Skippy Boy Genius part 2
I can't believe my luck in meeting Skippy, Boy Genius. I feel like my fictional character, Betty DeLuxe, come to life. He's perfect for me. Here I thought that I should be looking for a disabled guy, but finding someone just as kinky as I am is even better. We can create any kind of role play--I can tie him up or blindfold him and pretend he is disabled without feeling guilty or ashamed. Just the thought of all the things I want to do with him is so exciting that I can't sleep. I mean I literally can't sleep. Each night I drift off only to wake up a few hours later, my mind racing with sexual energy. The first few days it's intoxicating, but after two weeks, I'm exhausted, burned out already and we haven't even done that much yet.
So far we've mostly been having vanilla sex, because we're both so wound up, we can't wait for the release. SM is all about building tension and teasing, and we already have plenty of that.
He comes over to my apartment when I'm just lounging around, wearing a light blue fleece sweatshirt. He snuggles up to me on the couch.
"Are you trying to drive me crazy?" he asks, rubbing his face on my chest.
For a minute I'm confused. I'm just in pajamas. Why is he acting like I'm in sexy lingerie? Oh right, the furry thing, I had forgotten about that. I put on the fleece for comfort, not to wind him up, but I love the idea that he's more turned on by a sweatshirt than by lacy panties.
Skip is still a bit embarrassed to open up about all his kinks, but I'm slowly putting it together. He's into fuzzy fabrics like fleece, but also vinyl and latex. He's really into mascot costumes, I guess because it restricts movement and is so oversized and clumsy. Or really any kind of restricting outfit, like corsets and boots, mostly on women. He talks about getting a mascot costume for me to wear. I'm not crazy about that idea, but since neither of us has any money, that seems a long way off.
My fantasies are a lot easier and more low-budget to enact, so we do that first. I buy some band-aid type stick-on eye patches at the drug store to use on him. These have the advantage of looking like medical devices and also stay put during sex, unlike blindfolds which inevitably slip off or gape at the bottom. I paste the patches over both his eyes and pretend he's really blind. We have sex in the usual way (already super hot), but this is only the start of what I have planned.
After sex, we both fall asleep, but I leave the patches on him. In the morning when he wakes up, he's still blind. Just watching him feel around for me in the bed turns me on. He asks to take the patches off but I say no. I lead him to my little table in the living room and make him wait while I make breakfast. I serve him tea and toast, watching as he feels the side of the plate, then the rough surface of the bread before putting it in his mouth. My heart starts racing. I want to keep him like this all day, to take him out for lunch at a restaurant with the blindfold still on. Just the thought of going out in public like this makes me feel flush, almost dizzy with excitement.
Except he's really not into it. Every few minutes he's asking to take the patches off. I tell him no in my best Mistress voice and he plays along until the start of breakfast, when he finally gets fed up and tears them off, taking some of his eyebrows with them.
"Come on, can't we play just a little longer?" I whine.
"No, this is too annoying."
My heart sinks a bit. I thought he was up for more extreme, long term role playing, but maybe not yet. We can work up to it.
It's ok, because unlike with Rollerboy we have more than just sex in common. As promised, Skip lends me a big stack of Daredevil comics starting with the Bendis and Maleev run. I'm blown away by how good it is, not just the storytelling, but the art as well. It's not the stiff old cartoony style, but more realistic and artistic. Matt Murdock looks sexy as hell, with his flat, scarred over blue eyes. Most artists don't know how to draw him differently than any sighted person, but Maleev really makes him look blind, from the scarred eyes to the way he holds his head and uses his hands. I read each volume over and over, and when I finish, I go to my local comic book store for the first time in years and get the latest issues. My devotee obsession kicks into high gear, and I can't get enough. Because my insomnia doesn't let up even when Skip is sleeping over, I crawl out of bed in the middle of the night to re-read more issues.
Selfishly, I'm loving the fact that Skip is between jobs right now, because it means he has tons of free time. We hang out together all the time, although he is not too impressed with my converted garage basement apartment. He points out the large pipe running vertically along one corner of the bedroom.
"You know that's for the toilet upstairs, right?"
I didn't know. I chose this apartment for a relationship I no longer have, but now I'm stuck here at least for a while longer while I complete my graduate degree. The Pakistani family upstairs still wakes up at seven each morning, which is a drag when Skip and I up until 2 am talking about the X-Men or writing Betty DeLuxe stories together.
