Category Archives: Submissives

I Lost My Post

I had one written, I swear.

A decent one.

I was actually proud of myself because I have been so behind, I haven’t commented or responded to comments, I’m a bad person, and I had actually written a post.

I’ve been so busy with Bluegrass and I will be for another three weeks, I’m behind everywhere.

I had it ready, I hit publish.

Usually I cut and paste it to be sure, but I didn’t, of course.

And it’s gone, and I can’t find it and there’s no draft for it and I logged in so I shouldn’t have lost it, but I somehow did.

I might go cry.

Being Served

I read an interesting blog by jade, on Queen Bees and service.  I recommend you read it, here, it’s really an interesting entry.

I think that often one of the things that’s hard for people to understand about being a dominant is that being served is not always as easy as it might seem.

For one thing, being served well requires training someone in how you like to be served and that means, then, that you put up with less than ideal service for a while, because no one is going to get it right the first time.

I often use tea as an example in explaining service.

I drink a lot of hot tea.  I think I’ve had four or five pots of tea today.  The morning started with a couple pots of Blackberry Sage tea, I had Rose Petal Tea in the afternoon, then a pot of a new tea I had ordered, a green pear flavor, and then a pot of my favorite green tea at the moment, a pink grapefruit.

So, as you can tell, I take my tea fairly seriously.  Only one was a tea bag kind of tea, the other was all loose tea.

If you were going to serve me for a day or two, you’d need to know how to make tea.  Not only that, you’d need to make tea the way I like it, and even slave drew, who also drinks tea and knows what teas I like and how I like my teas, and once in a while I get a tea that isn’t really what I wanted at that particular time.  It’s unavoidable.

For you to get my tea right, you have to know if I want black tea or green tea or white tea, do I want it flavored or plain, how strong do I want it?

Black tea and green tea and white tea all have different kinds of brewing times.

I like mugs, largish ones, not small cups.

You can’t boil water in a microwave and make tea with it.  I don’t’ know why, but it’s disgusting.

So, if you’re going to make me tea, most likely, I’m going to have quite a few pots of tea that aren’t exactly what I want.

To get good service, too, I have to be able to articulate both what I want and how I want it, and that’s not always easy.

In addition, I have to KNOW what it is I want.

That’s harder than you might think.

I know a lot of dominants who seem to expect submissives to read their minds, when, it seems, there’s not much there to read.

You also have to be willing to make a choice, to pick one thing over another.

You know those people, you say to them, What kind of pie would you like, we have pumpkin, apple and pecan, and they say, Oh, it doesn’t matter.  Whatever.

My, how helpful.

I’ve told you I have all three.  It clearly makes no difference to ME what you have, if it did, I’d not have offered them all.

Or the person to who you say, would you rather have a soft drink or wine, and they say, Yes.

Again, not helpful.

As a dominant, you have to know your own mind, and be willing to state it.

It can be hard, too, to not feel guilty or as if you’re taking advantage of someone.

I know, I know, it’s the dynamic, you like serving, we get that.

But still.

When we’re both sitting down, sometimes it feels pretty selfish to say, “I’d like more tea.”

If it’s something less pleasant – getting up in the night to let the dogs out, for instance – it can feel pretty selfish to stay snug and warm in bed while someone else gets up to do that.

During our Fringe Board meetings, we often  meet at my house and eat dinner during the meeting.  Last time I started to take one of the plates to the kitchen.

I was basically not allowed to, because jacki took it from me, with her usual, Really, Ma’am?  Really?

Sometimes that’s odd for me, too – it’s my house, I’m the host, I should take care of people, it’s odd to me to sit down and be waited on.

I know, I know, it’s hard to believe.

I told you being served is not the easiest thing.

Perfection

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?

Right?

Right.

 

All Feast, No Famine

So I am officially thankful.

I am thankful that the dining room got put back together so the living room could get put back together so the kitchen could be put back together so we could do a Thanksgiving gathering.

It wasn’t a LOT of people, 14 in all, but any more would have been too tight, particularly when an actual meal was involved for about half of them, albeit in three shifts.

The food was good – I’m a good cook, and I have put on enough big meals that I know how to do it, how to make things come out at about the right time, etc.

