Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Perils of Josephine

Three weeks ago, I had lunch with a kinky friend of mine. Let's call her Josephine. It was a most agreeable affair. We hadn't seen each other in a long time and there was much to talk about over Italian food and wine.

Josephine had recently enrolled in an economics course and needed someone to impose discipline on her: "I know myself. I will probably slack off halfway in the semester. If I'm afraid of a beating, it will be easier to get up and go to class every day." She said I'm the strictest top she has ever played with and wanted me for the job: "Because you won't be too soft on me. You will do whatever you think is necessary." That was a very lovely compliment. How could I say no to such flattery? Needless to say, I agreed to act as her personal motivational coach.

I wondered, would she tell me truthfully about every negligence on her part? Yes, she nodded: "I will be honest, and I feel that just the threat of you being there will be enough, actually. I know how hard you hit with that cane. I'm not too keen on finding out again..." Good, I said, let's hope you are right. Because if you miss as much as one class, you won't be sitting comfortably for quite a while.

So far, Josephine's efforts have been impeccable. She attends every course, is fully focused and does her homework diligently. However, a different matter has now come to light that will require a rather serious heart-to-heart chat. The story gets a little bizarre here. I wish it were another April Fools' Day joke. But it isn't.

I discovered a neck collar in Josephine's flat. Not the "slave" variety, but the kind used by orthopaedists. Out of general curiosity, I wondered what it is. Some new medical fetish? "No, I had to wear that after my accident last year" she mumbled. "No big deal. Didn't I tell you?" You know bloody well that you didn't tell me, I said, and questioned her further. As it turns out, this is what had happened:

She was riding her bike to the grocery store one day. Without a helmet, as usual, and with her bag hanging from the handlebar. And wouldn't you know it, Josephine discovered that a handbag caught in the front wheel will bring the bicycle to a sudden stop. She was going very fast at the time, too. Apparently, the force of the accident was such that the bike flipped over several times. As did Josephine, before a hard landing on the asphalt.

She got up, dazed and bleeding, but didn't feel that it was necessary to visit a doctor. There is nothing they can do at the hospital that she can't do herself! You see, the girl has a stubborn streak, a trait all too common in kinky young ladies. So she simply walked home, carrying the completely wrecked bike, and put some disinfectant on her abrasions. Her neck felt very sore, and she went to bed early.

(Anonymous spankable cyclist - not the real Josephine!)

When Josephine woke up the next morning, the "soreness" (and a strange itch) had spread all the way down to her hands. She decided that it might be a good idea to seek medical advice after all. Looking at the X-ray, the doctor asked: "What is it you want to do next year, study economics? Yes, that is what you said. Well, do you think you can do it - in a wheelchair?"

Noting her expression of sudden shock and despair, the man went on: she had shifted one of her upper vertebrae. It would be alright, they could fix it, no permanent damage. However, in the doctor's opinion, Josephine had come "this close" (imagine the gesture with one millimeter of space between the thumb and index finger) to being paralyzed for life. Not from the waist down, mind you, but from the neck down. She had been extremely lucky. They put her neck back in position, and that was it.

The doctor was quite angry and scolded Josephine in no uncertain terms. She had been very careless and stupid, riding her bike so fast, without a helmet. Refusing to seek help right after the accident. He made her promise that she would never - ever! - do something like this again. Because the next time, she would probably kill herself.

Actually, according to Josephine's description, the doctor must have been outright furious. He was a good-looking man in middle age, and despite the seriousness of the situation, she couldn't keep her mind from wandering off: "I almost expected him to put me over his desk and spank me at any moment! He was so mad..." She gave me a sheepish look: "It was a silly thought to have at the time, but it would have been a perfect kinky scenario."

While I sat there listening to the whole story, I grew more incredulous with every revelation: "Why did you never even tell me about the whole thing?" Josephine hesitated. "Well... You are so over-protective, anyway. And I know that you think I'm too reckless sometimes. I was worried that you would throw a fit over it..."

Throw a fit. Imagine that. Just because she almost kills herself. I didn't know what infuriated me more. The accident itself, because it wasn't her first close call. The girl is just irresponsible! Or the fact that she had kept it from me for half a year. True, we hadn't seen each other, but we had been on the phone many times.

On the outside, I was calmness personified: "I see. Well, so that's what the collar was for. Right!" The conversation moved on to other things. I left later that evening. Inside, I was already plotting the necessary educational steps. I like to take my time with decisions like these, think about what will yield the best result. In this case, I felt that a buildup, allowing her to dwell on the upcoming punishment, would be better than thrashing her straight away.

