Return to site

Mild-Mannered Man Lives Semi-Secret Second Life as French Maid

by Sophie Hunt

· cosplay,lifestyle,sexuality,kink,BDSM

Shawn, a 40-something public relations professional from Pennsylvania, lives a normal suburban life. Loving husband and father. Church-going Christian and an avid golfer. He doesn't drink and isn't drawn to adventure. To most observers in his everyday life -- including most of his family, friends and people he's worked with -- he's about as normal as it gets.

Shawn -- a mid-40s PR professional from Pennsylvania with a big secret

But he has a big secret ... something that would astonish those folks if they ever discovered it.

For the last 15 years, Shawn has led a semi-secret second life as a French maid, exploring a side of himself that's led him from a lost bet to unexpected adventures, new friends, brushes with celebrities, the fringes of the kink community, and even some renown on the comic-con cosplay circuit.

For more than 15 years, Shawn has led a semi-secret second life as a French maid; here he is vacuuming the foyer of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority house on the campus of Ohio State University

It started with a lost bet.
In the mid-2000s, Shawn was divorced, single and singularly focused on his work. As he explains it, he was a man who felt ill-at-ease in most social situations. He was guarded, and felt constant pressure to be someone that others expected him to be. He was definitely not someone people would expect to do anything wild or outrageous.

"I felt a lot of pressure from a very early age to be what I thought people expected me to be, to always overachieve, to be perfect" Shawn says. "Nobody put that pressure on me; I don't know where it came from. But I was wound so tight because of that pressure and the fear of letting people down. As a result, I took myself far too seriously, never let myself relax, be silly, have fun the way other people did. And it took a toll on me and my relationships. I had so much inner conflict, so much anger balled up inside myself over it. It's not the reason my first marriage ended, but I'm sure it didn't help."

Then, in the mid-2000s, a friend Shawn had opened up to about these feelings began to encourage him to step outside his comfort zone. A former Hooters girl, Ava says she was used to living a more open life. And she was determined to help Shawn experience the life he could enjoy if he just got outside his shell.

During dinner at Hooters on what happened to be a French maid dress-up night for the waitresses, Ava jokingly suggested a longshot football bet. If Shawn lost, she said he was supposed to visit every Hooters location in a French maid uniform of his own.

"I agreed, not even really taking it seriously or thinking about what 'every Hooters' really meant," Shawn says. Then he lost the bet. And in February 2006, Ava helped Shawn put together his first makeshift French maid costume for his very first Hooters visit "in uniform."

Shawn's very first outing as Shawna the Maid in a makeshift French maid costume at Hooters of Rockville, MD

"I was beyond nervous walking into those initial stores," says Shawn. "I wasn't comfortable at all with being the center of attention like that. But, at the same time, I wasn't about to back out of the bet. And looking back, I think on some level I wanted to experience it even though the insecurities I'd been living with and compensating for my entire life were screaming at me that it was a bad idea."

Thankfully, he says, people were so welcoming as the waitresses, managers and even the customers all got in on the laugh. The Hooters girls insisted on taking pictures with him in his outfit, often asking him to pose like he was doing "maid's work," for them.

"It was so embarrassing," Shawn says. "But people were having so much fun with it. And though I didn't understand it at the time, on some level I enjoyed just the fun, playful, even flirty attention from the girls. I'd never experienced anything like that before."

"Oh, the girls loved him!" Ava says with a laugh. "He walked in wearing that short dress, fishnets and heels, and they immediately started teasing about how 'hot' he looked and how 'sexy' his legs were. It was hilarious. But they weren't totally kidding. He does have banging legs!"

After those first couple of successful store visits, Ava asked if Shawn was going to keep making his visits or if he was going to chicken out on the bet. She says she knew he liked it when he told her he was not backing out.

"At that point," Ava says, "I knew we needed to upgrade his costume!"

Sweeping the floor at Hooters in Columbus, Ohio

"Hey, it's like you're our bitch!"
Once Shawn had a proper French maid uniform (two, actually; Ava gifted him a traditional black and white uniform and also a pink and white uniform just because she thought it would be funny), things really took off. As Shawn visited more Hooters stores during his travels and became a bit more at-ease, the girls had more and more fun with his visits. Then, there was a defining moment when he says it all changed forever.

"I was visiting one store, and the girls had me posing for pictures. They were kind of crowded around me while I was clearing off a table, and one of the girls loudly announced, 'Hey, it's like you're our bitch!' Under any other circumstance, I might be insulted by that. But, to my surprise, it was like a jolt of electricity through my body. As the girls laughed, I was both embarrassed and more excited than I had any ability to understand. I guess because I didn't object, the girls just ran with it and kept calling me 'bitch' for the rest of my visit. They'd say, 'Come clean this table for me, bitch,' or 'Come sweep the floor for me, bitch,' and I'd just say, 'Yes, Ma'am,' and follow along. It was thrilling and really confusing, but there was definitely something about someone else taking control like that, teasing me, putting me on display in such a fun and playful way, and me giving myself over to it, that really resonated with me."

A few days later, one of the girls posted the pictures from Shawn's visit on her MySpace page (this was the mid-2000s, remember), under the heading, "Shawna the Maid: Official Bitch of the Hooters Girls!"

Once that happened, Hooters girls and managers at other locations across the U.S. found out about Shawn and the bet. And when they started contacting him on his personal MySpace to ask when he'd be visiting their locations, he created a "Shawna the Maid" MySpace page to help keep some separation between his everyday life and his alter-ego.

These Madison, Wis. Hooters girls wanted the world to know that Shawna the Maid is their bitch.

Shawna the Maid Joins Social Media
Shawn found he could use MySpace (and later Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) to stay connected with people he met during his visits and that it made it easier visiting new locations when people had seen him online and knew what to expect.

