Interview with Mistress Midori

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Interview Copyright © 1997 by William A. Henkin, Ph.D.

Originally published in Spectator


WAH: In Spectatorís Mistress series Iím particularly interested in going behind the scenes to learn about professional dominants as human beings and as women. So in this interview, in addition to learning about you as an SM player both in your private and professional lives, Iíd also like to learn a little something about who you are behind the image, the mystique, the professional front. For example, you go by only one name, so perhaps you could start out by telling me about its significance.

Mst. Midori: Midori is a classical, ancient Japanese name which means green: the particular, vibrant green of late summer. But also, since itís in the nature of the Japanese language that you can spell a word in various ways, the way my name is spelled not only means green, but is also the name of a character in an early modern Japanese novel. Midori as that special green is spelled with one character, but it can also be spelled with three characters, as my name is: Mi means beauty; do means to rise or to climb up; and ri means pastoral or rural and is also a measurement like a league or a mile. So altogether my name means both a lush, green beauty, and beauty that rises by miles.

WAH: No plain Jane, eh? Is Midori your birth name, or one you selected?

Mst. Midori: Itís my birth name. Many Japanese women have names ending in ko, which is diminutive and so can be read as weak. My mother specifically preferred something with a strong ending like ri. Perhaps itís no accident, then, that by the Asian calendars not only was I born in the year of the horse, which comes around every 12 years, but in the elemental calendar I was also born in a year of fire. So I am represented by the fire horse, which only comes around once every 60 years and is considered a very, very, very bad year for a girl to be born in, in Japan. A fire horse woman is considered to be a man-eater, or a castrating woman. She cannot be tamed, she cannot be reined in – if she can be reined to begin with – she is self-reliant, she speaks her own mind.

WAH: That sounds appropriate for a Mistress.

Mst. Midori: Yes, I take great delight in that. Iím very attached to my name.

WAH: In addition to your auspicious beginning, how do you suppose you came to be who you are?

Mst. Midori: I grew up with a strong oral tradition of family history. My mother, my grandmother, and other women in the family have been historians, in a sense, and Iíve heard from them about our family including some French Huguenot lines and a couple of blood lines going back to the Mayflower. The European half had some good healthy traditions of religious rebellion, although not long ago an ancestor of mine was secretary to the Kaiser, so thereís a bit of German intelligentsia and martial background as well. The European branch of the family came over here in the mid-19th Century and became gentlemen farmers. On my grandmotherís side it was a different sort of remarkable family. She was the seventh child, born in 1901, and not only did all the boys go to the university, but íway back then, at the turn of the last century, all the women also went to college: the older once got jobs to support the younger ones through school, and to support the farm.

WAH: Was your grandmother important to you?

Mst. Midori: Very. She always wanted to make sure I had self-sustaining skills I enjoyed, so the message she taught me early on was, Donít depend on men: theyíre nice, but rely on yourself. This was my motherís mother, who was German-American. German-French-English-American. My father, who is Japanese, was out of the scene rather early on, and a Japanese stepfather eventually entered the scene. The funny part is that my German-American mother is a Japanese literature professor in Japan, and my Japanese step-dad, whoís pretty much the father figure Iíve known, is a professor of German literature and philosophy.

WAH: I can see how theyíd get interested in each other.

Mst. Midori: And my momís a babe: a babe with a brain. Her side of the family formed me familialy to a great extent, though it was my fatherís Japanese culture that had the greater influence on me.

WAH: How do you see that these two cultures influence you?

Mst. Midori: In one sense I have a fierce individuality to the extent that I am proud of being entirely different than anybody else, and of being either an intellectual or a social rebel. On the other hand, I grew up in Japan and Iím keenly aware of how social systems work, so itís as if Iím passing.

WAH: Where are you passing?

Mst. Midori: Everywhere. Iíve been passing all my life. Iím an integrated, high-functioning, active member of whatever community I happen to be in, yet I have a bit of an outsiderís perspective that allows me to be aware of the good and the bad in that particular system. I have just enough distance as an observer to see both whatís screwed up and, at the same time, whatís wonderful.

WAH: How do you use that skill in your work, and in your presence in the sex communities?

