Monthly Archives: September 2012

Questions for Dominants 05

6.      What’s the worst thing about being dominant, outside of play?

There a lot of good things about being dominant.  It’s good to be the queen, all of that.

However, it’s not all skittles and chips, as I actually sometimes say.

Being a dominant also means, first and foremost, that I am responsible for other people.  That when I make a decision, I take more than myself into account.

If you feel bad about disappointing me, imagine how bad I feel about fucking up.

Notice I didn’t say disappointing you, because, well, that I can live with.

Sometimes that’s the nature of dominance, too, of disappointing someone by telling them that they can’t do or have or get something.

But that’s different than really fucking up, different from forcing an issue – requiring that someone quit a job or move to another city – when, as it turns out, it was a bad decision.

And, to be fair, too, it really ISN’T fun to be the one who gets to disappoint someone else.  Sometimes we are cast in somewhat the role of the no-fun parent.

And again, it’s a role we take on willingly, but still.

Sometimes any role, however comfortable, gets old.  Once in a while, sometimes a very great while, but still, once in a while you get tired of making the decisions and the plans and taking everyone’s likes and dislikes and feelings and preferences into account.

Sometimes it’s a little like juggling chainsaws WHILE herding cats.

I think many of us question ourselves regularly, sort of a self test.  You want to maintain the dynamic, to be the Master, but you don’t want to be a Master Dick, either.  Am I being too soft, I am accepting too little or allowing too much?  Or am I being a dick, doing something just because I’m too-stiff necked to change my mind?

Sometimes there’s a bit of that imposter dilemma I struggle with. Why on EARTH would someone do what I say, really?  Why in the WORLD when I lose my purse are there three or four submissives scurrying around looking for it?


One of the things that IS good about it is some of the odd and entertaining things I get to do because of it.

I spent last evening at as formal Leather dinner, with about a half dozen dominants and eight or nine submissives.  We had a lovely dinner prepared by jacki, with, I am sure, much assistance from her Master, Charles.

jacki gave a really well-done wine tasting instruction before dinner, which I enjoyed muchly.  I may have to change my wine to Moscato.

It also gave me the chance to do something kind of amusing.  I did a demo/class on both flower arranging and garnishing.  I had brought big bunches of whatever was growing around my yard, lavender ageratum and white snake root, perennial begonia with big heart shaped leaves and hanging pink triangular flowers.

I had a few last roses of the season, the last Shasta daisy, and the aluminum purple and silver leaves of Persian shield.  There were a few sage flowers with tiny red orchid-like flowers, and some of the magenta cockscomb.

I took a half dozen different shapes and sizes of vases and did an arrangement in each one.

It was really funny to be in front of a room of kinky people, and arranging flowers, and the very guy-like guys who are there, all tops, are saying, “No, I think the rose is too much in that arrangement, but maybe another sprig of the pink…”

We also talked about tea, since Cerrin and I are tea snobs.  I brought a dozen or so tins of different kinds of tea, black and green and white, and passed them around so they could smell the differences.  We talked about how to brew a pot of tea, why you don’t let the water continue to boil and boil, why you don’t boil water in the microwave, why you don’t make tea with the open box of Lipton you have hiding somewhere in the back of your cupboard.

I think what I accomplished more than anything else is to ensure that not a single person there, except Cerrin, will ever serve me a cup of tea without acute performance anxiety.

Questions for Dominants 04

4.      How old were you when you had your first conscious dominant experience, the first time you recognized what you were doing?

5.      What’s the best thing about being dominant, outside of play?
Well, see, I kind of answered 4 in 3’s post.  Serves me right for not reviewing them better.  🙂

Anyway, I think for me the best thing is not playing games.  I don’t have to pretend I don’t care where we eat dinner so you can feel big and bad and decisive.  I don’t have to play weird passive aggressive games to get what I want, I can say it.

I like being able to choose the work I do.  Sometimes it’s not that I like it – ask me how much I’ve ever loved typing up invoices for drew.  I don’t always enjoy it but I can assess my skills and preferences and the work to be done and decide.

I like knowing, frankly, that I can ask almost anyone to get me a drink or fetch my purse, and they will, without question.  I imagine if you asked those people why, their answer might well be, because you’re Ms Constance, that’s why.

And frankly, I’m good with that.

Questions for Dominants 04

4.      How old were you when you had your first conscious dominant experience, the first time you recognized what you were doing?

