By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Madonna's dancers spill onto the stage in black leather pony getups. The screen displays wild, galloping horses, and a shimmering disco ball descends from the ceiling. Out steps Madonna in trainer attire. The ponies cower before her, and she yanks the reins of a few. Eventually she mounts a saddle connected to a stripper pole.
"She did it in a way that she could get away with it," Sherifox explains, referring to the taboo nature of ponyplay. Most Madonna fans are probably ignorant of the cultural phenomenon behind the costumes and the dance steps. But those into ponyplay know differently, and they are flattered.
After a few minutes, Sherifox springs up and begins to dance along. As she mimics the movements of Madonna's pony boys, high-stepping and jutting her fists out in time with the beat, she displays an unbridled cheerleader's enthusiasm and a seasoned stripper's grace.
Foxy first encountered this fiery redhead in the wilderness of Montana, where she was living and he was guiding elk hunters. "He lassoed me in," she says.
They had both been married previously. Foxy has three children. Sherifox has two. She had spent five years in a bad, BDSM-less marriage, so the first question she asked Foxy was: "Will you tie up my toes and suck them?"
Yes, he would do that.
Since then, it's been ten years of tying Sherifox up and exploring each other's fetishes and fantasies. They say they are monogamous.
Foxy calls Carolina Lainez to the stage, and the buxom Chilean audience member doesn't shy from the challenge. She rises from her seat and then asks if she should remove her jean jacket. The answer is yes.
In a strappy black tank top and flowing flowered skirt, she takes her place at the front of the conference room. Foxy fastens a leather collar around her neck, links two long ropes to that collar, and then calls for two volunteers (two chatty women in the front jump up) to hold the ropes at either side of Lainez. This is called a cross-tie. It's what's done to horses to prepare for the ride. Lainez lowers her eyes and looks at her yellow socks.
Foxy takes down Lainez's hair and smoothes it behind her shoulders. He then lowers over her head a black mask with no eyeholes.
"We're losing the human," he explains. They're also losing the clothes.
Foxy removes Lainez's tank top and then her bra. In the cold conference room, her large brown nipples slowly emerge. Foxy clumsily unzips her skirt -- it seems to be stuck -- then finally pulls it to the ground and leaves it around her tiny feet. Lainez wears no underpants.
All that remains is her thin red belly chain, and even that is soon covered by one of the deerskin harnesses that Foxy fastens at Lainez's hips. He replaces her mask with a bridle and gingerly secures the buckles. He then takes the brown tail and gently swats the backs of Lainez's thighs. She responds by shaking her butt back and forth a little and then runs her own fingers through the tail. He smacks her butt with a whip, and she laughs. A few chuckles rise from the audience as well.
Fortunately for Lainez, this is an audience of consenting, open-minded, and wholly unshockable adults.
Pherell and her master, James, are practically in each other's laps at the back of the room. Pherell is a BDSM 24 lifestylist, meaning she submits to James, who sounds like a eunuch, at all times. She wears a thick silver collar with a silver fox charm and is never allowed to take it off. "It's better than a wedding ring," Pherell says. "It makes me feel safe, like I have a place in the world."
There is a collared man with a bullring through his nostrils crouched down in the aisle at the feet of his purple-haired dominatrix. A bad boy, he doesn't deserve a seat.
An effusive fortysomething woman in a camouflage T-shirt keeps shouting things out at the front, and her blond friend in polka dots is equally vocal. A twentysomething Boca Raton couple is seated in the second row. She's a wavy-haired English major at Florida Atlantic University. He's a quiet electrician. There doesn't appear to be anything creepy about either of them.
Sherifox is now standing in a corner of the room, eyes trained on Lainez. Her head is high, arms behind her back, expression blank.
"As a trainer, I like the aesthetics," Foxy tells the audience. "I like the female flesh."
No one blinks as Foxy begins tapping Lainez's belly with the whip, and her skin pulsates beneath it. He is trying to give her the signal to walk, but she's not picking up on it. Either that or she wants the tapping to continue.
"She's liking it," Sherifox suggests.
Finally Lainez walks toward the audience. She moves as if discovering her ability to walk. As a pony, she is extremely passive, and Foxy declares her pony name to be "Buttercup."
Foxy tickles Buttercup with the whip, and she bursts into giggles. Tickling, Foxy likes to say, is just a mild form of torture. He keeps tickle-torturing Buttercup but gets interrupted.