This last weekend's Spring In the South event was something I had been anticipating for quite a while. The pictures, stories and recaps from last year had built up the weekend in my mind to the point where I could barely contain my excitement. This would be the closing bookend to what had been an exceptionally busy April and spring for Loki and myself.
Friday started early with Pepper arriving at 09:00 in the morning since it worked out for everyone, schedule-wise. I had to run an errand on campus before noon, so Pepper and I drove out there and then to a pizza place near 1763. We met up with Loki for a quick lunch before heading off to the dungeon to help set up.
We moved some tables around, cracked some jokes and that was that. Loki suggested we retire to His place for a few hours of "rest" before dinner and an evening at the Eagle. I say "rest" because it actually ended up being a few hours of Pepper tied up, someone (me) losing their topping virginity and hot-tubbing.
I'm going to press the fast-foward button here and skip to Saturday morning. Pepper and I arrived at 9:30 to be on hand for last minute set up and to grab some much-needed breakfast. Pepper was asked at the last minute to be the moderator for the class on STIs (The new politically correct term for STDs) and I joined him for that because we were, after all, here to learn as well. Unfortunately, I am completely unable to remember who the instructor was, but she sure as hell knew what she was talking about. Probably NOT the best class to have first thing in the morning, but still definitely worth hearing.
That period ended and we headed to the next session: Nitro's class on what it means to be a leather boy. He treated it like an open discussion panel and invited everyone to share their experiences along with his own. This was probably one of the more important sessions of the weekend as Nitro spent a good bit of time on what domestic abuse looks like and how to handle it in these situations (take them aside and ASK if they're ok). We also had a chance to hear from other boys in the group as well as from Loki about His transformation over the last year or so. I also had an opportunity to reflect on what I've gone through in less than a year (something I'll expand upon when I recap this year's SELF). Nitro is an excellent speaker and I'm glad I was able to attend his session.
Next up was Loki's class on puppy play after lunch. I had previously asked Him if we could take a few extra minutes beforehand and really let me get deep into that headspace since I haven't really done that, ever. Unfortunately, I had to help out with lunch and set up so as the session start time approached, I got the feeling I wouldn't be able to do what I wanted.
So far, every puppy play experience for me has been either slamming a tail in and strapping on a pair of mitts for a romp, or quickly escalated into making Loki happy. Not that I'm complaining mind you. But one of the points Loki made in His class is that there are four types of pups: Innate, furry, play and cur. I identify most strongly as a "play" puppy with a heavy dose of cur in the sense that I seriously enjoy the dehumanization side of this play. I feel like I've only been scratching the surface so far. What I wanted (and maybe poorly relayed to Loki) was to take that dehumanization factor to another level: drag me around on a leash, keep me on all fours etc.
That didn't happen, but I still had a fantastic time in the session. Emrys, Pepper and myself all romped around (as quietly as possible) while Loki talked about aspects of puppy play and some that I hadn't even considered before. This was by far the best-attended session of the weekend with most of the SITS attendees crowded into the room to watch us do our thing. After the session I heard Loki get more than a few compliments which was awesome seeing as this was His first time ever leading a session.
In my quest for puppy time, I asked Loki if I could cool off in the kennel and He obliged me, but it only lasted a few minutes as I was needed to help prepare for the dinner and a second pup mosh as the entertainment. Trekker and Leo arrived with army boys in tow and more pads for the mosh pit. Once everything had been set up, Loki, Emrys,Pepper and I passed out for about an hour before dinner and the mosh started. Loki was acting as handler so I helped Him put on His usual "I'm in charge" formal leathers. Everyone got properly mitted up and we were off.
I got nice and deep into the headspace here so the details are blurry here. I do remember Leo making a break at one point and winding up next to Grumpers at the table. And various attempts to free the pups that had tried to do the same, been caught by Loki and subsequently tethered to a post.
Dinner ended and the pups needed to be fed. Master Dan came over and told Loki He'd take over bringing everyone back to the two-legged world. When He got to me He told me in a low voice to keep an eye on Loki because "He's hurting". I immediately jumped back to the November play party and Loki's confession that He was more than a little disappointed by His inability to sub. I choked back the emotions I had and helped everyone clean things up. Once that was nearly done, I checked back with Dan, to see if He'd noticed if Loki was doing any better. "Yeah, He'll be ok, just hurt His back trying to lift someone."
He tried to pick me up when I made my break from the mosh pit. He couldn't treat me like the others, slap a leash on and drag me back. I had to be made an example of. I was the reason He'd hurt His back. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Dan noticed I was starting to choke up and was quick to point out that it wasn't my fault, Loki's still young and still has a lot of energy without any real outlet. That helped ease me back down a bit, but I made damn sure that Loki didn't do any lifting the rest of the weekend.
Honestly, the rest of the evening and the play party afterwards were a complete blur. I tied up Pepper and did some more things to him but by this point I was again physically and emotionally drained. We bid our goodnights, complimented Leo's straight army boy on how good he looked in a leather straitjacket and headed home.
Sunday required us to be at 1763 by the gloriously late hour of 10:30 AM so Pepper and I got some much-needed sleep. After we'd arrived and gotten some breakfast, we browsed the vendor mart for a bit, mostly focusing on the delightful lady selling metal restraints and related items. I would have tried on some of her wares but it was time to start the first sessions of the day and I was the demo boy for the boot blacking session.
The session was being led by Elegant with assistance from her Master, Archer. The first half was mostly her talking about how she can be topped while boot blacking before she segued into her topping while boot blacking (say it with me now: "There is no wrong way to kink"). As per Loki's suggestion (order), I was wearing my kilt "regimental" (no undies). "What do you wear under a kilt?" "…?" "Boots!" And that's how I wound up on top of a boot blacking chair with my parts wide to the world (including one of my fellow peers from college! Hi symphony!).
In all, the session was interesting. Yes, I got touched by a woman, no nothing fell off. I didn't even get hard, which is either a good thing or a bad thing. I can't decide. It's also super-weird to call someone ma'am, when I'm so used to Sir. A couple of jokes to the effect that she was old enough to be my mother also probably helped. A lot. She did a bit of edgier stuff that I'm not used to or necessarily 100% comfortable with, such as dragging a piece of thin cardboard along my thigh after telling me it was a razor, or threatening to wash my mouth out with (human-safe) soap. But like I said, I was able to walk away from the experience with my pride/wang intact so I count it as a win.
The last session of the weekend was Pup Nitro's breath play class in the medical room. If you get a chance to sit through this or even talk to him about breath play, DO IT. Seriously. It's one of the most informative (and fucking hot) things I've ever heard. He starts off with a lengthy disclosure on safety and best practices before launching into the simple stuff like a plastic bag to gas masks and finally to the coolest thing: a giant water jug modified to make breathing super difficult. I can't properly explain it here but it's fucking amazing.
Once that class let out, SITS was pretty much over. Awards were handed out (huzzah for two t-shirts I can't wear in polite company), tables and chairs were picked up and we were kicked out. Loki, Pepper and I got pizza, ran into Master Dan and friends, Pepper gave me a lift home (where we chatted for a few hours) and left.
SITS is an amazing experience with an awesome format. It is an incredible resource to someone just getting started in kink and I hope to see it expand in the years to come. If you're in Georgia towards the end of April next year, definitely consider stopping by, at least on Saturday.