Archive | September 2015

The Smut Club

sleepingbeautyOnce a month a small group of submissive women friends get together to here in NYC to review a work of erotic literature. This month and the previous month we did two classics; The Story of O by Pauline Reage and this month was The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, by Anne Rice. Just like last month the story was very easily divided into the loved it and hated it groups. There were a few common themes in the discussions for the past two meetings. This month we took a little more time to discuss why the two camps might happen.

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty is not the fairy tale you may remember of your childhood years. One of the girls talked about when she first found the book at a local book shop and picked it up and bought it. She said when she picked up the book she had no idea what she was getting into and what she thought she was buying  was the more common variety of romance smut. She said if she had known she would have at least blushed a bit and been embarrassed when she took it to the counter to buy it.  She also recounted that when she got home and started reading it she found the book disturbing, but yet she couldn’t put it down and was excited.  One thing we all agreed on is Beauty and all the other prince & princesses spend a lot of time getting spanked. The spankings are never ending. I am fairly sure there is spanking in every chapter. Another consensus was that Beauty cries a lot and was very whiny. Some of the women were annoyed, “I wanted to tell her to shut up. Nothing had even happened to her yet and she would be crying!” Another spankingperson was quick to point out most the whining and complaining was actually happening in her head and not out loud. That we were privy to her thought processes. All agreed to that and understood how we do that ourselves. This book is filled with sex, spanking, crying, more spanking, pony play, exhibition, paddles, dildos, humiliation, voyeurism, more spanking. What it didn’t have and the big topic of discussion was the lack of consent. This is a adult fantasy book.

SSCThis month we found our little group again divided in the discussion of consent in the book. People had issues all over the map regarding the questionable ages of the characters and lack of consent period. My argument for this both times was to look at the dates that these books were published and that this was fantasy writing. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty was published in March 1, 1983. It is exactly at that time, in 1983, that David Stein was writing a statement of identity and purpose for the now defunct New York group Gay Males SM Activists (GMSMA) and it was most likely the first time the future mantra of Safe, Sane, & Consensual was penned. I tried, perhaps not too well, to tell them about the difference in the times between then and now. We had conversations on consent, but it wasn’t like it is now. I can’t even hug someone now without asking consent. Is that good or bad I am not sure, but I digress. I tried to tell them that SSC, and now RACK, PRICK, or whatever mantra people are using… well SSC came to be some type of creed or slogan that slave david stein ever meant it to be. Here david writes,

“In the beginning, however, ‘safe, sane, and consensual S/M’ wasn’t a slogan

but simply the preamble to a statement of purpose that goes on to talk about

such things as community, responsibility, tradition, education, and gay

liberation.” … “The ‘safe, sane, and consensual’ formula was put forward as a minimum

standard for ethically defensible S/M, because that must be the basis for any defense

of S/M rights. Today, however, and especially in the hetero and pansexual

communities, S/M itself (or “BDSM,” which some find more palatable) is

frequently defined in terms of SSC, while the SSC slogan is treated with quasireligious

reverence and even explicitly referred to as a “credo” or “creed.” Instead

of asking people to think about what it means to do S/M ethically, and to make

the hard choices that are sometimes necessary (if only between what’s right and

what’s right now), many organizations today act as if these issues have all been

settled, assuring us that sadistic or masochistic behavior not deemed SSC isn’t

S/M at all but something else — abuse, usually, or domestic violence or poor selfesteem.”

It was during this long conversation about consent one of the women asked a question and made a point that I think resolved why we were so split on the liking or disliking of the book and also on our issues of consent. One comment was the observation that most of the other books we have read so far in our Smut Club were not fantasy and this book and O were both fantasy based. You have to be able to apply suspension of disbelief. I’d say it’s likened to believing in fairies! Just for a moment you must be able to believe the unbelievable. Those who enjoy fantasy books, like this one woman, will be more likely to enjoy the Beauty Trilogy. The other question and observation was regarding to when we read the book in reference to when we entered the S&M scene. Myself and a few others read this book before or near the beginning of their journey in BDSM, while others had been involved in the scene long enough that they don’t think of themselves and novice per se, but having some experience. We didn’t get much of a chance to even get into character discussion, but I think the favorite character from what I recall was Prince Alexi. The least liked character was the Prince. The impression was he turned out to be too much of a mamma’s boy. He wasn’t dominant enough *gasp*! Overall this book was not hated as much as O, but I think the majority of women in our group do not lean toward fantasy writing.

