Monday, May 24, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea

One of the great things about writing a blog like this is that you get to correspond with, and sometimes meet, plenty of interesting people you would never have known about otherwise. People who would never have known about you, either.

I have a truly international readership here. Most of my readers are from the UK, the United States and Germany - the "big three" countries which, I am told by several producers, are the most important markets for corporal punishment movies. But I have also received comments and reader emails from Sweden, Norway, Spain, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, Canada, South Africa, Australia and a few other places (I sometimes wonder if all of my readers really live on the same planet as I do, but let's not get into that).

The internet not only brings people from different countries and different continents together, it also bridges gaps in social background and status, to a certain extent. If you're on welfare, you probably don't have a PC, but pretty much everyone else in the Western world has one today. It bridges gaps between the generations, too, and this is perhaps most interesting for me as a historian. My readers range from age 18 to 88. That is not a metaphorical statement. As you will find out in this post, it is very literally true.

The beauty of communication on a blog like this: "People are judged by the content of their contribution, not by age or any other circumstance unless they choose to confess." Those are the words of Peter, one of my commenters and email correspondents who became a very good friend. I would like to tell you a bit about him today.

Peter and I "met" on the (now defunct) blog of Niki Flynn, where he commented as peter8862. He has a fetish he calls "ripping 4 whipping": women getting their sexy clothes cut and torn up during a CP session for the mutual enjoyment of both parties. "Mix with this the eroticism of long slinky silk evening gowns and the vulnerability of girls in simple bondage" Peter says, "and you have a heady cocktail." Before long, he was leaving comments on my blog as well, and we started writing each other emails. I learned that Peter was acting out his ripping-for-whipping fantasies with a kinky lady he had befriended, who owned three wardrobes bursting with clothes she once wore as a dancer and didn't know what to do with them. Which gave him "ample scope for research", as he put it.

When you are a fetishist, details matter, and Peter is no exception to the rest of us. He has very clear ideas about what constitutes a perfect scenario: "Eroticism is probably limited to fragile silk-like materials such as satins and taffettas. Crisp cotton for summer dresses also has an appeal; thicker, un-ironed wool and cotton the least or none at all. [...] The sound of tearing fabric is enormously erotic. Knives and scissors should therefore only be used as a threat and to start a cut, leaving the rest to brute force, which makes such an evocative swish. [...] The remnants should be left hanging from the shoulders as long as possible, the aim being to achieve the maximum dramatic contrast to the original perfection."

Very few of my readers - or fellow bloggers, for that matter - are as evocative as Peter when describing their most tantalising fantasies: "To my warped mind, woman never looked lovelier or more desirable than when dressed in colourful silk or its nylon equivalent. [...] It’s the liquefaction in the silk of a Burgundy red taffeta ballgown, playfully hiding a shapely girlish figure, coupled with a thin whippy cane in my hand, that sends urgent signals to my nether regions that can only be satisfied by much touchy-feely between cane strokes, using the delicate dress material to caress the tethered girl in all the most exciting places. Which neatly leads me to my final conundrum in this mad but tremendously exciting perversion. I hate waste and the more attractive the girl in her gorgeous dress, the more impossible it would be for me to spoil it. Yet I confess that to slowly and deliberately cut, tear and rip that dress and those undies to shreds in preparation for a sharp caning and caressing would be the ultimate in eroticism for me. And after burning the rags, I would bitterly regret the loss."

And so our correspondence unfolded. At that stage, my own contribution to it largely consisted of recommending CP movies with good clothes-ripping scenes to Peter. Which was the reason why he had originally contacted me, me being one of the resident movie critics of the kinky blogosphere. Then, one day, Peter closed one of his emails with the words: "Can I say what a pleasure this correspondence has been - seventy years ago I spent six years dodging U-boats, caught up as we all were, including the U-boat crews, in an insane holocaust. Each side lost some thirty thousand men. Friendship at the other end of life is so vastly more satisfying! One up for a common interest and the Internet that makes it possible."

Wow, I thought, and did some quick calculations. He explicitly said that he "spent six years" in the war, which meant that he was in the armed forces from the very beginning in 1939. Which meant that he must have been at least seventeen or eighteen at that time. Which meant that he was... in his late eighties now! Good lord. I had certainly not expected that. Actually, I had never given much thought to how old Peter might be. I knew he was from the UK, and from the way he wrote, I had quietly assumed that he was middle-aged, probably in his forties. In his fifties at the most, because that was the upper age limit of the readers I had encountered so far. Well, not anymore!

When I mentioned the point in my next mail, Peter had a good chuckle about it and revealed that he had recently celebrated his 88th birthday. I was still a bit flabbergasted by it all. But needless to say, it was a very pleasant surprise. I thought it was wonderful to see that the kinky community was not restricted in age to just one or two generations. Which is something you know instinctively, of course, but you rarely encounter it first-hand. Most people I knew who were Peter's age had no idea how to switch on a computer, let alone how to surf the internet. And here he was, not just writing online, but also still active in the real world. From what Peter told me, he was in good health, lived on his own, regularly visited friends and did a fair bit of travelling. If I live to be 88, I thought to myself, that is the way I would like to do it. When I wrote as much to Peter, he concurred and said that he indeed considered himself very lucky.

