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.