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Protocol Points to Avoid Being a Jerk

By Ms Erika   

"Think of three Things, whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account." -- Benjamin Franklin 

This essay focuses on the approach and perhaps ultimate "courtship" of a female Dominant, by submissive or subservient men. It targets points of acceptable and appropriate behavior (manners) towards a Domme. It is of course, written from a Dominant perspective, and based on my discussions with numerous other lifestyle Dommes. 

Much of today's formal "etiquette" originated in the French royal court during the 1600-1700's. This code of behavior soon spread to other European courts and eventually was adopted by the upper classes throughout the Western world. In general, etiquette was developed as a means of breaching differences to allow communication from a common starting point. 

It is my opinion, that of all the relationships in the D/s community, the one between a Domina and male submissive, most closely mimics the conventions and protocols of a more formal era; perhaps that of the Victorians. In the 1800's, a young man could not speak to a young woman he knew until she had first acknowledged him. If the lady was not known to the man, then a "gentlemen" expressed his interest through a third party introduction or a formal written request. Socially acceptable activities included chaperoned public and family functions, which may or may not have led to private visitations. Conventions of protocol were strictly adhered to. Men bore the scrutiny of relatives or other interested parties and were more than ready to demonstrate their worthiness as a "suitor." (Sound familiar?) 

Whether the ratio is 1:10 or 1:100, most people will agree that there are many more submissives than there are Dominant women. These numbers based on "supply and demand" alone, work against a submissive. Competition is fierce for the attentions of those Dommes who are in "circulation." The process of finding a Domme can be likened to a job search, with several hundred individuals submitting their resumes and credentials, and you, the applicant must stand out from the crowd. If you are seriously searching for a female Dominant partner, start thinking of ways that you could make yourself appealing to her. 

To put it simply, we want to be impressed; to be made to feel special ... and ultimately "courted." Material possessions, a high profile career or even an exceptional education do not necessarily impress us. However, I have yet to meet another Domme who is not pleased by a submissive who is honest, self-assured and polite. In addition, intelligence, a sense of humor and a genuine desire to submit, are highly sought after qualities. 

In keeping with that, it is helpful to know some rules about how to behave in certain situations, if only because this makes life more comfortable for you and makes you more self-confident. A submissive that ascribes to the following basic rules of good behavior and demonstrates a measure of social grace, may find the quest for a compatible female Dominant, somewhat less challenging. 

1. Be honest. This pertains to any information you share or representation that you make of yourself. It includes, but is not limited to the basics of marital status, through to your expectations (in a partner and within the D/s lifestyle), experience level, fetishes and kinks (if they apply) and your limits. Don't make a Dominant or anyone else an unwitting co-conspirator in something that could be an act of adultery, unsafe, insane or non-consensual. If you approach a Domina whose needs and desires are different from your own, accept those differences, do not try to manipulate her into changing her standards. By the same token, do not go against your own principles. Bottom line, don't lie. If you are found out, word will quickly spread that you are a dishonest "player" and this can brand you permanently as untrustworthy. We "network" and most experienced lifestylers talk to each other (this very fact can also work in your favor if you are known to be a respectful, well-mannered and a genuine individual). 

2. Have self-respect and be confident. Strong and submissive are not contradictions. You may think that sitting quietly with your head down shows that you're a true submissive. Actually it shows that you're boring. If you want to meet a Dominant woman, you have to attract her attention. If you don't value your submissive gifts, why should she? If you are very shy get a friend to introduce you and perhaps initially stay around to keep the conversation going. You don't have to throw yourself at a Domme's feet to attract her attention. Act in a way that gives a Dominant confidence in you, your abilities, desire to submit and sincerity. Present your best qualities, without being conceited. A sense of humor can always serve you well under these circumstances, and at the very least, remember to smile. 

3. Conversational skills are important. Do nut succumb to "submissive frenzy." Having just discovered your innermost need and desire, you feel compelled to announce it to anyone who will listen. Pull yourself together! Approach a Dominant politely, with confidence, and a sense of calm. Introduce yourself, make some small talk, and then go away. Do not give her your complete resume; "My name is Jack, I'm 30 years old, I'm a submissive, I like blah, blah, blah, blah, will you play with me?" You'll just come off as a desperate jerk. Conversely, do not play the doormat expecting to be swept off your feet with witty repartee, but contributing nothing. As in any setting, nothing is more boring than talking to someone who doesn't have anything to say in return. And, "Yes, Mistress," "No, Ma'am." and "Ooh, I don't know," can grow very old, quickly. Find out how a Domme likes to be referred to (Madame, Ma'am, Mistress, Lady, Ms, etc.) and address her that way, but, appropriately and sparingly. Be patient and allow the natural process of rapport building to develop. 

4. Develop patience. It can take some submissives years to find a compatible Dominant partner. Just as you have the right to be choosy in selecting a partner, so does the Domme. Do not pester her because you find her interesting. Treat her with respect and courtesy. Just because she is Dominant, does not mean she is under any obligation to use her talents in the Dominant arts on you. Impatient and pushy submissives don't get very far with Dommes. If a lady rebuffs your advances, or does not respond to them, take it with dignity, do not respond rudely. There is no need to badmouth or disparage a Domina who has turned you down. Doing so, will simply earn you a reputation of being impolite. If you want to leave a lasting, positive impression, thank her for her time and consideration and ask that she might keep you in mind for the future. 