My favorite part, though, was after the meal, or at least after the first shift of the meal.  I knew it would be.  It was the time when we were all gathered in the living room – a decent-sized room – and that’s always my favorite part.

The work is done by then.  The food was cooked and served and much of it sitting on the new buffet for people to help themselves.

I had made pumpkin pie – of which I have yet to have a piece, though I think of the two I had made, about a half of one is left – and others brought sweets, too.

Charles and jacki brought a lovely cinnamon crumb cake, Cerrin brought amazingly good caramel blonde brownies, and aisha brought chocolate covered strawberries.

Charles and jacki had also brought wine, I had laid in wine, another friend bought a bottle.

I drank a lot of wine.  Slave drew tells me that there were five empty bottles.

I know that six of them didn’t or don’t drink at all.

I know that another one drank, but not wine, and another may well drink, but didn’t last night.

That takes us down to six people who drank wine.

Five bottles of wine.  Six people drinking it.

See where I’m going here?

I really had a lovely time, though.

Today we’ve mostly stayed close to home.  I’ve gone into the yard by about a dozen feet, and about six feet into the garage.

We’ve had leftovers for lunch and I had soup for dinner, and am finally having a slice of pumpkin pie.

All the Thanksgiving dishes, all the silver, all the cookie pans are washed, much of it waiting to be put away, which I’ll do tomorrow.

It always takes a while for everything to get emptied and washed and dried, especially when people linger after the meal, which I was delighted that they did.

It’s always rather a disappointment when you make a dinner and everyone is gone by 8pm, and you have a pile of dishes in front of you and not nearly as many funny stories.

Aisha did mention the evening in her blog, here, if you’ve not seen it, you might want to take a look.

Now we begin the sprint to Christmas.  Be here before you know it.

I do hope all of you had gatherings that were as fun, as invigorating, and made you as thankful as I am for the many blessings I have.

Thanksgiving

I spent a good deal of years working in healthcare accounting.  I understand cost reports and step-down allocations, volume and intensity based budgeting and reporting, and a lot of other boring things.

I used to think, on cold mornings especially, I wish I didn’t have to go to work, blech, I don’t want to go to work…

My drive to work took me by the Wayside Christian Mission.

Standing outside the doors as I drove off to my job was a line of people, waiting for the Mission to open, waiting to come in out of the cold, waiting for a hot meal, waiting for such small things that I took for granted.

It always made me ashamed that I had complained.

As crazy as my mother was, and as poor as we were, she gave me a clear understanding of how lucky I WAS.

I never went hungry; my mother did.

I knew that however poor we were, I was still luckier than most of the planet.

I feel pretty thankful, honestly, most of the time.  Things can always be better, but things can always be worse, too.

I am thankful for the health of my family and my friends and myself.

I’m thankful for the people who have served me, over time.  I know I am not the easiest person.  I am demanding and critical and I have an opinion on everything.

I have been lucky to be served, and loved, by extraordinary men, and I am grateful.

I have extraordinary slaves now, and my life would be far emptier, far duller, and far more boring without them.

I am lucky to have people around me who care about me, who indulge me, who scamper to get me things and look properly alarmed if I look stern.  I feel lucky to have people who know me and still feel that way.

I am thankful that I feel as though I have made a difference, that I have done good work.  I’ve never been lazy, and I have genuinely always held the community’s best interests at heart.  I’ve done well by that community, I think.

I’m glad to have the first world problems of a house to clean and things to find places for and the mess of a minor renovation from which to recover.  Those are good problems and remind me, as driving by the Mission used to, that I should think far more about the good than the bad, and to remind myself of the grace their is in gratitude.

Kink First – My First Event

I’ve talked before about my first event, which was Black Rose 10, in November of 1997.

It was called Black Rose 10 because it was a party to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Black Rose organization, out of Washington, D.C.

My submissive at the time was Bill, who lived outside Chicago and was some minor Republican elected official, one that sent him to Washington on a fairly regular basis.

Who knows, maybe he wasn’t so minor of an official.  If I could only remember anything other than Bill, I might be able to find out, but then, I’d have to be particularly interested, too, and I’m not, so there’s that.

Anyway, Bill spent enough time in D.C. that he knew about BR and knew about the party, and wanted to go and wanted me to go with him.

