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Delta Diary 1996 (Day One: Jack and his Friends)
Sep 13, 2022
Reposted with the author's permission.
From October 4th to the 8th, 1996, Jack McGeorge, a brother in Delta Brotherhood International sponsored Frazier, Ken and yours truly, as guests to attend the Delta Annual Run of 1996. Jack had attended Delta 95 last year, and was, at that time, Delta’s sole heterosexual. Braving the arctic conditions, and the total absence of womankind we played, learned, made friends and had an all around great time. This account was written from notes taken during the long weekend, 25 years after the fact.
Day One: Jack and his Friends
Friday afternoon, October 4rth, 1996. Packing is tough when you’re a straight man, headed off for a four day symposium and play retreat, of upwards of two hundred gay leathermen. What to bring? I have a small collection of leather floggers, including one I made at a recent meeting of the Black Rose Crafters Guild where in one afternoon Greg L, owner of The Toybag (“Erotic Toys from Exotic Woods”) showed about twenty of us how to make our own flails. I have a long horsewhip I bought at TES FEST, an SM Symposium I attended in New York City last year. I have a TENS unit that has wave sculpting software sitting atop a 12 volt battery which has proved so popular with the women I top that I have started leaving my toybag alone, and attending parties with that device alone. And I have some English school canes good for stingy, high intensity impact play. It’s an average toybag for an average SM top with a little more than five years of experience. But I’ve never played with men before. Do I bring gear to use on others? Or for others to use on me? The forecast for the weekend is cold so I pack two Indian blankets to add to whatever bedclothes await in my cabin.
I’d better explain how I found myself in this odd situation. If you met me for lunch, you would quickly see that I am a fairly average white, straight, single DC professional. But unknown to even my closest friends and family was the fact of my longtime attraction to S&M and sexual games of dominance and submission, a fixation going back to my earliest childhood fantasies. Throughout my teen years and young adulthood, it was always a source of shame and self-doubt about my own mental health. That is until six years ago, when I started attending the Tuesday night meetings of the Black Rose, an educational and social group for those interested in S&M. I was 28 years old when I first walked through the doors of a Black Rose educational chat. And aside from one year when I freaked out and left the scene, (there was a woman involved who loved me but was horrified at my involvement in the SM underworld) I have been attending faithfully ever since
Jack, my sponsor for the weekend, is a fellow Black Rose board member, former Marine, former Secret Service and presently a lot of other stuff I’d better not talk about. Blessed with a photographic memory and a Cray supercomputer where most people have a brain, he has lettered, crypto clearances from numerous secret agencies, and appears regularly on CNN as a munitions and biowarfare expert. Jack single handedly revolutionized Black Rose by giving detailed Pentagon style briefings on subjects like Party Etiquette, Interrogation Play, Spanking and Paddling, and Heavy Metal Bondage. He even provides printed course outlines as handouts during his talks.
Even, as an SM rookie, Jack became aware that the gay leather world was far older, more established, and more technically advanced than the nascent community of kinky heterosexuals. So he made a point of cultivating friendships and seeking mentors in the world of Gay leather. He cruised the DC Eagle alone, introduced himself around and got to know the locals. He learned of the existence of Sigma, a fraternity of gay men interested in the practice of SM and became a member. And the effort has paid off. Over the past few years, Jack has earned respect among the higher ranks of the national gay SM scene. As the owner of the nicest and largest private dungeons in Virginia, he has made himself known by hosting numerous parties for Sigma, various women’s SM outfits, and became the first heterosexual to ever lecture at the Chicago Hellfire Club. Last year, friends invited Jack to Delta as a guest. Soon afterwards he was sponsored for membership by the mandatory three members, and voted in as a brother. This year, he returns as a full member he has invited three of us to tag along. Frazier and Ken, his other two guests are driving in together later today. We are all straight men ranging in age from the mid-thirties to early fifties. Jack presented this to me as a great opportunity to make new friends, watch amazing scenes, and look outside the boundaries of the heterosexual DC SM community I have become familiar with. And I said “Why not?” Jack is in his late forties. So is Ken. Frazier would be around 52. All have engaged in some sort of SM with other men. At 35, I am the youngest, and the only one who hasn’t. I’m hoping to learn from this experience, try new things, and get a chance to see some of the premier players in the country. My only regret is that I’ll be missing the Dole-Clinton debate on Sunday.
Even for a Black Rose member, Jack leads a fairly alternative lifestyle. His beautiful colonial home in suburban DC is equipped with a full medieval dungeon and a fluctuating cast of live in women. Lolita, his significant other lives in New York. Andrea, his “girl”, and Lisa his “boy” (also biologically female) live with him. Past residents include Colleen, Jeanette, and a few others whose names I can’t recall. Jack assures me we will be welcomed but he warns me to behave. “It wasn’t lesbians who have been persecuting gay men this whole time.”
