Friday, March 4, 2016

Woman in the Tiger Cage

One of our recent spanking toy shopping trips took us to Smokin' Lingerie, a local adult shop with an interesting selection of spanking, BDSM, and impact play items. To give you an example, in addition to new merchandise, it also has back issues of Janus and videos from Rigid East on VHS. We've been there twice now and I end up wanting everything, even the items I wouldn't normally consider.

This time, I noticed they had a puppy cage, and not the kind you can get at Petsmart. It was large enough to fit a person on their hands and knees or lying down in a curled position. I surprised myself when I said to Mr. W, "I wouldn't mind being in that."

I've never had a desire to be caged, though the fantasy has occurred from time to time. I enjoy power exchange but not power deprivation. Even our wrist and ankle cuffs were purchased with safety in mind and I can escape them in an emergency. When I found myself picturing myself inside the cage, however, a small seed, one that I realize now was planted deep inside me long ago, began to grow.

I saw my first erotic image accidentally and at an early age, young enough that I didn't know what I was seeing. I'd gone along with my dad to the small package store near our house because when I accompanied him, I got a little package of Handi-Snacks cheese and crackers, the kind with the soft orange cheese and the red stick for spreading. It was almost all they sold: beer, wine, liquor, cheese and crackers, magazines.

If I let go of Daddy's hand, I was supposed to stay on the left side of the store. I'd tried and failed to get to the right side a few times, but always had my hand caught at the last moment. "That side is only for grown-ups," I'd been told, but as far as I could tell, except for the cheese and crackers, the whole store was only for grown-ups. Even the MAD magazine that was sold next to the Handi-Snacks at the register seemed like it was for grown-ups. The cartoons on the cover didn't look like the cartoons I watched on Saturday morning at all.

Then one fortuitous evening, it happened. My dad got caught up in his conversation with the clerk, one of Charlie's boys no doubt. Charlie's family owned the liquor store, the convenience store attached, and the creepy laundromat next door, but they were blue collar businessmen. My dad, a truck driver, was always happy to complain about taxes and the cost of gasoline with them.

As they rambled on about something well beyond my interest, I peeked around the corner. More magazines! At home I had drawers full of Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, Highlights, and Ricky Ranger. Maybe they had a new issue of one of those I could look at while I waited. But no, these were not magazines I'd seen before, not even at the library or the grocery store. They were all about ladies - and the ladies were naked.

Right before my dad realized what I was looking at, one cover in particular caught my eye. As he rounded the corner, I looked up at him, forgetting that I was standing where I wasn't supposed to be. "Daddy, why is that lady in a cage?" I asked.

She was on her hands and knees, hay strewn around her, hair in a mass of wild strawberry blond tangles around her snarling face. She was fierce and beautiful. I didn't think the cage would hold her long.

My dad, like any good parent, grabbed the first answer out of thin air, and I realize now that it's why I've remembered her being in a "tiger cage" all these years, the rational part of my brain not recognizing that there is not necessarily so specific a thing without that particular animal inside it, too. "She's pretending to be a tiger," he told me, gently guiding me back to the front side of the register.

After seeing the puppy cage at Smokin' Lingerie, I couldn't shake the memory of the magazine cover. She was trapped, but I saw strength and power in her, as if she'd allowed herself to be ensnared, as if it was for her own pleasure, not for the owner of the cage. Or perhaps she was the owner of the cage herself. She became an archetype I would compare myself to for decades - the voluptuous woman who appears to be in peril, but remains undeniably strong. I wanted that secret voluptuous tiger woman strength for my own.

I wondered what I would do now as the woman in the tiger cage. I have known the snarl, the primal scream buried deep inside, the rage of a beast who would have stared from the cage, daring viewers to come too close. They would step towards me and I would growl, perhaps even roar, until they retreated, only to pace enticingly, to shake my rump and my mane, to watch and wait, knowing they would return. It was impossible to know which was more fortunate, that they couldn't reach me or I couldn't reach them. But I am not that woman anymore.

Then, as that seed of interest in the cage sprouted, I imagined it filled with soft cushions rather than scattered with hay. I pictured it in light soft but bright enough to read by and a stack of books, notebooks, and pens just outside the bars but well within my reach. I pictured being released and bathed, my hair brushed, the kinks of my muscles massaged away before being returned to my safe haven. The only trouble with this cage is that it's unnecessary. I have all these things and I no longer feel like I'm in danger or a danger to others. No safe haven for me or from me necessary.

I tried to find the magazine online. I wanted to see if the cover lived up to my memory of her, if I'd lived up to the legacy I believed she'd handed me as a child to become a beautiful, terrifying, powerfully submissive and submissively powerful woman. I couldn't find her. After so many years and with no memory of the magazine's name, the woman in the tiger cage would be free to anonymously roam the newsstands of the early eighties in peace.

I came to realize that if we were to have the cage we saw at the sex shop, my secret voluptuous tiger woman strength would be my willingness to go inside it even after how long it's taken for me to become the woman outside the bars. Those bars would at last be tangible - cold, inflexible, locked from the outside, keeping the captive within. So unlike the invisible cages we make for ourselves, the ones we first must see before we can see or be ourselves outside them,

As for her legacy, only now do I see that I built that into my own invisible cage. I stand outside it now, a woman of my own breed with a sharpened nail to pick the lock of any cage that captures me. Sometimes I enjoy climbing inside, but I move to and from each cage in freedom.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for reading! I really do appreciate it. I spent much of Friday writing this one. I've wanted to write about that first magazine cover for a long time, so I was excited to finally have a context for it. But when you've carried a memory like that with you for so long, it can be hard to send it out into the world. Thank you for treating it kindly. :-)

  2. I have wanted a cage for many many years now. This post made me smile and yearn all at once!

    xx Dee


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