Friday, April 6, 2012

An Empty Collar

(This entry is a continuation of the Earl soap opera about my relationship with an older man in my teens, and of the complications caused by a peer named Topher. It's a direct sequel to Lost Boys, from December.)

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about taking the young man I like calling ‘Runt’ to a pet store, where I bought a collar that I placed around his neck. The incident brought him a great deal of pleasure; I don’t think he’s ever before had a guy objectify him, to treat him like fuckmeat.

There’s nothing potent in meaning about a strip of leather, whether it’s a bookmark or a headband. There’s nothing particularly meaningful about a scrap of cheap metal, like the flip-top of a carbonated drink. A collar is only a strip of leather with a metal fastener. In that respect it’s no different from a belt, or a buckle on a backpack.

The collar itself isn’t degrading, though your Pekinese might act like it is. It’s no more magical than a wedding ring, which is simply a circlet of precious metal. But as with a wedding ring, when two people decide (whether tacitly or explicitly) to imbue it with a meaning above and beyond its function—well, that’s when the object acquires significance.

For the Runt, the collar meant that while he wore it, he was owned. He belonged to the man who bought it for him. He knew I’d hook my fingers beneath that strip of leather while I fucked him, and that he’d feel the chill and bite of that buckle against his tender skin when I pulled him around as I pleased. He could look at the collar and imagine the way it would choke his windpipe, and the pressure it would exert around his neck when I fastened it around him. The collar held mutual meaning for us both. It was an unspoken contract, that for a time, he didn’t have to think, that he didn’t have to make decisions. That I would be doing those things for him.

I know how he felt because, for a time, when I was younger than he and in my mid-teens, I wore a man’s collar myself. I’d had that collar on my mind for a couple of weeks, since I was trying to figure out how to write about it in my journal—what I’m doing today. It was because I was thinking about that collar that I decided to get one with the Runt.

The collar that my mentor, Earl, placed around my neck had been bought new from the local pet shop; it had belonged to a dog he’d owned, a dog that had been put down of old age and poor health a couple of years before I got involved with Earl. The dog had been a big breed. I’ve forgotten what, exactly. Its neck had been bigger than mine, though, since I had to wear the buckle on one of the innermost holes. It was heavy, and the leather was thick and warped and cracked from years of hard use. When I wore it, I felt weighted down.

Earl put the collar on me the very first time he used it, shortly after I started visiting his house. I remember my cock pulsing with heat and fear when he approached me with it, and stood behind me before the mirror in his bedroom as he fixed it around my skinny little neck. I understood what it meant, even without discussing. I was his. I belonged to him, as surely as the collar’s previous occupant. I might go roaming on my own from time to time, like any dog. But in the end, I’d always find my way home to him.

After that, we had rules for the collar. He’d leave it either on the kitchen table near the back door where I usually entered his home, or hanging on a hook for coats by the rear porch. Donning it would be the first thing I did when I visited. I did it automatically, my fingers learning how to manipulate the thick, stiff leather and to fasten it around my neck, leaving enough room for Earl’s thick fingers to slip beneath.

I don’t know whether he used that collar with other men. I didn’t care. All I knew is that when I wore that strip of leather, and usually nothing else, my skinny little body belonged to Earl. I didn’t have to think. I didn’t have to be the son with the high grades, or the good boy. I didn’t have to worry about what I wore, or how I looked, or what I said, or attracting the wrong kinds of attention. All I had to do was obey, and serve.

It was a relief.

I wore that collar willingly from the time I met Earl until my senior year in high school. And then one day, I simply didn’t.

It was shortly after the whole affair with Topher that I stopped donning that symbol of ownership. Topher had been the same age as I, had served the same purpose to Earl as I did, though he’d been passed on to Earl’s boyfriend, Jim. But Topher had robbed Earl of his watch collection, his at-home cash, and a number of other little petty valuables, and Earl had sent me to his house to find out what the hell was going on. I’d found out that Topher had run away from home, and had been the one to carry back the news.