As we slog through the snarled Friday afternoon DC traffic Jack fills me in on Delta’s history. It’s an offshoot of the legendary Chicago Hellfire Club, (an elite brotherhood of gay leatherman that chartered in the early seventies). For a whole host of reasons, a large cohort of CHC members decided to split off and form their own unit, with a greater emphasis on SM play and less of the organizational horseshit and grueling speeches that I hated so much about the Jaycees. He makes a point of emphasizing what a big deal this is for a lot of the attendees. “Some of these guys are from rural areas or small towns in the deep South. They never even see a leatherfolk during the year, leave alone have breakfast with several hundred of them at once. Some guys are literally crying when its time to leave.
As traffic eases up North of Baltimore, we discuss the upcoming tenth anniversary celebration of our club. barely a year ahead. Just a few months ago, a whole bunch of us Black Rose members schlepped up to New York City to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Til Eulenspegel Society (TES), the oldest SM group in the country. It was spectacular: scores of classes on SM practice and culture, play dungeons available in the evenings, fabulous vender of SM paraphernalia, and throngs of leatherfolk. The people watching alone was worth the price of admission. And in a years’ time we will have the opportunity to match it. Eventually our talk returns to one of Jack’s favorite subject: Acquiring a future dream home he can turn into a private S&M Valhalla. He describes it as though it already exists: A country mansion that sleeps between ten and twenty, on a big plot of land somewhere in rural Virgina, but within a reasonable drive to DC. He has already entered discussions with Frazier who has taken to building custom home dungeons in the DC area, mostly for professional dominatrixes. “All I need is ten investors with ten grand each”, says Jack, “That wuld be enough to clinch it”.
Before I left DC, Wendy had teased me with the possibility that my three traveling companions might not be anywhere nearly as straight as I had assumed, leaving me the only het boy in an all-male camp-wide orgy. Another friend, a young gay leatherman named Darren, phoned me three days ago to warn me that he didn’t think we knew what we were in for, and that the four of us didn’t really belong there. I wonder how many Delta brothers will be inclined to agree with him. The dungeon activity will be interesting anyway. According to Jack, last year there was play involving live lobsters. And this year’s program lists a “scrotal inflation” workshop. Whatever the fuck that is.
An offramp about thirty yards across the Pennsylvania border leads us into a small town. There is no 7-11. No McDonalds. Just tiny wood frame store fronts, packed tightly together on the main street: a diner, a grocer, a hardware store. it reminds me of my own small hometown in Delaware. Minutes later we are back on country roads. A crumbling barn looms on the horizon as we slow down approaching a horse and buggy carriage ridden by Amish: a woman in a bonnet and long black dress, and a boy in a black suit with a yellow straw hat. What in the world would they think, if they knew what was happening this weekend in their own backyard?
We turn off the highway onto a dirt road leading into a corn field. It looks like the opening frame of “Witness” except for the two figures in leather jackets and peaked military caps waiting ahead where the road vanishes into the forest. Two elderly, smiling leathermen approach the car, confer with Jack (who knows them both, of course) and waves us through.
Call it “Camp Geronimo”: a tiny valley ringed by a bumpy, dirt road. descending steeply past gray cabins on stilts with rust colored trim. Registration is held at the so called Command Center, which we are told, will be manned twenty four hours a day. It consists of three huge stone walls supporting a roughhewn wooden roof. A heavy blue rubber tarp hangs over the open side to form an imperfect seal from the cold. The only place it’s truly warm is by the roaring fire where noisy, laughing leathermen congregate. Its a splendid looking crowd, and the air is clamorous with the sound of old friends reuniting. Well over half of them are as old as the two guys we met on the way in. Jack points out the Beer Truck which has two taps: Bud and Bud Light along with five choices of soft drink, 24 hours a day.
We push through the crowd towards to the registration. Jack, predictably, knows everybody. I shake hands, just barely keeping up with his introductions, and trying to stay on top of the names. Its clear that this event is a big, big deal. My God there is even a powder blue stretch limo. Three young men in Marine parade dress congregate nearby, introducing themselves as “the Academy” which they describe as a high-ritual slave training outfit.
