The Question That Won't Go Away, Part 4

   So if there is some standardized D/s knowledge that it would be good for both subs and Dominants to know about, what's the best way to deliver this content?  There are two prominent ways.

   1.  Books, articles, blogs, etc.  Probably the most common way people find things out about D/s.  There are countless internet sites with all manner of basic information, and as with any big sampling there are the very good, the totally horrible, and a big 80% middle of more or less good information delivered more or less effectively.  [Completely self-serving addendum:  There are a number of very good articles about theory and practice of D/s in the older posts of this blog.]

   2.  Online interactions.  I know that online D/s has a bad reputation with some (many?), but as with anything, there is value to be found;  the loud exceptions to the rule often are responsible for creating a general misconception.
     Online interactions allow for instant feedback.  The problem for the neophyte is that it's hard to know who is genuinely knowledgeable and helpful and who is looking to take advantage of someone who might not know any better.  One must proceed with caution, but one shouldn't throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  [Completely self-serving addendum:  You can find Me on irc.bondage.international, in #Enchanted_Palms.]
    And while Gor isn't everyone's cup of tea, and lord knows there's players and phonies there too, but Gor is more oriented around standards, since there exists a "bible" of sorts in the form of the Gor novels.

   But is there a better way?  Wouldn't it be cool if one could learn about D/s in a real environment, outside of some nasty club at 3AM?  I'm thinking of a place like Lady Heather's house on CSI . . .  a place where there is interaction of a non-sexual kind in addition to the more notorious aspects of D/s.

   There was a place called The Estate, that seems, from what I can tell, not to be in existence any longer, at least on the Internet.  The Estate, from what I can recall now, was place where submissives could go and learn how to serve, to put it succinctly if somewhat inexactly.

   The Estate's "curriculum" was clearly laid out on its website, expressing their general philosophy of D/s and detailing what the prospective trainee should expect, learn, etc.  [Note:  The Estate's program was completely non-sexual;  I don't know what happened in the reality of the place but their expressed emphasis was on serving in non-sexual ways.]

   I can't recall everything expressed there, and I'm not necessarily endorsing their theory and practice of D/s as "right," but The Estate, assuming that their reality matched their website's description, had the essentials in place.

     1.  A consistent body of knowledge and the resources to teach it.
     2.  A secluded real-life setting in which to practice/learn.
     3.  Clear expectations and metrics to determine success and identify areas for improvement.
   
     I hope that there are other places like The Estate, because I think that sort of model, properly, honestly, and faithfully applied, is the best way to impart a standardized body of D/s knowledge.

   
     So, after all this, has the Question That Won't Go Away, gone away?  Not completely.  But it's resting comfortably.

The Question That Won't Go Away, Part 3

2.  The Dominant is responsible for the submissive.  This seemingly self-evident statement is the source of the most trouble and negative associations with D/s.  The old cliche is that One cannot master another until One has mastered Oneself.  It is perhaps the most important, most accurate cliche imaginable.
     Would that there was a school for Dominants, or better yet some sort of certification.  A way to weed out the abusers, the bullies, the paranoid control freaks, and worse.  

3.  Each party has certain rights and obligations.  Rights and obligations are at the core of D/s -- what we are to expect and what is to be expected of us, in each role.  My experience tells Me that by and large both Dom/mes and submissives are not always aware of the depth of these rights and obligations and the implications thereof.


    The above suggests that there is ample and fruitful ground upon which to build a basic curriculum, for lack of a better word, for submissives and Dominants both.  That statement is at odds with what I wrote some years ago, and that bothered Me, even though I as fully open to the possibility that I might answer "the question that won't go away" differently this time.


    This is what I conclude.

     1.  There is a certain body of knowledge, intellectual and procedural, that it is worth knowing, for all submissives and Dominants.
     2.  Those who are involved in long-term, one-on-one D/s relationships may have less need of this standardized body of knowledge, since presumably the Dominant in that scenario constantly communicates and enforces His or Her wishes and preferences.
     3.  However, forever relationships are more rare than we want to think.  A submissive may find his or her dream Dominant, but there are no guarantees, and My anecdotal research tells Me that in D/s, there are even fewer guarantees than in vanilla relationships.
     4.  Those who are not involved in a community, or D/s scene, or in any poly situation, will likely not see the need for any standardized training or universal body of knowledge. 
     5.,  Still, there is value in having that knowledge, for both parties.  One, because of the impermanence of things, as discussed in 3., above, and also because a solid basis can only help both submissive and Dominant.


   In Part 4, a thought about one way to deliver the lessons.