5.      What’s the best thing about being dominant, outside of play?
Well, see, I kind of answered 4 in 3’s post.  Serves me right for not reviewing them better.  🙂

Anyway, I think for me the best thing is not playing games.  I don’t have to pretend I don’t care where we eat dinner so you can feel big and bad and decisive.  I don’t have to play weird passive aggressive games to get what I want, I can say it.

I like being able to choose the work I do.  Sometimes it’s not that I like it – ask me how much I’ve ever loved typing up invoices for drew.  I don’t always enjoy it but I can assess my skills and preferences and the work to be done and decide.

I like knowing, frankly, that I can ask almost anyone to get me a drink or fetch my purse, and they will, without question.  I imagine if you asked those people why, their answer might well be, because you’re Ms Constance, that’s why.

And frankly, I’m good with that.

Questions for Dominants 03

3.      Looking back, what are the first dominant tendencies you can recognize in yourself?

I think that looking back, we can all recognize moments where our tendencies become obvious to us, at least in retrospect.

I think I’ve blogged before about my friend when I was a child, Cindy.  Cindy had a big family who indulged her somewhat as the youngest child.  I had no father and we were quite poor, so we were opposite ends of the spectrum, though to be fair, her family wasn’t really spending a lot, there were just more of them and they DID Christmas, while my mother really didn’t.

In any case, one year Cindy got an Easy Bake oven and a pogo stick – I know, go figure – that I envied beyond all reason.

Having said that, though, what I really was fascinated with more than the oven or the pogo stick, was a child’s (?) bullwhip.

It would really crack and everything.

I remember as a kid watching Bonanza and noticing their boots.

I was rather bossy as a child and didn’t like sharing my things much.

And I would appreciate it if those of you who do know me would quite laughing quite so loudly.

So, as I said, I was, perhaps, a touch bossy.  I was shyer as I got older – teenage years are not kind to the poor and different among us – but once I got out of that situation, I was in another fringe community, the Lesbian separatist one, and I had a chance to be more dominant, too.

One of these days I’ll have to blog about my first girlfriend and how I met her, but that’s a whole thing in itself, believe me.

In any case, we hadn’t been together long when she asked me to tie her up.  I don’t remember what she said, or how she said it, I don’t remember if she had rope or we bought rope.  I don’t remember much about it, honestly, other than my fumbling a bit the first time or two to get the knots right.

I do remember that it didn’t bother me or shock me or worry me, and maybe that’s why I don’t remember a lot about it.  It didn’t seem all that weird.

Fay was honestly a fairly serious masochist, in fact, and would have liked, I realize in retrospect, to have been hurt more, but we weren’t that far along.  She was very embarrassed by her desires and never really was able to express it, I think.

She did develop some interest in it about ten years ago, I think, but I doubt that her long-term girlfriend would be very open to that, so I don’t think it went anywhere.  She told me once that our relationship probably would have worked better if she had just let me be in charge outside the bedroom, too.

I agreed with her.

We played with bondage off and on for the term of our relationship, about two years, but never regularly.

Interestingly, my first real exposure to poly was with Fay, too.  I had started, with Fay’s knowledge, an affair with Beth, my last girlfriend.  For a few months, Beth lived with Fay and me in our house in upstate New York.  Our bedroom had a double bed, and there was a twin mattress on the floor in a guest room.

In one of my more slutty moments, I slept in the same bed every night and the two of them alternated who slept with me while the other one slept in the twin bed.

I never did anything behind her back and she actually never objected.  Eventually her own doubts that I was going to leave her for Beth became self-fulfilling prophesies because, really, there’s hardly anything less appealing than desperation and being clutched at.

So, anyway, after Fay and I broke up in about 1981, I was with Beth for 17 years.  Beth had no interest in kink, at all, and in fact is the person in the world I know who seems most afraid of pain. I would try and get out a sliver and she would jerk her hand away literally before I ever touched her.

I would hear a blood-curdling scream from the other room and go running in.  “What happened, what happened?!?”

“My foot slipped a little on the floor and I was afraid it was going to hurt.”

In about 1993-94, I started to fall apart.  I was not gay, but was in a gay relationship with a person whom I loved dearly but with whom I didn’t want to have that kind of relationship.

The internet was exploding and we were among the first to get access because we were both pretty techie.

It was back before you could just GET online easily.  The people who were back then, in the early 1990’s, were people who worked for universities or in the computer department of a large company, or computer geniuses, because it wasn’t easy.

