This doesn’t pertain exclusively to domestic service submission, but it is as good as any category to place these pieces of advice.
I hold to the creed that good service, stellar service really, is all about the details. Service can be lavish, decadent even; I personally enjoy giving this type of service - but only if the receiver is receptive to this type of service of course. Otherwise, I am selfishly foisting my own fantasy on the other person, and that just won’t do. Without all the trappings and trimmings, at the very heart, good service is about attention to details, being observant, being courteous, and having exquisite manners. Even if the individual you are serving may not always observe certain niceties, I maintain it is always best to be as gracious and courteous as possible.
As such, I think the following pieces of advice in regards to modern manners and etiquette, would serve anyone who has an interest in domestic service submission very well, and place you in good stead.
- Personal electronic devices have no place on a table - There is a joke I have seen floating around the internet of a table place setting. It asks the question “Do you see the place for your cell phone on the table in this picture?”, the answer of course being no, meaning that personal electronic devices should not be kept on the table. When you have your cell phone resting on the table, it’s akin to those buzzers on those talent shows, you are just waiting for the other person to become “too boring” to warrant your attention. When you pick up your phone to play with it rather than talk to the person, you are basically saying you have no interest in what he/she has to say, and that your time is more valuable than his/hers. If you are attempting to negotiate with a Dominant and you do this, what sort of impression do you think this leaves on the Dominant - do you think perhaps they might view this as an overall commentary on your level of commitment or your ability to communicate? If you are a Dominant and you are negotiating with a submissive and you start to play with your phone - do think that perhaps this might signal that you are only concerned with your needs and wants - and not open to discussing the needs and wants of the submissive? Actions speak much louder than words, and we usually don’t verbalise to say “I see you’re playing with your phone - do you consider our negotiations here done since I no longer seem to capture your attention?”
If you need your phone handy because you are expecting a very important phone call - like your wife’s water is about to break - place the phone on vibrate, and place it in your shirt pocket, or inside your bra cup. That way, you are certain to feel the vibration, and you can excuse yourself to take the call away from the table - preferably outside.
- Never show up to a meeting late - Like the cell phone issue, showing up late basically says you have no regard for the other person’s time, you are merely concerned about you and your own life. Selfishness and being self centered has no room in domestic service submission - ever.
- Never show up without an invite or calling first - Unless you are so close to someone to consider them like a family member, it would be ill wise to show up to an individual's residence, work, family event - even public play event - without some sort of notification beforehand. It is unfortunate that we live in an age where stalking is common, and the lingering after effects of such a trauma mean that the individual can never be “surprised” by a visit - even if well meaning. Before you drop in on someone - s-type or Dominant - be sure to communicate your intentions, and wait for some sort of acknowledgement. For all you know, the person could be ill, or napping, or indisposed. Also, if you know someone will be at a public event, it might be wise before assuming you will share company for the evening, that you first ask. That individual might have play already organised, or perhaps he/she would like an evening with just friends of a certain calibre, and being in “submode” or “Dominantmode” isn’t where they would like to be. Always better to ask first than need to beg for forgiveness after.
- Discussing others who are not present - Gossiping is just so destructive - and it says so much more about the person gossiping than it does about the person being spoken of. When it comes to service submission, my credo is that a service submissive sees everything, knows all, says nothing. Now, if you were discussing something that involved yourself and another person, I wouldn’t consider that gossiping - especially if you were attempting to grasp what had happened in regards to your interaction. Likewise, if you were attempting to get some insight on a person, I wouldn’t consider that gossip. I really have no faith in so called references - basically, you are asking a stranger to you for his/her opinion of yet another stranger to you - that to me just doesn’t make sense. If you wouldn’t want something ill said about you, perhaps it is a good habit not to speak ill of others.
- Familiarity with those you don’t know very well - This can be a very touchy subject, especially in the realm of BDSM. There are many folks who wish to be addressed by certain honorifics, or titles, but often times we don’t know what they are unless we have been expressly told by the individual, or someone close to him or her. It is always best to ask “How do you prefer to be addressed?”. The same goes for gender pronouns - there is nothing wrong in asking someone what pronouns make them most comfortable. Etiquette is not about alienating others, or using some sort of false privilege to be elite - it is about comfort, and more important making others feel comfortable.
- Ask before touching - There are many folks in the scene, many Dominants and pro Dommes, who I am familiar with on social media. I know them to see them in public, and I feel comfortable enough saying hello. I do not feel comfortable enough touching them, in a friendly manner. It may be a lack of courage that I don’t ask if they would be comfortable with a hug, or perhaps it is some sort of propriety I feel, but I would never just assume I could bear hug a pro Domme who interacts often on my Twitter feed. I usually wait to see if the other person will make the first move - often by asking if a hug would be welcome - and it always is. Having a stranger hug me or touch me, or even someone I have met who is being overly touching, that sends me right out of the proper headspace, and I just want to remove myself from the situation.
- Certain subjects should never be spoken of in small talk - Here is a non-exhaustive list of subjects never to bring up in small talk: politics, religion, gender, sexuality, health, money, age, community disputes/quarrels, love affairs, incidents of disgrace. When you are meeting someone new, any one of these hot topics could end the engagement very quickly if the wrong word or turn of phrase is spoken, so best to avoid them altogether. I find the best conversation starter is to ask the other person about him/herself - “What are you passionate about?”, “Do you enjoy art? Do you have a favourite artist?”, “Where did you last travel to?”, “Do you enjoy dining out?”, “What was your last adventure?”. These types of questions often have the other person speaking about him or herself, and you can gleem much from such tales. Plus, such discussions can naturally lead off on tangents. When you feel more comfortable, certain topics such as “What about the D/s lifestyle appeals to you?” can be broached. If the individual doesn’t seem to be a conversationalist, either they are not interested in chatting, or perhaps too nervous, you can easily excuse yourself from the engagement by feigning the need for a biological break (ie. I need to go get a drink, I need to pee, I need to get out of here and talk to someone else). Being a good conversationalist, and more importantly, an active and engaged listener is such an important and undervalued skill for a domestic service submissive.
These are just a few modern etiquette tips that will set you apart from the crowd - honestly, no matter which side of the slash you reside on. I encourage you to research further, and you might find that not only is your domestic service valued, it will be in demand.