Well, that was a weekend of Epiphanies. And a start of the week of Epiphanies as well.
So, the plan was quite ambitious; in fact it was a plan to celebrate, cough, my fiftieth session with Cindy at Boys Will be Girls. Yeah, I’ll let that sink in; not boasting and, as I’ve said before, no kids, no hobbies, no holidays, no life outside of work but still, huge, and cool, milestone.
However I missed a session, which was a nightmare. Basically blew the muscle and nerve in my back again (same one as 2019) doing the Night Shine marathon, and when I got in the car to drive the 170 odd miles to London I found I couldn’t walk, nevertheless spend a good ten hours posing in heels. So I had to abort that one, see the physio, gets some really painful exercises, the works. Absolutely didn’t want to miss this session because, well, you’ll see from the plan how cool it was going to be.
So the plan was to get up at 3:00am, shave (chest and face this time), drive to London, do a ten hour session, take a little break and then? Torture Garden Halloween Carnival (number 2, Saturday 30th October) as a sexy witch with purple hair. Then drive home.
Given Torture Garden doesn’t even really get started until at least midnight this was going to be……a long day.
Plus the marathon had not only re-ignited (nowhere near as bad but still a pain in the arse/back; quite literally as the nerve was sending sharp stabbing pains into the top of my buttocks) the damage but also kicked the Morton’s Neuroma into high gear. And as I, cough, have a history of not doing things by half, I’d dealt with the Morton’s Neuroma by starting to wear a silicon toe separator. Stick with me, this all comes into play amusingly as the story continues. Wearing the separator for too long, and inside shoes, as I did was causing blood flow to be restricted to the toes. Which was causing a lot of pain. Which I thought was the Morton’s Neuroma so I kept wearing the separators. ‘D’oh’.
So I was pretty stressed in the days leading up to the event; in addition, and more of this later, I was going to be back in London the Monday following to do a public presentation/demo at a developer event. That was on my mind as between the back and the foot moving was painful.
Anyway; come Saturday morning I woke up at 1:00am because of course I was going to wake up then. Did the shaving, jumped in the car, and drove off to London.
Got there fine, parked up the car with my bag of stuff in it at Cindy’s place, and got myself a really nice coffee from ‘Watch House’ along the back of the riverside. Hell, shameless pitch, great coffee to start/continue (as I’d been up for seven hours by now anyway) a long day.
Cinders did her usual wonderful job of making a tired looking 52 year old man look like a bright and breezy 30 something woman (yes, I’m pushing the edge of believability but give me that). We did a wonderful session with some great looks including an attempt to cosplay Black Widow, involving a very tight PVC bodysuit and gorgeous red wig. In fact it was so comfy I thought ‘what the hell, let’s do this instead of the Witch for the night out; a body suit is far more comfortable and feels, well, safer’.
Fast forward ten hours; we did ten or so looks, including a topless body shot and a gorgeous retro nightwear outfit that Cindy thought I’d look good in (she was right as always), and then we had a little downtime before getting ready for the club.
This is where it started to get interesting in a ‘Sarah screws it up in an amusing way’ way. So, Cinders and her partner were doing makeup for two other girls who where also going, separately, to Torture Garden, so I was left alone to kill time. When I’m doing the sessions, which is the only time I get to wear women’s (Sarah’s/mine by definition if I’m feeling bolshy) clothes and it’s always whip an outfit on, pose, get excited, whip another one on, rinse, repeat. Now I had four or so hours to kill.
So I picked one of the dresses I’d bought along ‘in case we had time’; a beautiful mumsy Unique Vintage green floral number, high frilly collar, see-through taffeta sleeves, pretty buttons up the front, the works. A proper middle-aged posh wife look, the kind I pretty much love (for ‘pretty much’ insert ‘if I was a woman I’d be wearing this kind of dress all the time’).
Cinders and her partner were busy doing the makeup for the others and doing their own makeup so it was up to me, with the hysterically unusable nails, to zip and button myself into the dress. At the back it had a zip that went to mid-shoulders, and a fabric covered button that you did up with a thin elastic loop on the other side, to pull the collar together. Getting that done up was fiddly, especially with talons, and after a minute or two it slipped on nicely.
I then had a lovely time nibbling some Tandoori chicken, sat at the table with my legs delicately crossed, and picking at the chicken with appropriately limp-wristed delicate gestures. It was a lot of fun to just be a woman for a bit. I then tidied up the frocks from earlier, prepared the body suit and the wig (and the six inch thigh high boots I’d be tottering, painfully, around in at the club).
Then, as always, I got bored. Not terribly bored, just ‘wouldn’t it be fun to put on another middle-aged housewife style dress?’ way. And then I realised my minor error.
There was no way I could undo the button at the back of my neck. I was literally trapped in the frock. And yes, that was thrilling in its own way. I didn’t want to ask Cindy or her partner to help; they were busy. So there I was, fussy little housewife for four hours. Yeah, it was secretly delightful, swooshing around the flat, helping the two other girls with various things like photos and zips like a helpful mother-figure.
That was literally the longest I’ve ever spent in the same frock. I was in it for so long it really started to feel normal. I like that feeling.
So the time came to get ready for the club. See, I’ve kept the biggest point to last here. I intended to go to the club in full femm fetish mode. Completely sober.
Now this is a big thing for me; I’ve never been out anything other than happily drunk because I’m terrified of being out. No idea why; in my previous careers I’ve been under fire and in situations of danger and never felt the level of fear I feel when stepping out into the world in heels. I’d engineered the evening so I’d have to drive home after, even if, with the addition of the clocks going back, it would make it a long, long day/night/day without sleep (30 hours eventually).
