About Franz Adler, and What He Required

I have largely avoided writing about my father, Franz Adler, either on this blog or in the writing I keep for myself.  I’ve shared the occasional story about him, and from these even a casual reader can derive an idea of his character and personality.  The stories speak for themselves,but beyond anecdotes I have never tried to address him as a subject in his own right.

I avoid writing about him because contemplation is painful, even at this late date, and because it is a type of pain that feels unwise to share with strangers, but even these reasons are secondary: the real reason I don’t write about him is because I simply don’t know how.  It feels like trying to describe a cataclysmic natural disaster, decades after it happened, to people who were on the other side of the world.  How do you describe the tornado that destroyed your home?  “A big black wind storm blew it down while we cowered in the cellar?”  Even this metaphoric device is poor: he was not an awesome and unprecedented act of the Almighty, but a garden-variety addict and a sociopath, whose modest claim to evil in this life is that he alienated and exploited everyone unfortunate enough to be in his orbit.  Thankfully, he was too dysfunctional and undisciplined to achieve a significant sphere of influence in life, which limited his destructive potential.   The wheels started to come off when he was about the age I am now, and he became increasingly incapable of pursuing average adult life interests (job, family, gratifying hobbies, the basics).  He also seemed to grow increasingly unwilling to make the effort necessary to pass himself off as anything other than what he really is.   If he’d managed to hold his shit together until his middle age, he could have had made another family to terrorize and another job and colleagues to steal from.  Franz Adler only lasted one, maybe one-and-a-half rounds of adulthood before he started to succumb to his genetic destiny.  He started to take the path of least resistance when he was fairly young in his life, mid 30s.  He stopped fighting himself, if, indeed, that is what he’d been doing up until that point, and  had allowed him to achieve his previous successes.

I was about twelve years old when he started to devolve significantly–he was getting worse before that, and making some very reckless decisions with his life, but he still had most of his shit together: job with benefits, academic ambitions, part-time custody of his child (me), Peace Corps and Army buddies, toys that he liked to buy–you know, basic normal adult shit.  He was an addict by then, but he functioned.

Twelve when he “got sick,” as he called it later in life.  There are probably several reasons why Franz Adler decided to drop out of life.  Perhaps I’ll speculate on them in a later post.  But, for whatever reason, he decided that he was not going to do anything that he did not feel like doing.  Ever again.   Pay the IRS?  Register the car?  Resist the urge to torch your neighbor’s car for playing his obnoxious Mexican music too loudly?  Go grocery shopping for the kid?   What?

It took him about four years to lose everything.  Some of that time was actually pretty peaceful for me, because he was off in other parts of the country, bleeding the last of his relatives and family friends dry.  I think he might have also had legal or court problems–it would explain some absences, the very nomadic lifestyle, and the reason why people he’d been close enough to call on for help, or stay in their houses, turned their backs on him utterly and completely.  I think he was stealing or embezzling from them and then running for it.

What did he do with the monies from his 401k, the house, his property, whatever he borrowed or stole?  He gambled it.  It was gone.  He certainly didn’t give it back to any of people he got it from.

By the time I was sixteen, he was almost out of resources, both human and monetary.  He was almost trapped, and he got very, very ugly.   You do not want to see a person like him when he is cornered.  Unfortunately, I had front row tickets, because I was his last and final hostage.

If I had been just a few years younger, I think that I could have escaped some of it, because I would have been too young to be of practical use to him, other than to use me as a bargaining chip to exploit my mother or get some sort of government benefits.  What use is a 10-year-old?  On the other hand, if I was younger, I think that he might have murdered me when he had me in his possession.  I think he would have stabbed me to death or killed me with carbon monoxide while I slept (I think that he almost did that, anyway, actually).  He would have done that to hurt my mother.

But, I was 16.

Old enough to drive.  Old enough to work.

And, incredibly, he still had legal custody of me.

