EP 26

EP 26

Amid playful banter about burgers and cat poems, Shira Ties delves into body positivity, societal acceptance, and the emotional intricacies of rope play.

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Guest Bio

Shira is an NYC-based rigger and Domme. She has been tying for about 5 years, focusing on body inclusivity and cultivating a safe space for those who have felt othered. She is also a published lingerie model, hiker, and loves to cook.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shiraties/


Wicked Wren [00:00:09] Hello everyone, and welcome to the Shibari Study podcast. I'm your host Wicked Wren. Shibari Study is an online learning resource offering video tutorials for beginners through advanced practitioners. Whether you're brand new to the world of shibari and needing to learn the basics, or a seasoned rigger or rope bottom seeking inspiration to push your practice to new places, there's something for you at Shibari Study.com. Today I have on Shira. Shira uses she/her pronouns, based in New York, a snarky side-eyed, rope-loving, pasta-eating cat mom. We're going to talk about a bunch of stuff today. Pro (…), rope lover, amazing human being, how are you?

Shira Ties [00:00:50] Very well. Thank you.

Wicked Wren [00:00:51] Amazing. So before this, we started talking about one of the most important topics concerning rope bondage, which was ketchup. And you said that nobody wants to try somebody's homemade ketchup.

Shira Ties [00:01:05] Okay. I have a feeling, right? Any restaurant or like gourmet burger joint? Their burgers suck.

Wicked Wren [00:01:14] Oh, yeah.

Shira Ties [00:01:15] Any place that you go to that has like a burger menu that's like ten burgers long and each of them have 19 different toppings on them? But specifically, the one calling card that they all have and they'll like even have it on their like Instagram profile is that they make their own ketchup.

Wicked Wren [00:01:33] Yeah.

Shira Ties [00:01:35] So a) No, there's never been a homemade ketchup that's been better than what comes in the bottle. I'm sorry. It just doesn't exist. And then, b), if I'm going somewhere, it's not for your ketchup recipe.

Wicked Wren [00:01:49] You said gourmet burger. And those two words are strange to me together.

Shira Ties [00:01:54] Well, yeah. Because for one, I mean like if it's a gourmet burger, you would think that it's like really, really nice meat that's like cut up and then turned into a burger? But like, these are like thoselike local places that like instead of just being a greasy spoon, are like the burger company.

Wicked Wren [00:02:11] Yeah.

Shira Ties [00:02:11] You know, or like, you go to Denver and like every single place is a brewery, but they all like have like their five big burgers that are really like they're known for.

Wicked Wren [00:02:20] Yeah.

Shira Ties [00:02:21] So like who knows you?

Wicked Wren [00:02:23] Yeah.

Shira Ties [00:02:24] I don't know. It's lost on me.

Wicked Wren [00:02:25] I'm not paying $16 for a hamburger and then sit on an uncomfortable seat while I eat it. Not fun to me.

Shira Ties [00:02:31] No. No. Especially not for gimmicky ketchup.

Wicked Wren [00:02:34] The most underwhelming part of the hamburger is the meat, in my opinion.

Shira Ties [00:02:39] And that's, that's my point. That's my – like you, you've actually really just gotten to the meat of it.

Wicked Wren [00:02:44] Listen, I know hamburgers.

Shira Ties [00:02:48] Okay, So here's my point, I think... I think – and this is arguable because I know people like their toppings – but I think, if you can make a really great hamburger, you can serve it as a hamburger plain on a bun, and it is (…) delicious. If you can't do that, stop your whole business. Stop your (…) ketchup making. Stop your toppings stacking. You're going nowhere. Your burger sucks. Go back.

Wicked Wren [00:03:18] Well, now that we agree on this, we can move forward into talking about rope bondage. How did you find the scene? Like, how'd you get into the (…) scene?

Shira Ties [00:03:28] Um, so I was always a (…), queer person. Some of my earliest childhood memories are being like four years old and my dad getting Playboys in the mail and like taking them and running into the corner of the room and like flipping through them.

Wicked Wren [00:03:44] Oh, my God.

Shira Ties [00:03:47] And...

Wicked Wren [00:03:48] Where did you hide them?

Shira Ties [00:03:50] He didn't! This is the eighties! You know, it was the eighties who cared? They came in the mail, you know, like...

Wicked Wren [00:03:57] Wow, that's cool. Because I remember my friend's parents really hiding them and not being out.

Shira Ties [00:04:05] No. You know, he didn't care. But he always laughed. And I think that even though there were other gay adults that my parents were really close friends with his laughter at that probably like started a seed in my mind of like, maybe this isn't the right place for me to be. But if that's where I was going to be, that's where I was going to be.

Wicked Wren [00:04:28] Did you have – Go on.

Shira Ties [00:04:31] I was to say, by the time I was in high school, I was ripping out pages of like every like Cosmo and like Mary Claire magazine of like girls in lingerie and like, my entire wall was like covered with Milla Jovovich. I was like obsessed. Oh, there was the bangs, there was the bangs!

Wicked Wren [00:04:49] That's where it comes from.

Shira Ties [00:04:51] And latex or, you know, these early core memory.

Wicked Wren [00:04:57] Yeah, exactly. For people that don't know, Shira has some amazing bangs. That's where those come from. So I do want to ask, was your dad really (…)-positive? Was your house a (…)-positive place? No, not at all.

