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Monday, September 29, 2008

The Friendly S&M Club

Before my recent trip to New York City, my city friends informed me that we would be going to an S&M club called Paddles to attend a monthly party called SWITCH. Billed as, "the all new monthly women/trans/genderqueer bdsm party, in a room of our own, behind closed doors at Paddles," I was anxious to check it out. Living in Vermont, it's difficult to find play parties, let alone an exclusive party for queers in a safe space.

Bootsflyer In anticipation of the party, I checked out the Paddles website (not work-friendly, unless your boss would like to see a woman in assless chaps tied to a St. Andrew's Cross). One thing stuck out above all else — the Paddles tag line: The Friendly S&M Club. This cracked me up, and my friends I spent the rest of the time before the trip talking about Paddles and the SWITCH party in a Midwestern accent (you know, because those Midwesterners are so darn friendly). But, what the heck — it's better than it being "The Beat You Up And Take Your Lunch Money S&M Club."

Entering Paddles was all this Vermont girl hoped it would be. Located off a seedy parking garage in a signless building, we walked down a harshly-lit hallway and descended the stairs to the clandestine club. The doorman was, indeed, friendly. Paddles boasts a small bar (serving snacks and soft drinks — no drink and kink) and a few rooms well appointed with apparatuses designed for pleasure. Compared to other city clubs I've been to, Paddles is decidedly small, but I'm guessing some kinksters enjoy a more intimate setting. Beyond a cordoned off area of the club, we found SWITCH.

To our delight, the organizers were quick to welcome us to the party which was already in full swing by 11:30pm. Scanning the room, I found the attendees to be of above-average attractiveness and friendliness. I've been to many parties where all you get is the hairy eyeball, but not at SWITCH — people smiled and nodded, making us feel at ease.

We arrived just in time to see the start of a hot rape scene between three attendees that lasted well over two hours and a piercing scene where a woman was outfitted with needles up and down her back to fashion a corset of ribbon. In case you're not familiar with S&M play, all the activities are 100% consensual and are usually choreographed and agreed upon ahead of time.

And don't worry about being pigeon-holed into a gender category at SWITCH. The organizers say, "gender policies make SWITCH cringe. SWITCH trusts that you can define your own gender (or not) and will not do that for you." My guests and I found this policy to be true upon entering the club with a male friend who identifies as genderqueer but looks like your average gay boy — the door person asked him if he belonged at SWITCH, he responded in the affirmative, and that was that.

You can check out SWITCH every third Friday of the month at Paddles, located at 250 W. 26th street. Bring your gear — and your smile.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Flicks for Chicks

Dear Mistress,

My partner of 15-plus years recently told me she'd like to try watching some porn. She says she is kind of curious. While I'm not opposed to watching porn, I'm pretty sure she doesn't know what can go on in these movies. She can be a bit conservative in the bedroom; for instance, anything anal is out of the question with her.

I've been tasked with picking a movie, and I'm hoping you can suggest something that isn't too "male fantasy"-oriented; also, no lesbian action or anal. Do they even make movies like that?

I Don't Have a Witty Sign-of



You're in luck. More and more adult films are being made by women with a female audience in mind. I highly recommend Tristan Taormino's Chemistry series. Taormino throws a handful of successful porn stars together in a house — à la MTV's “The Real World” — and captures the sex on film. Sure, the actors are probably contracted to get busy, but they also participate in candid dialogue about the industry and one another. The result is porn that's more natural: The viewer actually witnesses the erotic tension mounting between the characters before they consummate on-screen, so the sex is more emotional and less robotic.

You can find Taormino's work, along with a number of other recommended titles for women, at The Chemistry films I've seen do feature some girl-on-girl and anal, but that's what the fast-forward button is for. Plus, you never know, perhaps your lady will venture outside the DVD box and surprise you . . .?

That said, given your partner's list of requirements, I worry you're setting yourself up for failure by picking the movie all by yourself. Encourage her to help you select the film — go online together, read descriptions, and jointly choose a title. That way, if the porn proves unsatisfactory, you won't be in the dog house.

Plenty of witty sign-offs,

P.S. For those of you who like girl-on-girl, anal and more, check out some of my other favorite porn directed by women:

The Bi Apple, directed by Audacia Ray
Crash Pad, from Pink and White Productions
Sugar High Glitter City, directed by Jackie Strano and Shar Rednour

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Souvenir Squabble

Dear Mistress Maeve,

I'm a 32-year-old woman, and I've been dating my girlfriend for a little over a year. We just moved in together, and I'm finding myself a little perplexed by something she calls her "memory chest." It's a smallish chest that holds all her old diaries and birthday cards, which is fine — but it holds relationship mementos, too.