Children are basically little slaves.  They have almost no legal rights.  They are disenfranchised.  They have more rights than animals, but not many.  Most people don’t know this.

What is the use of a slave?  Why did anyone want to have one, in the bad old days of most of human history?

You take away their autonomy, and you steal the value of their labor.

Now ask yourself: if you were in Franz Adler’s situation, what would you do with Margo?

You probably can’t think of anything, because you’re a halfway decent human being with morals.  If you were unemployed, and your life was in a bad spot right now, kinda chaotic, you’d probably leave your teenager with her mother until you got your shit figured out.   Or maybe, since you’re a junkie, you’d ask your teenager for money, or use her to sign up for welfare benefits, or something.   Tell her to steal money out of her Mom’s purse, maybe?  What else is there?

Still can’t think of anything…?

Now imagine that you have no morals and very little fear of consequences.  You are under a  tremendous amount of financial stress, which is as close as you get to experiencing fear.  There are no limitations on your behavior, self-imposed or otherwise.  You just spent four years burning your life down.  You are full of hatred.  You have no house, no job, no relatives to take you in, and no plans for the future.  Shit’s looking pretty fucking bleak.

What you do have is legal custodianship of a 16-year-old girl.  She is terrified of you, and for you, but she is your property and she will do whatever you say in the end.  Her health and well-being play no part in your decision-making process, nor do her personal preferences or opinions.  If anything, your attitude is: she owes you.

She still loves you, so you won’t have to twist her arm too hard.

These are the circumstances of my life at that time.   In many ways it was worse than being held by him when I was a young child.  When I was a child, all he could demand of me were the things that a child has to give: obedience, love, loyalty, admiration, my imagination, fear.

When I was older, he required more from me.

(16) Planning A Weekend Session

(note: this was originally posted 03/05 on Blogger)

I’m flying back to New York next weekend to spend some quality time with Heinrich.  


       I would write your daily blog posts ahead of time, if I were you, he says.  That way you will be able to post on time, even should you have not the inspiration for writing!  


        What should I write about….?  I ask.


        Anything you want!  You could tell them about what you have asked me to do to you.  The fun one, that is not so personal.  Who knows, what anecdotes a reader might share?


         Heinrich and I talk almost every day.  We email almost every day.  He has me reading a lot–things about the freelance writing industry, left-wing blogs where I could start publishing political opinion again, stuff that I need to put together a copywriting portfolio.  He wants me to start posting sample query letters on my blog to ask readers for input.   He wants me to start posting sample pitches: Zere are many talented musicians playing ze jingles for ze TV commercials!  Corporate writing pays ze bills.  


           Then there’s the fun stuff.


           I’ve had some interesting Tops over the years.  I don’t like comparing them because it’s not a competition, and I think it’s both useless and impossible to rank dominants on a linear scale.  Each one has his own flavor, his own skill set to bring to the table.  Each has his own style and energy.  It has also been instructive for me to consider the passions, the response that I bring out in each man.  Good submissives are like good ballroom dance partners: they make the other person look much better; they improve the other’s performance.        


         Heinrich is unique in that he is the few male tops I’ve met who takes this shit as seriously as I do.  By that I mean: he took it upon himself to study sadomasochism.  Read the books, hired or sought out the teachers, bought the tools, and went to practice.  And not just the Herculean effort a single heterosexual man has to make in order to potentially have the type of kinky sex and relationships he’s drawn towards.  Heinrich wanted to learn how to do shit right. There are just not many heterosexual male doms that pursue this type of activity…like it was a hobby.  Or a fixation.   Abduction Weekend was very well-choreographed.     


          Heinrich and I bat fantasy ideas back and forth.  This is something apart from growing intimacy and closeness in our relationship (although sharing fantasies is part of that, too…but at that level, it has to be done much more slowly, carefully).  Batting fantasy ideas back and forth is something we have been able to do from the beginning.  It’s ideas for a session, basically.  The same thing I did for clients, at work, only this time it’s more personal, because I’m doing it for me.  It is my fantasy, my session, my idea.  My obsession. 


