Category Archives: Dominance
jade, over at The Chrysanthemum and The Sword, wrote an interesting post – well, I find that many of the posts she writes are particularly interesting.
Anyway, she talked about “The Perfect Slave,” and “The Perfect Master.”
Perfection has honestly never been that appealing to me.
I think, for one thing, that I would find perfection in a slave somewhat intimidating.
If, for instance, you’re a perfect slave but I find a flaw – I don’t like the way you fold my towels or the food you cook – then doesn’t that rather imply the flaw is with me?
If you’re perfect, then I have to be perfect, too.
And I am not perfect, nor do I aspire to be.
I aspire to be many things, a kind person, a good leader, a wise dominant, but I do not aspire to be perfect.
Perfection is so confining. I suspect it’s like the house in which Alice finds herself in Wonderland, after she eats the cake or drinks the potion, whichever it is, and begins to grow.
The walls confine her and hold her, and she becomes more and more uncomfortable as she does.
Perfection must be like that, don’t you think? If I have to be perfect, it’s got to be like being on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Perfection seems so one-dimensional, too. A flat surface, one without much depth or texture. If you’re perfect, you can’t really step out of that comfort zone, can’t really take a risk, can’t really try something new because if it doesn’t work out, well, I might not be perfect.
Perfection is not very lovable, either.
I believe that a slave wants to be proud of the person whom they serve, they want to believe that their Master is extraordinary, maybe even that they are the perfect Master for them.
But if you believe I am perfect, then I have to believe that you are not very discerning, that you are unwilling to see me with clear eyes and, also disturbingly, because that tells me that I cannot trust you to tell me the truth.
To be clear, I would not care for a slave who made it a point to comment on and elaborate on my faults. That would not go over well.
However, if I’m doing something that is a bad idea, or something that might result in a truly bad outcome, I expect that my slave will tell me that. I believe that the slave’s highest purpose is to be my sounding board, be my eyes and ears and hands and heart in ways which I cannot be them for myself.
And if I have to be perfect, too, then that means you can’t do that because I can’t be less than perfect, if I have to have a perfect slave.
You certainly can’t be more perfect than I am, right?
That would mean that you were not really perfect, right?
One of the topics that’s been discussed some lately is the fact that sometimes dominants give commands that don’t quite seem like commands.
I suppose that must seem very odd to submissives, that we do that. We can, so easily it seems, just give that command.
We can TELL you what to do.
So why don’t we just TELL you sometimes?
There’s often a reason, you know.
You could do your child’s math homework. You know, at least one hopes you know, how to do fractions. If you were looking to solve the problem of the answer to the equation of 2 2/3 times 3 and 3/8ths, you understand the process.
You find the common denominator and translate the equations into those common denominators, you multiply the numerators, then you simplify the result again.
It would probably take you less time than it takes your child as he struggles with the concepts and the math.
It would certainly be easier. You could do that and then both of you could move on and do something else.
But, you’re saying, then he’d never learn how to do it himself.
He’d never learn how to do it himself.
Sometimes giving an order is sort of like giving someone the answer. I want you to start doing X or stop doing Y or change the way you do Z.
It’s simple, it’s direct, it gets to the answer quickly, and the answer is “right.” You don’t have to make so much space in your brain for it, do you?
And it’s so much EASIER, isn’t it?
And, when it’s done, and you have the answer, what did you learn?
Sometimes that’s ok. Sometimes you don’t NEED to learn anything. Just fold my towels long ways first because that’s how I want them folded. No need to justify it or explain it or learn anything other than, that’s how I want it done.
But sometimes, it’s not.
If you’re trying to teach something, it’s always more work.
But it’s kind of like that giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish thing.
If I always give you the answer, then it never takes up the space in your head.
And it’s one thing when it’s towels, because it’s pretty finite and concrete. Even if you fold one of my towels wrong, nothing bad happens. I might make you refold it, but the quality of our lives is not lessened.
If I give you nudge in the direction in which I want you to go, though, if I give you an idea of what I think the destination should be, but don’t lay out the specific path, it’s more likely you’ll learn something from it.
When the similar situation confronts you again, you know how to handle it, or at least have a better sense of how to handle it, because you have experience with it.
