Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Service Submission Series: Modern Etiquette

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Service Submission Series: Advice for the Unowned Service Submissive/Advice for the Single Dominant

It can be difficult or perhaps challenging for a domestic service s-type to gain experience or to practice skills if he/she/they is single or unowned. Certainly, it is easy enough to practice certain skills that might be relevant in the personal or home environment - cleaning, ironing, cooking, household budget maintenance - but it is difficult to serve oneself. It is also difficult to practice a scene to see if certain ideas or concepts play out as expected when one is a solitary service s-type.

So - what's the answer?

Well, there are a few options available.

First, and a personal favourite of mine, is freelancing. This is the method of offering service to really anyone, on either side of the D/s slash, to gain experience, to practice skills, and to demonstrate skills in person. My preferred approach is, while in my service outfit - which is highlighted by wearing white or black cotton gloves - to stand by, unobtrusively, with my serving tray, and wait until someone makes contact. This can be a risky approach because there is the assumption that someone will be courageous enough to ask what you are offering, or to recognize that you are available and willing to offer service. I have employed this approach in a play party setting and I have had some success.

I have been approached by both Dominants/Tops and s-types - for some, they have a butler fetish, so the gloves are particularly tantalizing; in another case, I was approached by a bottom who was inquiring on behalf of her Dominant. In a play party setting, it may be difficult to demonstrate all of your skills, or a particular skill, but you are able to demonstrate a willingness to attend to the needs of another, or the ability to follow direction in an efficient, humble, and intelligent manner. This demonstration could open doors or create possibilities later on.

There are a few bonuses or perks associated with freelance, such as variety of play. So, after an hour or evening of service, if you have pleased the person you are serving, you may be asked if you might be interested in some power exchange play - after appropriate discussion and negotiation of course. The perk to this being, if the person has much experience in an area of play you are particularly interested in, you get to indulge in a favourite style of play with someone who not only enjoys this style of play, but also someone who has expertise in the area. This can be a huge bonus if you are having difficulty finding a partner who may have the same interests as you. Another bonus being, the power exchange relationship only lasts for a fixed amount of time - perhaps for an evening or a weekend. Perhaps after some time, you realize that you and the person you are serving are not a good fit, for whatever reason. Not a problem, you are not committed to each other outside of current, negotiated exchange. This is not a guarantee though, so if your motivation for offering service is in anticipation of being played with, I am afraid you will end up disappointed quite often.

A second option available to the 'unemployed' service s-type is to offer service to a BDSM oriented friend. It may be in the form of attending a Top friend for the evening at an event, or assisting a bottom friend at home. In both cases, it is a great opportunity to practice a certain skill set that you may not be able to practice alone or in your own home. It is also a great opportunity to get honest feedback. Perhaps it is your first time being a body servant, or perhaps you are attempting to fix a meal for the first time. A critique, be it negative or positive, always sounds better when given by a friend. This is also a great time to try out new ideas to see if these imagined methodologies are feasible or practical. You get real time experience without a scene or service opportunity possibly going south.

If you don't have a friend in the local BDSM community to practice with, perhaps you could advertise for a volunteer at a local BDSM gathering or on a BDSM oriented posting board. Explain that it would be a practical run through opportunity and outline exactly what you wish to try, and explicitly negotiate or detail the framing of this exchange. As with rope and corporal play, you will find there will friendly folk who are willing to be a demo dolly for you - especially if you offer a hand or foot massage for your volunteer. You again have someone who can provide feedback, as well as creating a real time environment where you can walk through your envisioned scenario.

Lastly, for certain skill sets, invite friends or family over - especially in the case of entertaining. Perhaps you want to practice setting a formal place setting and serving a multi-course meal, invite over your family or friends for a meal. You need not explain or go into details about the purpose of the meal, other than you enjoy entertaining, but it is an opportunity to hone your skills or keep your skills in good shape. In the same vein, if you are particularly interested in cleaning and organizing, you can volunteer whenever a friend or acquaintance needs help with a project, or if they might be moving, or they could just really use someone to tackle the bathroom - as an example.

Even if you might be an unowned or unemployed or unpartnered domestic service s-type, this is not a hindrance to furthering your skills or polishing your current talents. There are still possibilities available to you to gain experience or to keep your abilities sharp and in shape, it just might require a little creative brainstorming - but that's what we do best is it not?