We live in a small city and state. I know all her exes and see them regularly at gay functions. Do I really have to live with their old jewelry, concert tickets and panties under my bed? (Yes, there's even a pair of panties in the "memory chest.")

Lupe Lesbian


Dear Lupe,

Moving in with your mate is a big step and often presents unforeseen challenges — like the introduction of a "memory chest." However, in this case, the problem is less about the inanimate objects in the chest and more about your jealousy.

Just because your girl keeps remembrances of relationships past doesn't mean she's stepping out on you or pining after her exes. Furthermore, keepsakes from past experiences can be a healthy reminder of love lessons learned — which can benefit you. As for the panties, do you know the story behind them (or, should I say, in them)? Talk to her about the items in the chest: If you take away some of their mystery, they may become less threatening to you. Remember, every one of them represents an experience that has made her who she is today — the woman you love.

That said, it's not out of line for you to ask for a compromise. If you are truly uncomfortable with these souvenirs being stored under your bed, suggest that the chest be kept in a hall closet or other neutral space.

Above all else, remember that while her memory chest is cold and lonely under the bed, you're the one warm and cozy in it with your lady.

Wishing you memorable chests,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cyber Exes

Rachel over at Positively Sexy posted an interesting entry yesterday about "cyber exes." As easy as it is to keep up with people via social networking sites, do we hang on to our exes too long? Sure, some exes remain genuine friends, thereby making it perfectly acceptable to check out their status updates and wall postings on Facebook. But, what about the exes you broke up with for a reason who just remain on your friends list? Why do you care if they're drinking a latte or if they change their relationship status? Maybe it's time to cut the cord? Rachel says:

"Evaluate and decide: would you invest this much time in your ex if it meant seeing them face-to-face? If not, it's time to cut the e-heartstrings and move on."

Now there's some virtual food for thought.

Happy deleting,

Monday, September 15, 2008


Just when I thought I couldn't love Sean Penn more than I already do, I saw the preview for "Milk" over the weekend. Penn will play Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the US.  Add Josh Brolin and James Franco to the cast, and I think we're in for a great movie.


"Milk" is set to hit theaters in November, and I plan to be among the first to see it when comes to Vermont.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

College Dating 101

Dear Mistress Maeve:

I haven't had a girlfriend in a while. I'm not really lonely, but it would be nice. I know I'm not that bad looking, because I always catch girls staring at me in class and stuff. Any tips on how to get a good girl at college? I'm a little rusty and nervous.

College Guy


Dear College Guy,

Opportunities to meet "good girls" abound at college. It sounds like you're in a good place to start dating — not too lonely or desperate. Relax, don't be over-anxious, and follow these handy tips:

Do smile at the girls who are staring at you in class. Confident guys are sexy — try chatting up your favorite cute coed after the lecture.

Don't wait until Thanksgiving break to get a haircut or wash your sheets.

Do use social networking sites to your advantage. You don't want to be an Internet stalker, but you should friend-request acquaintances you'd like to get to know better.

When you meet a girl you like, don't call her "dude."

Do participate in community service projects organized by your school. If you want to meet a "good girl," getting to know someone while helping the community is a good start.

Don't be a knucklehead — study hard and don't do too many keg stands. You're more apt to find a worthy mate in the library, not at a frat party.

When you're ready to take a relationship to the next level, do practice safe sex. Safe is smart, and smart is sexy.

Above all, be yourself. Find a group of friends who share your ideals, and don't bend your beliefs for anyone — especially not a prospective date. Follow this guideline, along with those listed above, and you'll find your college romance in no time.

Crackin' the whip and the books,

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pondering "Party Lesbians"

There's an interesting debate at Jezebel over whether opportunistic "bisexuals" are good or bad for the GLBT movement. The opportunists in question are people like Tila Tequila, the object of everyone's desires on MTV's bisexual-themed dating show, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila, and Katy Perry, the singer who's responsible for the 2008 pop hit "I Kissed A Girl." (Lyrics: I kissed a girl and I liked it / The taste of her cherry Chapstick / I kissed a girl just to try it / Hope my boyfriend don't mind it.)

The idea is that these "party lesbians" have used their bisexuality (or, at least their healthy curiosity of the opposite sex) to further their careers — and make more men like them. The same could be said for Britney's and Christina's on-stage kissing with Madonna at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.

