have an incredible fascination for other people’s stories. I want to know what
the stories are, who the person "is", and what makes that person "tick". I have
a sincere and burning desire to understand how and why people do the things they
do... and I look for reasons in the unreasonable.
As a part of that, I enjoy a good tale as much as the next person. My upbringing
involved a rural general store that had a proverbial "pickle barrel" for anyone
to pull up and ‘have a sit’. I fondly recall being a tot and listening to some
of the older folk relate in weathered voices, their incredible stories.
As an adult, I have often let people ramble on in their talk when I knew what
they were saying was untrue (to be kind). What a person says (even in a lie)
tells you an enormous amount about that person; it can be incredibly revealing,
and on occasion entertaining.
When I first got on the internet (years and years ago), people were telling the
same stories that you can hear now both on-line and in real life.
These stories seem to begin (in essence): "I am ‘Old Guard’"; "I was born and
raised a slave and that is all I know."; "My parents were in leather and I was
raised in the tradition."; and "I have a secret..."
The last one is my favorite. It invites the listener into a world that is a
potential fantasy unlike any other he has experienced. Of course all of the lies
told are much the same as the ones you have heard before, but there is always
the opportunity that someone will add a new twist. That makes my day.
One of the interests I have is exploring these tales and the people who tell
them in order to find the "tick". Why tell them? The why’s of what they do is
vast in scope. I could not possibly relate all the motivations in any paper for
publication, but the "How’s"... that is something sociologists and psychologists
are able to grasp.
How do the tellers continue to impress them upon us after being exposed as the
frauds they are? How does someone become so damned skilled at telling a lie of
the magnitudes and lengths
as with some of the ones I encounter?
Understanding these "How’s" will allow us (the listeners of these myths) to
understand how we can be manipulated so (relatively) easily and to assist us in
recognizing when it is happening.
What follows is a part of the research into this area. Many of the names are not
changed, as these people tell their stories in the public venue for who ever
cares to hear.
So... set back and read a spell. I hope you enjoy it.
We brought them with us from
over the seas, incorporated them into our beginnings and evolved them
into our personal culture’s own. Tall tales are as American as ‘apple pie’ and
as worldwide as venereal disease. They are the quintessential essence of how we
perceive ourselves and are paramount in the education of our children in the
cultural mores, lessons of manners, and the morality of our lives.
From Grimm’s fairy tales to Aesop’s Fables, children are exposed to the magic
and mystery of these ‘oft told tales’. Authors who are more contemporary to our
times have taken most of those fables and made them into something that a modern
reader/watcher can appreciate by changing the central characters and themes into
something that is more attune to the age in which we live. From Washington
Irving to Jacqueline Susann to Jim Henson’s (Disney’s!?) Sesame Street, we have
taken these tales, and developed them into something that the modern
reader/watcher can truly appreciate. Japanese anime has made the international
scene in the last decade. They and other Asian cartoons allowed us a glimpse
into the magic that Eastern myths bring to the inter-cultural telling of today’s
cartoon experience. Stories have truly become the imparting of a diverse library
in literary art works and are now (sincerely) international in scope. The
ancient tales and myths are told with modern or futuristic backgrounds losing
little of their character or flavor in the process.
How does this affect us? Are we influenced through this process?
Of course we are. We elevate
people in the news and in our lives through the personal impact
that the deep-seeded psychology of these stories
has on us at a very profound and personal level. Using these myths as a
backdrop, we place the most common and most famous peoples’ lives and
‘adventures’ into these mythic realms; mentally attributing various "Hero"
qualities to our actors, sports players and celebrities, bringing them into
proportions well beyond their actual ken. We use our natural empathy for the
‘underdogs" and idolize them as though they were something akin to demigods.
These modern "heroes tales" are the same ones that have been being played out
from time immemorial. Modern media rehashes these stories with current anecdotes
and idioms in such a way that our favorite fables are replayed constantly with
an interlacing of television’s incessant panoramic current events.