"The fact that people could see pictures from my other visits, I think, gave them an understanding before I'd even walked in the door that it was supposed to be fun, that they could laugh and be creative about how they wanted to have fun with it," he explains. "They didn't have to worry that I was some kind of creep or that I'd be inappropriate with the girls because they could see girls and managers from other stores posting or commenting on pictures that made it clear they'd had fun with my previous visits."

Then Shawn discovered that the Hooters girls and managers who found him online weren't just more comfortable about his visits ... in many cases they were actually thinking about how to top what had been done before.

At some stores, they posted special messages for him on the marquee outside their locations. Some even posted about his upcoming visits on their social media pages as if it were a promotion.

A warm welcome in Warner Robins, Ga.

And at many of the restaurants, the Hooters girls went from just posing as if Shawn were doing their cleaning to actually putting him to work.

"The more people got to know me -- and the more friends I made through social media with Hooters girls and managers -- the more they knew they could have fun with my visits and the whole idea that I was now the 'official' (albeit entirely unofficial) bitch of the Hooters girls," Shawn says. "Since Ava couldn't travel as much as I could and I had to start making my visits alone, she began printing up certificates for me to get the girls to sign during my trips. The idea was that if I had to get them all to sign the certificates, I couldn't just rush in and out with a quick picture; I'd actually have to stay a while and endure the playful public humiliation of it all. And the girls realized that they could have fun making me earn their signatures on the certificates by giving me chores and by actually making me their bitch!"

One of the many, many "Official Bitch" certificates Shawn has collected from his more than 300 Hooters visits since he lost the original bet.

Shawn says that over the years, Hooters girls and managers have playfully made him do just about every job in the restaurant -- from working the hostess stand to taking customer orders, running food, cleaning tables, sweeping and mopping the floor, cleaning windows, washing glasses behind the bar, fetching cold beers from the freezer for the bartender, dusting the pictures on the walls and even holding promotional signs outside the restaurant along major roads during rush hour ... all for laughs and to earn those signatures. And, he admits, he's had a blast even when it's been incredibly embarrassing.

On display for all to see as he holds signs to promote the Gainesville, Fla. Hooters store along the side of a major roadway during rush hour

At the Hooters in Port Huron, Michigan, the girls and their manager kept him working from the moment he arrived just after 5 p.m. until he'd finished doing all of the girls' closing work when the restaurant shut down at midnight before they gave him his signed "Official Bitch" certificate. He says it was one of his favorite store visits because they all had such a good time.

And when there hasn't been cleaning work for him to do, the girls at stores he's visited have found other creative and playfully humiliating ways to put him to work.

Miss Crystal, a North Carolina Hooters girl, not only made Shawn do all of her cleaning at the end of the night; she made him clean her shoes, too!

Or they've gotten more and more creative about fun, impromptu photo-shoots to create memories that ensure he'll never run for political office.

These Orlando Hooters girls made Shawna the Maid a model for the day.

A Journey of Self-Discovery

Shawn explains that there have been a lot of surprises along the way, both in terms of the adventures he's had as Shawna the Maid and in terms of his own understanding of himself.

"Ultimately," he says, "I realized that it’s liberating to give up control … to put on these frilly outfits that make it impossible for me to control how others perceive me, to wear something that undermines and forces me let go of whatever society thinks a 'man' is supposed to be, to let someone else be in charge for a while, to let myself be the butt of the joke among folks who are just out to have a fun time. What’s more, it’s exciting to do something that challenges convention and forces me outside my comfort zone. It’s terrifying and at the same time thrilling to know – especially in the age of social media – that try as I might to keep a wall up between my everyday life and my secret identity as Shawna the Maid, there’s no telling where pictures or videos of me as Shawna the Maid might show up or who might see them."

"I think of it like skydiving," he says. "I lost my fear of death when I was 7 or 8. So, things like skydiving don't interest me. But in the same way people experience a massive adrenaline rush by jumping out of a plane – that intense collision of fear and the excitement that comes with facing down a fear – I experience that feeling every time I step out somewhere as Shawna the Maid or every time pictures and video of me are shared online somewhere out of my control. I don't fear for my life, but for my reputation. And the fear is very real, but so is the exhilaration."

Shawn says that he's always nervous before any outing in his French maid attire, but fun and welcoming people have made for exciting experiences and lasting friendships.

It helps, Shawn says, that he's met people along the way who have been eager to have fun with the journey he's been on and have even looked for ways to take him outside his comfort zone. During a particularly surprising visit to Asheville, N.C., Shawn knew he was in for an experience when the Hooters girls -- some of whom knew him well through social media -- greeted him with a gift-wrapped box that turned out to be full of handcuffs, ankle cuffs, a ballgag, collar and leash, and even a paddle. The girls called them his new "bitch toys."

"I was shocked," Shawn says. "Not upset, but beyond surprised. The girls were absolutely giddy about it, though. And by that time in my travels, I'd kind of adopted the attitude that so long as it was safe, sane and legal, I'd follow their lead when I made my visits. There were no kids in the restaurant at the time, so I couldn't really think of a reason to object. And the next thing I knew, I was cuffed, gagged, and being led around on the leash with Miss Jayme introducing me to all of the regulars as her bitch and laughing with them at me, dressed in my pink French maid uniform and all locked up." (Author's note: Shawn almost always refers to his female friends with some honorific, often "Miss" but occasionally something more colorful such as "Princess" or even "Goddess" when a friend has told him she's got a particular preference.)

The Hooters girls in Asheville, NC took making Shawn their bitch to a whole new level.

The "bitch toys" have made a number of on-demand appearances during other visits over the years since the girls in Asheville sent them home with Shawn.

Miss Bethany beat Shawna's bitch ass on the balcony at Hooters of Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

"It's funny," he says, "because I've had some friends who I don't think are necessarily into that sort of thing but have enjoyed playing the part for a little while. And it's amazing how a girl's entire demeanor can change when she picks up a paddle or a riding crop!"

Kiss it, bitch!
One trend that has resulted in many unforgettable pictures that show up periodically on Shawn's social media channels began with the Hooters girls in Macon, Ga. telling Shawn to pose on his knees as if they were about to make him kiss one of the girls on the backside. Only the shot didn't go as Shawn expected.

