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On the subject of labels

#dating #rant #bdsm #personality #labels #kink #newyork #nyc #onlinedating
Having travelled back to the UK for Christmas this week I am a little behind on writing up amusing date stories. As an interlude though I thought I would offer up a brief opinion piece on something I've been thinking a bit about lately. As the title suggests it is on the subject of labels. (Ok it ended up not being that brief... I got caught up in the flow...)

People seem to like sticking labels on each other, in fact it almost seems telling people they're a 'type' of person, or assigning one's own personality to a particular brand is becoming a modern obsession. Labels come in all shapes and sizes. You might say someone is an 'extrovert', a 'slut', a 'type A personality', a 'masochist', a 'liberal', a 'Republican', a 'control-freak', a 'border-line personality' etc etc. You might even get all wishy washy and type people by their astrological sign, or all pseudo-sciencey and assign someone a series of letters based on how they score on a personality test.

In some sense, using labels for people like we use labels for other objects seems like a reasonable way of making sense of the complicated world we live in. When interacting with our peers, it's useful to be able to predict how they will behave in different circumstances, and it’s an attractive idea that you can pre-empt someone’s future actions based on the limited things you know about them already.

However, I would like to propose that all existing systems of personality categorisation are pretty much always worthless bullshit.

While some labels may have value for quickly summarising a small number of personality traits, I think the general idea that personality types are a useful way of summarising people is like an infected thorn embedded in our social consciousness. It’s a way of thinking that has been around for so long that we assume it serves a function and its merits are too rarely questioned.

I wonder if the popularity of labelling people is due to a human desire to be in control of all the information in our lives, and if we can't assign everyone to neat little personality categories this messiness makes some of us uncomfortable somehow. Perhaps some folks just need to put those rubber stamps on people, however inaccurate or misleading, just because they don’t want to deal with the amount of thought required for gaining a real appreciation of all the nuanced characters they encounter out in the world.

I think it's fair to use labels to summarise behaviours, e.g. saying things like: "Dave has a masochistic side", or "Jeannie was acting slutty last night"[1]. However the critical thing is always recognising that a specific personality trait is just a small facet of any person, and to label a whole individual, e.g.; "Dave the masochist" or "Jeannie the slut" is a toxic way of thinking. Many people also lack a certain empathetic plasticity in how they deal with other humans, and once you assign someone a label it's as if they can somehow be written off; "Dave's a masochist. Masochists like pain. Something just fucked him up when he was young. I don't need to acquire any further understanding of Dave as I know what Masochists are like, therefore I know what Dave's like." Or more simply: "I don't like Masochist's, so I won't like Dave." It takes a certain kind of arrogance to make these assumptions, and it’s an arrogance that I fear is all too prevalent. We should never underestimate someone’s capacity to surprise us.

When I say personality categorisation is worthless bovine excrement, I'm not trying to imply that it’s impossible to put people into loose groupings based on similar traits. However, what we need to acknowledge is that personalities are made up of a very large number of behavioural tendencies. People's tendencies then fall somewhere along various analogue spectra, and can often shift position unpredictably. As I see things this makes it completely impossible to draw solid lines around groups of individuals and tease them apart from the grand fractal tapestry of human nature.

Someone might argue that there's some usefulness in trying to make simplified 'digital' groups out of these 'analogue' mixtures, but in my opinion a filing system where someone can be in one folder one day and a different folder the next is a waste of time. Why not just give everyone their own folder? Then add notes as you get to know someone and not before.

I think it's particularly important to stay away from personality labels when dealing with sexuality and sexual interests, just because there are so many prejudices floating around out there.

For example, when I talk about sleeping with someone on the first date, often people imagine that I must have been on a date with a certain "type" of girl. Sometimes the reflex response is "I'm not sure they'd be my type" or "I'm not that type of girl"... Fine you want to get to know someone before sleeping with them, I can see many arguments to support that, and I used to think that way myself. However, fuck the assumption that there's a specific "type" of girl who will sleep with a guy on a first date. Also don't think for one second that promiscuous behaviour can predict one single thing about the rest of their personality.