Mst. Midori: I pride myself on being able to navigate well in the mainstream. I can wear a business suit and pumps to function in the corporate world, and I can get along in educational institutions. Yet at the same time I can function in the alternative and sex communities. I understand whatís going on, so I can bridge gaps.

WAH: Itís probably apparent to Spectator readers where you might show up in stiletto heels and a corset, but where do you show up in a business suit and pumps?

Mst. Midori: I was a white collar worker for many years. I worked for a Japanese trading company for awhile, and I worked for a couple of companies that manufactured adult goods. I consciously chose to shift from white collar to leather collar.

WAH: What did you do in your white collar?

Mst. Midori: I worked as a sort of account rep for the Japanese trading company, seeing particular trades all the way through and making sure the import-export documents were correct. For the adult goods companies I did a little bit of sales management and a little bit of lower-level marketing management with sex toys and cybersex goods. Iíve always had an academic interest in sex, an getting into an occupation that dealt with the sale of safer sex materials led me into safer sex research and so forth. This all happened at about the same time I was being introduced into the sex communities, so I could combine my educational focus with a focus on my own personal adventure.

WAH: How did you get introduced into the sex communities?

Mst. Midori: There was some sort of erotic cabaret happening five years ago or so, with performance art and nightclubby stuff like what was going on at DNA [at that time a lounge in San Francisco – WAH]. I saw various performers I liked in places like that, and the venue was artsy at the same time it gave me a chance to dress. At one of the parties I attended at that time "Uncle Robert" was sitting at a SFSI [San Francisco Sex Information – WAH] table and homed in on me. He gave me some information and an invitation to a safer sex party, so I had someplace to go where I knew somebody. In that was he was my direct personal introduction to the alternate sex culture here. Anyway, I had already done the Nice Student thing at UC Berkeley back in í85, I was leaving my white collar life, and I was trying to explore bits of the sex scene with other women. But there was such a backlash against any expression of femininity at UC that I felt rejected by the womenís media, and I didnít come out as sexually adventurous because of hostility to that element of dressing. So apart from Robert I attribute my introduction to the sex communities to several of those performances.

WAH: Because you could wear feminine clothes?

Mst. Midori: Yes. My mother and my grandmother were both stylish people. My grandmother had a very masculine elegance about her in a butch sort of way, and still wore a notch-collared double-breasted pantsuit when she was 79 years old. She was really a handsome elderly lady. My mother, on the other hand, was really femme: a very intelligent and sexual creature with classical beauty and a real flair for style. Since they were both important to me Iíve always had a fascination with elegance and style.

WAH: What did you study when you were doing the Nice Student thing at Berkeley?

Mst. Midori: Cocktail conversation. Psychology.

WAH: Did you finish your degree?

Mst. Midori: Yes, I ended up with an interest in general psychology. Berkeley has a heavy bio focus and I really got a kick out of the biological end of things. But then I developed an interest in food anthropology.

WAH:Which is what?

Mst. Midori: The study of food rituals in any society, which is especially interesting in conjunction with mating rituals. For instance, the intensity of a relationship can be judged by what kind of meals youíre having with someone. If Iím having lunch with So-and-so thatís pretty casual. If Iím having dinner with So-and-so thatís getting serious. And if I have breakfast with So-and-so, oh my.

WAH: Well, if breakfast happens after oh my, but if breakfast happens before, itís just another business meeting.

Mst. Midori: Right. Itís the breakfast afterwards that brings a certain flush to the cheeks that speaks to food eroticism.

WAH: Say more about that, please.

Mst. Midori: Some forms of biological functioning have become cultural expressions as well. As human beings we donít have sex in a biologically determined way, for instance, and we donít eat food in a biologically determined way. We eat food and have sex in ways that are compatible with our biological needs, but are defined in the terms of our culture. I can have a really erotic flirtation with somebody over dinner without either of us actually touching the other person, paying complete attention to each other while being aware of the textures going into our mouths, the smells going into our nostrils, the feel of break breaking under our fingers – and, of course, you could exaggerate that experience and make it a whole erotic-visual teasing of the experience of sharing food.

WAH: As in Tom Jones, where thereís a whole, famous scene devoted to supper.