"I was kneeling, posing with my lips puckered," he says. "And the girls were all teasing about what a 'good little bitch' I was. Then, just their manager was about to snap the picture, Miss Alana reached back, grabbed my head and pulled me forward so that I was actually kissing her ass. I'll never forget all the girls laughing and Miss Alana saying, 'Kiss it, bitch!' as the picture was taken."

300 Hooters Stores ... and Beyond

Over the course of the years that followed the bet he'd lost, Shawn traveled extensively across North America for work and leisure, making time to visit as many Hooters locations as he could. To date, he's been to more than 300 Hooters stores as Shawna the Maid.

Shawn celebrated a birthday visiting his 250th Hooters location in Missoula, MT.

"Some people go sightseeing or play golf when they travel," he says. "For a bunch of years there, particularly before I remarried, I would travel and take whatever meetings I might have to take for work, and then I'd be out of the suit and into the French maid uniform to make my Hooters visits. I know how strange that must sound to a lot of folks, but what a unique and really fun way it was to meet so many terrific people."

These Concordville, Pa. Hooters girls wanted to leave no doubt that A) Shawna the Maid is a little bitch and B) he's their little bitch.

As time went on and as Shawn's Shawna the Maid social media presence expanded, he found himself attracting followers who had no connection to Hooters but just enjoyed the fun in his online pictures and videos, and he began getting requests from former Hooters girls who had moved on to other restaurant chains, bars and clubs, asking him to visit them where they worked.

Sorority House Bitch
Shawn's first non-Hooters visits by request were to a couple of sorority houses on the campuses of Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati, where the young co-eds had a great time putting him to work serving them breakfast, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, painting toenails, washing dishes and doing laundry. He says the Alpha Chi Omega sisters even put him out on the balcony on the front of their house to wave at passersby for nearly an hour as students and fans made their way down the street on their way to a Buckeyes football game.

"I can't even tell you how nervous I was making those visits, but the girls had so much fun getting into the spirit of the whole thing," says Shawn. "It turned out to be a great time and really helped to open my eyes to the idea of this being something beyond Hooters and the bet for me."

Show-Me's, Wing House and More, Oh My!

In response to so many requests over social media, Shawn began visiting other restaurants in the same "breastaurant" category as Hooters -- chains like Show-Me's in the midwest, Wing House in Florida, Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks.

In a lot of ways, Shawn says, being asked to visit these other places opened up a world of possibilities for him. With the encouragement of some of his friends, he even began expanding his wardrobe to include other French maid costumes, a schoolgirl uniform and more.

Shawn visited the Spokane, Wash. Hooters in a schoolgirl uniform for Schoolgirl Trivia Night.

Is it just for fun ... or is there a sexual thrill in all of this?

As Shawn shared his story with me, there were clear elements of BDSM in his experiences ... surrendering control, public humiliation, occasional bondage, even enjoying being called "bitch" by women as they commanded him to clean or kiss their backsides. Whether he realized it at the time or not, it seemed evident to me that at least some of his experiences were moving in that direction. But I wasn't sure Shawn would be completely comfortable talking about it in those terms. His story became even more interesting when I asked him about that directly.

"For a long time, I had a really difficult time admitting I liked this on any level," says Shawn. "I knew I always had certain tendencies, but I felt there must be something broken in me if I were actually excited by any of that stuff. It was pretty hard to deny in my own mind the more I embraced the experiences I was having as Shawna the Maid. But then I worried that people would see me differently if they knew it was a turn-on and not just something I was doing for the bet or for a laugh."

Shawn says his attitude during his outings has been to do what the girls want him to do and to be enthusiastic about it even when it's incredibly humiliating so long as it's safe, legal and the girls are having fun.

"I was lucky, though, because so many of the people I was engaging with -- especially those who really played with the whole idea of making me their bitch -- were people I'd forged actual friendships with," he says. "I mean, I’ve always been good about not objectifying women; one of the reasons I’ve made so many good friends of the Hooters girls and other women I’ve met as Shawna the Maid is that I engage with them as real people, not sexual objects to be ogled or as a means to achieving sexual gratification in some way. It’s just who I am that I’d rather look a woman in the eyes and have a conversation than stare at her body from afar."

Relating to women on a human level and not objectifying them, Shawn says, has been the key to building real friendships, which has opened the door to so many of the unexpected, incredible experiences he's had as Shawna the Maid.

Shawn met Sarah at a Hooters in North Carolina in 2007, and they've been good friends ever since. This picture was taken in 2012, when they and their significant others met for dinner while they both happened to be traveling in Rochester, NY.

"I’ve never wanted any of the women I’ve met along this journey to think this is just some sexual thing for me. It’s so much more than that – a creative outlet, a way to express a side of myself I can’t otherwise bring to life, a way to step out of my shell and engage with people on a purely fun level, and a way to be social that I never could otherwise."

But at the same time, he admits, there definitely is a sexual energy to it.

"Of course there is a sexual thrill in all of this," he concedes. "I’d almost ask, how could there not be? Going back to the skydiving analogy; many people who engage in high-risk activities will tell you that the adrenaline rush and the intense mix of feelings that come with those activities coincides with sexual excitement. So it’s probably natural that that’s the case for me, too. When a playful woman with a wicked smile has taken me by the leash, is leading me around, calling me her bitch, laughing about all the people who are seeing me like that and even teasing about who might see the pictures and videos she’s going to post online … it’s both terrifying and a turn-on. Frankly, the more exposed I am as Shawna the Maid and the less power I have to control the audience, the more risk there is that I could be discovered by people who don’t already know about this side of who I am, and the more intense the excitement. It’s walking the tight rope; I don’t want them to find out about Shawna the Maid, and the fear of knowing that they could is exciting because the possibility is real."