• We watched with rapt attention while Othello was retold through the O J
Simpson trial’s play on Court TV;
• For some of us, the war in
Iraq brought a retelling of the Titan’s fight to vanquish ‘forces of the
• The recent Lord of the
Rings combines many of our favorite fables and legends into one vast story
telling experience - and
excited box office tallies to an all time high that insists on Oscar
let’s not forget the incomparable (and
yet familiar) underdog Harry Potter’s ascension to powerful wizard status
through the books and movies he is presented in.
Who among the people reading
this does not take secret glee at the success of the common man in life? Who
does not love to read the newspaper or see on CNN the story of a modern day
Cinderella (against whom the ‘fates’ seemingly conspire) succeed against all
odds to have an "and
they lived happily ever after" ending?
"No one ever does live
happily ever after, but we leave the children to find that out for themselves,
Like many people,
a submissive I own is often heard complaining when a current film release ends
without a solid "feel good". The classic tales are the ones we enjoy hearing and
seeing the most. They give us a sense of "justice" in our otherwise average
lives, and the impression that the ‘Fates’ are here to please us, no matter how
life might actually be.
observed this ‘evolution of human stories’ and made considerable insight
into the history of a world-view
of myths back in the 1940's. Through his studies, he brought classical works in
direct comparison to the burgeoning science of psychology in order to compare
and contrast them. His discoveries and insights in this pursuit are truly a work
of unique and insightful
scholarship. They denote the many similarities that myths have (and
have had) through the eons, one to the other; and noting that they are
continually changing to match the cultures of the times and the lands that they
are re-told in.
Now in the later part of the twentieth century, we have within the ‘leather
sub-culture’ of western society our own developing myths.
These fictions have taken on a life of their own as they are iterated and
repeated by people who are simply retelling the stories they are given. These
stories are being emblazoned upon our consciousness constantly through the very
people we generally look to for accurate and instructive information about who
we are and where we come from. Whether the source is considered prudent and
valid, or if they are considered to be "pop-culture" and specious, we have many
and diverse sources that tell us tales as fact, and we generally accept them
carte blanche and prima facie.
Authors/Web hosts as
diverse and influential as Jon Jacobs' "Submissive Women Speak"3
and ‘Lord Colm’ "Castle Realm"4 have had significant
and substantial impact in the spreading of fables as fact either through their
allegations of what is "accurate" (in the case of Mr. Jacobs) or through the
authoritatively written and generally accepted articles that appear on their web
sites (for both). Many people in leather today were "brought up" in the cyber
communities where people such as these were touted as the "end all" fount of
knowledge. Their writings and sites have been recommended and read by thousands
in the pursuit of an inkling of "who they are".
The cyber generation is willing to suspend disbelief because these people and
web places are often said to represent "The Truth". If stated often enough by
the myriad people they encounter, then the listener will tend to believe this as
fact. The influence of repetition and the ‘magic’ at the root of these stories
is represented by what they are told and that is pretty important in any
influential exchange where one party (knowingly or otherwise) is misinforming
Otherwise rational and
responsible people want and desire these modern-day "Sheherezades" to tell them
their ‘1001 Leather Tales’.
The most egregious of the Tall-Tale-Tellers are the ones who set themselves up
as the "hero" of the story they weave. They are generally those who appear in an
area (on the web or in the community real life) and are reinvented and revealed.
They may appear humble and understated ("Oh, please don’t call me ‘Grand
Mistress’. That was bestowed upon me by my former community; you can call me
Magik."), but they portend to have something "important" to relate to those who
would listen. That ‘something’ appears to be a secret that the listener desires
The reasons why someone tells such a story as a ‘truth’ is as varied as why we
are willing to set aside our common sense to believe these tales - at least at
some level of our subconscious. The best way to understand our shortcomings in
this area is to understand these stories, the impact and means of their
delivery, and their effect on us.