Jack and I receive our identification badges, and, for a dollar, I buy a chain so I can wear mine around my neck. Jack’s badge is yellow (for Member). Mine is white, meaning guest. The name tags defy the scene customs I have grown accustomed to in the heterosexual SM community: first AND last names are shown PLUS city and state. And not everyone is onboard. One handsome young man has CUM PUPPY written on his. The tags show the distances people have traveled to be here: Ohio, Washington State, Puerto Rico, even Great Britain and Australia. A large contingent has come from Michigan. There was an even bigger group coming in from California, but thirty or so are staying home: The weather, someone explains, though there has been grumbling that CHC played a hand in dissuading people from attendance. According to Jack, rumors have circulated alleging that twenty percent of Delta is straight, and the ultimate insult, that the board contains closeted straight men.
Jack and I drive to our cabin to unpack. The interior walls are covered with the graffiti of giggly teens: “Rachel and Sussana 75”, “Jodi 85” accompanied by small white handprints. I find a forgotten gumby doll in the corner and place him on a shelf as cheerful domestic sprite. Divided lengthwise by a four foot high partition, the far side of the cabin becomes our SM storehouse. I notice something else: no locks on the door. My SM toy bag would cost me a grand to replace, Jack’s, ten times that. But he says not to worry. “It’s not like that here. You’ll see.”
While Jack unpacks his clothing (My leather wardrobe consists solely of the brown bomber jacket I have on) I carry the play bags in from the car. Jack has brought four bags of gear, the mere tip of the iceberg compared to what he has at home. I lift the smallest bag and almost dislocate my shoulder. Almost forgot about Jack’s metal toys. By the time I have finished unpacking, the gear takes up one whole bed and two bookshelves. A suspension harness hangs from the wall, beside a heavy canvas straight jacket and cuffs from Humane Restraints, premiere supplier of lunatic asylums since 1876. Jack has brought other gadgets too: Like an artificially intelligent radio receiver, and a thirty-five-millimeter camera the size of a soda cracker. I come across Jack’s first aid kit and feel my face flush with anger as I realize I have left mine at home. Alright, I tell myself, you came here to learn. You’re learning.
We are finishing our unpack as Ken and Frazier arrive. Frazier is dressed casually, longish hair, and perpetual Miami Vice stubble. He works as a freelance building contractor and exudes a manly sort of Magnum PI vibe. He is a passionate advocate for DC Statehood, an avid softball leaguer (even used to edit the District’s softball newsletter), and a frequent participant at open mike music nights with a ragged acoustic guitar style and a gorgeous baritone voice. He discovered the SM scene because Lainey and Ray - a couple renting a room in his Brookland home - were both into it. They ran a monthly “SM night” at the Edge, a gay club in Southeast DC, and Frazier started tagging along. Two things impressed him at the time: Number one: There were nice looking women in sexy outfits; and Two: The quality of the play equipment was fairly mediocre.
Frazier went home and started building rock solid spanking benches and X frame crosses that didn’t wobble. Then he started lugging them along to the monthly Edge parties. It was at there, that he heard about Black Rose, and began attending their Tuesday night educational meetings. I have a clear memory of Frazier shortly after he first showed up in what must have been 1994. We used to conclude our weekly meetings with a “sharing circle” giving each attendee the chance to speak. When it was Frazier’s turn, he told the room that tonight was his fiftieth birthday and “There wasn’t any place in the world I would rather be than right HERE.” The whole house burst into applause. He ran for the Black Rose board in the next election and won a seat. Today he and I produce the club newsletter and its it punchier and snappier than ever before. And Frazier now runs the SM nights at the Edge himself, with all new equipment (two years later he will rename the weekend event The Crucible, to belatedly reflect the change in management).
I haven’t had the same chance to get to know Ken but around Black Rose he’s a big up and comer. He’s an Army Sargeant Major in his professional life, and I remember hearing he was active in the Atlanta scene before transferring here about a year ago. He is a trim, handsome man in his forties with the even features of a J. Crew model. He is a careful dresser and keeps his salt and pepper hair cut short. I first met him at the Edge parties and he’s a fluid, graceful top who moves like an athlete when dishing out floggings or using his four foot whip. Already he’s teaching classes at the Tuesday night Black Rose meetings. At a recent class entitled “How to Spank a Woman into Orgasm” every woman in the place stood up and got in line for a turn over Ken’s lap. He has brought his full set of play equipment in a sleek black leather bag.
Frazier has only brought two floggers with him, knowing there will be plenty of toys. He unpacks and places his first aid kit next to Jack’s. His toybag is not all he’s left behind. “You know I fucked up. I just got a new butane heater we could have used to heat the cabin. Its sitting out in my yard. And there was room in the car too. Ha! Ha! Ha!”