Mst. Midori: My interest in food is cannibalistic. I donít mean I wish to practice cannibalism in the literal sense, but I think there is a figurative or symbolic sense of cannibalism in sexual interchange, in consuming somebody or consuming somebodyís energy. For example, I hear people describe the simple act of p-v sex, penis-vagina intercourse, as if the penis is the active party entering the passive vagina. I see the act more as the vagina engulfing and consuming the penis. In an SM sense, as a top I want to get under somebodyís skin, to get inside his system, to take his being into me, so thereís a certain amount of consuming already: a delightful consuming. Itís not that Iím sucking somebody dry unwillingly, and personally I donít like black hole vampire bottoms who suck the energy right out of me.

WAH: I certainly have experienced vampiric SM. As a top I have the experience of wanting to biteÖ

Mst. Midori: Yes! Yes! Good image.

WAH: Öand sink my teeth into a pair of buttocks and just rip flesh outÖ

Mst. Midori: Ummuh, yes!

WAH: Öwhile knowing that I have to restrain myself from getting to bloodÖ

Mst. Midori: Ohhh.

WAH: Öjust as I have the experience as a bottom of being fed on when somebodyís taking very deeply.

Mst. Midori: Um, ha, um, ha.

WAH: Is that what youíre referring to?

Mst. Midori: Yah. Yes. Um. Thatís part of it.

WAH: Did I excite you?

Mst. Midori: [laughs] Yes. Oh, yes. Iím all flustered. I remember as a teenager drawing a picture from something like National Geographic of one lion biting another lionís neck while looking up into the camera. It must have been horrifying for the photographer, but I can feel myself sinking my teeth into – well, Iím not going to break skin, but I certainly feel that symbolic bloodlust.

WAH: Youíre breaking psychic skin.

Mst. Midori: Yes. Yes, and thatís very exciting.

WAH: How does that kind of experience manifest for you in your personal and/or professional lives?

Mst. Midori: In my personal life I play with people with whom I am sufficiently intimate that I can sink my teeth into them, literally. Thatís a real pleasure. Professionally, I divert it. Iím very aware of the desire simmering just beneath my own skin, and I turn it into a flogging or a really hard pinch, or I dive into somebodyís gaze.

WAH: When you dive into somebodyís gaze are you entering it, or are you being engulfed by it?

Mst. Midori: Iím entering it, and part of me is trying to surround them as well. I like the metaphor of getting under somebodyís skin as I like playing with piercings, whether theyíre temporary or permanent. I like activities that get into somebodyís system. I like the feeling of tapping into someoneís body and swimming in their veins.

WAH: What do you like to pierce?

Mst. Midori: In certain spiritual scenes I like, where I am more a guide than a torturer, I like to pierce a lot around the chest so I can be right with the bottom, with his eyes and face and his breathing I can feel on my skin. If Iím being more of a torturer I like piercing genitals.

WAH: What kinds of genital piercing do you like?

Mst. Midori: I like playing in the perineum of a gentleman, which is often a neglected and forgotten area, and I like the aesthetics of having needles in the entire length of the shaft of the penis. Very pretty.

WAH: On the sides, the top, the bottom?

Mst. Midori: Oh, the frenum underneath. And sometimes itís nice to pierce up around the corona to give it a crown of needles.

WAH: You get a little blood that way.

Mst. Midori: Ummm.

WAH: Do you like that?

Mst. Midori: Yes.

WAH: What about blood do you like?

Mst. Midori: The taboo, I think.

WAH: Like cannibalism. Tell me more about you and taboo.

Mst. Midori: In a sense Iím a taboo. In Japan Iím a half-breed, something that should not have happened. Worse yet, I was successful: I was one of the top students in the Japanese public schools. If youíre not ethnically pure in Japan thatís believed to be impossible.

WAH: So what do you do about taboo?

