Weather Balloons Make Rotten Sex Toys
by Annabelle du Fouet, humor (2005)
Cerridwen Press, $5.95, ISBN 1-4199-0252-0

Bookshelves lined Uncle Henry’s den, not surprising since he read voraciously. Glancing at the hundreds of books, I decided to pack them first and as I pulled the volumes from the shelves one-by-one, I couldn’t help but glance at some of the titles. The ABCs of BDSM. Uncle Henry always did like word games. Fun with Whips. Obviously, some sort of cookbook about dessert toppings. Leather and Loving It. I remembered Aunt Ruth going on about how Uncle Henry was a “leather freak” and how he liked to hang out with his “sick friends”. Knowing Uncle Henry, he probably liked to make craft items for friends who were in the hospital.

As I continued packing, I noticed a theme. Many of the books featured scantily clad women on the dust jackets and some had covers showing what appeared to be men dressed as women, always with a stern woman standing nearby, holding a whip. As I am not as naive as some people think, I’m aware some men like to dress in female clothing but the presence of the whip-wielding women puzzled me. Perhaps the men in the pictures had stolen the clothing from the women, who used the whips to ensure the return of their belongings. Using a whip seemed a drastic measure but as any woman knows, clothes are very expensive.

As a parody, Weather Balloons Make Rotten Sex Toys is supposed to the result of a young woman's misadventures as she tries to make an academic study of the whole alternative lifestyle thing. The humor relies very heavily on the heroine comes off like a sheltered very young girl approaching the whole thing the way a little girl will look at an elephant for the first time in her life. She is completely cluesless, taking double entendrés literally. She's supposed to be a PhD holder, mind you. How sad.

The bulk of this book is our clueless heroine's research paper on alternative sexual lifestyle under headers like Kink 101 and A Brief Overview Of Kink History. The constant punchline here is that the heroine, in her inability to see beyond the literal meanings of double entendrés and jargons associated with alternative sexual lifestyle, always gets things wrong.

BJ: I heard this term frequently on my research travels, usually contained in a sentence such as: “Hey baby, how about a BJ?” As far as I can tell, it must refer to a bologna and jelly sandwich.

BT: Ball torture. I was never able to discern if this pertains to a certain type of ball, such as a baseball or tennis ball, or is an all-inclusive term for any ball.

CBT: Cock-and-ball torture. Ball torture again but this time including a rooster in the act, I believe. Someone will have to explain how this works.

CP: Corporal punishment. Why corporals? Why not sergeants or captains? May be involved in the military aspect of discipline, as noted above.

GS: Golden showers. As far as I can tell, this has something to do with utilizing honey while taking a shower. Perhaps it’s good for the hair.

PA: Prince Albert. I know England’s royal family has had their problems, but I have a hard time envisioning this fine gentleman dressed in rubber and clutching a riding crop while chasing the Queen around Buckingham Palace.

Okay, the Prince Albert is pretty funny, but the rest is touch-and-go as far as I'm concerned. But that's pretty much my reaction with this book. Sometimes I groan.

Many tops refer to themselves as a dom (if they’re male) or domme (female) or even domdomme if they’re one of those transformers who get confused about the gender thing. A neophyte kinkster should learn early on how to distinguish between a dom and a domme if one wishes to avoid trouble. One easy way to make the distinction is by asking the dominant their name. If the name begins with Sir, chances are you’ve got a dom. Similarly, if the name begins with Lady, the person is quite likely a domme. I don’t know what to tell you about the transformers.

Sometimes I laugh.

No self-respecting dom or domme would want to be known as Sir Hubert or Mistress Hortense. Therefore, a fierce moniker must be selected. The most popular choices are those that imply power and/or evil. This is why so many doms are called Master Unpleasant, Sir Lash-a-Lot or Lord Supreme Ruler of the Universe. Likewise, many dommes opt for such names as Mistress Savage, Lady Surly or Ms. Spiteful. Sometimes a compound name is used, such as Lord IronWad or Lady CrazedPsycho.

Titles are not an important issue with submissives. Many times their dominant will choose a name for them, such as My Little Poopy Drawers or Vermin Boy. If a submissive is unattached, they may select a name that best expresses their particular kinky desires, such as Monkey Boffer or Mr. Pee. (I’m told that the latter name indicates someone who likes to drink urine. Urine? Good lord!)

In the course of my travels I noticed many subs had pet names for their dom/mes, the most popular being “asshole,” “dumbass” and “shit-for-brains”. There seems to be a theme here, possibly linked to potty training but that’s an area I was not able to pursue to any great degree.

Sometimes I howl with laughter until my sides ache.

When kinky relationships were still a new thing—in approximately 612 BC, before kink was all over the Internet and some of the smuttier cable networks—people would often get confused and a dominant would end up with another dominant or a submissive with another submissive. Not only did this prove unsatisfying in terms of anyone getting their needs met, it turns out that while submissives often get along quite well with one another, dominants tend to despise other dominants. This transcript from one of the sessions of the Professional Order of Perverts (POOP) convention is illustrative:

“Good evening, and welcome to the Professional Order of Perverts’ International Council of Masters. I am your leader, Lord ThunderSteel.”

“Leader? The hell you are!”

“Yeah, who died and made you boss? How would you like a taste of the whip, big boy?”

“I am Sir SteelThunder! I take orders from no one, especially Lord ThunderSteel! On your knees, pretender to the throne!”

“Shut up, male worm! I am Mistress Steel Heel! No puny male will ever rule the Council of Masters!”