Of the people I've been out with[2], and the small subset that I've slept with on the first date, I couldn't put any two of these girls in one single personality category. In fact, there have barely been any similarities between them at all. Some might assume that my kinky sex profile might also attract a certain subsection[3] of the psychological strata, and that girls interested in being dominated might all have key traits in common. However, instead I have met a genuine diversity of individuals through my kinky profile. Several girls self-identified as "type A" personalities and considered themselves dominant in the workplace etc, but some girls were more quiet and submissive in their mannerisms. In fact most were just laid back normal people. Some dates might describe their personality as more dominant or submissive (as if they HAVE to be one or the other), but they often struck me as pretty well balanced. Thus, I have concluded that there are no hard and fast rules about the sorts of people interested in kinky sex, and no soft and slow ones either.

My general conclusion to this diversion then is that everyone really is an individual. Our multitudinous human traits make it impossible to meaningfully categorise anyone as a ‘type’. For some reason, people seem to like assigning themselves to categories. The simplest one being "Am I a good or bad person?" Fuck that shit, you’re just a person, you can be a person who does good stuff or one who does bad stuff, and that can even depend on the kind of day you’re having. You're just you and no label is ever going to capture that.

You may like this philosophy or you may not, but personally I can’t help but think that all this human complexity makes the world just that little bit more exciting to live in.

[1] The word 'slut' and prejudices against sexual active people deserve ranty asides all of their own, but for now let’s focus on the general notion of labelling people.
[2] The chapters of this book don't do any of my date's justice. I can only show you a few small facets at a time, and also it doesn't help that I forget a lot of the interesting details from conversations we had.
[3] Pun not really intended… but I’m going to leave it there anyway.

Disturbing the neighbours part 2 (the steamy part)

#BDSM #bondage #kinky #sex #love #dating #NewYork #onlinedating #Englishman #chains 

While Allie's jeans had evaporated, everything else remained in place. She leaned briefly against the door frame, perhaps attempting to strike a seductive pose, which would have worked better if her thick cardigan and spindly legs didn't make her look so top heavy.

She picked up her glass of wine and wandered over to the window.
"You do have a nice view," she commented.
"Well you're definitely enhancing it," I replied.
I joined her at the windowsill and, standing behind her, I grasped her firmly with my arm across her chest and pulled her body back against mine. I ran my spare hand up her bare leg and took a forceful hold of her cunt. My other hand moved up and locked itself around her throat. I squeezed there in that violently sexual embrace.
"Shall I bring out the chains?" I whispered in her ear.
"Mmhmm," she replied.

I walked over to the wardrobe and pulled out an innocuous looking cardboard box. I kicked it so it slid across the linoleum floor. It toppled as it hit the edge of my rug, and spilled its jangling contents by her feet. I walked back to her, took her glass of wine out of her hands and put it on the side table. Kissing her on the cheek and neck I ran my hands over her body and pulled her jumper and shirt up over her head.

"Get on your knees," I instructed.
She did as she was told.
"Put your hands behind your back."
She obeyed.
I wrapped a length of chain around her arms, around, and around, and around. Then I padlocked the two ends together, making sure they were tight enough so her hands couldn't wiggle free.
"Now you're mine to play with...
…But where to start?"

Seriously, I didn't know where to start... I was a little too excited over all the possibilities and I couldn't decide where to begin. 'Spanking,' I thought, 'let’s start with spanking... everyone loves spanking!'

I bent her head down to the floor and took my hand to the curve of her smooth white behind.
She seemed to enjoy the blows from my palm, but after a little while she complained,
"My knees hurt."
"Let’s move to the bed then," I said, grabbing her elbow to lift her up, drag her forward, and fling her face down into my mattress.