I introduce Skippy Boy Genius to my writing partners Kara and Nam over email. Skip seems to be warming up to the designation I gave him, and he's really into our collective story. Soon he's contributing new chapters, which we write exquisite corpse style, with each one of us taking a turn over email. Nam seems really happy to have a new collaborator, and I'm thrilled that Skip is hanging out online with my oldest friends.
Sarah approves of Skip as well, because he is a Buffy fan. Coincidentally, Sarah has recently started dating someone she met on Nerve as well, a Mexican-American guy named Brian. He's ok, I guess. He's the whitest Latino guy I have ever met, and I'm not just talking about his appearance. He's super straight laced and uptight, but Sarah seems really into him. He's a big sci fi nerd like the rest of us, so we all get along. The four of us go on a double date to a Bruce Campbell book signing. The crowd is raucous and lively. It's so much fun to get swept up in the ecstasy of fandom with Skip and Sarah. Rollerboy would never have wanted to go to an event like that. Sarah was right, common interests really do matter.
When Skip has to move out of his fancy high-rise apartment, I help him out by letting him stash a bunch of his stuff temporarily at my place, including Eric the Fish. Skip seems very attached to the betta fish in its tiny bowl, and I'm excited to take care of the little creature.
"Just give him some fish flakes and change the water every few days," Skip says as he drops it off.
I dutifully change the water on the third day, feeling that I am doing something good by giving Eric the Fish nice fresh water. But soon his scales start turning white and sloughing off and within two days the fish is dead. I'm horrified.
To his credit, when I tell Skip, he doesn't get angry or blame me. He just seems really sad, which is almost worse. Apparently really is my fault for not letting the fresh water sit to allow the chlorine to dissipate. But Skip never told me! How was I supposed to know? I feel terrible. And somehow, I feel like this is a ominous sign for our relationship.
In the week before my debut performance with the Raser City Lyric Opera in the pivotal role of soprano chorus girl #6 in The Marriage of Figaro, the entire company including sets and costumes loads into the theater and we have rehearsals every night. For the first time, I get to see the entire show--all the leads, the costumes and wigs, the props and the set, and the full orchestra. The wigs are a bit ratty looking but the costumes are gorgeous and the leads are all fantastic, especially the young soprano singing the role of Suzanna. We're in one of the biggest theaters right downtown. Everything about it is exciting, from signing in at the stage door to the dressing rooms with the banks of mirrors with lights around them, to the feeling of standing on stage, looking out at the rows of seats. Every day I arrive extra early to have plenty of time to put on my costume, do my hair and makeup and hang out with the other women in the chorus dressing room. In between our time on stage, we go back to the dressing room for more chatting or eat junk food in the green room. When the Countess sings "Porgi amor" we listen over the monitors and sing along with her.
I get two comp tickets for opening night, and give one to Skip and one to Sarah. A few days before opening, Skip says to me, "Someone in your opera is in the Sub Rosa Society. They put the performance dates on the calendar of events."
The Sub Rosa Society is a local BDSM organization. I haven't been to a Sub Rosa event yet, but Skip has. It's something we've been planning to do together eventually. We both have a good laugh over Figaro being promoted as a BDSM event.
But now I'm really curious about who in the company could have gotten us on the Sub Rosa calendar. I ask around among the chorus women, but no one knows. The chorus men are in a separate dressing room, so I haven't really gotten to know them yet. The only one I know is Brenno, my baritone friend who I know from my old chorus.
"Try asking Ron," he suggests. Ron is a middle-aged bear with full sleeve tattoos, gold hoop earrings like a pirate, and a handlebar mustache--a big barrel-chested guy with a high tenor voice. He seems a likely candidate.
I corner Ron during a dress rehearsal. "Are you in the Sub Rosa Society?"
He giggles good-naturedly. "No! Everyone always assumes I'm into the kink scene, but I'm not at all."
I'm so embarrassed about stereotyping him but he doesn't seem to mind. At least he knows what I'm talking about without any explanation. "So who put our show on their events calendar?"
"Oh, that was Marty. He's the Sub Rosa director."
"You're kidding!" I had no idea we had such an exalted society member here in the ranks of the Figaro chorus. You could not have picked a less likely figure. Marty is extremely tall but bulky and ungainly, with unkempt curly gray hair--an IT nerd with little grace or fashion sense. I'm pretty sure Marty and Brenno are the only straight men in the entire company.