The four of us march through the bone chilling cold to dinner. Words don’t do justice to the look of the dining hall. Picture a large-scale Boy Scout jamboree where every scout has grown up to be Tom of Finland. Row after row of men in leather regalia: Old, young, black, white, freshly arrived from all four points of the compass. We eat, talk, make new friends. Dinner is solid fare: breaded chicken, spaghetti and a great salad bar - an intentional improvement from last year, so I understand. Ted, a man who is known for hating announcements, gets up to speak. “We’re going to keep announcements short.” he begins before rattling off the next 24 worth of activities.
As we eat, various Friends-of-Jack stop by to visit. We meet Mike H “Board member of GMSMA and great friend” and Sparky (named for his love of electrical play) who I have already met at SM play events around DC. Sparky may have given the first Black Rose presentation I attended, a talk on “Music in the Scene”. I remember being confused by statements about music being a useful to “soothing your bottom”. Sparky and his friend Charles will spend a good chunk of the next 24 hours in a car racing around to every Lowe’s, Walmart , and Home Depot buying approximately 100 portable space heaters to deliver some respite from the cold over the next four days.
We meet Harold C, publisher of the SM journal Checkmate, and as Jack puts it “professor of all things.” Harold is also the owner of a secluded SM friendly compound in the mountains of Pennsylvania where he has a private dungeon (complete with refurbished prison cells) even grander than Jack’s. When Harold finds out Ken is a Sergeant Major (Harold is, himself, a Master Sergeant), it’s true love. “Your ass is Mahn!” Harold laughs with a smile the size of Appalachia. Ken, perhaps a little nervously, smiles back.
Jack walks us over to meet Jay, the campground owner, a portly, dark haired, agreeable fellow working in the kitchen. He seems unfazed at being surrounded by gay sadomasochists. His sister is one of the only two females I will see during our stay (the other is a surly, silent member of the kitchen staff) “Don’t tell Lisa you saw girls here”, Jack warns me with a hint of menace in his voice. “She’ll hit the fucking ceiling.”
Butt ass cold doesn’t describe the chill outside. It is Freezing. Each exhale produces a clearly articulated mist dragon. The ever resplendent “Leatherman” - the Neiman Marcus of SM gear - has their own cabin right across from the mess hall. Tiki torches light the way in. Their logo emblazons the door and beneath it a hand scrawled sign reads “WE HAVE HEAT.” These brothers understand marketing.
Inside is the promised heat. Heat and three gazillion dollars’ worth of SM gear and fetish clothing and the fragrant smell of leather is overwhelming. They have whips by Jannette Hartwood, Sarah Lashes, and other blue chip manufacturers of leather goods. We ogle their astronomically priced wares before heading off to the play space. There are two things I want on my Christmas list: A whip, and suspension cuffs. I’ve been using the same cheapo pair I bought from Leather Bob, a local vender, four years ago. The Leatherman has exactly what I’m looking for but I decide to wait, hoping tomorrow’s flea market might have better prices. Jack buys two T shirts: one reading “Daddy”, the other for his Lisa, reading “Daddy’s Boy.”
We walk over to the play space as a group. “I’m glad I’m not carrying your metal toys”, I joke. Everybody laughs.
“Harold says he collects metal toys too”, says Ken. “+Says you guys are having some kind of contest?”
“Yep”, answers Jack. “His collection is bigger than mine. Damn it. Pisses me off. But I’m gaining on him.”
We arrive at the first play space, Stanford Hall, a barn like structure with a high vaulted ceiling. Tonight will be the only night this location will be open. It’s warmer inside but not only slightly, Some play is happening, but not much. Two electrical scenes are happening on adjacent tables: one marked “Sensuous”, the other “Pain”. On the “Pain” table, a young man gasps, jumps, writhes around groaning in pleasure. The subject on the “Sensuous” table lays still as a Buddha, electrodes affixed to his fully erect cock. Both tables have sign-up sheets. Both seem booked all night tonight. There is a whipping being done on a St. Andrew’s cross but two other crosses stand unused. Jack is puzzled about the light turnout, but one of his Delta Brothers tells us that about half of the members will either be arriving later tonight or in the morning. One gentleman shows us a bit of cleverness he has engineered: a cattle prod hooked up to a fraternity paddle. Your ass, when struck completes the circuit. Blue sparks fly as each of us takes our turn.
