Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Cafe, Melville

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Service: * * *
Food: * * * 1/2
Ambience: * * *1/2
Babe Count: * * * *

"What's this place actually called?" I say to the owner. The reason I'm asking is that the logo consists of a line drawing of a fork, a plate, and a knife, followed by the word 'Cafe'. It looks like it could be 'Oy Cafe'. Or 'Ioy Cafe'. Or 'Ior Cafe'.

The owner says, "Just 'Cafe'. We like to keep it simple, like our fare." Cafe is in 4th Ave, Melville, across the road from The Hard Times Cafe. Well worth going to. Decent menu. Fair prices. Intimate, cosy, decent ambient "Cafe Del Mar" style music playing at background level.

Joanna and I have just finished eating the butternut soup, which is delicious. Joanna is vegetarian, so she asked up front whether the soup was made using a vegetable or meat stock. Most places actually use a terrible chicken stock for their butternut, and it often has a clunky flavour at the top of the palate. The owner said, "Everything on our menu that LOOKS vegetarian IS vegetarian. So the butternut soup has absolutely no meat in it."

"Compliments to the chef," says Joanna.

She's a girl I'm meeting for the first time from the internet dating site I'm on. She's read my site, and isn't all that fascinated with the BDSM stuff. But she's still prepared to meet me anyway. Probably cos she's an Aquarian, like me. Very curious people, Aquarians. I get an sms from Damon. "In Melville. Where are you?"

I send him a message back, saying, "On a date with a babe I met on the internet. Can I see you in about half an hour?"

"No prob," he smss back. "Chilling at The Ant."

On the dating site, her profile describes her a carrying "a few extra pounds". When she sent me her photo, I couldn't spot any of those pounds, and she told me in email that she's got a very ordinary body. Well, I think I can definitely make a case against her at the Advertising Standards Authority for false advertising. She's shapely, curvy, and delicious to look at.

We chat long and hard about polyamory. She's had friends who tried it, and it fucked out profoundly. But in probing the setup, it seems as though these friends weren't really doing polyamory at all. Sounds more like a communal sex situation that didn't have many parameters set up.

An sms from Damon, "Take your time, dude."

One back from me, "Just five or ten minutes more, ok?" He and I haven't seen each other for ages, and I'm supposed to be at The Ant with him already. My quick coffee with Joanna has turned into several delightful hours.

I'm not trying to persuade Joanna about anything. We'd agreed upfront that this meeting would really be just a coffee meeting. A bit of an exploration. Her profile on the dating site is one of the best-written ones I've seen, and she sounds like a really exciting person to know. So because I'm not persuading her, we're having a good cards-on-the-table look at what polyamory might be for me.

Now I'm totally virgin to the polyamory deal to start with, so I'm really searching for the parameters. So I really don't have any position on it, save that it's something I feel I need.

Then we talk about BDSM. "Why do the BDSM crowd feel the need to hang out at events?" she asks. "Surely this stuff doesn't need labelling, doesn't need to be put in some sort of a box?"

"Well," I say, "maybe not. In my own case, I realise that I've been practicing BDSM sex pretty much from the beginning, but didn't know that. So I didn't label it. And I've had a pretty decent sex life. But," I say, "not knowing that I was into BDSM may actually have limited my sex life quite a lot."

Another sms flurry between me and Damon. Sheesh. He's a patient friend.

I tell Joanna about my honouring the word 'No'. And I explore the possibility that a girl may NEED to say 'no', but may equally need that 'no' NOT to be honoured. In vanilla sex, if a girl says 'no', I stop whatever I'm doing. That's it. Now, if the 'no' isn't ACTUALLY a 'no', and is simply the girl exercising her need to SAY 'no', then, the sex is NOT where it needs to be.

In BDSM, the agreement between the two parties is very explicit, and totally negotiated. The one thing that's fairly standard in all BDSM encounters is that the word 'no' means nothing, and that a code word replaces it. So, in a BDSM scene, if I hear the word 'no', I pump up the juice a bit. However, if I hear the word 'yellow' (which in my negotiation with my partner means 'Back off! I'm at the edge!'), I back off bigtime, and I find out what it is that's pushing my partner to the edge. If I hear the word 'red', that's a dead stop. That's a nogo area, and I cease and desist immediately.

Now, of course, the code word ISN'T the be all and end all. It's NOT a total protection for the submissive. Common sense is actually the biggie. For instance, if I hear my partner saying, "No! Roy, seriously, I mean this, we're at my edge! Stop!" I'll treat that as a yellow or a red, and find out what's happening. Anything else is just brutish.

Joanna hears my thoughts, and some of it seems to make sense to her. "But why the meetings, the getting together?" she asks.

I say, "Well, there are practical aspects to BDSM that newcomers need to know. For instance, using silk scarves to tie someone up with is a no-no."

"Why?" she asks. My guess is that she's responding to the romantic notion that silk scarves are soft and decadent and feel delicious on the skin.

"Quite simply, the knots pull VERY tight on a silk scarf, and the scarves themselves pull very tight on the skin. They also tend to cut off circulation." I tell her that you learn practical tips like that. "Imagine a NON-BDSM scenario," I say, "where you and I in a vanilla setting, decide to tie one of us up. We don't know anything about BDSM, which means we don't know some of the 'rules'. I tie you up with silk scarves, and neither of us knows that I'm supposed to check your circulation every five or so minutes. You don't know that it's NOT okay for your fingers to go numb. We're just enjoying this edgy stuff." I say that could be damaging, and it's really from ignorance. BDSM gives us both a safe paradigm to operate from."

Again, I'm not trying to persuade her about the rightness or wrongness of BDSM. I'm simply stating how it is for me at the moment. Which, I think, allows her to warm to me somewhat.

So at the end of the evening, after I've sent Damon about ten smss saying, "Hey dude... still on my date... seeya in about ten minutes," Joanna and I finally get downstairs.

"A goodnight kiss," I say, and spread my arms.

A momentary pause from her, and we clinch. Soft lips, not a chaste kiss.

"If I didn't have a throat cold," I say, "I'd have gone a bit further."

"How chivalrous of you," she says, blushing.

"Yeah," I say, and kiss her again. She kisses me back.

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