The lost art of ‘Whip Dancing’….

I finally got around to closing my Hotmail account (I know, I know-I had a Friendster account at one time too!) but not before reading through old emails.

My account goes all the way back to 2002 so it covers a wide array of events, trips, parties, marathons, crew races, and the infamous Pelican Brief.

Then, I came across an email from 2007 (about a year after I’d moved to San Francisco) when I was still exploring the city and finding myself in situations that only a girl from the MidWest could get into.

My friend Jenny and I would go to Absinthe parties in the city.  This was when Absinthe was still illegal and it felt like the old days of Prohibition to sneak into a private party and imbibe.

Somehow Jenny got on this “secret” list, and every few months she would receive an email with the address of a secret location and password to be given at the door.  The place was in the ‘Loin and featured different rooms from a black-and-white striped space to a black-lit room filled with stuffed animals.

It’s a testament to our naiveté that we didn’t notice the crowd around us was dressed in Edwardian gear and oftentimes, in latex or collared.  They had performances on stage with really talented singers, poets, and cello players and the crowd looked like they lived 24/7 in corsets and top hats.

Blissfully unaware to what was really going on, we wore fancy dresses and mingled through the crowd.

It was at one of these Absinthe parties that I met the man who would later refer to himself as “Sapphire Whip Dancer”……

I met this guy at the party and he seemed like your average Middle-America white dude-nothing especially dynamic or interesting.  Around this time,  I’d just heard about fire spinning and he and I had a discussion on poi vs. staff and he told me he would email me with some information on his version of fire dancing.

The next Monday morning, I received this:

“It was wonderful to meet you at the Absinthe party and, as promised, here is some more information on my art.  I’ve also included 2 photos. The first is a boring mundane head shot (with a much younger me in the background…drinking from a wine bottle).  The second is me in my “pimp daddy love” outfit (minus the full length red fur coat), with the blacklight glowing whips in my hands.

As for where I learned whip dancing:  to the best of my knowledge, I invented it.  At least I’ve never seen anyone else do the tricks I do with a whip.

When I was first introduced to the BDSM scene, I was instantly fascinated with the “single tails.”  It blew my mind that you can take a 3 foot braided leather rope and make a noise that sounds like a gunshot that many believe is a small sonic boom.

So, I bought myself a signal whip and learned how to crack it every which way (forehand, backhand, overhead, horizontal, vertical….).  Eventually, I got a second and learned how to use my left hand as well.  And just on a whim I tried throwing both whips with one hand…now I do 4.

One of my other passions is dancing.  I go out dancing frequently, but I’m also known to crank up the music and dance around the living room like an idiot.

It was only natural that these two loves were going to get combined at some point.  By experimentation and improvisation (and a few welts) I have developed a whole series of different tricks many of which involve wrapping the whip around myself.  I also do some tricks that the poi dancers do.

In fact, I’d love to train with your friend, because I’m sure there are more poi tricks I could incorporate into my routine.

I do hope that there’s an absinthe party soon.  But we certainly don’t have to wait for one to get together.”

Finally, I got it-the Absinthe parties were ALSO BDSM parties to an extent!  Here my friend and I were, completely unawares to the goings on (I can only imagine what happened in the black-lit stuffed animal room!)

Luckily, we’d planned our trip to Prague so could satisfy our hunger for absinthe there (and made sure to bring several bottles of the “Green Fairy” back)

But, my “Weirdo-magnet” stayed strong, even in Budapest where we met this guy pictured here.   We went to a local pub to try Hungarian wine and proceeded to read our Lonely Planet (thus, making sure everyone knew we were tourists!) and this man came over to talk to us.

He asked if we were from the US and then asked if we liked “Pump Fiction” and proceeded to unzip his jacket and thrust his pelvis towards us (which is where I got that amazing shot).

It was only fitting that I immediately sent the photo to my dad explaining “I’ve found love in Hungary!!!!”

That was a long time ago…….now, Absinthe is legal and it’s lost its mystique for me and I’ve had my share of latex at the Folsom Street Fair and I barely raise an eyebrow when I see someone snapping a whip at Fire Drums.

But, I can’t help wonder who I will encounter next in this wild city of misfits, freaks and other stimulating characters.  And, I have to wonder if someone will encounter me and I’ll become their weirdo too!

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