After the crotch rope and some final play, Roxy told me to put my clothes back on (yes, over the rope harness). We packed our stuff and she went to store her things away. I could have followed her but I stood still on my own in the dark for a while as there was something very soothing about it. She changed into her dress (black – why don’t I have a black dress? that’s way more subtle) and then we set off to a Tapas place, which the dungeon owner had recommended. Stepping back into the light and out onto the street brought my unease back. I felt like I was in between a state of slight relaxation and joy (after play) and anxiety (the anxiety that’d been there from the start). It didn’t take long to get to the restaurant where we paused in front of the entrance and she said: “It’s good to see you’re still wearing your collar.”
My hand instantly shot up to my collar, halfway on its way to unfasten it. “Should I…?” though I didn’t really want to. I hadn’t completely forgotten I was wearing my collar; it had been a conscious decision to keep it on because I hadn’t wanted to take it off. My thoughts went back to when Roxy and I first started talking. I think we went through each individual’s interests and one of hers was doing very subtle things in public (I think- Maybe my memory is making this up.) The image I visualised then was us sitting in a restaurant while I was wearing a collar and the fantasy was paired with heightened anxiety and excitement. It’s something I knew I’d like to do one day but I had thought I would need some easing into it.
“It’s alright, it matches your dress. You’d be surprised how many people don’t even notice.”
I highly doubted that was true considering the size and bold colour of this collar but I let my hand slide down next to my side; I felt reassured because she thought it was okay and really that’s all I need. And side note, I’m sure she intended for me to keep it on from the start or she would have taken it off herself before we left the dungeon.
While she was smoking a cigarette she sent me inside to check if they had a table. By this point, anxiety started pulling harder at the rope in the tug of war between my ease and unease. I recounted how anxious doing something like this had made me feel in the past. It’s fine, you’re an adult. They did have a table so I said we would come in in a minute as Roxy was just outside. Phew, all managed I’m sure he didn’t look at my collar. Then another couple went inside and I had to make sure they weren’t taking our table…
They were asked to sanitize their hands (something I hadn’t done just then) and walked with the waiter who had spoken to me before. Because of social distancing policies, I wasn’t sure what I should do. There was another waiter but he didn’t seem to attend to whoever came in so I figured I should wait for the other one to come back. But I didn’t want to make him feel rushed by clearly standing in the opening so I kind of hid a little because I’m weird alright. lol.
I could feel the rope harness beneath my dress so clearly and the collar was still tightly enclosed around my neck. Should I go in? Should I ask? Should I just wait? He came back, Roxy arrived and he took us to a table, which was very spaciously set up. When I sat down I regained a slight level of calm. Cool. We’ve made it. This is okay. But everything ran very mechanically in my mind and my unease must have been very visible. It felt like I was half me but the other half needed to instruct me when to speak and when to move, though the longer we sat there the more I became me again.
It took a while before the waiter came to take our order and Roxy started (half-jokingly, half-seriously) intensely staring at him when he walked past. I remarked that this would either have the desired effect or scare him off but after a little while, he came. She ordered because I’d been a little clueless, though she chose the exact things I’d been looking at. She spoke to the waiter as if he were a person in the pub she’d just made friends with while I just sort of sat there and kept quiet. I don’t think he needed to know about the thing around my neck to see a very clear division of roles (or personality, lol). The third time he came around he mentioned how I’d been lingering in the door opening earlier to which Roxy said, “Yes, she’s really shy,” which made me want to sink through the floor while I was also internally laughing at myself.
When he left she laughed and said she was so happy that just happened, which was so clearly visible. It made me feel even more embarrassed but not in a negative way. In the past, any such instance would make me overthink and go down a spiral of self-hate but nowadays my brain is trained to think Yes you’re awkward and that’s a valid feeling and maybe next time you’ll manage better but, for now, this is kind of amusing, isn’t it? And it was amusing because it was so typical, you know? Dominant happily and confidently jokes with the waiter as if they’re friends while the submissive ends up in embarrassment. He must have noticed the collar and know… right?
Saying that my anxiety caused me more harm than good during the entire evening. I was too nervous for my joy to be fully present half of the time and I kept thinking way too much. We talked about this and she said that even if I felt it, it would be good if I could appear as if I’m confident and all that. In the days after, I realised that actually that anxious person hadn’t been me. When I went in to check if they had a table, the anxiety I felt was from the past; when I was 19-21, it still caused me great anxiety to walk up to people and ask for things. Back then I generally wanted to disappear and be invisible wherever I went and since lockdown, my anxiety has been at the old level it once was.
Since lockdown, really, I haven’t felt much like myself and I couldn’t quite put a finger on it until this evening. Realising this helped solve it a little. I know that normally when I go out and am not dealing with a million new impressions I’m a whole lot more composed. I still appear reserved but my mind is calm. Generally, I follow the rule to never avoid something because of anxiety and then with time it will get better.
The food was lovely and so was our time together. Near the latter half of the evening, I was trying to mention that I’d cried during the scene but as what happens when you keep turning around the sentence in your head, the words remained stuck in my throat.
When we were walking home I could very clearly see her look at me and the way I was walking. “Don’t look at me,” I said and her natural response was like how you’d expect a friend to reply. Then she interrupted herself and said: “How dare you telling me not to look at you. I could stand right over there and tell you to walk past while I watch you, then tell you to do it again.” I smiled half embarrassedly. I didn’t know what to say because yes I knew she could and wanted her to if she pleased. She said I was walking better in my heels.
I kept looking ahead as we continued walking, then tried to casually say, “You know, I cried when you were like…” “…and…” “I don’t know if you noticed but…”
“I didn’t notice,” she said.
I finally looked up. She had an incredibly endearing expression on her face and it made me melt inside.
“I’m glad, it means I made you feel something.”
She looked happy as if that had been all she wanted tonight; to make me feel something.
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