A point on sending notes or letters of introduction. A lack of a reply can mean two things (1) the Dominant in question is overwhelmed by requests, and yours was lost due to volume; or (2) it means "Not interested." A short, polite follow-up note thanking her for reading your letter, may garner you a response. If not, give up. Do not send further mail, or make unwanted calls, whining that you haven't gotten an answer from her. At that time, take non-response as a "no." 

5. Do unto others as you would have done to yourself. Would you walk into someone's home without an invitation? Would you randomly select the phone number of a stranger, dial them up and open with "want to have sex?" Would you walk up to a woman in a bar and say "Hi I'm Mike, I'm kinky, let's get naked"? Common sense dictates that you wouldn't. In today's computer age, why would you behave differently online? The rules of engagement should be and are the same as in any other social or business setting. No one owes you his or her attention. 

The advantage of this medium is that through profiles, homepages, other postings and participating in chatrooms and newsgroups, you can often glean some insights about an individual, before approaching her. Avoid two common mistakes. First, do not approach a Dominant who is not interested in the same things you are. Second, don't send a request for submission to every Domme in the Western world. As stated before, we network. And for the record, spelling and grammar do count. 

6. Be open about your knowledge and experience within the D/s lifestyle. Being a novice, and admitting it, is not a bad thing. We all started somewhere. Acknowledging a lack of experience may be a wonderful starting point for forming a D/s partnership, if you find a Domme interested in training. Conversely, if you are experienced, you may be a wonderful teacher to a novice Dominant, or be able to parlay your knowledge into a common ground for communication. But, do not overstate or understate your knowledge. Do not disrespect a Dominant by assuming you know what is best for her, or assume you know what she wants to hear. 

7. Be informed and know yourself. Before you declare yourself as a "submissive" be sure you understand what it is you are offering. Dominants are not libraries, nor are we therapists, counselors or social workers. It is not our job to tease apart what your desires, fetishes and kinks are. There is nothing wrong with having fetishes and acting on them; but know what they are and what it is you are looking for and are realistically able to offer. Educate yourself, put some work into determining who you are and what it is you are so willing to give. Our role is not to define your desires and limits, but to work within them, expand them and explore beyond, WITH you. 

8. Lose the attitude that this is "all about you." It is not. For many (perhaps even most) our chosen role has very little to do with sex, and relates to a power exchange between two consenting adults. Actually, we usually couldn't care less about what you demand that we do. If you approach a Dominant with a "What can you do for me?" attitude, you're going to be laughed at. Do-Me submissives are selfish, controlling, and annoying. Being pushy, rude, rash, or overly forward with a Dominant, you will most likely lose you the chance to ever partner with her. Dominant women are not public utilities; just because a woman is dominant, does not mean she is YOUR Dominant. If you're just interested in yourself and what you want, please do us all a favor and go pay someone to play-act with you. 

9. Be discreet. It's unfortunate, but most people need to keep their interests in female domination and other alternative lifestyle practices private. Most people would prefer that their family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors didn't know about their interests and activities. Unless you know that the Mistress you met at a club or play party, is out of the "closet" do not approach her in a vanilla setting and address her by her scene title, or fall to your knees in an act of worship or deference. 

10. Have realistic expectations. Dominant women range from ugly to beautiful, just like women in general. As a matter of fact, just as men, in general. If looks are really that important to your happiness in a scene be prepared to look for a long time, or be willing to pay a professional who has the looks that you want. While you are at it, take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are really worthy of such expectations yourself. You'll have better luck finding a Dominant if you concentrate on her personality and skills. Think of it this way: If you're blindfolded, and in ecstasy, what does it matter what she looks like?

11. Proper decorum once accepted for a private meeting includes, being polite, punctual, and well-groomed. I want to stress the importance of personal hygiene...fur on the teeth, dirty fingernails, greasy hair, and other unmentionables are no no's. *Please* NO intimate gifts, such as panties or stockings, until you are actually intimate, we may be open-minded but we expect to be treated like ladies. You may bring flowers, if she likes them, but red roses are inappropriate for a first encounter. Perhaps, take a walk together; maybe get coffee, and even lunch together. Then you stop! Go home! Send her a note of thanks for the fine company, perhaps call on the phone to ask if you may visit again, and leave it up to her. If she doesn't encourage you, give up! 

Let's assume though, that you were charming, intriguing, and she wants to see you again. This means you are in the "running." It does NOT mean she owns you. You probably still have competition for her attention, so keep your best foot forward. Getting to know a Dominant woman goes in degrees, at a pace dictated by her needs and interests. If at first you don't succeed, do not get discouraged. Ultimately practice will prepare you for meeting the right partner. 

Remember to use common sense, maintain perspective, and be polite. No one owes anyone else his or her dominance or his or her submission. Patience and a sense of humor are definite attributes for a submissive. Lastly, never forget that you too may discover that the Dominant is not to your liking or standards, and you always have the right and option to withdraw from any phase of the relationship. After all, ours is a lifestyle of mutuality, safety, sanity and consent.




Humboldt BDSM Connection  2001