Anatomy of the Hero Mythologies
Mr. Campbell used his life’s work to critically analyze mythologies as seen
through an anthropologist’s eyes. His study encompassed all times and most
cultures that do and did exist as related to us through the written word. He
looked into the make-up of these myths, their antecedents and predecessors, the
key elements that made them memorable and caused them to be passed down during
the periods when oral traditions were prevalent, and those that created a need
to have them written when the technology became available. He showed a direct
correlation between the cultures and their stories across time and distance;
allowing us to marvel at the commonality that were presented and they allowed
despite these disparities.
From the ancient Babylonians, the Mayans, the Australian aboriginals and the
American Indians, to current renditions as seen in cartoon and on the radio soap
operas of his time, these templates are evident and prevalent in their uses and
influences. He looked at all myths without religious consideration, and sought
and found commonalities among the rhythm and timbre of all the settings and
peoples that inhabit them so completely.
The net result of this life’s research?
All cultures have the same basic sets of myths. This is not (however) as amazing
as the rapidity with which these myths spread in the ancient world and into the
hearts of people more diverse than the minds of the time were able to
comprehend. All civilizations and peoples that one of these good stories "ran
into" were ready and willing to adapt and embrace them as ‘their own’, and they
spread through the general populace with an alacrity that is really astonishing.
Broadcast through the oral traditions of the times, they found new roots and new
beginnings with new names and faces on the heroes
and heroines in all cultures they encountered.
This indicates a centralized psychological enchantment for certain elements of
these narratives that are (and
can be described as) ‘universal’ in appeal to the individual members of
the human race...an interesting concept. Prior to this, I would have denied
anyone’s ability to make such a claim, but the preponderance of the evidence
allowed through the studies he presented (and he had his critics who have
unsuccessfully tried to defame his work) makes this an interestingly solid
What are the
elements that make these tales viably believable for so many? What makes the
of folk tales live in the modern day legends for the people who hear them and
Campbell relates to us the trials that a hero must go through in order that he
can be considered noteworthy and memorable:
1.) Birth - Two variations become classically evident -
either a dramatic and prophetic birthing that is foretold or spectacular
in circumstance, or
that of the ‘common’ man.
As most of us are of ‘the common stock’ (heraldic angels did not portend our
arrival on this "mortal coil"), this is an easily attainable goal for a
self-proclaimed "hero" of leather.
2.) Destiny - Some element in childhood that might recognize the future hero’s
At times this was illuminated through a vague or explicit representation of the
"Destinies" that determined the hero’s fate from very early on. In today’s
myth-makers, one sees their own ‘precognition’ (of sorts) through prepubescent
role play. They generally will allege that they had significant experiences in
some minor B&D or S&M activity that lead them to where they are today. Often
that is the basis for their "lifestyle foundation".... allowing (?) them to age
their experience from this event forward. Although, some of the more
entertaining stories claim some form of hierarchy within their familial unit
that imparted this knowledge to them; I cannot count the times I have heard
someone claim ‘ancestral rights’ to their "lineage", or that they were a
dominant/submissive since (sic) birth.5
3.) The Quest - generally this is some adventure of mythic proportion in which
the hero is sent to overcome. Although we have nobody who flies a ‘tarn’ and
slays dragons in today’s society, we do have those who allege to have attended
secret schools and ancient houses to learn the secrets contained therein.
Interestingly enough, (and exceptionally key to the roots of most of these
modern and ancient myths and stories) Mr. Campbell compares these quests and the
trials that besiege the hero to be "allusions to education and special
knowledge". In this, the parallel is the most striking.
The quests of these modern false "heroes"
of leather are commonly those of knowledge.
They generally will claim some archaic and arcane knowledge that has been
"passed down for generations". This might be found in the claims of "The House
of the Rising Phoenix" -Atlanta, GA/somewhere in Europe(6),
"The International Iron Rose Society",
6 "The House of Horizon" -Marietta, GA/Germany
6 , and were previously used by "The House of the
Silver Cross" [formerly]- California/France.6,7
In each of these instances, member(s) claim(ed) to have cabalistic
is obtained after secret trials of ability and knowledge were passed.
Their abilities were conveniently found to be passable for the level they strove
to meet (interesting that we never meet the "rejects" from this course of
study). They describe secret rites of passage that were (in themselves)
educations into some of the "mysteries" of leather that (we) mere mortals were
not privy to.
