Earning his Black Hankie

Earning his Black Hankie
By and from the life of Lee Harrington

For those unaware of the hankie code… Black means Heavy S/M.

My boy Hunter had approached me a week and a half before and asked if I would help him re-earn his leathers and hankies. He and I both have been in public BDSM for years, and both had begun from what might be considered and Old Guard sensibility, never do anything to others you have not experienced yourself, never flag with something if you do not feel you can back your bullshit up. But he wanted something more formal, to be reminded, as a Daddy in his own right in the scene, what it was like to go back through the steps.

The week before he had re-earned his belt, in a heavy scene involving his bear boy body down on the ground licking at my boots stripped of all of his leather as I beat him into the ground. His blood had flowed that night as I growled down at him. But I knew I could push him farther. Knew I wanted to push him farther. Had to push him farther. He needed it, and the roar from inside my spine called for it, and I’ve learned not to let that go too long without breathing in my potential.

When he said he was ready to re-earn his black hankie, I took him seriously.

I chose a public setting, because heavy sadism is not just about the hit of flesh against flesh and blood appearing before my eyes, but about the way I can have my lover’s flesh twist under my words and the exposure they feel under the gazes I put them under. I chose a public setting, because heavy masochism is not just about wearing bruises and the sting of wood or leather against skin, but about being broken down emotionally and mentally, ripped apart from the inside and to come out of it still being loved. The public setting I chose was the “Punching, Kicking and Deep Bruising” class I was already set to teach in Sydney that Saturday.

There is something truly delightful as a Sadist about not just pushing the comfort zone of my play partners, but those of an unsuspecting audience. Everyone there had come to learn about safe ways to hit someone, how to not fracture bones on their own knuckles and how to cause or reduce bruises in pain play. I doubt most of them expected the scene that would play out though… but as a Sadist, that was part of my glee.

I took him seriously, just as he needed, and gave him what he needed. We arrived that morning to the cold venue, a church converted into a performance art space, and our tiny crew set the chairs as I asked. Four rows of pews, at an angle, with a four foot corridor down the middle facing towards the stage. Someone tried to move the pews closer together and I called out from the stage as I lay out my tools for my scene, my class, and told them no… I do need them that far apart. Trust me. Across the room Hunter’s throat caught up in his throat and I smiled.

What boy, nervous about something? No SIR. Are you sure boy? I mean yes SIR, I am SIR, I mean, No SIR…

Oh, this was going to be good….

I could feel my spine ramp up stronger, his blood-stained bandanna already crammed into my back left pocket from a scene the night before, as he backed away from me on the stage as I walked away from my gear. Fucking wussy bear, come on boy, what are you scared about? Then the ramble came out, what boy, do you still owe me money boy? Owe me fucking money boy? Afraid I’m going to take my cash out of your pretty boy face? Out of those kneecaps? He danced away as the few people already present, unsure if they were somehow late for the class though it wasn’t yet time, laughed nervously at he and I.

After the audience filed in, I settled into educator mode while Hunter rung his hands at the side of the stage and waited. Soon enough I called him over to be a basic punching dummy for the simple concepts- what areas of the body were safe to hit for example. Pecs. The back, away from the spine. Thighs. Ass. Fleshy areas are best if you plan on doing repeated punching, but some less padded regions can be hit if the impact tool is softer, or the punch is pulled or… each as different types of blows fell about his body and he took each in with a grimace, a huff, a growl, or a simple nod of acceptance.

I began with bare fists, upper cuts into the gut, hits with the side of my hand, the difference in impact between palms and heels of hands, slaps and punches, and the idea of facial slapping and punching as a huge psychological tool. I slapped him hard across the face as I cradled the other side of my boy’s face, and as he staggered back the audience gasped. From bare hands and fists I moved into feet- kicking in heavy leather boots into his legs, arms, and pulling him down to the ground to trample him under the heavy tread of my Carolina logging boots. I knew he was a tough boy though, and showed downward kicks to his ass, then balanced my entire body weight on his back as I heard his air flee his lungs.

Then we danced into tools, and the farther the dance went, the worse I got. Each hit harder, each punch landing at fuller force, working from pulled punches and light playful throws when I had bare fists into full force swings by the time I had worked up into heavy bag gloves that stood like huge red cherries flying across his creamy skin. Full force swings across his thighs with heavy wooden spoons, rubber tubing swung at full force down his back, and then back into the bag gloves to hit him in the face time and again. Time and again.

Each time he’d back away I’d call him back, what, can’t take any more boy? He’d stand up taller, stand proud then come back as if to say Fuck you SIR under his breath. He could take whatever I could give. You’d better boy, you’d better.

Slaps to his face turned into bare knuckle punching on the side of his face became head butts til he saw stars then more facial hits til I began to saw the bruises blossom between my knuckles and the ring around his eye. The blows kept coming. He backed away, he came back, he backed away and came back for more. The eyes on him, friends and stranger alike, kept him egged on, kept him revved up, and for what I had planned, I knew would also make him snap.

Psychological warfare is a dangerous tool in the fun and games we call desire, but sometimes the safest route is not what gets us hard, gets us wet, or gets us to where we need to be. When you love someone you entrust them with the secrets of your soul, whether spoken or unspoken, and thus hurting to the quick those we love is sometimes too easy to do. Human beings break. It is a reality of the design.

I threw the first real punch after a series of hard blows hit his body in the center cooridor between the pews.

What, can’t even take a real punch? What are you, some kind of fag?

He stood up, growled, and the row of queens in well worn leather in the back of the glass glared at me and let out a heavy breath looking at him. My boy. I paused internally as I continued to pummel him and weighed for a moment whether I was ready for the follow through.

The One-Two punch.

No, you’re not even a fag. You’re just an angry little boy stuck in a fucking Dyke’s body aren’t you?

He snapped. I was going down. I could see it in his eyes as I backed up the moment he began to move, somewhere around Dyke. In three backwards strides I was back at the stage as he was charging me down with his fist pulled back to hit me in the face. I tripped slightly as my food hit the back of the stairs and my body went against the stage and I could sense people around the room acting to get Hunter off of me. But I was loaded, ready, for the final blow.

But WE’RE working on that, aren’t WE?

His fist flew past my nose at full force and landed into the stage, and I heard the wood bend and his knuckle pop as it hit. He fell across my chest and began to growl into my flesh…

Yes SIR.

Then held onto me, and kissed me hard.

The air in the room was frozen as growls became soft sobs and my delicious man, my honest boy, my bear, my thug, tried his best not to fall apart. Holding him in my arms I addressed my final points to the class and bid them all farewell. Friends stayed around, strangers breathed a sigh of relief having had a chance to ask technical questions earlier, said their goodbyes and streamed out the doors.

My third punch had been what he had needed to hear- the truth. In fact, every line had been truth, but some truths are hard and some reinforce the spirit. Hunter may not like the realities of his body and his gender odyssey, but they are a truth he will always wear in his childhood photographs, his mother’s eyes, and the scars his body will wear as he goes down this treacherous road.

I put him back together and formally gave him his hankie in front of a few of his people and mine.

I am intoxicated by the dark desires of my fists to hit things, but more tantalizing still is the need in the soul to see things hurt inside. To see that moment of raw fury flying at me, and see if my wit and my love can capture the beast- my beast and his alike.

For those unaware of the hankie code… Black means Heavy S/M.

And I am proud to say, Hunter has the right to wear his Black hankie… on either side… but that, perhaps, is a tale for another time.


Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.

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