My submissiveness and exhibitionism were intertwined for me at any early age. When I was four, I'd watched intensely as some television “crooks” had bound a detectives sidekick and then taken the precaution of tying a scarf over his mouth. My curiousity piqued, I asked my mother what it was and got told it was a “gag”. I became intrigued by the whole thing, the notion that someone would deem someone important enough, so much of a threat they had to restrict his movement and even stop him from talking. I thought a lot about how great it would be to be done to me.
80s tv fed my fascination. I remembered every detail of the damsels that invariably got tied up for “snooping” – and secretly imagined myself in their place, grabbed, hand over mouth, then popping up next scene bound, wideeyed my mouth either taped or distorted under a tight cleave gag.
I became fascinated with being bare foot. In my school in England, we would strip down to our underwear and exercise in an inside gym in our bare feet. It fed my exhibitionist streak. When we moved to Australia, the warm climate saw many girls and even women going barefoot in public. It was not uncommon to see housewives strolling down supermarket aisles barefoot, or picking up children sans shoes. It was still fairly uncommon for guys to go barefoot, but emulating an older female neighbour, I also went everywhere in my barefeet. I even got the nickname, “the barefoot boy” from one of my friends mothers.
Being barefoot fed my exhibitionist streak. I wanted to emulate the cute girls my age, who strolled nonchalantly on hot asphalt. Their lack of footwear to me signified sensuality, freedom and a mild hint of rebellion. Most likely for them it was mostly out of habit and comfort. I revelled in the attention that breaking with convention and being barefoot and a boy(!) gave me. The second glances, appraisals of my feet, judgemental stares or occasional challenges excited me, making me feel rebellious. The funny thing was that often the people judging me were women or girls who were barefoot themselves, as if I was somehow encroaching on some kind of cultural territory that was exclusively theirs.
If you walk barefoot for more than an hour it's common for your soles to attract dirt. The mixture of oil from your skin, and dirt on the surfaces, which are compacted as you walk, make it inevitable. I can walk barefoot in freezing cold rain and after a day of walking, in addition to being pink, my feet will have dirt that somehow has stuck. I love the different hues different places give, the light gray of specks from a supermarket floor, the rich brown from a parks grass, the black off asphalt or the pitch, black hole darkness you get from walking in an underground car park. The mixture of engine oil, tyre rubber and dirt does not get washed away leaving a fantastic grimy residue on ones feet. I wear my grimy does with pride. Filthy soles are a badge of honour, proof of your commitment to being barefooted. When people make remarks like, “ your feet are filthy”, “the bottoms of your feet are gross” they are paying me a compliment.
When I was eleven some new massage sandals called, “Maseurs” came out. They had rubber spikes or nodules that fit the contours of your feet and massaged them as you walked. They looked like medieval instruments of torture, but as I soon found out, felt divine. I walked my dog regularly down the park and one day I saw that someone had abandoned a pair. I initially left them, reasoning the owner would reclaim them but after three days I picked them up and took them home. After washing them, I began wearing them.
Very few people had them at the time, and those that did were, again exclusively female. Whereas me walking barefoot generated mild resentment, my sandals generated intense curiousity (“Did they hurt?”, “Is it like being on a bed of nails”), antipathy (“Nice girls shoes mate”, “Why are u wearing your sisters shoes”) or just plain revulsion (“They look awful”, “So daggy”). The great foot massage I got as I walked in them was rewarding enough, but the “notoriety” and mixture of excitement and anxiety I got from being seen in them meant I wore them every chance I got.
In high school, Maseurs soared in popularity among female students. Continuing my exhibitionist ways, I wore mine to school too. In addition to copping flack, I was once sent down to the vice principals office for violating uniform by wearing them. I patiently pointed out the double standard of how numerous girls wore them, and my point was hammered home as one of the administration typists walked to the photocopier in identical beige regular sandals. Realising the futility, I was allowed to resume wearing them.