As I'm talking to Ron, Marty happens walk by, half dressed in his costume, his billowy white shirt open to reveal a very hairy chest.
"Hey," Ron calls out, waving him over. "Did you put Figaro on the Sub Rosa events calendar?"
Marty lopes over with a goofy, friendly laugh. "Yeah, that was me! It's my first show, so I wanted to make sure everyone knows about it."
He thinks it's funny that I'm the one who noticed the listing, because he would not have guessed I'm a kinkster either. But he knows Skip from some Sub Rosa events, and vouches for him as a great guy. "You two have to come to our next play party," he enthuses. It's so cool to get a personal invite from the director like this, but so strange and unexpected that my two worlds have collided in this way.
I'm still a little nervous on opening night, but everything goes smoothly. At the start of Act II, I run into the conductor in the green room.
"Hey," he says, "You're really good. Be sure to come back for the next show."
"Really?" I squeak. I'm stunned. I still feel very keenly that I am the least experienced person in the cast, and my main job is not to mess up so badly that I stand out.
"Yeah! You look good on stage and you're the only one who actually remembered all the stage directions the first time. Next show is going to be some Wagner monstrosity, so we'll need as many good people in the chorus as we can get."
I'm beyond pleased. Suck it, former chorus director promising me a solo then pretending to forget and giving it to someone else, and telling me I'm not attractive enough to play a diva.
After opening night, Skip comes backstage to meet me. We take photos together with me still in my costume, and Marty looming over both of us grinning. It's a photo of pure happiness.
In the second week of the Figaro run, my parents come to town to see the show. It seems a bit excessive that they would fly all the way across the country to see me in a tiny chorus part, but I'm glad they are excited for me.
I debate what to tell them about Skip, and consider not telling them at all, but I don't want things to be like before with Rollerboy, where I didn't mention him for almost a year. And I'm worried Skip will think something is wrong if I hide him from my parents. Besides, I think they will like him. So I tell them, but with multiple warnings that this is not someone "special," as my mother would say, which is code for future son-in-law. I repeat several times that the relationship is just starting, and I don't know yet if it will work out.
"Ok, I get the message," Mom says.
I take them to lunch at a hipster diner downtown on Saturday afternoon, and as arranged, Skip meets us there. My mother does not say anything about him being a shaygetz; I'm pretty sure she's just relieved he can walk.
The introductions and small talk go just fine, because Skip is a friendly, charming guy. After the food comes, though, my mother and I fall into a deep discussion of the movie we saw together the night before, Possession, which is exactly the kind of slow-moving, talky, intellectual historical drama we both enjoy. Also we both read the book a few years back, so there's a lot to discuss and compare. The conversation goes on for a long time before I realize Skip is kind of zoned out. I try to move on to more general topics but it's too late; he doesn't really engage.
The lunch goes politely enough but later when Skip and I are alone, he says, "That was kind of intense."
"You and your mom, it's like all this intellectual talk. I can't keep up."
"Come on, it's not that bad."
"And like the opera and grad school and everything. Why do you want to hang around with a dummy like me?"
Ugh, not this again! It feels like Patrick the Fireman all over again. "Stop it! You're not dumb."
He just sighs and doesn't say anything more.
Skip still hasn't found a new job. One prospect comes up, but he turns it down because the salary is too low. When I ask the amount, he names a figure twice the starting salary in my field. I think he's being awfully high and mighty for someone without a college degree, and in a job for which he--by his own admission--has no special training. Seriously, how is a web designer getting paid so much? Whatever, he's still collecting unemployment, so it's not a big deal yet.
I am still enjoying how much free time he has to hang out with me, but I don't love his new living arrangement. He went from a glam high rise right in the middle of downtown to a run-down 1970s era hippie shack shared with two other people in a neighborhood called Outer Reach Beach, which is exactly the opposite side of the city from where I live. It takes over an hour to drive there, longer if traffic is bad. His roommates are a hetero couple, both very nice, flaky artist types. While they are friendly to me, I feel awkward staying over, and there seems to be an unspoken agreement that we should keep sleepovers to a minimum. The apartment has a big open living room and kitchen, but Skip's bedroom is tiny, and crammed with all his stuff. The gabled roof creates a sloped ceiling over the bed, making the room feel even more claustrophobic. When I leave at midnight, my car, parked across the street from the beach, is crusted and sticky from salt water and sand in the humid air.