            “How do you see it happening?”  Heinrich asks.  We’ve been exchanging ideas about this one for a while.  He is learning about me, studying me through this.  He asks questions.  There are no right or wrong answers.  


            “It’s always some scary fucker, come to your house with bad news.  Isn’t that how it always happens?  Usually somebody in a suit or a uniform.  Your dad dies in the war, or the police have come to claim him.  The landlord wants you out.  Half your family members got a knock in the middle of the night, and now it’s your turn.  Authority with bad news.”


            “But nothing specific.  No script in your head.”


            “I don’t know why he’s there when he shows up.  But he knows why he’s there.  He knows all about it.  I get to find out.”


             “Is he angry with you?  What do you think he thinks of you?”  his voice is soft.  The voice of a man imagining things.  Picturing things.  


             It’s interesting, you know, the way your fantasies can change shape or direction, depending on who’s in them.  The other person takes the material and makes it their own.  What are they good at?   What would they like to do in that situation?  


              I think about Heinrich.  His personality.  What’s he like, when he comes to your door to ruin your life?  Does he smile when he does it?  Does he act like your friend at first?  


             “Not angry.  Contempt.  Motivated in his cruelty by impersonal professional ambition.”  


              “I see.  I see very well.  You are doing fine.  Violent?  Or more of ze talking?”


              I laugh softly.  “Well, you know.  In the end, it’s always violent.  But it’s not right away, and it’s not what you’d expect.  A man like this is not going to slap your face and knock you on the floor.  It’s something more professional, more devastating.  But first, the fear.”  


              “I already have sometink in mind for zis.  Zis one vill be fun.  I vill call you with more questions.  I vant you to tell me anytink about this.  We can add it, yes?”


             When I do BDSM for myself, it’s almost never role-play scenarios like this.  The fantasies are usually about activities, pain, the dynamic.  In my relationships, when there’s a “scene”–though it’s not a scene in my mind, it’s usually just the way I have sex, whether that involves intercourse or not–there’s almost never any acting involved.  The power dichotomies are real, the differences between us are real.  The pain, the domination, are not theater.  


               This one, that I’m working out with Heinrich, is going to be a little different.  Like Abduction Weekend, where it’s a fantasy of mine, that’s actually going to be happening.  The other person is going to be Heinrich, a man that I actually know and care about, rather than Some Scary Fucker In Authority There to Ruin My Life…but I don’t know what he’s going to do.  So it is a bit like being there with a stranger, after all.  It’s difficult to describe to people who don’t do this sort of thing.  


               The reader might be wondering: if it’s my fantasy, what does he get out of it?  What’s in it for him?


               Well, it’s FUN, first and foremost.  It fucking beats Netflix any day of the week.  He also gets to get to know me better…and himself better.  He gets reciprocity: we trade these things.  


           And at some point in this, the suffering will be for him.   He’ll get his.  


           I’ll know it when it happens, though I probably won’t know until it’s time.  This session will happen sometime this weekend, when I visit.  Sometime between Thursday night and Monday morning, when I leave.  It will be a surprise.  It’s better that way, if I don’t (entirely) see it coming.  


             He comes to the door, the stranger.  Your fantasy made real.  He has plans for you.  There is no escape. 


             Your teacher has come to your house. 

 

(19) The First Time

You know what I wish…?   


       I wish there was a tumblr, or a blog, or a book devoted to 1st-person accounts of their first fetish or kink experiences.  “My first time,” only with kink.  I’m sure that the stories would be funny, poignant, embarrassing, and joyful all in turn.  Much more interesting than first-time sex stories.  Everyone invariably gets wounded in the sex wars when they’re exploring sex and relationships for the first time, but for sadomasos and other kinky people, it’s even more difficult.  It’s like having to lose your virginity (God, I hate that barbaric phrase, it really needs to be retired) twice. At least biology and society expect you to have sex and relationships that facilitate sex, and the system is set up to encourage that for you, even if you are very shy or think that you are unattractive.  If you need to experience your kink, well, you’ve got to figure out a way to make that happen for you.  For many of us, it is a lonesome journey fraught with peril.   


