Oh, how little I know

I must have been in an especially literal mood that day, because when a vanilla acquaintance of mine asked me why leatherfolk like to spank each other, and why leatherfolk might be found being spanked, and why do we people wear leather, anyhowI answered her with the utter truth.

I said that I could talk about my own desires and experiences, but couldn’t say why other queers do what they do. When it comes to anyone’s motives but my own, I can interpret, empathize, extrapolate, interview, but really, I couldn’t say for sure.

I’m an unelected spokesqueer; the chairman of a committee of one. No one appointed me to read the minds of every leatherqueer everywhere, then correlate, and express group opinion couched in accurate percentiles.

Every perverted queer I know holds different opinions on politics, love, and family. We can’t agree on the ethics of corporate sponsorship for charities and leather events. We can’t decide whether drag queens and drag kings are shining gender rebels or simply re-enacting stereotypes engendered by the patriarchal system we’re (some of us) trying to escape. We don’t all have the same kind of sex with the same kind of lovers, or heck, the same number of lovers at a time. And I know for a fact that we don’t all wear leather.

Some of the BDSM players I know shun animal hides and use nylon toys, citing “cruelty-free cruelty.”

I don’t speak for all leatherqueers when I say that it’s wonderful when she trusts me, and I love that she enjoys it. I don’t speak for all leatherdykes when I say I’ll spank a woman I like, lust, and respect because it makes me hot to see her bouncing bottom grow pink. I can’t even speak for all longhaired femme tops who have dated my fiançé, in saying that we like butch bottoms with soft brown eyes and sharp minds.

My acquaintance blinked at me for a moment, and then gently pointed out the one glaring inconsistency in my little rant.

Oh. That. Well, somebody has to. As many of us who can, should write. You can’t learn BDSM from a bathroom wall. And a thoughtful question unasked is even worse than an inspired solution kept secret.

I speak and write to the very best of my ability, utilizing over a decade of dedicated-nay, eager-learning, an open mind, and the warmest of friendly intentions. I’ll strike up a conversation with any player who’ll sit still for it, and I listen well. I do my best to keep a finger on the pulse of the leather community.

I feel fine about sharing my careful understandings-as long as, on occasion, I get to point out how little I know.


* Elaine Miller is always learning.

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Love & Sex, Vancouver

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