4.) The Return -
Like Hercules returning home, these post-modern ‘heroes
of leather’ come back to us from their distant quest(s) refreshed within the
learning that they have assayed and ‘perilously divined’ and survived the
(strict?) trials of passage to gain this boon for the rest of us in the
Americas. They have ‘discovered the foundation of knowledge’ from which they
will allow our ‘heritage’ (in BDSM) to have been born and originated from.
Of course, simply spouting a story of this nature does not mean anyone is going
to believe it.
It is all in the telling -
"A gossip goes about telling secrets, but one
who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a confidence."8
The trials and
tribulations, agonies and ecstatics of those select members who ‘obtained this
knowledge’ is always a great part in the telling. At times the story is enhanced
by coupling it with a threat of excommunication from the vested group, to
friends, family, pets, and even (especially?), death... but, always it is with a
(the) secret(s) which none may tell regardless of the penalties alleged to have
been threatened. Deep secrets of the arcane and ancient that brings the listener
This lends that additional twist of danger to the proceedings that make
the story extra special.
Couple this with ‘ancient knowledge’ that they ‘bring back’ with them
allows the listener a feeling of an inclusive conspiracy into a story that
should "not have been told". Forbidden fruits are often the sweetest. Haven’t we
heard this fable before?
It is that intense feeling of thrilling ‘insider information’ that allows the
reader/listener to feel included and trusted. It draws the listener deeper into
the intimacy of something that bespeaks of danger and adventure, as well as
imparts upon them a sense that the teller ‘trusts them’ enough to allow this
part of their lives to be told, without fear that there is a danger in the
This has always been a very effective means of culling the ‘mark’ in confidence
games and scams; and
has been used by story tellers from ancient times to allow the listener
to "buy in" to the story being told.
Makes you want to pull up a pickle barrel and grab a ‘chaw’.
Where does one gather an experiential basis for such without simply "pissing
off" all the people in the local ‘leather-rubber-jeans and PVC’ community?
Why, on line of course,
where no one can hear you scream.
...but, HOW do they 'do it'?
Anatomy of the Brain -
"Identity plays a key
role in virtual communities. In communication, which is the primary activity,
knowing the identity of those with whom you communicate is essential for
understanding and evaluating an interaction. Yet in the disembodied world of the
virtual community identity is also ambiguous"
The internet has brought us the
ability to communicate as no other medium before. It allows us to convey
messages in such a way that many people mistakenly feel that they truly know
someone after a few relative hours of "talking". Unfortunately it also allows
people who are less honest than "us" to take extreme advantage of others.
People portray themselves (to their 'self' and to others) in two distinct ways.
It has been theorized that the notion of identity is a series of performances.
Folks use a facet of their integral mentality, which has been referred to as
'impression management' to portray their "self" suitably in differing
surroundings. Performances (how they choose to and are psychologically impelled
to behave) before others are conducted in the 'front regions'. It is considered
a more formal means of expression. Personal introspection and relaxation where
people formulate their identities is done in the 'back regions' where
concentration does not present as many obstacles that might prevent the
individual from giving an ‘appropriate performance’. This is an excellent
explanation utilized for
‘real world’ face-to-face
interaction. However, the ‘on-line’ universe forces us to restructure our
means of coping with this division of inter-personalities.10
Detaching ourselves from the physical environment can lead to a schism in how we
utilize our cognitive skills and ‘short-circuit’ the normal ‘impression
management skills’, defeating this separation and therefore making the two
regions indistinguishable one from the other. In doing so, it may disallow a
person from distinguishing between formal and informal situations making it hard
to gauge personal behavior in the normal dissociated/associated manner which we
are familiar with. This can (and does) lead people to behave in ways in which
they are not capable of making a significant distinction between how they
‘should behave’ (as dictated in their normal everyday life), and how they
(actually) do behave. In other words: people tend to combine the personal
intimate portrait they have of themselves with how they desire to be perceived
publicly. This leads to a dissociation between the fantasy imagining of
oneself and portrayal of the individual (to the public) as someone whom they
(really) are not.
