Larry, a book store manager from San Francisco, is an extreme introvert who prefers quiet evenings in his apartment alone reading and playing his recorder.
However, Larry (not his real name) has another life. He occasionally likes to explore a darker side of his introversion with the help of a dominatrix, Mistress Shtum.
“It took a long time for me to admit,” says Larry, “that there’s another side to me who enjoys being punished for being quiet. I experimented with other dominatrices, most of who were truly annoyed by my silent nature. They usually offered to punish me free of charge. Mistress Shtum understands me and my limits. As strange as it sounds, she’s the only person I feel safe with while being hogtied for not making eye contact.”
Mistress Shtum (her real name) specializes in introverted submissive fetishes. She says her introverted clients have particularly vivid fantasies. It can be anything being ordered to attend an Up With People concert wearing women’s underwear, to being strapped in a barber’s chair while talking on the phone for hours with a distant relative.
“I help my slaves explore their fears and desires. Ordering someone to hand out their business cards at a networking conference may sound cruel, but they trust me. I never have them engage in small talk with a regional sales manager without first agreeing to a safe word.”
“This lifestyle isn’t for all introverts,” says Larry. “There was a time in my life when the thought of being handcuffed to a talkative former cheerleader while trying to read a book would’ve repulsed me. I now understand there’s nothing more liberating than being totally humiliated and degraded – as long as it’s followed with lots of some quiet time.”
On June 28, 1921, illusionist, escape artist, and introvert, Harry Houdini was persuaded by his manager, Leo “Mr. 15 Percent” Lipmann to attend a party of potential investors for his next show.
Within minutes after arriving, Houdini was adrift in an ocean of adoring eyeballs. His devoted fans asked questions most believed impossible for any anti-social escapologist to answer: “How are you tonight?” “Is this your lovely wife?” “Nice straight jacket. How much did you pay for it?”
Houdini began to panic. He was packed in a crowd of strangers 20-deep and needed desperately to be alone. No introvert trapped by a mass of people this large had ever escaped. The few people who sensed his discomfort that evening believed the great Houdini had finally met his match.
…until a waiter dropped a tray of crab cakes.
As partygoers turned to watch the desperate attendant picking up the h’orderves while being flogged by the hostess, Houdini slipped silently to the floor and slithered to the bathroom where he spent the next two hours alphabetizing the medicine cabinet contents.
After three hours, a partygoer, who’d become violently ill after eating some dirty crab cakes, pounded violently on the bathroom door. Houdini dropped the magazine he’d been reading and jumped through a small second-story window. He rolled off the front sidewalk and limped to a local hospital where he was treated for dog bites and a broken ankle.
After sending his hosts a thank-you note, Harry Houdini went on to become one of the greatest escape artists of all time. He is also an inspiration for every introvert who has ever thought, “One way or another I have to escape this party.”