For a Dominant, it is equally important to get practice with receiving service, in fact, receiving different forms of service - that appeal to the Dominant in question of course. If a Dominant doesn’t enjoy having his or her feet touched, then there’s no point in participating in such an activity - again, service should be pleasing, easing, and should make life happier.

The ideas for s-types to gain experience/knowledge are similar for a Dominant - ask a service oriented s-type friend for practice scenarios or sessions. This could be in a private setting, in public at a lifestyle type gathering, or even in a vanilla public area. For the latter, I would of course caution what service is being given/received. For something like chauffeuring, or running errands, or even just being a porter, no one will be the wiser if a Dominant has a service s-type carrying his or her bags.

You could ask a service oriented s-type friend to cook for a dinner party you are organizing. You would need to make many decisions before approaching a service s-type with such a request - such as, what type of event is it, what your budget is, how many invitees, what sort of menu etc. It is probably best to gain an understanding of what sort of style the service s-type you wish to “employ” enjoys - does he/she/they enjoy planning a menu, or do they want the direction? How much management is appreciated?

If you see a service oriented s-type at an event offering service, take the opportunity to engage with said s-type. They are most likely offering his/her/their services to practice, so by accepting the service - though you are under no obligation - you are helping them refine his/her/their service, or perhaps gain practical experience to see if what he/she/they imagined is actually feasible in a certain setting. This also gives you the opportunity to practice the art of allowing.

When approaching a service oriented s-type, it is recommended to either have an idea of what you could offer in return for service performed - keeping in mind that offering something in exchanged for service doesn’t necessarily mean play or sex - or at least be willing to reciprocate. When a service oriented s-type is offering service, he/she/they is willing to expend energy, so accepting the service doesn’t necessarily put you in the position of offering something in return, though it is always appreciated. If however you approach a service oriented s-type and specifically ask them to perform service, your request would be better received if the request was followed up by “And we should discuss what you would like to gain from our service interaction” - or something to that effect. Performing good service, that energy exchange, does take effort, and it should not be assumed that this effort or energy is replenished on it’s own, or by someone else. Certainly, service oriented submissives enjoy a job well done, we delight in you being happy, but there needs to be some care and feeding of the soul, to bolster the spirit of giving.

Being an unowned or single submissive or Dominant need not be a hindrance when it comes to the subject of domestic service submission. By being creative, a little forward thinking, as well as being confident, it is possible to engage with others, and experience the same service power exchange as those who are in committed service relationships. Don’t let being single be a speed bump in your service explorations, but rather let it be a launch pad to a wide and wondrous experiences of every variety.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Service Submission Series: Submissive Archetype - The Companion

One of the ways to provide service to a Dominant is by being a good companion. By companion I mean accompanying a Dominant to events, both D/s and vanilla. Whether it is to the movies, out to dinner, or to the theatre, the main objective is to provide good company - basically as the name indicates.
Part of being a good companion is being a good conversationalist. The only way to really achieve this is by knowing about events - past and current. Reading the news of the day - not just nationally or locally, but also internationally, being aware of the current news on Twitter and other trending media. Another part of being a good conversationalist is being versed on a variety of topics - art, music, fashion, philosophy, culture, history, politics. You may never need to quote Socrates, but it’s good to be versed and be able to recognise such - and hey, you never really know what the Dominant you are attending will dig.
Another part of being a good companion is being good company at an event. It starts from arranging transportation - driving, or Uber (this includes finding parking if driving), opening doors (be sure to have an umbrella ready if it is raining), checking coats if available, fetching refreshments, finding seats. Now, it may be that the Dominant you are attending wants to go to something that you would never be caught dead at, and to that I say go - just freaking go. I would never advocate anyone doing anything they don’t want to do, but unless going to a musical will cause you to bleed from the ears, it’s just a few hours out of your life, just do it. No one is expecting you to dance in the aisles waving jazz hands about, or screaming every time the home team scores a touchdown, it’s not about the event, it’s about doing a good job and being a good companion. Oh, and if you’re going to look like you’re being tortured the entire time you’re there, just don’t bother going - let some other submissive take your place because being a good companion is also about ensuring the Dominant you are attending is having a good time. Being a wet cloud that rains on a Dominant’s parade is about as far from being a good companion as you can get.
There are a number of folks who don’t want to go to events without someone, and it is a generous form of service to give this gift to another. To be the bridge that enables them to go out and enjoy that which they enjoy, I can’t think of a higher form of love, dedication, or affection. As well, if you are frequently around a Dominant at different events, you can provide said Dominant with reminders about others - such as names, important dates to remember like birthdays, whether or not someone is still in a dynamic. Being a doyen or doyenne is sometimes part of the role of being a good companion.
Other beneficial skills or talents could include:
  • Wine/whiskey/gin appreciation
  • Being a gourmand or having an appreciation for culinary delights
  • Being keyed in to events around town
  • Having excellent organisation/time management/research skills
  • Knowledge of excellent dining options, based on taste/budget etc.
  • Knowledge of the local city
  • Project planning skills
  • Having a wide network of various subject matter experts
  • Having a good memory for names, faces, events etc.