I went through phases. I would become obsessed with particular versions of Maseurs. After my first pair of beige regulars, I quickly got the black bumpy ones too. Then there were the white bumpy ones. After that I went on a smooth phase getting the new beige cork soled ones. My part time job at the hardware store helped fund my obsession. By the time I was 16 I had over 15 pairs. I had three pairs of ankle strap sandals, one smooth, and two regular, the duplication because the first pair I bought had a new sole that was very flimsy. I would go thru periods where I would wear one set, then maybe go back to being barefoot. Other times, I would alternate my sandals/ shoelessness to go with my clothes.
In my twenties I became obsessed with the logo on the Havaianas flip flops. After I got my first pair, a metallic green set, I was hooked. The soft rubber was soooo comfy. Again, I was the first guy on my peer group rocking the Californian stretch denim/ flip flop thing. I had at least 15 pairs, my favourites being my bright yellow, and my Brazil pair.
So my whole thing was wearing my “submissive” footwear (sandals, flip flops) or lack thereof and getting attention. Being tied up in them was essential - I'd feel cheated if I was in conventional shoes. Similarly, having a gag was just as important. If bondage was discussed, I try to negotiate subtlety for a gag. If none was forthcoming, Id goad my captor into using one by being rude, threatening to or actually yelling for help and just generally being obnoxious. On the occasions that did not work I'd beg for one.
I think I've got lucky in my childhood, because I've been fortunate to meet people who shared my interest in bondage. I probably helped steer it, but I still think I'm lucky, or it is as common as the internet has you believe. The one thing I firmly believe is if you don't ask, you don't get.
Like the school holidays. I'm strolling up to Michaels. It's raining. I'm thankful for my tight black stretch denim jeans and red flannelette shirt. A lady off to work stares disapprovingly at my bare feet. I find it ironic that I'm smoking a cigarette at 16 and still the biggest issue with me is my lack of footwear.
Before leaving the house I'd strategically placed “Mickey Mouse” sticking plasters on the heels of my feet and around several toes. Their purpose is two fold. Firstly, they draw attention to my feet (years later I get a foot tattoo for the same reason) and more subtly, they ostensibly cover (imaginary) blisters, ostensibly caused by conventional shoes. The weird psychological subtext I've cooked up is that they say, “ look what shoes have done to me, u can't possibly expect me to wear them”.
I have one last drag on my cigarette and I notice the same lady at her bus stop still staring disapprovingly. As a show of defiance I grind the butt of my cigarette into the ground under my heel. That's what years of walking barefooted do, hard, calloused soles! Haha, heels and toes like butter, soles like steel. The lady looks genuinely shocked as I skip across the road.
Michael’s sister answers the door. She makes sure I wipe my wet feet on the doormat and the hall rug. “Hi Sue” I volunteer as she tells me Michael is showering and ushers me to sit down and watch breakfast tv with her. I accept her offer of a coffee, noting with approval that her bare feet are already dirty from walking today. I sit kegs outstretched, feet on display and catch the reflection of my dirty soles in the glass door of the tv cabinet.
Over coffee, Sue asks if I recovered from the tying up she gave me two weeks ago when I slept over. We talk about it, me expressing how enjoyable it was, her explaining her current obsession with cleave gags. She knows they are not the most effective, but if the scarf is thick enough and tied tightly enough, they do a good job. She asks my opinion. I tell her any gag is great in my book, but I have not had many straight cleave gags. Sue continues talking about various bondage techniques and positions and it's clear she is obsessed like her brother with tying others.
Conversation continues as Michael joins us. My lack of struggling last time is critiqued. I tell Michael it's easy to criticise when you are not the one bound and gagged. He indicates he would have escaped, then tries to backtrack realising he has sauntered into a trap. Sue challenges both of us to be tied up and escape. I'm game, but Michael is not keen, rather trying to insist he will help tie me instead.
Eventually, Michael consents to getting tied up together later as long as his sister promise to drive us to the movies.Im delighted that Sue joins us, and continues to be barefoot with me. I'm excited about being tied up as I watch home alone and fidget, scrunching my toes in the carpet. I love how it's sticky from spilled drinks.
