You've got your best gear on and you're ready for a good time. You also have the best accessory – a big, thick chain, with an industrial sized padlock – letting guys know you're collared, and there's a man out there with the key.
You guys have your rules. You know what's permitted and what's not. You wear your chain as a mark of respect, and to let other men know these rules are in place…it also helps that it looks good with your gear.
Though the man that collared you is on the other side of the world, it's good to feel the weight of the chain and lock. It's also good that you have a spare key for when it's time for home and he can't be there to unlock it. This lock weighs a ton after all.
The night goes swimmingly. You chat. You dance. The lock stays on – as does the rest of your gear. This ends up being more of a social occasion, but you go back to the hotel alone and satisfied.
Until it's time to find the spare key.
It's fair to say you're a forgetful creature, but you're 95% certain this was where you left it. Apparently, it was not.
You slip into a mild panic. Your badge of honour is slowly turning into a millstone around your neck. The chain is tight, and the lock is shotput sized. It's 5am and you're so tired your bones practically creak. Matters aren't helped that you're cranky when you want sleep.
You attempt to lie down and deal with it in the morning. But this is not to be. You can't lie on your back as the lock is crushing your chest. You can't lie on your side or front as the weight of it throttles you. There will be no rest for the wicked tonight, it seems.
You call the key holder. You message your friends back home. You hope for some sage advice, but their options are limited. The common call is to cut the chain. The key holder gives his blessing. But it's 5am. In an unknown city. In a limited hotel.
You know what you have to do. But you don't like it one bit.
Your travelling companion does a google search then orders the Uber. You put on a hoodie and shuffle to the lobby.
You arrive at the station. You grimace and explain. The firemen laugh and laugh. These are not the men of your hot, uniformed fantasies. They sit you on a chair in the middle of the garage by the trucks and pole, and fetch the cutting tools. Half the station comes out to have a look/laugh. Your friend films the whole encounter for social media posterity.
After a few short moments you hear the clink and feel the weight drop. You're free at last. Looking very sheepish and achy of neck.
By the time you reach the hotel the 'likes' are already starting to rack up on your friend's video. You draw the thick curtains and fall into a deep, slightly irritable sleep, vowing to never repeat this night again.
• Give your spare key to a trusted friend to look after • Downgrade your collar to something a little less 'showy'
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