This deportment is frequently seen in actors who are playing behind a camera or
on a stage (i.e.: Warren Beatty and his string of marriages to romantic leading
ladies of his films), presidents who are playing behind a camera, at a podium,
or in the china room (i.e.: "I never had sexual relations with that woman! (pound
fist in rhythm to words being stated"), artists with world renown, and others
who are in the business of "make believe".
Ancillary to this, the person who is "listening" (reading what is being said to
them) on line is often under a spell of relevant misconception. Personal and
introversive means of differentiating and discerning the motivations and ethics
of other people is equally indistinguishable. Minor clues and unconscious
observations of people talking to us (eye movement, gestures, odors, twitches,
etc) that are normally utilized to clue a ‘listener’ into the meaning and
veracity of other people are not available to people on the internet. Assumption
is a key component to what we comprehend when reading another person’s typed
We misjudge this situation in numerous ways. A person may not actively be paying
attention to what we are writing to them. A person might actually be laughing as
another pours out their life’s woe to them, but, we would never see it because
there is no indication available from behind the ‘buttoned boob box’ while on
the world wide web. So, we assume that they are behaving and if we trust them,
that they are "nice." The nonverbal clues and nuances of an active physical
presence are missing in cyber communication. The natural result is that the
impression of ‘what is said’ and ‘what is meant’ is no-where near as keen as it
Atop of all of this, the listener has to overcome the "niceties" of the evolving
culture on- line. Those that utilize chat rooms and bulletin board systems have
developed cultures where critical thinking appears to be frowned upon. Asking
probing or discerning (or even stupid) questions, or holding an opinion,
which is not common on-line/within that cultural ‘clique’ is considered poor
manners. Differing opinions are sometimes considered to be an indication that
the person asking is not showing the "regard" that is considered to be
‘inherently deserved’ by the person posting/expressing the original statement.
At times it is because the originating author is a "senior" member of the group,
other times it may be because the question asked appears to be "rude" regardless
of how it is phrased, and still others because the primary writer may be an
author of note outside the bounds of the ‘cyber village’ (Gloria
Brame, Jack Rinella, Mistress Steele, Guy Baldwin, etc.) and is deemed
sacrosanct and immune to such. Not that any of these people do or would
discourage differing opinions (I have never seen any of them do so), but members
of various groups in which their writing is discussed seem to think that it is a
"sin" to question their opinions.
Practice Makes Perfect -
"The vain man does not
wish so much to be prominent as to feel himself prominent; he therefore disdains
none of the expedients for self-deception and self-outwitting. It is not the
opinion of others that he sets his heart on, but his opinion of their opinion."
The folks who
profess to be what they are not and have ‘had a heroic mythological experience’,
generally can spin one hell of a tale.
I was giving a seminar and gawked in amazement as a bondage artist stated that
he had been privy to the rites in a ‘historically ancient house’ that had slaves
and rituals dating back centuries. Bill claimed to have stumbled onto a trunk of
information revealing a relative’s ‘passions’. When confronted, the relative
told him that this organization was a way of life, and later admitted him into
the presence of others during discussions of some of the more intimate details
of the "clan". He later left the country in which this occurred. As he departed,
he was told never to tell anyone about his experiences under penalty of death.
Of course, he could not prove any of it... and the obligatory death threat
stopped him from giving the details the audience and I were clamoring to know.
The fact that he made these statements in public and with obvious faults in
logic (i.e.: ‘They will kill me if I ever speak of this’ - ‘I am telling you
this in a public gathering, but I may not delve into the details any more than I
have’) and a straight face
indicated the depth to which he was invested in this fantasy world of his
I have also had my life and health threatened through the exposure of such
When a friend desired to go to
be "trained" with the alleged ‘House of Horizon’, I talked her out of it. The
barely decipherable diatribe I received from one of the "Owners" (Ms.
