Adam Rippon’s Oscar Outfit and that One Time I Went to a Bondage Club


I’m of that certain age that my celebrity crushes have become more filias than douleur exquise, so one moment I’m admiring their looks, and the next I want to take them home and feed them lasagna. I knew I was getting old when I saw a picture of Adam in his harness for the Oscars and the first thing I thought was, “It must be so hard to be his mother right now.” Not because I thought his outfit was particularly daring — Adam’s skating costumes are much more revealing as is his Instagram — but Adam has been flying pretty high and public opinion can turn so quickly. I’m sure that his mother is terribly proud of him, his accomplishments, and his strength of spirit, but still…I imagine she feels a little trepidation, watching him walk that razor’s edge in the shark-infested waters of the rich and famous, hoping that he’ll come through with his soul intact.

But anyway…on a less earnest note, I was looking at the pictures of Adam in his harness and Mirai in her gorgeous evening gown, and felt an old memory trying to break free from the murky depths of my brain. It eventually popped out fully formed as OMG THAT ONE TIME I ACCIDENTALLY WENT TO A BONDAGE CLUB.

It all started out with this guy I had a crush on. We’ll call him Paolo, because although he was Pakistani he used to tell people he was Italian, and changed his name to match. That’s the type of guy he was, it wasn’t the only thing he lied about, and I’m ashamed to admit that back then my heart was an extremely bad judge of character. Anyway, it was the 90’s, I was around 21-22, and Paolo, his best friend and I would sometimes go looking for interesting bars and parties to go to on Paolo’s endless search to get laid.

Unbeknownst to me, he was under the impression that I was a lesbian, probably because I was so dudely, and I think he was hoping I’d become his lesbian wingman or something like that.  Later on, he’d make little hints like, “Have you ever kissed a girl? Don’t you think she’s pretty?” in an attempt to push me out of the closet (he also would rent lesbian porn videos and we’d all watch them together but that’s a different little sordid tale of its own). We hadn’t gotten to that point yet, and I think this was the night when I told him I was into him for the first time (I don’t give up easily so it wasn’t the last time I tried, unfortunately). The answer I received is the story of my life: “You’re too much like one of the guys, can’t we just be friends?” So some of the details are a little hazy because I was pretty crushed.

Paolo was a big fan of Nine Inch Nails (and I just now realize that “Bow Down Before the One You Serve” is a Golden Oldie) (edited to note that the song is actually called “Head Like A Hole” but the only thing I remembered at 1am when I was writing this was that part of the chorus – rb). So we decided to go to a local club that played industrial music.

The club wasn’t really anything special. It was in a strip mall, inside an office building, and it was dark inside but I don’t remember anything too wild about the decor. There weren’t very many people there, maybe 10 or so, and I vaguely recall lots of leather and studs. Paolo and his friend were dressed Abercrombie & Fitch style, with Chino shorts and polo shirts. I had sort of a poodle perm at the time, and was wearing an outfit my grandma had bought for me because she had good taste and I was hopeless about women’s fashion. To say we didn’t fit in would be an understatement.

Still, we were there to have fun, so we went out on the dance floor and started to dance with the couple of people who were there. YOLO, right?

Then this chick walked into the place, and everyone stopped because she sort of commanded the whole room, like in a movie when the hero and heroine come out onto the dance floor and everyone stands aside to admire them. She and her companion are just about the only things about that night that I remember in any great detail, because they made such an impression on me. She had long black hair, was dressed in a gorgeous white evening gown, and she was holding a leash. The leash was attached to a dog collar being worn by a young man with a shaved head and beautiful eyes, wearing a leather harness. He was somewhat more scantily clad than Adam was on Oscar night, because I think I can remember that he had nipple rings, but he was wearing a long leather coat over his ensemble so the aesthetics were similar.

Anyway, this Lady started dancing with her Boy, and I sort of watched them out of the corner of my eye because I had never seen anything like it before in real life and I was rather fascinated. At some point the Lady sidled up to me, put her arm around my waist, and whispered in my ear, “You’ve got a great ass,”  while her Boy looked up at me with this coy expression. At that point my brain exploded, so that the only response I could think of was, “Thank you.”

I left the club with my crush and his friend not too long after that, since they weren’t having much luck, but I had already been cheered up by the fact that the only one of us that night who had a chance to be with a beautiful woman was me.

And the moral of this story is: accessories are everything.