I spent this weekend at DeConpression a science fiction convention that takes place here in Columbus, Ohio. DeConpression is very different from other cons i have attended. Marcon, Milleniacon and Confluence are full featured conventions that try to cater to all of science fiction fandom's varius and sundry quirks. Marcon is in fact one of the biggest cons in North America with regular attendance in the thousands. My favorite con, the Context Science Fiction Convention, is a sericon with a strong literary focus and a very intensive focus on programming so you get a good deal of brain food with your party.

DeConpression is a relaxicon, which means there is virtually no programming. They had a Erotica readings, a couple actors reading Edgar Allen Poe and some demonstrations. DeConpression admits adults only. That allows what programming there is to be rather colorful. You get that message right off as every registered participant is given a condom and a sample tube of personal lubricant at the door. They also have a bar.

The bar was run by U.S.S. Casual (NCC-REVOKED) representing an organization known as "Barfleet". It seems that a number of SF fen liked the idea of Star Trek clubs but didn't want to act like a bunch of weenies, and wanted to party harder and much more explicitly than Starfleet rules allowed. So they formed Barfleet, which is sort of a drinking club with a science fiction problem, with a fully stocked bar, including a concoction known as a Yukon Torpedo. I'll leave the recipe to your imagination, but grain alcohol features prominently in several barfleet recipes.

There was also plenty of adult entertainment. Some local fen put on a quite interesting BDSM presentation, with an extensive array of ropes, whips and paddles out on display, in addition to violet wands and other electrical toys. I got to see a proper demonstration of flogging, spanking, binding and shocking technique. They even set up a nice array to bind up any volunteer submissive who happened to crave a friendly beating.

No matter how you feel about BDSM personally, when someone is being flogged in the corner, you gotta look. You look even when they aren't shapely and topless. Men and women alike stepped up to do their part in search of a good endorphin rush. The docents were well informed, and did a fine job of explaiing the various strokes and safety precautions that must be taken.

Many fen like to dress-up for a con, Context is a notable exception. Costume competitions can be fierce and at big cons like Marcon may have professional participants. But for many people lingerie and fetishwear are sort of the normal evening dress. Marcon participants seem to have purchased a large percentage of the world's supply of push-up bras and corsets. DeConpression was-- deliberately-- much smaller than Marcon, but at the Saturday night party was quite a show. Clearly someone has been getting the Victoria's Secret Catalog. And every other catalog as well. Girl in leather straps and chain mail bra. Woman in body suit with strategically placed holes. Nurse Nanako in latex. Men and women in silk robes. Lots of cleavage.

Of course as a man I utterly approve of this shameless and scandalous behavior. But really not much happened if you discount the beatings in the corner. People drank, chatted and looked down each other's shirt. As one of the men dressed in my mundane clothing, I didn't really fit.

But I did fit better than one of the guys at the charity slave auction. One young man, only slightly smaller than Minneapolis had written 'Virgin" on his chest and wore nothing more than a solitary sock, which he admittedly filled better than I would have. I have to honor both his courage and poor taste. If I pegged the hunk-o-meter partial nudity might work. But I look more like Tony Soprano and frankly, even shirtless, my body constitutes too much information. No matter how desperate I become, euthanize me first. Yet he had bidders, and someone paid $16 for the right to his "personal services' which probably means washing the car. I'm pretty sure he'll be able to wear the same costume next year.

I had some friends there, they had plenty of munchies and my reading was well-received. It was fun. And i still have my complimentary black, vanilla-flavored condom. Maybe some day I'll meet a girl who likes vanilla.