I Know Things Now
We found our way back to the hotel and made it just before dinner. Dinner, served by the Unconference, was a selection of some of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizzas. Now, I’m a fan of thick crust, but must admit that the soup-in-a-bowl nature of the deep dish pizzas was not to my taste.
Nevertheless, it was fantastic catching up with some of my old (you know, “old,” as in, from four months prior) friends over dinner, including Mephki, Marc Cabot, SweetGasp, and others. It was also wonderful to finally meet some of the people I had only known through Hypbook. The atmosphere was, for me, so comfortable and friendly.
I got dressed and joined LeeAllure and, well, everyone, really, in a slightly cramped room for a hypnosis stage show. I walked in just before the show was to start so I wound up sitting on the floor in the corner.
The show was a “classic” hypnosis show. For those of you who don’t know what that means, here you go: Usually, a hypnosis show starts out with the hypnotist/performer discussing the pluses and minuses of hypnosis, what it is and what it isn’t (this portion of the performance was somewhat curtailed for the obvious reasons). Then the hypnotist runs people through various “suggestibility” tests. This usually takes the form of the hypnotist telling the audience to imagine that their hand is attached to balloons, which lift their arm up. If your arm actually moves and levitates (which happens for far more people than you might at first imagine, even if you’re not at a hypnosis conference), then you’re probably fairly suggestible.
The hypnotist will bring volunteers up and perform relatively quick inductions on each person. Then the hypnotist will have the volunteers run through various scenarios. This could be having various subjects believe that another subject smells funny. It could be that the hypnotist tells you you’re singing karaoke, or that the person next to you is extremely attractive or smells weird, or that you’re from the planet “macho” and that you’re going to show just how incredibly manly you are while the Village People’s “Macho Man” plays over the sound system. It can be incredibly cheesy and/or incredibly funny, largely depending on the quality of the volunteers and/or the hypnotist. For a really good fictional account of a hypnosis show, (and a pretty good primer on hypnosis in general) check you this story: http://www.mcstories.com/BusmansHoliday/index.html
The usual question after a show like this is whether the people were “really” hypnotized and/or were “made” to act in such ways: were they made to do things they normally wouldn’t do? The way I’ve always thought of it is that a hypnosis show is somewhat self-selecting: people go into the room because they’re curious. People volunteer to be on stage knowing they’re going to be the center of attention. People who are up there are either unafraid naturally, natural show-offs, or looking for an excuse to “show off” or “come out of their shell.”
After the show, Lee and I retired to my room to do a scene that we had set up beforehand. She had said that one thing that she enjoyed doing was slapping people into a trance. No, really. But, really. And after our experience at NEEHU where she had slapped me across the face a couple of times, (http://wp.me/p4vV5a-l) I was actually kind of intrigued by this concept and asked to experience it.
So Lee and I sat on a couch facing each other. First, she had me do something entirely unexpected; she told me to slap her. This was problematic for all sorts of reasons. Culturally, men are (or, at least, I am) indoctrinated against hitting women. Or a woman. Or any woman. I had never done it, not even in jest. And she wanted me to do it, several times. After making sure it was ok with her, and having Lee walk me through the process I… did it. Several times. There was one slap that was errant, and she said I had caused a slight ringing in her ears. But for the most part, I guess I slapped her…. Well?
It was a very, very, strange experience for me. But then she looked at me and said it was her turn. For the briefest of moments I thought to say, “No thanks; I won the bet. I slapped a sadist. Thanks for the $100 victory.” But then I thought I valued my continued existence on this earth, and decided to endure my turn.
Lee looked me in the eyes, and measured the distance from her hand to my cheek, and began slapping me. The first time was like the shock to my system when she slapped me at NEEHU. Even though I knew it was coming, there was something so visceral about it actually happening that shocked my system. She slapped me, several times, all the time making sure that my face was directed towards her, looking me in the eyes and putting me into a kind of trance. She noted how dilated my eyes were, and was enjoying, it seemed, the power trip.
