Friday, March 27, 2009

Farewell to Josephine

So here it is, the final post in the Josephine saga. It covers not only the ending, but also, and more so, the beginning of our story together - as recently promised in Whatever Happened to the Cyclist Girl?, I will give you the full historical account and a prequel of sorts to The Perils of Josephine which I have shared with you on this blog. It will be a proper farewell now that our play relationship has ended and the two of us have moved on in different directions. Putting it in writing is important to my heart.

I have to go back almost three years, because that is when I first met Jospehine. At a "munch", as the English slang term goes, one of those meetings for BDSM people in a vanilla place, like a pub or a club. It was only the third such gathering I ever went to, at a time when I had just started exploring the local kinky scene, making the transition from internet voyeur and spanking movie buff to active participant. Josephine was her usual self - loud, outgoing, cheerful and hyperactive. Actually, she wasn't my type at all as a prospective victim! But she was likeable and interesting to talk to, and I sensed that there was a very thoughtful mind behind the buzzing puppy dog exterior. We ended up exchanging email addresses, having a couple of long chats on the phone (highly unusual for me, but not for Josephine), then meeting one on one. Just to share a snack and talk.

Josephine had been in the kinky scene for years and had a lot more experience than me. She was looking for a top, and the man of her desires was hard to find - the naturally and thoroughly dominant type, with no playing or pretending, someone who just exudes this massive aura of authority twenty-four hours a day. Alright, I thought to myself, that's definitely not me (which was fine, because I wasn't even interested in Josephine on that level). I always thought of affectionate sadism and the intriguing psychology behind it as the core of my kink, not the craving for authority or control. And I certainly never regarded myself as "naturally dominant", whatever that is. I was a novice, anyway, and I wanted to experiment, try things out, explore kinky fantasies... The kind of 24/7 relationship Josephine dreamed of, with "real punishments" for "real offenses" and all that, was not something I could imagine ever being into. As play, perhaps, and for a certain amount of time - but not in this absolute, all-encompassing way she seemed to want.

At first, I wasn't Josephine's type, either - an interesting guy for sure and great to talk to, but too distant and reserved. We both took a while to discover that there was a certain mutual attraction after all. One day, we just played together. She was the first girl I ever spanked and caned. Obviously, that is something you never forget, and I'll have to write a wholly separate post about it someday. To cut a longer story short, we both liked it, so we played again and it only got better. In time, it developed into a pretty regular relationship.

There were some revelations along the way. Josephine got to know the affectionate, protective streak behind my reserved demeanour. I found her to be amazingly perceptive and insightful on an emotional level, which one wouldn't necessarily expect in such a happy-go-lucky, at times reckless girl. In our kinky play, and to my considerable surprise, Josephine got exactly the kind of top she wanted. To this day, she swears that I'm one of the most dominant, most controlling people she's ever met, only I'm too clueless to realise it. I say she simply hasn't met any truly controlling people - all I did was help her along with advice she explicitly asked for, about things she wanted to do, anyway!

Whatever innate or perceived dominance I had, I didn't regard it as much of an achievement. I was only being myself, which is the easiest thing to do! In the process, though, I discovered that I enjoyed this type of kinky relationship after all, the constant power dynamics, the correction of "real offenses", the job of being an authority figure. What I was really after was living out my sadistic desires, and expressing my affection for Josephine through them. By contrast, the day-to-day authority was more of a side effect - but it was an interesting side effect, and I liked it a lot more than expected.

With hindsight, I think I had been pretty naive about this aspect. After all, I had tutored fellow students at university and enjoyed it. In a way, what I did with Josephine wasn't all that different - just a sterner, stricter version, including the power to give out punishment. For me, the most gratifying thing about it was not the control or the position of authority - sure, it was fun to be "in charge", in a playful sort of way. But again, that was incidental. What I really loved about it, the role of an authority figure, was the same thing I had loved about being a tutor - seeing that I was actually able to help Josephine, that she benefited from our time together.