      Yes, a blog of first-time kinky experiences would be good!


       Here, I’ll go first!


      When I was 19 years old, I knew that I wanted to be spanked and manhandled and probably a lot more.  I discovered what BDSM was shortly after getting internet access on the home computer when I was 18-19.  When I read it about it, I knew immediately that it applied to me.  I looked up sadomasochism and I knew.   


         Now I had to find a man to do this with and I had to find ways to learn these things.  I started to look almost immediately after I moved into my first apartment and had privacy and my own computer.  I signed up for Yahoo! personals, which was a free and popular online dating service at the time.  I don’t remember most of my first ad, but I know that I wrote that I was submissive and I was looking for an experienced dominant or sadistic man “to try things.” I said that I was NOT looking for a Master or a boyfriend and I did not want to be anyone’s “slave” (at the time, I found that word deeply offensive, not to mention CHEESY, but I’ve become desensitized), and I was also not looking to have sex.  Then I included a physical description, assurances that I was a nice safe polite person, and a photo of me with the head cropped off.  


        The “no sex, thanks” thing really blew guys’ minds and introduced me to something I have found consistently in the BDSM community whenever I’ve gone trawling in it for partners: het male doms expect sex.  If you “play” with them, they expect to fuck you at some point in the activity, or at least get a blowjob and some sort of nudity-and-sex thing from you.  Personally, I think that this is a big problem.  It makes it difficult for women who are curious and want to try new things, or a fetish, but they don’t necessarily want to have sex with SirMasterDarthVader4U from Fetlife she just met.  Male Doms would get a lot more play if they approached without the automatic expectation of intimacy.   The guys get cranky and offended when you have sexual boundaries, too, as if you are being completely unreasonable: “If I can’t finger you while I spank you, then what’s the point?  You know this is a sexual ad service for adults, right?”  Ugh!  


           Anyway, when I was 19 and looking, I was technically a virgin and not about to have sex with some random guy I met on the internet just because I was curious about BDSM.  I saw that this was going to be a problem.  Also, most of the responses to my ad were bad.  I quickly learned another rule of internet dating: don’t want for the guys to fall into your lap–find the ones you want and approach. 


         That is how I met Gregg, my first Top.  I wish that he was here so that I could give him a hug and kiss his face, because Gregg was awesome.  


         Gregg had a respectful, fun ad that was very clear.  Married white professional male, 40, triathlete, dominant, experienced, very safe and all limits respected.  Looking for women or couples for assignations, explorations or ???  Just ask!  References and briefcases of images available, inquire within.   My wife knows everything, there is no drama.   His profile pic was a woman tied to a chair.  She had a big smile on her face and she looked like she was having fun, and she was wearing a pretty dress. 


        I sent him an email, and off we went.


        Gregg was a mid-level executive who worked for a company that sold parts for commercial planes.  He looked just like Lance Armstrong and he had a smile of kleig-light wattage.  He smiled a lot, because he was a friendly, affable fellow, except for when he wasn’t. The first time I met him was in a coffee shop.  After he sat down, he immediately took his driver’s license and library card out of his wallet and slid them across the table with his business card.  


        Nobody had ever done that to me before, and I didn’t know what to think.  I asked him what it was for.


        “It’s so that you know that I am who I said that I was.  You can keep my business card if you want.”


         The second time, we met at a cafe and his wife sat with us for ten or fifteen minutes.  She was a babe and I felt a little intimidated by her.  


          The third time, he drove to my apartment on his lunch break and spanked my ass.  I was wearing cutoff jean shorts, which I lowered, and ridiculous bikini underpants with a cartoon frog on them.  I remember the frog because he commended on it.  I was bent over at the foot of the bed, grasping the iron bedframe.  I had very short hair at the time, and there was nothing to hide my face.  The sound of his hand was loud and my cat hid under the bed.  He spanked me until my ass was red and it tingled for a while afterward, which fascinated me.  I kept going to the mirror to check it, after he was gone, and I put on pants instead of shorts when I left the house that evening.  


