Last weekend was Spring in the South here in Atlanta, an annual (24 years now) BDSM weekend event with workshops, formal dinner, and dungeon party. I'm a board member of Atlanta S/m Solidarity (@asmsolidarity on twitter) and so on the hook to help with setup and organization. I also presented for the first time at one of these events, and my topic was, of course, puppy play. Luckily, I had a good chunk of my pack around to help out with the heavy lifting - Tebow, Emrys, and Pepper were on call when I needed them, and all three helped with the demo portion of my class as well.
Fortunately, I was able to sit in on some classes, and the first was on humiliation play by Insatiable Amazon, a 6'2" pro Domme. The class was especially interesting because it was mostly tops in the discussion, and we got into how to handle scenarios that make the Dom uncomfortable, rather than the usual effect of putting the sub in that position. For example, we started talking about racial play, using those forbidden words to humiliate and denigrate someone based on race. I have had someone ask me to play in a scene with that, and I had to tell them honestly that I couldn't do it. It's just a little too close to my experiences growing up and seeing actual racism perpetrated by people I knew, including my own family. The whole point of these scenarios is for both partners to derive some sort of pleasure/satisfaction/emotional release, and I'm not sure I could provide that while doing something so personally and intensely discomforting. I think it has to do with levels of societal guilt ingrained into me by growing up in that environment, and Insatiable more or less confirmed that. She does racial play on a fairly regular basis, but she is a native German who grew up in the immediate post-war Germany. She said that she would on no account ever wear or use Nazi uniforms or role-play scenarios because it simply hit too close to home; I think that's pretty similar to the way I feel with race play. It wasn't all deadly serious, however, we had lots of enjoyable talk about how to have fun with a humiliation bottom as well, from forced feminization, to the degrading effect of watersports, and particularly the threat of discovery or public exposure. The discussion also led into ways to heighten humiliation, such as building up the sub some before tearing them down. I have some plans for Tebow now that I shared with him a bit. Given the way he reacted, I think he's in for a treat. :)
The second class I attended was on the leatherboy lifestyle by pup Nitro (our local hero and International Leatherboy 2011). This is the one that gave me the title for this post. In the room were about 8 leatherboys of various types, and it was a pretty good discussion of what that segment of the community can and should do. Essentially, the boys are the next generation of leaders. Nitro made that point as he looked around and realized this was the third year he'd been teaching classes on assorted topics; somehow he'd gone from being "just" a sub to an active switch and community leader. He then called me out on having gone through a fairly intense role reversal in the time he'd known me. I likened it to an athlete who's sidelined by an injury that goes on to coach, and I think it fits. My back simply won't let me get down on all fours and romp like I'd like, but as a pack leader I can still express some of that energy and help other pups experience that joy.
My pup play class was after lunch, and I was shocked at the turnout. The event itself is only about 60-75 people, including presenters, with 4-5 classes going on during each session. As such, the first two classes I'd gone to had been less than 10 people, so I was looking forward to a nice, intimate session to discuss things and dip my toe into the world of presenting. Instead, mine had about half of the show's total attendance crowded around the 10x10 padded floor I'd put down for my pups to play on while I talked.
No pressure, right? It's just 75 minutes to stand and talk on a topic I know, but had never presented.
Once I got going, though, the time just flew by. In fact, the time went by so quickly that the '10 Minutes Left' sign popped up before I'd even gotten into the gear! I repeated myself some with respect to the core elements of the headspace, but that's ok because it's truly the most important point. The pups were wrestling and romping, which helped keep it from just being a lecture, and let me demonstrate some of my points. Emrys especially helped out by talking about how he'd come into pup play and discovered his 'inner' pup self, and Nitro was able to expand on some of my points from the audience (and act as impromptu medic with the first aid kit when the inevitable first abrasion occurred). I've got to throw some shout outs to Sparky and Bootbrush for the knowledge and insights they've shared that helped me form my own concepts of pup play that I can now pass on to others.
Once classes were done for the day, it was time to set up for the pup romp. Instead of incorporating the romp at the play party, I volunteered to set up the play area during the dinner, so that the pups could be the entertainment while people were eating. Setup went well, and I got all the pups into gear with plenty of water, snacks, and squeaky toys. Some of the pups (I'm looking at you Leo) were more trouble than others, but things went pretty smoothly with a few folks coming over to play with the pups and hand out treats from the buffet line. Surprisingly, there were no injuries among the pups, not even minor bruises from the extremely vigorous wrestling some were doing. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for me as I felt my back pop after bending down to pick up one toy too many. I managed to carry through the rest of the romp, but it was a definite struggle to stay upright. Luckily, all I had to do was supervise the take down of the floor tiles and pads so that the dungeon could be readied for the play party.
Emrys spent the first hour of the party on DM duty, then I had the second hour. By then, the pain had subsided a little from the initial snap, so I was able to actually sit down and play with the pup a little. I managed to find some time while we were working to warm him up a little by working his balls, but I really regret not being able to go to town with my floggers. It wasn't his fault, though, so once we settled down (near another hot scene with three hot guys), I got him naked. He tried to make me feel better with a very, very welcome blowjob and (after some edging, of course) I let him get off. Evidence suggested that it had been awhile. ;)
I left Tebow to find his own fun during the party - I'd been handling his pup self for several hours at that point and thought he'd like the time to explore his own top side with Pepper, the newest pup to play with us. I think Emrys captured things perfectly with the cartoon he drew, so I'll leave the final word to him.