While being a companion doesn’t appear on paper to be a very difficult or beneficial form of service, it is indeed a very specialised form of service that draws in other seemingly unrelated talents and skills. I feel this is an expression of service submission that requires some time and dedication in order to groom. Dominants in particular are very protective of their time, and no submissive wants to be thought of or labelled as a waste of time. If you are able to provide good companionship, you will find yourself to be a sought out and desired submissive - no jazz hands required even.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Service Submission Series: History and Importance of Service

As a caveat, I will be speaking of the leather lifestyle, which is the forerunner to the more laissez-faire pansexual kink genre we see in mainstream today. Service submission has roots extending back as far as the initial existence of leather. To understand service, let's take a brief look at the history of the leather lifestyle.

Leather, as it was first expressed, was highly disciplined, with rules, rituals and protocols. Having been born in the military, motorcycle clubs became a natural almost organic continuation of the lifestyle returning gay war veterans had come to know. It was the uber masculine sexuality of leather clad brothers in arms that drew many to the clubs. The discipline, rules, rituals, and protocols that were commonplace during their military service, found a new home and new expression in Old Guard leather.

One of the cornerstones to this lifestyle was service - to your Top, to your family/club/tribe, to your community. At a very basic level, a boy - since the lifestyle was predominantly but not exclusively gay male oriented - would do as instructed by his Sir/Master. This would often be whatever was needed, sexually or non-sexually. This could be some sort of domestic chore, or perhaps something of honour such as caring for a Top's leathers or boots. There was also service to the club and community, when there were gatherings or events.

These tasks, these forms of service, were thought to give training and understanding to a boy, so that when he was one day raised to be a Top/Sir/Master himself, if that was the chosen path, he would understand what is required of his property, and what his responsibilities might be. Service didn't need to be discussed, or introduced, it just was - it was as much part of the lifestyle, as instructed or passed down by the Top. Just as protocols and etiquette were passed on, so was the concept of service.

During the 80's, the leather lifestyle began to change, due to two main factors: HIV and fractioning of the community. When HIV hit the leather community, the ideas that had guided the communities and the families in the leather lifestyle, were either lost, or started to fade. The community started losing the elders who would have passed on the 'traditions' of this underground, outlaw sort of lifestyle. There were no manuals, or books, or widely published manuscripts about this life - it was passed down, Sir to boy - in leather clubs and leather bars - anywhere where leather men would congregate. As well, the community was growing, and also changing. So called protocols, which might be strictly enforced and observed by certain factions, were only loosely observed if at all by other leather communities. While the core values such as loyalty honour, and trust were still held, the execution of many other ideas, such as earning your leather, started to become optional rather than mandatory.

So where did this leave service? Well, as leather, and leather sex, started to move into more mainstream areas, foundation cornerstones started to become misunderstood, even seen as antiquated. As leather was replaced with BDSM and D\s, the focus moved from being a disciplined social construct, to a more bacchanal kinky sex fest. Sex has always been very much a part of the leather lifestyle, but the lifestyle moved from being a taboo act of rebellion, to being a peccadillo at a key party.

Moving forward even today, due to the changes in the lifestyle, where the pendulum has perhaps swung too far, service is very often no longer understood, and at times treated with such suspicion. It is viewed by many as some sort of click-bait - something shiny to lure someone into an uncomfortable and non-negotiated situation. For Dominants, they may no longer know how to actively participate in receiving service - they may not know how to hold up their end of the power exchange tango. For a submissive, they may view it as merely foreplay to the "real exchange", be that play or sex.

