10 out of 10
Pairs well with a Rum and Coke. It’s sweet as hell, and goes down well.
This year, I heard about Playground Conference through my friends, The Dildorks. I said to myself “Well, that’s nice, but I’ll never actually make it. It’s expensive, I’m a student, and it’s far away.” Unless…
Which is where my angel comes in. Her name is Lilly and as I’ve mentioned before, she is literally the nicest human. She kindly sponsored one person to go to Playground Conference this year, and that was me, because I’m so fucking lucky, I have no words. So then I thought about lodging. That’s always the most expensive. And just like that, another angel stepped forward. She said I could use her apartment as she would be staying at the hotel. (She is local to Toronto, and I don’t want to give away details for that reason.)
With lodging and ticket taken care of, I knew I was going, but the trick was finding a way up. Flying was too expensive, so it would have to be by land. I couldn’t take my car because it is old and dying. So bus was really my only option. By this time, Lilly had already started a campaign on Twitter to fund my attendance, and two people had sent money within the first hour. At the same time, I noticed that a bus from Washington D.C. to Toronto was 56 bucks round trip. So I snatched up a seat and Lilly called back the funding hounds because I had made $60 already thanks to Hermione Danger, and my friends at the Swing Shift. I was really going to Playground Conference.
And then the months of waiting. I made lists. I looked at other people’s lists. I started Testosterone. I worked through schoolwork. I lied to my family about why I was really excited to go (networking versus REALLY HOT HOTEL SEX). And finally, the evening came where I was to board a bus and go to Toronto for a whole weekend. It was a long and stupid 15 hours where I got around 4 hours of sleep and ate too many snacks. So I’ll skip that.
I spent this day reconnecting with people who I met at Woodhull. Immediately, I got to see Kate, Bex, Sarah, and Suz. While Kate and Bex had to go take some self-care time shortly after, I spent my afternoon getting lunch with Sarah and Suz. Might I say, the crepes were amazing, and I definitely ate way too much food.
Then we headed out to a really great feminist bookshop in the Gay neighborhood of Toronto (which people just referred to as The Gayborhood, and I honestly never bothered to learn the street name). It was an amazing time with some excellent baristas. I loved the walk and the neighborhood in itself. With good company and good coffee, we headed back to the hotel. I briefly talked to someone who was really draining, and then disengaged to enjoy the Opening Plenary.
Here is a truth: I LOVED the speakers here and definitely enjoyed it. But it wasn’t something that moved me as much as other things. As such, I’m gonna move on from it.
After grabbing some dinner with Kenton, Luna and another friend, we were late for Tell Me Something Good (a sexy storytelling event). Though I had a great story to tell, I didn’t get a chance to go up. It was a fun time anyway. After that, most people were ready for bed. Originally, I was going to be fisted that day by my friend Taylor, but we ended up spending about an hour and a half failing to find a place for that, and then giving in and going home. (Spoiler alert: All was not lost on the fistern front.)
I woke up with 7 hours of sleep, which is pretty good considering that I was in a new place. I was lazy about getting myself together, but I did have the best outfit that day, including my curly hair because I’m a beautiful lion. However, I did miss all of the morning sessions and ended up just chatting with folx in the hotel lobby. I was glad to have taken care of myself, but I am sad about not pushing myself some.
We went to a very overwhelming supermarket for lunch, where I got the first thing I knew I would like. I wish I had been a little more put together because someone got poutine and fuck do I love poutine so much. Alas, it would have to wait.
I took my lunch into “Psychology of BDSM” which was my favorite talk by far. I love psychology and where it interacts with sex. I do believe that more of my blog will be geared towards this in the future. I have been told my live tweeting of this talk was thorough and well-done, so if you want to check that out, click here.
However, after spending so much energy, I needed another break, so I went to enjoy some easy socializing. It’s at this point that I perused some of the tables in the vendor area. I saw a paddle, which I absolutely loved, but I didn’t buy it. I waited to see exactly what I wanted and thought very hard about whether or not I could leave it. I also eyed up some of the leather cuffs, because my outfit was truly begging for them as accessories. I believe I bought those on the spot (and I do not regret it).
After enjoying how the links on my cuffs moved, I went to see The Dildorks live recording both to support my friends, but also because I am a fan. I enjoyed many laughs and got some really good ideas for sex while travelling.
Dinnertime rolled around it was time for some Pad Thai. So we went to a delicious Thai place in the gayborhood (because I really want to live there, tbh). I believe it was here that I told numerous drunk tales from my past, including being identified as and answering to the name “Butter.” Later, I would realize that Sarah is the Bread to my Butter and it inspired a photo shoot, which took place in better lighting the next day. Needless to say, I am now ecstatically happy to have enjoyed a good meal with good folx, and I’m excited for new friends all over.
After dinner, it was time for some femme getting-ready time and we definitely had a lot of fun with this. I even got some glitter on me, so I felt as much like a gay man as possible. It’s rare that I connect with so many femmes in one place because it sometimes cause dysphoria, but at Playground, I felt so seen that I could have been in a dress and still felt like myself.
After being appropriately cute, we went to Sex Ed A Go Go, which was an amazing experience. Unfortunately, I was feeling some out of place because the room was so crowded and I ended up near the back of the room to get my own space. I spent a lot of the night laughing hysterically and drinking water to take care of myself. I did good, is what I’m saying.
And being in my own space payed off because I was handed an index card that had simple words scrawled on it: Trans-focused Play Party in Room . Starts at 11.
I had been seen. And on top of that, I had been invited somewhere. Presumably because those who saw me found me attractive in one way or another. My personal secret is that I’m not very confident, but I am a good actor. And this affirmation took the external view of me and made it more real. I am good and lovely in my trans-ness. So of course, I went to this party and finally got fisted. What else would you expect? For me to go to another party beforehand and get spanked by Taylor? Oh yeah, because I did that too.
Needless to say, I went to couch happy and tired.
This day was extraordinary for me. No, I still didn’t make it to morning sessions. I rolled into the hotel around 11:30, and I chatted with some fellow bloggers (including evening recaps) until we went to lunch. Earlier, I heard someone talking about Fran’s, and I love diners. So we went down half a block and we had the best lunch I think I’ve ever had. It involved a bunch of my favorite bloggers, poutine, eggs benedict and boozy milkshakes.
To be honest, I’m not sure I need to qualify it more than that, so I’ll just let you imagine how glorious it was.
After such a delightful late lunch, we headed back to the hotel, and had time to say goodbye to a few people who were leaving. I knew Kenton was on his way out, and I had contemplated asking if I could catch a ride (he would have to drive past my place to get home). But I put it off because I assumed he would have wanted introvert time after a con like that. Being the token extrovert, I like to give my introvert friends their space.
As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. When I found out that he was staying for the closing talk, I ended up asking and got an enthusiastic yes.
So the whole conference ended with a most epic 12-hour road trip, which we tweeted a lot of. I will leave that link there for you to read, and you’re welcome to imagine the rest. But I will promise that by energy drink three, and hour 8, we were in Waffle Hour permanently. And fuck me, that momo was amazing.
10 out of 10