"But now you get the belt to punish your complaining!" I said, unbuckling it from my waist. Folding it in half I let fly at her bare curving flesh, and it made satisfyingly loud slapping sounds. She gasped as the blows rained down, but she didn't tell me to stop.

I worked her like that for a little while, judging from her gasps how hard to hit. I could have hit her harder... but it was only a first date after all! Finally I decided she had earned a reward, so I turned her over and stuck my hand in her panties[1], exploring her fully.

Leaning over her while doing this, my instincts got the better of me and I kissed her briefly on the lips. I quickly remembered the rules and begun to withdraw, but her lips followed mine. I pulled back anyway and gave her a playful slap in the face.
"Mmnhhh," was her only response.
I slapped her again, and then I pressed her face down hard against the mattress with my slapping hand, finger fucking her hard with my other.

"I need to go pee!" she said suddenly
"Don't judge me! You can leave my hands chained together though"


I lay on my bed listening to the muffled sound of jangling of chains coming from the bathroom as she tried to manoeuvre, followed by a flush. 'Well, I guess this date is going well,' I thought to myself.

When she returned to the bed I told her, "I'm not letting you get away from me anymore. Time to chain you down!"

I lay her on her back and began to wrap chain around her right ankle. "Oh wait. I should probably take your underwear off first!"

I hastily pulled them down and flung them onto the floor. "Now back to securing those ankles."
I wrapped and padlocked the chain around one ankle, then around several bars of my metal bed frame, then around the other ankle, where I locked the last ankle in place with a second padlock, securing her legs wide apart. I did the same with her wrists, making sure to remove her bra beforehand. The chain made loud clattering noises against the bed as I threaded it through.

After I locked her last hand in place I took a blindfold and placed it over her eyes. "Now you're completely at my mercy…" I whispered, running my hand firmly across her tits and down to her pussy, "... I can do anything I want to you and there's nothing you can do to stop me." After teasing her gently I withdrew my hand. "I'm going to let you lie there and think about that for a while…" I said, standing up off the bed.

In the darkness of her blindfold she must have heard the sound of a match being lit, and smelt the mix of sulphur and paraffin as I ignited the wick of a thick candle. She would have then heard the pad of my footsteps as I wandered away into the kitchen.

When I returned, she would have felt the mattress shift beneath her as I knelt on the bed, leaning over, pausing to let her mind imagine all the possible painful sensations she might be about to experience... any second…

Next came the sting of cold wet ice running over her nipples.

"Nnuuhh," was the noise she made as I ran the cubes down her body and over her clit.

"CLINK CLINK CLINK... CLINK CLINK CLINK." was the sound the chains made against my bed as she strained against them... but there was no getting away.

When the candle had built up a nice pool of molten wax, I scooped the half melted ice cubes off her shiny wet body, and picked up the candle, hovering it above her.

"Are you ready for a little candle wax?"
"Maybe...?" came the uncertain response.
"Now this is going to feel like it's burning, as it's quite a high temperature wax, but I've tested it on myself, and it doesn't actually burn you."
"Can you do it from high up?" she said, "last time I did this I was rolling on ecstasy, and I didn't realize I was getting burned… But if you do it from high up the wax has time to cool."
"Sure," I replied, "but this wax didn't burn me so you should be good[1]."

I held the candle high above her belly and tipped it slowly. I tipped it a little further, then a little further... then a little further... Finally a thin stream of hot wax spilled out and downwards... splashing over the bed sheets beside Allie and missing her entirely. I attempted a second pour from a little lower and this time thin drips of white wax were soon strewn all across her stomach.

"Uuunnhhh!...  MMMNNHHH!!..." she vocalised as I laced droplets across her tits and down her legs.

"CLINK CLINK CLINK... CLINK CLINK CLINK," went the chains, as she writhed, trying to escape the inescapable molten balls of near-burning heat stuck to her skin.

