TES-The Eulenspiegel Society, based in NYC-held their annual get together and all the usual folks were on hand; couples, single guys and gals, transgender folks and me, your intrepid reporter, to bask, spank, hang and basically chill with like-minded BDSM enthusiasts.
The thing with conventions (and I have been to quite a few, not just kink ones) is that they can take over a hotel enmass and make things difficult for that hotel’s staff and other hotel guests not ‘into’ the convention’s themes.
TES does take over the hotel, but in a good way, as their media liaison lady Susan Wright explained: “We have enough people coming who stay over so we can book the entire hotel, which is different than other conventions that come in and maybe only have a wing to themselves, and have to still have guests clashing in the lobby. Plus the July 4th weekend is a dead time for this hotel.”
The hotel TES had commandeered is in a NJ industrial park and does not see many, if any, customers on the 4th. I can see how they are happy to have Susan and TES, a calmer, more jovial bunch indeed, who are spending money on food, drinks and rooms for the weekend. “Every year I make sure the entire town knows what we’re up to. We hire a few police to be here from 9pm to 3am. Though to be honest we never have any problem with our people and have our own security anyway. It’s just that our first year we had a couple of teens try to get in for a peek.” And there are some things to peek to be sure.
The folks at this convention are into fetish, lest we forget, so there is a lot of latex, leather, some chains and skin. But as Susan is quick to remind me, with the entire hotel at the convention’s disposal, and only the conventions’ disposal, there is no worry of running into kids in the lobby or offending anyone when one of the convention goers take a nude dip in the pool.
Among the activities during the weekend are author signings (Susan is a well-known scribe, see her site addy below), a vender’s room (not one of those sprawling sweaty, can’t-move affairs I’ve seen at Sci-Fi conventions) and seminars, like Anal 101: Pain Free Butt-Play, the most informative hour or so I ever attended about any subject. There are also play spaces, which tend to get a lot busier in the evenings, but TES is adamant about what and what cannot happen in those spaces, as a list of 16 rules adorn wall space all over the hotel (believe me all contingencies are covered).
I had one of those little moments of clarity sitting in the Anal 101 class that comes to me from time to time, and I suddenly realized what I loved about this convention and its smiling bunch of people.
At the TES weekend, whatever you are, wanted to be or play at being, you could damn well be. For people with a fetish, an interest, or those who often feel they don’t fit into vanilla society, or are even mocked from time to time because of the things they want to do and say-like a guy who likes to wear a denim skirt or another who wants to wear bunny ears-TES and people like the absolutely adorable Susan (and if that’s a sexist thing to say, too bad, she was just so open and bright and nice) welcome and champion their fellow kinky folk during a safe, sane weekend to celebrate not just the nation’s independence, but their own.