Max Groen loves a good nose hook

Mister B is all about celebrating milestones this year. Next to our 30th birthday, we are honouring the 25th work anniversary of After Sales Specialist and beautiful human being Max Groen (he/him/they/them). WINGS sat down with the 57-year-old from Amsterdam-Noord to talk about his time at the company and to find out what gets him excited!

Max, congratulations on your 25th anniversary! Let’s do a deep dive into your history. How did you become a member of the Mister B team all those years ago?

“My first job was at GAMMA (a Dutch hardware chain, ed.) as a sales assistant. I started as a student and continued working there after I got my degree. I was already active in the kink scene, and I visited Mister B whenever they had an opening of an art exhibition at the store. Wim Bos (the original Mister B, ed.) used to live above our old Amsterdam store. One day, he was at GAMMA to buy some things for his rooftop terrace. When he spotted me, he came over for a chat, and then, out of the blue, asked if I would be interested in working at Mister B.”

Did he have a specific job in mind for you?

“Not at the beginning. He first wanted me to get a taste of the company, the clients and the store. When I arrived on my first day, they made me vacuum clean the place (laughs loudly). That’s a memory that will stick with me forever. Hans, one of my colleagues, showed me around, and explained how everything worked, which I appreciated.”

How did the customers respond to your presence?

“Back then, I still identified as a woman, and it was pretty much unthinkable that a woman would work at a store for (gay) leather men, but Mister B was open to it, and that made me happy. The customers were very welcoming. Of course, some men would go up to my male colleagues for help, ignoring me, but I was fine with that. I actually received a lot of positive feedback from customers. I remember working at the store on Saturdays. We would dress in our best leathers. One Saturday afternoon, an American customer approached me. He told me that I looked the most butch out of all my male colleagues. At first, I didn’t like that remark, but afterwards, I did (laughs).”

What do you like about working at Mister B?

“I have worked as a Sales Assistant in the store, I have been Sales Manager for the Wholesale Department, and right now I’m the After Sales Specialist. What I love most about my work is the personal contact with our customers. Whether it’s in the shop, at a fair, or through email.

I still fill in for colleagues at the store whenever it’s necessary, and I really enjoy that. It feels like the place is mine, even though I know fully well it isn’t. The customer is king, but I’m the boss. I don’t get overpowered by our customers. Normally, I’m not like that. I’m actually quite shy, almost to the degree that I want to apologize for existing at all.”

That’s not how you come across at the office. Whenever we work together, I feel like you have your shit together. You seem quite confident!

“That’s definitely me at the office. In private, I’m more in my head. I’m highly sensitive to the moods of other people and susceptible to the things that happen around me. It’s not like I stop watching the news, but I do need a break from other humans from time to time.”

What are your personal kink interests?

“I used to think that I was dominant, but I’m actually a sadist. I’m not good at playing a role. I’m much more comfortable with using a whip.”

What are your favorite toys?

“I’m mostly into sadistic toys, but they need to be practical as well. I love a good nose hook. It’s just a piece of steel that you put in your partner’s nose. You tie it down at the back of the head to pull the nose wings up. It’s simple, but effective. It looks hot, and I enjoy that my play partner has to deal with it (laughs gleefully). That’s what does it for me! Some of my favorite toys include a cane made from buffalo leather and a whip that has gotten really soft from decades of playing. I also enjoy E-stim a lot.”

Tell us about the Trans Social that you host at Darklands every year!

“The Trans Social is a way for people to meet and connect. They can have a drink and there’s food as well. Mister B sponsors the event, which I really appreciate. This year, I’m hosting it with fellow trans man and kinkster DK Leather from the UK. I find it challenging to do it on my own, so each year I invite a co-host. I remember going on stage for the first time, four years ago. I didn’t call myself a man yet. I was genderfluid, and a nervous wreck (laughs). Nothing good came out of my mouth, luckily (queer rights activist, ed.) Hans Verhoeven stood next to me. He knows how to talk to an audience, and he turned out to be my knight in shining armor.”

What have been the reactions to the Trans Social?

“They are mostly positive. We get lots of compliments. Not just from the trans community, but also from our allies, which I find touching. Darklands is mostly targeted at men. Women are welcome during the daytime, but the festival is more interesting for trans men than for trans women, which I find a little bit unfortunate. There was a trans woman who attended the social last year, but she left quite quickly.”

Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

“(In a cheeky tone) Can this be an open casting call? My relationship started out as lesbian, but because of my transition, our dynamics have changed. I’m interested in getting more play experience with men. So, that’s one thing that I would like to put out there.

The other thing I would like to share is a call for more tolerance. Dutch society is becoming tougher and less friendly. People mostly focus on themselves, our politics are extremely right-wing, and the Dutch are more xenophobic than ever. A similar mindset existed in Germany at the start of World War II. People didn’t have jobs, so they blamed the Jewish population. We’re heading in the same direction. We need to learn from history! We need to embrace our humanity and stop being bitter!”

Make sure to follow (and congratulate) Max Groen on Instagram @max_amsterdamnoord.