I am not one to bang a drum with some sort of campaign slogan like "We need to get back to traditional service submission values", but I firmly feel it is a tragedy that the structure of the lifestyle as it largely exists today, views service submission as an anomaly, or for many, a whimsical oddity, rather than a core foundation. Before furries, ponies, littles, primals etc., there was service, and if for no other reason than that, service submission deserves acknowledgement and respect.

For many service oriented submissives, service is the core of their identity, it IS their expression of submission. It is not merely a shiny pair of leather boots, it is not merely fetching tea - Earl Grey - hot, it is not merely moping a floor - these are just physical expressions of a complex dance of emotions. Service is both an expression of respect - for the lifestyle, for the title, for the hierarchy that is implicitly or explicitly established - and an expression of affection - for the community, for the lifestyle, for the person being served. It is a basic acknowledgement and acceptance of one's place and space in the community, in the lifestyle.

Forget play, forget the theatrics, even forget the trappings that the lifestyle affords, but without service, there is no lifestyle. For that reason alone, service needs to regain a place of honour, if for no other reason than to keep the cohesion of WIITWD for future generations.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Service Submission Series: How to Host A D/s Meal (Dinner, Tea etc.)

To start, there is no set “way” to hold a D/s dinner/tea/gathering.  As with many other things in D/s - BDSM etc., there is no governing council, only ideas that someone, somewhere, came up with, and they sounded pretty good.  There is no standard for such things, but I’d like to lay out some ideas that worked for me and/or my tribe, and perhaps they will work for you.

There are a few decisions to be made when holding a D/s dinner/tea:

1. Will it be female Dommes, male Doms, female subs, male subs, switches, a mix?  All of these options have their pro’s and con’s - and it is totally up to the host or hosts (keep in mind, the host need not be a Dominant) as to the make up of the attendees.  The one thing you need to keep in mind, especially if you know who the attendees will be, is personality.  If you have a number of alpha dog type personalities, the more introverted type members might shrink and fade away.  Conversely, if you have a large number of introverted shy types, this can make the more social extroverts go ballistic to overcompensate.  

2. Are you inviting couples, some couples and some singles, all singles?  If you have all couples and one single Dominant and one single submissive, that can be a bit awkward - better to have a good mix.

3. What will the rules be?  Will submissives be punished for mistakes in serving?  If so, this requires quite a bit of leg work as you need to get the consent of the submissives, you need to know what their limits are, this needs to be communicated to the Dominants present etc.

4. Will submissives be available for play or sexual service?  Same caveat as with point 3.

5. What will be the tone of the event - formal with high protocol, semi-formal, casual, relaxed - this might dictate as well who you invite, and what happens throughout the evening.

Once you have these questions answered, then you can turn your attention to the more mundane matters:

1. Management: There are two key roles that should be decided upon, or appointed long before the evening - those being the head of the front of house, and the head of the back of house.  The front of house will see to the dining area, ensure it is laid out properly, direct the submissives serving, watch the flow of the evening.  This position is much like a majordomo or head butler.  It may be a Dominant, but it is often, and can easily be a submissive - hopefully one with some experience.  The majordomo might also be responsible for physically correcting the mistakes of any submissives present - depending on the chosen format and style of the evening.  The back of house is most likely the head of the kitchen, or the chef.  The chef is responsible for getting the food out, plated well, on time, hot etc.  When submissives are not attending their designated Dominant, it would be best to have them assisting the chef - either via prep, plating, or washing.  Like the majordomo, the chef may be a Dominant or submissive, and may be responsible for disciplining submissives who err.

2. Menu: Many events do not pay enough attention to the menu, and this I think is as important as the people attending.  It has been observed by myself and my various co-hosts over the past little while, when we have hosted D/s dining events, that if you feed folks a carb rich or heavy meal, very little play will happen after - everyone will be in a corner of the room in a sleepy sugar coma.  So, if the idea is to play etc., as well as have a nice meal, you need to give considerable thought to the menu.  Do any of the guests have special allergies/intolerances/sensitivities?  Even beyond that, do any of the attendees have physical limitations when it comes to chewing or swallowing?  Nothing ruins a meal faster than a trip to the hospital, or having paramedics party crashing.  I would like to challenge my fellow community members that when it comes to food at such D/s events, we really need to raise the bar.  D/s is fantasy, and doesn’t fantasy deserve something better than the dinner special at your local takeaway shop?  If you can’t cook, I guarantee there is someone in your circle who can - be they Dominant or submissive - appoint them as your head chef for the evening.  Also, make it easy on yourself, prep as much as possible ahead of time, so the night or day of the event, it may be a little reheating, but mostly plating.  Which reminds me, give some thought on plating - there are enough examples on Pinterest and the Food Network on how to make a plate look pretty.  Maybe the best you can do is serve up a bowl of Alphaghetti right out of the can, but you add some micro greens, a few dots of chive oil, a dot or two of sesame oil - BAM.

