Six Things You Should Know Before Your Blind Date at the Bondage Club

 

A HALF DOZEN TIMES in the late nineties, I had occasion to visit Hellfire, the famed New York bondage club. This is when it was still located in the warren of rooms beneath the Triangle Building—at the intersection of 14th Street, Ninth Avenue and Hudson, in the belly of the beast that is the Meatpacking District—and before its obligatory exile to Brooklyn, where the cool kids inevitably wind up.

Back then, the Meatpacking District was not a foodie Paradise but a seedy Hell, a cobblestoned network of crooked, crawling-with-hookers streets that looked like a backdrop from Gangs of New York. Back then, I was living in a mouse-ridden studio at 28th and Lex—another hooker hangout, incidentally; the neighborhood, not my apartment—and I was single and childless and hellbent to dip my toe into the boiling cauldron of the Scene. (That’s “Scene” with a capital “S”, same as “Mistress” with a capital “M”). So I went five or six times. Once I went there by myself. On other occasions, I convinced libertine lady-friends to accompany me.

The last time I went to Hellfire, I was on what was, literally, the Blind Date from Hell. My original plan was to tell you the whole sordid story, but it runs long, and the Welcome Kink editrix said we must hew to a strict word count, and a guy who went to Hellfire on a blind date with a lifestyle Dominatrix he met in a Femdom chat room knows better than to disobey the woman in charge.

So what I’d like to do instead, on the off chance that you haven’t visited a bondage club (you prude, you), is offer some words of wisdom, some practical advice, some things you should know, should you ever find yourself on a blind date at one. This way, you may benefit from my experience—or lack of experience, as it were.

First, let me set the scene. (Scene with a lowercase and uppercase S.) Hellfire was a basement of concrete and stone and low ceilings. Passages led from the main rooms to small cement-slab nooks, where clubgoers could flog each other more discreetly. The place was illuminated by a series of red bulbs, the sort of lighting design frat boys might use for a Delta Tau Kai Halloween party. And it was freezing down here, the air conditioner working overtime to refresh Mistresses in sweat-inducing latex, should they deign to appear. So that’s the first piece of advice I offer: bring a jacket.

At Hellfire, alcohol was forbidden. The rickety bar at the center of the main room, the one with the metal folding chairs, served only soft drinks. Water, Coke, ginger ale. That’s another thing you should know: if you’re expecting to waltz in there and soothe your jangled nerves with a stiff vodka tonic, think again.

You might bring a flask, I suppose. That’s what my blind date did, although her flask was actually a plastic two-liter bottle of the sort of rum they mix with your cola when you forget to specify a Bacardi and Coke. Every few minutes, she would take it out of her duffel bag, where it sat among fifty pounds of S/m gear, and take a big swig straight from the bottle, like she was on a pirate ship or something.

The BDSM Scene, in my experience, is not a drinking culture. You want to have your wits about you when you’re dangling weights from some guy’s ballsack. There’s another safety tip: if your Dominant date for the evening is pounding shots of generic hard liquor, run for the hills. Or the subway, whichever is closer.

The first thing I saw, on my very first trip to the club, was a large, greased-up bodybuilder, completely naked, lying like a Greek god on a black gurney, rubbing baby oil onto his erect penis. And this wasn’t your usual shriveled-by-steroids weightlifter penis. This was far and away the biggest hard cock I’ve ever seen. Not that I’ve seen all that many hard cocks in close proximity…I’m generally blindfolded…just kidding…but I’ve watched my share of porn, and this was something you’d expect to see on a horse farm.

I mention this because it’s something else you should be aware of. While it was verboten to consume alcohol, it was perfectly legal to whip out your dick and pull your pud. This was, in fact, what most of the guys at Hellfire were doing at any given time: wandering around aimlessly, kneading their limp little dicks, waiting for something to happen. Like playground basketball players waiting courtside for a pick-up game to start. I think I was the only guy there who kept his bat and balls in the bag.

I remember this one guy who was strutting through the rooms like John Fucking Travolta, completely and shamelessly naked…except for the Tevas on his feet. My friend Tori, who’d accompanied me as a very big favor, produced a cigarette, and before she could light it, the Naked Guy in Tevas was in front of her with a Zippo. Where did it come from? Certainly not his pocket.

Of course, that sort of thing doesn’t happen these days, naked guys in Tevas submissively offering to light a girl’s cigarette at a sex club—you can’t smoke in New York anymore. But at the time, it was one of the few ways to break the ice. Because submissive men are not supposed to initiate contact with Dominant women—it’s part of the code. Not that there were ever that many Dominant women there, or women period, for that matter. And you should be aware of that, too. Bondage clubs, it’s mostly dudes. Horny, desperate, single, vaguely submissive dudes. The composition of the crowd was no different than what you get on an average night at Red Rock West or Coyote Ugly, but the guys at Hellfire were quieter, and better dressed (if they had clothes on), and they had their dicks hanging out of their flies, and instead of the handful of hot, scantily-clad biker chicks working the bar, doing tequila shots off each other’s midriffs and shaking it to “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” there was a gaggle of anorexic trannie prostitutes working the back door, and no Def Leppard at all.

The anorexic trannie prostitutes were not the only professionals plying their trade there. A few times I saw a pro Dominatrix. They were easy to spot. They were egregiously pretty and had an air of untouchability to them, like exotic dancers at Scores. To them, this was like a trade show. As I saw it, they were going through the motions. Motions that included paddling the ass of a “submissive” man wearing a New York Giants jersey with so little force that it wouldn’t send a ping-pong ball over the net, let alone hurt anyone. Although the guy in the Giants jersey screamed so loud with each whack, you’d think he was being fisted by Michael Strahan. While wearing his Super Bowl rings.

I’ve almost exhausted my word limit, so I’ll leave you with a few more quick pieces of advice:

First, the time to make sure your blind date is not forty years older than you is before you meet her in the flesh.

Second, clothespins on your nipples hurt a lot more when you take them off than they do when you put them on.

Third, if you’re draped over the knee of a much older woman, your pants around your ankles, and she’s spanking your bare bottom, people will gather to watch.

Fourth, just because a woman is Dominant doesn’t mean she won’t ask you to do unsubmissive things like lick her wrinkled earlobe and pinch her nips and kiss her full on her rum-soaked lips.

Fifth, just because the idea of doing something turns you on doesn’t mean that actually doing it will be erotically fulfilling. Sometimes it’s just gross.

And last but not least—and this one you’re probably clever enough to figure out by yourself, which makes you much smarter than Yours Truly—if you’re going to subject yourself to the trauma of a blind date, a coffeehouse on Avenue A is preferable to a bondage club.

Photo: Flickr, diffusor; Creative Commons.

Photo: Flickr, diffusor; Creative Commons.

About Barrymore

Barrymore was the sole proprietor of the now-defunct House of Hekate (1996-2000), a valiant attempt to merge the sadomaso and the literary in the barbarian days before Wordpress.
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