As much as we women enjoy the discussion about our smut the truth is we love to be around people who make us laugh, smile, and feel welcome as we are. Each month our Smut Club moves around the city and this week we were on the Upper East Side. This month our host, who is a vegan, asked we keep her home a meat free zone. I have to admit that it was great. Usually we all bring the unhealthiest gluttony of baked goods and preserved items anyone can imagine. I hope everyone enjoyed the snacks as much as I did and that we start bringing more yummy goodness. So gathering together over smut although it stimulates are minds in a laid back way is really just a very good reason to munch out and socialize. At this moment the Smut Club is probably the best female social group for submissive/slave/bottoms in NYC.

Along the lines of good smut, next month I’ll be doing a book review here as part of a virtual book tour of author Xan West‘s newest book, “Show Yourself To Me: Queer Kink Erotica” Its a book filled with 24 short stories. The book will become available is eBook and old fashion paper on October 2. My review for the tour is scheduled for October 12th.  I’m looking forward to checking out all the good girls, bad girls, fierce girl and the Daddies in this newest release of queer erotica!

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A Worthy Quest: The Bagel Pub

 

2015-08-15 10.25.21

Part One, August 15

As I walked up to the store front I immediately thought, “We are off to a great start… this is promising!” What impressed me right away from the sidewalk was the statement, “Bagels baked on premises.” There was all sorts of tasteful and artsy signage customary to NYC style of sidewalk chalkboard stand up signs. I was blown away by the freshness, cleanliness, and simplicity. I took a look around and saw a full staff with 7+- persons in the front end behind the counter and more than were2015-08-15 10.28.20 not visible through an open doorway to the kitchen area. They do a lot more than bagels and this place has a very steady stream of customers coming for baked treats, bagels, wraps, deli salads, fresh fruit juices, shots, and smoothies. Another observation was that at 10 a.m.+/- all the deli and baked items displayed in the open cases and closed cases were fully stocked with as near to perfect presentation as you can imagine.

Let’s talk about the bagel experience.

I ordered the my favorite as I have been doing through my NYC bagel quest, “A whole wheat everything bagel with lox spread on one side and scallion spread on the other, and then squish the two sides together.” These are the very close if not the exact words I use when I order. I try hard to not alter my wording much so I can keep the scientific aspect of this quest consistent.

2015-08-15 10.36.48They make the bagels on site. +1

They boil them. +1

They had all the traditional primer recommended flavors available.

The clerk asked if I wanted it toasted, instead of assuming. +1

The bagel was wrapped in thin paper prior to cutting. Then they wrapped it again in a 2015-08-15 10.37.56sturdier paper.+2

The bagel had all the appropriate seasonings that make it an everything bagel. +1

They gave me a whole wheat everything bagel with scallion spread, fresh lox, capers, red onion, a lot of thin slices of tomato* (I have a high standard for tomatoes). -3*

The bagel itself was visually great. It had the ideal small blisters here and there and the very visible signs of stretching of the dough as it cooked. I took a bite to test the texture before I returned it. It was crisp and just right crunch that requires use of the teeth. Plus great on the inside as well. +2

I re-ordered the bagel. I point out what I got and I repeated my order clearly and concisely. No one offered me any kind of refund for the cost variance of the bagels. I know enough about the bagel business to know that fresh lox will cost more than 1 or 2 spreads. -2

2015-08-15 10.47.01The second chance bagel came wrapped in one sheet of paper. It was cut before it was wrapped. -1

The bagel itself looked great. Awesome quality on the outside and inside just as the first one. +1