Sometimes, too, we don’t give orders because a smart dominant doesn’t give an order that a submissive can’t obey.
It’s both pointless and ineffective to tell someone they shouldn’t feel guilty, for instance.
I can command you not to, but what that is actually going to do, most likely, is double your guilt. You’re still going to feel guilty about the initial thing, but you’re also going to feel guilty about feeling guilty because now you’re also disobeying.
Sometimes those suggested commands are like holding out your hand, offering a steadying presence, suggesting a path rather than directing one.
Sometimes it’s because we believe that you need to work through the problem yourself, not just be given the answer.
I’ve been thinking about discipline a lot lately. Probably because I’ve been sort of alternating between feeling as though I’m way behind and feeling as though I’ve gotten a lot done, and that brings the concept to mind.
Obviously, there are different meanings for the word discipline.
In our lifestyle, one thing discipline can mean physical punishment. The good kind.
It can also mean discipline within a relationship. I might expect a certain level of discipline from those who serve me, the ability and the willingness both in order to keep their lives together, to get the things done they need to be done, and to do the things I ask them to do.
I find it funny that discipline has such a poor connotation so often in the vanilla world. Being the disciplinarian in the household is usually seen as the odious task. You know, one person has to be the heavy while the other gets to be the friend.
On the other hand, without discipline, nothing really gets done, does it?
I suppose if I had my druthers, it would be more fun to do nothing but really surf the web – you know, let one fun website lead me to the next, watch YouTube videos, play solitaire.
Even saying that, though, I know it’s not true. I hate YouTube, for instance. Why on earth would I want to watch a video that is four inches by three inches?
I’ll tell all of you a secret. Any of you who are my friends who send me the occasional YouTube url with the note that I have to watch it, it’s hysterical?
I never watch them.
I either simply ignore them, or if that would be rude, I wait an appropriate length of time, and then parrot back whatever you’ve said to me about it. “LOL,” if you said it was funny. “Wow,” if you said it was amazing. “Sad,” if you said it was heartbreaking. I don’t ever watch them.
Just so you know. This will save you from sending them to me.
So, no, I really wouldn’t want to do that.
I have discovered that time passes too quickly already.
Can you BELIEVE it’s less than two weeks till Christmas? Can you believe that in two weeks it will be the new year?
So, time passes so quickly as it is, and there’s no way to slow it down. Time is relentless, it marches on, and on, and on.
If my time is so limited, why would I want to waste it?
I know, I know, it’s not necessarily wasting time to relax, but I feel so much better accomplishing things.
I wish I had more discipline than I do, honestly.
But, we do what we can do, I suppose.
And I’m not sure I actually got anywhere with this blog post.
Maybe I should have made cookies.
As those who know me very well know, I love poetry. I have memorized poetry since I was 12 or so. My mother memorized poetry, too. She was as likely to recite poetry to me as to read to me.
One of my favorite poets is Sara Teasdale, one of those tragic female poets who offs themselves before 50. She was the love of Vachel Lindsay, another tragic poet that committed suicide in true poetic fashion, drinking a bottle of lye.
In any case, one of the continuing themes I have always found in her work, and likely one of the reasons I identified with her, even then, was dominance and submission. I could name – and recite – at least a dozen poems of her that have a strong flavor of D/s.
The single poem of hers in which I see that dynamic so strongly is this one. I doubt anyone with an awareness would miss it in this poem, and it’s one that has always particularly appealed to submissive women.
Oh, because you never tried
To bow my will or break my pride,
And nothing of the cave-man made
You want to keep me half afraid,
Nor ever with a conquering air
You thought to draw me unaware —
Take me, for I love you more
Than I ever loved before.
And since the body’s maidenhood
Alone were neither rare nor good
Unless with it I gave to you
A spirit still untrammeled, too,
Take my dreams and take my mind
That were masterless as wind;
And “Master!” I shall say to you
Since you never asked me to.
If called upon to describe myself, I would tell you that, among other things, I was confident. I have faith in myself, in my decisions, in my ability. On the other hand, the other side of confidence can be conceit, and where do we draw the line?
