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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Respectfully decline

I had a fifth and final date with Technophile last week. It was a good conversation in some ways, not because it was especially nice or because it had a pleasing outcome, if anything it was a good conversation because difficult things were said in the right way. We parted ways with as much honour and dignity as is possible.

To summarise, he decided that we couldn't have a relationship because he, most emphatically, wanted children and I, most emphatically, do not. Now I don't want to discuss the why I don't want children because I am sick to death of having to justify a personal decision that impacts upon no-one else. But I do want to talk about the way it made me feel. I surprised myself in being more upset than I thought I might be. He's been the first man in a while where I'd thought "there might be something in this" and that something was more than kinky sex. A future, if you will. So to find out that there was no future was disheartening and I felt it keenly. Not because I had suddenly developed a large amount of feelings for him - certainly I still care for Mr Smith much more (and of course those thoughts are also tied up in the lack-of-future).

I felt it because it was another thing that was not to be. We can't help creating little hopes and dreams for ourselves that are leaps and bounds beyond where reality might be. It's one of the glorious, beautiful things about being human, it's also a very key part of being a pervert, the ability to imagine and to try and make those imaginings come true. Each time we leave a partner, or they leave us or however you want to phrase it, we let go of the bundle of aspirations and expectations we had for future times with them. They aren't always big things - it takes a long while for me to build up the emotional courage to consider moving in together or even, dare I say it, a wedding. I'm too aware of how far off those things are in anything other than abstract terms. It's more about the many, many small things that are now not going to happen. They sail away when someone says "no". Full of air and not much else, my small hopes are balloons floating up into the sky, leaving me like the small child who let go of the string, dwindling out of view. I'm left with that peculiar sense of loss you get over the irreplaceable.

I've done a lot of saying "no". I've had a lot of "no" said to me. For all kinds of reasons the nascent relationships I have built up over this year - with Dandy, with Mannequin, with Mr Smith, with Technophile and with the almost never-ending stream of first dates who never get to second dates and rarely get written about - have ended in a "no". Add onto that there are a couple very good kinky friends who I know would make wonderful, loving partners but just aren't right for me. More "no".

That's a lot of "no". And it builds up. I am at risk of becoming the girl who keeps on saying "no", which is ironic because I had originally decided that this was going to be the year in which I say "yes" to things. I wanted to shed my fear of spontaneous decisions and go out to find new experiences in a way I haven't done since my first few months on the scene. But I'm a bit older, much more discriminating, nuanced and clear in what I do and don't want. Saying "yes" to everything is not an option. But I do want to start to move forward.

I've been thinking about the future, about who I am and where I want to be, who I want to be with. How to get there. I've been thinking about what I don't want, I've been thinking about stopping doing things in order to devote more time and energy to fewer things that I can do better.
One of the instant upshots of this is to stop going on dates for a while. I recently put out on Twitter that I hated the idea that "you find the one for you" when you stop looking, because that sounds a bit like reverse psychology on the universe and the universe doesn't care enough to react to that kind of behaviour. I'm also reconciling myself to the fact that my life is extremely busy and perhaps I don't really have time for a partner right now - I'm not really sure I have time for myself these days.

All of this has put me in a whimsical frame of mind. Sort of sad, sort of thoughtful, all kinds of needing to go and think things through. I'm writing this from my family home in the rural north (family home makes it sound like a country estate - it's the home where my family live) and, as ever, going home gives you time to think. Even the train journey outside of London, and outside of London's internet and phone connection blocks the space between there and here.

I don't want my love life to be made up of little bits of random dates that never go anywhere. The great romance in which I meet The One sounds like an adventure for a woman who has more time than me. I've never been that interested in casual sex or hook-ups and I don't have the energy or schedule for planning and executing D/s play in anything more than the most adhoc fashion which doesn't sit well with D/s and anyway can only happen on the one evening a month that I'm not already trying to do four things.