3. Table Setting: There are plenty of examples of table setting on the internet - just Google table place setting and you will find a myriad of examples.  The most common settings being the American style place setting, and the European style, but there are many others - Middle Eastern, Asian (in fact, there are many place settings that fall under the Asian umbrella).  Choose one that best suits your menu, and stick with it - don’t give one place an American serving layout, but then set the next place for a Japanese table setting.  Always have extra cutlery and plates available - you never know what might happen - a fork may be dropped, a plate is chipped (and horror, goes unnoticed).  Give some thought on how the food will be served - individual plates brought to the table, food served around the table, food placed family style, buffet?

4. Seating: Depending on the tone of the evening, and who is present, this may dictate how the Dominants are seated.  Does anyone have physical limitations or needs - do they need to have quick access to a toilet, or do they need extra room for mobility equipment?  If the evening is formal or high protocol, you may want to consider if any of the attendees are titleholders (ie. Mr. or Ms. Leather/Bootblack winners), or the years of experience (notice I didn’t say age) of the attendees.  If you have a small space, you might also want to consider the physical size of the Dominants, or the submissives serving them.  That isn’t a body shaming crack, but nothing interrupts the good flow of service or of an evening when a Dominant or submissive has trouble physically moving about the space - not to mention, it can make your guests (keeping in mind the submissives are guests as well, even if they are serving) feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, shamed - and that is never good.

5. Service: Again, there are no hard and fast rules, but here are some links that give some great ideas:

Meal Service

Table Manners and Serving Etiquette

Allow the majordomo to set the pace - he/she/they will be taking cues from the head of the table/host/co-host.  He/she/they will also provide the instruction to the submissives on how the service flow will proceed.

One idea I will advocate is, position yourself in a way so that you are not towering over the Dominant - no one wants that.  The idea of having submissives serve kneeling, or in a crouch is nice, but again, you have to be aware of the physical limitations of the submissives involved.

A few suggestions/thoughts based on our experiences:

- When submissives do not have a specific job, keep out of the kitchen.  The chef is trying his/her/their best to get the meal plated, on time, at a proper temperature - so he/she/they are moving about quickly, possibly with something hot or sharp in her/his/their hand.  Having a submissive loitering about means besides keeping track of the time, what courses have to go out when, and all the myriad of other things, the chef has to ensure the submissive doesn’t get stabbed or burned.  Do the chef a favour, get out unless you have been given a specific job.  It frustrates me to no end to have to repeatedly tell submissives to get out of kitchen - and that is being nice - because the warning could be a stabbing or scalding - just saying.  The same goes for Dominants - just no - your presence is not helpful, in fact, it adds pressure, and not in a pleasant or even enjoyable way.

- Nothing pleases me more as a chef than to have submissives who are eager to wash a dish for me.  I dirty many a dish when I cook - and if I have prepped food ahead of time, that means many evenings of me cooking, and washing up.  So please, do the chef a favour and wash a dish as soon as they dirty it (so long as you’re not getting in the way).

- Feed your submissive servers.  This could be a buffet style of the food being served to the Dominants, it could be a totally separate meal, it could be a nice cheese and charcuterie platter - something easy that they can pick up with their fingers, munch, and then get back to serving.  Serving is hard work, they are hungry, let them have the time to retire some place private so they can relax and eat.

- Having a submissive kneeling by a Dominant’s chair for a long period of time sounds sexy, but it is not very practical - especially during the main course, when that might be the perfect time for the submissives to relax and eat.  Think of what is practical and enjoyable for all guests - not just the Dominants.  If the submissives aren’t enjoying themselves, you’re not likely to have as many volunteers the next time around - and then it’s just a bunch of Dominants sitting around a table, wondering who will pour the water, and threatening to spank the cat.

- Do not touch the food the chef is prepping or cooking - unless you want to be shanked by a serving fork to the hand - just don’t do it.

- Have the drinks area or bar separate from the kitchen.  Having less bodies in the kitchen ensures no one is hurt and it keeps folks from loitering in the kitchen.  

