My Mentor knew very well how strong was my need for order and preparation and He used it as a way to keep me off balance. When I write those words, I know you’re going to immediately think that to be cruel and abusive, but that was neither the intent nor the reality. He would carefully and thoughtfully use important moments to shake my foundation when He saw an opportunity to teach me something valuable; He never once took advantage of the anxiety He knew me to live with.

When I opened the graduation invitation He’d sent, I had no idea what was going on. Then I saw my own name on the invitation and I was filled with the most disorienting combination of panic, fear, and excitement. Also inside the package was an airline ticket, also in my name. The date was four days away.

I packed light, according to the instructions I had been provided. A checked bag would delay things, the note said. On a Thursday night I boarded a red eye across the country not knowing anything about what would happen when I got there. I deplaned and walked to the spot designated on the carefully plotted map in my hand, and a young man with a shaved head and well-trimmed goatee was waiting with a sign that bore my name. He escorted me to a car and opened the door for me.

“I don’t suppose it would do any good to ask where are we going, would it?”

The young man’s eyes briefly met mine in the rearview mirror before they focused again on the road ahead in perfect silence.

“Didn’t think so.”

He dropped me off at the entrance to a hotel and handed me a room key. “I’ve been told to pick you up at 5:00 this evening.”

He handed me a note:

Stay put. Don’t eat. Don’t drink anything but water. Rest and reflect. Everything will be clear when I see you. – DB

I went into the room and sat on the bed, feeling the uncomfortable buzz of the unknown that has haunted me for much of my life. I sat there for what felt like moments, but when I looked at the clock, three hours had passed and the sun was starting to rise through the curtains. I poured myself some water and gulped it down before falling asleep.

When I awoke it was 3 pm, and having nothing else to do to kill the time, I decided to take a bath. That’s when I noticed a small bottle of bath oil on the shelf next to the oversized tub. It bore the distinctive sweet and musky scent of tobacco and leather. I poured it into the running water, undressed, and lowered myself into the steaming tub.

I must have dozed off, because I woke to the sharp staccato knocking of someone at the door to my room, and the water had gone cool. I grabbed a towel and rushed for the door.

“You have ten minutes. I have the car downstairs. He said not to be late, so you need to hurry up.”

I toweled off as fast as I could and got dressed before rushing downstairs. Why is this elevator so fucking slow? The young man stood by the car with the door open. I stepped in and in a moment we were on the move again. A few minutes later, he handed me another note before telling me to get out of the car:

The door is unlocked. Go to my bedroom.

Strip, shower, and wait.


Christ on a cracker, I was just in the bath for two hours. I’m clean. I stripped and showered as directed.

No sooner had I dried myself that two men in full formal leather came into the room. One of them opened a drawer and pulled out two lengths of rope. The pair quietly and ceremoniously tied me into an intricate and restrictive harness before blindfolding me and guiding me from the bedroom.

When the blindfold was removed, I was in His play space. My Mentor ‘DB’ was in front of me, and we were encircled by His chosen family and other Elders. I felt like I might pass out. After inspecting me in silence, He spoke.

“In our tradition, honorifics are earned. Much as it is with respect and trust, a title cannot be bought or stolen. It must be offered and it must be accepted, then we must dedicate ourselves to the ceaseless work of being worthy of it.”

He asked the invited Elders to come closer and five of the men flanked Him.

“You are here today because you have done what was required of you. I have been honored to guide, direct, and mentor you, but the time has come to show you why you’re here.”

He stepped closer. As the group watched, He slowly and meditatively released me from the ropes without saying a word, but looking me in the eye the entire time. Our time together had taught me the power of conversations without words, using languages only understood by peering deep into the soul of another human.

He ordered me to kneel and dropped the now perfectly wrapped ropes in front of me. Then he took a step back and knelt and bowed forward. One of the Elders picked up the ropes while another helped me to my feet. He was now prostate, his face inches away from my bare feet.

I watched as the Elders pulled Him upright and began removing His clothes. Why were they being so rough with Him? I felt my chest tighten in His defense.

Piece by piece, as His clothing was removed, I was being dressed while He stood watching. When his socks and boots were removed from Him and placed on me, one of the Elders – the man who had introduced me to my Mentor – placed his hand on my shoulder and whispered to me.

“Bind him as you were bound.”

I looked at the Elder and choked back tears. “I…”

“You can and you will. You must.”

I stepped forward and spoke. “Stand and assume the position.”

He stood, his feet shoulder width apart, hands resting behind his back, his head bowed slightly.

I lifted his chin and looked into him, trying desperately to express the profound love and gratitude that I felt for him in that moment. I still didn’t know what was happening. I only knew that I had to do as I was directed.

With my hands trembling, I ran my hands along His body. I uncoiled the ropes and warmed them before beginning to wrap Him in the same bonds that held me secure a few minutes before. I moved slowly and carefully, knowing that this was an important moment even if I didn’t know why.

When His torso and arms were secure, I stood in front of the man who had taught me more about myself than anyone before Him. I could no longer hold back the flood of tears as I saw this strong man rendered powerless at my hand.

I leaned in and kissed his cheek, whispering, “I love you.”

He knelt once more at my feet, looked up into my eyes once more and said, “I am honored to be the first, but assuredly not the last, to call you Sir. Thank you for everything, I have no complaint whatsoever.”

I was stunned and vibrating; this was more than I could process. I had just been given the right to be called Sir and I had no idea what I was supposed to do or feel in that moment. Instinctively, I reached for the rope to loosen the knot and free Him. He stopped me.

“Not yet. Tonight I am at your service, Sir. Please use me for your pleasure.”

And I did.