‘Samantha’) lets you know exactly the sort of schism with reality that might
result: "YOU THINK WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE YOU ARE. YOU THINK WE CANT
FIND YOU. ON THE WEB.YOU BEST THINK AGAIN FOR IT ISNT US THST IS FAKE. YOU HAVE
TAKEN SOMEONE WHO WAS ON THE RIGHT PATH TO THE REAL LIFE AND RUINED ALL
HOPES.... ...SO SAD YOU HAVE NO CLUE TO TRAINING. COME TO HOUSE ONE NIGHT GET
BACK ON TRAIN... ...COME ON... ...WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE FOOLING."12
This woman has obviously vested significant mental capital in the ‘reality’ that
she has presented to the world (both on the net and in ‘real life’) and was
distraught that this was shaken through the "awakening" of a potential acolyte.
Again, with this alleged European house, there is also that troubling paradigm
of the "telling the public/it is a secret" schism in logic. To say that a
cabalistic ancient house might be recruiting in such an overtly public way...
and yet (then) state that their house has been secreted away from the world for
centuries is (a tad) insane. Although I do admit a certain morbid fascination
with "screwing" with the irrationality of such people, their ability to deceive
themselves so completely borders on characterizations from a Stephen King novel.
I sometimes believe I should be smelling oranges or looking for red rum.
‘Samantha’ is a mere amateur at the art of story telling in comparison to some
who I have run into.
"The artist must know the
manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies."
People who fabricate such
stories have obviously tried it on many others, have adjusted it to the
audience’s liking, and are very adept at the telling. They realize the points to
emphasize and those that have to be avoided. If practice makes perfect, the best
of these must have a lot of it.
Psychological Darwinism offers to detail this phenomenon for us. The animal
kingdom is full of creatures that lie about who and what they are. The king
snake is often confused with the poisonous coral snake due to a similarity in
colored banding. The insect world has creatures that imitate everything from
looks to smells, movement to colors, and from habitats to hidey-holes. The
chameleon is the most commonly thought of when we refer to "liars" of the small
animal kingdom, and man holds the title for the large.14 People lie.
That is a simple fact. Why they lie is often times for ‘all the usual
suspect’-ed things: Sex and sexual gratification, advantage and ego, promotion
Successful fibbing is not all that easy, however. People are discerning. People
notice clues in deceitful behavior. People know.
As we discussed, the internet provides one heck of a practice place without the
physical clues associated with direct interaction. Practice is required if you
are to take the" show on the road". If at first you do not succeed, change your
name and try it again.
More importantly, the most accomplished liars believe their own falsehoods.
Minor distortions are built upon until a "truth" with some heft might be
approached with some conviction. If you lie and tell people you are 35 years old
with 13 years experience in leather, why not try ‘35 years old and 20 years
experience’ the next time? These may initially be conscious, but with repetition
they start to become a natural part of a person’s memory and "real" to that
person. One reason that polygraph (lie-detector) results may not be admitted
into court as evidence, is that investigators have found and noted that it may
be defeated if the subject is practiced and convinced that the thing being
talked and lied about is "real".
psychologists have shown how the details of a story, even if false, embed
themselves in the memory with repetition"
A person can immerse his ego
in self-deceptive behavioral patterns that would allow him to actually believe
in what he is saying, no matter how false. He not only behaves as though it were
true, he actually, with repetition and time, will believe it is true. This is an
oddly common phenomenon. The same event explains one reason why people can be
such capable and effective liars. They can divest themselves of the duality
involved in the formation of self/public image and convince themselves of the
"reality" of their positions. It appears to be a unique situation found only
among humans and specifically, in talented mimics of the common morality and
self-consciousness. In a situation of this nature, any potential or
realized consequences of his
deceit are non-existent and
do not matter, because (in his mind) there are none. How can there be
consequences for a person who believes his own lies, when his lie is the
absolute truth in his own mind? Based on this presumption, many of the folks who
do this sort of thing will read this article and be convinced that it is not
"You're so vain...
You probably think this song is about you.
You're so vain...
I be you think this song is about you...
What about the people who
stories, and nothing but shams and lies."