I used a bulletin board and a 2400 baud modem and I was SMOKIN’!

I found the undernet and as I sat there thinking, oh, where can I go now?, my fingers were typing, “/j #submission.”

That’s actually where the antecedents of the Louisville Munch lie, in that first exploration of kink in Louisville.

And there I was, on this odd channel with a lot of people, back when such things were fun, because they were new, and so incredibly cool.

I hung out there for a few years, while my relationship fell apart, while I was downsized unexpectedly after ten years, while I lost my friends and my family and my house and my dogs and my mind.

I was not always upfront with Beth about what I was doing, although to be fair, it was because I knew she would lose it if I even brought any of this up, I knew that it was not going to be possible to rationally work through anything.

Plus, I was having a nervous breakdown, so I get some slack.

I played around a bit with kink then, though honestly, not a lot.  But a bit.

Finally, I extricated myself, and was actually free to do what I wanted, a novel concept at that time to me, with whom I wanted, however the fuck I wanted, basically.

I moved out in May of 1997 and I know by June or July I had a submissive, a nice enough man, Bill, older than I, and very happy to have someone who wanted to do all the things to him that he’d been fantasizing about for the last 30 years or so of his life.

I do remember the first time he was actually in front of me, naked and kneeling, and I had my little collection of toys, a couple of crops, a strip of cloth for a blindfold, and I thought, “Ok, now what do I do…?”

Fortunately I figured it out.

Questions for Dominants 02

2.      What is the single quality that is the most detrimental for a dominant?

Yesterday, I talked about the best qualities for a dominant, and mentioned patience, integrity and a sense of humor.

Obviously, a case can be made for the opposites of those qualities being the ones that are the most detrimental.

But that’s kind of a cop out, isn’t it?

I think being untrustworthy is probably at least one of the worst qualities in a dominant, but I don’t think that’s really just one quality, either.  You can be untrustworthy in a lot of ways and for a lot of reasons.

If you lie, for instance, then you’re untrustworthy.  If you have no self-control, for instance, then you’re untrustworthy.  If you aren’t at least somewhat skilled technically, for instance, then you’re untrustworthy.

But while all those things make you untrustworthy, they are not all the same thing.  A lot of people who are not trustworthy may share a lot of the same qualities, but it’s a broad umbrella under which to try and fit too many dominants, too.

How many dominants can dance on the head of a pin, more or less.

I think taking yourself too seriously is a pretty serious flaw, and I see it more often than I like, often with new dominants.

Now, when I say new, honestly, I mean anybody who has been actively and consciously doing this at a fairly focused level for at least five years or so.

The people who tell you they are 30, but have been a Master for 15 years are, to be blunt, either lying or don’t have very high standards assigned to the title of Master.

I tied my first girlfriend to the bed at 21, but I was not a Master then, not even her Master.  We were kinky dykes, sometimes, in the bedroom, but she had so much trouble accepting that part of herself and I didn’t really know how much of that was there on my part that it wasn’t any more.

I will tell you I first started exploring kink nearly 35 years ago, but that does not mean I have been a Master for 35 years, or even close.

So, now that I have had my moment of digression, I’ll come back to this.

I think if you’ve lived in an acknowledged kind of power exchange way, if you are conscious about what you do and why you’re doing it, you have experience both with the relationship and the techniques, for less than five years, you’re still pretty new to this.

Being new isn’t bad, either, we all were once.

But I see so many who take themselves SO seriously.  They’re “training” their slaves, although their slaves exhibit no real change.  They’ve formed a Leather Household, without knowing, really, the slightest thing about Leather or Households.  They collect submissives like I might collect Scottie figurines, because they’re unusual, or cute, or I don’t already have one like that…

There are so many times I feel like saying, “Seriously?  Really?  Get over yourself.”

I fear, however, this would not be well-received.

I think one of the results of dominants who take themselves too seriously is submissives who do the same.

It’s easy for us to romanticize the life of a submissive, in the same way that we romanticize the life of the simple peasant tilling his fields.  It seems a simple life, a good life, filled with fresh air, little stress, and the good work of our own two hands.

It is, in reality, back breaking work, the farmer is trying to raise enough so he and his family don’t go hungry, and that’s REAL stress, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have healthcare.

Being submissive is, I suspect, in some ways like that, especially once you’ve passed the honeymoon phase where the hot and kinky sex is no longer either quite as hot or quite as frequent, if only because there is less novelty to it all.