The Question That Won't Go Away, Part 2

     So I'll start from the assumption that it's not totally futile to try to find some aspects of D/s that can be organized into a standard, or some body of common useful and applicable knowledge.

     It seems to Me that it should be fruitful to start with most elemental and even mundane aspects of D/s, and (hopefully) find some basis there on which to build more complex structures.

     Along those lines, I come up with the following "bottom level" precepts.

1.  The submissive obeys, serves, and strives to please the Dominant.
      A.  This obedience can take various forms.  Presumably there are submissives who are not sexually subservient.  From what I can tell there are many that are only sexually subservient.
      B.   There is a reasonableness test.  The submissive doesn't have to obey any order that is impossible, illegal, overly dangerous, or which breaks one of the submissive's expressed limits. 

2.  The Dominant is responsible for the submissive.
     A.  The Dominant must look after the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of the submissive. 
            i.   2A applies even if looking after the submissive's well-being is at the expense of the Dominant's own pleasure or convenience.
     B.  The Dominant takes the responsibility of teaching and correcting the submissive as necessary.
            
3.  Each party has certain rights and obligations.
     A.  The submissive is entitled to express hard limits and to expect that said limits will be respected.
     B.  The submissive is entitled to expect that the Dominant will make the submissive's well-being the first priority, as in 2., above.
     C.  The Dominant is entitled to expect that obedience and service will be complete, cheerful, and immediate, in absence of any mitigating circumstances. 
     D. The Dominant is entitled to expect that the submissive will not start adding to his or her list of hard limits just to avoid certain things s/he might find boring/unpleasant, etc.
     E.  If there is a written agreement between the parties, both parties have the right to expect that the other party will abide by the contract.

I'll stop there -- that's more then enough for the purposes of this exercise.

1.  The submissive obeys, serves, and strives to please the Dominant.
     Obeys.  I'm not sure that obedience can be taught, or needs to be defined in any standard way.  One either obeys or doesn't.
     Serves.  Non-sexual service can and should be taught.  There is a way to serve a drink, for example, a right way to make a bed.  And so on.  This is not to say that a particular Dominant will not have His or Her own particular way that S/He wants things done, but knowing standards can only help.  Think of it as, you learn how to write numbers clearly, then when you go into bookkeeping you're taught to put a little line through all the 7s.  But you still needed to learn how to write in the first place.
     Strives to please.  The submissive who does well at obeying and serving is likely to be pleasing, but still there are things that can be taught.  The good submissive has a certain mindset, and that mindset can be learned, and practiced.

Part 3, soon.

The Cases of Lenora X, Domme Detective: 50 Shades of Black and Blue (5)

Kinks and Limits, I

[2006]

     Frankie used to say "you can't let a dead man down."  Those words never seemed less true to Me than they did today.

    My mind wandered as the guy behind the counter at BC Self Storage went through the process of renting Me a small locker.  I was vaguely aware of the guy spending a little too much time checking Me out, but I couldn't bother getting peeved about it.  I was silently apologizing to Frankie for what I was doing.  I had already apologized to his sister Rose, and tried to give her the retainer money back, but she wouldn't hear of it.  I assured her I'd return to the case if there was anything at all new to go on, or if I got some sudden flash of inspiration.  She was more understanding than most people would've been in her situation.  But that didn't surprise Me -- Frankie was good people, the best in fact.  So no surprise his sister would be as well.

     I had to stop working on Frankie's Last Case.  I was not only at a dead end, but just having the boxes around was like a constant reminder, a taunt exposing My inability to find out who killed the only person who really meant much to Me.  I had to work on cases I could solve, and put time into people I could help.  I wanted to nail Frankie's killer more than I wanted to breathe, but I had to push it away, at least for a while. 

     I signed a form and the guy behind the counter gave Me the keys to unit 206.  He indicated the bank of elevators with a perfunctory gesture and a couple minutes later I was closing the door and locking the lock.

     My Jimmy Choos clicking on the acidized concrete floor made a nagging sound in My ears as I walked back to the elevator.  I looked skyward.

     "I'm sorry, Frankie.  But I'm not done.  I promise"



Kinks and Limits, II

[early 1990s]

     You know it was a bad night when you wake up relieved not to have been kidnapped by white slavers.

     I was in My apartment, with no memory of having gotten there.  Last I knew I was watching the show, enjoying those wonderful drinks, and then losing My balance, and someone catching Me.

     I tried to get out of bed and winced.  I was sore -- arms, shoulders, the inside of My thighs, lower back, and . . . oh God, inside.   I bolted out of bed, despite the pain, and jumped in the shower, cleaning Myself maniacally, wondering why I wasn't crying . . . I should be crying!   But there was nothing in Me but the desire to get clean, and to remember.