Occasionally when she looked in too much pain I'd run my hand through the wax, spreading it out and dissipating the heat. Solid lumps of candle were now stuck all over her skin giving it a strange bumpy texture.

"...FUUCCKK!!" she cried, as I splattered a stream of wax along her inner thigh.

"Too intense? Do you want me to stop?" I asked
"No... not quite," she replied breathlessly.

After a little more straining and waxing though she said, "Ow, can you loosen the chains on my wrists? They're really hurting."

"Sure," I said, fetching the key and un-padlocking one hand then the other. Before I could grab it the chain slid away under its own gravity.
"CLINK CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK CLINK CLINK CLUNK CLINK CLUNK CLINK CLINK CLINK...." escaping through my bed frame and onto the floor.

I retrieved it and began attaching it to her wrists again, but loosely this time. The chain was making plenty more CLUNKs and CLINKs while I adjusted it. Then suddenly a loud THUD. THUD. THUD. Echoed through the wall.

"Uh oh," I said, "sounds like we've pissed off the neighbours."

I finished re-securing her wrists as quietly as possible. Wincing at every subdued clink and clunk the chains made. I tried to think of any innocent explanation I could give for these metallic noises coming from my flat at 1 am. I drew a blank. Being a slightly considerate human, I looked around for something to cushion and silence the chains against the metal rails of the bed. My own underwear was the first thing I saw, so I wrapped it around the chains and hoped for the best.

Trying to get back in the mood I began slapping some of the wax off Allie's stomach and thighs, and whispered to her, "Are you ready to get fucked?"
"Yeess," she replied (in what may have been her mock English accent, I couldn't be sure).

Protection on I climbed between her wax covered legs, that were still spread wide by the chains. I began to fuck her, slowly at first then quickly increasing the pace up to a solid ravaging.

We were reaching a good animalistic rhythm when she gasped, "Wait, ow! Stop!"
"What is it?” I said, coming to an abrupt halt.
"The chains hurt too much. Can you untie me?"
"Just the hands?"
"No all of them, they're pulling on my ankles as you're fucking me."

I dutifully released her from her bonds, leaving the chains to hang from the bed so as not to disturb the neighbours further.

"You ok?" I asked, as she rubbed her wrists.
"Yeah, I was enjoying pulling against them up to that point."

We fondled a little, and I tried to get back into the mood but found myself struggling. Ever since I had grasped her by the window my erection had been a solid rock of inspiration, but now it had vanished without a trace. Perhaps it was feeling guilty for overdoing it and hurting its new plaything, or it was feeling embarrassed for waking up the neighbours with suspicious chain noises. Either way it stubbornly refused to return.

Defeated I snuggled with Allie under the duvet until we dozed off. Later in the night though I awoke to find things had firmly resurrected themselves with renewed enthusiasm. After some tumbling around under the covers, we fucked again, this time like regular people.


The next morning Allie showed me how to make scrambled eggs properly, (apparently you put milk and cheese in there too instead of just stirring some eggs in a pan... who knew?!). Then she left to head back for Queens. A few minutes after the door closed behind her I threw up in the toilet. I'm not sure why, it was just a thing that happened.

I hung out with Allie a few more times after that, and lived a few more good stories. We knew we were both dating other people, she’d tell me about her dates, and I’d tell her about mine. Then one day she just stopped replying to my texts, and so ended my first kinky New York romance.


A few weeks after that date I was checking my mail box on the ground floor, just like I do every day. A lady, whom I’d guess was in her early 30s, with brown hair and a vaguely annoyed looking face, came in to the mail room and stood beside me. Figuring I must be in her way I moved to the side.

"Sorry," I said, in my stereotypically English way (we like to apologise for our existence... it's a thing we do).
"Thanks," she said, unlocking the mailbox for apartment 10T.

‘Huh... I'm 10S,’ I thought, ‘that would make her my neighbour. I wonder what side of me she lives on?’