We romanticize the demonstration of slave positions, the meeting Master at the door, naked and collared, the serving or drinks and food, offered prettily and with a fetching smile.

In reality, it’s just life, the work of cleaning and clothing and feeding and getting up earlier to make the tea and dealing with the annoying qualities we Dom(mes) can possess – well, YOU Dom(mes), since I am, as we know, truly perfect – and dealing with them will little recourse.

You can bitch at your husband for not filling the ice tray when he empties it, or nag at your wife for spending too much money, but you can’t really do that with your Master or Mistress.

You kind of have to suck it up, and I think if I take myself so seriously then you’re going to do the same, and I think if you can’t look at the absurdity of our lifestyles, and life in general, it’s going to be a pretty joyless existence, for both sides.

I have always thought that one of the worst qualities in a leader is the inability to allow someone else to believe they got the last word, but I don’t think that’s such a significant flaw in a dominant because, well, because we DO usually get the last word, that’s our role.

But then, a good leader is really a servant to the community, and it’s unseemly for servants to have the last word, too.

On the other hand, I do think that believing yourself to be infallible is a pretty awful quality to have as a dominant.

It’s one of those razor edges we walk as dominants sometimes, I think.  We have to believe we are right, that we know best, that we SHOULD be in control.  If we don’t, if we question ourselves too much, we can’t be very good dominants.

On the other hand, being unable or unwilling to admit that you are wrong, or at least consider the possibility that you might be, that is a very serious flaw.

Questions for Dominants

Ok, so, based on something that aisha has been doing lately, and what she and I talked about this last weekend, I thought it would be interesting to come up with the kinds of questions I come up with for the Special Interest Groups, but with an “only” dominant slant.

To be absolutely fair, aisha has pulled the questions but, for the life of me, I can’t find the exact reference.  I’ve spent the last 15 minutes poking around looking for the reference and came to the conclusion that I could either spend the time looking, or the time blogging, and blogging won.

So, the questions I came up with are these:

1.      What is the single quality a dominant most needs to possess?

2.      What is the single quality that is the most detrimental for a dominant?

3.      Looking back, what are the first dominant tendencies you can recognize in yourself?

4.      How old were you when you had your first conscious dominant experience, the first time you recognized what you were doing?

5.      What’s the best thing about being dominant, outside of play?

6.      What’s the worst thing about being dominant, outside of play?

7.      In your most significant relationship(s), do you or did you have a contract?

8.      How many collars have you given in your life?  What are your requirements for giving a collar?

9.      What is the quality you find hardest to deal with in a submissive, on a personal level?

10.   Do you have close friends of your own orientation?  How many of your close friends share your orientation and gender?

11.   Are there parts of a submissive or slave’s life that you feel a dominant shouldn’t exert influence over?

12.   Do you feel personally that you were born a dominant or did circumstances in your life make you dominant?

13.   Are there other members of your family who are also involved, to your knowledge?

14.   Have you had relationships which evolved from vanilla to kinky?

15.   How many people in your social circle, if any, are aware of your lifestyle?

16.   Do you, or would you, have intimate vanilla relationships as well as kinky ones?

17.   Do you have rituals and protocols that you require your submissive(s) to follow?

18.   Have you ever had a significant online D/s relationship?

I may discover that I don’t give a crap about answering any of these questions, that’s more than possible.  I may skip two or answer three at a time, who knows?

So, to begin at the beginning for now, anyway, the first question that came to mind was this:

What is the single quality a dominant most needs to possess?

That’s a question I always find interesting, and you know it’s unlikely I’ll actually hold myself to just one, so be prepared.

One of my good friends, Charles, answers this question consistently with the word, “Patience.”

I have always thought that it was a really insightful answer, even if it’s not one I ever might have come up with on my own.

If you do not have patience, it’s hard to teach someone.  Allegedly the reason you are teaching is because you have experience and/or knowledge, so no one is going to start where you are.  They’re going to make mistakes.

If you are impatient about mistakes or unkind, then what you are really teaching is fear.  Fearful people don’t tend to make great students because you learn how to do things by doing them wrong.

I think patience also comes across as more in control of oneself.  Impatient people get angry.  There are times when you do find yourself counting to ten, or 20, or even 47.  But showing impatience when it’s not warranted does not usually work terribly well.