     I dried off and tied the bathrobe tight around Me, as if I could recover some lost thing retroactively.  I flung Myself back into bed, wondering why I wasn't hung over -- I must've been very drunk.  Rolling over, I reached for the phone -- Suzanne would know what had happened and how I'd gotten home.

    I started to call her and then stopped, and put the phone down.  I needed to try to remember as much as I could for Myself before I heard anyone else's version.

    Laying there, eyes closed, bits and pieces came back to Me.  

    The strongest and most disturbing memory was that I was really enjoying what was going on.  I expected to start to remember and be horrified, repulsed -- but it was just the opposite.  

    I remembered ropes, chains . . . people of both sexes, and one man, clearly in charge.  I was tied down somewhere -- it wasn't comfortable but somehow I remembered liking that.  There were big pieces missing, clearly, but I could remember feeling buzzed, then lightheaded, then absolutely wonderful,  Then I did things, and things were done to Me.  I couldn't say it was consensual, but nothing happened to Me that I didn't want to happen, even if I hadn't expressed it.  Somehow I knew that, but I couldn't say how.

   It went on for a while, that I somehow knew for a fact.  But how it ended and how I got home or who might've brought Me home was a total blank.

   The phone rang.  Suzanne.  Wondering if I was OK -- she'd seen Me go off with some guy and shortly after that the place got raided -- she narrowly avoided getting pinched, via the friend who got us in, spiriting her away.  Her next stop was going to be the police, first to see if I'd been caught up in the raid, and if not, to report Me missing.

   I faked being badly hung over so I could get off the phone and crawl deep under the covers, images of a strange world I never knew existed flooding My mind.

     
Kinks and Limits, III

[present day]
     I was looking through a file, doing background work on the case of an unhappy customer suing a laundromat, one of several that the now-legit King owned.


    The file seemed thinner than it should've been.  I looked over at mandy.   

     "Do you have part of the file on Hayes vs. Magi-Klean?"  I wiggled the folder in the air.  "This seems awfully thin."  I was asking only because I couldn't think of anything else to do -- mandy was very organzied, and wouldn't take things out of a file without putting them back, or retaining the entire file until she was done with it.

     she shook her head and went over to the file cabinet, a look of concern crossing her brow.  mandy prided herself on keeping everything in perfect order.  After a minute she pulled out a folder and came over to Me.

    Hayes vs. Magi-Clean.  Mystery solved.  Somehow two files for the same case had been created, one with a C and one with a K.  mandy breathed a sigh of relief and took everything out of the C folder and put it in the K folder, triumphantly discarding the C folder.

   Then it hit Me.  One case, two files.  Easy enough to do by accident.  Or on purpose.









The Question That Won't Go Away, Part 1

   Many times over the life of this blog I've thought and written about the question of whether there is any real "standard" for D/s, or is it completely roll-your-own, based on the unique relationship between a Dom/me and a sub(s)?

   My experience tells Me it's the latter, especially lately.  But in My heart of hearts I want there to be a standard.  If there is a standard, there is an objective way to tell good from bad, and a common basis for discussion.  If everyone's experience is equally relevant and completely anecdotal, then there is, logically, no point in writing/thinking about D/s.

  But every time I try to establish that there is a standard, I end up more or less proving the opposite.  But perhaps the investigation of the question can be its own reward.

   Lately I've been looking at the tumblr pages of many subs and Dom/mes.  And while I can't claim to have looked at them all, or even most, perhaps, and the usual disclaimers always apply, there are a few conclusions I come to.

     1.  D/s is almost completely a private activity.  To the extent that there was a D/s scene, it seems to have faded, at least from the notice or experience of people who create D/s tumblrs.
     2.  Few submissives are universally submissive.  Rather, they are submissive to One.  This demarcation extends to online interactions.
     3.  There is little discussion of the emotional aspects of D/s;  the sexual is much more heavily stressed.
     4.  There is a general lack of critical thinking about any aspect of D/s.

      Assuming that the above are even somewhat correct, they all mitigate in favor of the idea that D/s is a completely unique activity, based on each couple's (or group's, in poly situations) desires.  And if that's the case, the question certainly can be posed -- what's wrong with that?  If that's the way it is, then that's the way it is.

     The short answer is that nothing's wrong with it.  If it's a fact, then to argue against it is to be angry at the sun for setting, as the poem goes.

     The long answer is that if it's not 100% a fact, then something valuable is to be gained by identifying those things might be applicable to most or all situations.


     Part 2 to follow, shortly.