I need breathing room. To think. So for the moment, and until further notice, I respectfully decline.

Friday, 25 November 2011

What I mean when I say I'm kinky

"I mean, do perverts want normal things, like hugs and companionship - or are they 'vanilla' too?" a paraphrased excerpt from a recent conversation with someone who is finding his feet, and his desires, in the widening world of sexuality.

I replied "yes" but using more words. And then thought about how this must mean we might be perceived as kinksters and the issues that might raise. Here is a sensible, smart and thoughtful chap who was worried that a life of crime and punishment might involve letting go of everything to do with what he understood relationships to mean: a partner, caring, loving, snuggling under duvets. That having kinky sex meant that these other things were not part of the bargain. Now, accepting that he isn't daft, that implies to me that when we talk about ourselves as kinksters and perverts we are only telling part of the story.

Think about the way we sometimes present ourselves, as edgier than edgy, more kinky than thou, always racing for the next thing: harder, faster, stronger. We do this for a lot of reasons - we want to be interesting and exciting, we want people to know who we are, we want people to think we are hot. We pride ourselves on our hardcore attributes, and we can isolate ourselves by doing and replace our personalities with personas. Cruel bitch. Evil bastard. Wicked masters and mistresses. Similarly, drooling submissives with no minds of their own. Creatures of sex and sexuality. But we don't talk about ourselves as people with love and with lives.

Make no mistake, I do not want to distance myself from my kink. It is a core part of me. But it's not the whole thing. The belle dame sans merci might be a wonderful place to play, and certainly part of me, but I can't do that all the time without becoming a gross (and emotional, intellectually empty) caricature. Even if it does become the pleasing acronym BDSM.

We have created the kink / vanilla divide. And we need to think a bit about how that is playing out in the wider world. When we emphasise, as I do, the importance of the lifestyle to us, we must be careful that we explain what we mean, rather than assuming that people will understand - the same goes for a lot of things in life.

So here's what I mean when I say I'm kinky.

I'm kinky. It's a thread of steel that runs through me like a backbone, supporting my body structure. I could no more remove it than you could remove your spine. Everything would come crashing down in a big mess. I'm kinky. I want to do awful, dreadful things to your mind and your body. I want to put my dirty fingers into your brain and pull on all those feelings that make you writhe and blush.
I'm kinky, I want to use D/s rules and control to build you into the person you want to be. I'm kinky, I want to hold your hand, talk to you about silly things, fall in love with you and grow old in a shared house where other kinky people might stop by for a cup of tea and a spot of shibari.

I'm kinky.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Singled out

I met up with a very good, very kinky friend for lunch yesterday and we ended up, head in our hands, mildly depressed, over coffee. There are certain stereotypes that I have always thought a myth and that of the single woman, bemoaning her status to other, single friends is seemingly not one of them. I felt depressingly Sex in the City, and hated myself a little for it.

There comes a point in every life when you can look across the room and see a host of couples - if you are a pervert you will also see a host of other sorts of relationships, but fundamentally, togetherness. People who you like, people who are your friends, people who right now you really, really don't want to be anywhere near. Because you do not have that special someone and you are starting to feel like a leper. Furthermore, you can look at the pool of other single people within that room and realise that you have either fucked, played with or are incompatible with all of them. And then you feel a bit stuck.

We tried to work out what was going wrong, as we often do when things are not ideal, we look inwards, to ourselves, to what we might be lacking (aside from a primary partner who practically explodes with desire to have kinky sex with us right now). Now, I have faults. I have many. I have cultivated them over the years and some are good friends. But there is nothing basically wrong with me. I'm a good catch. I'm smart, attractive, funny have all my own teeth, make a mean banoffee pie and am frankly, amazing in bed. The same with my friend, although I'm not sure about the pie. She does make great cookies. We are not crazy wedding obsessed women running around in white dresses screaming "commit, commit!" We just want a nice, kinky chap to spend some quality, perverted time with.