That was a week ago. Yesterday, I called Josephine to arrange for our regular Sunday appointment, when she reports to me about the progress of her studies. At the end, I said: "One more thing. When I arrive tomorrow afternoon, I want you to have a cane in the bathtub, in the water. Nice and flexible so I can use it right away. We're going to talk about how you are supposed to ride your bike."

There was a pause before Josephine's meek reply: "But I don't have a bike anymore..." I had to grin, but calmly repeated my instructions, a little more threatening this time: "Did you get that, Fräulein?" Yes, okay, she said, and I hung up.

So, later today, I will get to practice my right arm again. It has been too long, anyway. The doctor didn't flog her, but I'm making up for lost opportunities. Rest assured, I'm determined to make it more painful than the accident itself. It's a good thing that Josephine doesn't have a bike anymore. In the coming days, she wouldn't be able to sit on it, anyway.


Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Wow, what a fascinating relationship. Sounds like you're doing her a service and having fun besides. Do update us regularly!

Anonymous said...

Um... You know what? On second thought, I think I'll be out of the country for that period you were thinking of visiting...

Pandora Blake said...

One more thing. When I arrive tomorrow afternoon, I want you to have a cane in the bathtub, in the water. Nice and flexible so I can use it right away.

*fans self*

Now there's a hot image. Wow. I'm not quite sure why that struck me as deeply as it did, but ... it did. I enjoyed this post :) I hope your Sunday afternoon was instructive and entertaining. My many sympathies to your friend!

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Ludwig, I thought you might be interested to know that I'm making an example of you over on Devlin O'Neill's blog. The following is excerpted from my comment there (it's comment #12): :

... the appropriateness of a spanking in cases where the spankee says she doesn't want one would seem to depend on the nature of the relationship and/or the agreement that's been set up between spanker and spankee.

Let's look at the case of Ludwig, whose kinky female friend, Josephine has asked him to oversee her attention to her university studies and to spank her when necessary. Now he discovers she's had a serious bicycle "accident" a few months before, in which she was biking too fast and not wearing a helmet.

He decides to give her a caning that will "hurt more than the accident". You could say she's being spanked for an accident, for something that's not her fault. And yet, how totally accidental was it? The speed and lack of a helmet contributed to the extent of her injuries -- which, you might argue, were punishment enough. ...

Now you could argue that Ludwig has extended the bounds of his mandate beyond what Josephine (his kinky female friend) originally asked him to do. But on the other hand, you could see that it never would work for him to ask her if she'd like him to spank her for that accident, as well as making sure she keeps up with her assignments from school and maintains good grades. Of course she wouldn't like a spanking for that.

But by just assuming his mandate extends to cover stuff like the accident, Ludwig is making his role -- the role she asked him to take in her life -- that much more "real". And of course the test will be whether she really submits to the caning that Ludwig is planning for her.

And that's partly what's so interesting about our "favourite game" -- it's played out there in that wilderland where NO sometimes means YES, where it's sometimes hard to be sure what it was you really wanted or didn't want, and where it's not even clear sometimes who really is "in charge".

Here, for instance, is Josephine really in charge because she asked Ludwig to take charge of her discipline, or is Ludwig in charge because he's the one bending her over the sofa and caning her for something she thought she'd gotten away with?

I think she'll submit, because what would it mean for Ludwig's role in her life if she put her foot down now and said "Now Ludwig, I asked you to help me stay focussed on my studies. You can't be dragging up stuff from my past and punishing me for it. I'm not going to have you caning me for my bicycle accident. That's just not fair."

What would that do to their disciplinary relationship? Seems to me it would underline in bold the fact that Ludwig can only discipline her because she has given her explicit permission for him to do so, which kind of takes all the oomph out of his role in her life as well as trivializing any punishments he gives her.

No, I think it's clear that this is some kind of test for Josephine. Either she submits to being punished for the bicycle accident and thereby makes Ludwig's role real, or she might as well just give up on the whole thing and take responsibility for keeping her own nose to the grindstone.

Ludwig said...

Pandora - Thank you, I'm glad you liked it. Sunday afternoon was both instructive and entertaining, I'll have a post about it on Thursday. She did have the canes ready, in the bathtub, of course. That was the first thing I checked!

Karl - Yes, Josephine and I have an interesting relationship. It's all fun and kinky play, of course, but she does crave punishment for "real offenses", so that is what I focus on.

She also craves a strong "protector" figure. Someone who is strict and doesn't let her get away with her little misdeeds. And at the same time, someone who genuinly cares about her and wants to educate her for her own good.

According to Josephine, most of the tops she has played with are either a) over-cautious wimps who are uncomfortable about getting really severe with her ("Are you okay?"), or b) heartless sadists who don't care about her as a person.

