Note: It has been far too long since I posted about Seattle. The details have since significantly become a bit of a blur, for which I ought to be shot. Please refrain from shooting me until I am, at least, fifty years of age. Thank you.
On Thursday night, I swing by the Center for Positive Sexuality again, there to attend the Grind event – a homage to the early days of the Seattle fetish scene, wherein amidst throbbing pulsating beats of gothic, synthpop, and a mix of industrial and trance is a dungeon party. Next door another event takes place in the Annex, namely a Men’s Only queer night.
“It’s a leather-queer night,” one female kinkster informs me as I arrive to the Grind. “Not like I can attend, right?” No kidding. “Its nice that they have gender-restricted nights though.” Oh? Why do you say that? “Kinda brings everyone together, really.”
Its a slow start, much of the dungeon space is open and a lone soul gyrates to an early Moby track beside the beginning stage of a shibari-suspension rigging. A handful of attendees flock nearby the fridge, indulging in the snacks provided by the event organizers, mingling amongst themselves. The lights are dimmed to a pale ambiance, suiting the track change to a German goth-trance song.
Next door, in stark contrast to the throbbing vibes of the adjacent event, the queer night proves to be an entirely different affair. Noticeably a small number of people present at the annex sport leather vests decorated with emblems denoting their rewards and titles within the leather community. A handful of scenes take place, nearby several other attendees watch amidst the projection of a gay porn film plastering the walls.
“Seattle has a sizeable leather community,” One attendee tells me. “Many houses though, from what I’ve seen, but if you’re at all interested – though I imagine you aren’t in town for very long, check out some of the clubs downtown. Most of them are fairly vanilla-based, that is people wanting to dress up.”
“Most of the Men’s only nights have a dozen people in attendance,” One of the organizers replies, when asked about the attendance number. “It varies. All these events going on at the same time – don’t get me wrong – most of the queer folk want to attend integrated parties, just to meet up and socialize with their friends in the scene.”
The organizer trails off momentarily to the loud sound of a masculine cry, directing both our attention to a scene nearby. Ambiance tends to be distracting in such venues needless to say. I make my way back to the other event, which by the time I do, have noticeably increased in number and size. Between the two simultaneous parties, the price of admission covers both – gender restrictions aside, of course. Periodically I switch back and forth, more interested in talking to the attendees than anything.
“The scene’s a bit of a thrill for me,” A younger self-identified Domme tells me, when asked about what the lifestyle represents for her. “I mean, aside from the physical side of it, I really enjoy meeting the people I have if only because of the openness people in this scene have for one another.”
“To answer your question,” One gay leatherboi tells me, directing my attention to a nearby leather Daddy, who tips his beret at me. “I’ll need more than one evening to explain.” Sauntering over by his side, the leatherboi perches his head against his Dom’s shoulder, nuzzling against it affectionately.
“You know,” He adds before I leave. “We see you coming and going, if you have time, why not pay a visit to the library? They’re doing free HIV testing.” Seriously? Free? “Yeah, there’s an organization from the Department of Health that’s sponsoring a free test lab here at the queer nights. Just walk on in and ask for a test.”
Here in Seattle, the Department of Health provides a free HIV testing service at the Center itself, situated in the library of the community center building. Upon entry, I find myself seated beside two gentlemen who provide more details on the test I am about to take. “What do you know about spreading HIV?” One of them asks me, politely. I, uh, I think its spread by the carrier through unprotected sex? “Partly correct. Anything else?” Anal? Oral sex? Blood transfusion? “Direct vaginal contact can spread HIV.”
Might I say that you gents are providing a wonderful service? “Thank you.” His colleague replies. “You know what’s funny though? We’ve offered to provide it up in Canada but the thing is apparently people think it violates their privacy.” How so? “For example, while we do not release confidential information, at times our clients can inquire about whether or not someone has been tested and for an additional service, we provide them paper evidence of their test results.”
“Have you ever taken one of these tests before?” No, I answer. The gentleman pulls out a cotton swab and inserts it into my mouth, swabbing it around the gums. Really, I don’t have an issue of random objects being inserted into my mouth in the midst of a queer event. Passing the swab to his colleague, he directs my attention to a little diameter.
“What we’re looking for right now are for white bars to form. There’s two. The C and the T columns will tell us whether or not you’re positive.” I immediately lean forward and stare at the bar. “It takes about twenty minutes before we get any results.“
The Twenty Minutes of Waiting:
The Test Results:
Next Update: Wherein yours truly gets his ass handed to him by someone half his size.