In 2007 I met a dominatrix, and for a while, we hung out. I can’t remember specifically where we met but think it must have been one of the coffee morning’s I’d go to on a Thursday morning off Regent Street in London. I had a fledging business at the time, rather approptiately called, Bonding For Good, although it was more into promoting team bonding in the corporate world, then anything involving handcuffs and a studded dog lead.
One afternoon, my domintrix friend and I were walking through the back streets of Mayfair, and passed the Dolce & Gabbana store. There was a sale.
“Lets go in,” she said. And because I had no reason to say no, we did. There were some racks of clothes near the entrance that she started rifling through. I copied, even though I had no intention of buying anything. She pulled something out. It was black, lacy and about 98% more see through then anything I’d ever worn.
“You should try this on.” Silence was the only answer I could reply with. “No seriously, try it on.”
“Um, I can’t even afford it!” I replied, hurling myself through the first escape exit I could think of.
“Yes you can.” She responded. “Look it’s on sale. It’s almost cheap.” I peered over at the label. It was a couple hundred quid. I relented, subserviently, and took Madame Lace into the changing rooms.
“How’s it going?” She called out to me as I spent about fifteen minutes too long changing.
“Um, great?” I replied, pushing open the door.
My friend looked at with confusion as her eyes travelled to my skin-coloured human scaffolding bra (my mammory glands are of a curvaceous nature), that was sitting awkwardly underneath the black lace, along with a blue pair of underpants.
“Obviously you wouldn’t be wearing any underwear when you wear this though,” she said, as I stood there contemplating the appaling reality of what she was suggesting.
Nevertheless, I ended up buying the piece.
Then we went back to my apartment in Ladbroke Grove, and as I walked through to my bathroom where my wardrobe was to hide it somewhere, she took a look inside.
“You know I also help women organize their wardrobes,” she said, crouching down towards the bottom shelf where all my underwear and bras were chucked, “because look here, you have all your normal every day underwear just thrown together with all your…” She looked around, to see if she could find anything that resembled what she had in mind, “…ah yes, lingere.”
I next saw my dominatrix friend at an erotic party in Dulwich, in South London. I wore my one piece. Then for a period in my life, I wore it fairly regularly. Because out of everything I’ve ever worn, it’s the item of clothing that once worn, fun seems to happen.
And now it’s over a decade later, and I’m not even sure where it is. And knowing that makes me want to retrieve it, not necessarily to wear it, but at least fold it up carefully, and to place her in a shelf in my wardrobe maybe all her own.
we search for our sexuality in many places; then life happens and the search gets put away. yet even so, no matter how far away it’s sent, because of what it is, and how it is, it continues, so that maybe one day we discover ourselves not so much searching, but beginning to understand with a greater depth and resilience, ohhhh this is who I am. we don’t talk about it of course, because words fail to describe something so precious and unattended to as a British woman’s sexuality, (or maybe that’s any woman’s sexuality), but we feel it growing within us with the resilience and wildness of the wood at night. because really, artifice enhances what one's scared to embody; take that away, and we’re left with something tenderly simple. And potentially, personal to us all.