Shira Ties [00:05:09] Oh, by the time I was like ten, they were like hidden. But when we were little, I think we were jus, it was just like a thought like, They don't know what this means. It's funny because they're kids and they couldn't understand. But by the time I was ten and my brother was 12, they weren't like freely available. They were definitely wherever they were, they were hidden. But like at that time, I think the damage was done if it was damage.

Wicked Wren [00:05:35] Yeah, well, when you were a teen, did you understand what being queer was? Did you understand what like...

Shira Ties [00:05:41] Oh my God, yes, absolutely. And so, like I said like my parents had very close friends that thought were – that identified as queer. And those people were huge impacts to me in my life. Actually, the high school I attended had the very first like state-sanctioned, approved queer club for kids and one of my – somebody in my grade, he was the student who launched it and he's gone on to do great things and like he's been like a makeup designer with Mac for the past 20 years. But like, it's just amazing to see that growth. You know like this person just had an idea and where it's gone. And I was active in all of these things. And I remember in addition to going to regular prom, we went to Queer Prom, which was like, you know, a bunch of teens from across the overall county, you know, in a hotel banquet, single partitioned room, because, you know, it was just such a small grouping of people. My first pride parade, I was probably like 17 or 18, I think I was a junior in high school, but, you know, like...

Wicked Wren [00:06:51] Where did you grow up?

Shira Ties [00:06:53] So I am from right outside of the city. Now, if you are from the towns, you would say that I live upstate because I'm in Westchester County. But mathematically, I will proffer this. New York State is what, 500 miles long, all in all? I am 24 miles north of Brooklyn. That is not like a massive amount. That's just like this little bit.

Wicked Wren [00:07:20] Yeah.

Shira Ties [00:07:21] And I know because I (…) work in the city and I drive to the city every (…) day, so I know!

Wicked Wren [00:07:26] Yeah.

Shira Ties [00:07:28] But yeah, so I actually grew up in the town that I live in. I am a local yokel.

Wicked Wren [00:07:33] Oh, my God.

Shira Ties [00:07:35] I am like a mile away from the house that I grew up in. And I've been in my apartment for 12 years.

Wicked Wren [00:07:39] Oh, my God. That's crazy.

Shira Ties [00:07:43] It's the little old lady in me. I'm like, come from my little nook, you know?

Wicked Wren [00:07:49] It really is.

Shira Ties [00:07:51] Get off my grass!

Wicked Wren [00:07:55] How many redesigns has your apartment gone through? You've been there for so long.

Shira Ties [00:08:00] A bunch. Actually, I actually did just move it around the other day because like, I wanted to like move the layout of where my rig is. Because I had it like facing in the opening. I'm sorry. Everything's really messy. But then I just moved it over here in the window.

Wicked Wren [00:08:14] Wow.

Shira Ties [00:08:15] But I can't. I have no idea how many times I moved things around.

Wicked Wren [00:08:19] So it sounds like you had a really queer, positive upbringing. You had a lot of community. You were able to find people. When did you find (…)?

Shira Ties [00:08:28] So. Yeah. So sorry. I get distracted very easily.

Wicked Wren [00:08:32] No, it's good.

Shira Ties [00:08:34] So I had always been into (…). I had always been (…). I had always, you know, been excited by the avant-garde. But. I used my first (…) on a male-identifying human when I think I was like 19. So I think I was very early when I was like, Oh, this is definitely a world for me. Like, I could I could see more of this happening. And then I got married and became very like Stepford's wife.

Wicked Wren [00:09:09] Of course. I want to ask a question. So some guy, 19, wanted to be pegged. Did that come from you or from him?

Shira Ties [00:09:22] And it came from him. And to the tune that, like he had provided all of the equipment, including the collar that he was to wear. And I was like, Oh, well, this is kind of fun.

Wicked Wren [00:09:38] How did he know to go to you?

Shira Ties [00:09:40] Well, we were dating at that time and he was like, Look, this is what I'm really into, you know. I had this in our relationship, and at first I was like, What does this mean for me? And then, you know, (…) it, I'll give it a go.

Wicked Wren [00:09:57] Wow. And you just liked it.

Shira Ties [00:09:59] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:10:00] That's awesome. So then moving forward.

Shira Ties [00:10:05] So then moving forward. In my, my mid-twenties, I met a very, very handsome, sweet man in a dive bar and fell head over heels in love. And we were together for about ten years and for a good portion of that, we were also both working constantly on travel. So there was a lot of time where we were apart and although that worked, it could also put strains on relationships. And when we had originally broken up, I was like, Okay, well this is like my opportunity. I was in my mid-thirties. I was like, I'm going to like go do all of the things that I really, really want to do. Like all of those things that I had been thinking about for ten years that I hadn't done, you know, all those scenes that I had dabbled in, that it just had been so long. So, I – this is like embarrassing. I bought cotton ropes on Amazon.

Wicked Wren [00:11:08] I love it. I love it. It's amazing. This is amazing. And no one saw they came in.