“A mere woman dares to speak without permission? Assume position thirty-five point six as described in the Gor manual! Or was that the Klingon dictionary? I forget.”

“Ahoy, mateys. I be Captain Tidepool, master of the good ship Wynona. Where be the seminar on keelhauling? Arrrrr.”

“Everyone shut up! Lord ThunderSteel commands it! I am your leader! I have this badge that says so!”

“We don’t need no stinking badges!”

“My badge says I’m the Emperor.”

“Shut up, you twerp.”

“Everybody shut up! I got a tattoo on my butt that says I’m Lord ThunderEmperor!”

“I’ll tattoo your butt, you slimy piece of male shit. Get on your knees and worship my heels!”

“Go make me some coffee, bitch!”

“That’s it! I’ve had it! Stand still while I stick these needles in your inferior male scrotum!”

“Come on, everyone! Pleeeeaase! Just let me be the leader! Do you know how much time it took me to think up the name Lord ThunderSteel? That ought to count for something!”

You get the idea. I'm sure some people won't appreciate the fact that the author lumps practitioners of alternative sexuality with the best of the more insane Star Trek fans out there, but this book is obviously not meant to be taken seriously. When this book is on the roll, it's side-splittingly hilarious. The advice section is particularly not to be read in public unless you don't mind people looking at you.

Dear Mistress Dominique,

I recently became involved with a man who introduced me to the kinky lifestyle but there are many things I don’t understand. I hope you can help. My boyfriend says what really turns him on is his “beer suit”. It’s just what it sounds like, a whole suit he made out of old Blatz beer cans. It smells horrible because I don’t think he cleaned the cans out first, but that’s not the real problem.

What I don’t get is that after we go to the trouble of getting him into the suit, he lights a couple of those Fourth of July sparklers and runs into the street. He just stands there blocking traffic and singing the Canadian national anthem until one of the neighbors calls the police. Later he calls from jail and says I have to bail him out. Like an idiot, I always do, and when we get home he says it was the best sex he ever had and goes to sleep, still wearing that stupid beer can suit. I don’t know what sex he’s talking about because he never touches me. He seems so happy but I’m not getting much out of it. I know it’s my fault because I don’t know anything about kinky sex. Can you help?

Confused Newbie

Dear Confused Newbie,

The next time lover boy decides to dress up like the Tin Man on a bender, don’t wait until a neighbor calls the cops. Call the local recycling folks and have them collect your boyfriend. Oh, he’ll probably end up being put in a furnace and melted down into slag but that will give you a chance to find a new guy. Look for someone who is into more normal kinky pursuits like drinking your urine while dressed as a German naval officer or a man who enjoys being hit with a garden trowel during sex.

Mistress Dominique

That's not to say that this book is on the whole very successful. It's hit-and-miss (for example, the explanation of how Atlantis sank has a flat punchline where I'm concerned but the comparison to Las Vegas at the same time tickles me) but on the whole, I have a most entertaining time with this book.

To help you make up your mind about the book, here's the narrator and her experience at being a sub:

My captor called herself Madame Payne. She was a tall woman, heavily made up and dressed in a black latex catsuit and thigh-high boots with impossibly tall heels. She spent almost an hour strapping me tightly into the interrogation chair, mumbling vague threats as she did so. This was the first time I had been bound in any way and my fear level increased as each buckle clicked shut.

Luckily, I was not gagged or blindfolded so I was able to mentally record what occurred as I listened to Madame Payne’s heels click menacingly on the cracked cement floor as she circled me, a smile playing at her blood red lips.

“Who are you working for?” she snarled.

“At the moment, I’m a part-time clerk at Clayton’s Books,” I said. (I had recently taken a job there.)

She glanced at me and rolled her eyes. “You’re not supposed to tell me what I want to know,” she muttered, fondling a leather riding crop.

“I know, but it seems so terribly rude,” I said.

Madame Payne stared at me. “I don’t think you get it. If the scene’s going to work, you have to resist.”

I took a moment to mull this over, becoming increasingly aware of the many leather restraints sealing me to the chair. “That would seem to work against effective communication,” I said in what I hoped was a respectful voice. “But I see we’re only pretending here so I’ll do my best.”

She nodded. “Good. I’d hate to have to use this on you.” She grabbed a flogger from an old wooden table and swished it over my head. “Now, who are you working for?”

A tingle of fear rose within me. My limbs ached for release as I struggled in vain against the chair. I felt myself getting pulled into the scene, thanks to this insidious confinement device. “I, uh, am employed at the Book Nook,” I lied, gasping for breath.

Madame Payne rolled her eyes again. “Okay. The deal is, I ask the questions but you don’t answer. You resist, and then I have to punish you. That’s why you’re here, right?”

I blushed and made my apologies.

“I have ways of making you talk.” Madame Payne picked up a shiny metal device covered with spikes from a table and brandished it in my face. “Tell me — who sent you here?”

I tried to think but the menace of Madame Payne and my growing feeling of helplessness washed all sensible thought from my mind.

“Answer me!” she roared. “Who sent you here?”

“Well, no one really,” I blurted in a shaky voice. “It was my own idea and—”

“Shit!” Madame Payne grimaced and slammed the spiky device on the table, creating a dent even a master carpenter couldn’t repair. “How the hell am I supposed to do a scene when this idiot keeps talking?” she complained to someone standing behind me. “You deal with her. I give up. I’m going to beat the crap out of somebody.”

Rating: 85

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