Jezebel asks, does "the presence of someone like Tila Tequila create more awareness of the sexuality spectrum and as a result, more understanding? Or is it just a spectacle that ultimately belittles what real lesbians and bisexuals go through?"

First of all, I take offense to how the question is phrased. Who's to say Tila Tequila isn't a "real" bisexual? If we have to live in a world with labels, the least we can do is trust people to pick their own.

As for the real meat of the issue, as nauseating as these pop culture phenomena are, I think they do serve some positive purpose in the GLBT movement — mainly, visibility and acceptance from the younger generation who will hopefully grow up to be more tolerant.

For those right-wing conservatives who would use these bits of alternative pop culture against the GLBT movement, I would remind them that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Just turn on the television and you'll see countless depictions of "straight hedonism" — and they wouldn't want all heterosexual people to judged upon those depictions, right? Plus, television and other media are also depicting a more ho-hum view of queer culture with story lines about loving gay families, etc.

Do I like Tila Tequila? No. Do I think she should be able to show her sexuality in any way she pleases? Yes. It makes me very nervous when a person or movement tries to tell a group of people how to — or how not to — behave.

I had the pleasure of seeing Leslie Feinberg speak at UVM some years ago, and he said something that I'll never forget. He reminded the crowd that when you're going to bat for civil rights, you're "only as strong as the people on your picket lines." Meaning, your movement includes e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y who is representing it — whether that be a gay family with 2.5 kids, a Volvo and white picket fence or Tila Tequila. Than again, has Tila done any kind of activism? Is her television show "activism"?

What do you think?


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Stuck on Amadis

You might recall my crush on local metalheads Amadis. Long-haired, leather-clad and lustful — what more could a girl ask for?

I don't mind admitting my jealousy of Seven Days videographer Eva Sollberger. She recently got to spend an evening at the Champlain Valley Fair with the fine men of Amadis, talking about music and cocks (literally) for her weekly series "Stuck In Vermont."

I love this vid because it shows that these guys aren't rockstar assholes — which makes me like them even more. I'm not sure whether I want to fuck them or invite them over for a Battlestar Galactica marathon. Perhaps both...

If I have to be "stuck in Vermont," I'm glad it's with these guys (and Eva Sollberger).


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dating in the New School

Dear Mistress Maeve,

I'm a single woman in my late fifties, hoping you can give me some guidance. While I haven't signed up for the popular dating sites, I have tried my luck on MySpace and now find myself baffled.

After some encouragement from my daughter, I messaged a single man who lives nearby. We wrote back and forth for a while, then exchanged phone numbers. He called me the following week, and we had a wonderful two-hour-long conversation where I felt a giddiness I hadn't felt since high school. He is very spiritual and said he felt we were "meant to meet."

However, the next message I received from him stated that something had come up in his life and that he wanted me to be "patient" while he worked some things out. Well, I waited a week, then messaged him back saying that I would like to know what's going on. It's been two days, and I haven't heard from him. I'm suspicious. What now?

Dating Neophyte


Dear D.N.,

First of all, kudos to you for getting back into the dating scene. The dating world can be difficult to navigate — add to that the vastness of the World Wide Web, and you're in some confusing terrain.

I'm not sure what your definition of “patience” is — but one week isn't very much time to "work some things out." You haven't even met this man in person yet, so it's unreasonable to expect he'll share all of his secrets with you: It's too early for that kind of intimacy. However, you also want to make sure he's not playing you like a fiddle. While you're waiting for him to get back to you, why not try some of those "popular dating sites"? No need to put all your eggs in one basket, as they say.

If he does come back with a good reason for blowing you off, let him know that, while you tolerated his buttoned-up lip this time, you'll expect better communication if your relationship grows.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Age Appropriate?

I did some interesting reading over at Boinkology during my lunch break. Writer Lux Alptraum asks the question, "What's the Right Age to Get Your First Sex Toy?" She says:

"Given our country’s stand on teen pregnancy (we hate it) and teen sex (not too fond of that one, either), it boggles my mind that we’re similarly opposed to teen masturbation. After all, teenagers are walking balls of hormones, full of vim, vigor, and sexual energy (mostly the latter): if we don’t want them to have sex, surely masturbation is an excellent way for them to deal with all those unwholesome urges."

We do hate teen pregnancy — except for Gov. Sarah Palin, who says she and her husband are proud of her 17-year-old pregnant daughter's decision to keep her baby and "even prouder to become grandparents." Perhaps her daughter would have been better off with a Hitachi Magic Wand?

What do you think? You have to be 18-years-old to buy a sex toy in Vermont — should that law be changed?

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