Shira Ties [00:11:19] And I was like, Oh my God. So I started self-tying. I met with some dude from like some dating app who like was, you know, a firefighter and he knew rope safety because of that. And then I was like, Oh, okay, I can I can get into this. And then I had a health risk and I was like, Okay, now I'm like, I really need to stop. Like if I'm really going to be into this, like I need to actually get over my fears and like go to an event. So I like go to an event. Wind up hanging out with a pro (…) all night. Very, very sweet woman, gorgeous knock-out blond, you know, ten foot tall in her (…) heels. At the end of the night, she's like, Oh, well – and I told her that I was into rope and we've talked about it all night. Then she's like, Oh, well, I'm going to get suspended if you want, like you can sit under the rig with me and watch so you can like, get an idea. And for like the next 45 minutes, I was just like...

Wicked Wren [00:12:17] Yeah.

Shira Ties [00:12:18] You know, because I was like right up close. And I'll never forget that because that was like my first actual like (…) event. And everyone – and I left that event and everyone was like, Well, if you're going to be into rope, there's a few things you need to do. One, hire a pro (…) so you can have your first rope experience so you can like get it out of your system, but also have it be the way you want it to be. Two, you need to go to Hacienda. And three, you need to go to the Harlem Rope Share. And I was like, What are all of these things? Like a pro (…), okay, I get it. But there's like there's pro (…) for rope. Like that exists? Yeah, that exists! I guarantee you, half of the stems that you're following are pro (…) for rope! Sure as (…). So I reached out to Ms. Acacia. Ms. Acacia Rope and I was like, Hi. You don't know me at all. I love your work. Just wondering... And of course. Sure, you know, sent the deposit. Met up with her, got suspended, and it was amazing. And I was like, Okay. And then she even said, Okay, well, if you're like New York City area, you should go to the Harlem Rope Share. And I was like, What is this place? Like, everyone is talking about this. So like, I like went to like another event or two from FL. So I made like a few more friends and I was like, Hey, do you know about this Harlem Rope Share thing? Like, can you help me get me in? You know like how do I get added? Because that's like another thing, like when you start off, like You don't know your hand from your (…). You don't know who's safe, who's dangerous, what events are good, what events are bad. You just know that you want more rope.

Wicked Wren [00:13:53] Yeah. Yes. The blinders are on.

Shira Ties [00:13:56] Yeah. And you don't care. So I turn up at the Harlem Rope Share, which is – was at that point hosted by the now-named Snarky Hands.

Wicked Wren [00:14:13] Yes.

Shira Ties [00:14:14] Yes. And it was at his apartment. Amazing rig set up where you could have like you know, ten bamboo beams dropped at any time. So like, just a really great vibe and got tied a few more times, then was like, Oh, my God, I need to learn this. I need to be doing this. And then I wound up going every single week. Like it was like... As soon as I started, it immediately happened and I couldn't get over it.

Wicked Wren [00:14:43] Isn't that so common with people in rope. It's like 0 to 100.

Shira Ties [00:14:47] Oh, absolutely. The, the frenzy is high. And I love how people always say when they talk about it, they're like, Oh, well, they have sub frenzy or they have bottom frenzy. No, it's frenzy because the tops also have it. Like please do not stigmatize one group of people for having an experience that both sides equally share.

Wicked Wren [00:15:06] It's really infantilizing.

Shira Ties [00:15:08] Absolutely. Absolutely. I think like, it's just as addictive. If anything, I get more of a high from topping, which is how I know I'm a top.

Wicked Wren [00:15:17] Yeah, totally. Do you identify as a switch though or a top?

Shira Ties [00:15:20] I identify as a top. I like, I think in the past two, three years, other than self-suspending like once or twice, I've only bottomed twice.

Wicked Wren [00:15:32] Why did you bottom those two times?

Shira Ties [00:15:35] Friends. Both of these are humans that I've known like yourself, either through the Internet or just for enough years that there was an established safe space. And like knowing that like I could explore pain. And if I felt like it was too much, I wasn't going to feel that... You know, bottom shame of not being able to take it.

Wicked Wren [00:15:58] Absolutely. You said explore pain. Is that what you like as a bottom?

Shira Ties [00:16:04] Not really. I'm not a huge (…). Although I do really like being stretchy. I've always been like a very flexible person. So for me, I think one of the things that I immediately loved most about rope was that when I was in it, it helped me to connect to those more flexible moments. Like deep yoga, you know, like... And there was a meditation to it. So when I am tied, if I were to be tied again, I prefer things that are more slow burn. Not such, you know, (…), but more about like intentional, deep breathing and guided quiet and you know. Again, for me to, to explore those spaces like I feel like I need to be able to trust the person. It's not like, I'm not like one to like bottom and pick up like, Let's just do it.

Wicked Wren [00:16:57] That makes sense. Earlier you were talking about in the beginning as a rope bottom, you'll kind of do anything. You just want to experience everything. How long did it take you to realize what you liked in rope?

Shira Ties [00:17:09] Um, probably about three months, because I think, again, you know, I was uniquely lucky to have such a, you know, built community, in an environment where there were so many events. I mean, we're talking pre-COVID. So obviously, the world was turned on in a way that it hasn't yet been since, right? We had weekly rope shares. There was at least two or three actual like Saturday night events that were rope themed a month. So there was a lot of places for me to do a lot of things very quickly. And I would say about three months in, I had realized what kind of positions I felt most strongly in and what kind of connections made me feel most valid and seen. But I also had experienced some absolute (…) in that time. And it was things from (…) ties to fat shaming to just general consent violations that sort of made me be like "I don't necessarily consider myself a bottom in life, so if I'm going to be vulnerable, I'd rather be vulnerable to myself than to someone else.

