“Hey Nineteen, that’s ‘Retha Franklin” –Donald Fagen & Walter Becker
*Randy wrote to me a few months ago, claiming to be under a Domme’s training. He wrote that he had been seeing her for a few months and felt that it was, in his words, “a bad fit”. In his email, he chalked his dissatisfaction up to his Mistresses youth and lack of qualification. He thought he would fare better in his training under the tutelage of someone more adept.
During our first meeting, he enlightened me in greater detail. According to him, his experiences thus far had been pretty disappointing. He claimed his most recent Mistress had no theory of dominance beyond issuing random orders for him to obey and meting out punishment at her whim, usually without method or provocation. He described her default setting as “demanding bitch”. I advised him to temper his language when discussing another Lady in my presence. He apologized: “I’m sorry, Mistress, you are absolutely correct. But, I really don’t have another word to describe her attitude. There’s no grace, no reason. She’s just…mean.”
I probed a little. Where and how did he meet her, and had she offered any references or credentials, such as from other clients or a mentor? He said he found her on Craigslist, the same place he had found the last several Dommes he had played with. The first two Mistresses he served were eighteen and nineteen, respectively. This last one was twenty and admitted to “trying out this fetish thing” because she needed money.
Well, duh. What the hell had he expected? If he was sincerely looking for a Domme with some method behind her approach, he sure had me fooled. He lamely answered that he figured twenty would at least be an improvement.
Experience is the only thing that will improve a Dominant. Don’t get me wrong: if all you’re looking for is to suck someone’s toes and then jerk off, by all means consider the amateur on Craigslist. She probably won’t charge you as much as I will. Of course you should adjust your expectations accordingly. If you’re looking for activities requiring skill or hoping for competent artistry, it’s disingenuous to think you will find it with that approach. In fact, give me a break. You know better.
It’s not a submissive’s role (or anyone else’s for that matter) to judge a woman for her experience or lack thereof. However if your needs require someone who knows what the hell they’re doing, a novice probably won’t cut the mustard. Let her cut her teeth on simpler fare, and move on.
Obeying orders is only a fraction of submission. It is important, and I don’t mean to minimize the role it plays in the training of a submissive. But to reduce submission to obedience is gross oversimplification. Nor do I believe that unmitigated “bitchiness” should be a Dominant’s only accomplishment. A little can be fun, but it gets taxing for both parties if it’s the only setting. This isn’t something people readily discern at nineteen or twenty two or sometimes even at thirty. Those who haven’t yet learned better often assume it as a mask of false bravado meant to compensate for a lack of skill and confidence. It works about as well as trying to cover up your armpit funk with a dose of perfume. It doesn’t fool anyone, but when you’ve only been in the business for ten minutes you don’t have many resources. Again: experience is how a Domme improves. Live and learn.
We all live and learn. Dommes develop their manner over years. Elegance, subtlety, and presence come with practice, patience, and confidence in one’s skills.
So, back to Randy. Remember him? That’s who we were talking about. I don’t buy the notion that a man in his forties thinks he will have a fulfilling power exchange experience with someone as green as he knew his former Dommes were. He admitted that he had been hooked by the idea of avoiding a “house” (in this case, he referred to a house of BDSM; a dungeon). He thought the experience would be overly commercial and less satisfying. Something about it turned him off (he’s not alone in his thinking. He’s also not entirely wrong. Commercial houses abound, with no greater purpose than to financially exploit their patrons. I’ve known gentleman who were ruined, in some cases blackmailed by ill motivated employees of commercial dungeons. Do your research. Believe me: a “bad experience” should be the least of your worries whether you’re visiting a house or an independent. I hear sobering stories every week).
Obviously I can’t speak for every house of BDSM, let alone everyone associated with it. In general: whether she’s an independent practitioner or a member of a collective, a reputable Domme will look, act, and present herself like one. There will be ample online evidence of her presence and this should reflect some degree of culture and credibility. If she acts ignorant, she probably is. Like every other occupation there are assholes who should really be doing something else. In my opinion, reputable dungeons help weed them out. Many eliminate themselves. A couple weeks of hanging around and realizing that their training involves actual work usually separates the chaff from the wheat. Peer culture influences those who possess the necessary self discipline to learn and advance one’s talent. At my house, mentorship is ongoing and comprehensive, if often informal. Dommes in training benefit from the cumulative wisdom and knowledge of more seasoned Mistresses. We don’t just teach basic skills; we model the attitudes we wish to impart. It works. It takes time. Give me an apt pupil, and time.
I asked Randy what was the last straw that finally broke him and made him decide to visit a Domina who practiced her craft at a professional dungeon. He confessed he was getting burned out on taking what he saw as unnecessary risks with his own discretion and safety. After doing a bit of research he found me through this blog. He said he was “impressed” that I at least seem to take what I do seriously (gee thanks).
I asked him what he wanted. He said he wanted to submit to a woman who appreciated the implications and intricacies of power exchange. He wanted his training to include more than simple obedience. He wanted to understand and be exposed to new things. He wanted to feel changed.
That was a good answer, but let me be clear. While I can enforce obedience, I can not make you submit. I can punish you for infractions of the rules I set. It is in my power to demand and reward excellence. I can give you new things to think about. I hope you find it enlightening and fulfilling or at least challenging. But the part about feeling changed? That’s a little harder. It’s also not on me. The change works the same way water shapes or carves a path through stone: gradually. You are changed by your own will, often by barely perceptible degrees. Obedience is a symptom of submission but hardly irrefutable evidence of it. Submission is about the body, mind, and spirit. Since the flesh is the most readily accessible, this is where it begins. The flesh leads even as it yields. Being volitional, you choose to acquiesce or resist. It is always, always your choice.
*not his real name