It’s a month since I was in Atlantic City for the Boardwalk Badness Weekend spanking party. As with my blog reports on the Texas All-State Party last summer, I had time for a couple of posts in the immediate aftermath, but then life took over. After all, travelling creates a backlog of things that need doing back home, and between catching up with work, gardening, fitness activities and couple time, blogging has taken a back seat. I do want to finish telling these stories, though; it was an important and memorable week for me. I hope you’ll bear with me while I finish sharing my adventures.
Philadelphia and Punished Brats
BBW II: Atlantic City
On Friday morning I woke up at 7am, an hour before my alarm, with my head whirling, replaying conversations that had happened the day before, slotting various memories into place.
In particular, I found myself replaying conversations in which someone had asked me to play with them and I’d turned them down. A spanking party is a strange, liberated world where inviting someone to play feels as easy as breathing. It makes it much easier to connect with new people, but for every “yes” there’s likely to be a “no”, and turning people down is never easy. My BBW room-mate Jade has written an excellent post about this. I had my first real practice in Texas last year, where I saw a lot of women, particularly young female bottoms, playing with people they didn’t really want to because they didn’t know how to say no. Not wanting to find myself in the same position, I resolved to learn.
My initial attempts last year were awkward, just as embarrassing for me as for the poor chap (and yes, it is always men who ask before they’ve accurately divined that the answer will be “yes please”) I was rejecting. Since then I’ve worked on making my “no thank you”s as kind and graceful as possible without fostering false hope. It’s not easy. That first night at the BBW suite parties, I slipped into the trap of making excuses. “I’m sorry, I’m not really planning my play this weekend” – “I’m feeling a little overcommitted already” – “I’m not really looking to bottom, just top”.
Replaying these conversations in my mind early the following morning, it was clear to me that excuses were unnecessary, and made things more awkward. I decided that I didn’t need to justify myself; just thank them for the compliment, say no, and move on. Lying in bed, I mentally rehearsed my new line: “Oh, that’s so sweet of you. No, thank you, but thanks very much for asking.” I got to practice it a few more times before the weekend was out …. and thankfully it got easier each time.
Jade was up early too and we were both hungry, so we struck out for a walk. Atlantic City was white-skied and windy. We found a local café to have breakfast, before Jade dropped me off at the neighbouring hotel where I was scheduled to shoot with Dana Kane at 10am.
I first met Dana when I shot her for Dreams of Spanking last year, a memorable day which also happened to be our first shoot with Michael Darling.
Dana instantly struck me with her warmth, beauty and poise, and as the shoot progressed I discovered she was also charming and funny. She is a joy to work with and I was looking forward to doing so again. She has just launched her new F/F and F/M members site Dana Kane Spanks – which you can read my impressions of here. This time I was also meeting, and co-bottoming with, her spankee Angel.
The hotel where Dana was staying had much nicer décor than the casino hotel where the party was being held. With dark wood tones and pale eggshell blues the rooms were bright, pleasant, and perfect for a video shoot.
It was great to see Dana again and the shoot was great fun, with a scene involving Angel and I spanked and mouth-soaped for using vulgar language.
It also included a hilarious prank on poor Angel which Dana had set up with me beforehand. That’s a funny story, but to avoid spoilers I’ll save it for when the behind the scenes video has gone up on Dana’s site.
Afterwards I spent some time chatting to Dana and Angel, but not enough as I had to head back for a second shoot at midday, this time with Sarah Gregory. To my annoyance, by the time I returned to our room Sarah had texted me to reschedule the shoot, so I could have stayed longer with Dana and Angel after all!
Instead Jade and I walked out along the Boardwalk in search of coffee and internet, so I could get that week’s film ready to publish on Dreams of Spanking.
I got the work done, but we couldn’t resist a certain amount of conversation as well. I was really enjoying Jade’s company, and we had a surprising amount in common. I told her as much while we walked back to the hotel, and she replied that she was delighted by it too. Not only is Jade level-headed, smart, cheerful and analytical, we are also both alpha females, feminist and polyamorous with two long-term male dominant partners. Jade doesn’t switch, but apart from that our kinks are surprisingly similar – we both enjoy sensual and service-oriented submission as well as spanking, and we have similar perspectives on BDSM, discipline and D/S. If you don’t know it, I can highly recommend her blog Kink and Poly.
