The Rag

This pretty Sunday morning, I sat down with my bagel, the CBS Sunday Morning Show, and my blog reading list for my ninety minutes of relaxation before I began my day in earnest. I came across this post by Domina Jen and by the end my blood was boiling.

Jen touched on a topic that I have been confronted with only recently in the timeline of my life: men’s opinions of women who are menstruating. Obviously, like any woman, I knew that there was the expression “On the Rag” which men use to describe a woman who is menstruating. Yes, I found it offensive and I had not had it said to my face. Ever.

I now hear this phrase fairly often. “Are you on the rag?” It never fails to send me into a barely-contained, blood boiling rage. My issue with this question is that it implies I am only “allowed” to be angry/upset/argumentative/”difficult” if I am menstruating. Men can be any/all of those things without excuse or apology. Women are required to be even tempered at all times. If we are not, we must be hormonal because god forbid we should express a contrary opinion with anything other than an apologetic tone.

Maybe I’m exhausted. Maybe I’m hangry. Maybe I’m sick of picking up your socks which you can drop on the floor but can’t seem to move three inches to the left to drop into the hamper. Maybe I need some time for myself to just be. (Seriously, family, can I just get five minutes? I promise the house will not collapse around you while I’m sitting on the toilet.) Maybe I have a stress headache. Maybe I have one of the millions of things going on that give men permission to be irritable assholes. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m bone weary from conforming to the even-tempered, diplomatic, agreeable female standard that society demands and, for today, I either don’t have the energy or I’m giving myself permission not to. (It’s probably both because -news flash- men, no matter how much we love you, you’re frequently exhausting.)

/endrant

 

And, no, I’m not on the rag.

On Brats and Bratiness

Recently there was a post on fet, written by a 40 year old male Dom, the topic of which was bratty submissives. For those who do not have fet accounts I’ll nutshell it for you: The OP does not want “blind obedience” and therefore he finds brats exciting. He goes on to say that they should brat with commitment, like it matters.

I’m going on record here: Brats piss me off. When I was a dedicated submissive I did not practice blind obedience AND I was not a brat. Shockingly, (#sarcasm) those are not the only two options. I was required to question my Master. I was required to respectfully speak my mind. See that word “respectfully”? That’s my issue with bratiness. It smacks of lack of respect.

I worked incredibly hard to always be respectful, to always obey, to always honor my commands, to complete tasks correctly and in a timely fashion. For outsiders, I appeared to be a model submissive who carried herself with grace and confidence. In my mind and, within the intimacy of my dynamic, I did not always succeed. In fact, if I’m being honest, despite my best efforts, for a whole bunch of reasons, I wasn’t a very good submissive. Though it was certainly not for lack of trying.

In my current dynamics, I expect my submissive/bottom to be respectful in all things. They consent to be submissive. I am not forcing them to do as I say. They have consented to relinquish their power to me. This is true for both a one hour scene or a long-term power exchange. I am not going to battle for obedience. By agreeing to be my submissive, regardless of duration, the individual has agreed to obey me.

Let’s face it, realistically, most of my bottoms outweigh me by at least 100 pounds. If they do not wish to obey me there is very little I can do to make them. I can punish them for disobedience, sure. Again, they have to allow it. I cannot physically force them to be still and take it. It’s just not possible.

My only true recourse is to revoke my domination. I am in charge. I will listen to your input with the same intent you afford me. I may not always change my directive. Obey me or I will not play with you. Period.

“May I” Those two words prefacing any statement, concept, idea, question, immediately make clear that the one saying them understands they have something to say and they must ask permission to say it, in a respectful manner.

I don’t want anyone doing something I ask blindly. It is entirely possible there is a valid reason why they should not be doing it. Any submissive/bottom in my care is welcome to speak up. My only requirement is that they do it with respect.

Play is not (always) a euphemism for sex

There is a bit of a hubub brewing on fet about a post that suggested playing with someone is not the same as having sex with them and, therefore, was/is just fine in the context of the OP’s monogamous relationship. I came across a splinter discussion, as so often happens in fet land, which continued to explore this idea. The folks in the splinter discussion spoke in absolutes so emphatically that it got me thinking.

