'Petra's Pearls Of Wisdom.'
“This is a careful dance, Lyla, Between….. intellect….. libido…. and…. intuition.” Petra stood perfectly poised amidst an array of 'props', still exuding the air of a dignified ‘Madam’, despite having swapped her snug latex suit for faded torn blue jeans and cashmere. She continued her rhetoric as she lightly touched the assortment of odd looking items placed neatly and easily accessible in the ‘Oaks Day’ room.
“To our clients, this experience is lascivious… hence their need for secrecy. The outside so called ‘normal’ sexual boundaries are dull and utterly unsatisfying for these men…and very occasionally…women.”
The two women were enshrouded by an atmosphere heavy with masculine overtones. The room was dimly lit by an old brass bankers lamp, the lone object atop a glass covered desk, the air soaked in the scent of sandalwood. Studded leather chesterfields in maroon and black faced each other from the edges of a Persian rug. An enormous deep plum velvet curtain, embellished with long rope tassels hung down from the ceiling to floor against one wall. Hidden artfully behind it, anchored to the wall, were iron cuffs, shackles and a fold down narrow wooden bench.
“Always, Lyla, be one hundred percent present in the current moment..the experience that you are orchestrating, never let your mind wander away from the intensity needed to maintain control of the scene."
Another of Petra's fast paced lessons to initiate Lyla into her persona as 'Genevieve' was nearing its end. Lyla continued to find the interplay of psychological affect with sexual effect incredibly interesting. Yet having such an interest in this vocation from a purely intellectual perspective would not make her able to 'play' successfully. There had to be an 'engagement', as Petra was explaining, of sexual energies and overt sensuality.
If the clientele were singularly seeking the release of sexual energies through orgasm, the city had no lack of legal brothels. A pair of Levis cost more these days than an hour with a beautiful 'professional' call girl. No, this alternative experience was sophisticated in its emotional implications. Sex or sexual relief, was a part of it in 'essence', but the physical expression of 'sex' or just plain old 'getting off', was not the motivator for the patrons.
‘The Palace' offered carefully, contrived, and controlled exchanges of personal power at a level of one's inherent vulnerability. It offered opportunity and above everything else.....freedom to explore the uncharted depth of ones deepest hidden darings.
Lyla had done as Petra requested and suffered through a few sessions with her therapist friend. She had chosen not to revisit her traumatic experience and had told the therapist precisely enough to appease her. Careful to appear positive and happy when she saw Patricia, Lyla was satisfied she had convinced the woman that she really didn't need therapy.
Patricia, was not fooled. She called Petra to inform her that her referral was calling it quits before she would even acknowledge she had a problem that needed tending to. Confidentiality aside, Patricia surmised that Lyla's subconscious had dealt with whatever it was very efficiently by shoving it's memory so far deep down inside her that it could take years to pry it free. She did not think Lyla was emotionally unstable, just ignorant of the ramifications of allowing ‘trauma’ whatever it may be, to fester within…unacknowledged…. and unwilling to tend to it. Patricia reiterated the obvious, you can't help someone heal if they can't acknowledge there's something that requires it in the first place.
So Petra determined she would take Lyla under her wings. There now existed an aura of contrived aloofness around Lyla. This would be to the young woman’s advantage when she would begin her own ‘scenes’, the disconnect however, between her essence and the way she carried herself was starkly obvious. It made her appear uncomfortable in her own skin. She appeared to be ‘acting’ herself and completely void of any authentic sensual expression.
Petra decided she would attempt to realign Lyla’s essential energies with her core expression by using a combination of touch, of acupressure and energy-body work.
First and foremost, it was essential she instill an understanding in Lyla that ‘acceptance’ was tantamount. Acceptance of herself, was crucial to the development of empathy for the clients. Sometimes it was a big ask when clients with larger than life egos exhibited their abrasiveness, their brashness, and arrogance.
“Lyla, before we wrap things up for today I want to give you something to think about.” Petra was locking the heavy wooden door with it’s intricate carvings and brass handle behind her. "Lets have tea…. and then you can be on your way.” Petra smiled at the young girl… “Figuratively and theoretically.”
So the ladies sat opposite each other, yet again, in the relaxed ‘safe’ lounge, bathed in a soft grey light from the large rain splattered windows. Petra sat on the shaggy rug crossed legged, giving the illusion of flexible youth whilst Lyla sank comfortably back into a velvet Queen Anne both with hands wrapped around steaming mugs. Petra took a deep satisfying breath and began.
“Lyla, your clients will have fantasies and fetishes so creative and varied that you can’t possible imagine nor dane to understand. If at any time you feel intimidated, or uncomfortable satisfying these, immediately offer another Mistress. Never, ever, give the impression that you are judging the client. This is such personal expression for these people that it takes a lot of courage for some to expose themselves like this.
So....it is imperative that the client not be made to feel they are too..... ‘odd’ even for a Dom. You must give the impression that you have seen everything, that nothing surprises you, that absolutely nothing is offensive to you. If you don’t want to carry out a requested scene simply suggest that there is another Mistress who is ‘better’ at, or is ‘simply wonderful’ at, whatever it is the client wants....and if the client is insistent don't try to appease them, simply excuse yourself from the room, tell the desk and the 'connector' will take it from there.
Lyla was relieved to hear there was a potential out, and insurance of sorts, to protect her from any situations beyond her boundary. She had already been worrying about the ‘masks’ that were hung along the wall in the main dressing room. She was dreading the day she would have to tell Petra that they freaked her out, that she could never, wouldn't ever, wear one nor face a client who did. Worse, she knew Petra would want to know why and Lyla had made a steadfast promise to herself that she would never reveal what had happened at Davos'…. to anyone.
