Matt oozed down the hotel hallway, surveying the crowd. He had dressed to impress this hypnocon with his favorite sports coat and some brand new shoes. He waved over at one of his older friends in the corner- a guy he went way back with. Matt was glad to see that there were some good people still around in the community. It had all gotten too PC and self-victimizing lately for him.
Matt couldn’t help but notice this year that there were quite a few female attendees who wouldn’t meet his eye. He hated how the hypnokink community had become so judgmental against men. Matt had never hurt anyone- not without their consent at least. It wasn’t his responsibility that some of these younger girls wanted some fucked up things. Matt had always and only been fulfilling both his and his partners’ needs. This was kink, after all, not meditation class. Matt had been around awhile- he knew that people wouldn’t do anything under hypnosis that they didn’t secretly want to do anyway. Matt just freed people from their self-imposed baggage. It wasn’t his fault that some previous partners had figured out that kink wasn’t for them and left the community. Everyone was an adult here.
As Matt walked near the registration table, he noticed a young woman that he had never seen before. She was Asian with long pretty hair. Her Pokemon dress hung loosely on her slim body. She was standing all by herself, looking around nervously.
Maybe con wouldn’t be so bad after all, Matt thought to himself.
He walked over to her and waved.
“Hi! I’m HypnoMaster69! But you can call me Matt. Are you here all by yourself?”
“Yeah,” she said. “I’m Amy. I just saw that this was happening on the internet and I live close by so I took the chance and showed up. I didn’t know that I needed a different name.” She looked down abashedly at “Amy” written in big letters on her name tag.
Matt laughed, pleased. “Maybe we can find another one for you here. Can I give you a hug?”
“Errr…..sure I guess?” she responded, awkwardly leaning in to the hug.
Matt smiled after letting her go. “I’m glad you aren’t weird about physical touch. This is a VERY touchy community- people sometimes find it off-putting if you’re too frigid about that.”
‘Oh,” said Amy.
“I’m happy that I ran into you!” said Matt. “I don’t really have a lot of plans for this con and I like showing new people around. It can be hard to learn the community ropes sometimes. For example, your badge- did you know that putting all the stickers on the top of your badge like that usually means that you’re a hypnotist?”
Amy’s eyes widened a bit. “It does?”
Matt giggled. “Yeah. You’ll probably have thirsty pathetic men falling at your feet all weekend begging you to hypnotize them. It’ll be hilarious. Don’t worry though- I’ll protect you. I’ve been a hypnotist for decades- people around here respect that and won’t mess with me. By the way, have you ever been hypnotized before?”
Amy smiled. “Once or twice” She seemed privately amused by something.
Great, a newbie, Matt thought. ‘Well you’ll have a chance to see and experience all KINDS of things this weekend. You’ll love it. If you’d like, maybe we can play together a bit later on? I’d like to show you what you’re capable of.”
“I think I might like that,” said Amy. “Come to a few classes with me so I can see some things I’d like to try and then we can talk about planning some play. Deal?” She extended her hand for a handshake.
“Deal,” Matt said, also extending his hand.
For a moment, Matt’s attention felt diverted somewhere- something was odd.
Meh. It probably wasn’t important to think about.
“C’mon, “ said Amy. “Let’s go to the class on anchoring.”
Matt sat besides Amy all class.
Matt was having a hard time paying attention today. The class was so boring that he felt some of his morning sleepiness again. He had thought he had chased those feelings off with coffee but… apparently not. Matt would have definitely presented this class better. He should have insisted on presenting this year.
Fortunately, feeling bored had given him plenty of time to watch Amy. She seemed really engaged in the class. It was endearing watching her take notes and bounce a little bit when she heard something that excited her. Matt would be sure to show her some anchoring tricks later on that would really blow her subby little mind. If she liked this lecture, she would LOVE all the things he could do.
Fantastically, it turned out that Amy was the kind of touchy that Matt was. She would lean over during class and make comments to him- some that he would pay attention to and some would slide right past him in his boredom. He noticed that sometimes when she was talking or when the presenter said certain things, she would lean over and touch his shoulder lightly. That felt nice. She must really be into him.