But we still have fun. One Saturday night we go out to a club event run jointly by the Sub Rosa Society and some local artists and performers. There's a stage set up in the middle of the dance floor, and the show is amazing--acrobats sliding up and down ribbons suspended from the ceiling, sword swallowers and fire eaters, and a guy who suspends himself from hooks piercing his back. The last act is a group of bellydancers holding votive candles in glass jars as they dance, the tiny flames flickering as they smoothly rotate around and around, as if their joints were all set on spheres. It's magical and I'm so happy to be there with him. I would never have known about this event if Skip hadn't invited me.
I've been reading up more on BDSM, trying to improve my skills. I buy a few books, but there are also a lot more websites than when I first started exploring a few years back. While looking at sites that give tips on DIY bondage gear and other practical information, I find myself clicking over to sites about kinks and fetishes of all kinds. I had no idea there were people turned on by things like popping balloons or sneezing. It makes my interests seem so much less weird and embarrassing than I always thought. In a way, it's deeply comforting to know how many other people there are with all kinds of kinks, for things I would never have imagined. I used to tell myself I could never, ever tell anyone about my attraction to disabled guys. I would have to keep it a secret forever. Now it's been a few years since I started being more open about it, but for the first time I really feel like it's not such a huge deal, that I'm not a crazy pervert weirdo. As I read more kink message board posts and pained advice letters, I notice a trend--so many guys keep their interests secret until they get married to vanilla women, then want to know how they can trick, plead or guilt their wives into indulging their balloon popping or sneezing fetish or whatever. It seems so sad to me. I swear I will never keep my devness a secret to a partner again.
It also helps to meet other kinky people. Skip takes me to a party thrown by some people he has met in the BDSM scene, all in their twenties and living together in a huge old Victorian house. The star of the party is a cute furry girl. She and Skip compare notes on their favorite fabrics, and she shows us a pile of her fake and real furs. Everyone wants to know more about what turns her on. It doesn't feel gross or voyeuristic, just like the others are genuinely curious. She's so happy and enthusiastic about her kinks, she makes it seem fun and cool, rather than gross and weird. For the first time I'm really seeing what it means to be kink positive.
In order to play more effectively with Skip, I upgrade my bondage gear. I realize the nylon pantyhose I used as makeshift rope on Buttboy will not cut it, and the real cop handcuffs Ewan gave me are uncomfortable and dangerous. I invest in a set of leather cuff restraints, a ball gag, nylon rope, and a riding crop. I take the crop with me when I go out with Skip to the clubs, then use it on him when we come back to my place.
I feel like he is a natural sub. The way he puts his head down and looks to the side when I'm tying him up or flogging him drives me wild. Guys who are not into BDSM always worry that I might attack them out of nowhere, but nothing could be further from the truth. There is no fun in an unwilling partner. But a guy who is truly a sub, who gets off on being told what to do and who feels pleasure in pain, that is rare and oh so sexy.
"I'm not a sub," he says, "I'm a switch," meaning he likes being both dominant and submissive.
"You are a sub," I insist. "I can see it."
He rolls his eyes.
Skip and I go to another event organized by the Sub Rosa Society, a special screening of this new film called Secretary. I don't really know anything about it, but Marty sends me a personal invite via email, so I book our tickets right away. The movie theater is the least glamorous venue possible, a small, second run multiplex in a half empty high rise at the edge of downtown. The lobby is filled with Society members, some dressed in full-on fetish gear, even though it's 2 pm on a Saturday. I feel very ordinary in my jeans and sweater. I just have time to wave hello to Marty from across the crowd, then it's time to go in.
Every seat is sold out, so Skip and I barely manage to snag two seats together along the side toward the back of the theater. I try to stifle my annoyance at our terrible seats and concentrate on the film, which is actually really good. I get swept up in the narrative right away.
About thirty minutes into the film, just as James Spader is starting to put the dom moves on Maggie Gyllenhaal, I hear this weird buzzing sound off to my left. At first I'm not sure if it's my imagination or what. I try to ignore it but during the quieter scenes it's unmistakable. I squirm around to look. Skip is sitting to my left, and next to him is a dowdy middle aged couple. The wife is wearing a dog collar, and I glimpse the husband putting his hand between her thighs. I look away as fast as I can.
"Hey," I elbow Skip, with my eyes trained firmly on screen. "Tell them to knock it off."
