I was surprised that Cobie Smulders was seated next to me on the plane ride. At first I was pretty sure it wasn’t her. I assumed that an actress playing a major role on a popular sitcom would probably be at least flying first class, if not in a private jet. But as it turns out, she’s not a big fan of the “glamorous life” and is pretty down-to-earth as celebrities go.
I was happy that she chose to speak to me first, looking over at me and saying “Hi” with a half smile, just like we were just coworkers at the water cooler. Just another average day… for her maybe… If she hadn’t said anything, I would have been caught up in a continuous feedback loop of not wanting to be rude by ignoring her and not wanting to bother her by acting like some fawning stereotypical fan that she might find annoying.
Noticing that she was reading what appeared to be a screenplay, I was emboldened to ask, “Is that a new movie or television episode?”
“It’s a movie,” she answered, sighing. “I keep reading over this one section because I’m not sure I can play it realistically. Honestly, I’m afraid I’ll look foolish.”
“Really?” I asked. “What’s it about?”
“The movie’s about… Well, actually I can’t talk about the plot. But I play an undercover cop in it and there’s this one scene where she gets punished for failing a task required by one of the mob bosses.”
“Punished?” I asked, trying not to sound too intrigued.
“Yeah, they tie her down and whip her with a belt,” she said.
“I see. And your concern is…” I said.
“It’s rather a long scene as these things go. The thing is… I don’t know how closely you pay attention to films and the way certain kinds of scenes are played… but the scenes I’ve viewed where someone gets whipped tend to be played in one of two ways. The victim either overacts and screams too much, or underacts and it seems like it hardly hurts like you imagine it would,” Cobie explained.
“I see what you mean,” I said and paused for a moment, rubbing my chin and pretending to take time to recall movies in which I’d seen whipping scenes. “I think you’re right about that. There’s either overacting or underacting. Usually that’s the case, with a few exceptions maybe.”
“I’m just not sure how to tackle this one,” she said, shaking her head. “I mean I have no idea what this would feel like. I can imagine it of course, but it’s hard to imagine something so… so alien to your experience. Would it hurt so much that you have to scream? How tough is my character and why? I don’t know…”
My heart started racing as I pondered this fork in the road of conversation. I was about to either completely freak her out or possibly be instrumental in helping her make the role she was about to play that much better.
“Here’s an idea,” I said, trying not to sound nervous – a dead giveaway to coming across as creepy. “What if you knew what it felt like?”
Her eyes widened. “What do you mean?”
“I’m not saying what if you knew fully – like getting the actual whipping. But what if you knew what say, one lash felt like? Or maybe two lashes? Then you could project that out to however many lashes you’re supposed to be feeling,” I explained.
She thought for a moment and instead of looking at me like I should be in a straight jacket, she appeared to be considering the notion.
“I see what you’re saying. But there’s two problems with that. One is who would I get to.. um.. give me some lashes with a belt? I don’t think anyone who was a friend would do that to me. I suppose I could hire someone, but I wouldn’t know what term to search on. And that brings me to the second problem. If I did hire someone, then for certain it would get out that I hired someone to beat me. Nightmare…” she explained.
“I can definitely understand your dilemma,” I said, furthere climbing out onto that shaky limb. “But there’s a third alternative.”
“I’m listening,” she said, looking both inquisitive and a little worried.
“I’m actually what’s referred to as a dominant, who’s specialty is spanking and corporal punishment,” I revealed.
“A dominant? Like as in leather, whips and chains and such?” she asked.
I smiled somewhat and explained, “Those things can be part of folks’ BDSM experience, but mainly it’s about trust and fulfillment with safe and consensual activities.”
“Hmm… It makes sense when you put it that way, but how would I know I can trust you?” she asked.
It was clearly a fair question. “Honestly,” I said, “you don’t really know. But if you’re interested, I have a list of contacts you can call or write about me. And I imagine that you’re aware of or have hired security professionals. I would be in favor of them being very close by and easy to summon if we decide to… pursue something.”
She looked me in the eyes and thought for a moment. “I don’t know,” she said. “I’ll think it over.”
For the rest of the flight, we stayed in more conventional territory in terms of topics of conversation, discovering a mutual taste for pecan sticky buns, and mutual dislike of reality shows. Later, as we were both a lot more comfortable physically and socially, we fell into nap space, riding on the clouds with the quiet rumble of jet engines below us.
“Quai?” she said.
I was half asleep, and said, “I’ll make the coffee.”
She chuckled and said, “No it’s me, Cobie.”
“Oh, sorry…” I said.
