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[If you like this IHTM contest entry, comment to that effect below and that will help the writer win the big money. Feel free to critique below too, so we can weigh that in our decision. -- Jane]
My love affair with bacon started innocently enough.
When I was a small child, my father would make us some Mickey-Mouse-shaped pancakes and place a few crispy, sizzling slices on the side. I never understood why the bacon wasn't the main dish, and would grab many more pieces before the meal was over. In college, I'd get my bacon fix at IHOP at 2am with my friends, gleefully mopping up my runny eggs with the meat, savoring every last bite.
Then at some point in the last few years, bacon became the cool new indie thing. I, shamelessly, jumped on the trend.
Over the years, I have obtained bacon-flavored lip gloss, bacon imprinted band-aids, bacon salt, bacon-flavored popcorn, a talking plush bacon, and bacon toothpaste (the last one was a little too weird even for me). I have made bacon cupcakes and sprinkles-covered chocolate bacon. One of my single favorite dishes consists of dates wrapped in bacon and fried (y'all, it's amazing). I have eaten most of the doughnuts topped with bacon in my city. I have seriously considered joining a bacon-of-the month club.
Clearly, I have a bacon problem.
So, it was probably just inevitable that I'd eventually become a naked bacon buffet table. It's one of those things everyone has on their bucket list, you know.
I recently moved to a new city in a new state and started graduate school in a place where I really knew no one. Even though I generally consider myself pretty good at making friends, metaphorically "starting from scratch" on making the cake 'o friendship was terrifying.
Fortunately, right before I left my previous town, some wonderful friends introduced me to a new community I'd never even considered making my own before: the World of Kink and BDSM.
It should tell you how far I've come from my conservative Christian childhood that when a friend invited me to a kink club for the first time, I only hesitated for maybe an hour. Now when I was actually at the club, I may have been downing a couple beers to deal with the adjustment of you know, touring sex rooms and watching people get tied up in rope, but very quickly I learned that I was actually enjoying the experience.
And by the time my friends took me out to another club, I discovered how pleasant I found this community, where consent and respect are held paramount above everything else.
My mind took a bit to process the experience. What, you mean I can meet interesting, nerdy people who actually want to get to know me and have long conversations about "Star Trek" with me? I can meet intelligent men who ask for my consent before they even give me a hug or pat me on the head?
For the first time in my adult life, I felt comfortable and safe at a club. I was so pleasantly surprised that I signed up for a kinky social network (I call it "Sexy Facebook") and started joining interest groups in my new city to start getting active with the community out there.
I hadn't ever really explored much kinkiness in my life before (besides some sex in public parks and handcuffs once or twice) so I was curious to find out what I liked. Were there whips and chains in my future?
Three months in, I had made some friends and joined a local members-only kink club. I was going to a weekly "munch" (casual dinner out at a public place with no play, just conversation) and the club every weekend, but hadn't yet found my space yet. I hung out in dark corners watching everything happen instead of participating.
It didn't help that I was turning into a 13-year-old girl around some of the beautiful men I was meeting; I, embarrassingly, found myself unable to speak around them. I had never put myself forward in such a way before. I couldn't believe that people so handsome in such a socially approved way could ever be interested in me. I was not the type of girl that tall and brawny men pursued.
At the same time, I was finding graduate school a stressful and alienating experience. I was enjoying my classes and loving what I was learning, but it was difficult to make friends out of the many casual acquaintances I'd developed when my insecurities were getting in the way. Something had to give soon, but I didn't know what.
Then Adrian*, one of my new friends, posted a picture on Sexy Facebook, a parody of "Stay Calm and Carry On," that said, "Let's Have Rough Sex and Eat Bacon." I found myself compelled to contribute an inappropriate reference to Miss Piggy and cannibalism. Adrian responded in an equally inappropriate fashion, and very quickly, the dirty jokes grew out of control, with others joining in and chiming in their opinions and dares, until at some point, I realized I had somewhat inadvertently volunteered to have bacon eaten off my naked body (for science!).
I sat and pondered whether I was actually up for the challenge as I watched the thread grow to an epic 98-comment-long masterpiece of bacon comedy. (As one friend noted, "This entire discussion is basically one giant 'why kink is awesome' demonstration.")
I quickly determined that, yes, this was my Waterloo. What better way to get over my FEELINGZ about my body than to bare it in front of a crowd? It was time to subdue my insecurities, sit on their remains and munch gleefully on bacon.
That Halloween, forever to be known as the Night O' Bacon, became my veritable Debutante Ball.
All too quickly, I found myself tied to a table, sans clothes beyond the practical undies to save porcine products from going too close to sensitive areas (reserved, of course, for other types of meat, bwahahaha). Adrian carefully laid out previously cooked bacon on my body. The club was dark and crowded; I stared up at people dressed as Jedi knights, mad scientists, skeletons, angels, everything you can imagine. And they stared down at me, many giggling.
Adrian was running the show, so after he made sure the ropes were tight and I was comfy, he gave the signal to start.
As they descended upon me, I found myself overcome and exhilarated -- someone was hotly kissing my neck, nibbling bacon off my leg, caressing my breast, pulling my hair, eliciting moans -- I was told over and over again what a beautiful, funny table I was. I blushed from pleasure, adored by countless touches.
And in those overshadowed moments -- while friends and strangers grabbed bacon off my body with tickling fingers, their mouths clamping down bruisingly hard on my shivering flesh, kissing me until my lips chapped -- I was Venus, all beautiful, all powerful, all passionate.
Well, OK, if Venus rose out of a sea of bacon grease instead of sea foam, but semantics. I was a goddamn fucking bacon-covered Goddess and it was perfect.
And I could tell you about the rest of the night, and how Adrian and I did crazy naked sexy things later, or how I found myself covered with bite marks the next day, but really, this is a story all about my love affair with bacon. And ultimately, myself.
I'm not going to claim that "bacon changed my life" or that my insecurities didn't ultimately come back from the grave to haunt me. I'm not going to claim that everything was magically fixed. But as strange as it sounds, joyfully, enthusiastically consenting to be a bacon table was one of the most empowering things I've ever done. I gave up control over my body for a little while for the sake of fun and my favorite food and in turn, re-gained an exuberance for life that tastes even better than bacon.
My adventures in kink have continued, with the support of my community of friends around me. I go out every weekend. And the great thing is that self-confidence has transferred over into my school life, too. I'm making more friends every day. I just got invited to a few upcoming parties.
I think maybe I'll bring bacon.
*Name has been changed to protect the happily deviant.