The word I usually give is “Integrity,” because I think that covers so many other qualities by definition.  It means, for instance, that I’m trustworthy.  If I tell you I will do something I almost always will, though once in a while the whole thing will slip my mind for a bit, but not beyond what a reasonable person can forgive pretty easily.

To me, integrity is all about doing the right thing even when no one is looking.  I figure that the person whose face I see in the mirror is the last one whose eyes I do not want to meet, so I’m better off keeping my deep dark secrets to a minimum.

I think another thing that’s perhaps just as important – told you I wouldn’t limit myself – is a sense of humor.  Life is really just too short to be Ultra Super Fabulous Dom(me) all the time.

Once in a while you WILL fall flat on your ass in the dungeon or hit yourself in the face with a whip, or whisper one of those dirty things that just come out wrong.

You know how those are, you mean to whisper, “Does my hand feel good on your ass,” and it comes out, “Does my ass feel good on your hand…  I mean, your hand on my ass feels good…  I mean…”

And really, in those situations, it’s going to be better if you laugh first, trust me.

Also, the submissive can only hold back the giggles so long and then you’re just going to have to punish them, and there you are, right back at punishment.


I’ve been in a musing mode about punishment, which leads to considering consequences.

Because, after all, punishment is often a consequence of your actions.

I think one of the things that is a genuine sign of maturity is accepting that everything we do has consequences and learning to live with them.

It probably seems like consequences apply mostly to submissives, but it’s easy to forget that dominants have consequences, too, and sometimes our consequences directly effect not just one person.

It can be really difficult to deal with the consequences of your decisions when they turn out to have been bad ones, particularly when you are not the only one who pays the price.

Sometimes even if you’ve done your best, you can still screw up.  You miss anticipating something.  You underestimate the effect or weight of one thing, over estimate another.

On the other hand, maybe that’s why, or at least part of why, we end up on the top side, because we believe that if we’re the ones making the decisions, we can control the outcomes, control the consequences.

Because, clearly, we have superhuman powers and should be held to a higher standard than anyone else.

We talk a lot about how submissives feel guilty, but it’s also a fact of life that dominants, good ones, at least, feel guilty, too, and it’s as often irrational for us, I think, as for you.

I think it’s possible it’s a bit harder on us because we don’t talk about it.  It’s one of the things we keep to ourselves, because, after all, we’re superhuman.

Did I already mention that?

David Rakoff

One of my half dozen favorite writers passed away recently, David Rakoff.

David Rakoff was a frequent contributor on NPR, and had a particular outlook I always appreciated.

My very favorite form of fiction is the short, observational – and funny – essay.

Rakoff was a master.

Wikipedia has this to say about him:

“David Benjamin Rakoff (November 27, 1964 – August 9, 2012) was a Canadian-born writer based in New York City who was noted for his humorous, sometimes autobiographical non-fiction essays. Rakoff was an essayist, journalist, and actor, and a regular contributor to Public Radio International’s This American Life. Rakoff described himself as a “New York writer” who also happened to be a “Canadian writer”, a “mega Jewish writer”, a “gay writer” and an “East Asian Studies major who has forgotten most of his Japanese” writer

Rakoff died of cancer in Manhattan on August 9, 2012.

If you’d like to read an excerpt from one of his books, you can find it here.

The New York Times obituary quoted him, too, and you can read that, if you’re interested, here.

The end of the above obituary is this:

When Mr. Rakoff’s cancer returned and he risked amputation, he ruminated on life without his arm and shoulder. It was not so much the physical loss that worried him, he said, but something far larger.

“There are other extrafunctional and noncosmetic realities I have to consider,” Mr. Rakoff wrote in “Another Shoe,” his essay about the tumor. “How does someone without a left arm know he’s having a heart attack, for example?”

I will miss him.

Sunday Munch

So the Sunday munch was this afternoon.  I sent a message to aisha to poke her gently about it, but mostly to say I’d be there.

I always enjoy the conversation.  We talked about who among tops would pick up something if the other dropped it.

For instance, if Master Alex drops something and there are only the two of us, I am going to pick it up for him.  The same for Ms Kendra.  They are my elders in terms of their involvement in the lifestyle and the community and in terms of what they have done.  I’m older than Ms Kendra, actually, so it’s experience, not age.

We talked about blogging a lot.  aisha was one of the most vocal in encouraging me to blog, and it is, by definition, a relatively solitary thing.  There are connections, but in the end, writing is difficult to collaborate on, and yet we seek to share that solitude.