- Nothing is appreciated by a submissive more than hearing “Please” and “Thank you”.  Yes, they are submissive, yes, they are serving, but manners, especially coming from a Dominant, is sexy.  It can be the difference between being served with grace, and being attentively served with grace.

- Cleanliness can not be stressed enough.  Touched your hair?  Wash your hands.  Blew your nose into a Kleenex or hanky?  Wash your hands.  Touched the counter?  Wash your hands.  Smoked a cigarette?  Wash your hands.  Gone to the toilet?  It shouldn’t need to be said, but yes, wash your hands.  Food borne disease or illness is not fun, it can be deadly, it can mean a hospital trip for a guest.

- If the Dominants are seated, if a multi course meal, designate one submissive as being responsible for water.

- Service is not complete until all food items have been put away, dishes washed and put away, and the Dominants lack for nothing.

- If conversation seems to flag, or seems to be dissolving into a beef fest, why not have the Dominants and submissives submit questions that can be discussed by the group.  You might even have previously prepared discussion topics taken from the web, for example, that you could draw upon.

- It is nice to have a printed copy of the menu at each place setting, as well as having a name place card for every Dominant.  Maybe you are serving the Dominants a bowl of Alphaghetti, but it can be the niceties that make the meal memorable - and that’s what you are creating, memories.

- For the Dominants, with much respect, don’t try to outshine or out Dom/me your peers - you just end up looking like an ass.  Also, if you make the event unpleasant by being cruel, rude, or excessively hard on the submissives, you won’t be invited back.  For the submissives, with respect as well, don’t go out of your way to foul up.  Accidents will happen naturally, and you may or may not be punished for them, but don’t go out of your way to drop a plate, or spill something - that is just some selfish behaviour and not at all attractive.

Whether formal, high protocol, casual, or even just a backyard BBQ, a D/s meal should above all else be fun, and a showcase where both the Dominants and submissives can shine.  Stay shiny my friends!

Service Submission Series: Service Drop

I'll be honest, I get service drop. It's not a failing, it's not due to anything bad that happens during service, it's just how it is. There are a few reasons why it happens, based on my experience in this BDSM life, I'll use the example of cooking for an event:

- When I say cook for a service event, it usually involves weeks of prep ahead of time. It involves researching recipes or ideas online, or thumbing through my actual hard copy recipe books. Sometimes I'm given a theme, so I have to work with the theme, and as always, I have to work with the allergies, intolerances, sensitivities of the folks attending (are they vegetarian, are they allergic to shellfish, allergic to gluten?). Finding out something last minute when I have a menu all worked out in my head can alter the entire menu, and then it's back to the drawing board. Once I have the menu set, there's sourcing the ingredients or tools needed, and sometimes this is the hardest work. I wanted to serve a cheese platter once with Marcona almonds - imported from Spain - rather easy to find back home, but hard/impossible to find in Australia - I looked for like a week to try and source them. I wanted paper Sno Cone cups to serve an items in, and have you any idea how hard it is to find them in Australia? I'll tell you how hard, so hard I had to look them up on eBay, and I had to buy a whole sleeve of them - anyone up for a Sno Cone party - I have 190 cups to spare.

- There is the shopping for ingredients - this involves several trips to the store, or possibly multiple stores. This time around, I couldn't find avocado's anywhere - not at Coles, not at Woolies - I could only find them at the Farmer's Market. I also couldn't find the type of buns I wanted, that would go with the cheeses I was serving. Usually I go after work, but sometimes I have to slip out at lunch time and keep the items chilled at the fridge at work until I can get the items home. I like to serve chilli jam with my cheese platters, but I can only find it at one store.

- There's the actual cooking, which can be alot for a very complex meal, or very little, especially if there are many cold serve items. Again, the cooking occurs after work, or the day before - hopefully never the day of. I take chances sometimes, because if something goes wrong at this stage, I usually don't have the time to start over. I once fell asleep while slow braising some lamb shanks. I woke up to find a good portion of the sauce burnt, and at least one or two of the shanks beyond salvaging. That meant a trip to the store in the morning, and starting a fresh batch of sauce.

- Finally there is the packaging and accounting for everything I will need - this includes ensuring garnish are on hand, ready to go, tools and dishes are clean and packed. I have learned the fine art now of making a list, after forgetting some key items once too often - my memory isn't what it once was.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, "Why in the hell would you do all this - it sounds like insanity!"