For a while (and by a while, I mean that it “felt” like thirty minutes, but it was only like about three minutes) it put me into a kind of “sub space.” I felt myself entirely in Lee’s control in a very real way. There was a flush of release as she was slapping me, and I felt floaty and in something approaching a trance-state. She alternated cheeks and varied the amount of force she was using; she obviously did not want to cause bruising.
At some point, however, something very interesting happened; some part of me, whichever part of me isn’t submissive, woke up.
Something in me clicked into place, and all of a sudden, I had to stop myself from slapping Lee back. Lee laughed. “You just switched, didn’t you?” And I smiled back. I could feel a malicious, defiant look in my eye.
She kept slapping few more times, however, just to see what would happen. How I didn’t slap back, I’ll never really know, but shortly after that… it wrapped. It was my very first BDSM “scene.” I wouldn’t say I was as impacted (so to speak) as when Lee unexpectedly slapped me at NEEHU, but it was rather brilliant and wonderful nevertheless. I felt unexpectedly energized. It felt like several different parts of me (whether that was my “top” and “bottom” part of me, I don’t know) had had a work out. I felt “balanced,” for lack of a better word. In short, Ten out of ten, would do it again.
After the weekend, I described the scene to Mrs. Pynchon (and note, I had actually told her ahead of time that I was thinking of dabbling in physical BDSM-type activities). As I told her about the slapping, a look came over her face.
I asked her if something was troubling her about the scene.
She said, “I don’t like it.”
And I felt a moment of panic– had I gone too far? She’d listened as I read her every word of this blog before I published, and was so extremely supportive of everything, but sometimes the actual reality of it can be more troubling than the possibility.
She noticed the concerned look on my face, and said, “No, no. Look, I don’t get it. But I wouldn’t get it if you were into NASCAR.”
I blinked. “NASCAR??”
“Yeah, you know, all those cars going round and round in circles for hours. I’d have more serious problems if you were into that; I wouldn’t understand it at all. But this… I don’t get it. But…whatever. You’re having fun.” And she shrugged.
Lee and I went down to the pool, where the pool water felt really good on my face.
We ran into Em, Seb, and the super-cool and super-tiny Fay and they joined us. I caught up with Mephki some, which was nice.
After the pool, Lee and I went back up for a second scene we had discussed trying, a hypno-interrogation scene.
We hadn’t really worked out all the details. Essentially, although Lee isn’t big on role-play, we decided on having me play a spy with a secret code stuck in my head. Her job was to get the code out of it.
We enlisted the lovely and reliable Tesdenic in the crucial job of holding the slip of paper with the code, to determine if I was lying.
We went to the “red room,” which was the room set aside for BDSM activities. I don’t think we expected to do anything serious—certainly I didn’t—but the other rooms were for much more quiet play. In one corner a couple was engaging in fairly strong impact play, in another corner, one person was slowly tying another up with rope. We went to the third corner, on the other side from the doorway, where there was a chair.
She had me sit down and “tied” my hands behind me and we began.
We quickly established that I was an American spy, and that she was a “Commie Russian Bitch” as I soon described her. (What!? I was in character.)
She tried to grab my attention for a trance, but I resisted. I talked a good game, telling her that I’d rather die than give her the code.
“Soon you will be only too happy to give me the code.”
I resisted looking her in the eyes. She grabbed the shiny pendulum hanging from her neck and tried to pass that in front of my eyes. I looked away.
She grabbed my face (still slightly sore from the slapping) and held me so that I was forced to keep eye contact with her.
And here…. Here is where I lost character for a minute.
You see…. In character, as a spy being held so that I was facing my assailant head-on, this is where I would have spat at her. But… you see, we hadn’t talked about the boundaries of our scene. I also realized that if I had spat at her, we’d be escalating the scene very quickly. And I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that.
