Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sub Rosa: What's Hidden Brings a Man to His Knees

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Shakespeare was pretty brilliant. Even though he drew upon previous sources when he wrote Romeo & Juliet, the story still stands today. Unfortunately for the author, shortly after meeting Doctor Who, he passed away before he could write about the doctor’s extra-terrestrial origins in The Shakespeare Code.

On a good day you can pick almost any topic and write something about it that has to do with kink. Well, today is a very good day and today’s topic is roses, I like a challenge. That is right, that beautiful flower. Of course there is the book “Screw me the roses, send me the thorns”, but that would be too easy.

I'll choose love over lust. Always. No if's, no but's.

The triskelion has become the symbol for BDSM. It is often shown with thorns or made entirely out of roses. Personally I prefer the Yin and Yang symbol, but for some reason the kink community prefers ancient opaque languages, just think of Enigma and their Gregorian chants. Sometimes it feels that music is compulsory for kinksters.

First, let’s establish what a rose is. Everybody knows it is a symbol of love duh, but there is more. Quoting Wikipedia:

"Firstly, the rose's connotation of secrecy dates back also to Greek mythology. Aphrodite gave a rose to her son Eros, the god of love; he, in turn, gave it to Harpocrates, the god of silence and a Greek name for a form of Horus, to ensure that his mother's indiscretions (or those of the gods in general, in other accounts) were not disclosed. Secondly, in Egypt, the rose was actually sacred to Isis but this appears to have been during the Roman period of Egyptian history—"Probably due to assimilation with the goddess Aphrodite (Venus), during the Roman period, the rose was used in her worship."[citation needed] The demand for roses throughout the empire turned rose production into an important industry."

Now we’re getting somewhere. Roses were used in worshiping goddesses, especially Aphrodite, which makes them quite apt for BDSM purposes

The rose as a symbol of secrecy has a long history. The Latin phrase sub rosa means "under the rose" and is used in English to denote secrecy or confidentiality. In ancient times the Romans gathered and drank under a rose, often painted on the ceiling. Whatever was discussed was meant to stay confidential or secret. Apart from practical reason to protect my privacy, I like the cloak and dagger stuff, the secrecy that comes with BDSM and the fact that things are often not what they seem. The idea that people have a secret identity, hidden from plain view, is fascinating. In reality I believe people are more like diamonds, many faceted, depending on your point of view, but for argument sake the idea that people have a vanilla side that is visible to the outside world and a kinky side that is hidden sub rosa (yes, bonus points for using the word sub), works pretty well. It is also the way mainstream media prefer to portray BDSM enthusiasts.


Someone I definitely know of there is more than meets the eye is singer Grace Jones, a woman who exemplifies female strength and mystique. She warrants her own post, which follows later. For the preview, just look at some of her song titles: Slave To The Rhythm, On Your Knees and Warm Leatherette. Then there is the way she dresses, she’s a fashion icon in her own right. Still not convinced: read this line from a 2010 Guardian interview:

"You're lucky I've not got my whip! My hands were cold, so that heats them up a bit. Good for circulation. And the red wine."

The majority of her songs and albums have “vanilla” song titles. Her breakthrough came with La Vie En Rose, originally sung by Edith Piaff—Jones released the song in 1977— it became a hit all across Europe, something which is rare for a non-English song. I fell in love with the song straight away.

But when I ran it through Google translate, my French is terrible, something unexpected happened. The song has 38 lines, coincidence or not, if you add up 3 + 8 you get 11. How’s that for sub rosa?

It has to be a fluke I thought, so I checked another great song with rose in the title: Kiss From A Rose written and performed Seal, only to find out that it has 56 lines, yes that adds up to 11 as well. So much coincidence, red string of fate flashed in my mind and simultaneously 缘分. When my browser served up yet another - higly peculiar - fact about Grace Jones I knew I reached my limit. That's where this story ends. Rather abruptly, I apologize.



Below the lyrics of both La Vie En Rose and Kiss From A Rose, so you can check for yourself.

La Vie En Rose - Grace Jones
01    Des yeux qui font baiser les miens,
02    Un rire qui se perd sur sa bouche,
03    Voila le portrait sans retouche
04    De l'homme auquel j'appartiens
   
05    Quand il me prend dans ses bras
06    Il me parle tout bas,
07    Je vois la vie en rose.
   
08    Il me dit des mots d'amour,
09    Des mots de tous les jours,
10    Et ca me fait quelque chose
   
11    Il est entre dans mon coeur
12    Une part de bonheur
13    Dont je connais la cause.
   
14    C'est lui pour moi. Moi pour lui
15    Dans la vie,
16    Il me l'a dit, l'a jure pour la vie
   
17    Et des que je l'apercois
18    Alors je sens en moi
19    Mon coeur qui bat
   
20    Des nuits d'amour a ne plus en finir
21    Un grand bonheur qui prend sa place
22    Des enuis des chagrins, des phases
23    Heureux, heureux a en mourir
   
24    Quand il me prend dans ses bras
25    Il me parle tout bas,
26    Je vois la vie en rose
   
27    Il me dit des mots d'amour,
28    Des mots de tous les jours,
29    Et ca me fait quelque chose
   
30    Il est entre dans mon coeur
31    Une part de bonheur
32    Dont je connais la cause
   
33    C'est toi pour moi. Moi pour toi
34    Dans la vie,
35    Il me l'a dit, l'a jure pour la vie.
   
36    Et des que je l'apercois
37    Alors je sens en moi
38    Mon coeur qui bat

Kiss From A Rose - Seal
01    There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea.
02    You became the light on the dark side of me.
03    Love remained a drug that's the high and not the pill.
   
04    But did you know,
05    That when it snows,
06    My eyes become large and,
07    The light that you shine can be seen.
   
08    Baby,
09    I might compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey.
10    Ooh,
11    The more I get of you
12    Stranger it feels, yeah.
13    And now that your rose is in bloom,
14    A light hits the gloom on the grey.
   
15    There is so much a man can tell you,
16    So much he can say.
   
17    You remain,
18    My power, my pleasure, my pain.
19    Baby, to me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny
20    Won't you tell me is that healthy, baby?
   
21    But did you know,
22    That when it snows,
23    My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen.
   
24    Baby,
25    I might compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey.
26    Ooh, the more I get of you
27    stranger it feels, yeah.
   
28    Now that your rose is in bloom.
29    A light hits the gloom on the grey,
   
30    I've been kissed by a rose on the grey,
31    I've been kissed by a rose ( on the grey)
32    ...And if I should fall, at all
33    I've been kissed by a rose (on the grey)
   
34    There is so much a man can tell you,
35    So much he can say.
   
36    You remain
37    My power, my pleasure, my pain.
   
38    To me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny
39    Won't you tell me is that healthy, baby.
   
40    But did you know,
41    That when it snows,
42    My eyes become large and,
43    the light that you shine can be seen.
   
44    Baby,
45    I might compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey,
46    Ooh, the more I get of you
47    Stranger it feels, yeah
   
48    Now that your rose is in bloom,
49    A light hits the gloom on the grey.
   
50    Yes I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey.
51    Ooh, the more I get of you
52    stranger it feels, yeah.
   
53    Now that your rose is in bloom.
54    A light hits the gloom on the grey,
   
55    Now that your rose is in bloom.
56    A light hits the gloom on the grey.

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