I have never been a fan of the concept of female superiority. Honestly, any noun followed by the word “superiority” makes me nervous. I don’t think any group of people is superior or inferior.
On the other hand, I do believe I am superior. Doesn’t that sound conceited? It’s true, though.
I believe that I am smarter and more aware, that I pay more attention, that I have a long history of making good decisions. If I believed in female superiority, for instance, than I would have to believe that all women are also superior and therefore equal to me. I do not believe that.
I do not believe, either, that I am the most superior. That would be foolish and, dare I say it, conceited.
But, to get back to the point, what’s the difference between confidence and conceit?
Confidence seems like a positive quality, conceit seems like a negative one.
Maybe part of the difference is that confidence does allow for self-doubt, while conceit seems not to allow that.
I may not show it, but I do question myself often, and maybe it’s more about questioning than doubting. I rarely make serious decisions without asking myself if that’s the right thing, if I could have done better, did I miss something? Sometimes the answer is yes, but more often, the answer is, No, I don’t think I could have.
Interestingly, that self-questioning rarely happens in situations of play. In those situations, perhaps I am conceited because I believe myself to be very very good at what I do. I pay attention to the people with whom I play, their reactions, their body language, and I am very confident in my skills.
I think confidence and even a bit of conceit, is part and parcel of dominance. If I don’t believe I am superior, then why would I expect you to kneel in front of me, to do as I ask, to allow me to make choices for you, to do things to you, to control you, to take the power you offer up to me?
Even the prince kneels before the queen.
It seems to me, from my obviously dominant perspective, that a dominant who isn’t at least a little bit conceited, at least a little unshakably sure of themselves is probably a dominant who doesn’t appeal to something intrinsic in the submissive, either.
So am I confident or conceited?
I’m both, of course.
Perhaps that should be “Unreasonable Expectations?” Question mark and all.
I am wondering if my expectations are too high too often. I got some information today that made me think that.
Not terrible news at all, something that is actually the outcome that I preferred and thought was the best option, and something I expected, too. I think it will end up being a learning experience for everyone involved, myself as well, and that’s a good thing to take away.
But it made me think.
I don’t think I expect more of others than I expect of myself. That is said, by the way, with a genuine sense of self-examination, not as an arch justification. I don’t *think* that I do. I have fairly high expectations for myself. I take on a lot of responsibilities. I follow through with them. I expect the same of others.
And yet, I am often disappointed.
I think in the most recent case, a good deal of the blame rests on me. In personal relationships, I think I’m pretty good at laying out my expectations, because I am very explicit.
The first time someone goes to an event with me, for instance, I will tell them exactly what I expect. I will tell them their wardrobe should be black slacks or jeans, not blue, black t-shirts or long sleeved dress shirts. T-shirts will have no advertising on them, and the only writing allowed is from other events, or ones with kinky sayings.
I spell out the shoes, and for how many days they will need to be prepared. I tell them what manners I expect, the protocols I expect them to follow, and how and how much I will want them to serve me.
I will give them very detailed information, because I have learned that doing so is the best way to assure I get what I want. In this situation, I simply expected that they would do what seemed reasonable to me, what seemed to be a reasonable expectation, but to be perfectly fair, I didn’t really spell those out.
That was my error, and one I will not let happen again, at least not in that situation. I’ll make mistakes in the future, clearly, but I learned something and I think the cost will turn out to have been fairly painless.
I need to bear in mind that spelling out expectations is my role, when I am the one in charge.
As the dominant, that’s part of my role, a good part of it. I say in classes I give often that if you cannot spell out what it is you want, it is unlikely that you are going to find it.
I forgot that and that is my error, no one else’s.
We had our monthly SIG meeting this afternoon. It was a topic I always enjoy, Deal Breakers and Non-Starters.
We meet for some social time before the discussion because, well, because you can’t get kinky people together and expect them not to be social, even if there’s an agenda.
So, we socialize for a bit before, then, about the time the food usually arrives, I read the list of questions aloud, if people have questions they ask then, and then we break into three separate groups, dominants, submissives and switches.