She successfully made some changes which she had wanted to make for a long time, but where she had always lacked the last necessary ounce of motivation. Nothing drastically life-altering, just small, but significant things - getting a little more organised, a little more focused, a little more responsible here and there. My mere presence, the fact that someone was there to look over her shoulder (and never faltering in the duties he had committed to), was all she really needed for that. Every once in a while, I had to throw in a spanking, but it was the exception rather than the rule. So we didn't actually play very often, only about two or three times per month. When we did, though, it was always meaningful and pretty intense. I was fine with keeping it a deliberately special rather than a regular thing, anyway.

To witness these changes and Josephine's contentment about them was a beautiful, rewarding experience. Some of them, I'm happy to say, outlasted our time together and became permanent. And we had a lot of wonderful, unadulterated kinky fun along the way. Beyond this symbiosis, we were as different as two human beings can possibly be. Josephine is very much an outdoor girl who loves hiking, climbing and all sorts of physical activities, I'm the bookish monk who locks himself up in his library for days on end. She needs to be with people and around people constantly, I need my time alone (I like socialising and I'm usually in the last group to leave a party, but I can't do it without substantial recovery phases in between). She isn't a computer person and gets nothing out of surfing the internet, I do most of my work at the PC and still write a spanking blog in my free time.

Our tastes in non-kinky pursuits, movies and music were totally different. There were some novels we both liked, and we actually read a couple together (meaning, I read them to Josephine for hours while she kept begging for "Just one more chapter!"). But even those were few and far between. Our backgrounds and our vanilla environments, the circle of friends each of us had, were radically different as well.

For a while, even a very long while, a play relationship (which wasn't, after all, a "full" one) worked well in spite of this. We liked each other, we were friends and we had the kinky stuff to explore together. That was enough. But ultimately, our differences caught up with that part of our lives as well. The point is that Josephine's type of kink, the "guardianship" she desires and the strong attachment to a mentor figure, is most ideally fulfilled in a complete, proper boyfriend / girlfriend relationship - that is the natural destination of the whole thing. I'm not saying that this is the case with everyone who craves a kinky authority figure, but it was certainly true with Josephine.

We told ourselves that the "professional" mentor / student relationship we had between us worked so well because we were just friends, not soulmates or lovers - that this was a good thing, actually. But we were wrong. It worked as well as it did, for as long as it did, because we had a very keen insight into each other, despite our differences (maybe because of them). However, it wasn't something that could truly last. For that, it would have needed to go to a level that was not open to us. We didn't have the common ground for a full relationship, no passionate common interests outside of spanking or dreams which we shared. More importantly, we simply didn't feel that kind of attraction to each other. They say that opposites attract, and this is true sometimes - but not when almost everything is opposites!

After a year of being friends and playing, we first drifted apart in mid-2007. The reason was that we were both extremely busy with our work, nothing more. Still, the fact that it was so easy to take a long break - just like that! - should have been telling. We got together again the next spring. I had started the blog by that time and Josephine had enrolled in an economics course. It was great to see her, she asked me to play "motivational coach" during her studies and I was happy to sign up for the job. The first time I spanked her again, which I wrote about in Careless Cyclist Caned, was one of the best sessions we ever had. We also went to the annual BoundCon fetish convention in Munich (Conventional Weekend), another memorable occasion because it was the first time either of us had played in such a public fashion. Blogging about it added a whole new dimension as well, at least for me.

However, when these novelties wore off, our fundamental differences remained - if anything, they were increasing. It's not like we were arguing constantly or having a bad time, far from it. We enjoyed each others' company, having dinner together and chatting. But both in our conversations and in our play, there was a certain, limited level of connectedness which we could not exceed, because we lived in very different worlds - and our desire to change anything about that was lower than ever. Josephine was very busy with her studies, anyway. I think we only played about half a dozen times during the entire semester, and we didn't see each other much more often. We were on the phone frequently and I checked on her exam preparations, made some suggestions and tried to calm her nervousness. That gave me joy, but really, I was back in my old job of being a university tutor instead of a top - my "motivational coaching" grew more and more disconnected from our kink, while the kink disappeared.