A year or so ago, while in
conversation with Lord Cobra (former "hereditary owner" of the House of the
Silver Cross - Mason Croix de' Argent ),
several of us got him to (finally) admit that all the hyperbole about the house
(how old and ancient it was, along with the alleged ‘slave training’ history of
the house) was false. A member of the organization (who is a friend and was
present) was asked how he felt after Lord Cobra admitted his duplicity.
He stated (quite succinctly) that he had been aware that ‘something’ was not
correct, and suspected this result at some level. However, he was not a member
for the "history" being provided. He had joined and would remain a member (he is
to this day) because of the good that the organization does. Sebastian had his
eyes wide open and his heart in a great place relative to personal ego and
investment in the community. Not many people that we meet in life are that
centered. Most would have been devastated by the betrayal of their trust in such
an insidious way. This ‘house’ continues it’s educational work within the
national leather community under new management out of Alabama. They have
dropped all assertions relative to their alleged history and their reputation is
improved and spreading through the work of members like Seb.
The Submissive Paradox:
Several times over the course of watching folks spin their tales, I have also
noted a singularly interesting aspect of this whole affair: The need to justify
what is said to a specific individual.
Most often that is the submissive in a relationship who is the ‘vessel of the
holy secret’ for some dominant’s narrative.
Scenario: "Dominant" meets someone on line or in real life. They weave a yarn of
mystery and fascinating revere to the submissive. The discussions blossom into a
full-blown relationship. The stories may be dropped, but the submissive
(unaware of the deceit) continues discussions about them. The submissive desires
that this be spread as ‘important and relevant information’, which is not well
known and ‘should be’. They are proud of their dominant and his association to
these arcane rituals and organizations.
Needless to say, the dominant is in a difficult position. Does he continue to
tell more people at the submissive’s insistence, or does he inform her that it
is a secret... that he told her in confidence and it should go no further?
More than a few times, I have been approached with (or
read of) a submissive’s tale of their master’s association in such
mythical organizations, and I have been approached by dominants asking if they
might speak to me about a ‘little-known, but fascinating aspect of our history’.
Once in a while, the means of delivering the story is so contrived as to make
the entire telling appear as a grand setup to assure the reader believes the
tale. The International Iron Rose Society was brought to my attention in this
manner. In a Yahoo group an unknown person posted asking if there were resources
available for the ‘abused submissive’. Several people (along with myself)
responded, telling her to get her ‘friend’ to the police, find a
woman’s shelter (as she mentioned she did not have family available) and
to simply "get out".
Then a new post was made by a gentleman. He stated that there WAS such a place
(in fact an organization) for the abused submissives of the world to seek succor
and assistance. He called it the ‘International Iron Rose Society’. Allegedly
founded in Austria in the 1920's, it had provided this boon to the BDSM peoples
since that time. Since the organization was "run by submissives" of course his
knowledge of it was rather incomplete as he was not a submissive. And
anyone desiring the shelter of this organization could join a Yahoo group
(that was conveniently JUST established) in order to apply. He also noted that
dominants would not be accepted.
Needless to say, it was that damned logic thing that tripped me up and stopped
me from believing in this. So I requested legitimate information by several
people about the background, funding and affiliations. It was summarily
ignored.. Further postings by this man and submissives associated with him were
less than kind in their assessment of those who would ‘dare question’ such an
organization (various allegations such as not caring for people and the children
‘who are abused’ were levied in attempts to stifle questions. Always talk
about insensitivity toward cruelty to children and helpless women in order to
make someone feel ashamed and ‘shut-up. Unfortunately, I am an insensitive
The questions were never answered or directly acknowledged leading to unverified
speculation that the entire thing was and is farcical.