On the way out we walk past a chemist. Maseur sandals are prominently displayed. Sue, remembering I wear different pairs asks my advice. I enthusiastically tell her how great they feel and how cool she will look. Michael sullenly remarks they look dumb. She interrupts, “which ones feel best”. “ I like the spiky ones, or regulars”. I promise to let her try mine on next time I wear them up to the house. We walk to the car and I think how great it would be to be tied up by Sue, sitting bound, immobile, mute from the gag in my mouth as I hear her flip flop up and down the house.
In the car Michael negotiates the extent of his bondage. He does not want a blindfold, or a bag over his head. I tell Sue it sounds like fun, and confidently predict I'll still be free before michael even with the extra restraints.
We arrive back at the house. Sue decides on the garage as being a great door to “stash us in”. I pace up and down smoking, my feet thudding gently on the cold bricks. Sue is foraging for things to tie us up with. Stealthily she appears behind me, her bare feet allowing her to sneak up. I see coils of the familiar white sash cord and thick satin patterned scarves drop on the floor. She grabs the cigarette from my mouth and smoking with one hand, clamps her other tightly over my mouth. I theatrically struggle as I'm made to kneel and lays face down as Sue, grim faced and cigarette still in her mouth, tightly binds my wrists behind my back. She pulls me face up and smoke wafts in my face as she positions my legs cross legged, intricately tying my ankles together. My arms are trussed to my torso with a long length of cord.
She butts out her cigarette and says, “your turn little brother”, then, “hands out in front, like you are praying”. Michaels hands are bound tightly in front, before he too is sitting cross legged, his ankles tightly bound as his sister winds rope around his torso. She ties a length of rope from his wrists around his ankles and behind his back, stopping him from raising his hands out of his lap.
I thinking to myself how clever this is as I see Sue winding a large red and white polka dotted scarf int a long thick cylinder. She knots it twice in the middle and disappears behind me. The knot is pulled tightly into place between my teeth as Sue fastens it securely at the back of my head with several knots. “That's a slip knot, the more you struggle, the tighter your gag will get”.
“Mmmmm” (Great), I say saracastically. I'm instantly reminded of Sues earlier conversation, cleave gags can be effective.
Michael, getting cold feet begins pleading not to have a gag.
“Mmmmm”, I try to protest about the unfairness. But it's academic, his sister is soon pulling a knotted yellow and black striped scarf into his mouth.
He sits stoically, looking at me wideeyed as his sister pads off to retrieve another scarf. I'm tightly blindfolded. Then a silk bag, something I imagine is used to hold sewing equipment or library bags is pulled over my head. I can feel Suea fingers fastening the drawstring under my chin and around my neck.
“Mmmm”, “Mmmm” we both moan as Sue wriggles us around, placing us back to back. More rope is used to tie us back to back.
Sue pulls the roller door down, and hearing the flick of a cigarette lighter, I imagine her surveying her handiwork as she sits, one leg over the other, casually smoking.
I take my cue, thrashing my head furiously side to side and screaming into my gag. It gets tighter, so I give up trying to dislodge it, but instead keep yelling. “Mmmmm”, “mmmm” I groan, determined, but somewhat pathetically. I begin struggling against my bonds, as does Michael. Michael grunts occasionally under his gag, but I'm determined to put on a show for my captor.
“Mmmff gnng” (get this thing off my mouth) I defiantly order. My protest is met with a puff of smoke in my face.
“Gnnnggg” (help I'm tied and gagged). I plead as I writhe. My gag gets tighter and I stop wriggling. The scarf used to gag my mouth is literally drenched in my saliva.
Michael and I begin wriggling again and topple over sideways.
“Mmmm” he groans. I assume he is blaming me, so I respond “mmmmm” (it was not just me).
“You get one freebie” Sue says as she pulls us upright, “net time you fellas can stay where you land”.
We stay bound for an hour before we finally concede defeat by a series of coded grunts. We are untied. As I sit on the couch I note a massive welt around my mouth from my tight gag. I pray it disappears before dinner time.