And, annoyingly, the problem is with the men available. Or unavailable. Sorry to be sexist, chaps, but there are a lot more good looking women on the scene who have wide and exciting tastes in kink. Add to that the girls are just a lot better at expressing what they want, going for it and actually delivering the goods. Without being an arrogant prick, though I am an arrogant prick, I have a number of beautiful, interesting and amazing women who want play dates. And I want to play with them. So I play mostly with women these days and go on a lot of first dates with men that go nowhere. Or worse, they stagnate in a kind of circling no-place of unanswered messages.
For the moment I've sent out some rather blunt messages to a few people, including Technophile regarding their level of interest.

Perhaps, we wondered, it was the kink thing. We're both very kinky. Sometimes that makes people nervous. Would it be easier if we were vanilla? At least the dating pool would be bigger, and we wouldn't know what we were missing, because we wouldn't want it. Sex would be sex rather than an entire lifestyle, which, wonderful as it is does become a very high bar if you feel like you are just not reaching it. But we are not vanilla. Any more so that lesbians are straight or tall girls are short.

When you boil it down, we are single for a very dull, very simple set of reasons. The people we want can't give us what we need. The people who want us we don't want. And it's very rarely anyone's fault. It just happened like that. We can hardly change ourselves, or change the people that we want. Conversely, we can't expect others to change or to change what they want - because then everybody would be going around pretending to be who they were not and pretending to like what they didn't like. Which is madness.
Some things are just part of you, bone deep and trying to be anything other than what you are is a lie you will always come to regret.

More and more I become clearer and clearer on what I want. I had a terrible realisation last night that perhaps this was the problem. My dreadful clarity. This leads me to reject any number of people who could be, might be, if you sort of turn a little and squint almost not quite what I wanted. Then I realised that would be a complete cop out and an utter compromise. So fuck that noise. I want what I want and there's nothing wrong with that. If that means being a little sad and a little lonely for a little while, then so be it.

Votive offerings

What goes around comes around. And when you offer something up, it can return to you tenfold, in an unexpected way. As part of Barelesque, a fundraising event for the excellent Albert Kennedy Trust, I donated a session of my services up for auction. I couldn't have hoped for a better recipient, in all my wildest dreams. Smart, beautiful and elegant, with a blush that rose pinkly from the centre of her cleavage like the rising dawn, thus earning her moniker. Perfect.

After a couple of email exchanges a date was booked. Something classic, dinner, drinks then to hers for kink. Blush and I met for a coffee a few days beforehand to check that all was well, we talked about many things before circling towards specifics. The less I know someone the more I tend to plan in advance, marshaling my forces around what might work best for them, all the more so when the activity is paid for. I allayed her concerns about "pleasing me", reassuring her that I never did anything I didn't want to, one of the benefits of being a dominant. Similarly, I attempted to put her at ease with regards to protocol and doing things right, remembering my own anxieties around my own acts of submission and the "correct" ways of being. There is a lot of joy to be had in being the dominant that you at one time wanted for yourself, you feel as if you are fulfilling a part of your own needs through the mirror of another's body, another's desire. And that's all without even counting the pleasure in domination itself.

We met for dinner and talked. With nights like this I always enjoy making each moment part of a greater game. Dominance is, in many ways, all about focus and making someone feel special. Very few people ever pay much particular attention to each other, so when it does happen it can be very powerful. I flirted with her over dinner, listening to what she said, as I picked out little phrases or comments of hers, filing certain reactions away for later. I watched her response, afterwards, as we shared drinks in a cocktail bar, batting off the unwanted affections or vanilla reactions of men in suits. I knew that she was watching me, but that also I was, in a way, taking care of her. She was under my protection, so the verbal sparring I engaged in was for her benefit as well as mine. I exercised my power in simple, little things. Decisions about where to go and when, taking the lead without ever needing to exert myself.

