living with S & M
In 1987 I was working at a psych hospital in Torrance, California, and living in an
Econoline 150 van. It wasn’t a standard 150, mind you. It was two feet longer than
usual, for reasons I’ve never bothered to research.
Even with the extra space, though, I started thinking about finding living quarters
a bit roomier and less mobile. I was getting caught up on my debts and didn’t want
to spend another winter in it — not even an L.A. winter.
So fortune blessed me with a quirky smile in the form of Peter, a co-worker. His first
night at the hospital, he started walking toward me. He was a hulking body-builder.
As he rumbled forward, I thought, “Judith Crist! I hope he speaks human.”
He did. In fact, his first words to me caught me totally off guard.
“Do you play bridge?”, he asked pleasantly.
I didn’t, I don’t, but Peter and I became friends despite that huge cultural gap. He
eventually invited me to his apartment in Hermosa Beach, where he lived with his
girlfriend Stacia, a topless dancer who worked the pole in Long Beach. A bit after
that, I moved into their spare bedroom.
They were quite the roommates. I discovered right off that Stacia, at age 19, was not
as financially responsible as one might expect a stripper to be. Whenever she got a
letter from her bank about a check of hers that bounced, she would put it on top of
a neat stack of similar notices on a coffee table. The stack was at least an inch high.
I also soon found out that Peter and Stacia were avid nudists and S & M swingers. I
once went with them to a nude beach. There were about 50 other people there,
and as many young Hispanic men in their underwear sitting on a bluff above us.
It took me a bit longer to find out their sexual habits. They started hanging their
handcuffs on the stair railing. I came home one day to find them naked, decorating
our Christmas tree. About the same time, they left out the yuletide issue of their
club newsletter, which cheerfully exclaimed “Season’s beatings!”
It was never an issue in our household, which was largely harmonious. Once Stacia
complained to Peter that I didn’t put the toilet seat down when I was done, and she
turned me in for changing channels on the TV when she was out of the room. But,
overall, they were first-rate roomies.
Shortly before I moved out, another couple from their club came over. As Peter
and Stacia readied themselves to go out with them, the woman knelt before the
man and said “Master, may I give you my money to watch?”
“You may,” he said, with a grand waving gesture. He then dismissed her and I
began talking to him.
“What do you do when you’re not doing this?”, I asked.
“I’m an attorney,” he explained, again grandly.
Suddenly the world made a lot more sense to me.