I don’t know what I expected, or what I knew about events.  I’d been to some local play parties, which I should talk about next, maybe, but anyway, I had some idea, I imagine, what was going to happen, what to expect, but only a vague idea.

So, we drove to D.C.  Bill took me to some expensive and lovely seafood restaurant on the bay.  I remember having some lovely lobster bisque, and craw fish, which Bill peeled for me.

It was the first time I’d been to D.C., so we did some of the things one does in D.C.  I remember going to the Lincoln Memorial and being really awed by the size of it and the grandeur.

We went to the FDR memorial, of course, because there’s a statue of Fala there.  It’s the only Presidential pet so honored.  Fala, of course, was a Scottish Terrier, and we know that I think it’s appropriate that a Scottish Terrier should have that distinction.

What I remember most, though, was going to the Vietnam Memorial and walking down along the wall, seeing the names, the trinkets and tokens tucked into the wall or left on the path beside it, people taking pencil etchings of names.

Bill was about 15 years older than I, I think, meaning he both remembered Vietnam well and had lost friends in it.  I remember he walked along the wall with me but didn’t really look at it, and he had tears on his face by the time we reached the end.

It was a gray, rainy day, and we walked over to the Vietnam Nurses Memorial, too, which was still fairly newly installed.  The picture I took there is one of my favorites that I’ve taken.

So, anyway, that was the D.C. portion of our tour.

Then we went to Black Rose.

It was, I think, in a Ramada, though over the years the hotels blur.

I remember I went to all the classes I could, and they were, almost without exception, really good classes.

I went to Sarah Lash’s Flogging Class.

I went to a panel on Edge/Fear play, that had sitting on it Joseph Bean, a lawyer named, I think, Rose, and a couple other people.

I went to a class by a guy who went by Big Mark on online presence that I found so unpleasant I walked out, but I took a class of his later, I think at a later Black Rose, on caning that was very very good.

I remember watching the S&M Olympics, and a Pet Tricks contest.

In the Pet Contest, what I remember was seeing some very cute girl who was a puppy.  She had her hair in what Beth always called “puppy ear” pigtails, and had a nose and some whiskers painted on her face.

I remember riding with her and her Owner on the elevator and she was totally in character, sniffing my feet and wagging her “tail” at me quite fetchingly.

There was, I think, some kind of agility contest and some obedience exercises, but then each pet – I think there were two or three – showed off their “special skill.”

Her skill was painting a self portrait, and it was so entertainingly done.

Her master gave her a paint brush, which she held in her mouth, and there was a palette on the ground.  He had put a little beret on her, as well, and she had a mirror into which she could look.

She “painted” with the brush in her mouth, dipping it into the palette, cocking her head, really hamming it up in the most charming way possible.  Finally, she was done and her master held up the finished work, an eight by ten photograph of the girl in her puppy persona, wearing a beret.

It was really adorable.

I saw the same girl later that night being suspended by Midori, in a sort of arabesque position, laughing and having a wonderful time.

There was a Bondage in a Bag contest, wherein each couple got a bag with the same random items, like 50 feet or rope, a 3″ wooden dowel, a set of chopsticks, a pair of shoelaces and a leather belt, all of which had to be used in a bondage rigging that the riggee could stand to remain in for a half hour or so.

There was a nipple clamp contest for who could take the most weight on, I assume, alligator clamps, the kind that tighten as you pull on them, and one for weight on balls.  There was a clothespin contest for who could stand the most on their body.

I met some people there, or at the next three Black Roses that are still around.  I met Joansie, I think, at one of the Black Roses, and just saw her in Chicago last month.

I met Mark, who wrote something I worked on editing, a piece I heard him read called, “Biker Nick.”

I met Greg, whom I have met perhaps a dozen times since, though each time he looks at me blankly and if there’s a reason to speak, he says it’s nice to meet me.

I met Frazier, who runs The Crucible public dungeon in D.C., and is an expert with a single tail.  He at least took part in the S&M Olympics, maybe won.

I met Midori there, or at least saw her the first time, though I likely didn’t meet her, really, until a few years later.  I certainly remember her, and I’ve had dinner with her in a group of people a few times, but we’re certainly no more than acquaintances.