"No!" he hisses back at me. "This is a Sub Rosa Society event. They can do whatever they want. Just deal!"
This surprises me, but I don't want to miss any more of the movie. I do my best to tune it out, but the buzzing and heavy breathing and squirming go on for a long time.
The next week, I see Marty again at rehearsal. He asks me how I liked the event, with his usual goofy good-natured grin.
"So are we going to see you and your guy at more events?" he asks.
"Ah, I don't know. I really liked the movie but I felt kind of uncomfortable," I admit.
"Why? What happened?"
"Ugh, there was this couple sitting next to us masturbating with a vibrator the whole time."
"You're kidding! Why didn't you tell me? I would have kicked them right out."
"Really? Skip said it was fine. Afterwards he said I need to be ok with that kind of thing if I want to go to more events."
"No!" Marty looks genuinely pissed off. "That's not true at all! I wish you had told me. I would never have allowed that."
"Uh...ok. But don't you also have, like, sex parties?"
"Well yeah." The goofy grin returns. "But this wasn't a play party. It was just a movie, and that was totally inappropriate. Seriously, we want everyone to feel comfortable at all our events."
I feel vindicated, and I wish I had said something at the time. It's good to know Skip isn't as much of an authority on the Society as he claims. I promise to start attending more events.
Less than a month after the final performance of Figaro, I am back to twice weekly rehearsals for Lohengrin, the next Raser City Lyric Opera production. It's fun to be in rehearsals again, especially now that I've made some friends in the company, but it's hard to get excited for the show itself. We're doing a full on medieval setting, but the staging is so stiff and boring, and that stupid wedding march is so hackneyed it's almost embarrassing to sing with real words. Not to mention that I'm half afraid my parents will disown me for appearing in a proto-Nazi opera. Wagner was always forbidden at our house when I was a kid.
But as promised, the chorus this time around is a lot bigger, including some cool new girls in the soprano section. I also discover one of the older men in the bass section lives just a few blocks away from me, so we have been carpooling together. He's in his early fifties with a big bushy beard and a pot belly, a former cab driver now self-employed as a gardener and part-time poet. He's lived in Raser City a long time but he's originally an East Coast Jew like me so we hit it off right away. Commuting with him is fun--the minute I get in his truck he starts talking, which I assume is the cabbie in him. He even wears a flat cap like a cabbie.
It's so easy to open up to him, and not just because he talks a lot. He tells me all about his dating life, the woman he loved for twenty years but just couldn't marry. When they were together, sparks flew but they just couldn't stop fighting. He's been seeing other women off and on but no one else even comes close.
In return, I tell him all about Skip, not just the gooey romantic stuff but all about the kinky parts too.
"I gotta say, kiddo, he sounds like bad news to me," the gardener warns me.
I get instantly defensive. "Why? Because he's into the fetish scene? There's nothing wrong with that. Actually I think it's a more healthy way to work out our aggressions."
"No, not that. You're thinking long term but he's still on the rebound from his divorce."
"You're wrong!" I insist. "He told me he loves me! And besides, he already had his rebound relationship last summer before we met. He told me all about it."
"Uh huh." The gardener stares out the windshield at the traffic zooming around us on the freeway, then changes the subject.
I don't care what he says, this relationship with Skip is the best I've had in a long time. Maybe ever. There's just one problem, though, and it has nothing to do with BDSM or his divorce. It's my career. I've been coasting along in my graduate program, but now I'm supposed to be applying for internships overseas. I could be gone for a year or more. I had been looking forward to travel but now the thought just depresses me. I don't want to be apart for so long, but I can't give up this opportunity entirely for a relationship that is just starting. After a lot of soul-searching and negotiating with my advisor, I decide to apply for a six month trip. I can still have the internship experience, but Skip and I won't have to break up over it. Our relationship could withstand us being apart for just a few months. Maybe Skip would even come with me, or visit for part of the time. But I don't tell him about these plans, not after what happened with Buttboy, who got my hopes up by casually promising to come with me then admitting he never meant it seriously. And I don't want a repeat of Kevin, who told me after one month that he couldn't keep seeing me because I might move away in a few years. Only crazy people make long term career plans based on a relationship that is only a few weeks along. I'm hoping that if I wait to mention it to him later, I can plan for our future together but still appear casual and relaxed about everything right now.
I file an application for a short term trip and hope for the best.