You know all those articles for jobseekers about what employers look for in a resume? I get the feeling that submissive guys are just as confused about what dominant women want to see in a message or on a profile as people looking for work are about what employers want to see on a resume/coverletter. This post is the pervy version of those “10 resume mistakes you can avoid today!” posts.
I want to admit right up front that my metaphor is flawed. Dominant women are not heartless gatekeepers who gleefully throw your application in the trash while you worry about losing your home if you can’t find another job. We want awesome submissive partners just as much as you want awesome dominant partners. Another issue with my metaphor is that employers basically want one thing: competence + basic social skills. Dominant women, being people (see Stabbity foreshadow. Foreshadow, Stabbity, foreshadow), all want different things and want to be treated in different ways.
All that said, I think submissive guys may still get some value out of hearing how one dominant woman judges messages and profiles. I’m going to try to explain my reasoning in enough detail that a person could probably generalize my points to another woman, assuming you can be bothered to read her profile and any writing she might have, but you should keep in mind that this is just my opinion and other women are going to want very different things.
The very first and most important thing I look for in a message from a potential sub is interest in me as a person. Talk to me about something I said in my profile, a comment I made in a thread or a writing I posted or something I wrote right here on this blog, just give me some sense of why you decided to message me out of the millions of people on Fetlife. Yes, this does require you to have an actual reason to message me in particular beyond “local, chose Dom from the role dropdown, has tits.” If that’s the only reason you message someone, just fuck off, you’re wasting everyone’s time. To torture the jobseeker metaphor a bit, messaging a dom just because she’s local, female, and dominant is like showing up to an interview and saying that you’re looking for work because you need money. No shit you need money, nobody thinks you’re looking for work because you’re independently wealthy. Tell both your potential dom and your interviewer something they don’t know: why you chose them in particular.
If a woman’s profile is as close to blank as mine is, you probably want to use something else as a starting point for a message. You should also ask yourself whether this person wants to be messaged at all. Many people’s profiles say very clearly that they are not looking for a partner and are just on Fetlife for the discussions or to keep up with friends. Do not hit on these people! Honestly, what do you think you’re going to accomplish by annoying someone who actively does not want what you want?
Another point I judge people on is how they address me in that first message. If you’ve read my profile, my blog, or anything else I have to say, it should be pretty clear that I’m a very low protocol person who will not react well to people who don’t know me using honorifics. For me personally, just use my screen name. For everyone else, read her fucking profile. Read it some more. Read it again. If you’re still not sure how she likes to be addressed, just use her screen name. This is another way to show that you are interested in who this woman is as a person. And no, I will not spell out in my profile exactly what I want you to call me. If you’re the kind of person who thinks it’s okay to call a stranger “Mistress,” I want to know right away so I can stop talking to you. Contacting someone is not about making a good impression no matter how much you have to lie, it’s about figuring out whether the two of you are compatible. If you’ve been fantasizing about having a Mistress of your own for years, wouldn’t you rather know right up front that the woman you’re messaging will never tolerate being called Mistress?
You should be seeing a theme here: act as if the woman you’re messaging is an interesting person who is worth learning about. If you can’t be bothered to read my profile or my comments on discussions or a couple of my blog posts, why the fuck would you message me?
On that note, for fucks sake do not lead with your kink. I do not care what you want me to do you until I care about you as a person, and treating me like I only have value to you if I’m willing to dispense your favourite kink like a fucking vending machine guarantees I will never care about you as a person. You can tell me how you just don’t want to waste some poor woman’s time if you turn out to have totally incompatible kinks until you’re blue in the face, but what you’re really saying is that I’m only worth talking to if I’m willing to do stuff that gets you off. If you can’t see how acting like that will kill every potential relationship before it gets off the ground, you might as well close your browser and go play legos because there is nothing I can do to help you.
Something that gets judged very similarly by both dominant women and potential employers is your spelling and grammar. If you can’t be bothered to spell correctly and use good grammar, what you’re telling us is that you don’t care how you present yourself. I understand if you’re dyslexic or English isn’t your first language, but you’ve got to at least try to get it right. The problem with not spellchecking or proofreading your message isn’t so much that it makes you difficult to understand as it shows that you don’t care about the person you’re messaging. When you respect someone, you make an effort to get it right.
Aside from showing whether you care or not, spellchecking your message also shows attention to detail. It’s not exactly unusual for doms to want you to do what they actually said, not what you thought they said or what you thought would be easier or close enough. If you send me a message full of spelling mistakes, I’m going to assume you can’t be bothered to get the details right. That may be fine for some women but I’m very picky about the few things I can be bothered to care about.
Yet another reason you should actually read a person’s profile before you message them is that they will often have instructions for contacting them at the end of it. Using myself as an example again, at the end of my Fetlife profile I have a link to an interactive personal ad I built a couple years ago, and at the end of that ad I put the best way to contact me. If you message me the wrong way, I know you couldn’t be bothered to read the entire ad and I’ll write you off. Again, learning about someone you want to submit to should not be a chore. If it feels like one, you’re looking at the wrong person’s profile and you need to go talk to someone else.
