It was, if not the #1 most unusual experience I've ever had, then in the top 5

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/01/15 07:01 -05:00, original URI:

So completely off-topic that it boggles my mind to think you still might be reading this! Technically safe for work and all, though hardly useful for anything going on at work....

If you feel the need or desire to:

then I fully respect your opinion. At one time I may have felt the same way.

The tweet describing it all, in reference to a conversation with someone who was not at the party: "It would have made you so happy. I mean, 'til your head exploded."

I've done a lot of things in my life:

But with all that and more, Saturday night last week was quite an eye opener for me.

Not because of the awards ceremony, mind you. I had been there before, and to be honest the ceremony was a lot tamer this year. They really had everything ready to fit comfortably into the recording's upcoming softcore appearance on Showtime....

It was fun. though. I wasn't sitting a table this year, but then again no one was; there were no tables this year.

Anyway, funny moments? Yes. Good lines? Indeed. Gaffes? Well, yes there were a few, if you count Brad Armstrong thanking the Vivid girls in an acceptance speech when he almost certainly meant the Wicked girls. I'm sure he'll be eating it over that one from Kaylani and Jessica and Alektra and the rest, for months! :-)

No real life-changing eye openers there, though.

But after we left the Palms and headed out to the party, that changed.

We weren't going to any of the myriad of after parties I knew of, including a few I might have chosen between actually going to (the ones at Tao, Lavo, and Studio 54, since I could get VIP at them easily -- thank you, iBot!); we were going to another party entirely.

This wasn't any regular sort of party. Not even a regular Las Vegas party.

It was a Fetish Party.

You can think "play party" if you need to look it up on Wikipedia.

Though if you need to look then you probably shouldn't! In fact you should stop reading right now in that case....

This is mostly what the party was, though several statements in that Wikipedia article (which I did not read till later) do not match what was happening at the actual party; the article feels like "Time Magazine" style coverage if you know what I mean, so perhaps the authors haven't been. Or maybe this party was just cooler, spanning multiple suites on the top level of a large hotel and all. A lot more SSC than RACK, as far as I could tell. Though I admit I'm no expert....

Invitation only, but we had two invitations (well, someone else had two and I was being allowed to tag along with one of them).

When we first got there, there was a tense moment about my entry (solo guy, who the hosts didn't know) but they took a chance. I can be a likable guy.

Scotty (the guy who got me in) took me around to many different rooms across the several suites. I think he was in part testing me, making sure I could handle the whole scene (you know -- better to freak out earlier than later, if it was gonna happen. This actually makes a lot of sense to me as a tactic).

Plus I think he wanted to help me find the places where I would fit, with the iBot -- so I could move around without being unable to turn around!

He needn't have worried; I was fine. On both counts.

I'll admit that I wasn't really up to participating in anything I saw -- I guess that makes me more of a voyeur, technically.

Though I talked with a lot of people. Several of them considered me to be interesting, and I considered several of them interesting as well (you can think of those as two mostly -- though not entirely -- overlapping sets).

As is common in my life these days, people felt like the iBot was really cool. And there were some almost shy inquiries into what kinds of things the chair allowed (shy because they could tell I was perhaps not really ready to play, and were not entirely comfortable with their curiosity about the technology overcoming the almost palpable custom forbidding taking people beyond their own comfort levels). They were curious, and you could see the wheels turning when they thought about meals on wheels and other silly lines.

I can't post any pictures because no picture taking was allowed -- a camera pulled out is something that would readily lead to eviction from the party.

While I was there, I got several cards from people who wanted to talk about technical matters, another time. Including several people interested on the new laws on closed captioning on Internet content -- some interesting stuff going on there which, while not aimed at them, could certainly be used against them (no one gets in trouble going after a fetish site on a legal technicality).

And I even ran into a fan of this blog!

That part was funny because when I first saw one of the racks that was there I thought "if I meet someone who knows my blog, my head might explode on the spot." Thankfully, it didn't! :-)

I was also invited to another party. Not one in Seattle, so I had to decline without even really considering whether I would have said yes had it been in the same city as me when I was there. That is a conundrum I can leave for another day (this was technically the 3rd party I was invited to, but only the first I had attended).

Several of the people I talked to were also first timers; one common theme among us was how grateful we were that there was no pressure to participate. Perhaps sometimes there were some white lies in there to make the other person feel more comfortable.

Almost overwhelming, though the overall humanity of everyone there kept it comfortable.

Truth be told, I had a lot of fun!

At one point I was part of a fascinating conversation that came out of a question to me about how intermittent, partial lack of sensation (something I had previously admitted to) would impact an otherwise 'typical' BDSM experience -- e.g. would it potentially be a form of deception, or a real SSC risk? One of those women in a part of the conversation was in fact a mistress, and she admitted the idea fell outside of her own comfort zone a little, perhaps because of a potential concern about safety that she had not yet run across. She encouraged me to contact her in the future some time, just to talk -- she was not used to being unsure in her role and really wanted to better understand this new variable. She was sure she would have more questions....

She may be in "new in role", as we say back at work? :-)  I told her I'm always happy to talk....

When I finally left (several hours later), it was really out of concern of how crowded it was getting - the fact that I had accidentally bumped into someone and hurt them a little, and a fear that I was going to accidentally run over a foot or something. I was enjoying myself, and didn't want to cause problems like that, even unintentionally.

On the way out I said goodbye to some people and explained this, and a few people, including one of the hosts, tried to convince me it was okay and I wasn't going to hurt anyone. But I felt like I was (unintentionally) not on my best behavior, and  taking advantage of their kindness at that point, what with injuring a guest and all.

It was almost time to try and get a few hours of sleep anyway. I had a meeting in the morning about that closed captioning thing....

As i rolled back to my hotel, I reflect on how this enlarged view of the world was suddenly making the world a little bit smaller as I learned that I understood more than I thought I would. And even as I left with things t think about, I caused others to feel the same way, a little bit.

Would I go again? That's a good question that I'll table for the time being. I guess I'm afraid that they won't all be as good as this one was, and so keeping those illusions might be best for now. :-)

Summary/Conclusion: people really arejust people. If you don't think so then you aren't trying hard enough. And you've probably never been open minded enough to spend time at a fetish party....

Now beyond all of that, it inspired at least 10 minutes of the content of a 150 minute conversation on the flight home. And for that I'm grateful.

That conversation probably deserves its own blog, especially since it seems now like it may take its place in the annals as a single serving date. Though I admit I had hoped for more, I've pretty much made my peace with it so maybe I'll write something up next week....

Paul on 15 Jan 2011 10:45 AM:

Easily the best bit of this post is this part:

'which she then cancelled due to "a witnessing of The Spirit" (the most epic exit line ever as far as I'm concerned).'

I'm just trying to imagine someone pulling out of a wedding for that reason and... I mean.. I just can't even... begin to... I mean... WHAT??!?!

I would have given $20 to be able to see your (or anyone else's) facial expression on being told that by their fiancee. Wow.

Michael S. Kaplan on 15 Jan 2011 11:25 AM:

Sort of a Mormon thing (though I have Mormon friends who agree it sounds like it was nerves).

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