It's quite possible she also noticed the mailbox that I was checking, and figured out exactly which apartment I was in. We silently boarded the same elevator to go up to our apartments on the 10th floor. However, for some reason she pressed the button to stop at the 6th floor and got off there.

As I walked alone down the hallway to my place I checked the number of the apartment from which the angry THUDs had originated.

‘Yup. 10T. Oh well, I guess they’re not going to be my friends now!’

[1] I still really hate using the word "panties", in the UK we say pants but I fear this' may confuse American readers...

Disturbing the neighbours - My first proper kinky-dating adventure

#BDSM #bondage #kinky #sex #love #dating #NewYork #onlinedating #Englishman #chains 

One Tuesday evening I found myself staring at a sign on the tumble drier...


"Hmmm" I thought...

"Does candle wax count as a flammable?"

"...It'll probably be fine," I decided, shoving my bed sheets in with the rest of my white and vaguely pale clothes.

"Besides most of the wax should have come off in the wash...right?"

On the Sunday two nights prior[1] I had arranged to meet a girl named Allie. Allie was someone I had been chatting to for a little while through my kinky profile. She was looking for a playmate -or ‘partner in crime’ as she put it- rather than a quick hook-up, which sounded pretty ideal to me[2]. Various photos and bits of titillating information had been exchanged. One Sunday afternoon she was shopping in the city and I managed to persuade her to meet me for coffee before she headed back to Queens.

I suggested a coffee place opposite the NY public library and I said I'd meet her on the library steps under a lion. It would probably have been easier to meet her in the coffee shop, but meeting on the steps of the library had a certain appeal to it. Perhaps I wanted to pretend I was in a rom-com version of ghost busters.

I turned up kind of early and waited around watching the fifth avenue comings and goings. A little while after I had bored of the stone lion's company, my date finally appeared.

"Allie?" I ask
"Yes," she replied.
"Nice to meet you!"

I boldly went for a European style greeting in the form of a hand-shake-cheek-kiss combo. However, this did not go well as she actively dodged my attempt to get near her face with my mouth, perhaps thinking I was trying to make out with her straight away. After this exceptionally awkward start we went across the street to get coffee, or tea in my case. (You should just assume this is what I mean every time I say "get coffee").

Conversation picked up and this time there weren't the awkward silences that occurred the first time I tried to meet someone though my kink profile. The shot of whiskey I had before heading to the library steps may have helped with this. We covered the basics of each other’s lives; she grew up in rural New Jersey but had moved to the city and was making a living bartending in Queens at a Korean dive.
“I’m just a typical college dropout” She said “I smoked too much weed and got my heart broken by my boyfriend. Then I moved to Queens and started waiting tables.”
“Oh yeah? Did all the weed make you paranoid?”
“No, not really paranoid, but I was smoking up like two or three times a day, and it made me, like, too chilled out, so I didn’t care about classes or work, or any of that other stuff that turns out to be important!”
“Do you think you were addicted?”
“Not really, like I hardly ever smoke weed now, but back then it was just this fun thing that me and my boyfriend would do together, and it was just a lot more fun than studying.”

Allie was definitely attractive; blonde, thin, and with a nice face. However, there was a subtle gauntness to her features that hadn't quite come across in her profile. It wasn't off putting but it kept her good looks in check somehow.

Despite still drinking hot alcohol-free beverages our conversation moved onto dating and kink.

“So did you explore much BDSM stuff with your boyfriend?” I asked, half mumbling the word ‘BDSM’ so it didn’t spread too far in this quiet coffee shop.
“Yeah we explored a lot of stuff together, like we were both learning. We were too poor to afford many toys either, in fact this one time we bought a collar and leash for me from a pet store,  because we couldn’t afford the real deal.”
“Ha. It did the job though?”
“I guess!”
“So did you get a good idea of what you like and what you don’t like?”
“I suppose so, it could depend a lot on the moment. When we were in college we started having these threesomes with this girl, and that was kinda fun, or at least I thought it was.”
“Sounds fun to me…”
“Well then I find out that he’d also been seeing her without me, like behind my back, and then he broke up with me and started just going out with her”
“Ouch, yeah that sounds pretty awful.”
“Yeah, I’m kinda over it now. Though it would have been better if they’d just been honest about it, ya know?”