Mst. Midori: Taboos have symbolic natures that I think need to be honored. For example, blood is taboo not only because of HIV, but because youíre not supposed to break somebody elseís skin. Itís too intimate, and it challenges the fine line between the sacred and the profane. Blood is so precious itís denied. Since playing with it is also potentially fatal, to dabble in it is dancing with the devil. In addition to the taboo, I also enjoy the sight of it. I enjoy feeling the personís blood under my hand, and I enjoy the sense that Iím playing just this side of that fatal line. But Iíd like to be around the planet for a long time, so I take all the precautions of cleanliness and minimizing exposure, and instead of diving into stupid risks I make symbolic interpretations: when I play with blood I have on latex gloves.

WAH: It sounds as if the edge is the kind of taboo you like.

Mst. Midori: Yes. My sporting activities reflect that as well.

WAH: Such as?

Mst. Midori: Whitewater rafting, parachuting, skiing, snow boarding.

WAH: Where do you parachute?

Mst. Midori: That was back in my military days. I had come over from Japan to the States. My mother is a bleeding-heart liberal, my step-dad is an East-German-educated communist, whatís a girl to do to rebel – be a hippie? No, I joined the US Army Reserves. I enlisted in high school. I was in the reserves for six years, and Iíve just recently been separated from inactive reserve. I came from a very feminine household in a gentle, academic environment, and actually I think I joined the military not just to express my teenage rebellion, but also to find a sense of my masculinity. The extreme expression of masculinity in our society is the brutality of war. Thereís a certain machismo to it, and I do have a romantic notion of the honorable soldier.

WAH: What did you do in the reserves? Did they send you anyplace?

Mst. Midori: I did bug my commander enough to send me to Japan because I wanted the free trip to see my folks, and that was great. By the time I left I had my credentials in Soviet technical intelligence under my belt, had been to airborne school, and had received my commission as an officer.

WAH: You were a lieutenant in the army?

Mst. Midori: I went in as a private and worked my way up.

WAH: What did you do as an intelligence officer?

Mst. Midori: Itís a management job, a desk jockey thing. You push paper around a lot, hang out, and tell tall tales.

WAH: Has the army stood you in good stead in your SM career?

Mst. Midori: I think I have a uniform fetish. Professionally, Iím usually a sensual dominant: in control, cool, calm, and collected. I enjoy the seduction of bringing a man to his knees through the pure erotic power a woman possesses, using lots of black leather or satin clothing and beautiful high heels, all very sexy and heightened with the voice and soft touches as I hold the key to erotic pleasure. The seduction may be laced with pain, but it also has the rewards of sensuality. In my private play I sometimes enjoy being in my fatigues and being an aggressor instead. On occasion when I don the military persona I can get very rough, very mean.

WAH: What do you do when you get rough?

Mst. Midori: I like to take a person down physically. For example, I tend to do very elegant, sensual bondage, but I also do brutal, dirty bondage that gets a person vulnerable quickly so I can take advantage of him, terrorize him, and bring fear to the surface of his skin. I guess what I end up doing is a military rape scene: Iíll take a personís arm and twist it behind his back, bend him forward with a knee in his buttocks or his back and force him down onto his knees or maybe onto the ground. Iíll keep his arm bent behind his back continuously while applying pressure steadily for pain or discomfort, then quickly take out rope and wrap it roughly around an arm or a wrist and attach it to some stationary object to free my own hand. Then the knife comes out. I like the sound of that cold steel going click right near his ear. If itís been negotiated I might cut his clothing off, run the blade along the surface of his skin, cut the skin off – oh, not skin! [mutual laughter] Oh! Nice slip!

WAH: Is that whatís really going on underneath? Is cutting the skin off what you really want to do? To keep going?

Mst. Midori: Yes, I guess I really do want to cut into the person, to see a wound opening – but I donít.

WAH: You see the difference between the fantasy and the behavior, but does knowing the direction you want to go in inform the intensity of your play?

Mst. Midori: Well, yeah.

WAH: I know that in professional work you negotiate everything, everything is consensual, and you honor limits. I also know that while you have your own repeat clients a lot of your other clients are novices, and that as a professional you donít want to frighten the horses. On the other hand, when you get to know someone fairly well might things get a little different?

Mst. Midori: Yes, but my Berkeley background keeps me restrained.

WAH: Did you also learn restraint from your Japanese background?

Mst. Midori: Restraint? Verbal? Emotional? Or the actual use of rope?

