, mademoiselle.’

His French is good, but she has to force herself not to laugh at his accent. He’s not, she reminds herself, the one who’s supposed to be being humiliated here.

She gives him enough time to get downstairs and settle himself in. To be totally honest, she needs the time to psych herself up. She goes to the window, and looks out, trying to calculate the worst case scenario. There are very few people around, and from this angle she cannot she the tables where he’ll be sitting, but she can see an old man with a little dog, who she fears will wave his stick and shout at her only to then fantasise about her for weeks.

The stairs, narrow and winding, are tricky. The combination of the tray, which means she can’t see her feet, and the heels, make her anxious. But she makes it safely down, and is rewarded with a mercifully empty bar.

In the square, it takes her a while. She is looking for a single guy, but what she finds is a man – her man – sitting with a pretty blonde. She freezes. He beckons her over. He takes the beers, puts a 10 euro note on the tray. The girl he’s with looks bemused. She glances up. The old man looks away, pained.

And she scurries back up to the room, where she will wait, alone, for almost two hours, wondering if they are still just playing.

 

 

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Legs under scrutiny: on submission, stillness & movement

‘I have shorts you can borrow’ my mum says.

Ugh. I hate shorts. Why can’t I wear capris, like I do for exercise, or these super cute flamingo pyjama shorts that I’ve wanted for ages (ok, the physio might have laughed at those).

The truth is, it’s probably not the shorts that are bothering me.

I get accused a lot, by some of my real life friends, of being super vain, by which they mean, ‘I saw you just walk past that shop window and check yourself out.’

Except, I’m not checking myself out. Or at least, not in the way they think I am. It’s true, that when passing a mirror, or a window, or any reflective surface, my reflex is to examine myself in it. But I’m not checking to see if I look good. What I’m looking for is threefold:

a) Do I feel passably attractive today?
b) Do I look fat?
c) Am I walking in a way that people will perceive as ‘normal’?

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know I’m not good at looking away, literally or metaphorically, from the things that upset me and/or make me anxious. You’ll know too, that I don’t like my body and that I believe my disability and my submissiveness are intrinsically linked. But what I don’t think I’ve touched on is that one of the things that fascinates me about submission is how often it’s associated with stillness.

And I’m both drawn in by that, and increasingly interested in inverting it.

I was thinking about it today, at the first serious hospital appointment I’ve attended to assess my hemiplegia in twenty years. As the physio explained how the two hour appointment would work – measuring my legs, testing my strength and dexterity, fitting sensors all over my lower half to track my movements – the same old issue was bothering me.

‘Do I have to see the stuff you’re capturing? I really don’t like video cameras.’

‘Not if you don’t want to. Most people find it interesting, though. Gait is very distinctive and lots of people recognise theirs on screen as soon as they see it.’

Yeah, I thought, that’s exactly what I’m worried about.

As it happened, it wasn’t that bad. It turns out you can walk up and down a room endless times and avoid eye contact with everyone present. It turns out that when you see footage that’s essentially just a series of computer-generated lines and dots for your legs, with a triangle for your pelvis and nothing above it at all, it’s not too hard to disassociate that with the body you’re uneasy living in. It turns out that you can live with the limp the way it  looks on screen, even if your left leg does swing through without bending, not unlike the foot in Mousetrap.

It turns out you can leave with a different perception of your disability than the one you went in with- limp not as bad as you thought, but left ankle strength only a 1 out of 5 – and also wondering why you’re not getting to the heart of the way that makes you feel in your fiction.

I wrote a story last year where the FMC shares my condition. In that story, she and her partner invite another man into their bedroom in order that she’ll understand that she’s desirable to men other than the one she’s with in spite of her disability. I’m thrilled it was published, and I’m proud of it, but it fails to engage with the reality of disability and kink as fully as I’d have liked.

Back to the question of being still. When I’m submitting, the act of submission has never been characterised by stillness. I’d freak out if a man wanted to find me waiting for him on my knees. I don’t really see the appeal of rope bondage. I like to be held down, but only if I can struggle against the restraint: I like sex to be rough, out of control, blurry: sufficiently chaotic that neither he nor I can focus on the way my body looks or moves, essentially. Because even kneeling, although it ostensibly means staying still, requires that you can move in a certain way, and I’d want to do it gracefully and independently, not have to lower myself down and haul myself back up by the nearest surface or available hand.

So yeah, I want to write about that, because although it makes me uneasy, anything which makes me uneasy also has the potential for power-dynamic and humiliation play, things which I’m always keen to explore further – and fiction, after all, is a safe space in which to do so. And I want to push it even more – because if I’d be risking humiliation if a guy asked me to drop to my knees, I’d be risking it even more if he asked me to pace the room back and forth while he watched.

I want to play with those ideas of movement and motionlessness in my stories. I want to confront the things that scare me about my disability and that I’d love to overcome through kink, and work them right in there. Keep reminding me. Ask if I’ve written about it yet. Suggest new ways I can approach it. And, if stillness is central to your kink, please consider leaving a comment explaining why it appeals to you. Because, like I said, it fascinates me.

 

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Burning

I’m on my knees and it stings. Cold concrete and gravel dig into my skin. Am I hurt? I have no idea. I’m bleeding a bit, certainly. There are little red pinprick dots on my teal linen dress. There’s the shock factor, too: a second ago I was upright, sauntering across the road and now I’m a crumpled mess, all burning palms and tears welling.

I fall often, probably once a month at least. I’ve stumbled home with laddered tights, tripped off the edge of a pavement and landed sprawled across the road, right in the headlights of an oncoming bus, loose change and the occasional tampon spilt across the Tarmac. Women (it’s always women, and for that I’m kind of grateful) rush to make sure I’m ok, and I try not to cry. Please, please don’t be nice to me: I’m ok, I’m not broken, I’m just so, so embarrassed. I pick myself up, dust myself down and get on the bus (because that’s the second rule of buses, dontcha know: three come along at once, and if you fall over in front of a bus it’ll always be the one you subsequently have to get on, grit your teeth and deal with the driver’s concern. He did almost run you over, after all.)

In short, when I fall, the physical pain and damage is pretty much the last thing to register. The first is the shock, and the second, hot and unshakeable, is the shame. I burn with it for days after the event, inspecting the heels of my boots for unevenness, mistrusting my every step. If only no one had seen me do it…

And yet at home, tucked up warm in bed, shame is one of the predominant emotions I seek out. I flick through the pages of erotic novels looking for just that: the moments where a character not only submits but allows herself to be shamed, humiliated. Where that shame and humiliation makes her come.

It makes me come too, despite being my greatest fear in real life. Or perhaps *because* it’s my greatest fear. Either way, the burn of shame is both agony and ecstasy, all at the same time.

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