When you meet a submissive who is in tune with your dominance, everything becomes very easy. Like a dance partner who already knows the steps and the music, you can move together in a way that is natural, and not forced. Part of this is attraction, which was there and more so, but there's something else, something deeper. I've been attracted to people who I could not play with, or people who wanted to dominate me when I didn't wish to be dominated. The balance between the D and the s is delicate but, when tasted, very moreish. I was lucky. We were a fit. I held out my hand for her to take and she did. So we danced.

I stripped her down and pushed her onto the bed, tying her arms and legs down before running my hands over the exposed, gorgeous flesh. This is the moment I always relish, when things are about to start. She waits and I wait and we are bodies held in motion, like breath before an exhalation. I start slow, because some things are worth savouring. A week or so earlier she had bought me a set of metal chopsticks - she knows my tastes - for my birthday. Unbeknownst to her, the packaging hid their wickedly sharp points. I made her keenly aware of this, returning her gift to her. The points traced red, red lines in her skin, with a faint scratching sound from the microscopic tears as I moved up and down. Every now and then I pulled myself back from the hypnotic absorption that is found in tracing along someone else's desire. I watched her face, eyes closed, mouth slightly parted. I listened for those gasps of pain, the little moans of happiness as she fell into the floating space of masochism.

After a while, I lit a lot of candles. I had promised her, and myself, fire. This year will be a lot about fire, and I'm looking forward to doing more. I lay candles upon her reddened skin, pouring wax along the edges I had already cut with the chopsticks. Again, I lost myself in the motion of what I was doing, the control of wave upon wave of gently rising sensation. I could feel it, through her warm skin and into my own fingertips. I could feel, through that connection of dominant to submissive, and through the hundred, thousand little tweaks and movements she was making.
I grinned to myself as only a switch can - I know what that feels like. And I'm doing it to you. And you want me to, badly. It's like sadism squared. A double whammy of a power exchange.

The best kind of dominance, for me, is one in which the submissive comes to me willingly, wanting to be taken, to be cared for, to be controlled. A conversation with Majeste from long ago filters through my mind as I write this: "you come to me on your knees or you do not come at all." I do not want to take an inch more than is given to me - I would rather leave someone wanting more than angry, hurt or upset because I did too much. And certainly I will push for more, but that is part of the deal with submission, my role is to know when to push and how.

Later, by email, she talked to me of how my style was different to others she had experienced, and how she had been pleasantly surprised by my lack of force. I can certainly use force, if I want to, and sometimes a fight is part of a good scene. But better than force, better than the threat of violence, is not having to lift a finger. That is where power lies. In the power that is offered up to you, as the dominant. I do not need to take my dominance in that way, nor do I need to physically make a submissive do anything: they offer it up to me.

And I accept.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

How far can we go? Part Three

Finally getting round to completing the triumvirate in my musings on play and edges. I want to bring it all to a close by talking about dominance and submission as an experience, from within and without. Specifically I want to talk about what is and what isn't D/s. Now, there are entire shelf-loads of books devoted to YKIOK as well as the usual liberal (and geek social rules) around how you aren't allowed to say that someone is doing something wrong. So for those of you who ascribe to that principle one hundred percent, I would avoid reading further.

I like to think that for the most part I'm pretty cool with people doing what they want to each other as long as consent is acknowledged and it doesn't fuck up what I want to do. But I'm going to take a bit of a stand here. Sometimes things happen, in life and on the scene, that are just wrong. There are no ifs or buts or grey areas. They are shit things that shouldn't have happened. Now, why they happened is a different story, and we've all made mistakes - I know I have - but that doesn't change the fact that bad things happen.

In the past two articles I wrote about how we can create a moral code for ourselves as kinksters, and how we can use that in our negotiations with others, which touched a little on issues of abuse. Now I'm going to touch a little more firmly.

