Friday, February 19, 2016

Every Ordinary Object

To hear us tell it now, we knew we'd be married the moment Mr. W was introduced as my new co-worker at Barnes & Noble. If not then, we certainly knew shortly thereafter, when at the Information Desk, I revealed with a blush that I had a fascination with spanking and he confirmed the same about himself. The only difference was that he was a top and I was a bottom. Things almost couldn't have been more ideal.

The universe immediately began shifting our lives into proper order. My boyfriend broke up with me and his girlfriend broke up with him four days later, neither of whom were into spanking. We began spending all our time with each other immediately. The only problem with our new found freedom was that we weren't ready to date. We weren't even ready to kiss. We were, however, ready to begin our adventures together.

He took me to my first hockey game and on the way, we stopped at the beach so I could watch the late afternoon sun sink into the Pacific Ocean, something I hadn't had a chance to do even after a year on the West Coast. We listened to classic country as we drove around Southern California during fire season. He maneuvered a car with a suddenly dead radiator from the left lane across six lanes of traffic to get off at the next exit, all with the entire right side of the freeway engulfed in flame. We watched another sunset, a field of violet and orange blooming before us, as Willie Nelson's Stardust album played and we talked between the most comfortable silences I'd ever known.

One night, we were nostalgic for the days when books written by Anonymous still appeared on the shelves of regular bookstores. We went on a quest that became a tour of L.A.'s adult entertainment shops, everything from LGBQT-friendly Circus of Books to a shady hole in the wall with that kind of arcade in the back to the nationally known Pleasure Chest. Driving between these nefarious destinations, he told me stories that weren't just pieces of L.A.'s history, they were pieces of his own. Clubs where he'd played with his band. Bookstores and record shops he'd nearly lived in, safe havens and bastions of sanity. Pieces of conversations he remembered as we passed this old building or that shadowed corner. We did eventually find a few erotic titles, even in the BDSM genre, but we didn't buy any. There wasn't anything in those books that he hadn't given me that night - a strong man to show me the ropes, a fantasy to fall into, a longing for when those two would finally be combined.

During this same summer, now almost thirteen years ago, we discovered a hobby we continue to this day. It began with his need for a new belt. As booksellers at a national chain, none of us made very much, so when he asked if I wanted to go shopping with him for a belt, we started off in thrift stores. Suddenly, with him at my side, every ordinary object had alternate possibilities. Wooden spoons and butter paddles, dull with use and time, now glimmered with possibilities of domestic kitchen discipline. Framed calendar pages featuring bare-bottomed pin-ups made us whisper and wonder about the stories of the people who eventually decided to give up this handcrafted erotica to charity. Then there were the clothes.

There were girls' school uniforms in high school sizes that would fit an adult woman, with real school uniform labels and plaids in the appropriate school colors. This was Los Angeles, after all. Nobody wants to go to public school. In most of the school-focused spanking scenarios I've encountered or dreamed up myself, nobody goes to public school either.

There were medical scrubs and hospital gowns, for doctor and naughty nurse scenarios, or perhaps even doctor-patient. No straight-jackets, but my asylum fantasies were nonetheless present as I imagined just how Mr. W - ahem, a doctor, musn't get ahead of myself because we still hadn't kissed - might try to cure me of my spanking fetish.

And of course, there were the belts. In all shades of leather, in all lengths, weights and degrees of wear, they hung on display hooks like a selection of sadism in a mean uncle's woodshed. He tried a few on, first folding them over and snapping them, startling not only a few customers with the sharp cracks as we giggled and blushed. Eventually, he found one that fit, its brown leather soft and supple, the loop of its fold nearly flat. I still remember which store we bought it from, the wall where it was hanging, the giddy sense once we reached the car that we'd bought our first leather spanking toy together.

It would still be two years before our first kiss, and those years would be spent a thousand miles apart. But ever since, our favorite past-times haven't changed. We go for long drives and tell each other stories. If we're not together for a stunning sunset, we call each other just to say, "Go outside, it's beautiful!" We revel in adult stores, from exploring local shops in person to delving into the international world of spanking implements online. Our favorite, though, is seeking those objects, ordinary and extraordinary, that sit side by side with salt-and-pepper shakers, Depression glass, rotary telephones, and taxidermy. The objects that make his hand graze my bottom as he leans in breathe against my ear, "Just imagine how that would feel on your backside, young lady." The objects that could belong on our bookshelf, in our cabinet, or on our walls. Even the ones that make us laugh and wonder what stories they could tell. These stray pieces of other people's lives magnify a core piece of our own life together.

So, the next time you donate to Goodwill or decide to set up a booth in an antique mall, remember there will be those - young and old, friends and lovers alike - who will be browsing for those ordinary objects as well as the not-so-ordinary ones. They'll take them home, clean them up, and possibly treasure them for the rest of their lives. Thirteen years later, they just might be reminiscing gratefully about that time they were just two broke and broken-hearted booksellers with a need for an inexpensive belt.


  1. That sounds very romantic shopping together for pre loved implements.
    Hugs Lindy

    1. Hi Lindy! Thank you so much for reading! Yes, it is still a very romantic past-time we enjoy together. I've started taking pictures when we go off antiquing sometimes on the weekends and I'll be posting some of our finds here on the blog. We may not always find implements, but we do have a wonderful time together just imagining what we might discover. Hugs, Abby


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