Thursday, February 01, 2007

The first rule of fight club is…

They warned me before I got into Boston that they had a slightly different view of SM in that town. Most of the country has laws that state something to the effect that you cannot consent to assault. This means that consensual SM play (spanking/flogging/etc) is against the law. While most states have similar laws on the books, most tend to not enforce them. Massachusetts, on the other hand, chooses to enforce them (and a few other odd laws too). As one customer put it, “welcome to Massachusetts where I can marry my same sex partner, but gods help me if I want to give him a spanking”

Much of the kink scene is underground, forced into the closet and not talked about.

To make matters worse, the laws vary from township to township with each one having their own spin on what they consider to be “indecent”. As fate would have it, the giant hotel where the event was held straddled two townships. On side of the hotel, nudity and bondage related imagery was legal. Just across the lobby, in the neighboring township, it was not. Thankfully our vendor area was located on the more liberal side of things. The art show, ironically, was not. The event organizers moved mountains in their attempts to meet everyone’s needs and not run afoul of the law, but in a last minute move to appease the local morality police all the “objectionable” art in the show had to be turned so it was facing the wall. A small sign was placed next to it, informing the viewer that if they wanted to they could turn the picture away from the wall and peak at the other side, but they must return it to its original, back facing, position when done.

Meanwhile on the other side of the hotel, we were not completely off the hook ourselves. Bondage is not technically assault, so there were lots of rope classes and bondage lounges and opportunities for rope to be used, however the cops were watching everything with great interest. They really seemed to like our booth. Maybe it was the Osada Steve videos we had playing at the booth or maybe it was the fact that I was doing rope demos on the sales floor. I do this one demo, a flashy and fast chest harness that takes a person from casually putting their hands behind their back to incapacitated in a 20 second flurry of rope, that really got their interest. See it always startles the demo bottom and elicits a yelp of giddy surprise when I give the final knot a firm, commanding tug. Alex would later tell me that while I was tying, a handful of officers stood by and watched with great interest, each one with a look of, “so it is assault yet? How about now, he’s got her on the floor?”

Boston has some great folks who have worked very hard to develop some kind of kink community in spite of all the backward laws they have to deal with. Sadly many parts of it are still underground and folks only get to come out to events like the Fetish Flea once a year to be amongst kindred spirits. So before you go griping about your local community, be glad you at least have a place to gather and play, it could be much worse.