WAH: You tell me.

Mst. Midori: Restraint. I prefer to err on the side of politeness. I abhor rudeness. If a client is being rude to me on the phone I will simply decline the business. And I make it a point never, ever to sink to rudeness regardless of how someone treats me. I think that because of my Japanese background Iím aware that most people are restrained in their playing, and in some sense my work is to take away their self-imposed restraint.

WAH: As a former psych student you know that the more restrained people are on the outside, the less restrained they are likely to be on the inside: there has to be a balance someplace.

Mst. Midori: Serious case of undertow. Yes, itís nice to provide a safe space, and if putting restraints on the flesh means a person can take away his self-imposed restraint, great!

WAH: Would it be safe to guess that bondage is something that interests you?

Mst. Midori: Love it.

WAH: And youíre experienced?

Mst. Midori: Yes, and Iím always learning. I look at people like Kaye Buckley, Lou [Duff], Wolf, Amanda Wildefyre, pictures of John Willieís bondage, and some of the Japanese bondage greats and Iím humbled.

WAH: As a top what do you especially like, other than bondage, knives, blood, and piercing?

Mst. Midori: I like alternating pain and sensuality, as when I smile into somebodyís eyes while hurting him a lot. I have tiny little delicate hands that can pinch and hurt very well: nipples, the flesh under the upper arm, inner thighs, the sides of the rib cage, ears – all the soft spots that are ignored in daily life. Oh, and feet! The soles of the feet! Itís amazing what results I can get from torturing somebodyís feet with pressure points and fingernails. When I have somebody in bondage with his feet up I might start off by caressing his feet gently to get them nice and relaxed, then slowly press my thumbs into certain spots that cause pain, and keep pushing until the pain becomes excruciating. Clothespins on the soles of the feet can be quite effective, and once the skin of the soles seems to be awake I can bring out something like steel-tipped fingernails, claw spike-tipped nails, or the Wurtenburg wheel. By now the person is attempting to jump onto the ceiling, but he canít because heís tied down. So he squirms and moans and maybe giggles hysterically, and I can see how good my bondage really is.

WAH: Clearly you find this pleasurable.

Mst. Midori: Yes, I do.

WAH: From where I sit it looks as if you also find it erotic.

Mst. Midori: Well, the palms of my hands are sweaty [mutual laughter].

WAH: Every time you talk about giving pain you get this lethal expression on your face: you just start to vibrate. What is it that you enjoy about giving pain?

Mst. Midori: Getting a reaction. I hate playing with somebody so stoic that I could be branding him and he doesnít flinch. I hate that. When Iím controlling the kind of input a person gets in his body, whether itís a soft caress or a really nasty pinch, I like to cause a reaction.

WAH: Do your clients find this erotic?

Mst. Midori: The ones I do it to, yes. On occasion, with somebody who does not find it erotic, I may bring out foot torture as a punishment, so I even keep it up my sleeve for those who donít enjoy it. And whatever it is that caused me to apply that torture is something that person wonít do again. Itís like dog training, and one way or another, Iíll enjoy it.

WAH: What other kinds of training do you do?

Mst. Midori: I like grass drills. Grass drill is a form of training football players and the military use. To a platoon or a group of players – or to an individual – you give a certain sequence of exercises, such as run in place, do push-up, do leg lifts, stand still. You bark out the commands and watch the person hop up and down doing the exercises.

WAH: How about you?

Mst. Midori: Me? I sit back and see how quickly he can do them and watch him get exhausted. If he doesnít, a little single-tail or a paddle can motivate him to move faster. I also like 52-card pickup – done my way. For instance, I may give someone a certain amount of time to put the cards in a certain sequence, but his feet may be bound together, or he may not be able to use one hand, or I might be sitting on his back calling off the time while heís on all fours trying to collect the cards. Iím trying to find a set of Japanese playing cards that will be more difficult for people to identify.

WAH: When Iíve seen you in social settings, even deeply costumed, youíve seemed so contained and demure. Itís engaging to find out whatís beneath the skin.

Mst. Midori: Oh, I can be a brat. I like to laugh and giggle and enjoy myself with the little annoyances bratty children do to really push your buttons. Hair pulling, riding the babysitter horsey style.