The WTFFL

One more sports-themed post.

      The NFL, based on this past season, needs to rename itself to the WTFFL (What The Fuck? Football League), because it's actions have ranged from arrogant to insipid to unintentionally funny.

       1.  Ray Rice/Domestic Violence.  Goodell's mishandling of this has been  detailed extensively, so I won't dwell on it too much.  What is galling is that the league now pretends to care about domestic violence, paying for a PSA by nomore.org to be shown during the Super Bowl.  As My girl lissa pointed out, the NFL only cares about domestic violence to the extent that it harms the NFL's brand and/or revenues.  
     The unintentionally funny part of this is the NFL's internal investigation into the handling of the Ray Rice case.  No one who doesn't work for the NFL believes that the NFL didn't have the elevator video before they say they did.  But did anyone expect the league's internal investigation to find anything other than what it found, namely, Roger and everyone else in the NFL did no wrong?

    2.  On the field issues.
          A.  Officiating.  Even with replay reviews, calls were blown at an alarming rate this past season.  The system is flawed to start with -- take the referee out of the review process . . . put the overturn or not call in the hands of the official in the booth.  It can't be any worse than what we're seeing now.
          B.  What is a catch?  The NFL has made this so ridiculously complex that even the officials have trouble with it.  Supposedly this is going to be looked at this off season . . . what are the chances the "fix" isn't worse than the problem?  But I keep hoping.
          C.   Rules.  Expanding on the above, the game is way too difficult to officiate.  Goodell should create one of these Committees he loves so much to really study shredding the rule book and starting over.
          D.  More officiating.  The time for full time referees is long past.  Hire younger guys/women who can keep up with the speed of the game.  Ex-players, perhaps?
          E.   Personal Fouls.  Personal Fouls need to be added to the mandatory review category.  Too many games turn on bogus personal foul calls.

   3.  The Commissioner.  Roger had a terrible year.
            He mishandled the Ray Rice thing, and looked horrendous in the process, treating us to a press conference that not only provided no real content but made him look confused and incompetent.
            He got his hand slapped by arbitrators and had to cede some of this godlike authority of being judge, jury, and executioner.
            His handling of the Deflategate scandal is laughable.  The NFL, supposedly is still investigating.  They talked to forty people from the Patriots without speaking to Tom Brady!  Forty!  Goodell went so far as to say that they are not yet even sure that any infraction was committed.  Huh?  Add to that the fact that he comes off like Robert Kraft's butt-boy.
            He uses internal investigations as a way of getting everyone to shut up about issues he wants to avoid until the league thinks it's a good time.  The investigation of the Rice Rice matter took until last week, supposedly.  The investigation of the deflated footballs will conclude . . . sometime after the draft and before the start of preseason?
             He showed that several months' time did nothing to improve his press conference skills.  The Q & A after the "state of the league" speech (itself an orgy of self-congratulation) was just as content-free and uncomfy as the Ray Rice press conference.
            He showed his toughness in dealing with a lawsuit by mostly destitute ex-players with extensive long term injuries sustained in the process of building the game into what it has become.  So cowed were the former players that the judge thankfully intervened and stopped a clearly inadequate settlement.
           He has a perverse insistence on taking the game international.  I can only assume that these marching orders come from the owners.  So expect a franchise in London before long, and in more places after that in the future.  Again, this is something no fan wants.  But let's not pretend the owners and Goodell take that into account.  Goodell's plan is to reach $25 billion in revenues by the year 2027.  That's not happening just by selling a few more jerseys;  it will require teams in London, France, and Putin's underpants.  Who is that good for, other than the owners?
           Of course, none of the above matters to the only people Goodell really cares about -- the thirty-two owners whose bidding he does.  And judging by the $40 million salary Goodell gets, the owners love the job he's doing.  And, one story that is so outrageous that if offered as fiction wouldn't be believable -- the $40 million man berating various NFL employees for being "overpaid."

     4.  The normal owner doucheiness.
           The owner of the Texans actually said that the rash of concussions "occurred outside of football" and that the owners "just gave in because they didn't feel like fighting it."   This is the mentality that the players are up against.
           Of the thirty-two teams, one (Green Bay) is publicly owned.  Among the remaining thirty-one owners, the lowest net worth is $500 million, going all the way up to Seahawks' owner Paul Allen at about $15-16 billion.  Given these numbers, is it really necessary for the NFL to squeeze every nickel until it screams?  I don't begrudge anyone's wish to make a lot of money -- this is America, after all.  But other than some charitable contributions, when's the last time the owners did something that wasn't motivated by greed?  The next time will be the first time.