“It’s okay,” she said. “I was just thinking about it and I really don’t think I have anything to lose here. The worst case scenario is that this is a bad experience and doesn’t help me. If that’s the case, then it won’t be the first time or probably the last. On the other hand, this could be a career game-changer… or maybe a life game-changer. Who knows…”
“True,” I said. “One never knows.”
“Do you have a card?” she asked.
I gave her my card. She took it, but didn’t give me one in return. I hadn’t expected her to, of course.
After saying our so-longs at the airport, we went our separate ways. It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I got a call in my hotel room.
“Hey, it’s me, Cobie,” she said.
“Hi Cobie, how are you?” I asked.
“Great. I did some research on you and it seems you’re very well trusted and they say you’re good at what you do,” she said.
“I’m glad to hear it,” I said, beaming.
“So, if the offer’s still good. I’d like you to… give me some experience to build on.”
“Glad to,” I responded.
“Great. I’ll send a driver over to pick you up,” she said.
The driver arrived in about 45 minutes and took me to Cobie’s house – or rather what I assume is one of her houses. It was well off the main thoroughfares and smaller than I would have expected. Maybe it was a rental, for the sake of anonymity. Even if I could have told someone where it was exactly, it probably wouldn’t be in her name. Smart strategy on her part.
She greeted me with a smile, “Hey Quai. Come on in.”
We talked again about the strategy of this experiment/exercise and how it could be helpful for her interpreting this scene in which she was to be whipped with a belt. I told her that if she felt unsafe or overwhelmed at any point to use the safe word “Safeword” and things would stop immediately. She seemed reassured by this.
“What position are they going to have your character in when the whipping happens?” I asked.
“They have her tied, face down on a bed,” she said flipping through her copy of the script.
I took off my belt and folded it over and handed it to her. “This is what I’m going to use on you.”
She held it in both hands, bouncing it up and down a bit.
“It’s heavy,” she said. “I think this is going to hurt a lot. I’m a little scared right now.”
“It’s okay,” I said. “It’s natural to be scared. But let me assure you, I’ve spanked or belted many women and I have no doubt you can take this. Everyone has a different pain tolerance of course. But I have a good intuition about these things.”
She nodded and closed her eyes as if to say, “Okay, I’m going to trust you…”
“Now lie face down on the bed as if you’re tied there,” I told her.
She did so. She was wearing a sun dress, the material soft enough to offer almost no protection against the heavy belt. She turned her face to look at me.
“How’s this?” she asked.
“Great,” I answered. “Now I’m going to give you one lash with the belt as if I were starting a punishment. But I won’t continue until you’re ready.”
“Okay,” she said and closed her eyes. “Go ahead.”
I brought the folded belt down with full punishment force on her bottom. The stroke caused the dress material to slide upward and more of her thighs to be exposed. I heard a sharp intake of air from her.
“Yeouch!” she said, reaching back to rub her bottom. Interestingly, she staid in position. “That was … wow… Geez, is that what it feels like?”
“I’m afraid so,” I said.
“Did you hold back at all?” she asked.
“I didn’t hold back,” I explained. “Normally, if we were playing, I’d probably have give you what’s called a warm up – less intense strokes to get you used to it. But you wouldn’t have that from a mob boss, would you?”
“No. I suppose not,” she said, her eyes wide and a sense of understanding permeating her being.
She put her hands back in front of her and said, “Give me another one. I feel like I need to know what another lash on top of that one would be like.”
I obliged her request and gave her another stroke of the belt.
She began rubbing again, saying, “Ow… ow… ow… God! It just keeps hurting.”
“Now, just think,” I said, “if you couldn’t rub your bottom.”
She looked at me again, somewhat in disbelief. She swallowed hard.
“Another then,” she said, putting her hands once again beyond her head.
I gave her a third stroke.
A high-pitched “Ewwwww!” escaped her lips. “It’s making me want to cry.”
“That’s perfectly normal,” I said. “So you can start to imagine what your character would go through, with… how many did you say?”
“The scene calls for thirty or so,” but that’s not supposed to be the whole whipping.
“So she’s obviously going to be in a lot of pain,” I said.
“No shit,” Cobie replied.
I chuckled. “I hope I’ve been helpful then,” I said.
“Definitely,” she said. “I would never have accurately imagined how that felt.”
“Good then,” I said. “I’m glad I could help.”
“One more thing before you go,” she said.
“The shoot is in November. Would you be able to come back then and give it to me again? Maybe like ten instead of just three?” she asked.
“I suppose so. Can you send me the tickets?” I asked.
“Definitely,” she answered. “I needed this.”
She stood up and extended her right hand. “Thank you for your help.”
I shook her hand. “You’re quite welcome,” I said. I noticed she was involuntarily rubbing her bottom with her left hand. I was feeling great – another spanking for life improvement.