Wicked Wren [00:18:20] I love what you just said about giving power to yourself.

Shira Ties [00:18:24] I think whenever you're bottoming, whether it's in rope or impact or whatever your (…) may be. Most people at some point in that, that mental journey experience a feeling of power or elation, right? Where they feel strong, even if they feel weakened and broken down, there's an internal energy that's like driving them. That power then afterwards has the effects that keep us going, right? That's like how these power dynamics work. It's not, you know like your top can make you feel this way. And that's why when you're outside of play, you're more compelled to listen because you have that bond, you know that they can bring you to that cusp, you know, they can help bring you that space. So... It is a power. It's like an internal light switch. You know, we all get a high when we're, we're in that (…) space, whether it's topping or bottoming. So if I could give myself that 'click on', you know, why would you give it to somebody who is just going to make me feel either alienated or disrespected or whatever. I mean like I remember there was a guy who said to me early on in my rope journey, when I was still bottoming, that – and mind you, there's like a whole grading of fats now. Like, you can be a small fat, a mid fat, a big fat – like I don't know them all. But I would say that I'm a fat person. But I'm not like a massively fat person. But at this point in my life, I was a smaller fat person, if that makes sense.

Wicked Wren [00:19:55] Got it.

Shira Ties [00:19:56] On the spectrum of body sizes. But this person who was also a bigger bodied person felt that he needed to tell me as a way to sort of continue me bottoming for him that if I wanted to tie with other riggers, that I was going to need to prove to them that I was flexible enough to take it. And I was like, Why? And he was like, Well, because, you know like you're bigger. They're not going to believe it. And it was things – it was little golden nuggets like that, that I was like, Well, (…) you! I'll learn how to tie a harness on my body and I'll go upside down without your help.

Wicked Wren [00:20:33] Yeah, (…) you. I don't need that. So what was the transition to becoming like a top? Because starting as a bottom, you're just getting tied, you're experiencing rope. Then you have to learn a bunch of (…).

Shira Ties [00:20:45] Well, so again, I'm really lucky having a rope share that had been there for so long. There were a lot of people who were really educated at that point in their own rope journeys who were regular attendees. So, you know, there was a lot to learn from just in my environment. And because it was on a weekly basis, it was easy to reinforce those learnings. On top of that, there were classes in person and of course the wonderful Shibari Study online for laughter.

Wicked Wren [00:21:18] Shut up.

Shira Ties [00:21:20]  Providing – but here's the thing. Like if you have somebody provide you those patterns and then you have an environment where there's a lot of people who are educated where you can practice those patterns and someone will come over to you be like, No, that's (…). Tie it again. You know, yeah, you've got it. That's great. And then you have the time on a regular basis to repeat it over and over again to drill yourself. You can get good. But I would say that I'm like mid at best. Like, I feel like the New York City, like at least femme presenting rope scene is full of a lot of really talented people. And I'm like, not as good as they are.

Wicked Wren [00:21:56] You're definitely up there with 'em, okay? I think you're downplaying yourself. So at some point you became a pro (…) and that's really interesting to me. How did that trajectory work?

Shira Ties [00:22:07] So thanks to COVID, I was one of those human beings who was employed. And then at the very beginning of COVID, my corporation, like massive international corporation, laid off 3000 Americans.

Wicked Wren [00:22:25] Nice.

Shira Ties [00:22:26] And gave us all like, you know, a six-month severance and was like, We don't know what's going on, but we just want to be cautious. And then a month later, COVID hit and I was like, You guys (…) knew ahead of time. There's no way you didn't know at the time. You don't put that many – you don't give that many people six months of paid work for nothing without having like a Peter tingle about it.

Wicked Wren [00:22:51] Yeah. Yeah. That's a little nefarious, isn't it?

Shira Ties [00:22:55] Oh, 100%. And I will say that they are a massive tech corporation, so... That works as medical plants.

Wicked Wren [00:23:05] Hmm. Make sense. Yes.

Shira Ties [00:23:07] Yeah. Yeah. They're for sure nefarious. So, got laid off. And like a lot of other people, I found myself in a position where it was like, What am I going to do immediately? Started filling out all of the applications and I was like, Well, you know, I could... Like I could give like a few like 101 classes. And I started off giving some 101 classes, like just basic group safety like, you know, how to tie single-column, places to never put rope, you know like the basics. And one of my friends was like, Well, you know I'd love to tie with you. How much? How much should I pay you? I was like... You're my friend... Why would you pay me? They're like, Because that's what you do. And I'm like, But, but why would you pay me? You're my friend. And they were like, Yeah, but like you should get payment for services rendered. Like you've put time into learning this. You spent money on classes. And I was like, You're right. And then another person was like, Oh, you take sessions? Well, would you do another session like this? And like, little by little... I wouldn't even say little by little. I would say within the span of a month, it just went from like maybe a few like rope tying sessions to a few more like bondage and play sessions.

Wicked Wren [00:24:28] How did it change it when you started monetizing rope? Did it change it at all for you?

Shira Ties [00:24:34] A lot. I think like anybody, when what you love becomes what you do every single day. It goes beyond the context of how you want to do it. It becoming a passion and an art can change. And I was beholden to my bills as we all are.

Wicked Wren [00:24:54] Yes. The original power dynamic.