     5.  The players suck too.
          No one has clean hands in the NFL.  The Players' Association, like all unions, defends the scum with equal fervor that it does the good guys.  Fans are fucking sick of it.  I want badly to sign with the players in all things NFL-related, as opposed to the owners, but the union and the players themselves often make it difficult.
         Additionally, the union's stance on former players now suffering from their playing days, while technically accurate, is despicable.  I don't like to speak ill of the dead but Gene Upshaw's remark that "I don't represent former players" spoke volumes about the union, none of it good.  The current leadership doesn't talk about it but apparently holds a similar position, based on their lack of any concrete action.
          Marshawn Lynch.  It was funny the first couple of times.  But now it's just a disingenuous act . . . based on his "lecture" to reporters the other day, Lynch has no problem speaking in front of crowds, as some apologists have contended.  The one good thing Goodell has done is to fine this clown six ways from Sunday.  Keep up the good work, Roger.
         Player conduct.  It's difficult to be a young man with a lot of money, and a lot of people telling you how great you are all the time, but here's a quick guide for NFL players:
         --Nothing good happens after 2 AM.  Really, midnight, but I'll try to be somewhat realistic.
         --Try to keep it to a maximum of three different women you father children with.
         --Rape isn't your right.  It's a crime.
         --Don't hit anyone smaller than you, of either sex.
         --The NFL provides all sorts of driving and security services for players when out on the town.  Use them.
     
         6.  All done.
              This went way longer than I'd planned, and I didn't even hit every point.  But the important thing is this:

               Football is amazingly popular, and it's in America's DNA.  The NFL knows this, and thus do whatever they want, however they want, knowing that the fans will keep watching, keep buying jerseys and tickets and PSLs and pay $50 for parking, keep playing fantasy football, keep packing sports bars every Sunday and subscribing to Direct TV for the Sunday Ticket package, and stay glued to the Red Zone channel.   Everybody "wins."
             And I'm no better.  I love football, and I can't imagine not watching the Giants every Sunday.  But the owners, the Commissioner, the players, and their union, are doing their best to make Me feel bad about loving football so much.
              Apparently no matter what it does, the NFL can't kill the goose that laid the golden egg.  But since there's seemingly no end to what the NFL will do in pursuit of more billions, they may find that there is a point to which they might overreach.
       
         
           
     

Once every eighteen months . . .

. . . is not an acceptable posting schedule.  As with all things, I'll try to do better.

A few things by way of catching up, sorta.

1.  Bud Selig finally retires.  Thankfully the barf-inducing tributes to this "great" commissioner weren't too plentiful.  Lest we forget, here's a quick recap of the Great Mister Selig's notable accomplishments, in and out of office:

     Bud was one of the architects of collusion, whereby owners sought to circumvent the collective bargaining agreement and render free agency meaningless.  As usual, baseball lost in court, to the tune of many hundreds of millions of dollars.

     In 1998, Bud was in front of any camera that would have him, waving the pom poms for McGuire and Sosa.  Of course, once the game had fully recovered from the labor troubles of 1994 and the owners could be reasonably sure that their pockets would continue to be lined, Bud did an about face and became Bud Selig, Steroid Buster.

    Bud commissioned the Mitchell Report, which turned out to be little more than a platform for two lowlifes, one with the Yankees and one with the Mets.  Shocking, really, given Bud's antipathy for the Yankees and adoration of the Red Sox.  The Yankees' lowlife they dug up was discredited in a Federal courtroom, and the Mitchell Report is gathering dust somewhere, little more than an answer to a not very interesting trivia question.

   Bud decided that the All Star game had to mean something.  Says who?  Like all such games, it's an exhibition. 

   Bud has given us the World Baseball Classic, which is considered a big deal in every country except America.  Awesome!

   Bud has overseen the process by which Fox more or less is in charge of scheduling and by which the most important games of all are decided at 1 AM Eastern Time on a weeknight.

   In all these things, Bud was of course just doing the owners' bidding.  His successor will doubtless follow in those venal, subservient footsteps, so I don't expect much change.

  But Bud has retired.  Good riddance to bad rubbish.

2.  Writing.  It so sucks that the time, and sometimes the inspiration, just aren't there most of the time.  I have high hopes and lofty goals for the current Lenora X story I posted the beginnings of, Fifty Shades of Black and Blue.  Romantically, I'm looking at the story as a grand architectural project, always under construction.  Perhaps the completion of it is not as important as the process of construction.

3.  Hi, how are you?  I'm doing OK . . . work and My health continue to pose challenges from time to time, but I survive . . .

More soon.  Really.  I mean that.