Gawan: nudity

When we arrived at our destination it was past bedtime and we were both drained. Immediately upon entering the stuffy space, I crossed the room to the air conditioner and turned it on, willing it to work. It did, thank goodness. We discussed sleeping arrangements and then crashed.

The next day, after a leisurely late breakfast, we headed out to explore the neighborhood and get the lay of the land. Upon our return to the room in the mid-afternoon, Gawan stripped nude without preamble.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of that. I hadn’t spent any time imagining the scene, but it seemed that I had a kernel of an expectation — that this particular first would likely apply to both of us at the same time, and would have been preceded by kisses, caresses, meaningful looks, etc. Yet this nudity was unilateral and businesslike.

We had been out in sunny, hot and humid weather, the room air conditioner barely up to the task, and we were tired and sweaty. Eventually I twigged: he wanted to cool down faster, he’s very much at ease with his body, and whatever his criteria for feeling comfortable being nude around me, they had already been met. (Newsflash: nudity doesn’t necessarily mean sex.)

Despite the impression that this blog may give, I’m not actually in the habit of wandering about the house naked. But following Gawan’s example, I quickly got into a routine of stripping down to bra and panties to cool off after being out in the heat. After having a shower, I didn’t bother dressing or even trying to conceal the important bits with my towel, and not just because the towel was small enough to make such an effort essentially futile (unless held to my chest vertically, in the Japanese style).

I was also aware that there was really very little of me that Gawan hadn’t already seen either on the blog, or in a handful of images that I’d emailed. That was a little odd, and another first for me — that such thorough exposure had happened before I decided that he might be more than a friend and well before we ever were in the same space together. But it also helped me feel like it wasn’t that big a deal because, in one way, I’d already made the decision to be nude in front of him quite a while ago. (I suppose the oddest thing for Gawan may have been seeing my naked body with my head attached — the nude photos were headless, and the full body photos were clothed.)

It turns out that I’m much more comfortable with my body now than ever before, and that’s mostly because of this blog. The nude self-portraits have gotten me into the habit of looking for positives instead of flaws, and kind feedback, especially from the Sinful Sunday community, is tremendously encouraging.

I got used to my own casual nudity in Gawan’s presence quite quickly, and I developed an easy familiarity of the sort that I would ordinarily associate with a long-term relationship. My level of comfort with being naked shows that my change of attitude in that respect may be fundamental. And that’s a good thing.

Sinful Sunday: skirt symmetry

Sinful SundayI prefer to post new photos but occasionally that doesn’t work out. I got back from my trip with Gawan recently and found that I was too busy settling in at home to feel like doing a shoot this week, so I rifled through the unused photos file.

The image below comes from the same shoot as slinky skirt and slinky skirt, rear view. Like so many other photos of mine, in this one I’m square to the camera and the pose is symmetrical. I’m not sure why I like these elements so much – like the black and white, I suppose they speak to simplicity (which I know I like) and formality (which surprises me because the notion doesn’t ordinarily appeal).

But beyond that, the image just seemed to match my mood today. Wolf and I have been dealing with some challenges lately and today it bubbled up and overflowed. It wasn’t an argument – we don’t do arguing. But there was negativity, frustration and sadness. Awareness of problems without knowing how to begin to solve them. I shed some tears, and though we reestablished closeness and some equilibrium by the end of it, the emotional heavy lifting that I’d done left me feeling leaden.

skirt symmetry

Gawan: touch

It’s been a long time since I’ve negotiated physicality with someone in a context more intimate than simple friendship. What’s an appropriate amount of physical contact when shifting a fairly intimate online relationship into meatspace? I don’t imagine the etiquette books have devised an answer to this question yet.

I’m not generally demonstrative — I have no problem accepting a hug from a friend but I’m very rarely the one to initiate, and I tend to come across as reserved. Gawan, on the other hand, is physically affectionate and cuddly. Unsurprisingly, there was a bit of awkwardness between us as we began to negotiate these little differences.

On the first flight, we were seated in different rows, but once we were airborne he located a row of three empty seats where we could sit together. He took the window seat while I sat beside him; with my feet up on the aisle seat, I leaned back against him and he wrapped his arm around me and squeezed me happily for the remainder of the flight.

Then we had a stopover and a few hours to kill. In a quiet corner of the airport we claimed a 5-seat bench, which — surprisingly — had no armrests between the seats. He sat. Unsure of the dimensions of our personal space bubbles now that we had so much room, I left one empty seat between us and folded one leg up onto the bench so I could turn my body to face him. It turned out that that was entirely unsatisfactory. He ordered me to sit right beside him. Ah, fine. I suppose this is how it is when you travel with a dom, and it did save me from having to figure out what the right answer was.