One can imagine the reaction of family, friends and coworkers seeing this:

But, Shawn says, it’s important to note that while there is a sexual energy to all of this, what he does is not about sex.

"I’ve never had sex with any of what I’d call my Shawna the Maid 'play partners,'" he says. "They're in it mostly just for fun and laughs, maybe to try something a bit taboo or to try out playing the part of the 'mean girl' for a little while, but they aren't in it for sex. And neither am I. For me, the fact that it doesn't end in that kind of release means the high of the experience continues for a much longer time."

Shawn's friend and former Hooters girl, Princess Samantha, made him her personal bitch for the day and took him to Walmart to shop for cleaning supplies and new panties (for him!) before making him spend the day cleaning her house and waiting on her hand and foot.

Fortunately, Shawn says, he's had great friends come alongside him for this journey, who have helped him explore this side of who he is without judgment -- some from the kink community but mostly from among the friends he's made while visiting Hooters locations and other places throughout his adventures over the years.

"I've been so blessed to meet really great people," he says. "And I've become friends with people who, once I opened up about enjoying all of this, have been open to the idea of stepping in and playing the dominant role to varying degrees. I've had friends who just got a laugh out of having me take a picture in one of my outfits with a sign declaring myself their bitch so they could post it online for their friends to see and laugh. And I've had friends who have gone with me for weekend road trips where they basically made me their bitch all over places like Baltimore or Las Vegas.

Miss Mara and Princess Amanda showed all of Las Vegas that Shawna the Maid is their bitch during one exciting weekend adventure

Shawna the Blackmail Bitch

Shawn's even had a couple of friends through time who know him really well and have playfully blackmailed him, gathering collections of humiliating pictures and videos they could use to tease and coerce him into doing whatever they might think up to make him humiliate himself in public and online under threat of being outed if he didn't obey.

"That takes a lot of trust," he says. "The whole idea is that they understand what I'm curious about or interested in ... but they know I'd chicken out of doing a lot of those things if left to my own decision-making. And so they would think up things to make me do that generally fit within the sphere of my interests, and though they are my friends, I understood that the consequences of disobeying -- in the context of this dynamic we had agreed to -- were very real. Crazy as it sounds, the fear -- that genuine fear -- made the power exchange between us very real and intensely exciting."

Shawn's friendly blackmailers have made him record embarrassing dance videos in his various costumes just to make them laugh. They've made him take a pole dancing class in one of his humiliating outfits and put the video online for anyone to see. They've made him offer free car washes in uniform at a very public location on a busy Sunday afternoon just to push him outside his comfort zone. One even made him clean her apartment on a regular basis – in uniform – and provide maid services at a birthday party she hosted for a friend.

"It's been humiliating and terrifying ... and fun and exciting," he says. "And I'm sure it sounds completely mental to most folks. But in my case, these friends have really helped me to figure out a lot about who I am and what I enjoy ... and they've helped me to be more OK with myself than I was for most of my life."

Creating a unique style of cosplay
In 2013, Shawn says, he was making one of his Hooters visits in Newnan, Ga., when he met a Hooters girl named Amy Wilder, who changed his life. As it turned out, Amy was an aspiring cosplay model and a veteran of the comic-con circuit. Over the course of a few hours of conversation -- mixed with time when she'd make Shawn clean the tables in her section or sweep the floor like a good maid -- she helped Shawn to understand that what he's been doing all these years is a form of cosplay. Shawn, being an admitted "superhero nerd," was intrigued, and Amy encouraged him to consider taking Shawna the Maid to some comic conventions, where she was sure he'd be a hit.

Retired Hooters girl, cosplay model and recent Hustler Magazine cover model, Miss Amy Wilder, encouraged Shawn to expand his horizons and enter the world of Comic-Con cosplayers.

Less than a year later, Shawn made his cosplay debut at Baltimore Comic-Con with two friends and former Hooters girls. On Saturday, they cosplayed as Catwoman and Batgirl while Shawn dressed in a Batman-inspired "Batbitch" costume.

Shawn's first cosplay comic-con experience at Baltimore Comic-Con 2014.

The next day, they cosplayed as Wonder Woman, Robin and their Superbitch.

Wonder Woman, Robin and their Superbitch on a leash at Baltimore Comic-Con 2014

And before they left the hotel for the comic-con that morning, Wonder Woman and Robin took some time to make sure Superbitch knew who was in charge!

After a successful first convention experience, Shawn further broadened his wardrobe with custom-designed French maid costumes to match a variety of fandoms -- from Superman to Star Wars to Hello Kitty. And his expansion into more public cosplay has gone hand-in-hand with his exploration of kink.

"Comic-cons have been a really welcoming environment for me to dress in these outlandish costumes, and it turns out that people really have a great time with my unique approach to both the characters and fandoms I incorporate in my cosplay, as well as the nods to kink that are obvious but not lewd," Shawn says. "The cosplays I wear to cons with my friends always include a collar and leash that match the theme of whichever outfit I'm wearing. It's been incredible how many people ask to take pictures with me and how often they want to pose holding the leash; they usually giggle as soon as they grab it."

He's even had a number of celebrities get in on the fun, with nerd-queen Felicia Day taking hold of his leash and telling him his Hello Kitty French maid might be her favorite cosplay ever and Agents of SHIELD star Elizabeth Henstridge telling him she could not possibly love his Superbitch costume more.

Gene Simmons shocked his cock!

Of course, not every celebrity encounter goes quite the way Shawn expects. There have been a couple of celebrities who weren't comfortable taking pictures holding his leash, and Shawn explains that he completely respected their feelings. He simply unclipped the leash or held it out of the way, and the celebrities were happy to take pictures with him in his costumes. But the most surprising reaction, he says, came when he met Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS.