Despite my hiccup, we continued the scene.
She pinched me, and said, “That was a special version of Scopolamine. You know what that is, don’t you?” Scopolamine is a drug made from nightshade that is reputed to have hypnotic and amnesiac effects on the user. It was the basis for a fun zombie episode of “Castle” and was a trigger we had used in our sessions for our book project. “But this is a special version of the drug, keyed to your DNA, so it’s even more effective. It will make you very suggestible very quickly.”
I may have used various epithets at this point.
She picked up my cell phone, which had dropped down on the floor in my “struggles.” She flipped through the photos and found one of my dogs. “This dog looks happy. I’d hate it if anything happened to it. Something bad could happen to this dog unless you tell me the code.”
I retorted, “Are you kidding? That one pees everywhere in my house. You’d be doing me a favor. I’ll give you one of the digits of the code if you get rid of him.”
After a while, however the “special Scopolamine” began to “work.” She slowly put me under, all the while I “resisted.” She told me that any lie would cause me pain, and that any time I told the truth I would feel pleasure.
Over the course of the next few minutes, I finally gave her the code: A24601. (I know, I know).
She went over to Tes, who confirmed the code, and came back. Telling me that she may have more tasks for me, that I was to be placed back in my house with no memory of the interrogation.
And then she brought me up, and we finished the scene. I must admit I was exhausted. I had been “in character” for about thirty to forty-five minutes. And although I was in a trance, I was trying to react as if I were someone else and not “me,” if that makes sense. It was fun to step out of myself, but I also understood why people—like Lee—aren’t so fond of “role play”; there is something less “real” about it. It was still incredibly fun, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
I cannot tell you how many people told me that night and later in the weekend that they had poked their head into the room, and were really interested in knowing what was going on with us, but couldn’t because we were on the other side of the room.
After this, we retired to the “Rainbow Room” which was filled with various colored and flashing lights. Among the dood-dads was an LED internally lit egg. For example, like this: http://www.brookstone.com/color-changing-waterproof-led-light-genesis-egg (cheaper ones are out there, but that link has a video (caution: may induce hypnosis)).
We met up with Seb, Emiliana, Tesdenic, and the incredibly tiny Fay in the room.
Seb had, at some point, hypnotized Fay into being thoroughly entranced by the egg when it was in her hands. He was playing with her by alternately placing the egg in and taking it out of her hands, sending her down and then bringing her right back up. She was a human yo-yo, and it was quite a sight to see her ride the roller coaster into and out of trance.
We took turns suggesting things Seb could do to and with Fay while she was under. Finally, Seb groaned and said, “Look, maybe you don’t understand. All those things sound like really hard work. I’m the world’s laziest hypnotist.”
Lee was holding a larger bouncing ball with an internal flashing light.
She said, “You think you’re lazy? Here. DJ?”
I started. “Uh… yes?”
“Be like Fay.” And she tossed the ball right into my hands.
… and I was out. And then she took the ball out of my hands… and put it back in them. And now I was riding the hypno-roller-coaster up and down.
It was both strange and oddly fun to be the center of attention like that, with people watching as Fay and I were put through our paces. (This is all foreshadowing for the next blog, by the way.)
In between trances, it was great “debriefing” with Emiliana and getting her reactions to the events and people of the day. Her blog (http://emilianadarling.wordpress.com) is fascinating, because, while I’ve been a hypno-aficionado, she had almost no frame of reference whatsoever for her experiences.
Somewhere in there, fractionated and a little wobbly, I crept back to my room to sleep. I had covered so much ground, literally and figuratively, (in fact, as I’m recounting these events, I feel almost like I’m just reporting and not really processing or analyzing, but I want to make sure I hit all the fun events). Regardless, I was excited to see where Saturday would take me.
NEXT TIME: Classes! Politeness Wars! Switch Fight! Hypno-Egg Toss! Worst! Induction! EVER!