In the immense and varied library of kinks and fetishes that have popped up in my life, there is the gas mask. I love them (LOVE THEM) but don't play with them with other people so very often. I have done- they were a pretty frequent part of my repertoire when I was living in San Francisco. But not since then, really, and four years is a pretty long time for a favourite thing to not be pulled out for play.
I think I don't play with them with other people often because I find it hard to articulate what it is about them that I love. They don't immediately invite an action or suggest a mood or character. They are quite abstract. "I like gas masks" gives less direct information than "I like being spanked". And the way I enjoy them doesn't even have a direct correlation to activity. It's not "I love to wear gas masks and get fucked" or "I love to wear gas masks and then be tied up". I just love them.
I do play with them alone, but what does that even mean? I don't play with them as in set up elaborate auto-erotic scenarios featuring gas masks. I just wear them, and enjoy them, and try to figure out what it is about it I'm enjoying. It reminds me a bit of when I first got my pony boots, and I used to put them on when I was alone and just feel the changes in my body and my stance and how that shifted my thoughts and my headspace.
There are two divergent directions i feel myself go in when I am wearing a gas mask. One is the monstrous little girl
- pink and ruffles and pigtails and Hello Kitty doll, but faceless and abject- absent- horrifying. The only human part of my face is my eyes, trapped behind huge glass disks. I love inhabiting this space. When I didn't have my gas mask with me I once went to a play party in ruffled socks, mary janes, cute polka dot underwear and a full-face executioner's mask. That particular space is such a powerful expression to me of what I do, what I am with my femmeness and my little-girlness. On display, and for looking at, and designed for touching and taking- but there is something very weird in there. Exercise caution. Teeth lurk where you may not expect them. That's always true, but blanking out and making weird my face makes it explicit. It makes me feel like a fucking fierce pervert, instead of 'just' the object of somebody else's perversion.
The other self that comes out in gas masks, sometimes, is this funny sweet playful beast. Four-legged and strange of face, like a tapir perhaps, or something more feline. I have had merry, merry hours stalking and lounging and pouncing between legs and seats and furniture. Or being locked into cages and batting at fingers or strings dangled through the bars. Very different beast-space to pony-space. Not very performative, not even especially fetishistic- the mask serves the purpose of dehumanizing enough to slip into that space, takes away mouth and voice quite conveniently, warps vision as though my eyes have become alien, concentrates the scents in the air as though I have a snake-like ability to taste them. I haven't gotten to spend very much time in that space, I think because it's hard to ask for (how to negotiate a scene like "actually can you just put the gas mask on me and react as though I am adorable when I start chasing your shoe laces?" Do-able, I guess, but it hasn't come up. From memory most times I've done it it's been negotiated as my reward for performing well during a submissive or masochist scene).
I am interested in how the gas mask changes my perception of the world from within it. How the world looks different through those glass disks, how the air tastes different, how breath becomes more measured. It acts as blinders on a horse, narrowing the field of vision and increasing the focus on what is directly ahead. It is a little like being underwater, or perhaps being a marine animal venturing onto the shore, an alien landing where the atmosphere has a strange density and toxic make-up. And being perceived as alien, and unlovely, hits some switch inside me that feels like freedom. Like being decorative on my own terms, and within my control.
It's also play for play's sake- play for shifting a perception of the world, and existing in it differently, rather than play for sexual or endorphin gratification. Sexual and endorphin gratification being fine things, of course. But I like other types of play, too.