"This is incredibly humiliating to share," he says, "but I have a friend, Miss M, who happens to be a former professional dominatrix, and when we get together for one of my outings she definitely likes to play with the kink elements of what I do. One of the conditions she's set for our adventures is that she expects me to wear a remote-control shock collar -- the kind used for training stubborn dogs -- under my costume around what I'll just say is a very sensitive part of my anatomy! I'm not particularly into pain, but it's a mostly covert way she's found to have fun toying with me that most people would never realize is even happening apart from the fact that it absolutely makes me jump every time I get shocked!"

Shawn asks if I'm really going to include mention of this in the story I'm writing, and I answer with a laugh, "Abso-fucking-lutely."

"So, a couple of years ago," he continues, "Miss M was accompanying me to a comic-con in Philadelphia. And, as it happened, we were also traveling with a friend of mine -- a former Hooters girl I call Princess Samantha -- who is a huge KISS fan. Princess Samantha was cosplaying as the title character from the 'Dominatrix' comic book series Gene Simmons created, and as soon as she walked past his booth, Gene recognized the cosplay and immediately came out to meet her."

Rock legend Gene Simmons of the band KISS posed for pictures with Shawn's friend Princess Samantha in cosplay as the title character from Simmons's comic book creation "Dominatrix" just moments before Simmons used the remote control for an electric dog collar to give Shawn the shock of his life.

"The two of them had a little photoshoot in front of his autograph booth, and then Gene led us over to his booth to talk with us for what must have been 15 minutes. Eventually, he asked Princess Samantha and Miss M about me, and he totally understood the dynamic. But I think he and I were both surprised when the ladies told him about the shock collar and showed him the remote. The next thing I knew, they handed the remote over to him, told him how it worked, and before I could even say 'Please, Gene, don't hit that button,' he began pressing the shock button. Again and again. My knees buckled. The ladies laughed. I whimpered. That made Gene laugh. And after what must have been seven or eight sharp shocks to my manhood, he handed the remote back over to my friends with a big smile on his face. The ladies made me thank him, and then they all laughed together."

Sadly, there is no video of that encounter with Gene Simmons, but I was able to find a hilarious video of Shawn taking some "birthday shocks" at the hands of his friend and blackmailer, Lady J, shared here for illustration purposes and your amusement.

Playing with fire
As Shawn's adventures have continued and his ability to travel has been curtailed by changing work circumstances and responsibilities at home, he's focused less in recent years on visiting Hooters locations and more on occasional comic-cons and special events when he has the opportunity to dress up and get together with friends he knows will have fun cosplaying alongside him and helping him explore this side of himself. Though he says he only really gets to do a handful of Shawna the Maid outings each year, they tend to be jam-packed with excitement, humiliation and the intense fear that he could be discovered at any time by someone in his everyday life.

With a robust social media presence and adventures that have increasingly intensified the risk of exposure, Shawn has known for a long time that he is playing with fire. And he's rarely felt more vulnerable than the handful of times pictures of him as Shawna the Maid have shown up on

"For a lot of years," he says, "I wouldn't do anything public around my hometown. And I didn't have to because I traveled so much. In more recent years, many of the blackmail assignments Lady J would give me required that I venture out locally specifically because she knew how intense the fear of discovery, the humiliation, and the excitement of not being able to disobey would be for me. One time, it was the car wash, when I had to spend three hours on a beautiful Sunday afternoon giving strangers free car washes in a very busy part of town."

Shawn spent 3 hours giving free car washes to anybody who wanted one in uniform at this public car wash not far from his home at the command of a friend who blackmails him into humiliating himself for her entertainment.

Another time, he explains, she made him take her recycling to the city's central recycling center in uniform, where he had to take pictures that she later made him turn into a meme for Earth Day and submit to dozens of pages on Facebook to share. Then, when he was late delivering on another assignment for her, she made him repost the meme on his regular Facebook profile with an audience of 30 friends, all of whom had to be people who didn't already know about his life as Shawna the Maid.

This Earth Day meme was the first image of Shawna the Maid that Shawn shared with an audience of more than 30 friends from high school, college and his work life who didn't previously know anything about his secret second life.

"Oh my God," Shawn says. "Lady J had punished me a couple of times before that for late assignments,but usually her punishments were another assignment or maybe putting some tags on pictures of me that were on the web that could maybe, possibly lead someone to find me. This time, though, she'd had enough of me not snapping to attention, and she made sure I learned my lesson. I had to pick 30 friends -- I went with girls from high school, college and my early work years who I prayed would be cool about it -- and share the meme for all of them to see. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. But, if I'm being honest, it was so exciting that Lady J wasn't letting me off the hook and wasn't kidding about her willingness to use the power she had over me."

Frequently, he says, Lady J and other friends who know him as Shawna the Maid, would demand humiliating sign pictures from him just because it had been a while since he'd had a taste of any sort of public humiliation, and they wanted a good laugh. Often times, the pictures would be images of him in one of his outfits holding a sign that says he's somebody's bitch or maybe a happy birthday message someone wanted to share with a friend. Occasionally, there would be themes -- holidays, special events -- and Shawn would take the pictures, knowing they were going to be posted all over Facebook or Twitter and hoping beyond hope that they wouldn't find their way to his real-life friends.

One particularly humiliating photo, Shawn says, resulted from the fact that his friend Lady J hates the marshmallow Peeps candies that are so popular at Easter. Shawn made the mistake of teasing her about that one time, and he wound up with the assignment to take this photo:

When Shawn teased his blackmailing friend, Lady J, about her hatred of Peeps marshmallow treats, she required that he take this picture and then spread it across a broad list of Facebook pages and groups to make sure it got a wide audience.

Another time, Lady J made him put together a "Santa's Sexy Bitch" costume and wear it to a very crowded area in downtown Pittsburgh during the holiday season with the instructions that he needed to spend a few hours there in plain sight, taking pictures with everyone who asked.

"I was terrified," he says. "I could have been seen by anybody -- friends, family, colleagues. But that only made Lady J laugh more when I tried to beg out of the assignment, and I knew I had no choice. It was one of the scariest and most thrilling things I'd done to date. And, thankfully, I somehow was not seen by anyone I knew on that particular outing."