Given we also both like girls, it seemed surprising, once I thought about it, that we weren’t flirting with each other, but although we’d bonded very quickly, it was purely as friends for now. I didn’t have any toppy feelings towards her; possibly our age difference was a factor there. Still, it was lovely to hang out and talk. We walked back along the beach, got sand between our toes (somewhat oily sand, admittedly – this is the Atlantic, after all) and took some photos of the ocean.
There’s so much more of America I want to see. On that walk Jade told me about the redwood groves and natural springs in Northern California and suggested we visit them together. I don’t know when that trip will happen, but I’m excited already.
Back at the hotel another meet and greet was underway, where I found Ten Amorette, Jerry Diamond and their partners, and claimed more cuddles than there’d been time for the night before. I had to sneak off early for another switch session, which was good fun. I don’t have any photos of my playmate’s spanked bottom, but he took some of mine:
So far, all my paid appointments were going off as planned, which was a relief – party bookings aren’t always dependable and I was relying on them to cover the cost of the trip.
After dinner it was time to get ready for the vendor’s fair. I opted for a simple and sort of toppy black knit dress and heels, and Jade looked gorgeous in a figure-hugging little black dress.
Walking through the ballroom I stopped to say hello to every other person, or so it felt – this party was simply full of beloved faces, and getting fuller by the minute.
I stopped to say hi to Sarah Gregory and David Pierson at their vendors’ tables, but it was the Correction Collection table where I stopped to dally. I ended up buying a doubled leather strap; a long soft strap slightly heavier than the one I already have; and a long, heavy, flexible new cane with a comfortable purple handle. I was delighted with my purchases, as I always am with Correction Collection implements, and they’ve served me well since the party. I was now stuck with an armful of toys until I returned upstairs, but it was worth it.
I worked my way gradually towards the bar. Dana Kane and Angel were there, and I introduced them to Jade. Lovely Fineous was wearing a shirt with an amazingly soft, strokeable fabric, and whenever I bumped into him I couldn’t stop hugging and touching him. At the bar people who recognised me from videos kept coming up and introducing themselves. One, Dirk, was so charming and interesting that we ended up talking for well over an hour. He introduced me to Cee-cee, a gorgeous young lady who ended up asking me if I’d like to play sometime. I very definitely wanted to, but for some reason nerves got the better of me and I never took her up on it. I have been kicking myself ever since – hopefully there will be other opportunities.
During the evening, the party organisers screened a selection of videos they had made spoofing different scene stereotypes. These were very funny, but as I watched them I was suddenly struck by the default male-top/female-bottom culture of the party organisation. The actual attendees were a good mix, and there were scheduled opt-in events catering to different play orientations, but the more performative aspects of the party were all M/F heteronormative. For instance, the Bunny Greeters at the Meet ‘n’ Greet had all been female bottoms; likewise the sales girls, competing to sell the most products on behalf of their nominated vendor, were all female bottoms, and all spanked by male tops. Same for the public spankings that had been announced by email before the party. The tongue-in-cheek “what would you do” videos, offering advice on scene etiquette, assumed that tops were male and bottoms were female. And so on.
I knew that no-one had intended to be exclusionary, but nonetheless it felt like all the public and staged play was M/F, and all the party broadcasts assumed M/F play as default. Once I’d observed the pattern, I couldn’t help feeling a little alienated. Not only that, but this clearly wasn’t representative of the diversity of the party attendees. I tried to process my feelings. Right then and there, I didn’t feel like playing any more; I definitely didn’t feel like M/F play. At the same time, I didn’t want to let this restrict me or stop me having fun.
While I was thinking all this through, SincereM came up and introduced himself, and together with Jade I ended up in another fantastic conversation. They advised me not to let these feelings influence my weekend and stop me from playing, but at the same time I felt that my reactions were valid. In the end it didn’t ruin my night, and part of the reason was how readily I found sympathetic people who understood where I was coming from and were willing to talk it out with me.
By the time we’d talked about this and many other things, my feelings of alienation had been replaced by exhilaration at the sheer joy of communication. I was high on conversation. I hadn’t played yet tonight but I felt like if I were to go home now, I would do so happy. That moment summed up the whole weekend in many respects: it was just full of so many good connections, stimulating conversations, genuine communication and dialogue, and mutual support and understanding. When you can connect this well just by talking, do you even need to play?
