“The only dominatrix I have ever known was head of marketing for IBM…”

Sara Mason (left) faces up to Kate Copstick at the Grouchy Club

Sara Mason (left) faces Kate Copstick at The Grouchy Club

“The only dominatrix I have ever known,” said someone in the audience, “used to be the head of marketing for IBM.”

“How much money did she make in marketing?” Martha McBrier asked.

“She was earning a really, really decent living. Her name is Jacky Donovan; she has written a book about it. She got into a relationship with a bloke at work, realised she liked it and then set up a business doing it and made a load off money.”

At next year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Sara Mason is going to perform a show titled A Beginner’s Guide To Bondage. Obviously, she has researched the subject in detail and this came up at a recent live meet-up of The Grouchy Club, which I co-host with comedy critic Kate Copstick.

The audience that evening included comics Martha McBrier and Giacinto Palmieri.

“There are all types of clients,” Sara told them. “I mean, Rubbish Boy comes in and wants to be put in a wheelie bin and covered with rubbish and moved about. He has a love of dirty things and he wants to be called Rubbish Boy. And then there’s Nose Man.”

“Nose Man?” I asked.

“Nose-aphilia. He pays money to come in and have his nose touched. You stroke his nose, then ask about his fantasies and he will talk about them. One time the girl with him got so bored sitting there for 30 minutes just playing with his nose that she lent forward and licked it.”

“What did he say?” asked Martha McBrier. “Don’t lick it, I’m not a pervert?

“No,” Sara replied. “He looked very excited. I think A Beginner’s Guide To Bondage will be a fun show. There are things like lactophilia – men who like women who are lactating. Where do you find a constant supply of pregnant women who are lactating who will breast-feed you when it’s not your wife?

“My life is so boring,” said Giacinto Palmieri.

“And then there’s CBT,” continued Sara.

“Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?” I asked.

“Cock and ball torture,” replied Sara.

“I can see,” said Copstick, “a sitcom entirely based on the notion of someone applying for CBT and it all going horribly wrong.”

“It’s emotionally draining,” said Sara. “A lot of the girls crack up because they can’t deal with it. It does take a certain personality to deal with it. It’s a bit like being a psychotherapist sometimes and some of the shit people come out with is… I mean, if someone comes in and pays you a lot of money and says Can I tell you everything? and he explains how he likes to wear nappies with his girlfriend and walk round the park and piss and poo. Inside, the girl is laughing but trying not to laugh or look disgusted and hoping he will never call again.”

“But,” said Copstick, “how dare people laugh! It’s different strokes for different folks.”

“Yes,” said Sara. “but some of them you can vibe with and some of them you will find deeply offensive. People specialise in what they like.”

“I have a friend who likes to be a human toilet,” said Copstick. “I don’t understand it at all.”

“When you say a human toilet…?” asked Sara.

“He likes people to shit into his mouth,” replied Copstick. “I don’t understand it. He’s such a lovely guy… But, if people decide to live in this world, to paddle in this pool, then you can’t suddenly go Oh! I think that’s funny! or think That’s offensive!

Well,” said Sara, “they thought Rubbish Boy was very funny. They used to keep him around for hours to make them laugh. They taught him ballet and made him dance around because he was so funny. He was hilarious and he loved it. He loved the fact he might pay for an hour but he could stay there half the day because he was making them laugh.”

“You can still,” I said to Copstick, “think something is bizarre and funny and laugh at it but still accept it, provided it doesn’t adversely affect anyone else.”

Live Grouchy Club meet-ups. Free to enter. Free to leave. Free to say anything you like.

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