We are lucky enough to have a fairly large population of switches, or, perhaps the fact that switches have been welcomed here, they feel more comfortable claiming that identity than they might. I’ve never been a big fan, personally, of groups that focus on orientation but allow switches in whichever mode, only because I think that most of the time, switches have a unique perspective and really shouldn’t have to choose to participate.
The questions for today were:
• What kinds of things would make you step away from a potentially attractive partner?
• How do those deal breakers change over the course of the relationship?
• When do you end a relationship? What are unforgivable offenses or inexcusable deal-breakers?
• Are the same things deal-breakers in vanilla relationships as they are in kinky relationships?
• Are there any absolute deal-breakers or are some things situational?
• Do you think the things which would be considered deal breakers are different for each orientation? What might be the deal-breakers for dominants? For switches? For submissives?
• Looking back over your past ended relationships, are there things that, in retrospect, you wish had not been deal-breakers? Are there behaviors or situations which you wish you had not allowed to go on as long as you did?
• Do all relationships run their course? Does every relationship have an expiration date, as it were?
• In a long-term relationship, is it inevitable for the relationship to morph into different kinds of relationships, ie, one kind of relationship DOES end and another begins?
• Are all deal-breakers internal or are there external deal-breakers, too?
• How do you end a relationship? What tools or methods have you found effective in the past?
• Have you ever relented and continued in a relationship after believing you should end it? If so, how did it work out? Did the relationship survive?
• In looking back over your relationships, is there a theme to what ended them, to what the deal-breakers were, or were each of them unique to the relationship itself?
• Can you spell out deal-breakers in the beginning of a relationship, or is it impossible to anticipate them?
• Are relationships with a poly element harder in this sense? Are there more or different things that are deal breakers for poly relationships that D/s ones?
• In poly D/s relationships, do all members of the relationship have equal say in what are deal-breakers, or does the dominant member(s) have the final say?
These are too wordy and there is too much repetition. What I do each year is devote some of November and December’s meeting time to picking topics for the new year.
There are always topics I want to include, like collars and contracts, negotiation, punishment and guilt, indoctrinating novices, deal breakers and non-starters, and we always do a light one in December, which turns into mostly socialization. Then I add different topics every year.
At this point I have a database of about 15 or 18 subjects with the questions written, and I go through in January and post all of the year’s meetings, with all of the questions, so I don’t have to think about it again. The next time I do, however, I am going to streamline the questions. After having done it for three or four years now, I think that about a dozen questions are plenty.
So, despite the questions being too numerous and not especially well-written, it usually turns out to be one of the more interesting ones, at least to me.
What struck me as interesting today was that the submissive and switch groups focused on kinds of behaviors. Being disrespectful, or deceitful, or untrustworthy.
The dominants, however, tended to be very concrete. Snooping. Dropping in unannounced. Living too far away. There were behaviors, too, of course, like being unwilling to be submissive, or setting limits we couldn’t abide by, but by and large, specific things.
The dominant’s group was six of us, five men and me, five of us poly and one of us monogamous. One thing we did decide in our discussion that poly really made for many fewer deal breakers because the person was not our only outlet.
All in all, it was an interesting discussion.
I’ve been speculating of late on the various things I am, both flattering and less so.
I can be selfish. I want what I want. I think I should get to have the say in how things go, I think I make good decisions, and that my decisions almost always have positive outcomes, therefore, I should get to be in charge.
I can be bitchy. Watch me arch an eyebrow sometime, or roll my eyes at someone’s foolishness. I can be a bitch.
I can be inflexible. I think of myself as stiff-necked at times. Probably were I going to change a single thing about myself it might be that. It’s hard for me to go with the flow, to let things happen around me. I should be in charge, I should make it all come out fine.
I can be a sadist, too, though that is, I think, very much an on-again, off-again part of my personality. It’s there, but it’s pretty far down and really only comes out to play in some situation, in some company.
My short definition of a sadist is someone who enjoys causing pain, and usually enjoys it in a sexual kind of way. More like you feel when you watch really hot porn rather than when you eat great chocolate cake.
Interestingly, though, I very much like the way the sadist’s presence makes me feel, which I think is interesting.
