I staggered in late and happy from tango, having had barely a moment to sit down in the two and a half hours I was there, got into bed with an apple (so to speak) and flicked on the television. It's amazing what screens after my usual bedtime. This was a "kinky top 10", the voice-over flourishing Home Counties vowels my mother would have adored, and which contrasted delightfully with the sleaze-appeal of the content.
We were treated to cross-dressers, whips, dungeons and the joys of rubber wear, with a drop of pee-drinking on the side. But two items particularly fascinated me: a couple indulging in something officially called pony play, and a woman done up to the nines in boots and a rigid plastic corset with a big black strap-on penis bobbing about in front of her.
The bland middle-aged bloke training his "pony" wore a red huntsman's jacket, and had his charge on a lead rein. She never spoke - because ponies don't. She flourished a handsome tail, and wore a (decidedly non-horsey) mask and a bit. Her arms were pinned behind her back by some kind of ... bridle, I suppose you'd have to call it, so as she trotted in obedient circles a pair of small rather sad English breasts trotted ahead of her. He petted and scolded; she offered token resistance but was mostly quiescent.
Pony play, so the handler informed us, is a world-wide phenomen. So - coming soon to a city near you. And if you're interested in the 2011 International Pony Play Chamionships, go here http://www.beyondleather.net/bl/pony-play.html Please.
Facetiousness aside, the "handler" was eloquent on the transformative power of the pony play accoutrements, the way the "pony" became the animal. Evidence, if any were needed, of the way appearance is never simply a one-way street, never merely the way you present yourself to the world, but part of a complex dynamic that reacts back on the "appearer" herself - through both the medium of others and through one's perceptions of self.
This was certainly the case with penis woman. She and her partner had been at some sort of sex-related event when she had caught sight of a big black erect rubber cock, strapped it on and ... Bob was your aunty.
She showed us her neat shelf of strap-ons, and fondled one as she tried to explain their attraction to the wearer. He was more articulate. He said the transformation was extraordinary - when she strapped on that first one, she was instantly more confident, more outgoing, more ... whatever she had not been without one. So he had urged her to buy the thing and wear it. Not, it seemed, for his own gratification - "If she came anywhere near my arse with that thing, all hell would break loose", or words to that effect - but because he loved her and what made her happy made him happy.
Germaine Greer said decades ago of so-called penis envy that it wasn't their penises we'd been envying all these years, it was their power. And, judging by the effects on this woman of weilding even a pretend one, Greer was spot on. As to the pony play - come in, Germaine.
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