It took a while to get over to the club; it was being held in Scala next to Kings Cross and of course there was pointless roadworks which lead to us sitting in the car for twenty minutes (in and of itself pretty scary as this was peak drunk time). We parked a couple of streets over, giving us a 10 minute walk through the back streets around Kings Cross to get there. Tottering in heels while avoiding eye contact with drunken lecherous men should be a course you can take in advance.
Anyway, got to the club fine, had a moment or two of amusing confusion trying to work the NHS app and the DICE app (for the tickets) wearing nails that prohibited me from placing my fingertips on the sensor of the phone and there we were, in the club.
Now, Torture Garden does not allow photography, so no photos, even selfies, of me being there, but it was an experience. I’ve done TG before but that time I was a: fatter, b: drunker and c: drunker. Needed b and c because I was amazingly blotto which was the only way I could get the courage to step in. This time, stone cold sober.
The main auditorium was up and down some steps and through some doors that also lead to a bar. It was PACKED so stairs were entertainingly difficult, and the doors to get in and out of various sections were heavy. At the first door Cinders and Vicky went through first and me, still really channelling my polite/quiet male mode, stopped to allow a woman through who was wearing basically nothing except a couple of small pvc belts.
I was taken by the way she looked and didn’t move quite as fast as I should have. Behind me was a huge guy dressed as some kind of Mad Max-esque viking, if that makes sense. He held the door for me and I tottered through as quickly as I could.
Not quite quick enough to avoid a hard slap on the bottom and an ‘after you, darling’ from the viking. The hand lingered on my bottom long enough to guide me through the door before I realised what had happened and I turned, slightly startled, in time to be blown a kiss before the viking stepped past me.
Yeah, that kind of club. I liked TG the first time and I liked it the second time even more, not being too blotto to remember stuff, but here’s the crux.
After an hour or so of walking around, standing on the balcony watching the stage show, standing on the dancefloor dancing (barely) to the loud, thumping music I realised as much as I loved this scene, and the people in it, I’d never be part of it. I felt alone, surrounded by a tribe of people who thought the same way but apart from it all myself. It didn’t make me sad, or angry. It was just a peaceful epiphany; I love the fetish fashion, I loved the costumes, I loved the people that were there. But I felt completely alone. I couldn’t make eye contact with anyone, not because I didn’t want to, but because I was defaulting to the way I slip into the shadows in most of the things I do in my life.
I enjoyed the evening immensely but won’t do it again. You need to get into the scene, to open up, to throw yourself completely into it and something in me just wouldn’t do that.
Plus there was a huge amount of sex going on. Literally every dark corner had every sexual act you can think of being done by (consenting) adults, but there’s something disquieting about standing on a balcony over the dancefloor and being afraid to turn around because literally six inches from your arse a woman in head-to-toe rubber is choking down a very large male member while a man next to her is face down on his female partner’s nether area. Post Covid people are really letting their hair down; I predicted this from knowing what happened post-Spanish Flu (they called it the roaring twenties) but when You’re in a club and desperate to find a dark corner to hide in it’s amusingly terrifying to find every corner has people swapping fluids in it.
So we left around 2:30am, got back to Cinders, stripped off the costume and makeup, downed a strong coffee and set off home. The drive home was terrifying as a combination of country roads, a wild storm (Wales and the West were lashed hard on Saturday night/Sunday morning) and basically being mostly asleep, but I made it home and crawled into bed.
And that was the ‘out and about’. And now the outting…..
So, Sunday was spent being destroyed in terms of tiredness. I slept most of the day, waking only to go to the bathroom and stare at the face in the mirror; turns out wearing a wig cap with tape for 18 hours makes the skin blister, so I had an amusing set of scabs on my forehead.
On Monday it was back to drab professional life; started work in the home office at 8:00am, jumped a train *back* to London at 11:00am, showed up to the conference and did my hour long demonstration and presentation to about a hundred people, plus another 200 or so online. After the presentation I made my way to our stall where my boss and two of my colleagues were.
A couple of glasses of red to remove the stress and we were talking about our weekends. I remember my boss asking me what I had done, and what I had done to my head, and then a combination of the tiredness, the two glasses of red wine and a lifetime of being annoyed at not being able to tell the truth to most people just turned into a perfect storm of a moment.
“I spent Saturday in a fetish club dressed as Black Widow from the Marvel movies”.
Cue laughter because of course I wouldn’t do that.
“Prove it.” said one of my colleagues.
And that was that. Wish I’d taken a picture of their faces as I dug out my phone and showed them this:
I love my job and I work with great people but they do have a certain impression of drab me; clever, difficult at times, professional, drinker. I don’t think they had ‘attractive’ on their lists.
Gets funnier. So, we have an internal chat system we use for our teams. The three guys I was with at the conference mentioned ‘the picture’ and of course it got shared. Five minutes later the image for the channel was set to that image.
Yes, I played it down as ‘it was a halloween costume’ and ‘my friend is a brilliant makeup artist, isn’t she?’ and I was pretty sure I’d pulled it off. It didn’t feel like a massive reveal and I had all the usual plausible deniability excuses and moans (“how do women do it, it’s so uncomfortable” and “couldn’t do it all the time, the shaving would kill me”).
Then one of my colleagues decided to show it to his wife. Her response, which he posted to the group, was telling….
“I’ve just shown it to my wife and she says ‘that is not a one-off occurrence. He does that every week'”
Damn those wily females and their intuition.
Anyway, that was that; 48 hours of minimal sleep and a lot of fun. A little poignant in my reaction while being at the club, but not depressing or saddening. Also I’m surprisingly unconcerned about the fact that picture is now pretty much public knowledge at work. Course, haven’t thought/obsessed about it in depth yet….
Stay beautiful and tick those bucket-list entries off while you can. Regret or no regret, at least you will have experience it.