Chapter 1 - In the Beginning...

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I think, in retrospect, I've always been kinky. It took me a long time to realize that I was, but elements of BDSM pervade even to some of my earliest memories.

Being mostly a latch-key kid (I say mostly because I have older siblings that were nominally in charge), I spent a lot of time by myself when I was young. I think pretty much every parent has some amusing anecdote about the time that little Johnny found the container of wood glue and made a big mess, or when little Suzie (or Johnny - I don't judge) decided to dress up like mom and got makeup everywhere. The one about me was the time I found a roll of cellophane tape and trussed myself up underneath the couch cushions - complete with blindfold, gag and hogtie made entirely of tape. They were looking for me for a half hour, and I was just pretending to have been kidnapped. I was four.

When I was seventeen, I got my first computer with a modem. Since this was before the web really existed, the landscape of the Internet was a lot different. E-mail was there, of course, and without the spam too. There were MUDs and MUSHes, Gopher, Usenet, and a whole bunch of bulletin board systems.

Being a seventeen year old guy alone in a dorm room, you can imagine how little time passed before I was pulling pictures of naked women off of Usenet, and quite a lot of them wearing various combinations of leather, latex, rope and chains.

A few weeks before my eighteenth birthday, I ran across a particular bulletin board system that had a couple of features that were really exciting to me. For one, it was connected to the Internet, so I could get in via telnet from whatever local dialup account I was using. I was at that time at my mother's house during a school vacation, and a long distance call to a BBS would've been frowned upon. The other thing that was exciting was that it was entirely about and catering to those people that were into BDSM. It was the Boston Dungeon Society, the forerunner to today's New England Dungeon Society.

The day after my eighteenth birthday, I joined the BDS-BBS with a trial account that I think was good for a week. When that time was up, I made my very first mail-order purchase with my credit card for a full-blown membership.

I ran into problems almost immediately, mostly out of ignorance. I was a ravenous man set in front of a buffet - I wanted all of it, and it couldn't happen fast enough. There were a few well-intentioned attempts by other members to point me in the right direction, but to be honest there was just no way for that community at that time to handle somebody like me.

Fifteen years later, I'm not sure I would know what to say to eighteen-year old me that would've stemmed the tide of resentment that followed. I lingered and lurked on the site for another year or so, hoping that something would click, that I would no longer feel like a complete outsider.

One day, a particular member of that community (that's also on this site - no, I won't say who), commented negatively on my handle ("sumyungai", I think it was), implying something along the lines of how it implied a lack of seriousness. I may or may not have been rude to him in reply, and shortly thereafter I signed off pretty much forever. Having had similar conversations with other real or perceived authority figures over the previous year and a half didn't help matters any, and at that point I was in full-on bridge burning mode.

Ironically, I found out (much later) that some of the same things that had been frustrating me had contributed to the formation of Boston-TNG shortly after I left BDS to wander the plains of kink in self-imposed exile.