(Of course, his being a dom doesn’t automatically give him any rights over me, but we had touched on the subject of D/s a bit previously, without having reached any conclusions or agreements. This was the first time he gently but ‘dommily’ tested the waters during this trip.)

The flight to our destination was, frankly, cramped. It was a sort of discount airline that shoehorned in the maximum number of seats by sacrificing what anyone would consider to be the minimum sane amount of legroom. I’m short and yet my knees were almost touching the seat in front of me — the effect was slightly claustrophobic. This time I was in the window seat and he was in the middle, with someone else occupying the aisle seat. He put his arm around me for a short while but mostly we just held hands. Likewise during the lengthy bus ride to the hotel.

We had bought a package deal, air and hotel, and there was no choice of rooms. Perhaps that’s why they didn’t bother clearly stating the number and size of the beds. I have a bad back and it’s a rarity to find a hotel bed that I can actually sleep on, so I informed Gawan I would be bringing an air mattress and he thought that was a good idea. I considered this to be my backup plan in case of (a) back pain, (b) a too-small shared bed, or (c) disinterest between us.

It turned out that the room had two single beds. I thought this was perfect: we would each have our own bed to sleep in and I wouldn’t have to explain my need for space or decide whether I felt comfortable enough with him to be in such close proximity through the night. Gawan, however, was thoroughly vexed. He wanted a double bed (or better) and for us to share it, and, failing that, he was rather insistent that we share one of the single beds.

So it turned out that I was going to have to give that explanation after all.

I told him that I can’t sleep while cuddling or even touching, and a single bed was definitely too small for us both to sleep in. If I don’t get enough sleep I get very grumpy indeed, and my mood becomes particularly foul if I’m tired for entirely preventable reasons. I don’t do well with sharing a bed, even if it’s designed for two. And even with Wolf, cuddle-time and sleep-time are mutually exclusive. (Wolf and I sleep in two single beds that are right next to each other. We each have our own blankets, and if he turns over in the night it won’t wake me, but we remain within arm’s reach.)

Gawan and I went around in circles a couple of times but eventually arrived at a solution. We would cuddle together on my bed. Because he was nearly impossible to wake up I didn’t want him falling asleep in my bed, so if he was getting dozy I’d exile him to his bed. (I dubbed his bed “Elba” but he thought “[Saint] Helena” was more appropriate — escape was possible from the former but not the latter.) Immediately after the exile, I’d come over and cuddle with him in his bed until I wanted to sleep and I returned to my own bed for that. When I woke up in the morning, I’d come and visit him again. This gave me the sleep I needed so I was satisfied, but I don’t think his attitude toward the arrangement was anything better than resigned.

As the trip progressed, we began holding hands across the table at restaurants and sometimes also while walking. Gawan usually snuck a kiss if we were alone in the elevator. There were other kisses too — at the terrace of the hotel bar when we tired of watching the world go by; in the back (but still well-lit) corner of a sold-out gig, the only likely witnesses being the nubile, bored waitresses dressed head-to-toe (or rather, head to mid-thigh) in white; and in a dark front corner of a cabaret, where the girls’ minimum costume comprised pasties, g-strings, and largely purposeless nude fishnet body-stockings.

I’ve gotten the OK from Gawan before publishing this post, and will do the same for future posts involving him. I’d feel weird reading about myself on a public forum without prior knowledge of what was going to be said, so I’m giving him the same notice that I’d want if roles were reversed. Is that going to affect what I write? Yeah, probably a little.

This blog is not a comprehensive diary of all my innermost thoughts and I’m not here to get advice, so withholding some material is no great hardship. My first goal and responsibility is to be absolutely honest with myself. It’s the rare tidbit of information that I wouldn’t share with Wolf — I tell him everything that matters even remotely, and an awful lot of stuff that doesn’t. Gawan is also entitled to my honesty, though the scope is narrower.

If there’s anything that’s bothering me about events with Gawan that I wouldn’t share here, there are other outlets. The obvious one is to talk to Gawan himself. Or I can talk to Wolf. If I don’t want to discuss it with either of them, then some thoughts may remain locked in my own head, and if they’re straining to get out I can always process them by writing without blogging. (I make rough notes and draft blog posts in a document on my computer, deleting material if I post it. The document already contains a metric ass-load of writing that will never see the light of day — if I have a diary, it’s that document, not the blog.)

Boobday: beaded again

With the turning of the seasons and the loss of the leaves that shaded my windows, my studio (a.k.a. the dining room) is bright and cheery and well lit. But after returning from my trip with Gawan, getting over some dehydration and a bit of a stomach bug, and just generally settling back into my regular routines, I have been feeling too lazy to take a fresh photo for today, so you’ll have to make do with another shot of the beaded top, first revealed here. I know it’s a hardship, but I’m fairly sure you’ll manage.