After Peter's "dodging U-boats" remark, we also found a new favourite topic of conversation: the history of naval warfare. While his personal experiences had made Peter even more opposed to war than most of us, he'd retained a lifelong interest in that particular subject. I am by no means an expert on naval history (I come from landlocked Bavaria!), but I know a bit about the parts involving Germany, and I am passionate about history in general. So we had a lot to talk about, which delighted me all the more because Peter had witnessed so much history with his own eyes. In one email, he jokingly called himself "a rather ancient mariner". (Actually, "The Ancient Mariner" was going to be my title for this post, until Kaelah thought of the much superior "The Old Man and the Sea". Hemingway won out over Coleridge in this case.)

Mind you, I never thought of Peter as ancient. With his cheerful wit and curiosity, he remained younger at heart than many people I knew who were younger on paper. It's a cliché to say that you are only as old as you feel, but like most clichés, it contains some truth. Peter is a good illustration of the truth in this one. Our correspondence often gave me new ideas. Once Kaelah became active on the blog, Peter started exchanging mails with her as well. As with Peter and me, the things they talked about went beyond kink. Kaelah would tell me of thought-provoking conversations they had about life, family, love, death and belief. On a lighter note, they also discovered that they shared an interest in the subject of dancing.

This spring, Peter invited Kaelah and me to visit him in the UK for a few days, which we gladly accepted. He was a lovely host and lead us on a tour of all the local historical sights that would have put any professional guide to shame. Our daily excursions also confirmed that Peter is indeed almost frighteningly fit for his age - I think Kaelah and I were getting more exhausted from all the sightseeing than he was. But we had ample opportunity to recharge our batteries during dinner every evening, accompanied by stimulating conversation, wine and jazz music on the stereo. We also watched The Cruel Sea one time, an old war movie about the Battle of the Atlantic.

One day stands out in my memory in particular because it was such an intriguing sequence of events. In the morning, Peter woke us up as he always did, by bringing two cups of tea to our room (Kaelah commented on what a different it was to being woken up with a spanking, which is apparently how Henry Higgins wakes up Emma Jane). After breakfast, we went to church, which is something Kaelah wanted to do, to see an Anglican service. Sounds like a typical kinky day so far, right? We had lunch at a local restaurant and later met Roberta, a friend of Peter's whom we had already heard a lot about. Roberta is a sweet young lady in her seventies. She and her husband are into CP as well and occasionally get together with Peter for that purpose (since both Roberta and Peter are tops, one of them has to switch every time they play together).

Unfortunately, Roberta's husband was feeling a bit unwell that day and couldn't join us on our excursion, so it was only the four of us. We went to a museum ship which Peter was very fond of, where everyone marvelled at how technologically advanced the vessel had been for its time. Well, except for Kaelah, who seemed much more interested in the fact that the exhibits in the prison cell section of the ship included a scourge made out of heavy ropes. Evening was approaching by now, so we went back to Peter's place.

Kaelah and I don't really engage in private play with others at this stage in our still young relationship, and we kept it like that during our trip. However, while there wasn't any actual play with Peter or Roberta, Kaelah tried on a ball gown which Peter had prepared for her that evening, and posed for a few harmless photographs. Perhaps not all that harmless, actually - before our little photo session was over, it came to include some bondage, Kaelah draped over Peter's whipping bench, and Roberta posing next to her with a couple of CP implements. You will get to see some of the results on this blog very soon, so you will be able to judge them for yourselves.

To round out an already very varied day (church, ships, kinky photos...), we had dinner and then sat down together for nightcaps. Suddenly, Roberta asked whether Kaelah and I knew any German songs we could sing for her. Peter had already informed us that she is a very avid singer. So Kaelah and I looked at each other, and after some deliberation proceeded to demonstrate (sometimes quite well, sometimes a little out of tune) every German folk song, children's song and Christmas song we could remember. Roberta contributed renditions of a number of English songs, with the rest of us joining her sometimes. And so the four of us sat there singing Christmas songs, mostly, for well over an hour. I'm still not sure which of our activities that day was kinkier, the photo session or the singing. Probably the latter.

It certainly was a very pleasant trip, that much should be obvious by now. So, thank you again for your kind invitation, Peter. Kaelah and I had a wonderful time and we would love to see you again. Perhaps in Germany the next time, like we said. In the meantime, we look forward to your comments and correspondence as always. As you rightfully said in that mail of yours once: "One up for a common interest and the Internet that makes it possible."


Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Sounds like a triumph of imagination over age!

Ursus Lewis said...

That's a great story Ludwig. It's really fascinating how the internet can bring people together.

Pandora Blake said...

Glad to hear you had a great trip! They sound like awesome people. Strangely enough, I think it was an email from Peter which inspired the dress-cutting shoot I did with D last year, but I have even less time for extended correspondence than you...