WAH: Speaking of costume, one of the great party questions these days is, Whatís Midori going to wear today? [laughs] I donít think Iíve ever seen you in the same costume twice.

Mst. Midori: Probably not.

WAH: How did costume become so important to you?

Mst. Midori: My godfather was a professional female impersonator in the kabuki theatre. He was a real butch guy offstage, and a beautiful woman onstage. He died when I was young due to puff fish poisoning – Japanese roulette – but I remember a photo of him in front of the dressing room table in between the stages from man to woman, so I had a little bit of theatre influence in my family. Some people may use costume to hide and become something they want to be, or to search for something they are not, but for me costuming is a process of self-expression, a way to distill what I am. I find out what kind of mood Iím in – sensual, freaky, alien-like, primitive, angry, bitchy, cute – and take that little kernel of feeling or emotion and blow it up into an entire outfit. Then instead of being just kind of prissy and mildly irritated I can be one hell of a drag queen bitch. Once I was feeling very animal-like, just wanting my basic needs met, and feeling very – not like a lion, but like one of the smaller wild cats. I couldnít figure out what to wear, so I frizzed out a red wig and wore a loincloth and body paint and was very feline. I growled a lot, but when Sybil [Holiday] saw me I rolled over on my back and made beta animal motions.

WAH: Iím sure Sybil appreciated that.

Mst. Midori: She rubbed my belly, which I really liked.

WAH: For you, costume ties into erotic theatre and into performance art generally. Tell me about your experiences with performance art.

Mst. Midori: It started because I was doing fabulous costume and being a good presence at a party, so somebody asked me to go onstage. I donít consider myself an accomplished performance artist, I just go out there and have fun. In that way Iíve performed at Dragstrip, Lustre, and Bondage-a-Go-Go up here, and at Stiletto down in LA. I did a fetish Kali at a recent Slick: I started out in a red patent leather corset, a dress, a gas mask, and horns. I had a person behind me so I had four arms holding items like a whip, a knife, a dildo, and a vibrator. It started theatrically with a young man bringing a woman onstage, stabbing her, murdering her in sacrifice to me. Then the third and fourth arms came around and unzipped my dress, my dress fell off, and I emerged in a Joan of Arc-like armor corset to rescue the beautiful girl. I had a liver and blood in a plastic bag under the boyís shirt. I stabbed it to get the blood going, then I took out the liver and made like I was eating it. That was the fetish Kali. Last May I had about 30 needles in my body with filament and feathers along my arms and back, and did a lot of grotesque industrial movement after a nice tribal opening. Then there was a shift in music, and with technical support from Wolf I took flight, physically. I wanted to be disturbing to the people who have only seen me as the Diva Midori. Iíve also done some fashion shows locally for Stormy Leather, Dark Garden, Catherine Coatney, and Divanet, and I collaborated with Michael Manning on Peep, which is a German television show. I did an HBO show called Real Sex, and Iíve done several HBO segments for Sex Bytes, which was a referral from Uncle Robert and Carol [Queen]. The HBO people were looking for somebody who would have cybersex with a couple somewhere else. I hemmed and hawed because like almost anyone with a modem Iíve played around with cybersex and found most of it incredibly mundane. I mean, people are having missionary sex online. Hello? Anyway, I did one segment on cybersex, one on corsetting, and another on whipping. I participated in a rubber wedding, and I did a segment on suspension rope bondage with Wolf. Last summer I was voted Queen of the Fetish Ball in LA. But because Iím not focused on these things to earn a living or for a career, theyíre just a chance to have fun. If theyíre educational as well, of course, all the better.

WAH: You were also in Playboy, werenít you?

Mst. Midori: Yes, I was in a spread called "Women of the Internet." We did the shoot at Playmates, which is a kinky lingerie shop in LA. I talked about being a proud feminist and received lots of e-mail questions about how a feminist could appear in Playboy. The people who asked didnít understand how trying on the role of an American icon or an archetype like that might be doing drag.

WAH: You talk mostly in terms of being a top, but displaying as a beta animal with Sybil is not top behavior. Do you ever bottom?