Boobday beaded again

You’ll find the rest of today’s Boobday participants here.

inside out

Suppose we met at a party. Before we even spoke to each other, you could make some fair assumptions about me, for instance, that I lived in the city where we met and that we had at least one mutual acquaintance in common. You’d make a guess as to my age on the basis of my face, my hair, my build. Seeing my expression and my interactions, you might reach a conclusion about whether I was friendly or reserved. You’d see my clothes, and jewelry if any, and maybe make deductions about my interests, my attitudes, perhaps even my political leanings if you were very clever.

And with those basics already established, we might start a conversation and look for connections or at least some common ground. How do you know So-and-so? Oh, I’ve always been interested in that. So what do you do for a living? Do you know X? Whereabouts do you live? Ah, I like that part of town. Have you been there long? Where did you study? Oh, what was that like? — did you enjoy it there? Married? Kids? And in a straightforward way you’d build up an concept of what I’m like as a person, and if you were very observant, you might get a sense of possible shared acquaintances, what other events you might run into me at, what kind of food I might like, how I’d treat the wait staff, whether and how I might vote.

But you don’t know me like that. We haven’t met like that.

I’ve revealed what I usually hide, but in monologue form — you get only what I offer up. And the first thing I offered you was a reflection on my sexuality and how it came to be the way it is. Straight to the core. In real life, only my partner knows any of that. I’ve shared intimate details about my sex life — not that they’re so raunchy in the grand scheme of things, but it’s not something I’d tell you over canapés, coffee, or even over a red Solo cup full of tepid rum and coke.

I’ve hidden what I usually reveal, keeping certain information and images from you, partly for anonymity and partly because those ordinary things are, well, a bit boring. I suppose that because they’re easy to share in real life, I’m not driven to share them here. This is my space for thinking out loud and I’m enjoying thinking thoughts that are new to me, not just the same old same old.

So we’re meeting here at the frontier of my journey of self-discovery.

You’re meeting me inside out. I wonder — do you know me better than if we’d met in the ordinary way, or just differently?

Gawan met me inside out too. He knew I was clever before he knew I was slim. He saw my bare breasts before he saw my face. I told him how I felt towards giving and receiving oral sex before I told him my real name. And as for my clothes, grooming and how I treat the wait staff, those tidbits of first-date-type information were unavailable to him until very recently, after he had embarked upon his odyssey to meet me.

How much information I get from eye contact and body language. How much I can learn from what captures or fails to capture his attention, and his interest. How inverted this process has been.

my mind is in a tangle

My mind is in a tangle. As expected.

I just got home last night after being in Gawan’s company for about two weeks, almost all of which we spent on vacation together.

We live very far apart and if we wanted to meet, significant travel would be required. Taking a trip together really did make the most sense, but it was also trial by fire. The destination we chose was challenging, advanced-level travel: different language, different culture, difficult weather, no credit cards, and cut off from the outside world. In retrospect, it wasn’t the best choice if we wanted an experience that was guaranteed to go smoothly. But dealing with challenges also reveals character, so perhaps we learned more about each other than we would have at an easier destination.

During a travel adventure, time behaves oddly and seems to pass at a different rate because it’s filled with more than the usual number of new experiences per day. The sensation of the passage of time doesn’t relate to hours but experiences, and you learn to associate a certain number of experiences with a certain length of time. When you have more experiences, it feels like more time has passed. I’d say that those 12 days felt more like 3 or 4 weeks — ages to be spending with someone I’d never even been in a room with before.

My sensitivity means that I absorb a lot more information from my surroundings and experiences than the average person does. In effect, I’ve gathered a tremendous amount of data from the trip and I’m now in the processing stage. It seems that I’m able to sort information and make connections mostly without really thinking about it — it’s like a program that runs in the background and when a pattern is detected it pops up into my conscious awareness. (To people who don’t work this way, it looks rather like ruminating, but I assure you it’s not. I keep getting new information and I’m not just going around in circles.)

From time to time, specific issues bubble up to the surface without an accompanying conclusion. I might find a raw nerve or some other puzzle, which I will think on to see if I can discover what’s happening below the surface and gain insight.

In those 12 days I learned a tremendous amount about Gawan (which I expected), and about myself (which was a bit of a surprise). I had had a persistent and unsettling feeling of having major gaps in my understanding of him, and a lot of those gaps have been filled in, which is all to the good.

There were ups and downs, but on the whole I had a good time and am glad I went. Details to follow once I’ve done some more processing.