Making friends during one of his Christmastime outings as Santa's Sexy Bitch in downtown Pittsburgh

Other friends have also gotten Shawn out in costume publicly in recent years. One friend made him dress up as a "sexy cowgirl" to go line dancing with her at a popular country western night club, where he not only danced but rode the mechanical bull.

Miss Mara not only made Shawn accompany her to go country line dancing in a "sexy cowgirl" outfit; she also made him kiss her ass for the entire club to see while she rode the mechanical bull.

And Miss M has taken him out for St. Patrick's Day as her little Irish bitch and Oktoberfest as her personal German beer hall barmaid.

Dressing up for special occasions -- St. Patrick's Day and Oktoberfest.

When she took him out for Oktoberfest, Shawn recalls, after she'd had a few beers Miss M took him outside the large German beer hall where they were celebrating and handcuffed him to a light post.

"She cuffed me to the post," he says, "and then she went to sit in the restaurant's outdoor beer garden, where she could watch me from a distance and use the remote control to shock me any time she wanted a laugh. To get out, I had to convince someone to go inside, find her out of hundreds of people who were there that night, and ask her for the key. It was so humiliating, but honestly, I loved the whole experience. People kept coming up to me to take pictures with me. They were laughing and teasing me. When I asked them to please go find Miss M, they'd make me beg while they took picture after picture with me, pretending they were considering it. Then they'd laugh some more at me, tell me to enjoy my night, and walk away with absolutely no intention of trying to get the key to let me out. I don't know how long I was there like that before one girl finally did agree to go and find Miss M and the key, but it was an incredible, humiliating and exciting experience."

Cuffed to a light post outside a huge German beer hall, begging people to go get the keys, only to have them laugh, take pictures with me, and leave me there as Miss M watched from afar, enjoyed another drink, and took pictures to document my humiliation.

Being discovered.

"For about 10 years, nobody in my everyday life -- apart from my wife -- knew anything about Shawna the Maid," says Shawn. "For a long time, the odds were just in my favor. It's a big internet, millions of things get posted everyday, and there wasn't much crossover between my real world life and my Shawna the Maid activities. Then, in 2015 or so, a girl I'd worked with years before came across one of the memes on Facebook. She kindly kept it a secret, and I felt like I'd dodged a bullet. A year later, I ran into a girl from high school while I was on my Oktoberfest adventure, and she promised to keep my secret, too."

At Christmas time that same year, a handful of friends from his high school came across a picture of him in his Sexy Santa's Bitch costume. Most assumed it was just a joke or a bet or even photoshopped, and it didn't turn into much more than a couple days worth of worrying on his part and laughs from his friends.

"But it was clear the dam was definitely starting to spring some real leaks," Shawn says. "And I was playing with fire every time I went out in my hometown and with every picture or video of me that got shared online."

Then came 2017.

"That's when things really changed," he says. "First, I had some friends and a couple family members who came across a St. Patrick's Day meme that had been created from one of the pictures taken when Miss M and I went out to celebrate."

This meme has been shared hundreds upon hundreds of times on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere ... and was the first Shawna the Maid image discovered by some of Shawn's family members, leading to panic and some really awkward conversations.

And it didn't take much internet sleuthing for his brother and sister-in-law to turn up a lot more Shawna the Maid material, which led to a couple of long conversations.

"That was awkward," he says. But they were generally supportive. "I can't say they really understood ... or that they understand to this day. But, at the end of the day, they love me, and it really hasn't changed our relationship."

Then came the punishment from Lady J that led him to post the recycling meme for those 30 friends to see on Earth Day.

And a month or so after that, Shawn made a mistake. Or was it a Freudian slip?

"So, I have this habit of telling friends who are in a position to use information against me about all of the different ideas that come to me about ways they might humiliate me or force me to humiliate myself," he says. "On the one hand, it's good because open communication leads to more fun and exciting experiences. But on the other hand, once I tell them something, I can't put that genie back in the bottle, and there's no telling how, if or when they might use that information. So, a month or so after the Earth Day punishment, I was at a comic-con with Miss M. I happened to tell her how humiliating and exciting it had been to have to put myself on display like that. In the midst of our comic-con adventure, I was enjoying a lot of playful public humiliation and hungering for more. And so I told her that I'd been thinking about how humiliating it would be if Lady J ever made me share pictures from a convention with that same audience of friends because they'd see me in a different costume and know right away that it had not just been a one-time thing. Well, Miss M texted Lady J with that information -- telling her that I wanted to be made to do it -- and by the time I got home from the con trip I had an assignment from Lady J to do just that."

When Shawn confessed a fantasy about being made to share humiliating pictures from comic-con with friends in his everyday life, essentially outing himself, his blackmailer friend, Lady J, made it an official assignment for him.

"I'd only been home for a few hours when I had to post that picture for more than 30 friends to see me as Superbitch," he says, "and then I started to get a lot of questions."

He couldn't pretend that it was just a joke or a lost bet; Shawn had to begin admitting to these friends of his that he really does enjoy his cosplay/crossplay* activities and being put on display for people to see. (*In the cosplay world, crossplay is defined as dressing in costumes that are typically worn by people and characters of the opposite gender.)

"I was so fortunate because the friends I'd shared the photo with were really accepting," he says. "I'd dreaded being found out for so many years, and it turned out that these few dozen, at least, were really supportive of me. Not only did they accept me, they wanted to see more of my pictures. So, for a while, I'd periodically share more pictures with this group. It was thrilling and scary but mostly really affirming to be able to open up to them that way."

Going public-ish.

Later that year -- around Christmas time -- Miss M suggested Shawn create a public Facebook page for his cosplay adventures and invite all of those 30-plus friends from his regular life to follow it, along with everyone who knew him as Shawna the Maid.

