Posted at 22:24 on 2 Aug 2011 by Pandora / Blake
Do you have any kinks that go beyond the sexual? Ideas, themes or motifs which appeal to you so much that you hungrily devour any media which contain them with an enthusiasm that verges on compulsion, feeling a naughty thrill at the indulgence but not necessarily becoming physically aroused? School stories are one example, for me. I enjoy immersing myself in the fantasy regardless of whether corporal punishment is mentioned - the context itself holds its own escapist appeal, and I will devour stories based in this setting even if they don't make me sexually excited.
Military stories take me the same way. Like boarding school stories, they represent a context into which I would never volunteer myself, a reality I would hate. Despite this - or perhaps because of it - they grip my imagination.
I am a particular sucker for the cadet narrative. Raw recruits, signed up for their own reasons, victims of circumstance. Perhaps dreaming of honour and glory. Thinking they know what's coming. Of course, you and I, the readers, know what's coming even if the characters don't. The predictability of the framework is part of its appeal.
Drill and discipline are brutal; the days are long and hard and tedious. The recruits learn humility digging latrines and doing other dirty tasks. Disobedience is dealt with harshly. They learn to work hard, to work together, and they are physically pushed beyond breaking point, hammered through an ugly, repetitive sequence of physical tasks. Being broken down and built back up again.¹ Each hardship represents the recruits becoming harder, hardened - if they survive it.
It's a bizarre fantasy for a self-employed, independent, liberal nerd to have, and my enjoyment isn't even overtly sexual. I love the whole predictable, harsh, gritty endurance narrative. I like the importance of pragmatism and a dark sense of humour in these stories. I love watching the relationships unfold within the unit; watching your favourite character slowly rise through the ranks; watching the raw recruits slowly grow up into seasoned veterans. Some people are hooked on crime thrillers or romance novels. I like military training stories, particularly those in fantasy or sci-fi settings divorced from the complexities of real-world international politics.²
I stuck with the Girl Guides for years simply because the camping trips and outdoor pursuits let me dabble in the military fantasy without the commitment of becoming a real cadet. Long hikes, obstacle courses, uniform inspections, learning to shoot with a rifle and bow, getting covered in mud and pushing myself until my muscles ached - I hated sport at school, but in this semi-escapist, semi-institutional setting I lapped it up. (Later I discovered Live Action Role Play, which ticked a lot of the same boxes, but lacked the institutional structure and hierarchy that gave Guiding some of its edgy appeal.)
When I found out that Spanked in Uniform were launching a new military series, I got a bit over-excited. I found out that they'd done some outdoor shooting with tents, camo nets and real mud, and I was practically bouncing with glee. Where could I sign up? I love being in the woods, and the excuse to get dirty and shouted at while pretending to be someone else would be the icing on the cake. And of course, this would be Cadet Blake's first appearance in the Montgomery Military Academy. She'd be a raw recruit.
In the end, weather and time were against us, and we didn't make it out on location. (I hope we manage it next time, though.) But to make up for it, I was entering the Academy with fellow cadet Amelia-Jane Rutherford. We were rebellious youths consigned to the Academy by our parents after all other attempts to school us had failed. In my head, we hadn't done anything awful, nothing worse than traditional youthful pursuits such as smoking pot, having sex or persistently staying up all night playing videogames. But our parents were very conservative and very strict, and when our grades dropped they decided that a prestigious military boarding school would do just the trick.
You know the rest; I don't have to tell you how it goes. But if, like me, you want to watch it all unfold with delicious inevitability, you can do so over at Spanked in Uniform.
1. In that respect I suppose it's got the same emotional satisfaction as an intense D/S scene, only extended over a much longer period of time, and to a much greater extent. The ultimate idea of successful military training, after all, is to break down the self permanently and completely, replace it with a marching, drilling, fighting automaton that does and thinks whatever it's told.
2. My favourites to date: The Deed of Paksennarion by Elizabeth Moon, a gritty and practical soldiers-eye view of traditional high fantasy, culminating in some classically dark torture porn. There Will Be Dragons by John Ringo, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi which combines the soldiers-eye view with some fascinating insights into the big picture, long term strategy and the pros and cons of different military structures (and some unexpected BDSM advocacy). Oh, and Boot Camp remains to date the only reality TV series I've ever watched. I was addicted to it.³
3. Catherine has just reminded me about two brilliant spanking fics based on the show by Moxy Irish, which I read years ago and absolutely loved. How could I forget? Here they are: Boot Camp and After Boot Camp.