Shira Ties [00:24:58] Yeah, exactly. (…) death and taxes, man. So, you know, like I would be tying with people that maybe I wouldn't want to tie with if I didn't have to, right. Or maybe doing things that were outside of my comfort zone. Certainly not in my red zone, but just, you know, beyond what? Or even (…) that just aren't mine at all. I mean, we all have our list of things we're into, and that's totally cool. It lost a lot of its glamour. Because it wasn't just something that I was doing with people that I loved. It was something that I was doing to make sure that I kept a roof over my head and that, that changed it. So now I'm like at a point where, thank God, I am back to being gainfully employed. So I have my bills sorted. I still take sessions, but most of the rope that I do is with my friends. The rope is probably... I would say most of it is with my rope partner. They're one of my best friends in the world. And over the past three years, we've just gotten closer and closer. And when we're tying – and that would be Sasha Bonds. But when we're tying, I feel like I can be vulnerable. Like everybody has things that they don't know how to do – or things that they get nervous about, you know, like there's always a new tie or something new and dangerous that you haven't done before.

Wicked Wren [00:26:26] Yeah.

Shira Ties [00:26:27] And it's good to have somebody that I feel like I can be... a noob? You know, like... That I could be like, Oh, (…). What are we doing? You know?

Wicked Wren [00:26:38] Totally. Totally.

Shira Ties [00:26:41] So I probably tie with like one, two, three clients a month now? Um, and then other than that, it would be like, you know. People in my heart.

Wicked Wren [00:26:54] I love that. You're a model as well, right?

Shira Ties [00:26:58] Ah, yeah. I mean, it's... So, I haven't had a paid model shoot in probably about a year, which is kind of a bummer, but it is what it is. I also kind of – I kind of put on a bit more weight over the past year because I was like in a rough spot with my last job and like, I had a lot of like anxiety and cortisol and I just wasn't feeling good about my body. So even if there were opportunities, I think I sort of like pussyfooted my way out of them because I just didn't feel in the right place. But modeling was actually something that came to me in my late thirties like... And I was, you know, a company was like, Yeah, we'd love to have you model our underwear. And I was like...

Wicked Wren [00:27:42] (…), yeah.

Shira Ties [00:27:44] ...Me? There are all of these younger, more traditionally beautiful, thinner type humans and... C'est moi? Okay! Um, and that really helped. So to sort of have this like very valid like group of people who like either wanted me to top them or wanted me to tie them or want me to model their underwear. It was just very like eye-opening that there were these voices outside of my head, I guess. So like I started posting like, you know, just like, you know, photos on Instagram that like were, you know, you would take on somebody's phone at the rope share, you know, and getting that positive community feedback and like having people like, Oh, do you have like an OF? Like, no, like I don't have an (…). What do you mean? Oh, well, you should, you have such great content. Content? This is content?

Wicked Wren [00:28:37] Yeah. You're like, I'm just having fun.

Shira Ties [00:28:39] Yeah, I'm just like, sort of exploring the fact that I can do a split. Like, I'm glad you like it, you know? But what it sort of changed for me was that like, I never felt like... You know, being the bigger body person, like I always was like, If like I post a (…) half-(…) body pic, I'm going to like immediately catch some slack. And I didn't. And I think it's because it started off within like the confines of the rope community and off like people who are from my rope share and people who are into boudoir or like body scapes and liked curves, you know, like I like, I immediately like confined myself in a safe niche.

Wicked Wren [00:29:24] Yeah, that makes sense.

Shira Ties [00:29:26] But what it's been nice, though, is that like I feel like at any given time, we're all plagued by these like brain weasels telling us all these horrible things about ourselves. Like, everybody has some sort of dysmorphia, whether it's body dysmorphia or mental. Like, we all have something that's, you know, going at it in our brain. And for me, it was always that I was overweight. Like, you know, stemming from my mom throwing me in Weight Watchers when I was like 12 to where I am today. Like, there's just been this fluctuation, right? There's always been a voice in my head like you're not pretty enough or you're too big or your belly looks gross or whatever it is. But what I found was when I was posting these pictures with my body, you know, out, you know, as it were, you know, or, you know, in a (…) and, you know, my derrière was getting like, approved. It was like, Oh, wait. So you mean to tell me there's like an entire chorus of people singing a symphony that I've never even let myself hear? Because all I've listened to for the past 35 years are these crazy brain weasels. You mean to tell me that there are people who look at this and they're like, Ooh la la. Like I, you know, like I guess I had just been that like pushed down in my own brain where I let myself believe the worst. So to go from that to this world where all of a sudden everybody likes bigger bodies. Everybody likes curves. Curves look great in lingerie. Curves look great in a futo. And it was like, Oh, okay, I can do this. I have the thickness. Oh, you like a big (…)? Oh, I got the biggest!

Wicked Wren [00:31:03]  You talked about the brain weasels. What are some ways that you've gotten them to shut up? Because I think everybody has the little brain weasels that come out.