Mst. Midori: Oh, yes, Iím a switch. I started out bottoming, and I was quite the little bottom pig.

WAH: What do you like as a bottom?

Mst. Midori: Bondage! A good flogging with a nice buildup. I like sensation, but Iím a lousy submissive. A friend described me as a princess bottom: Iím to be tied up and have horrible things done to me – oh, nooo! I like the entire attention of the top devoted to me. I like being doted upon. I was an only child.

WAH: Do you like being doted upon as a top as well?

Mst. Midori: Yes I do, but that was harder to learn.

WAH: Well, itís much more a dominance and submission skill than an SM skill, and actually I donít know how much of it is a skill and how much it is innate. It seems to me to be something you are or are not receptive to.

Mst. Midori: I think I had to overcome a degree of cultural discomfort. Asking for what we want is often difficult for women. But I learned. I enjoy being bathed and dressed. I like having a boudoir servant.

WAH: You like intimate service.

Mst. Midori: Yes. And I enjoy foot and heel worship.

WAH: What do you enjoy about foot worship scenes?

Mst. Midori: I like the view. I like seeing somebody at my feet. I find it exciting. My feet are erogenous on their own so I love having them pleasured, especially if I can teach a person how to do it.

WAH: What is your style of SM?

Mst. Midori: Itís a play space: a sweet, safe space to express yourself through vulnerability or power, where I like to be compassionate. In the normal course of everyday life the person Iím playing with is not free to ask for pain. With me, he is. I give him pain, I hope he enjoys it, and I watch the pain process to gauge its effect, whether that effect is pleasure, terror, what have you. Providing the space for that experience is how I express my compassion.

WAH: How long have you been playing?

Mst. Midori: Back in the mid-late í80s I had a college relationship in which we tied each other down to the bed and screwed. That continued until about five years ago when I got into heavier private play. Before taking big, adventurous leaps I tend to watch a lot, so before I took this big leap I went to parties and watched play scenes and listened. I didnít have connections with many people and I didnít always feel safe playing at parties, so I didnít push my envelope too much. I owe a lot to people who did play publicly. After I made some closer friends I started to push myself more. Professionally, mutual friends put me in touch with Kaye Buckley. Initially I apprenticed to her for purely personal reasons: I wanted to learn more skills for my private play. I bottomed for her, I co-topped with her, and I watched and I learned and I started to enjoy it more and more. I had no intentions of turning full-time Pro. But since I was unhappy with the white collar world it seemed a sensible business choice of a flexible, self-expressive career. I agonized for about six months while I took on more clients and felt more comfortable and confident with my work. I got a lot of business information and technical skill from Kaye [Buckley] and from other professionals like Sybil [Holiday], Ilsa [Strix], and Amanda [Wildefyre], all of whom have been very cool about sharing. And then Iíve learned from my clients.

WAH: What do you learn from your clients?

Mst. Midori: I learn specifics, like what kind of after-care people may need, or what key phrases translate into what actual activity. For example, a person might start talking about foot worship, but if I probe enough I might find out that the submission of being prostrate at a womanís feet is actually more important to him than the foot itself. And, of course, some clients bring new ideas.

WAH: In the San Francisco sex communities some people teach courses, some run organizations, some throw parties, some publish magazines. Is there anything in particular that you do to give back to the community?

Mst. Midori: Iím on the training staff for SFSI [San Francisco Sex Information], which is a major commitment, and after assisting several people teach courses at QSM Iíve begun to teach some of my own – one on costumes and corsets, for example.

WAH: Do you have a personal support system?

Mst. Midori: My primary partner is my best friend as well as my lover, which is wonderful. The San Francisco SM community and the safer sex community are also open and available. Iíve got a good therapist who is SM supportive, and oddly enough I have a little private group of professional women I meet with, entirely unrelated to SM, who know what I do and how kinky I am, who supported me through my transition from white collar to leather collar, which I found really remarkable because most of them are straight, and who love me for myself. Itís a white collar group that said "cool." In terms of my business I have a nice group of returning clientele, and the business woman in me says this is a sign Iím doing something right.


As of January 1999, Mistress Midori can be reached by telephone at (415) 584-5200, or on the web at

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