The sadist makes me feel powerful and confident. I know that I am good at it. You like pain, I can provide pain. I can provide pain in safe and ethical ways. I feel, in some ways, like a surgeon must. You can do what few can, and you can look past the trappings, past the pain, maybe past the blood, to the true nature of the procedure.
I suspect, too, that a surgeon isn’t a very good surgeon if self-doubt intrudes. It’s kind of part of the package to feel infallible, I think, even as you recognize that a mistake can have significant consequences.
Some of the best experiences I have had in scenes have been when the sadist made an appearance. That means that there was a masochist keeping me company.
So, I would guess that the unflattering term that is most applied to me by those among whom the ranks of my fans do not swell, is “bitch.”
(I’m sure that’s not the only unflattering term that has been been bandied about, only the most common.)
And I can live with that, actually.
I have always felt as though being called a bitch means I won.
And I can be. A royal bitch on wheels. I expect people to do their best, to at least put forth effort. I can hold feet to the fire, and I am capable of spite. I’ve learned, I think, as I have aged that spite usually brings on regret for the action, so I have learned to do it rarely, but be assured, I consider it often. I just choose to be an adult about it.
Don’t you hate that, when you have to be an adult? You work yourself up into a good hissyfit (and isn’t that one of the English languages best words ever?), pledging revenge and dire consequences for the foolish sap who has crossed or annoyed you, and then someone reminds you, gently or not, that you really CAN’T do this wonderful thing you have thought up because it’s really not fair, it’s not that bad, it would be unkind, etc., and you have to go, oh, all right, dammit, I won’t do it…
So, I think the qualities most people would ascribe to bitchiness is a certain unkindness of spirit. I often say my friend Ms Kendra is kinder than I, and it is true. I can be kind, and often am, more than I am unkind, but I am less likely to let poor behavior pass.
It’s also, I suspect, about making sure that the losing party recognizes the loss, to, perhaps, rub their noses in it a bit, and that is another impulse I have. I control it, mostly, but it’s there.
Someone once called me “Miss Perfect,” and meant it as a genuine insult, though I thought it was rather a weak one. I do think I’m Miss Perfect, on some level. I know, on a more profound and meaningful level that I am not, to be clear. So, another quality might be superiority. I claim that one, too.
One of the changes in the world that disturbs me most is the celebration of mediocrity. You’ve seen it. Every single child who enters the race “wins,” because “no one is a loser.” Because we believe it is unkind to point out that someone did poorly, it also makes it impossible to acknowledge the exceptional as well.
No one can do especially well because that would mean that the others did poorly and that might make someone feel badly.
I am not suggesting that we point fingers at children and tell them they are losers, but I think saying, it takes work and effort and practice to excel delivers an important message, one probably more effectively and kindly delivered when learned during a foot race at seven as opposed to on their first job at 25 when an employer expects them to work and work hard in order to advance.
So, I think that we don’t do anyone a service by telling them that half-assed is just fine and dandy.
Or, perhaps I use that as justification. That’s also possible.
So, am I a bitch, or am I merely demanding?
I suppose the answer lies in where my focus is turned and whether or not you like me.
That is the question.
I have a picture of myself at about three, which my ex, Beth, onee told me that I should, “put on your dominatrix page.”
I have said about myself that I was bossy at the age of three, and those of you who know me might recognize my current self buried in that personality, with her hands propped on her hips, looking up at the camera.
Honestly, to some extent, bossy and dominant are often the same thing, at least in most of the people I know.
The inability to make decisions is an astonishing thing to me. I can make decisions quickly, and my judgement is usually pretty good, meaning that my tendency to decide quickly usually has pretty good re-enforcement.
While making a decision to do – or not to do – something is usually a fairly quick one for me, experience has also taught me to take more time before a final pronouncement. I have friends whose advice I trust, so I take their counsel under advisement.
I also allow myself the luxury of changing my mind from that first decision I want to scurry towards.
Indecision is not a common companion for me. It has only visited me occasionally, and in most cases, it had company, a blush of lust, a shadow of depression, a flash of anger.
So, I am both dominant and bossy. I know how I like things, I know how I want them, I know what I expect. I seem to not be too concerned with passing that information on.
So, am I dominant or am I bossy? In this case, I believe I am both.