Shira Ties [00:31:13] Oh. I mean, I think for me at this point, it's just realizing that, that no matter how many brain weasels I may have, there are literally millions of voices of individuals outside in the world that are going to say the direct opposite. That I can say, well, like so – I just did like a content creation day where I went, I did a bunch of model, like model and photographer meet up quickie shoots. You know, everybody just sort of mingles for a few hours in someone's apartment thing. Did that the other day and shot for the first time in a few – like, you know, of me specifically – in probably like a year or two. And I've got more bulges and more belly rolls than I did the last time. And I'm looking at all these photos and I decided to post them and I'm like, I'm going to post one with all of my new belly rolls. And I'm going to be comfortable in it. And I really hope the world likes it. Because I need to be comfortable in it. And... I need to remember that every single time that I count those belly rolls and I say to myself, This isn't good, there are at least five people out there in the world who either feel more confident in their own skin or maybe feel or see beauty for that lens, or maybe actively, naturally like that, or maybe like me as a child, the playboy's, actually naturally like it, but are telling themselves that they don't because society says not to. There's so many different worlds and you're only, you're only ever privy to your own pair of eyeglasses. You know?

Wicked Wren [00:32:47] That's such a big part of it is that the world kind of tells you that things aren't attractive or aren't valuable. And then that's why we don't like a lot of things.

Shira Ties [00:32:59] Oh, absolutely. Like, I think I saw this thing on TikTok like a few weeks ago where like a little boy was like like all excited about like a backpack and it had like some cartoon character on it. And like, you heard in the background, like someone be like, No, that's stupid. Why would you want that? Like, this is what looks better. And then like three or four goes later, the little boy is like, Yeah, okay, I want the other thing. And I'm like, That's where it starts. Like, that's literally like, we literally just saw it happen in live real time.

Wicked Wren [00:33:30] What really excites you as a model? Like, what shoots really excite you?

Shira Ties [00:33:34] Honestly? Oh, I'm such a nerd. The more thought out it is, the more you're going to have the likelihood that I'll – like, I don't generally do trade for pay. Like if you're having me as a model, you're hiring me as a model and you're going to pay me an hourly wage because we all need to eat. We all need roofs. But the few times where I've done trade for pay, it's been because somebody like has an actual legitimate concept. And I'm so like one of my favorite movies in the world is The Royal Tenenbaums, and for so many reasons, but one specific, it took Wes Anderson ten years of writing and drawing and painting and sewing  –the (…) sewing – before he even filmed his first, like first scene of that movie. There was so much work and thought and care and love that was put into it. So I don't care how avant-garde or how boring your concept may be, but if you have a lot of detail, like if you come at me with like a hard mood board or like even like, you know, like staging, you know, scene by scene, you're going to, you're going to turn my head.

Wicked Wren [00:34:51] It's so funny you said that, because that's my exact criteria for something I want to model for. Just have an idea. That is it. I don't care if the idea isn't something I vibe with 100%. If you have an idea and a moodboard and outfit ideas and this and that, then I'm in. That's all I want.

Shira Ties [00:35:10] Yeah. Like, I find it frustrating when like somebody reaches out to me and they're just like, It's the same thing like with scene craft. You know, like if you reach out to me and you want to spend time with me, don't just be like, Oh, whatever it is. Like... For like, modeling like, Oh, well, you just expect me to bring a whole assortment of garments? You ask me to have my face made up 17 different ways? I can't like peel my face off to reveal different versions of it. If you don't like it... like let's talk this out. What are you trying to like evoke?

Wicked Wren [00:35:40] What are you trying to say? Like, why are you taking the photo? Is it just because like you're hot? You just want hot girl in front of the camera? And also has a top, I mean, that has to be so annoying when people come in. They're just like, just do the thing. Just make, just do the bondage on me.

Shira Ties [00:35:55] I can do a lot of different bondage-y things like but... on the same token, like... So like, I look at like life like through the lens of quiet quitting, right? Like, if you're going to come at me with the absolute least, you know what you're going to get? Even less. So if you come at me with a, Oh, I want to be topped and I want to be bondaged, then I want to do all the things. I'm going to pour some rice on the floor and make you kneel and just forget about you for the rest of the day.

Wicked Wren [00:36:23] And then you're gonna be like, I did it.

Shira Ties [00:36:25] You want effort? You give me some effort first, (…).

Wicked Wren [00:36:29] All right, so here's a question. Someone's coming to you. They want to be tied. They want to connect with you. They want a scene with you, whether it's professional or whether it's not. I think that being descriptive is hard. Do you have any tips for bottoms that are going to a top and and need to, I don't know, get the idea train moving in their head, getting the adjective descriptor thing like ways to think about things you like and don't like. You know what I mean?

Shira Ties [00:37:01] Yeah. So I think it's like we don't always know like days in advance how we're going to be made to want to feel the day of, right? Like, you can do like extraneous scene planning three weeks in advance, and then the day of not feel it. So like, what I like to do is just sort of talk to people and give people a chance to just sort of express who they are in this minute right now. Maybe they're agitated, maybe they're really relaxed, maybe they're hungry, maybe they're tired, maybe they're really excited, maybe they're really mushy, you know? So right now like, you're sort of giving me like, you personally in this very moment, you're giving me inquisitive and energized and humored and also pensive, right? So like, if these are the vibes that you're sending to me, do you want to be mirrored? Do you want to sort of transition into a different way? We don't always know how the words to say, Well, I want to feel tired or I want to feel exhausted. So like, I'll say, Do you want to do something that's maybe a little more athletic? Well, what does that mean? Well, to me, to Shira, athletic means something that's probably going to make you sweat a little bit. Maybe make your muscles feel a little bit tired. The type of thing that afterwards you're going to maybe want to eat a pizza, maybe take a nap. Oh, okay. Or maybe do you want to feel really bolstered? Do you want to, do you want to leave this feeling like you're super strong and still have energy for the rest of the day, but be able to look back at what you did and look at it as it was challenging, but you still feel energized? Do you want to feel – do you have some pain that you maybe want to address? Like is there – or is there pain that you're seeking, right? Do you need to physically feel corporeal pain to match the pain that you have inside? Because sometimes, like we're having a really stressful day and we just want to feel it right? Like, Oh, I need to, I need to get there, right? So I try to give people a chance to tell me how they're feeling in that moment and if they want to continue feeling like that or if they want to transition into something else. And then what does that look like? What does that feeling look like for them? And then I try to think of the ways that we can sort of cultivate a scene around to get to that as the end goal.

