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Archive for June 1st, 2009

After several Mondays of post-travel logistics-fail, holidays, and outright laziness, I finally present to you yet another Monday Advice column on – who would have guessed it – Monday.

This week’s question is a little confusing to me.

My would-be girlfriend likes to put people in boxes; I want to buy her a whip, a present, but I am not sure how to shop for this kind of gift for someone else. i.e. How to choose between a riding crop or a cat o’nine tails? and other such taste issues…

Okay, where to start. “Would-be girlfriend”? What does that even mean? Like, would be if she weren’t married to that seven-foot bodybuilder Zed? Would be, if she only knew you existed (but she will, ohhhh she will)? Or would be if she didn’t like putting people in boxes? And if she likes to put people in boxes, why not get her a refrigerator carton rather than a whip? Seems much more thoughtful. It’s tough to whip people once they’re in a box. Cages are maybe a little easier, but the leather tends to get wrapped around the bars, and then there’s all the clanking…

Anyway, bizarreness of phrasing aside, I assume what this person is trying to ask is: how do you know what kind of kinky gift to get someone you know would enjoy a kinky gift? Which is a different question from how do you know whether someone would like a kinky gift. Though given the whole would-be girlfriend thing, I’m suspecting some of this as well. “Heh-heh. Uh, hi. I got you this iron maiden. For a present. Heh-heh.” Eesh. Maybe you should try flowers first.

In any case.

If the object of your affection (friend, would-be girlfriend, potential victim) is already into kink and has shared this fact with you, the trick is just to slip it into conversation. Some possibilities: “Hey, have you been to The Fetish Fair Fleamarket/Beyond Leather/Insert Kink Convention Name here? Do any shopping?” “So you’re kinky. What kinds of things do you like to play with? I like paddles/singletails/live pythons myself.” Or, if you’re really being flirty, “So if you were gonna beat me up, what would be your ideal tools to do it with?” If this kind of thing gets her going, and she’s interested in beating you up, this has the double advantage of warming her up to the idea and getting you some valuable information.

Questions of taste are always difficult, whether you’re dealing with a kink-related gift or any other gift. One question is: what are you getting her this gift for? Is it a testament to your friendship? A symbol of how you feel about her? Is it something for her to actually use on people, or just a keepsake? If it’s for use on someone, are you hoping that someone will be you? If so, it’d probably behoove you to get something you think you’d enjoy being hit with.

A good friend of mine, who traveled in the same kink communities as I did, once got me a wonderfully hilarious purple glittery riding crop when she’d learned that I was going pro. It was incredibly thoughtful, not because of what it did but because of what it symbolized: the riding crop was all about honoring a typical symbol of the work of a pro domme; the purple glitter was all her particular shiny aesthetic. I’ve never forgotten it, though I’ve never used it in a session, either. It’s more of a thing I keep around to make me smile and think of her. On the other hand, clients have sometimes bought me gifts (I now have many riding crops) that I have found beautiful and useful, but which have very little sentimental value for me. It all depends what you’re trying to achieve with this gift – and how much money you have to spend.

Whatever you do, if you’re looking to have this person use the gift, don’t get something cheaply made. Many sex novelty shops carry crops and whips and floggers that are of abysmal quality; these are fine as gag gifts, but if you friend is serious, you want to get her something nice. As nice hitty things go, riding crops are probably the cheapest; you can find high-quality ones at any equestrian shop. Canes are generally inexpensive as well, but neither may be what she’s looking for. Some places carry small floggers that are under $100, and floggers are generally a safe bet. But you won’t find a good singletail at that price, and anyway, singletails require a pretty specific skill set and a lot of practice. Gifting somebody with one seems like more of a directive than you might want to communicate here.

Finally, if this person is just a friend and you’re not on a basis for talking about these things, then…I can only recommend that you do not get her a kinky present. Because that would be weird and imposing, I think. Just maybe. Though I wish it were otherwise, many people are very closeted about their kink, and with good reason. If she hasn’t been entirely forthcoming with you, a kinky present might come across as creepy and threatening.

So here’s the low-down: If you know she wants such a thing, draw her out about what she likes. If you get her something, make sure it’s good quality. And make your questions more specific, mmm-kay?

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