By Juliette Tang
I do most of my writing in cafes, because any attempt to write at home generally results in watching online videos and taking naps. Given some of the things I write about, the process of writing in public often induces a distracting level of self-consciousness that borders on fear. There's always the mild worry that what I'm working on is 'inappropriate' for public consumption, a worry that's as tiresome as it is shaming. As I furtively write on my laptop, I invent implausible scenarios that almost always result in my being exposed and then humiliated in some convoluted way. What if I'm writing at a cafe and someones child, lurking near my table, sees the engorged human genitalia trumpeting like something 3-D and malevolent from the light of my Google image search? Would I be escorted out by management for being some kind of sex offender? In front of all of Ritual? Why must they sell those tiny cupcakes that attract kids in the first place???
It is not always possible to detect a child's presence. They are small, like bacteria.
My answer came in the form of Wicked Grounds, which opened two weeks ago in SOMA (289 8th St, at Folsom) -- as luck would have it, literally in my backyard. Situated barely a block away from kink havens Madame S, Stormy Leather, and the Citadel, this new, 18+ kinky coffee shop fits into the neighborhood foliage and is, bewilderingly, the only 'adult' cafe in our city.
The quaint and welcoming Wicked Grounds serves pastries, Ritual Coffee, and Red Blossom Tea in a quiet space that is, like many cafes in our city, long, skinny, and adorned with the work of local artists. However, unlike every other cafe in our city, all the artwork in the cafe features naked people. Finally, a place where I can work in peace!
There is a small boutique at the very entrance of the shop that sells sex toys, erotic books, fetish gear, and a variety of small, phallus-shaped bric-à-brac. Customers are allowed and encouraged to bring their slaves. Spanking is permitted. If you go on Thursday evening, you can get a chair massage from kink-friendly and aptly-named Randy, who will knead out any BDSM-associated muscle injuries without judgment.
Note to those looking for a space to host artwork or events -- as Wicked Grounds has barely just opened, their calendar is as spare now as it will ever be (which is to say, not for much longer).
At Wicked Grounds, I don't fear eviction as punishment for my blogging about sex. The only punishmet at Wicked Grounds is the corporal, leathered variety. A naughty Google image search would about as everyday and incidental as the erotic photography decorating the walls and the D/s couple reading Art Forum in the corner. And yes! For the sake of my misanthropic heart, at Wicked Grounds there are no children allowed.
289 8th St., SF
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