Since I began Topping, I have maintained that when I Top, it is not at all sexual for me. I also recognize that my bottoms may feel twitchy in their special place. I’m ok with that. Some of the discussion I read, made the argument that having a scene with someone is “intimate”. (I put that in quotes because it’s what was said, not because I’m being snide, as quotations can sometimes indicate.) I get that a scene can be incredibly intimate. I have a bottom who frequently states that when he scenes with me it is as if we are alone in the dungeon. His focus is entirely on me. It’s just the two of us. He forgets there are people watching. I’ve had that experience as a submissive. I understand entirely what he is saying.

When I Top a casual play partner it is not at all intimate or sexual for me. It is no different than a surgeon and a patient. I am gathering skills. I am deciding how best to apply my scalpel to serve this patient most effectively. (That’s a metaphorical scalpel, by the way. Intentional blood play is a hard limit.) I am instigating reactions. I am assessing pain tolerance. I am monitoring breathing and muscle tension. It is clinical.

I am as straight as they come yet I will Top a female just as readily as I will Top a male. In my community the females tend to be more fleshy. That’s a whole different way of Topping and a lot more real estate with which to cause pain. Fun, fun fun. Yes, please and, no, I will not be penetrating nor interacting with their genitalia. They will have to get their orgasm play elsewhere. It is no more sexual than a surgeon and the gall bladder she is removing.

That being said, I’m having all kinds of fun in the same way a surgeon loves what she does. I thoroughly enjoy finding new ways to cause pain. I love pushing my bottoms to take more than they have previously. I am comforted by knowing that every scene I have makes me a better Top as I gain more experience.

Ethically, I have zero challenges with casually Topping as many people as I possibly can.  If two people are in the same scene, can one have a sexual experience and the other be entirely focused on the mechanics of it? You betcha. Does that mean that the person not having a sexual response is, by association, having sex with the other? Nope. Not any more than the actress on the big screen is having sex with the guy in the tenth row covering his now bulging crotch with the popcorn bucket because my-god-she-has-fabulous-tits. Do I believe those who are monogamous can have multiple platonic play partners and still define themselves as monogamous? Absolutely.

Girl from Oz

There is a running joke in my house, when we are feeling silly and simultaneously misunderstood and/or judged, one of us will invariably say “You don’t know me! You don’t know where I’m from!” a la Jerry Springer guest, complete with wagging finger and attitude driven head bob.

I’ve been thinking about this because I finally put two and two together (yep, I’m a little slow and math is not my strong suit). Since it began popping up, I’ve had an issue with people saying they want to be me “when they grow up” – these are adults, mind you, some older than myself. I did not, until very recently, understand just why this admiration bothers me so much.

This past week, I spent a bit of time at the local dungeon with a new visitor. We’ll call him Tony. He asked for a tour. I gave it. That night he kept coming back to speak to me … coming back like a homing pigeon. Every five minutes he turned up at my elbow. (ok that’s an exaggeration … it was probably more like fifteen) Though he was never inappropriate, by the end of the night I just wanted him to go away.

Since then he has remarked via fet mail that he wants someone just like me and, if only I could be cloned. My issue with these two scenarios is that none of these people genuinely know me. Not Tony who wants to be with me. Not the people who say they want to be me.

While the sentiments are nice and I would like to be flattered, I’m just not. Tony is judging me mostly on my appearance and perhaps an hour, total, spent with me over the course of an entire evening. Others are judging me based on my public/scene personae which doesn’t come close to being an accurate representation of who I am. They see the pretty, sparkling water. They do not see the rip tide beneath.

They don’t know I become emotionally unstable when I’m sleep deprived. They don’t know that if they reach for one of my fries, they stand to lose a finger, especially if I’m hungry. They don’t know if they motion with their fork toward my desert I will cut them. (That’s a joke … mostly.) They don’t know that I can’t remember much of anything, regardless of importance. They don’t know that I let down the people I love on a daily basis, in numerous ways. They don’t know that I often feel like the man behind the curtain, all smoke and mirrors, playing at something I can never be. They haven’t had to endure me questioning and analyzing everything before I will commit to a simple yes/no question. They don’t know the million other things that regularly make the people I love want to exile me from their lives. They know none of this.