"She teased that I should encourage them to share the pictures and memes liberally, even if it meant I'd be further outed to people in my everyday life," he says. "I consulted with Lady J, thinking she'd maybe save me by telling me it was a bad idea and waving me off, but I caught her at a time when she was busy with holiday stuff, and she just texted back, 'Do whatever Miss M tells you to do.'"

The Shawna the Maid's Cosplay Adventures page on Facebook has a relatively small following, but it includes about three dozen of Shawn's friends from high school, college and his early career.

Within a day, the public page Shawna the Maid's Cosplay Adventures was up, full of humiliating photos and memes created from his pictures. Shawn posted a message to his 30-plus friends encouraging them to share anything they'd like from the page. He says he thought they probably wouldn't really do it because they wouldn't want to out him. But within a day, the girl who had been his high school class president had shared two of the memes with all of her friends, meaning they'd been seen by virtually all of his high school classmates.

This meme was one of the very first images shared from Shawn's public Facebook page by the girl who had been president of his high school class.

"I panicked," Shawn says, "but I immediately thanked her. Dani knew at that point that I liked being put on display and the playful humiliation of it. She knew that I liked not having control over who might see these things or where they might get shared. She hadn't shared them to be mean. And I wanted her to know I appreciated her engaging and having fun with it that way. So I not only thanked her, but I asked her to promise me that she'd never take down anything she shares from the page, even if I get cold feet about it down the road and come asking."

Since that time, Shawn says, that friend and others have shared dozens of memes and videos from his public page. And, he says, every time it happens it's as humiliating, scary and exciting as that first time. What's more, he's even had a holiday outing with a group of former high school classmates that he says was one of his best times out as Shawna the Maid, resulting in yet another meme.

This picture of Shawn and some of his old high school friends on a special holiday outing has been turned into a meme and shared by many of Shawn's followers on Facebook.

So is his secret identity still really much of a secret, and would it be so bad if more people knew?
"Certainly, there are a lot more people in my everyday life today who know about Shawna the Maid to one degree or another," he says. "And that's been mostly a positive development. But there are still an awful lot of people -- family, friends and my professional network -- who remain unaware. And I'm thankful for that because I don't know how they'd all react or how it might change what they think of me. Truth is, being Shawna the Maid doesn't change at all who I am as a friend, a family member or the fact that I'm really good at what I do professionally, but people can be so judgmental. So, I'm glad that there's still quite a bit of secrecy surrounding what I do as far as most folks in my everyday life are concerned. And, if I'm being honest, maintaining the secret and flirting with danger each time I go on one of my outings or something new is shared online is a part of what makes this all so exciting."

How does his wife feel about all of this?

For many in the kink community, the fear of judgment and rejection by lovers or spouses keeps them from openly exploring their interests, which can lead to depression, anxiety, alienation, divorce and even suicide. But Shawn says he knew before he'd met his wife that he had to learn to love himself the way God had created him, and that meant he had to be willing to accept the possibility of judgment and rejection from those who wouldn't understand.

“My wife and I met online,” he says, "and as soon as I realized we were making a serious connection I told her all about this side of my life. I was scared to death, but I was more worried about hurting her if she invested her heart in a relationship with me and found out later that I’d been hiding this side of who I am. My wife is amazing, though. This definitely isn't her thing at all, but she was open-minded about it and accepted that it's part of who I am. She's devoted to the idea of unconditional love. We’ve had some bumps in the road because this was all so foreign to her, but to her credit, she’s been thoughtful, loving, understanding and encouraging. She gets what this does for me in terms of being an escape from the pressures I feel in life -- the way it helps to bring me a sense of balance and helps me to be a happier person. And most importantly, she trusts me. She knows this isn’t about sex -- that, even though it’s a turn-on for me, I’d never do something with someone else that should be reserved for the intimacy of our marriage. We love one another for exactly who we are. We support one another. We don’t ask each other to try to be anything that we’re not. Thankfully, we share a faith that is bigger than any issues that might come between us, and we generally communicate well about it all, so it works."

Is that faith at odds with what you do as Shawna the Maid?
"Not at all," he says. "I know the narrative on Christianity tends to be that Christians are judgmental, conservative, prudish, etc. But that's not Christianity; that's some people who call themselves Christians. Christianity is about love and grace, compassion, charity and community. It's about having a personal relationship with God. It's not anti-fun. It's not anti-excitement. It's not any of those things. And so, while I'm sure I'd be pretty harshly judged by some Christians who think they've got life and God really figured out, I don't personally see a conflict at all with my faith. If anything, I'd point to the many times over the last 15 years my faith has enabled me to help friends I've made as Shawna the Maid as they've struggled with everything from illness to addiction to divorces and death, and I wonder if God has put me on this journey -- at least in part -- to be a person of faith who could be there to support these friends I never would have met were it not for my life as Shawna the Maid"

Shawn -- dressed here in his Star Wars-themed "Darth Maider" cosplay -- says he'll never really get used to the experience of people asking him frequently if they can take a picture with him and hold his leash.

What do the people he's met along the way think of him?
I heard from a number of people Shawn has met at Hooters, at comic-cons and even a couple who follow him on social media, and there were clear themes that emerged from the thoughts they shared -- that Shawn is brave to be as open as he is about this side of himself, that he is thoughtful and kind, and that he's fun.

"I love what he does," wrote Sidney, a fellow cosplayer who has been following Shawna the Maid on Instagram for about four years. "Not many people would have the balls to do what he does, and even fewer could do it without creeping out everyone they meet. But it's clear people have a lot of fun meeting him, and he's always been really sweet when we've commented back and forth on one another's posts. I'd love to meet him some day."

"Shawn's a great friend," said Denise, a former Hooters girl from Florida. "We had so much fun when he visited my store. And I totally made him my bitch! It was definitely one of the highlights of my three-year Hooters career. He was my favorite customer."

Frank, a Detroit-area Hooters regular, has met Shawn a couple of times through the years. In one instance, he says the girls greeted Shawn with a cake to celebrate his visit. Despite the spectacle that is a Shawna the Maid Hooters visit, Frank says he's observed Shawn to be a real gentleman, respectful and friendly.