There was an innocent friendliness to Allie that made it easy to bond with her, and yet something seemed slightly off kilter somewhere, as if I was talking to a character from twin peaks who was about to tell me that the owls were not as they seemed.

After I had made my way through my mini pot of tea, and she had finished her refilled cup of coffee, I suggested we get something stronger to drink. She agreed and we boldly set out into the wastes of midtown, guided by my smart phone's bar suggestions.

"Would you like to hear my English accent?" she asked, while we were walking.
"Erm... Sure?" I replied.
I immediately regretted this answer. It was a terrible English accent.

We decided to try the Park Avenue Tavern. After getting lost and wandering around inside Grand Central station for a while, we eventually located the tavern a few blocks down. The place had a nice vibe, with plenty of dark wood, shiny brass and other elegant finishings.We got some food and a bottle of wine, though I stuck to an appetiser so as not to test my panic reflexes too much.

The conversation kept rolling. Allie occasionally did this thing where she would excitedly tell me a random fact that didn’t seem to be related to the conversation. (I think she sourced them from NPR as part of her training in aspirational hipsterdom).

"Did you know," she would start, "that sharks can't actually get cancer?"

Although the scientist in me couldn’t resist sceptical follow up questions, Allie didn't seem to mind me doubting her random facts, or at least it didn't stop her offering them.

A glass and a half of wine down (she insisted on pouring for me), I asked: "So where do you think your submissive side comes from?"
"Daddy issues," she replied cheerfully and without hesitation.
"Oh really? Simple as that?"
"Yeah. I mean my dad was never around when I was growing up, so I guess I never had a male figure to look up to."
"Fair enough."
“How did you get into it?”
“Not sure really, maybe always been into it on some level, but I’m not sure if going to a primary school run by authoritarian catholic nuns may have helped!”

After we’d chatted some more, I popped what seemed at the time to be a big question:
"Would you like to come back to my place after this? I'm not sure I've figured out the etiquette for asking that question yet. It sometimes seems a bit rude to ask on a first date…"

"Yesss, I might do."


I smiled calmly.

Back at my apartment

When we got back to mine I opened some more wine and we continued to chat.

Not far into the first glass of wine she asked, "Can I use your bathroom, I need to go pee!"
"Sure, help yourself," I told her, wondering why she felt the need to clarify what she was going to do in there.

A bit more wine and conversation later I swallowed my nerves and took the plunge; "So are you up for fooling around?" I asked.
"Sure." She replied, sounding as cheerful as ever.
"Are there any things that you don't like to do, that I should stay away from?"
"Not really. I'm open to most things, although I prefer not to kiss unless I'm properly dating a guy."
"Really? Doesn't that get a bit awkward?"
"Not really. I mean some guys get annoyed about it, but that doesn't stop them having sex with me."
I had moved in close and began running my hand over her jeans.
"I don't think it would annoy me, although I guess it's a bit of a reflex I'd have to resist. Is it just the lips? Can I kiss other areas?" I asked
I began to lean further in and bring my hand further up her inner thigh.
"I need to go pee!" she said, getting up and fleeing to the bathroom.
"Don't worry I'm not doing heroin in your toilet or anything"
"Ha, ok good to know!" I said as she closed the door.
When she re-emerged from the bathroom she was no longer wearing trousers.


[1] I had no idea what I was really looking for. I liked connecting with people, so ideally I wasn't looking for one night stands... but I wasn't likely to turn one down either.