In case you’re wondering, if I came across a submissive man who built something similar and the best way to contact him was at the end of his personal ad, I’d damned well read to the end and contact him the right way. If he’s not interesting enough for me to read to the end of his ad, he’s not interesting enough for me to contact him at all. Problem solved! Plus, if I’m going to ask someone to pay attention to details when he messages me, it’s only fair for him to ask the same in return.
Now let’s talk about your profile. I look at people’s profiles all the time. I look at them every time someone messages me, I look at them when someone posts an interesting comment or starts an interesting thread. I even look at them out of morbid curiosity when someone posts an unusually bad comment. You should always, always assume that when you message someone she will look at your profile. Even if you sent a really good first message, having a terrible profile can still ruin your first impression, so let’s talk about how to not fuck it up.
The very simplest thing you can do to improve your profile is to set your avatar/profile pic to literally anything that is not your penis or anus. Guys, you only have about a bazillion choices that are vastly less likely to offend someone than showing her your dick whether she wanted to see it or not. If you act like it’s news that women very very frequently hate dick pics, you’re just too stupid for me to talk to.
If you’re super into CBT, then fine, put a few interesting, well lit, and above all well groomed pictures on your profile. If you are going to put any pictures of your dick whatsoever on your profile, take a look at critiquemydickpic.tumblr.com. In particular, look at the differences between a pic that gets an A (this one is particularly good) and one that gets a D (this one is especially bad). Unless you’re going to put an A level of effort into your dick pic, do not put it on your profile. A half-assed dick pic will only hurt your chances of actually making a connection with a dominant woman. Even if your dick pic or pics are extraordinarily good, your profile still needs to be anything but a shrine to your dick. For every dick pic that you feel you need to include, add a bunch of pictures of literally anything else (except your anus, do not show me your anus, put your anus away. Even if you are an adorable kitty, I do not want to see your anus). I’ve beaten that point into ground, right? Right.
A picture can be used to show me so much about who you are, don’t waste it on stupid bullshit that will only annoy potential doms. You could show people a place you love, a favourite hobby, pictures you took, things you made, something you found funny, or a thousand other things that actually tell me something about who you are as a person. There are also lots of non-identifying body parts that are still not your dick or your butthole. Show me your arms, your shoulders, your back, your legs, your hands, your abs (or your cute cuddly tummy), hell, show me your knees or your elbows. Just don’t show me your dick or your butthole and we’re cool.
On the “don’ts” list, skip the photos of dominant women, drawings of dominant women, the femdom porn, and stupid memes about how submissive men are worthless or exist only to entertain dominant women or whatever bullshit the kids are up to these days. You’re looking for a dominant woman who actually likes submissive men, right? So don’t include stuff that would only attract someone who actively dislikes and disrespects submissive men. If you show me that you think submissive men are the worst, you make yourself look like a mess I have no interest in cleaning up. I know that’s cold-hearted, but guys, I’m not a therapist and I can’t fix you. If I could wave a magic wand and take away your self-loathing I would but I can’t.
Another don’t, at least for me, is laundry lists of fetishes. I know you have kinks, that’s why you’re here on Fetlife. But if your fetish list is longer than the rest of your profile, that makes me think that you care more about what I can do for your penis than about telling me who you are as a person. Other women like it if they can skim your fetish list and get a feel for whether you’re remotely compatible, and I’ll admit I don’t hate hearing about a few (a very, very few) of your major kinks, but personally I don’t care about your kinks unless I like you as a person. If I do like you as a person, odds are good that we’ll be able to find something fun to do together, so it doesn’t really matter to me whether I hear about every last one of your kinks right away or not.
To be fair, if you have kinks that are absolute deal-breakers if you can’t get them met, by all means mention them in general terms in your profile. To use myself as an example again, in my personal ad I’m very up front about being a sadist. If you want to play with me and you don’t want to be hurt, you need to be otherwise extraordinary because I really, really like hurting people who like getting hurt. I will not, however, go into detail about my exact kinks. Partially because they’re pretty flexible and partially because I don’t want to hear from you if all you care about is that I’m into face-slapping.
Do talk about who you are as a person. I want to know what you love, what you can’t stand, what you do for fun, what you think is interesting, what you never want to do again, etc, etc. Hell, tell me what you like to eat, just tell me something that’s not about making your dick happy.
Do talk about what kind of dom you’re looking for in your profile. By “kind of dom” I mean, are you looking for a play partner or a dominant girlfriend? Are you interested in high, low, or no protocol? Do you like being given orders or do you feel you’ve failed to anticipate your dom’s needs if she has to give you an order? Do you need domestic discipline or is that a hard limit? All of those things help me figure out whether we’re compatible.
All you really need to do when you’re messaging a potential dom is to have a bit of self-awareness, be honest about who you are, and put a bit of effort into thinking about what she might want. Just like interviewers, doms want you to be awesome. We want to be able to stop looking for a sub, it’s a pain in the ass and we’d rather be having fun than hunting for someone to have fun with.
One last point: just like how you’re interviewing the company just as much as the company is interviewing you when you’re looking for a job, you’re judging a dom just as much as she’s judging you when you message her. You have the right to decide that you don’t like how she treats you or that she’s a lovely person but just not right for you or that she bores you to tears or takes the whole kink thing way too seriously or not seriously enough or what have you. Never forget that you get a say too.