“Do not show emotion Lyla…. EVER. You must be stoic. A smile of accomplishment is acceptable, or acknowledgement that you understand a client but you are never to exercise judgement upon your clients. ‘Acceptance is key’.” Petra paused for emphasis.
“From this moment on, you are entirely nonjudgmental.” Petra tilted her head and met the young woman's eyes. Lyla smiled and nodded in understanding of how crucial such an attitude could be. So Petra continued; “ These men, mostly, have very, very complex desires to fulfill. They need assurances that their perverse tastes don’t actually make them a pervert. At least not in the covert arena of this hidden world.” She raised an eyebrow and smiled. “It’s ironic and an oxymoron I know, but true non the less.”
“You will drive yourself insane if you attempt to understand them, their motivation is as personal and individual as their character. It may be as simple as ‘anticipation’, such as the client who just wants to be verbally teased whilst he’s tied naked to the wheel. Which brings me to impress that there is no more a vulnerable state than being naked. Something you and I will address before you start accepting ‘scenes’. Although you yourself, will never be completely naked in front of a client, you have to be comfortable with and respectful of how it feels to be so… ‘exposed’.
Often Lyla, the hint of flesh, the mere suggestion of what lays hidden beneath, is more powerful than revealing it all....it's the sole reason that Vogue can make so much money hawking superfluous fashion....if it’s 'suggestive' it sells... I'm quite sure I'm right!" She said with a satisfied smile. "My point is.... even with your clothes on, if you aren't comfortable...totally in love with your own nakedness, it will be obvious. Prudishness is prohibitive Lyla, there's no place for it here.”
Lyla lowered her near empty mug and swallowed hard. Her head swirled with inquisition of how Petra perceived her. Was she that obvious? Petra fixed her eyes on her and took a slow sip of her tea. This seemed an appropriate moment to bring up Lyla’s reconnection to her sensuality, but should she risk it or wait? Wait for what? It was better to know now if Lyla could do this authentically or not. If not.... she was wasting her time grooming her for the complexities this lifestyle involved and the self preservation that was essential.
“Lyla, this is entirely about ‘power’ as I’ve said before. If you do not have self-assurance, an innate, unquestionable trust in your own confidence, an irrevocable commitment to your personal and sensual power, you will never be able to perform such scenes that require you to..... humiliate the client for instance.”
Did she see.....feel...Lyla stiffen? She paused and took a deep breath, and watched the young woman sink herself inward. She softened her voice, spoke more slowly..."Lyla, occasionally....patrons like to experience what could be perceived by someone who is not secure within themselves as demoralizing. Yet the act itself, the 'scene', could be as simple as a client wanting to cross dress and be jeered at. There are many forms of humiliation and you must be strong enough within your own psyche to not be affected by a client sobbing and folded over, seemingly emotionally devastated because you did what he asked you to do.”
All of a sudden, the emotional intricacies of being a ‘professional’ Dominatrix came flooding in to Lyla’s awareness. This was not just about ‘play’ and ‘fantasy’. Sure it could be, but the underlying emotional needs that it satisfied were intense. Lyla realized with a foreboding sensation that she had entered a world where she would be required to manipulate the relinquishing of control. All at once it seemed overwhelming and serious doubts in her capabilities to 'pull this off', began seeping into her resolve like rising water spilling between sand bags meant to hold it back.
Finally she understood why Petra was insistent she get some therapy. This whole ‘game’ was all about….. Control. Every single angle she viewed it from. Lyla wondered if subconsciously that was why she was sooooo attracted to it.
Was it some unhealthy way for her to regain control over her sexuality? Was it an attempt to regain her personal power? Was it an attempt to control her life where controlling food intake had failed her...made her unwell?
It was as if Petra, in the sudden, silent, gap between them, was reading her mind. “Lyla, this is not about YOU finding relief in relinquishing control amidst a
sexually energetic exchange. It’s about facilitating that ‘letting go’ of control TO YOU from the client.”
Petra could see the look of sudden awareness and realization all over Lyla’s face. Her shoulders regained their purpose, her back straightened and she had sat forward in the chair as if in attempt to grasp the ideas before they slipped by her like a loose kite in the wind.
“One last thing Lyla….” The young woman still appeared somewhat shell shocked, or was it perplexed? Petra doubted she would even hear, let alone take in, any more information. It was best to leave her to process her sudden 'enlightenment' for a few days then follow up with working on connecting her to her own elusive power.
“Remember Lyla, this ‘game’ as in any real life relationship, is singularly
about….trust. I know I’ve attempted to instill this in you before but I will keep
repeating it until you truly get it enough to express outwardly a confidence that
imparts to perfect strangers… you trust yourself....and are formidable, a woman in tune with her essential core, her vibrant sexual power.”
She stood and looked down at the young woman, then in a display of sincere
tenderness tucked her lackluster hair behind her ear and tilted her chin so slightly
so their eyes met. " Enough Lyla, its time to work on you. Work with Patricia, and
take a high dose vitamin B mix...your hair is giving away your lack of nourishment.”
“You're not heathy Lyla, in body or mind, and I suspect in spirit too.
I will keep up with instruction, but you will not work until you are well...all
With that the day was done, and Petra watched as Lyla in complete silence and as
if in slow motion, donned her long coat and headed out into the soggy, now
darkening Australian evening.
Lyla’s thoughts loomed ominously and distracted her as she raised her umbrella despite the lack of rain, and walked almost somberly to the lonely tram stop.