Protocol

For the longest time, I thought my total lack of interest in complicated protocols meant I just wasn’t dominant. It seemed like everything I read online was all about slave positions, intricate routines for serving food or drink, eye contact restrictions, titles, and so on. The doms in the stories seemed to love all of that stuff, but absolutely none of it did anything for me.

Trying to learn slave positions just felt like work. It wasn’t hot, it wasn’t fun, it was just a chore. As for service, I don’t care if someone bows perfectly while they serve me tea, I just want to drink my tea. Eye contact restrictions would feel weird and awkward to me – I don’t know that I could train myself out of trying to make eye contact with people while I’m talking with them even if I wanted to. Being called by a title either irritates me (to me, a Mistress is what you call the woman a man cheats on his wife with) or makes me feel silly (I’m neither a Lady nor a Goddess, I’m a grubby little nerd).

Even worse, if I were to try to train someone to follow a particular protocol I know I would miss something sooner or later. Then my submissive would feel unnoticed and start wondering if I even care. I’d start feeling like a failure as a dominant, and from there it would just get worse and worse. No amount of beating myself up will ever make me into the kind of person who notices every last tiny detail.

When I compared myself to the (most likely fictional) dominants I read about, I just didn’t measure up. Of course, I was comparing my ‘behind the scenes’ to their ‘highlight reel’ (to paraphrase Steven Furtick (giving credit where it’s due for that quote does not constitute approval of any backwards ideas religious people often have about people who aren’t straight, monogamous, and cis-gendered)), but at the time I never thought of that. I just saw what I would want on a bad day (to shovel down my dinner and collapse on the couch), and compared that to a high-protocol dom on their best day (formal dinner party for a special occasion). Clearly a real dom could learn all those protocols effortlessly, so it must have been that I was just a top trying to kid myself.

For the people who care about it and take joy in it, protocol is great. Some people love striving for perfection, for them it’s a labour of love.  However, that doesn’t mean the rest of us should feel like we’re not even dominant just because we’re not a particular type of dominant. It’s okay to be a pragmatic dom. It’s okay to just want your tea left on the corner of your desk, it’s okay to just want a hug when you come home, it’s okay to eat your dinner snuggled up on the couch with your sub.

I rant about one-true wayism all the time, but that’s because it’s important. I hope that someone like me reads this post and stops doubting themselves. You do not have to care about protocol even a little bit to be a good dom.

6 thoughts on “Protocol

  1. your blog is helping me realize a lot of things about what my wife actually thinks, wants(does not want) expects(does not expect) from our flr. you have helped me realize that femdom doesnt have to be what i always fantasized about. it can be laid back and still be fun and good and loving. i really wish i had found something like this blog when we first entered flr.

    • I’m sorry you’ve had a tough time getting a female led relationship to work with your wife, but I’m really happy to hear my blog is helpful. I don’t know if Amazon.com will sell you ebooks where you are, but if they will, Lily Lloyd’s book about adding rules and discipline to your relationship is absolutely amazing. I wish I’d read it years ago.

  2. I agree with you! While protocol may have it’s place, for those who like that sort of thing, I personally don’t think it’s a necessary part of a D/s relationship.

    As I tend to be results oriented, if you want a cup of tea, the car washed, or whatever, all you need to do is ask (if I haven’t already anticipated it) and I’ll take care of it. All that bowing and scraping just slows the process down and makes it more complicated.

    To my way of thinking, complicated protocols only add another layer of complexity to lives that are often already overly busy.

  3. Laura Antoniou said something a a class she taught a year or two ago that really stuck with me. “If a certain protocol doesn’t do anything for you, stop doing it.” In other words, don’t do protocol simply for protocol’s sake. One (or both) of you should be getting something out of it.

    I work in the medical field. There are already more than enough minute rules and regulations I have to follow, both at work and in the rest of my life. Why would I want even more of that at home? I’m self-motivated and don’t need constant rules and goals in order to get things done.

    My Master and I have a few small protocols which might not even be very noticeable my others. They work for us, and we like them. But we’re not all bogged down with protocol for every occasion, every minute of the day.

    Protocol is simply one more interest/fetish that people might have. It’s definitely not a requirement for a d/s relationship. Dominance and submission are completely different creatures than protocol, rules, ritual, and structure.

  4. I am so happy to have found your blog – I am very new to this lifestyle, and the more I read your posts, the more I find myself in complete agreement with you. Thank you for being so articulate and specific, as many of your rants have addressed initial concerns and hesitations on my part to embrace my domme nature simply because I don’t fit the mold that appears to have been arbitrarily cast. It’s difficult enough to process all of this without worrying that I won’t “get it right.” Fuck that noise, indeed!

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