Wicked Wren [00:39:22] It's amazing. Makes total sense.

Shira Ties [00:39:24] I don't know... I don't know. Like I don't know what to say to somebody to say, Hey, listen, these are the words to use. I think that kind of that just falls on me to ask you more questions.

Wicked Wren [00:39:36] That makes total sense.

Shira Ties [00:39:38] Well, I mean, at the end of the day, like also, you know, when you're pro (…), you work with a lot of people who maybe it's their first time or you don't always see them again for repeats. You don't always get as many repeat customers as you'd like. And that is what that is. But regardless, like you have to have these like great moments of sort of interpreting what people want. I think generally when people are asking for bondage, they want to feel some sort of... helplessness? But not to the point where, you know, they can't stop, like where everything is, you know, where it's like life or death, right? They want to feel like they can't stop the world, but also like God forbid something happened, they could get out of it, right? I think most people, when they're getting tied their first time, you know, if you perhaps don't bind their wrists, it's not the end of the world. I think you can give -- you can wrap rope around their stomach, around the thighs, around their arms, and still create that 'hug' with still giving them that space to move their hands. And that little bit of autonomy can sort of quiet that, Oh, my God, I'm in bondage, but they still get that I'm in bondage moment. I think a lot of first-time people are sort of craving that because they also don't know what to expect. And then there's also like people who, you know, if what you want is something more intentional, if what you're craving like with me or with another rigger is a more complex scene or a more, you know, more difficult suspension with, you know, different positions, you know, something that's dynamic, that's changing, you know...

Wicked Wren [00:41:26] Absolutely.

Shira Ties [00:41:27] I think that's one of those things that like – it's hard to convey that. Especially, if you've never done it before. And I also think that you shouldn't convey that for your first go around. I think maybe for your first go around, it's okay to say, Hey, this is my first time. I don't know exactly what I want and I don't know exactly what I don't want. Is it okay if we sort of try some throwing spaghetti, you know, and we go slow? And if something doesn't feel right, we pull back. I, you know, like if people just said that, like for all the people who don't want to say anything at all. If you say that, you're saying a lot.

Wicked Wren [00:42:02] Yeah. It's always better to leave a little bit on the table to explore next time. You don't have to do everything on the first date.

Shira Ties [00:42:08] Oh, God, no. No. It's better to live and tie again than to... And I love how like, like especially like at an event or a rope share, you know, someone will see someone who's been doing rope with like, you know, a rope tying pair that's been tying together for a really long time. They have like a really great like intimacy and quickness of motion and comfort with each other. And you're that new person on the scene, you're like, Oh my God. Like I really want that. And I'll be – and you could just tie me like that. And it's like, No, no, I can't tie you like that. Like they're having that scene. Like, that's them. Like, I can maybe make you feel like that, but I don't know that your body can do that. So I think it's more about trying to get to where they want their headspace to be.

Wicked Wren [00:42:56] That makes total sense. Yeah. Instead of thinking about things physically, like thinking about the headspace.

Shira Ties [00:43:02] Yeah. Well, also like, when you think about it from like the lens of like, like physically, not everybody can do everything, you know? So, you know, maybe, maybe a split for me looks like this, but a split for you looks like that. And if I can get you close to what it looks like in your mind, you're going to feel like you're doing the thing. Whereas the next person is going to be like, Holy crap, you're really (…) flexible. And they can't do it at all, right? So like, rather than focusing specifically on like, you know, like someone will be like, Oh, well, I really want you to put me in like a double futo and a TK and like put me in like a really, really nice ebi and like, fold me in half. And it's like, well, maybe, but maybe your body won't let you do that. Or maybe your body let you do that yesterday, but now you're kind of tired and like your muscles a little loose, so it's like not up for it. So maybe we don't actually get there, but we get close to it, you know, like.

Wicked Wren [00:44:00] Yeah, and what feelings do you really want from all those things that you're asking for?

Shira Ties [00:44:05] Yeah. Also I would say this: like, if what you're looking for is a very specific tie with very specific patterns and like a very specific sequence, you'd do better to hire KissMeDeadlyDoll or Sydona Rogue, because they're both more far more technically skilled than I am. I focus more on the mental side of things and that journey, whereas they have far more technical skill. And if you, if you were to go to either of their studios and say, Hey, listen, I want you to put the tightest futo that you can safely put on this leg... It would look perfect.

Wicked Wren [00:44:40] It's so funny that you said specifically tight futo. Because there's this little running joke between KissMeDeadlyDoll and I. And one time I remarked that her futos were very tight. So then one night after we taught this class at the Bank, she tied a pretty loose futo on me and she was like, Let's try this out tonight. And immediately I was like, No, no, no, no. I was like, I want it tight, nevermind. She was like, No, no, you're saying they're too tight. You know, let's just try this out and maybe you'll like it more. And it turns out I didn't. So...