         It was good, but I wanted to try it more.  Harder.


        Gregg came back to see me me next week, and we did.   

This is a test

Hi!  I had to make this live a little sooner than I anticipated.  I need to move a few more blog posts.  The format might be unstable for a little while.  I’m still learning WordPress and experimenting with ideas to optimize the website.

If you’re reading this, would you please leave a comment?  I want to see how I receive them.

Thanks for your patience.

(15) Movie Review: The Salvation

Read More

        I just watched an entertaining but completely forgettable Western called The Salvation.  I decided to blog about it right away, while I still remember a bit about it.

        I wanted to see this movie for two reasons: it is an ultra-violent Western, the only genre of film I give complete permission to be brain-dead, and it stars my boyfriend, Mads Mikkelsen.


           Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Wait…isn’t that ugly motherfucker some sort of European?”  

            You’d be correct!   Mr. Mikkelsen is, in fact, Danish…the country where they make the delicious Christmas cookies and my favorite client, Fortinbras.   All sorts of good things come out of Denmark.  

Courtesy of our Danish friends

         A Danish film film about a Danish cowboy.   American audiences might be skeptical, but I ask you: Why the hell not…?  The Western is one of our cinematic gifts to the world.  Can you blame other people for loving it and wanting to make it their own?  Of course not!  

            We can’t even rightly call it cultural appropriation when other countries borrow it, because the Western is essentially a fantasy genre.  Most Western books and movies bear only the faintest resemblance to American frontier life post-Civil War to 1900.   The Western has never been about historical accuracy.   It was fantasy when James Fenimore Cooper wrote The Last of the Mohicans and it’s fantasy today.   It was fantasy when the real thing was actually happening, which is very interesting.  Edward S. Curtis and Buffalo Bill were selling a fiction.  They had the real American West, and they sold the fantasy Western.   Crazy, right?  So you have a photographer who travels the West and makes it look like this:

You know it didn’t REALLY look like this

or this

            Now, you can argue–persuasively, even–that the fantasy Western was propaganda.   The people in the photographs above would probably have a lot to say about that.  Yes, it’s propaganda, but it’s more than that, which is what accounts for its universal popularity.  The Western is a sort of Rorschach test.   What does the American West symbolize?  A fresh start.  Opportunity.  Freedom from political oppression and the hypocrisy of society.  A chance to remake one’s image.  Paradoxically, spirituality in nature and triumph over it.  Equality, if you’re white.  Hope.  

           America owns the West, but the Western belongs to everyone.  

           Which brings us back to the Danish cowboy!

            Mads Mikkelsen plays a Danish soldier who moves out West with his brother to (what else?) make a better life for himself after fighting the Germans (Austrians and Prussians).  

       After seven years, his wife and son make the journey to join him.  Alas, they meet a violent and untimely end.  Mikkelsen and his brother spend the next 70 minutes getting sweet, sweet revenge.  The #1 Bad Guy has a black hat, black boots, and a black mustache.  In addition to being an enthusiastic murderer, he extorts money from the decent townfolk and has sex with his sister-in-law.   100% scumbag, no ambiguity at all.   There is a jailbreak, a rooftop shootout, a sheriff with a brass star on his shirt, and a rich guy in fancy clothes from Back East who wants to buy up the town.  The plot contained zero surprises.  

          The action was fast and I was not bored.  Good music.  The town looked like a fantasy of a western town.  Mikkelsen delivers his 20 lines of dialogue convincingly.  So does the Swede who plays his brother.  Good job, guys.  

         I was hoping for a flashback to the Second Schleswig War, but it didn’t happen. 

          This movie is exactly what you’d expect.   I give it a B+.