The smears were… weirdly applied! Somehow they took what I said to mean put one type on one half, then the other on the other half, and then slice it down the center keeping both flavors separated from each other. I am thinking about it now and maybe this guy worked in a pizza place before? At this point I was talking to myself, shaking my head, and throwing my hands up in the hair. I stood up and got a plastic knife and reapplied the spreads as I like it. DIY! -1

I ate half of the bagel and decided to ask to speak to the owner or the shift supervisor with the intention of letting him address the problem with understanding the order and the lack of any inquiry about the cost deferential that wasn’t offered to me. He took more than 5 plus minutes to come out. I told him I am a freelance/amateur writer and I am writing a series on best bagels in NYC and that this is the third place I’ve visited. I explained to him what happened with my incorrect orders. He didn’t seem to be interested in the quality of the service at his business and simply wanted the bottom line, “What did I want?” I told him as the owner I wanted to hear from him before I write my article and give him a chance to address the concerns. He asked me again what I had gotten and again I explained. He commented about the strange half & half order that was made and said it was because of how I ordered it. I agreed there was a misunderstanding on how I wanted it, but I let him know that this was the only place I have ever been to that came up with that interpretation from what I stated. He replied, “Well, we are one in a million.” That was said with sarcasm and not humor. Again he came back to, “What did I want?” I restated that the two things I wanted to speak to him about were the fact that no one even thought to ask about a reimbursement and that I wanted to give him a chance to address the order/service problems. I was trying to be fair and give him a chance to address, redress, & correct the problems. I felt this would be a great way to gauge customer service of the establishment.

During the conversation the owner made comments such as, “let’s not get excited,” and “you know we are really busy here.” I can really genuinely say I was not even close to “excited.” I do know when he said that I cocked my head to the right and semi-smiled, but rolled with it to see what other pearls this man was going to toss me. There was a woman in the background that was listening to all the conversation. I am going to guess she is involved in the running of the business and she brought me $5 as a refund. I pretty sure she knew she was witnessing epic fail at customer service. I left there thinking I will come back again and see how it goes the second time around. This place has incredible food fare. Exceptional quality everything in regards to food from what I gauge with my eyes, but service could use improvement and management needs to stay in the kitchen. His staff was very friendly, even if they screwed up they seemed to care more about fixing it than the owner, and they were authentically apologetic for the errors. This reminds me of Catskill Bagels where I loved the product and employees, but the owner is not himself good with people.

Overall this place I would absolutely recommend to go to eat a bagel at in NYC. Yes, even in spite of my mishaps this artsy fartsy place bakes a very good bagel.

*About tomatoes: I believe many, if not most Americans, haven’t seen or tasted an honest to goodness non GMO tomato. I have and it’s a rare thing nowadays for me to eat GMO whitish-pink flesh crap excuse of a fruit grocery stores and restaurants try to pass off as a tomato. I am having none of it!

Part Two, August 20

As promised I went back and gave this place a second chance. I thought they might remember me from last time, but if they did they didn’t say anything or show it in any way I could tell. So again as I entered I found the place very clean and pleasing in overall appearance. Although this time I would say the variety of deli and baked goods were not as well stocked as the first time. Those other deli items aren’t why I am visiting, so that’s here or there for my current purpose.

I ordered exactly the same thing I always get: an everything bagel with two types of cream cheese, scallion on one side and lox spread on the other, squished together.

2015-08-20 11.07.53Observations

This time they got my order right the first time. +1

It wasn’t toasted +1

The crust was blistered all over. The inside was chewy. Damn it was beautiful +2

2015-08-20 11.13.46The seasonings were the right type and they were all over the bagel, not just the top side. The seasonings stuck to the bagel while you handled and are it. +2

They didn’t wrap up the bagel in paper before cutting it this time and they didn’t wrap it a second time in thicker paper wrap like last time. -1

Conclusion

This place has bagels that meet the Good Bagel Manifesto standard.

They really only failed with the wrap/cut section. I feel I finally found a place worthy or ordering bagels from. Now I just need to find out what time I have to get there in order to get one still warm. That will make it perfection.