We decide to visit the other dungeon, and troop out into the night and up the hill to the “Girl’s Gym. Inside the Girl’s Gym is girls’ gym equipment. Leatherized. A balance beam, a vault, uneven parallel bars are all being put to innovative use. There is a springboard (which to my knowledge goes unused all weekend) and two bungy cords which allow bouncy suspension games throughout the run. Against the far wall stand three towering roles of foam. In addition, we count over 25 play stations including:
3 suspension posts: two equipped with chain hoists
6 Saint Andrew’s crosses
6 bondage tables
2 bondage chairs (The one belonging to the Academy, is, according to Frazier, a miracle of engineering)
Unlike our first stop, this dungeon is jumping. The lights seem to be turned all the way up, and for an SM dungeon, its unusually bright inside. An album by Vangelis is playing over the speakers. No lobsters, but we are struck instantly by the variety and intensity of play: stringent bondage, suspension scenes, three different enemas scenes all happening at once, two electrical scenes (the two electrical tables we saw at Sanford Hall, will be moved up by tomorrow night) and one man filleting another’s naked back with a shot whip. Dungeon Monitor’s in yellow reflective vests patrol the crowd assessing the scenes in progress. And there is an amazing waxing scene: a top armed with five or six candles of different temperatures and different colors splish-splashing various streams of wax across a naked, bound captive as he twists and turns, moans, and groans. His dick is as hard as an iron bar the whole time, and at one point, he comes spontaneously without anything touching his junk at all. I do notice that I don’t see any fisting scenes but I pay it no mind. Only after the weekend is over, will I learn that there was a separate fisting dungeon: a single cabin outfitted with leather slings, rubber gloves, and generous tubs of lube.
There are some other differences between this dungeon and the largely heterosexual dungeons I have gotten to know around DC. First of all in the het scene, partaking of booze is almost never okay. A lot of house parties announce proudly that alcohol is forbidden, and sneaking in a pocket flask could get you thrown out, even banned from future events. Don’t even bother asking about a doob. I understand and agree that unnecessary risk in SM should be mitigated but many of the enforcers of these sobriety rules seem as judgy as church wives. Here, people are drinking openly, and the faint scent of marijuana hangs in the air. Several scenes are underway in which one or both partners are doing amyl nitrate poppers, virtually unheard of in the het community. But at no point this weekend will I see anyone sloppy drunk, fucked up, or strung out.
No play tonight - just observation and good conversation. I take notice of a resource table with condoms, paper towels, and spray bottles with handwritten labels marker on masking tape: ammonia, peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and Simple Green. This is another great idea to take home to Black Rose, not to mention, my personal dungeon back home. I take a mental note to buy spray bottles and simple green when I return Tuesday.
Back at the command post, we join the crowd before the roaring fire and find warmth, at long last. Joe, a dapper older gentleman, sits adjacent and speaking with a faint German accent, tells us of his life. He came out as a gay man at the age of 52, and as an SM practitioner ten years later. With very little prompting he begins telling us of the piercing in his cock and before you can say “Prince Albert” he’s whipping it out: A perfectly ordinary cock with a perfectly HUGE metal crescent stuck through its tip. May I have the same Chutzpah when I’m 78. When I ask if he wears it turning sex he makes a face. “I don’t like fucking. I find it distasteful. I was with this pretty boy just last week and he was simply begging for it. I don’t know…”. He pauses. “But I have started taking it out when I’m getting head, after this poor dear boy chipped a tooth on it.”
Joe trundles off to bed. So do the rest of my cabinmates. I wander over to the beer truck for a tall frosty beverage, take a seat by the fire and eavesdrop on the hearthside chatter.
“I don’t care! I’m going to be a pig this weekend! Oink! Oink! Oink!”
“Yes go ahead be yourself.”
“And Where do you live?”
“28th and Castro.”
“Oh go away!”
“I love this so much. Isn’t it terrific? There’s no turning back, now. The closet door is gone.”
It’s been a long day. I return to my cabin, climb in bed, and go to sleep, shivering, and thinking of Wendy back home and the butane burner, sitting unused, in Frazier’s back yard.
Next: PART TWO
Links for Chris M
Additional Articles by Chris M
- The Black Rose DM Guide
- "Safe Sane and Consensual" a Proposed Definition
- Eight Techniques for Maintaning Communication and Trust During a Scene
- The Rap on Wrapping: A discussion of Impact Play
- Mastering the Dynamics of Thud and Sting
- American Leather Goes Mainstream: Anger, Arnett and Life Magazine
- A Brief History of the Black Rose of Washington DC
- Part One: The First Fifteen Years (The Nancy Miler Years)
- Part Two: Pending
- Delta Diary 1996
- Black Roses and Pink Flamingoes: The BR10 Anniversary Event and how it changed our Club by Chris M.
- Gifts of the Circle: A Chronicle of the Hook Pull performed by Fakir Musafar and Cleo Duboise at Black Rose 2002
- A Brief History of Leatherbars (Featuring the DC Eagle)