Last December, my Goddess locked a steel chain with a nickel plated padlock around my neck, and it has only come off three times since, for a total of perhaps 2-3 hours. Special circumstances, like going through airport metal detectors, warranted the temporary removal of what we referred to as my "mainstream collar", but it never came off otherwise. The fact that she retains all the keys to the padlock means that only she has been able to remove it, and if I'm not with her, I have no way to take it off. Which one day led to an interesting adventure when I had to access a local county courthouse...
The reason that I bring this up is that, to our great sadness, the mainstream collar will soon be coming to the end of its useful life. The constant contact with my skin has caused part of the nickel plating on one side of padlock to corrode away, and the finish of the chain has become dull and increasingly difficult to keep clean.
Granted, it wasn't made of materials made for constant wear. It wasn't very expensive, and in retrospect, I think we're both surprise it has lasted almost nine months. It has certainly done it's job, providing a secure and most sturdy alternative to the beautiful but delicate collar my Goddess chose to officially collar me with earlier that year.
Cuffs of Love (shown as a bracelet; mine has a longer purple string to be used as a necklace/collar)
This very first collar of ours, monogrammed with our initials, was a gorgeous piece, but it had started to show some wear, something that bothered us both on such a beautiful piece. It also presented a problem in principle since it would be removed for showering, for working out, and for sleep. The D-rings on the locking leather that my Goddess locks on me every night made us nervous with every ping of the impeccably polished miniature handcuffs' surfaces.
The answer was the locking chain and padlock. We had no worries of how it would fare under chemical or physical attack. Impossible for me to remove, it has symbolized my Goddess' control over me. The strength of the chain and the padlock itself has smbolized her ownership of me. Its ever-presence has symbolized the strength, importance, and 24/7 nature of our D/s dynamics. It has been visual reminder to both of us of our relationship and our love for each other. It has served as fetish prop as my Goddess has more than once grabbed it to pull me close to her both during play and at any time of the day she wanted. It has also served as a display of her dominance in public as she has been in the habit of playing with the chain during munches, leaving the padlock exposed for all to see as it was left resting outside my shirt.
Related to this last point, one of the benefits of the steel chain and padlock as a permanent collar was that, for the most part, it was discrete enough to wear in public without getting any attention, with the padlock under a T-shirt, and the chain normally well covered by a shirt.
I must also mention that both my Goddess and I have been incredibly turned on hearing the metal of mainstream collar clang against the D-rings of the leather collar I wear when at home, during play activities, sexual servitude, or lovemaking.
So here we arrive at a point when, over the course of the next few days or weeks, the chain and padlock will be retired in favor of an alternative of my Goddess' choice. The options are many. Perhaps another chain, or ring, with a padlock. Or without padlock. Perhaps something simple with a quasi-permanent locking feature. Perhaps an eternity collar.
Be that as it may, it marks an exciting moment for both us. We're moving on to our third mainstream collar... that's a special kind of tangible time-frame. Forever this steel collar and chain and padlock will be associated with memories and sentiments and experiences and emotions and togetherness, and so will the new item in the future.
Will my Goddess decide to up the ante and go with something more subtly severe? Something simply different? Or something different altogether. It's exciting to think of what may come... of the new object that will be associated with a new set of Proustian remembrances. And the reinforcement of the symbolism that it too will hold. Definitively a story to be continued...