Then it was School Report Time, and when we started with the canings resulting from Josephine's exam grades (The Fantasy of Real Life), a feeling became impossible to ignore that had already been there in all our (limited) play after the BoundCon weekend: it simply wasn't all that exciting anymore. The action itself was pleasant enough, with Josephine getting a nice sore bottom and me getting to try out some new canes which I had ordered at the time - but the edginess, the fascination, the electricity in the air was pretty much gone. We weren't fully there in our heads because we had both moved on. So a few weeks later, we decided to acknowledge reality and officially called it quits.

In the previous six months, I had become totally focused on blogging, penpals, role-playing, making videos - more than ever, my kink was about that kind of exploration and artistic endeavour. Actually, Josephine and I were toying with the idea of doing a role-play or two with some mutual friends, but I could tell that she wanted to try it only as a favour to me and her heart wasn't really in it. So I didn't insist, and we never got around to it. Meanwhile, after playing with me and others for years on end, Josephine had reached a point where she felt she had done everything. She was never a role-player or a CP movie buff to begin with, and she wasn't at all interested in kinky experimentation anymore. What she wanted to do was go back on the search for the top of her dreams, plus the boyfriend of her dreams, and settle down with him.

And so we went our separate ways. It was the right decision - I'm very happy where I am today, and when I look at Josephine, I believe she feels the same way. Sometimes when we talk on the phone and a kinky topic comes up, we reminisce about some spanking or caning from the old days, we joke about it and there is quite a bit of nostalgia. But neither of us wants to go back. That time is over for good, and I'm glad that it is. I think we did exactly what we were meant to do, for as long as it was meant to last. Despite the many polar opposites in our lives and in our kinks, we learned some important things from each other. And we have fond memories aplenty. I'm grateful for that, and I look back with great warmth in my heart.

Lebe wohl, Josephine.


Indy said...

That was very sweet, Ludwig. And I love the term "affectionate sadism."

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Lovely, intimate and insightful deconstruction of your relationship with Josephine.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the coda, very insightful.
I have also heard the word "compassionate" attached to sadism, not only "affectionate." And then I thought that compassionate sounds too conservative and clinical, much as philanthropic sadism.
The following little rant is only slightly related to your story, however not too far from its essence as I see it, occasioned by putting the two words together, compassionate (as an alternate for affectionate), and sadism: - Why not, that is a field to explore: do good to others' well-being while providing to your own giving needs of sadism.
Starting point for a new NGO angle, why give of yourself only for treating physical needs, such as hunger or some poverty-related subject? Imagine the scene: people can walk into your ofices, off the street, sign up for a goodwill caning to set them straight for the day, then be off. Do you think we'd have trouble staffing with volunteers to serve CP to those in need, at no fee?

! said...

That's an interesting idea, Val. I've actually thought about it. I think there'd be more than enough volunteers who'd provide the "goodwill canings." But then you'd have to worry about the volunteers and their true motives. Things could turn ugly.'d be awsome if that office really existed.

Oh and Ludwig - That was a really heart-warming post =)

frants said...

Is this the newest posting? As of April 2nd?

! said...

Frants - Didn't you read Niki's blog? Ludwig is lost in the snow.

HH said...

But what's become of his posting machine?

Ludwig said...

Val: I think the reason why "compassionate sadism" sounds strange, as opposed to "affectionate sadism", is that it is more easily misunderstood - "compassionate" really sounds a bit like "holding back", "being over-cautious", which is something a proper sadist (or masochist!) would view as an insult. If, however, you simply mean "giving people what they want / need", then yes, I think sadism can be a compassionate thing.

Frants, Rachel, HH: My apologies, I was away for a week, hence the interruption to my usually rigid posting schedule. Apparently, I can't do that without Niki immediately starting silly rumours...

To make up for my absence, I have made the following post twice as long as usual - over 3,500 words, a new record. See, this is what my readers get after I come back from holiday!

As for what Miss Flynn will get for her little April Fools' prank, I have my ideas about that.