Apparently, I'm the perfect mix of authority and compassion. It sounds like horrible self-adulation, but these are Josephine's words, not mine. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is. It all comes very naturally to me.

I have a strong autocratic streak and a vicious sadistic streak, but I also care deeply about people, especially my kinky friends. It's just the way I am. Nothing difficult about it at all! Isn't every top like this? Apparently not. Or maybe Josephine has just had rotten luck.

Anyway, about "exceeding my mandate": I'm not really doing that. I'm in charge, I do as I see fit. Josephine would be very disappointed if I wasn't. She will often play little games to test if she can get away with it. But if the top allows her to do that, if she can assume control, it is no longer exciting for her.

We know each other and we've played before. So, when she asked me to oversee her studies, she certainly anticipated that I was probably going to take charge of other things as well - anything that is important to me. I've done it before. So this was certainly our silent mutual understanding.

Of course, this is exactly what Jospehine wants in a kinky top / bottom relationship - the top in control, all the time, every time. That is the turn-on for her.

So, who is really "in control"? On the "meta level" for lack of a better word? I couldn't say. I'm not even sure that it is a meaningful question to ask in this context. On the meta level, it is an exchange - I give her what she desires, and vice versa.

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Thanks for your further elucidation, Ludwig. As you indicate, a balance needs to be struck between oversensitivity on one side, and heartlessness on the other. Glad to hear she thinks you balance these polar tendencies so well. Either extreme would be so much less interesting.

Of course the fact that you know one another from before and that she can know what to expect when she invites you to "take charge" as it were, makes it more plausible that you hold her to account for things other than her studies.

And on the meta plane, as you suggest, there is some sort of exchange taking place on the emotional economy level, if one can call it that. And at that level you're both in control. And it wouldn't be healthy otherwise.

Your relationship doesnt' exactly sound sexual, although no doubt there must be some sexual nuances at play.

Ludwig said...

No, it is not a sexual relationship. It comes quite naturally and easily for me to seperate that from kinky play. Sex is a much more private thing for me.

Of course, most kinky top / bottom relationships have sexual nuances, as you put it. Actually, I think there are many vanilla friendships between men and women that have them, too, in varying degrees of consciousness and subtlety.

When it comes to a kinky friendship, what you share is a lot more intimate and erotic than that. So it's only natural to have that kind of sexual tension. But it doesn't mean that you want to have intercourse, or that you even fantasize about it. I don't, as a rule, there simply is no strong impulse for it.

Often (both in the kinky world and the vanilla world), a relationship can be all the more exciting and sizzling with eroticism when it remains sexually "unfulfilled". That's why I was such a big fan of Mulder and Scully in the X-Files...

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Looking forward to an ongoing series on the perilous life of Josephine and the valiant attempts of Ludwig to keep her on the straight and narrow.

Anonymous said...

OMG, what a scenario and scene setting sentence to die for!! :)

"One more thing. When I arrive tomorrow afternoon, I want you to have a cane in the bathtub, in the water. Nice and flexible so I can use it right away. We're going to talk about how you are supposed to ride your bike."

If you want me to appear in the movie of the book Ludwig, I'm soooo like, your girl! But if I left the cane in the bathtub overnight tho would it be totally useless like a piece of cardboard, or more mature with age?

Ludwig said...

"If you want me to appear in the movie of the book Ludwig, I'm soooo like, your girl!"

Good to hear, Emma. I'm always glad to help a lady develop self-discipline. Of course, I need to write that book first. Or can we say that the blog serves the same function adequately?

"But if I left the cane in the bathtub overnight tho would it be totally useless like a piece of cardboard, or more mature with age?"

No, it wouldn't be useless. I'm not an expert on material science, but from what I understand, the rattan wood just absorbs the water it can, and after that, it doesn't really change anymore.

I've certainly used canes that were in the water for hours or even over night, and they are wonderfully flexible. The accuracy is a little worse as a result, but it's not a problem if you are well-practiced. On the other hand, the flick-of-the-wrist whip effect that you get is excellent (and educational). The cane also gets a tad heavier when it is soaked like this. Overall, I like the feel a lot.

It's interesting that both you and Pandora seem to have found the line about "have the cane in the bathtub when I arrive" quite hot. I didn't think of it that way at all when I said it to Josephine - sure, it was a fun little cruel line, but it was first and foremost a pragmatic instruction (i.e. just have it ready when I arrive). I didn't expect that it could have such a psychological effect on anyone. I'll have to ask Josephine what her thoughts at the time were...

But it's quite common, really, and not the first time that it happens to me: sometimes, a top will unintentionaly do something that the bottom finds highly exciting, and vice versa. Learning about these unexpected little push buttons and exploring their effect is part of what makes kinky play so fascinating.