“We’ll send you the address within 24 hours of the event,” the text said. “That way, if the cops show up, the party will be done by the time they can get a warrant.” I’m not sure if the legalities of that statement were true, however, the text got me super excited for my Saturday part-time gig bartending a fetish party disguised behind a vanilla bar in Washington, D.C. You see, adulthood, for me, is painfully boring and I salivate at the idea of participating in anything outside of the norm.
When I arrived that Saturday night, staff was pinning black fabric to cover the windows and burlesque style models were getting dressed in lingerie and other BDSM type garb. The decor was half luxurious (think silver plates covered in fruits and candlelit tables) and half low-budget Halloween party, with strobe style lighting and plastic props. A swing was being set up on the third floor, a mobile stripper pole on the second, and a “horse” in a scary dark corner of the basement. The “horse” was the name for a rideable dildo contraption that basically looked like a saddle with a penis stuck on it. For those intimidated by the penis, there were a variety of different adapters including a flat piece that simply vibrated. The event was complete with a whipping station and a candle wax station, where guests could pour hot wax onto a topless model.
Unlike the sexy, girly outfits some of the other staff got to wear, I was instructed to wear a top hat and suspenders like a female version of Charlie Chaplin. I was okay with this, however, since partying near Capitol Hill in anything other than an ill-fitting business suit has gotten me mistaken for a prostitute. That, along with the theme of this event, had me content with not being the most approachable. I was here to watch and watch only. I’m was not interested in sharing a rideable vibrator with 400 other people– sanitized between uses or not.
Once the doors opened, a variety of clientele arrived in such varying costumes I thought perhaps the graphic designer had forgotten to put a theme on the event flyer. Some arrived in jackets, then undressed to barely anything at the coat check. Others arrived in ball gowns with masks ready for a masquerade. One woman arrived with her partner on a leash. I would have liked to see more latex, to be honest. I expected more latex. The average age of attendees was around 45, many of whom, I learned thru bar conversation, held very powerful positions in the D.C. area. I also learned that these events were the most PG of the variety of fetish parties thrown in the D.C. area.
The models walked around with whips and guests would bend over and giggle with satisfaction after getting spanked. Servers would place chocolates in the mouths of their mysteriously masked guests and grab their hands to lead them to play. While the flirty whipping was fun for me, the whipping station itself genuinely scared me. A man and woman stayed at the station for what seemed like an hour, participating in what looked like a scene from the movie Django. She was dressed in a brown colonial dress and he’d whip her over and over (and over) with full force. Something about her reactions made it feel too controlled to be simply kinky, and I felt uneasy. Surprisingly, I didn’t see one person use the dildo pony.
“So, how’d you get into this?” I asked the curvaceous stripper after she plopped down into a split after finishing her act. “Well, I used to strip at a club, but now that me and my sugar daddy are actually together, he doesn’t like me dancing at those venues anymore.” I frickin’ love conversations like this. “Do you miss it?” I asked, as she seemed a like stepping away from the full-time scene wasn’t something she’d wanted to do. “Well, I miss the money. I miss my regulars and the money. He covers everything, but I miss having so much of my own money.” I later learned she had stripped at Hustler’s in Baltimore and made six figures a year dancing part-time.
“There’s tons of these events. I host a fetish ball. I don’t mean to be rude, but this is nothing compared to my parties. People fly around on hooks thru the skin of their backs and all that.” Whatever floats your boat, dude. I took the flyer with no plans of attending.
Overall, I was surprised at the lack of actual sex I witnessed (although I learned the majority happens at the after-parties hosted by the various elites with rooftop hot tubs). I was pleasantly surprised with the $400 I made for the night, having faked a majority of the old-timey cocktails they ordered. I’ll stick to pouring 700 vodka sodas to a bunch of EDM fans when I need extra cash.