At the end of class, Amy let Matt see the knitting needles and wool she had brought to con. It was the kind of girly hobby that he wouldn’t have normally been interested in, but Amy’s enthusiastic rambling about it was captivating. She spoke about the beauty of repetitive patterns. She said that if there was something it was important for her to think about or focus on, sometimes she would repeat that thing to herself with every stitch as a kind of mindfulness exercise. Sometimes she wasn’t even aware of what she was thinking- her brain would just repeat important thoughts over and over with each stitch she made and she could just enjoy how good that felt. She also talked about knitting projects as a metaphor for beauty of social cohesion- all the threads working together for a greater whole. It was certainly an interesting perspective.
At the end of the conversation, Amy gave Matt her knitting needles to hold. They felt good in his hands, somehow. Better than he would have thought.
After the next class, Matt asked if Amy wanted to go back to his room to play. Amy declined, saying she wanted to go to more classes. She had really been enjoying sitting next to him, though. Wouldn’t he like to come with her and see another class?
He found that he would.
As the day wore on, Matt was pleased to find that he might have a better reputation than he had originally thought. People, especially women, who hadn’t talked to him in years came up to him and Amy to speak to them. Amy apparently already had a bit of a reputation online and had connected with many people over Skype prior to con. Matt was surprised about her popularity. He was also surprised to find how many people wanted to speak to him or give him a hug or touch him on the shoulder. He was still feeling tired and wasn’t quite keeping track of all the conversations, but it was nice to feel like a part of the group again. People even responded with enthusiasm to the knitting that he held in his hands- saying that they were happy to see him engaging in a new hobby.
Matt kept going to classes with Amy. He was feeling unusually charitable today and let her pick their schedule. He had already seen everything anyway- and watching Amy was encouraging. It was nice to see old ideas through new eyes.
The last class that Amy wanted to go to that day was the Women in Hypnosis panel. Matt pointed out a note in the schedule that men were encouraged not to attend this class, but Amy had talked to the group leader and they were going to make an exception for Matt. That was really nice of them. Matt was glad that they recognized his expertise.
The Women in Hypnosis class ended up being a bit of a bust. From the time he entered the room, it seemed like so many people were talking at once that it was hard to keep track. Women’s voices sometimes took on this droning sound and the effect on Matt was pretty soporific. He had fallen asleep early in the class, only occasionally awakened slightly by a touch on the shoulder or someone saying his name. But during those times Amy, still sitting right next to him, would lean over and whisper in his ear that everything was ok- he didn’t need to consciously listen to what was going on. He could just go back to sleep.
Despite the sleepiness he experienced in class, Matt felt really great afterwards. The grogginess had lifted and he felt more positive than he had in years. He also felt much more positive towards the women that had been in the class with him. Matt admitted to himself that he had been kind of a jerk in the community sometimes- ignoring women, making rude comments about trans women, showing female partners a lack of respect- but somehow sitting in that class and actually listening to those women for an hour had done him a world of good and given him a lot to think about.
So much to think about, actually, that he wanted to give himself some proper space to process it. Matt decided that he didn’t really need to attend the rest of the convention after all. He had already learned everything anyway and it might do him good to take the rest of the days allotted and just enjoy a normal vacation. He heard that there was a beautiful local park nearby.
When he told Amy about his decision, she hugged him again and told him that she understood. She thanked him for being her companion for the first day of her first ever hypnocon. She even let him keep her knitting needles and yarn to remember her by.
When the next year rolled around, Matt decided that he needed a change. Instead of attending the hypnocon again, he would go to a knitting convention that was being held at the same time. He had gotten really into knitting this last year- it relaxed him and made him feel really good about himself. He had been welcomed into that community with open arms, appreciated as one of the few men who shared the hobby.
Matt also kept up with some of his hypnosis friends, including Amy. They never actually did hypnosis together, but they would often chit chat and knit together on calls. Matt loved to listen to her voice as she excitedly talked about knitting projects or kink or other things that were going on in her life. Her life seemed to be going really well. He reflected that his life was going well too. He was so happy to have met Amy at hypnocon last year.
What a fortunate coincidence.