In a nutshell, my opinion is this: dominance is not the same thing as being domineering. Similarly, submission is not the same thing as being a doormat. In both instances, the former is good, healthy BDSM, the latter is not. Let's think about some definitions. A dominant person is behaving to generate an effect upon the submissive - I've always maintained that dominants (or submissives) don't exist in isolation, they need each other. You are dominant towards someone, you are submissive towards someone: that's the power exchange. A domineering person "naturally" has to be in control (or seen to be in control), regardless of who this is directed towards, regardless of whether they want it or not and regardless of what has been said or agreed. They are just "like that". Similarly a doormat cannot stand responsibility, regardless of the context, regardless of whether other people want to take control. You'll notice that when it comes down to it, these two poles are actually quite similar.

It's all about control and perception of control. It's also about confidence, fear, self-awareness and personal responsibility - all the things that make us people. So it's big stuff and cuts to the heart of who we think we are.

Having the confidence of your own convictions makes you a better dominant and a better submissive.
Fear, is the opposite of confidence and it is the enemy. Fear is fun to play with, but it's not fun to live with. It makes you weak and generates reactions that are animalistic fight or flight selfish self-preservation with no thought for others. Domineering types seize control and strangle the life out of things as they take them too hard. Doormat types hand themselves over without a word and close their eyes, hoping for the best.

Knowing when you move from dominance to domineering, or from submission to being a doormat is a personal thing. It requires brutal honesty about how you really feel, and it's about being self-aware. Are you comfortable with yourself and you are brave enough to make decisions and to talk about things that you want. Don't mistake it for bravado or thrill seeking - those are domineering/doormat traits. Pretend bravery that hides gaping holes which will cause problems in your D/s.

It's very easy to look at these examples and think "abuser" and "victim" but what I'm talking about here is deeper and more muddled than that. There's a great post here on how rapists are supposed by parts of society to be obvious which cuts through a lot of our challenges when thinking about nice people who do bad things.

When our BDSM works we are people who try to do bad things in good ways. Which is to say we give and take pain for pleasure, we push people down to build them up. We abuse, humiliate, hurt and harm in order to adore, love, lust and come really, really hard. We're a contrary, contradictory bunch. We're complicated. And complication breeds complexity so sometimes we can't see the wood for the trees. Things become "difficult". What you see isn't always what you get. There's a lot of "you wouldn't understand" going on within our lives. This post is, in part, about trying to understand. It's about breaking down some assumptions and about trying to tackle ideas about "right" and "wrong" within BDSM.

That's the easy bit done. The nice, wipe clean, seen from the outside told-you-so bit. The hard bit is telling the two apart when you are in the thick of it (either giving or receiving) and how to turn the bad into good.

I cannot answer that question for you. I'm not trained to do that and I don't know you well enough (well, most of you). I suspect, because I remember what it felt like myself, that we know, deep down, when we have crossed the line. But when we are in a D/s relationship, with a partner who is providing scenes and scenarios that support, encourage and even excuse our bad behaviour we often lack the impetus to change. This is not to blame them. At all times, what we do is our responsibility. Even if we, as submissives, have handed control to our dominants, event if we call ourselves "slave" or "animal", we are still responsible. I don't care that this might make me less of a dominant or less of a submissive or less of a full throttle pervert in the eyes of some people because those people are wrong and their attitudes are sociopathic. Submission is given. Dominance is given. They are gifts. Someone else makes the decision to take them.

Now here's another tactical conundrum. What do we - as responsible social kinksters - do when we see these behaviours and we aren't involved.
From the outside, domineering behaviours can look like, feel like and sound like dominance. And doormat behaviours can look like, feel like and sound like submission. Certainly at first, but in true "boiling a frog" principles we can end up in a difficult place by degrees. How do we know, when we look at a scene, or what we think is a scene, what is really going on? That blow to the face was not part of the scene. That one was.