I hadn’t been to Earl’s place all that often since, right at the beginning of the school year. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the time. I’d like to say that my high school senior year kicked my ass, but I wasn’t taking school too seriously. I wasn’t even attending school, a good lot of the time; I was so firmly on track to being my class valedictorian than nothing could dislodge me. I turned in homework assignments and showed up for tests, but I rarely went to most of my classes, and my teachers assumed a good boy like me wouldn’t be doing anything awful, or unlawful, so my truancy went unchallenged. By the time I was accepted to two colleges, late in the fall, my regular routine was to show up for government my first period, then my dreaded trigonometry class after, orchestra for third period, and then I’d wander off the school grounds either to return home and play cards with my mother, or to hit the park and suck cock all afternoon.

So no, my reluctance to visit Earl had nothing to do with school.

At the time, I couldn’t have articulated my reasons for not visiting my mentor sometimes for a week at a time. But at heart, I simply didn’t trust him any longer. When I put on that collar, I had to trust him. I had to know that the decisions he made for his pleasure coincided with what was best for me. After watching Topher disappear—and no one had heard from him for weeks, by this point, nor did anyone ever hear anything—I had difficulty believing in that core essential.

In a way, Earl had betrayed me by making me visit Topher’s house to do his dirty work for him. I felt exposed, and at risk, and not in any pleasurable way. Even at the time I realized that the consequences for him wouldn’t have been pleasant if he’d shown up on Topher’s mom’s doorstep to announce he’d been sodomizing her son and was wondering where he might be. They wouldn’t have been as hysterical and shrill and out of proportion as they would today, but there definitely would’ve been consequences.
I had a juvenile sense, though, that those consequences should have been Earl’s. Not mine. With a chink of that blind faith chipped away, the whole rest of the foundation began to crack and weaken. I started to feel not so much like Earl’s special boy, but simply as his favorite boy of the moment. I knew there had been others. I knew there’d be more in the future, to replace me.

Even that collar hadn’t been mine. Earl might have loved me, in his way, just as he loved that dog. But he still gave that dog’s collar away. He replaced him. And I never felt so expendable as I had the day that Earl had sent me to do his dirty work for him.

So one day that autumn, when I gave in out of guilt and need and went over to Earl’s place after school, I hung out in the living room watching TV until he got home from his work. He seemed surprised and pleased to see me there, and settled down on the sofa to put his arm around me. I was wearing my clothes, except for my sneakers, which lay nearby. The familiar scent of him made me want to give in, to go back to the way we had been for years at that point. But when he made small talk with me, my answers were short and perfunctory. My throat couldn’t open enough to say more. It was as if the leather band I wore now was invisible, and had cut off my windpipe.

“You’re not wearing your collar,” he said, finally noticing.

After a long silence, I said, “No.” I couldn’t look at him.

We sat there for a long, long time. His arm was still around me. I could feel his chest rise and fall as he breathed. Everything was so still, and so quiet. “All right,” he said, very softly. “You don’t have to.”

I nodded. “I know.”

Again we sat still for a while. And then I felt him squeeze my shoulder. The squeeze turned into a hug, as he pulled me into him and held me tight. We rocked back and forth together for a few moments, me limp, him holding me with all his strength. Then his hand burrowed between my thighs.

I responded automatically, as only I knew how—by spreading my legs to allow him access, and by giving in to his kisses, giving in to his hands roaming to unbutton my shirt, giving in to his fingers snaking down the back of my jeans to slither into my hole.

I gave into him that afternoon, but I knew—we both knew, or at least admitted to ourselves for the first time—that one day when I went roaming, I wouldn’t come home to him ever again.


  1. I've already made my opinion clear about him sending you over, and I can't blame you a bit for your feelings. Trust is a very big issue in any kind of relationship, but especially one where one person is submissive to the other. I have been similarly collared twice in my life. One man was amazing and expanded my experiences amazingly well. The other I could not trust and that lack of trust coupled with his poor treatment of me broke our rrelationship. To the point where I rarely consider him to have owned me at all--more that he tried and I rebelled.

    But this catharsis was great. Really. I felt a little lump in my throat reading it. It has been only about a year and a half, maybe more, since I made a final goodbye to my old mentor as we both moved away. I'm very glad that you and Earl parted on good terms, if not the best. I truly am. This post was beautifully written from start to finish. Thank you for sharing it.


    1. I haven't parted from Earl yet, in this section of the story.

  2. Interesting how a ring on a finger says partnership and a collar around the neck says ownership when in away it is a partnership. Each is really committing to what the symbol of the collar means. Control of one over the other, and the other willing to follow the lead of the other.