The seeds for our own myths are most often planted through things innocuous and
placed in such an unremarkable way as to not be overt in their appearance. Many
times it will be a third hand revelation or exposé about a meeting or a
happening into which small issues are dropped; or it will be an entire article
about a meeting in which the entire subject is revealed. People who are popular
or more eminent in the ‘life’ are not immune to this deceit and to being fooled.18
They have and do lend support to the insupportable through their own
willingness to believe in the shared stories that creep out of our myths and
allowing the rest of us a means of false verification (through their acceptance
It is the inconsistency and verve of our endless discussions that lends to the
potential assurance that these myths present. Our railing against the "Old
Guard" and our subsequent ‘hailing’ of them as the forefathers of ‘who we are’
and ‘what we do’ has assisted in the split, as have the issues involved in the
definitions of who and what we are. The debates we have about the "correct means
of doing things" generally end with people confused and seeking a more solid
answer than can possibly be provided. The internet, a vast and acknowledged
resource for information has lent us these myths in place of facts where key and
central gaps appear to be placed between what is known and what is alleged.
"People have come to
expect specifics from the internet; not the vagaries inherent with life. When
the facts fails them, they tend to look towards the stories to fill the void."
This allows for an opening for
the advent of such tall tales presented to the unwary as ‘potentially
plausible’. After all, where there are no solid solutions forthcoming, there is
a void that ‘has’ to be filled. With people available who have practiced their
stories (for years?) and believe them, that opening has something to fulfill it.
That is also answered through the teller’s behavior, the need to feel special
and revered.... and
at times, omnipotent in their cynical minds. I have generally found that
the folks in leather are rather intelligent and articulate. Instances such as
those detailed and assayed in this article allow us to understand that we are
simply human in our ability to comprehend when the "wool is being pulled over
our eyes". This is a human failing, and like all the foibles that are involved
in humanity, they are imperfections that are tolerable in the short term.
Increasing our understanding of the folks who sit at the ‘pickle barrel’ and
weave their tales, is key to treating them as they are: Stories we have heard
before... and nothing more.
The overt incorporation of myth
into our culture should come as no surprise to anyone reading these words. We
are a culture inundated in and regurgitating our myths in a constant stream of
articles, books, and made for TV movies. Needless to say, if one is exposed to
something as entertaining and engaging as tales and legends (as most of us are)
from an early period, we tend to desire (in some small way) to emulate them in
whatever manner we might.
"I believe in the
brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who
doesn’t want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I’m
not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn’t know how
to return the treatment."
Emulation of a story is not living it. Knowing and recognizing how someone may
manipulate us through stories is a very important aspect to be concerned with
through any endeavor in life.
This paper does not contain answers to "how to recognize" people who are
deceiving you on line or in real life; but, it does provide an oversight and a
few tools into understanding how people might attempt such shenanigans. Let’s
face it: stories are stories. They are not the truth, or an answer. The
‘brotherhood of leather’ should not allow myths to be portrayed in that way.
~Malcolm X; speech, 12Dec1964; NYC
"Wolves of the Calla",
Stephen King, Simon and Schuster, 2003
"The Hero With a Thousand Faces”, Joseph Campbell, Bollington
3) The "Submissive
Women Speak" web site is currently down. Friends allege that shall return
[writer’s note: this link leads to a person that is very serious about their
story of an ascendancy which rivals any I have been privy to.]
Signifies the area it’s located at in the United States and the country the
special member(s) allege to have trained in
recently this group has been revised to remove this false reference by the folks
who have come into possession of the organization
Bible" Hebrew, Proverbs 11:13
and Deception in the Virtual Community", Judith S. Donath, MIT Media
Lab, Communities in Cyberspace
Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life", Goffman, Doubleday, Garden
City, NY, 1959
Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche", Oscar Levy, Random House, New
with the author, dated 4Oct2002
Fifty Years of His Art", Alfred H Barr, Jr.; 1946
Evolution", Robert Trivers, Benjamin/Cummings, Menlo Park California,
Moral Animal - The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology", Robert
Wright, Vintage Books, Toronto Ontario, 1995
so Vain"; Carly Simon, Album: ‘No Secrets’; 1972
Quixote", Miguel De Cervantes; 1605
- in this instance, Mr. Ramilia has passed away and no further information is
available about this meeting despite contact with remaining members of the
Phoenix Society of Baltimore.