It’s interesting to me where I often start and where I often end.

And, as it always has, honestly, it astonishes me on some level that people actually want to read what I have to say anyway, so having something like 115 people read my blog yesterday is kind of astonishing to me.

We talked about some of the other bloggers who frequent our sphere, and about COPE.

I talked to some of the folks who had been to the Masters And slaves Together meeting which I missed because I thought I knew what time it started and it turns out it was two and a half hours earlier, which is a significant oops.  MAsT: Derby City is still pretty early in its formation, so we’re still figuring everything out, but with 20 people at the meeting today, that’s not a bad thing.

I talked to Charles and jacki about the upcoming High Leather Dinner, which is happening next Saturday, and we had to kind of finalize the program, etc.

Plus I had good fried chicken and made aisha laugh hard several times.

A good evening all in all.

Punishment Continued

So, punishment has been on my mind lately and no, neither of my slaves are in trouble, all is well on the home front.  Just a topic that’s stuck in my head like one of those songs where you only know one or two lines but can’t get rid of it.

Anyway, so, back to punishment, though perhaps I’m now beating a dead horse and this IS the punishment.

I think that for punishment to be effective, the submissive has to accept that the punishment is both fair and deserved.

By that, I mean that if the submissive really thinks that some/many/all of your punishments are essentially unfair, they’re unlikely to be very effective.

That doesn’t mean that they have to raise a right hand in solidarity and offer a hearty Hallelujah every time.  That’s a little more than one could hope for.

But remember when you were a kid and your parents did something, gave you what was probably a well-deserved punishment, but maybe for the wrong reasons, or a sibling deserved the same or worse and escaped it, remember how the *unfairness* of it was what burned in your soul.

The times when you really knew that you got pretty much what you deserved, those times fade from memory, but the unfair ones stick in your craw.

So, if your submissive thinks that their act of rebellion, because that’s what most of them really are, is a minor infraction and you punish it as if it’s a major infraction, they will remember.

Now, if you have a reasonably good relationship and it works and your bottom trusts you in the greater sense, and if you do generally make good decisions and all, well, in that situation the occasional unfairness is unlikely to harm the whole thing.

How fair is it, really, for instance, that slave drew, who was lying on the couch and watching tv with the dogs on him had to get up just now and get me something to drink because, well, because that’s the deal?  It’s not, of course.

But it is fair in the sense that he agreed to it and it makes sense to him.  He likes to serve, he doesn’t mind hopping up and doing it, and if I do get it for myself he will usually say, “Darling, I would have gotten that for you,” to which I always reply, “I know.”

So I think that’s the difference.  It has to be fair in the submissive’s mind, fair in a larger rather than entirely specific way.

I think in the beginning of a relationship, it’s important to let the submissive into your mind.  Sometimes it gives them a viewpoint they might not have had – when you act kind of bratty it makes me look bad, too – or at least some insight into why something bothers you particularly – I hate having dirty dishes piled up because it reminds me of my mother who was a slob.

That can help with someone not feeling like a punishment is justified because at least they have the opportunity to understand.

The other piece of advice I gave the gentleman who asked me for it was that I often used to make a submissive come up with their own suggestions for punishment.

I liked it not just because it seems very devious and evil, though that does add to the appeal, obviously, but because it’s a good way to judge how severe a submissive thinks an infraction is compared to my assessment.

If they think they should lose two hours of computer time and I think it should be two weeks, then clearly, we’re not on the same page.

More often, though, they think  it should be two months of no computer and bread and water to eat for the whole time, too, and I’m toying with two hours and no ice cream for a week, then we are still not on the same page.

Sometimes the best part about punishment can be convincing the submissive that we’re done with the issue.

Submissives can be challenging when they feel they’ve disappointed us, because they’re often far less willing to let things go than the dominant.

Sometimes I think it can turn into drama, that paroxysm of self-flagellation where they seem to require being told over and over how good and sweet and pretty and smart they are, but often, it’s a genuine inability to let go of a past error.

And actually, in those cases, punishment is a good way to let go.

The ritual of the Catholic church is a pretty powerful one, or at least it used to be, I’m told it’s different at least at some churches, but in any case, the ritual of confessing your sin, atoning for it and being forgiven, sent out with a clean slate is a powerful one.

They say that if you get a song stuck in your head, the way to make it go away is sing or listen to the whole song, and that will sometimes “unstick” it.

Let’s see if that works here.