These people who think I’m so wonderful … They don’t know me. They don’t know where I’m from.

On immersive environments

Imagine with me for a few moments …

Imagine you are an alien. This is a recent discovery for you. All of your life you knew there was something different about you, pieces that didn’t quite fit with what others said about themselves, about what they expected of you. An innate wrongness. A jutting fragment that would not fit in the smooth places of the world.

A few years ago, you met someone. When you spoke with them, you understood another entity for the first time and, for the first time, you were understood. For the first time, your thoughts had a place of belonging. It was with this other that you found peace. After spending many hours with them, you understood; they felt like coming home, like belonging, like refuge because they, too, were alien.

The two of you spoke of your alien culture together. You quietly sought others of your species, quietly, because though you knew there were others, there were also xenophobes – and in far greater numbers – who vehemently disapproved of aliens. You learned to wear discreet symbols of your alien lineage. You learned to look for those symbols being worn by others. Soon you felt less alone.

You learned of meetings, where aliens sat among the resident species, and spoke in hushed tones about all things alien, over local cuisine. You found a discreet club, hidden in an industrial neighborhood, run by and attended exclusively by aliens. Every time you went it was like a mini vacation. You didn’t have to hide who you were there. It was the one place you could fully be yourself around others. For a while it was enough. Those few hours were all you needed to be able to breathe the foreign air on a daily basis.

Then you attended a massive alien gathering. It was held in a hotel run by natives who understood aliens, who did not look at you out of the corner of their eye, as if you were ill and what you had might be catching. Aside from hotel employees, the only other beings present were alien and there were hundreds of them.

There were slightly different dialects spoken, some different customs, unique symbols worn and yet, everyone attending, everyone, was alien. There were classes about aspects of alien life, special sects, which you could attend if you wished. If you did not wish to attend a formal class, there was much to be learned in the common areas, simply by sitting and listening to the swirl of conversation.

There was no hiding. No worries about whether the alien clothing you love so dearly would pass with the natives, no hiding it under native clothes. You practiced your alien customs, in public, not behind closed doors like a dirty secret. You could be your entire self, out in the open, and you were, for days on end, and it was glorious and you reveled in it.

When you went home, your native name sounded odd. You had to remind yourself, when you heard it, that it was you who was being addressed. You were disoriented, almost feeling drunk. For a while your home environment felt wrong, for a while, until you adjusted and remembered that it is you who are wrong.

With a heavy heart, you put away all of your alien belongings. Each piece a reminder that alien gatherings are temporary, that you are still an alien living among the natives, that you, once again, must hide as many of your alien traits as you possibly can. That if a nefarious individual spots you, exposes you as alien, jobs can be lost, children can be removed from the home, unrectifiable damage will be done.

You pull your sleeves down and wear long pants, covering the evidence left by alien rituals, covering the marks that only hours ago you had been displaying with pride, now covering the instigation of questions, of sideways glances, of “my god are you ok?”, of “what happened to you?”.

This, this is the reality of living the lifestyle. This is what “con drop” is about. The unfettered joy of being immersed in an environment where you are entirely free to be yourself. Being immersed just long enough to settle into the rhythm of who you are, only to be told it’s time to leave.

All encompassing environments are remarkable. All things being equal, I would travel from conference to gathering to event and never go home. It is the going home that hurts. If you have the opportunity, I strongly encourage you to partake. Find an event where the entire hotel is bought out for the event and the only folks there, aside from staff, are in the lifestyle. The freedom is like nothing found at munches or dungeons or an hour or two at a house party.

Attend a multi-day event. Before you go, stock the cupboards at home with comfort food, buy bubble bath, put your closest lifestyle friends on speed dial. Know that coming home will be more difficult than you can comprehend, and go anyway, as often as possible. Have plans to put yourself back in the natives box, knowing that the lid will never fit quite as tightly as before. Go. Be who you are.