We can't be guaranteed to be right, I'm afraid. We just can't. Like a jury, we will never completely know the real answer. But we also must be aware, and we must be prepared to act, to say something, if needs be. It's better to say something and be wrong, to be embarrassed, than to say nothing and allow someone to be hurt. Really hurt. Similarly, we must accept that others might want to say something to us, about how we are perceived, about how we act. And we must accept that with grace. Which means giving and taking criticism. And it means talking to people and listening to them. It also means talking about ourselves, letting people know what looks right and feels right for us. The more we do it ourselves, the more others are encouraged to do so. We can make friends with each other and be aware of what works for our friends.

There is a social contract to look out, and look after one another. As a group we must understand and act upon what is and isn't acceptable. We must also make these rules clear. As individuals and as groups. Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups, and given the risks we play with we cannot take those risks. Not for ourselves, not for others. The challenge I'm issuing, here and now, is to start thinking about good and bad dominance and submission. Start to decide for yourselves what is right and what is wrong. And tell people. Then act on it.

How far can we go?

Over to you.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Come to the Cabaret

Now, either I'm losing my "touch of death" for cabaret or I'm finding the right sorts of performances for me. Bit of both perhaps. I do still find a lot of vanilla "sexy" performance frankly bemusing, but perhaps they also find we perverts and the things we like bemusing. Certainly it seems that taste is a big issue and there have been many recent performances all in the best possible taste, or my taste, at any rate.

Unsurprisingly, my tastes run to the queer, the impromptu and stuff done by my friends. There's a lot of cold water that gets thrown upon performances done by the "untrained" or "amateur" but several of the strip teases I saw at Barelesque, a charity event done at the RVT contained a lot more heart and soul - as well as that absolutely essential connection with the audience, that many professional performances can often lack. They were fun, rather than work and some shows I've seen, whilst slick and well-rehearsed do look an awful lot like work. And hard work at that. The sort of world-weary stereotype of a sexual performer, mechanically grinding away. This can happen in the industry, people get tired and the thrill can go out of it, there is a freshness in seeing something that has never been done before. Similarly, an audience can (note use of the word can, bad amateur stuff is just as dreadful as bad professional stuff but without the slick delivery) develop more of an engagement with a performer if they know who they are or know that this is their "first time". Public sharing in cherry popping, anyone?

This isn't to deride professional cabaret performers - of which there were several on the night, but to point out that it isn't the word "professional" that makes them good. It's the connection with people in the room and their performance capacity. A lot of perverts make good performers, especially the seasoned exhibitionists who understand the power of being watched and can tune into the feelings within a room. Some perverts make dreadful performers, but them's the breaks. The idea of newness is also important. Good performers make each audience member feel as if they are watching something special and unique - they tell a story that, though it might have been done a thousand times, is still fresh that night, for that person.

Speaking of fresh and along the same lines, I went along to Sleaze at Camden an "NYC style burlesque) last night to watch Jonny Porkpie and Mat Fraser to name but a few. The show was unashamedly lewd and crude, with lots of audience participation (and with plenty of perverts in the house there was ample opportunity for those exhibitionists to get their thing on) and whilst the stage was tiny and an element of "thrown together" prevailed it had the feel of being a shared conspiracy of silliness: something fun, sexy, light-hearted and done just for those people in the room - exactly what good cabaret should do. Yet beneath all of that, the performances were well timed and professional, the pacing was strong without feeling rushed and the room soon filled with screams of horror and laughter and mmm's of delight from the audience.

It's a delicate balancing act, akin to the whole "this old thing? I just threw it on" lies that those who spend hours getting ready might use to throw us off the scent. What looks as if it suddenly happened, is often very well planned. In a similar way, there's a strong connection between performance and scene building, a lot of thought goes into those precious few moments. Again, another reason why there may be a good crossover between perverts and performers. For my own part, I'm looking forward to doing some more of my own shows next year, as well as supporting others in developing theirs.

On with the show.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Patience, partners and personalities

I am not by nature a patient person. I can wait, if I have to, if there's absolutely no possible alternative. But generally delayed gratification is not my bag. Now, this isn't the same thing as wanting to do everything quickly. I often enjoy taking my time, as anyone who has been on the other side of a sharp blade held by me will know. If something is worth doing, it's worth doing well and often that means spending a lot of time on it. And very pleasurable time it can be too.

