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A Corset Moment With Pearl

Interviewed by Mistress Angel Stern
For Verbal Abuse Magazine Issue 3: New Religions

ANGEL STERN: First of all Pearl I want to make certain you have received permission from your Mistress-Master to speak with us on these intimate topics.
PEARL: Of Corset.

A: Was it your Mistress-Master who first imposed the discipline of corsetry upon you, or did you present yourself as already advanced in fetish?
P: It was a combination of the two. Having dabbled in lacing on my own, I had yet to become fully intoxicated with the pleasures of a twenty-four hour, seven-day week in strict corsetry. My Mistress advanced my knowledge on the subject - certainly.

A: Please tell us of your earliest experience in the art of corsetry.
P: When I was a young boy I often helped my grandmother lace herself into her corset. She wore it every day. It was of a lovely peach-coloured fabric, in the long-line style. It took a long time, every morning, to be laced into it. She would allow me to help her. She still corsets herself - not for aesthetic reasons - it is not for a waist -reduction but to support her spine. I must have been about three when I made note of this power about her. My fascination from that point then of course began to meander along other paths.

A: The age of three is the first dawning of consciousness - so yours was instantly imbued with her corsetted image. P: Yes, and I would have a much smaller waist by now if I had then been placed in corsets.

A: On the cover of this magazine your photograph might strike many as conveying a dominant attitude. You and I know there is no contradiction in an advanced submissive acquiring a powerful stance. To move away for the moment from the beaten subject, what might be a special dominant fantasy of yours?
P: People who are familiar with these subtleties will see that I am in the photo not as dominant as I appear to be. It is the corset that is the Dominant. If you give yourself over to it, in wearing such a garment you are giving yourself up, losing yourself in the Discipline. My only dominant fantasy I think is to place another in a corset and tight-lace them. I am not knowledgeable however in the finer points of domination. Though I hold the cane it is to offer it to my Mistress-Master. I was heavily disciplined at school, of course - the use of the cane is known to me from the other side. To be caned is to know the great pleasure of correction - and I feel caning is the best method to show the Way. For me, the cane is as an accessory to the corset. My Mistress herself uses the cane as a form of exercise, as one would play a game of golf. Of course we understand she is a Disciplinarian. Ballet-masters too make great use of the cane, to urge His pupils on towards their perfection, so difficult to achieve. I think over these variations quite often.

A: It has been my observation that many sadomasochists have mathematical ability - especially the more sadistically inclined. I see corsetry as a fetish for number and for measurement. Are you mathematically adept? What are some of your magic numbers?
P: I of course studied mathematics in school and I cannot say that I was at all good at it. In my work too I must work with numbers, specialized measurings ... Of course the waist-size magic-number is eighteen. Any number below eighteen becomes extremely potent - yes I would say magical. The smallest I have known is thirteen, so the numbers between 13 and 18 are very potent, each denoting some ultimate point. The number 26 is for me a special figure - but it is not related to a thing physical, but to a time, an age, a special date.

A: The author Wilhelm Stekel has a chapter in his Sexual Aberrations relating the case of a corset-fetishist. To his mind, his mistress possessed such perfect qualities, that he measured her, "to preserve her by measuring her off seventy-five times. This gave (him) a basis for choosing a future wife. The seventy-five measurements were: fourteen times with her clothes on, fourteen times naked, twenty-seven limb measurements, and twenty special measurements of her lacings."
P: Very beautiful.

A: In your work as a designer and corsetier...
P: Forgive me - I am a designer who employs the corset and lacings into his designs. I am not a corsetier - I have not attained that specialized knowledge. There are only about five left in the whole world now, who possess that art. I hope one day to be amongst them ... in the meantime, I specialize in laced and boned garments.

A: Wilhelm Stekel believed that fetishism was not only a religion but a form of true asceticism in that it avoids so-called 'normal' sexual intercourse. If tight-lacing is your religion, how does the tying of the final bow awaken your worshipful attitude?
P: To wear the corset all the time, the way I do, is my true discipline. To be tied all the time - as I am - one is best when left tied. Except when you bathe of course. I am always tied. It is very odd now to be loose - to be loose, to leave the laces even slightly untied is wrong - one feels unnatural, incomplete. It is essential to always wear the corset very tight and well-tied. We understand the tying of the bow denotes possession. The gentleman who has the pleasure of tying the final bow owns you. The maid might do the lacings, but the owner of the laced will tie the final knot. Both gentlemen and ladies in this modern age have lost the sensibility to appreciate that possession - that benign ownership. The only thing he might lace is his sneaker. [This said with a note of despair, a melancholy laugh.] One is sadly left to manipulate only one's own few laces.

