Note: A minder to veterans reading this particular entry, I apologize for any given offense – frankly I would not stand a chance against any of you, so be merciful as I have limited medical insurance.
About eight miles off the Seattle Downtown core, in the quiet residential area of Georgetown, there lies a sleepy little inn that is dated at least a few decades old. The interior lobby is modest with a free coffee and microwave facility for guests, behind which lies a laundry room and an exercise room. A lone vending machine hums in front of the elevator with dollar cheap snacks. Budget security cameras are plugged at critical vantage points throughout the hallways.
The room I check into is clean with a remarkable bathroom facility, little green mints replaced whenever house keeping comes along – that is if I allowed them to. While not as spacious as the hotel I stayed in previously, I am rather pleased by the modest layout of the economy room, the result of a harmless series of flirtations earlier that afternoon. Across the street is a gas station where a stream of cars and motorcycles align the pumps throughout the day. Nearby is a drive-in section of shops and coffee stores, further beyond being the industrial freight and warehouse areas. I note the lack of graffiti in this neighborhood then immediately the frequent presence of patrol cars and contract security vehicles.
After dropping off my luggage, I decide to survey the layout of the hotel and manage to work my way into the parking lot to pursue my nicotine addiction. The cigarette packs here in the United States lack the notorious images of lung cancer effects. Back home, through the use of anti-smoking marketing campaigns, most of the cigarettes sold come with pictures of oral cancer and other heinous images meant to deter smoking habits. Pfft, like that has stopped anybody from buying them in the first place.
I am joined at random intervals by the presence of senior citizens, endless in their numbers, both checking in and out at the inn. Most of them noticeably sport worn baseball caps with the words: “Vietnam Veteran” or “United States Marine Corps”. It comes to me as no surprise why this inn is considered particularly safe – beneath their aging appearance, most of these men speak with a clear voice and with their heads held high. Only a suicidal idiot would consider messing with one of these individuals.
“Special Forces.” One of them tells me, blowing out smoke. He adjusts his dated glasses reminiscent of the late 80’s. “Toured in ‘Nam and retired.” What brings you out here, Sir? “There’s a VA hospital that provides benefits for veterans out here. Also there’s discounts for servicemen as well.”
Throughout every community out there in this vast world we live in, perhaps the most universally accepted group are those of the enlisted men and women worldwide. Like other communities such as the LGBT, the backgrounds of the individuals involved in the alternative lifestyle can range from students to business management, law enforcement to even criminals alike – none of which are held in the same level of regard and admiration as the people involved with the military.
Now, of course, between individuals based on personality and behavior alike that factors in towards the assessment of a person as a whole; however, gathering from what I have seen within communal interactions, it is safe to say that most if not a majority of kinksters regard servicemen and servicewomen with nothing but absolute respect. While the basis of the fetish community is composed primarily of pre-negotiated acts of consenting sadomasochism, those who have been subject to open warfare and human brutality through voluntary service can expect to find mutual admiration, not only for their courage but also for what they have managed to endure. This notion in particular extends well beyond the scene itself – most people can only imagine, let alone read about, the scale of hardships veterans have experienced.
Another man, his arm in a cast, nods his head respectfully in turn and flashes a smile as I return the gesture. “You look like a traveling man.” He comments, politely. “Where are you from?” Vancouver, BC. “You don’t say. What brings you out here to this part of town?” I’m what you might call a self-appointed vagabond. “Just seeing the world?” Yes, Sir. “Well,” He puts out his cigarette and extends his injured arm. I hesitate momentarily. “Its fine. Broke it in three different places falling off a ladder.” Does it hurt? “Yeah, it does, but what the hell.” We shake hands.
As a note of interest, it comes as no surprise that a number of individuals in the scene have, on their part, seen careers in either or both military and law enforcement. Off the top of my head, I can personally name a number of people from my own community that have participated in military tours (though without their permission, I do not readily name them). One can expect to find open company amongst fellow military members within the scene in any particular state or province in North America, much like the recognition of brotherhood-in-arms outside as well.
It comes as no surprise that just as fiercely as they would defend their country, so too do the military men and women defend their lifestyle with equal dedication and ferocity. They too, like the many diverse backgrounds and careers of people involved in the scene, can come in a variety of appearances or roles. Their understanding of the nature of human savagery and their capacity to control their survival instincts and pursue the freedom of their own sexuality is the pinnacle of self-control and self-understanding.
“Special Forces.” Another man tells me, leaning forward as I light his cigarette with my zippo. “I was a counter-sniper. Served in the Gulf. Knew how to survive all the way back home.” I humor him, telling him that I would never borrow money from him. The man laughs, adding, “You wouldn’t see it coming anyways.” I manage to hold in my bowels.
The acts of sadomasochism, varying in degrees of intensity, are caused by careful negotiation and ultimately consent – that is, in simple terms, personal choice and agreement. It is a fascinating yet delicate subject regarding veterans active in the lifestyle, due to their capacity to distinguish will and control from their past experiences. The most immediate and logical conclusion would be that their involvement in the lifestyle is likewise voluntary, that their understanding of personal freedom would just as unlikely restrain them as it would prevent them from pursuing their own interests – it is safe to say, one can spare them as much time as any, if not myself.
“I just like ordering people around,” One Seattle kinkster and serviceman informs me, “That and I like being ordered around.” Fair enough.
But what of the issue of more severe trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder? Just as dangerous as it can be to prompt an emotional or physical trigger amongst regular kinksters, are the risks of provoking PTSD with deviants of a military background equally or further hazardous?
“Absolutely not,” replies one man, a bottom, with certain seriousness. I quickly take a step back after I ask my question. “I’ve had them before but I realize that I am in capable hands, namely my Mistress. My trust and her understanding between us both enables her to detect the signs. If not I would readily tap out, calm down and resume our activities when appropriate.”
It is known that many members in the numerous fetish communities have at some point or another experienced emotional or physically damaging experiences. The reality of the scene, as mentioned regarding the relative good and bad individuals, is that there would always be some form of risk caused by one party or both or multiple ones. For these reasons, what most of the lifestyle involves is still considered taboo – the physical and mental risk being extremely exposed more than any other lifestyle.
Despite such risks, however, as a community it is important to remember that the support of others as a whole should be absolute. The safety and consent of participants provides grounds for caution that should never be shirked or disregarded, a distinct separation from other lifestyles as well. Just as commonly known as the risks in the scene, it is known as well that these two major factors enable past victims and survivors to explore by their own accord. To allow a bias, based on traumatic experiences, would be ignorance by definition – most, if not all the deviant military veterans possess an understanding of human spirit and will than many regular scene goers.
“Don’t be worried if I start growling,” A military bottom once told me, “Just run and hide behind Mistress if I tear the cuffs off the rack.”
Should you ever visit Georgetown, find the Georgetown Inn and rest assured; for both in and outside of the community, so as long as there are the brave and the bold, you are in safe hands. That is, if you don’t borrow money from any of them.
Next Update: The Center for Positive Sexuality and the Ultimate Aftercare Station