Monday, April 18, 2011

From Bondage To Bondage

This post is NSFW.

A few days ago I responded to a friend and fellow writer's Facebook plea -- Who wants to come with me to the Kinky Jews Passover seder?

I quickly responded with an "I do," though I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I hadn't bothered looking up the group before I signed on. I have a healthy sense of adventure and after spending the last month on a Dan Savage bender, catching up on most of the podcasts from the past couple of years, I felt like I was game for it.

The seder, which was held at an East Village restaurant was called for 7 but my friend and I arrived late just as you would to a party and walked in just as the Four Questions were getting started. Most of the chairs and stools, which were arranged around small round tables, were occupied by the time we arrived so we waited until the questions were asked and sort of answered. While we stood, I scanned the crowd. A range of ages were present though it did appear to tilt towards middle age couples or people in their 30s. As I expected, many were dressed in leather from corsets to pants but no one seemed too far over the top. (Well there was one guy in a corset and a short skirt and Mad Hatter hat. But more on him later.) From where I was standing, it all seemed pretty tame, the kind of kinkiness that's sort of mainstream these days what with women receiving fur handcuffs at bridal showers and all that jazz.

I was eventually seated at a table with an older couple and a man in his 50s. The table was filled with chocolate and candy causing me to remark that the spread was "like the plague of diabetes." All of the traditional foods were replaced by chocolate, which I guess was supposed to symbolized pleasure. Chocolate milk instead of Manischewitz (both equally sweet if you ask me). Chocolate chips instead of the bitter herbs. Chocolate pudding and marshmallows as a stand in for haroset. And the matzoh sandwich was replaced by a s'more.

A few minutes into the proceedings, I was tapped on the shoulder and not by the friend who came with me. I turned around to see an Orthodox Jew I knew from the Upper West Side. We had met a Shabbat meal a few years ago. He quickly returned to his seat but throughout the rest of the seder, I kept glancing over at him and giggling. I assumed that he was a fellow traveler like me, that he had heard about this seder and was intrigued. I would later learn that he was something of a regular at these kinky Jew events and had been attending them for two years running.

The highlight of the seder was the haggadah, which contained very little of the traditional liturgy. Instead there were songs set to showtunes, the Four Submissives (which replaced the usual Four Sons) and some pretty corny and groan-worthy jokes. Such as:

What do you call a person who enjoys eating the bread of affliction? Matzochistic!

What do you call a condom filled with Matzoh meal? A Pesach-dick!

As I said, none of this seemed particularly shocking. The atmosphere was genial and even when we were invited to "whip" each other with chocolate licorice whips, it all seemed very childlike and innocent.

The seder concluded with a search for the afikomen. The prize for finding it was a vibrator and the young man who found it dutifully gave it to his girlfriend.

I stood with my friend, each of us wondering what was going to happen next. The invite had said that the festivities were going on until 4 a.m. and it was barely 10 p.m. Surely there was more to come.

We soon found the back room, joined by two attractive Brazilian men who were also there out of curiosity and seemed equally out of place in the homely, leather clad crowd. Together we sat on and watched the after party.

On the couches opposite and all around us (and to the tunes of Florence + the Machine -- yay!), everyone else was getting busy. Two busty women had their tops off and were caressing each other. Another leather clad woman was having clamps attached to her nipples (and then later was whipped repeatedly by a man she dwarfed both in height and girth). A couple of men were led around by their leashes. But the star of the show, so to speak, was a woman who was receiving the "full-service treatment": two men were fondling her breasts while a third, the Mad Hatter that I mentioned earlier, knelt on the floor and performed oral sex while the rest of us-- not just me, my friend and the Brazilians but everyone-- looked on. This might've been even a little extreme for the Kinky Jews crowd.

As I watched and smiled sheepishly, I couldn't help noticing how unsexy all of this was. It seemed very easy and natural. You could approach someone, talk to him/her and see if he/she wanted to fool around with you. "There's no game aspect," explained one regular. And as someone who plays "the game" poorly, I can appreciate wanting to do away with it entirely. But what I realized is that playing it, even badly, lends much needed tension to the proceedings. When you go to a bar and flirt with a guy, part of the excitement you feel comes from wondering if he's interested, how interested and where it all will lead. At the Kinky Jews event, there was no ambiguity, no push and pull. Unless of course you were on the other end of a leash.

Happy Passover/Pesach!

2 comments:

KinkyJews said...

KinkyJews is spelled as one word. Thanks.

Beno said...

just catching up on this... loved it!