The key difference is whether something is being "done" or not. What I do not deal well with is the limbo of uncertainty. The dead, empty time between sending out a message and getting a reply. The "will they won't they" process of hanging around for someone else to arrange their schedule. As Chiaroscuro pointed out, the key is expectation management, vital word:expectation. If I know that something is or isn't going to happen then I can stop worrying about it and get on with enjoying things. Poor communication makes me stressed and it's a needless stress. And I remove those from my life with the same drive that ruthlessly pursues happiness.

I've had to pull back from Technophile due to precisely that, unfortunately. I don't expect anyone to cling to my skirts, or to send me endless chocolates and flowers. I do however require more than one Facebook message a week. It's a curious situation when the person who one is supposed to be dating is the least available, and shows no signs of becoming more available. This would have been fine, had we actual dates (with actual sex and actual kink) booked in the diary for that time, but we didn't. I'm a bit disappointed - I liked him and he intrigued me, but not enough to hang around or play any sort of waiting game with no real end point in sight. Conversations, when they happened tended towards the "I don't know" or the "Not tonight Josephine".

If it hadn't been for the monogamy angle everything would have probably been well. Those adhoc, every-now-and-then lovers are always a pleasing addition to life's rich pattern. Take Ten for example. However, I'd agreed to not see other people because Technophile was uncomfortable with it, and I liked him enough to try. But without any input from him, I ended up having no-one and nothing on my kink radar for a couple of weeks, which is pretty much an Ice Age in electronic doll years (they are like dog years only for BDSM). My usual pattern - which has been admittedly watered down somewhat by my new job - is around 3-4 dates a week with kinky folk, of which two would probably be play dates, then parties and events all weekend. My pattern recently was some lunches with kind kinksters who came to give me vicarious thrills on their own sex lives - thank you all. So to go from that to very little, in combination with a switch in relationship mode, plus still surfing the wave of periodic moroseness following losing Mr Smith and Mannequin meant that I felt a bit like the cowboy surveying tumbleweed.

I expect that this sounds somewhat "poor me" and that lots of people have to cope with an awful lot worse in this world, but it was an annoyance I could have done without and it also set me along the standard issue paranoia line: why hasn't he been in touch, what has happened, what have I done wrong? As it turns out, he was busy, nothing has happened and I am still the same wonderful, awful pervert I have always been. But that wasn't much consolation at the time.

I view frequency and type of communication as being directly proportional to interest. This isn't an obscure game for judging people, it's a way that those in my life, or who want to be in my life, can make me feel happier and more comfortable. Clear channels and timing for communication is something I absolutely require from my partners. And I make damn sure they know about it. On a really basic level, I like knowing what is happening, so I book dates in advance and keep a tight diary. As long as I know where my next meal, next fuck and next sleep are coming from I'm generally ready for anything. Lack of certainty on those fronts can cause me anxiety. It's my issue and I'm dealing with it, but the way in which I deal with it requires me to avoid people who cannot deliver.

We all do this, we look for people whose ways of behaving and living match up with our own. Dominants look for submissives, and vice-versa. People who want polyamory seek others of a similar ilk. Friends are people whose idiosyncrasies sit well with our own. All the more so in partners. Often it's the day-to-day behaviours that can create the biggest rifts - the saying goes that opposites attract but that only works if those opposites are complimentary rather than in direct competition. Planners will always get annoyed with prevaricators, and those who like to live life as it comes will come to loathe being managed down to their last minute. Different strokes for different folks. Sadly, what I'm coming to understand, in my ongoing quests for Goldilocks style "just right", is that there will be people, who through no fault of their own, are exciting and interesting in some ways, but fall short in others.

And just as I'm not prepared to wait without reason, I also will not compromise on those things I really, really need.