After every Pride Fortnight, I spend a good chunk of the next week trying to figure out what it all meant.
Folsom Sunday, approx. 2pm
As it is with any event where the gays can drink outside, the Folsom East Street Festival was harness to jock with folks celebrating their hard-won individuality in this particular area of their lives. I am somewhat of an outsider here. I have never been one for wearing clothes during sex. I figure I so rarely get to touch another human being, it seems a shame to place a complicated system of buckles and pulleys, zippers and roleplay between me and whatever poor sap I’ve driven to ecstasy with my stammering. And don’t get me started on the notion of constraint; as soon as someone comes up with a fetish involving loose caftans, I’m there. Until then, I need room to twirl.
I found myself up on the sidewalk, in the eddy of a small doorway. My friend Ed, who is “short,” not “little,” went off to find beers because his height allows him to maneuver through a crowd with little difficulty. Also, I was tired of being jostled by people wearing clothes with small metal spikes.
Ed was probably gone for around 20 minutes. I was standing at a slightly higher level than the bulk of the crowd. All those people in all that gear sure seemed happy, even the folks wearing rubber standing in the direct sun. I felt left out. I could’ve dug up leather harness somewhere and joined the crowd, but that would’ve been a lie. I’m just a guy in a t-shirt who thinks the occasional dirty thought.
Then I heard the unmistakable squeak of a dog toy being happily chomped. I glanced around, didn’t see anything, and assumed some idiot brought their dog. Then I heard it again. It was close. I realized that I was standing behind a demo booth for the particular fetish of puppy play. Yes, it’s exactly as it sounds, down to the crate. And the squeaky toys. The pup in question was a baby dyke in a kilt, suspenders with no shirt, and a collar. The “master” was teasing her with the squeaky toy. Sometimes she got the toy; sometimes the “master” held it behind his back; and at the best times, there was a tug of war. I smiled and fought back the urge to act like I do whenever I see a dog carrying a toy around… “Who’s a good girl? Who’s the puppy? Who’s the puppy girl?” The joy on Puppy Girl’s face was immeasurable. Not only was she a good dog, she was a good dog out in the open.
I found myself identifying with her in ways I couldn’t with the more harness-based fetishes.
Whenever it was time for the crew of neighbor kids to retreat to the Sheil kids’ basement on a rainy or wintry day, invariably there would be a game of “house.” Patrick and Kathleen were always the mom and dad because it was their basement. Various other kids would be children, aunts and uncles, wacky neighbors, depending on the crowd that day. I was always the dog. I would get sullen if I couldn’t be the dog. In the highly structured world of “house,” being the dog was the closest thing to being a free agent. Fathers couldn’t pretend cook; they had to ride their bike around in a tight circle in the basement because driving to work was “their job.” But as the dog I could do whatever as long as I barked and made my presence known. I could get away with licking things.
I looked at Puppy Girl’s face; the joy was unmissable. I began to feel a little wistful, wondering what went wrong in my life that I would be utterly mortified to act like as freely as she in front of a crowd.
Then I remembered what literally squashed my Fisher-Price fetish for puppy play. Apparently, one time I was being a “bad” dog and the others had decided to tie me to a tree/lash me to a basement support column with an extension cord. Patrick and Kathleen rode their bikes past me –he on his endless commute; she running “errins.”
I howled and struggled against my bonds. Dogs need to chase cars. I was a strong child [“Strong like bull; dumb like ox,” my grandpa always said.], and I soon broke free. I lunged forward, straight into Patrick’s bike. My right knee when through the spokes. I remember Mrs. Sheil trying to quell the pain with an orange popsicle while kids were dispatched next door to get my mom.
I ended up with a dozen or so stitches in my knee and still have a noticeable scar. It was decided that day by those in charge that being a dog was too dangerous an activity for me. “Wouldn’t you rather be people?” asked my mom. And from then on, I was people.
Bark on, Puppy Girl!
[NOTE: My canine alter-ego also figured prominently when I discovered porn in Patrick’s basement.]