I think I met Lolita Wolf there, too, or at least first ran into her there, another person with whom I have an acquaintance.

I met Goddess Lakshimi, and her slave, limey.  limey was drew’s best man at our wedding, and Goddess did a reading there, too.  Goddess dresses gorgeously always, and always wears jewelry.

I remember on our wedding day, she was wearing some dangling crystal earrings, which she took off and handed to me, saying, “You should be the only Goddess in the house today.”

I do remember walking into the dungeon the first time.

It was ENORMOUS.

They had taken over a parking garage, and my memory recalls that there were 113 pieces of equipment.

In retrospect, having arranged events myself now, that seems nearly impossible, but then, it was D.C., and it was a BIG event, something like a couple thousand people, I think.

I do have the program somewhere, I imagine, in a file cabinet in the basement, I should really look for it one of these days.

Anyway, I remember the first thing I saw was a person suspended via a LOT of fishhooks.

It’s one of the few times I have ever been shocked, honestly, at an event.

I have been surprised, been impressed, been sure something wasn’t for me, but I have rarely been shocked.  I don’t think I can honestly remember another time, in fact.

But part of it is, I don’t like needles, they are something that squicks me and always has, though I am less squicked now than I used to be, but still.

And this was 15 years ago.

But I remember looking up and seeing this and thinking, “Oh.  My.  God.  These people are *crazy!*

I am sure we played, because I like public play, and so did Bill, but I don’t remember that.  I do know it was certainly the biggest space in which I had ever played and the most people, too.

I do remember hearing all the people around me and the music, I remember that being a very intoxicating kind of environment, and it was still very new to me.  Events in general were still pretty new, though Black Rose 10 was not the first event ever, certainly.

I went to three more Black Rose events, 1998, 1999 and 2000, but none sense.  I had an opportunity to present there six or seven years ago, and that’s one place that I would have liked to present at, particularly at that time, but we couldn’t work out the various details, and then Black Rose had some issues mostly with locations, and they took a hiatus and their weekends kind of swapped around and I lost track, really, of which years it was held and when, October or November?

Since then, I’ve been to close to 100 events, large and small, and organized some all on my own, but that was the first event, and it was, as my mother would have said, a doozy.

(Sorry for the weird photo spacing, one of these days I’ll actually bother to learn the software here…)

Kink First – My First Scene

So, perhaps this is a bad title because, to be truthful, I don’t remember my first scene.

But doesn’t it seem like the next kind of first?

So, anyway, though I don’t remember it, there are things I do remember about those kind of firsts.

I remember my first girlfriend kind of ashamedly asking me to tie her to the bed.

I remember not being disturbed by it.  I don’t know that I had ever thought of it before, not really, but it didn’t shock or worry me.  It was more of a sense of, Oh, ok, well this is interesting, I wonder how you tie someone to a bed..?

I figured it out, btw.

I now have to re-rope my bed every five or six years.

You know, the rope slips or starts to fray or drops to some impossible to retrieve place…

The usual.

Anyway, I remember she really liked it.

I remember I let her once tie my hands together with a scarf over my head.

For about thirty seconds and then I kind of freaked out and demanded to be untied.

I never tried it again.

I tell people that I know how trustworthy I am and I wouldn’t let me tie me up.

I have some trust issues.

Anyway, I do remember the moment that the first submissive I had, actually knelt in front of me.

I remember being sort of torn between really liking it and thinking, ok, so what do I do NOW?

I figured that out, too.

I remember instances when I was still a lot newer at this than I am now, when I wasn’t quite sure what I’d do and that bothering me.

I still often don’t know what I’m going to do, actually, because I rarely plan scenes, but it doesn’t bother me anymore.

I found that if I planned a scene and then the scene turned out to be different, go to a different place, I felt disappointed, even when it was a great scene and a great time.

So I stopped planning.  Sometimes I’ll know what implements I’ll want to use in a particular way – I’ll want to use canes or maybe do a bit more rope than I usually do, something like that, but I never think, I’m going to start with X and then move to Y and finally close with Z.

So now, what happens happens.  It’s very Zen.

Zen and the art of Kink, as it were.

Poetry Corner

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.

Because

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.

Confidence or Conceit

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.

Deal Breakers

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.