    In your youth Earl could have had a hundred guys he put that collar on, but if he treated you special when you were there and wearing it, isn't that all that mattered.

  3. This may seem like an obvious or weird comment, but I got to thinking from your post of how in some ways, we love certain people on the basis of pure trust. I mean there are other things, but you realize that its the big thing.

    sorry that comment didnt make much sense, Pakistani Pussyboi

    1. I think it makes absolute emotional sense, PP.

  4. I've been spellbound with this saga of your life since you started writing it. I've read and re-read every entry with fascination. I'm curious, what was the depth of your personal relationship with Earl? How much did he know about you? Did he know about your family, or where you lived, or what was going on with your buddies, and such? Were you two ever on a friends level when you would lay in bed together and talk?

    I've also wondered how you had the strength, especially when you were so deeply thrilled and in awe of Earl, to keep this a secret from your family and friends for all those years. To not breathe a word of it to anybody.

    This entry showed me a side of Earl that I wasn't expecting. When Earl hugged you and held you tight, it seems to me that he had certainly developed an affection for you. Which surprised me. Of course I only know of the man what you've written, but he struck me as gruff and tough in a lot of ways. To read that he truly regarded you as someone whom he could care for is deeply touching.

    Now, I'll write that I may be interpreting this incorrectly...but I hope I'm not. It warms my heart to know that you meant something to the man beyond a hot teenage fuck, and that he really found someone in you that he could connect with.

    I can't say it enough-your blog is brilliantly written and I look forward to reading you every day.
    Thank you.


    1. BZ,

      Those are some valid questions. Earl and I talked, usually after fucking; we'd lie there and he'd tell me about his job, or I'd tell him about school. He knew where I lived, and who my parents were, and what they did. He attempted to give me some coping mechanisms for the horrible middle and high-school years, though at the time I don't think I realized it.

      I loved Earl, and he loved me, though we were never (at least, I was never) in love with him. That basis of trust between mentor and mentee is extremely intimate, and encourages its own brand of love. In his own way, he was very protective of me, even as sexually he degraded me pretty low.

      I think my entries tend to make Earl sound like some kind of sexual Fagin and I his little Oliver Twist, but we were friends of a sort. The deliberate inequality of our relationship, though, almost guaranteed that we couldn't be friends on the exact same level.

  5. Wow. That is complex. More complex than I dealt with in high school.
    Thanks for sharing your stories.

    1. Any sexual relationship brings its own complications. But then again, you're getting laid too!

  6. I have found long after my very limited high school sex experience that some people mature sexual at and earlier age, some come to except the gay or bi nature at an earlier age. I think it has to do with many things and opporunity.

    As for the Ring and the Collar, it goes back to the founder of western society/civilized society, the Romans and the their caretakers the Catholic Church. The Ring and collar as just continuing symbols of the meaning then and they are the same now.

    1. And some people of several decades still shouldn't be having sex.

  7. On so many levels this is a great piece. Every bottom that ever stepped into my sling of course wore a collar and I owned them. If they whimpered from my ministrations they got their collars jerked. I used to love the scene and now after four years out of the BDSM scene, I don't recognize myself as I look back. This was an amazing post.

    Matt Darringer

  8. I've been anticipating and dreading this post for weeks, and it's come with an enormous sense of relief. Whether your last post was deliberately fear inducing, or it was simply the way I read it, it's hard for me to imagine that you have any idea how much I was dreading the denouement of the Topher incident. I'm sad for the loss that teenage you suffered in those days, but can't help feeling grateful for what it helper make you. Thanks again for sharing your life with us, Rob.

    1. Please don't assume that this is the last installment in this series!

    2. Yeah. We should both be so lucky....

  9. Rob,

    Thank you for sharing as you always that I feel like I am there watching these events take place. I actually teared up reading your post, the comments, and your response to the comments. (Not the best thing to be doing while at work.)

    I am trying to figure out why I teared up ...the meaning of the collar and/or ring; or the knowledge that some day you would roam away from Earl and not to return; or my desire to be collared by someone.

    I appreciate you sharing your experiences which is helping me decipher my own experiences and the path that I am still traveling and dealing with all those involved whether sexual or not.