Shira Ties [00:45:18] I think that's a new fear play falling out of a futo in flight.

Wicked Wren [00:45:22] Yeah, exactly. Well, all it did was just shift around on me a bunch, and I was like, Wow, this is not fun. And obviously, I knew that that would happen, but... Yeah, it's one of my favorite things between KissMeDeadlyDoll and I is like, the banter that comes. The mental banter, I suppose.

Shira Ties [00:45:39] But that's also like a clear, like example of two folks, you and her, who know each other really well, trust each other, respect each other and are comfortable in, and being giggly and both having like, Oh, let's (…) around and find out. You know like you don't feel that comfortable with any person, to say that there's 5000 riggers in the world, I don't know if that's the number. There could be more. There could be less. I don't (…) know. But say that there is that number of that number. There's only a small handful that you feel comfortable to (…) around and find out with.

Wicked Wren [00:46:16] Well, it's also funny you said that because different personalities and different intents match up really well, because there are people that are wonderful tops, but maybe (…) around and find out wouldn't be fun for me to do with them because their intent as a rope top is different than my intent as a rope bottom.

Shira Ties [00:46:35] Oh yes, absolutely. Like, I think... For me, like a world that exemplifies that is like the pain play. Like there's always that one top who's like, I'm going to make you feel more pain than you ever felt before. And you're like, Oh, no. What is this like...

Wicked Wren [00:46:54] You're like, I'm a woman living in 2023. I'm good.

Shira Ties [00:47:01] Yeah, like they might take away my right to have a bank account. Are you sure I need you to show me?

Wicked Wren [00:47:06] Like, I don't think you can show me anything I haven't experienced, babe.

Shira Ties [00:47:11] But I tend to think that like you know, there's always that, that person who's going to like push your limits in whatever it is that you don't like. So it's best to sort of, like... I always prefer the more giggly sessions. Even if there is a lot of pain, even if there's a lot of pain at play, if you're not somebody that I could like be hysterically laughing with, the chances that we're going to tie again because I physically reach out to you and ask to tie with you are probably nonexistent. In fact, I keep a little book by my rig that somebody gave me years ago, and I think it's hilarious, and it's, I (…) on this and other poems by Katz.

Wicked Wren [00:47:53] Amazing.

Shira Ties [00:47:55] And there's just stupid little like cat poems. But like, if I can't, while you're suspended, read you one of those poems, and the two of us aren't both like in tears at the end of it. We're not going to be like rope buddies.

Wicked Wren [00:48:09] Yeah, it's not gonna work.

Shira Ties [00:48:10] You're just going to be a pain client. Like, I'm sorry.

Wicked Wren [00:48:13] Yeah, which is fine, because there are other people that want to do different things and that might be better. You know, there's a lot of different flavors.

Shira Ties [00:48:21] Yeah. My intent is that fun space. My intent like or like that, that like, if somebody is like – I also really like exploring those quiet spaces as well where like you put on like the 540 megahertz sounds and like you try to just give them the quiet and you've got candles burning and you try to like, help them breathe through a journey. I like those – those two modalities, I think, I feel the most in. And I'm also pretty asexual on a daily basis. So even though I can take great pleasure in doing exposing rope, I'm not one to blend rope with (…). So like... You know... So that's not like an area that like – I mean, sure, if it's, you know, it's a paid session, that's one thing. But like, you know, in my own private life, that's just not how I rope. So like I love the fact that like you – that she was challenging you with this like unsturdy futo. Just because you had the balls to be like, No, no, no. It's tight! You wanna brat? We'll who brats. That's totally something that like Sasha and I would do. Or like, I know that there's been times where like I've been tying with my friends, and like, my cats would be close by, and I'm like, No, I'm going to tie you in such a way that you are just like a finger's inch away from petting the cat, and then the cat lays there and like purrs and like, looks up at them like, Oh, don't you want to pet my belly? And they're like, I want to pet the cat!  and I'm like, HA HA HA! Like those are my moments of (…) pleasure.

Wicked Wren [00:49:56] God, I love it. I love it. Well, do you have anything coming up, anything like, you're excited about in the future or anything?

Shira Ties [00:50:04] Um. Oh. In like the rope world? Not really. I've just started to sort of like go back out to parties and events. I will say that there is a lot more going on in New York City, and I'm sort of just trying to like sort of refind the good places. I think what happens is, you know, you get sometimes not so good folks who come back to events and make events, not good events and then places close, then new places open and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I haven't really found a club that I'm regularly attending yet, but I do see myself going to some of the rope shares that are going to be a Hit Me Up event. Those are pretty nice. They were really nice space. I was there a few weeks ago. But other than that, no, I don't... I'm not like a planner.

Wicked Wren [00:51:01] Yeah, you just kind of go with the flow. Where can people find you? Where can people reach out?

Shira Ties [00:51:07] You can find me on Instagram. FL is a dumpster fire. I don't use Twitter. And then if you want to inquire about spending time with me or hiring me for rope or for modeling, it would be shiraties@protonmail.com.

Wicked Wren [00:51:25] Amazing. Thank you so much for being on. This was an awesome conversation.


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