Well, maybe you don’t need to, but it’s definitely fun.
We didn’t head upstairs to the suite parties until after midnight. Jade and I ended up in Dirk’s suite most of the night, enjoying his superb hospitality and the relaxed, positive buzz and atmosphere that filled his rooms. (I tried to tell him later how much I appreciated him being so hospitable, and mispronounced it “hospital” by mistake. For the rest of the weekend I enjoyed telling him how hospital he was.)
Hanging out with Fineous, I realised that I really really wanted to play with him, and fuck feeling alienated. I’d been looking forward to this scene for ages, and I can tell you now that it was delightful. He spanked me and tried out a selection of straps, including some lovely ones and a horrible wasp-stingy one with holes. Dirk stepped in to demonstrate the best way to use this one, and see if that made me like it more (it didn’t) – so I got to play with Dirk too, which was awesome – but then when he showed every sign of carrying on I had to playfully tell him off for usurping our scene. Dear Fineous was sitting and watching, far too polite to ever say anything! I couldn’t help laughing and I hope Dirk wasn’t offended. I really was spoiled for choice, so many lovely playmates I didn’t know which way to turn. But I got Fineous back and we gradually wound up our scene. I ended up blissed out over the chaise in the middle of the room, floating in a happy, happy place.
After I retreated to share some aftercare with Dirk (and reassure him I didn’t hate him!), Jade played with Fineous and I finally got to see her get spanked. Seeing her poised and graceful with her back arched and bottom lifted, her long legs and perfect, petite round bottom, I suddenly rethought what I’d said to her earlier about not feeling toppy towards her. “Jade!” I called, “I changed my mind!” Once she and Fineous had finished playing, I asked her if she’d like a caning, and she said she would.
That was a beautiful scene. I didn’t know how much experience she had with the cane so I started her off with rapid, light, percussive strokes, pure pleasure, holding back and stoking her appetite so that by the time the harder strokes started to come, she ate them up. Next I told her I was going to give her six medium strength strokes, for now, and that I wanted her to count them. This was so I could hear her voice and see how she was doing – although as it turned out, her body language spoke volumes, and in any case she was doing just fine. After six, I told her I was keeping going. At sixteen she was arching and twisting and reacting beautifully, but clearly feeling them, so I told her there would be two more, and they were going to be hard.
She ended up with a set of eighteen lovely stripes, and we realised we’d attracted quite a crowd. We cuddled up on the sofa for lots of happy snuggling. We also got her friend T in trouble for asking him to take a photo of the marks with his phone! (BBW has a strict no photos policy to protect the privacy of attendees. Somehow even though we were at the edge of the room, as soon as the phone came out eagle-eyed Mike Tanner was there in a flash to tell us all off. Whoops!)
All this put me in the mood to take a caning of my own. Most of the canings I get are after a long warm-up, quite deliberately so as not to mark heavily, so it doesn’t affect my work. I’d scheduled recovery time after this party, though, and I decided there and then that I wanted to make good use of it and earn myself some proper cane stripes. I made a plan to ask my friend Mr Allen, resident cane expert, for a hard, accurate cold caning that would leave stripes to make any marks fetishist proud.
Jade headed to bed around 2am, and I was winding down to go the same way when suddenly and unexpectedly my friend Vincent arrived. Vincent and I were newbies at TASSP together and we bonded closely during that party, and had kept in touch by email since. “You know V, don’t you?” someone asked me, and I initially thought they were talking about someone else, but when I turned around and saw it was him I launched myself across the room and practically rugby tackled him for a hug. It was so great to see him, and it jacked me up one more notch of euphoria. Just when I thought I was already surrounded by the maximum amount of friendship and love, more beloved people arrived. If course, I then I had to stay up for another couple of hours catching up with Vincent on all our news.
We sat and talked our jaws off while play carried on around us, including an intense scene between Missy and Strict Dave which was both amazing to watch, and slightly odd as we couldn’t help feeling like we were intruding by sitting there, chatting away. But that’s just how these parties are; and that proximity, that casualness and intimacy, is one of the things that nourishes the atmosphere, makes you feel like all two hundred and sixty of you are playing one, giant group scene. I felt honoured to witness Missy and Dave’s play, and I really enjoyed their energy.
It was 4.30am before I finally stumbled to bed. But then, as Alex says, at Boardwalk Badness Weekend, 5am is the new midnight.