Ryan Cress (smiling): Pain’s not always bad. Actually, thanks. I’m glad to be here. Sorry I’m late. I had to swing past Pleasure Palace to pick up an order.
BP: Your brother Theo owns Pleasure Palace, doesn’t he? I’m surprised he didn’t bring it to you.
RC: Theo? No, he doesn’t cut me any slack. Besides, it’s the only time I get to see my pain in the butt sister (laughs).
BP: Tell me about your family.
RC: We’re your normal mid-west American family… dad, mom, five kids, dog, BDSM. Well, I guess not so normal. My dad and mom run Cress Construction and most of us kids work there.
BP: Tell me about your siblings.
RC: My brother Theo is the oldest. He’s a year older than me and is in line to run the company. He’s also the pushiest of us all. If he sees something he wants, he gets it. No questions asked. I think he has his eye on my sub’s best friend Keera… she’ll never know what hit her. Next is Max. He’s an artist but dad talked him into running our design department. He’s good at it—better than I’d be. I think he’s been secretly in love with his friend Ana since high school, but he just won’t admit it to anyone… My baby brother is Josh. He’s a bit of a rebel. At least that’s what he tries to make everyone believe. I think he’s just broken hearted over the one that got away in college. Not that he’d ever show that by moping around. He’d have you think he’s the baddest one in the bunch. My sister Francesca is just like him… she’s going through this bitter, smart-assed goth stage. I don’t know what crawled up her skirt, but something’s bugging her—she won’t tell any of us what it is, though. Personally, I think she’s scared of being a submissive…
BP: And that would be bad?
RC: Absolutely not. Everyone should be true to who they are. If they aren’t, then they’re unhappy. Take my sub, Jessica. For years she’s hidden behind this wall of perfection, trying to control everything around her and prove she was the best at it. The circles beneath her eyes just got darker and darker and she never even smiled anymore. She smiles now that her Dom has taken her in hand.
BP: How long have you been a Dom?
RC: Since I was sixteen. It’s a family thing. I mean, either you’re a Dom or your not, but whatever leaning you display is the art in which you’re trained. My parents didn’t want to put us on the street unprepared. That would be like sending out a kid to drive a car without driver’s ed. Someone could get injured and the one who caused the pain would be stuck with a lifetime of guilt.
BP: You didn’t think that was weird?
RC: My parents have a D/s relationship. So, no, I didn’t. They never displayed the sexual part in front of us, but there was no question to who was in charge. My mother wears a collar.
BP: And no one thought that you’re mother was belittled?
RC: That’s not what D/s is about. My mother is a well-respected woman in her field. As a matter of fact, people are scared of her. Hell, I’m a little scared of her. But she physically kneels to my father in private. And emotionally kneels to him in public. She defers to him and submits.
BP: I see. So if you’re so comfortable about this lifestyle, why have you hidden it for so long?
RC: That’s awfully personal.
BP: It’s an interview. These things happen.
RC: Most people aren’t comfortable with the lifestyle. They make it into something it isn’t. They paint Doms as sadists and subs as mindless sycophants. That’s just not the way it is. Some people are actually scared of the lifestyle or see the people in it as freaks. We’re just normal people. I can’t think of many people who don’t practice some form of BDSM in their bedrooms. I keep it secret because I don’t want to explain myself to others.
BP: So would you consider yourself straight, gay, bi, or something else? Okay, you’re giving me a cross-eyed look… should I take that to mean you’re straight and I shouldn’t even be asking?
BP: Okay, then. Moving on… What trait do you find most admirable, and how often do you find it?
RC: People who are true to themselves. It’s rare. Everyone’s pretending to be something they’re not.
BP: Yet you hide your lifestyle.
RC: I didn’t say I liked it. I just think it’s necessary.
BP: Do you believe in the existence of soul mates and/or true love?
RC: Absolutely. I think the truly well-blended D/s relationship is the result of two soul mates uniting. Each is part of a whole. They couldn’t be the same—both dominant or there’d be war. Both submissive and there’d be no union, just a lot of unfulfilled drifting. Soul mates should compliment each other. A sub needs a Dom—the right Dom—and a Dom needs his sub just as much.
BP: What is your most treasured possession?
BP: But she’s a person.
RC: She belongs to me.
BP: Okay. Who would you turn to if you were in desperate need of help?
RC: I’d probably confide in Jess, but for help…definitely Theo. I can’t think of a problem he can’t solve. Of the five of us, he deserves to be the next to run Cress. He’s a leader. If I had an issue, I know he’d know the best way to attack it. He’s just that way. Analytical and determined. Nothing gets in his way.
BP: If you died or went missing, who would miss you?
RC: Why? Do you have something planned? I just got my happily ever after. I’d like it to last a while. Like a lifetime.
BP: It’s a hypothetical question. Are you always so paranoid?
RC: About death or losing Jessica? Yeah. Otherwise, no. If I went missing, Jessica would miss me. Possibly as desperately as I’d miss her. My family would miss me, too. We’re very close. When you have a family like ours, your lives intertwine. They have to. You’re your own best support system.
BP: If you knew you were going to die in 24 hours, name three things you would do in the time you had left.
RC: Seriously… is there something you’re trying to tell me? We should talk about this. You let me float around as an idea for three years and now you’re killing me off? I won’t allow that, so forget about it.
BP: I’m not going to kill you. I just wondered what you’d do.
RC: I don’t know. Definitely spend as much time as possible with Jess. I’m sure all three things would revolve around that… and seeing my family.
BP: Last question. What color are your sheets? Are they satin or cotton? Patterned or plain?
RC: That’s three questions.
BP: True. Well Ryan, thanks for visiting today. If readers are interested in learning more about you, where can they find you?