A: Do you have a maid or valet to help you in dressing?
P: In a funny sort of way, I do, at times. Of course to have such a servant to help one dress is the correct way ... But while I might be in possession of my valet, or maid, they are controlling my sensations, as they lace me. As Master of the Laces, might they not come to possess me?

A: I am certain you observe certain dietary disciplines. Perhaps you have dinner early at home, like the corsetted gentlewomen of old, before going out straight-laced to a dinner party?
P: Of course it is very important to observe a regular life under the discipline of corsetry. It requires a regular, moderate intake, preferably at the same time each day. To eat a meal at eleven in the evening is to insure an uncomfortable sleep. An after-dinner stroll is recommended. I sometimes work, engage in some little activity before bed.

A: So you sleep in corsets?
P: It's essential. Essential. In order to achieve any significant waist reduction.

A: Must you avoid certain foods such as meat?
P: Nothing deep-fried, no junk food. Beans are a disaster. Beer - definitely not.

A: Describe the ecstatic trance of an extended corsetting.
P: In the beginning of my discipline I experienced it as a euphoria and more often than I do now. Now I am only comfortable, and I am uncomfortable without the corset. I see this trance-state in others now; in the beginning, a kind of claustrophobia overtakes them, that in extreme situations leads to a faint. It depends on their level. We seek a kind of sustained euphoria that may take you by surprise - we call it the Corset Moment. You cannot take anymore - cannot go forward - but neither can you withdraw. Now that you have started, you must and you will go on. This sensation I might liken to a roller coaster - fear, even terror, then exhilaration. The corset has taken you over, you cannot think of anything else. It takes over your mind. Your whole being is now subject to its embrace.

A: The Corset-Moment - would it come towards the end of your capacity to suffer the restriction?
P: No - it is at the beginning. It is good to know when you are going to have one. To have smelling-salts on hand is a good idea. But I must say to loosen the corset at that Moment is a bad idea. One must pass through it, emerge through discipline. It is alright of course to move about, adjust it several times, always understanding the goal to be attained.

A: In my experience I have not met anyone as disciplined as you. The reaction I meet with most often is rebellion, and the attempt to escape, once well-laced.
P: If you think they are not truly fashioned to attain the Corset Moment, it is better to unlace them - to avoid a fainting.

A: In Stekel's case of the corset-fetishist, dating from 1905, he relates from the man's 'fetish-bible': Self-realization! Cause and course of my disease is defined. Cure impossible! My spirit is on the royal road to insanity - the doctor predicts softening of the brain, sexual dementia." There follows then a description of a humiliating interview with his local Father Confessor, who of course can only urge him to be celibate and give up even thinking about his fetish-love. Did you ever, perhaps early in your life, suffer from a comparable self-hatred, or feel that you needed to give up your love, find some 'cure'?
P: At a certain point in my adolescence, I did have some problems because of my Christian upbringing, in regard to what I was being taken over by. But I find that the guilt simply becomes a part of what you are doing. I think everyone is unhappy in some way with that they are naturally ... so the point of self-modification could be said to derive from a kind of poor self-esteem. So to alter oneself in an extreme way might be an expression even of self-hatred. But I think it is deep-rooted in human beings to desire to alter one's natural self. We are prepared to push through all barriers, sometimes in extreme ways. In the positive sense, this is art. Alteration is often for aesthetic reasons. My Mistress would agree - as she alters herself to be more aesthetically pleasing. Ladies have different intentions than a gentleman in altering themselves. It is attached to wishing to be other than what one is, both physically and psychically. Self-hatred enters into it, but, in service to Art, must not dominate. Unfortunately nowadays one too often performs the alteration only for oneself. The happiest ladies have a gentleman behind them, and these ladies usually have the smallest waists. They're very lucky. But I often wonder, who is behind the gentleman who laces them? Is it a lady, urging them on?

A: Pearl, we are sorry you no longer live in New York.
P: I have returned to London, to be closer to the source of what I do. What's left of the art of corsetry is still alive in England.

Photos by Michael James O'Brian for Verbal Abuse Magazine, 1993