The Troy, Mich. Hooters girls greeted Shawn with a special cake to celebrate one of his visits to their location.

And Kristen, who declares herself an avid follower of Shawna the Maid on Facebook, says she finds his honesty refreshing and his courage to be himself inspiring. "He's been so open from our first interaction," she says. "Getting to know him has been eye-opening for me, and I truly wish more people were willing to live and express themselves freely the way he does."

Then, of course, there's a long line of women who have gotten to know Shawn and have been enthusiastic about telling the world that Shawna the Maid is their bitch.

But not everyone is a fan.
Despite finding acceptance from the overwhelming majority of people he's met as Shawna the Maid and those friends in his everyday life who have found out about his secret identity, Shawn concedes that not everyone loves him. He says he has lost a couple of friends -- people he'd known since childhood -- who cut ties with him after getting a glimpse into this side of his life.

"It's sad," he says. "But you can't please everyone in life. And if they don't accept me for who I am, then it's better that we move in separate directions. I don't have any animosity toward them over it."

The real negativity Shawn experiences -- and it's very infrequent, he says -- tends to come from two camps. First, not surprisingly, are men who have hurled homophobic slurs at him when he's been in public in one of his outfits.

"Typically, I ignore that noise," he says. "I’m not gay, but there’s also nothing wrong with being gay. So calling me gay (or some ugly name suggesting that I’m gay) doesn’t hurt me. Plus, I’m a very forgiving person. So I pray those people find their better selves at some point."

The second source of negative reaction he sometimes experiences is more surprising in that it tends to come from within the kink community.

"There is a very vocal segment of the kink community that believes it's impossible to do anything in public that is or may be perceived to be an expression of kink life without giving the entire kink community a bad name," Shawn says. "Never mind that all they see in what I do is the kink aspect and that they don’t understand the degree to which what I do is also not about kink. They just see kink and are quick to rain their negative judgment down on someone who isn’t doing things the way that they think they should be done. They scream 'consent,' arguing that if people see me in a French maid outfit or being led on a leash and they didn't agree to witness that when they went out in public, they're essentially being assaulted. And I just have a fundamental difference of opinion with them on that point."

There does appear to be a fairly deep divide in the kink community over the issue of public activity. As Shawn views it, a society built on individual liberty forces people in public to witness all kinds of things without ever worrying about their consent, and what he does is no different, he argues.

He points to a recent article in the New York Times on another topic that included this paragraph:

"One of the key authors of the Western concept of freedom is John Stuart Mill. In 'On Liberty,' he wrote that liberty (or freedom) means 'doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow, without impediment from our fellow creatures, as long as what we do does not harm them even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse or wrong.'"

"What I do is completely legal, and nobody is being harmed," he says. "Some of these critics liken it to having sex on a school playground in the middle of recess, and that's just absurd. There are laws regarding public decency and lewd behavior, and my friends and I don't come anywhere close to breaking those laws. The fact is, we're quite mindful of the tone we set when we’re in public, especially when there may be children present. Parents I've encountered have never complained or voiced any concerns. They've laughed. They've frequently asked me to take pictures with their families. But they've never complained. I know that those who are critical of me don’t care about any of that. I’ve tried in the past to engage with them, and it’s been quite clear they are not interested in a conversation. The difference between us is that I respect their viewpoint even though I disagree, while they spew hatred and harsh judgment my way. It's a sorry sign of the times, really, and a lack of tolerance that is surprising coming from a community that puts so much emphasis on nuance, understanding and acceptance on so many other levels."

Even on vacation, Shawn remains under the heel of his blackmailing friends; here he takes a particularly humiliating picture in a very public place to make Lady J happy.

What's your favorite thing to do as Shawna the Maid? And do you have a favorite outfit?
Nearing the end of our conversation and wanting to lighten the mood, I asked Shawn what his favorite thing is to do as Shawna the Maid and whether or not he's got a favorite outfit in his wardrobe.

"My favorite thing to do as Shawna is simply to be seen by a lot of fun-loving people," he says, "to make people laugh, to take pictures with people, especially when I’m with friends who know how much I enjoy it. Lots of people see me in my various outfits and want to take pictures with me. Being an introvert who always wanted to be an extrovert, I love how being Shawna the Maid makes me a much more public and outgoing person – and how much fun that is not only for me but for so many people I encounter."

Shawn says his lucky green St. Patrick's Day-themed French maid uniform may be his favorite of all of his outfits.

As for a favorite outfit, Shawn says he's partial to the St. Patrick's Day French maid outfit, but he says the outfit other people love overwhelmingly is his bright pink Hello Kitty maid uniform.

"It's so, so pink," he says. "You can see it from a mile away; you can't miss it, really. And it's so emasculating. But people absolutely adore it. It's the one outfit I consistently get requests to wear when people know I'm planning an appearance somewhere. And it's fun to see their reactions to it."

Shawn's fan-favorite outfit, the Hello Kitty French maid uniform, got a recent Covid upgrade with the addition of a matching mask for the sake of social distancing.

What does the future hold for Shawn and for Shawna the Maid?
"One of the beautiful things about the journey I’ve been on through life as both Shawn and Shawna the Maid is the realization that it’s absolutely impossible to predict what the future holds," he says. "As Shawn, my hope right now is that my loved ones and I all make it through the current pandemic without any major health crises, and I look forward everyday to parenting with my wife and watching our young son grow and develop. For Shawna the Maid, things have evolved so much over the years. And it’s tough to predict what’s next in this environment. Comic conventions have mostly been cancelled for the foreseeable future. I’m not traveling much. So I just don’t know. I do have a group of friends who are coming up regularly with assignments to make me take fun, humiliating pictures and videos in my different outfits to keep them laughing, and those will eventually all make their way online, I’m sure. But I’ve learned to take things as they come, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next."

Follow Shawna the Maid's ongoing adventures:
Facebook -
Instagram -