Sure, it may sound like insanity, but it is a type of insanity I happen to enjoy. I do enjoy every step of the way, even though yes, it does use my mental and physical energy. I like pushing a shopping cart around listening to RuPaul on my head phones, I love finding that little bottle of oil that I know would be perfect for my salad, I love looking at '70s recipes and giving them new life, and I love the idea of a group of Dom/mes sitting down and eating my food. It is my own personal symphony, my own personal love letter to each and every one of them. Eat my food, and you eat me.

Okay, that didn't sound right.

What I mean is, every dish is my personality, it is me making a statement, it is my interpretation, it is me attempting to do my best to honour the ingredients, the event, the people, by giving my all, balls to the wall effort on a plate.

It is very nerve-wracking.

The next day, I am usually very tired - sometimes physically, but more so, emotionally. I usually start the next day by cleaning my kitchen - if the past me hasn't been a dick and left it as a complete disaster zone, otherwise I might book a cleaner - and I usually have to go find food - because the past me is usually a dick and hasn't left me any food or filtered water. At some point, I usually feel a tinge of sadness, or like there is something missing, the world and everything in it seems a little grey - maybe the fact I just spent some intense hours in the company of members of my community I care for, and now there's just me and the cat - though sometimes that is a blessing, because I'm not really that verbal the next day, and sometimes I'm down right cranky.

While I wander through the day in this sort of post service haze, the Domme in my head is very harsh, telling me I should have been nicer to the subs helping me - because they were pretty outstanding, jumped in to help, and tried very hard to work within my vision. They inspire me and make me hopeful that perhaps others will find the joy and love in service events like I do, and hopefully they too will one day understand why I morph into this knife wielding Service Top Gordon Ramsay knock off bitch in the kitchen. She tells me what worked and what didn't, and how I can fix it next time, and don't make the same mistakes again! If I'm lucky, she is pleased with me, and is happy that I didn't have a Guy Smiley meltdown because the parsley was chopped rather than chiffonade.

I know now I need to do certain things for me - like go to the movies, or play pinball for an hour, or build Lego, or play Minecraft, or write essays while listening to some contemporary Tibetan music - which is what I am doing as we speak. Maybe I'll fall into a Fetlife hole of reading and liking - but that doesn't mean I want to engage, or jump on a thread. Today, I just couldn't give a shit about another predator being named and shamed, and I just have no fucks about another consent violation. Today, I just want to sweep my floor, lay out my clothes for work tomorrow - Monday is back, best break out the favourite underwear, pack my lunch, and fall into power watching South Park.

Tomorrow, I'll start thinking of new recipes to try and serve and wonder when might be good to schedule the next event, and the process will start all over again. For now, it's eating Macca's on the couch, drinking cheap sparkling wine, relating more and more to Eric Cartman, and not wearing pants.

Service Submission Series: How to Request, Accept, Offer, Refuse Service

The basic purpose of service is to make someone's life happier, easier, more pleasant, and any activity should be offered unselfishly and without any pre-conceived ideas or notions. I say someone as service is not always just given to a Dominant, and service is not always given by slaves or submissives.

Service should be offered with the best of intentions, the purest of motivations, with no hidden agenda or ulterior goal. Most of all, service should be offered with kindness and compassion, with attention to detail, and a dedication to do a good job.

Know that If you are with someone who is truly interested in service of some sort, he or she will want to do a good job. Any sort of play that may occur is viewed as a reward - there will not be any breaking of your fine bone china in the hopes of provoking you into some action. The individual giving the service is occupied with doing what needs to be done well, with style, to the best of his/her ability, in the hopes that you will be happy, and you will be pleased.

That’s not to say all will go well - there may be bumps in the road - but this shouldn’t deter you from voicing your thoughts and feelings as the service progresses. Feedback, both good and bad, is very important - it not only indicates that you are present in the moment, but that you care enough to keep the provider engaged. There is nothing more distressful to a service provider than to realize you are not enjoying their efforts, and with the appropriate feedback, there is no reason why any form of service can not get back on track if it should happen to jump the rails. You should feel free to speak your mind and to voice your pleasure or perhaps displeasure with the efforts being made, and trust that any criticism or praise will be taken in, measured, and efforts will be adjusted accordingly.

With that in mind, there are four actions that are key in regards to service - how to request service, how to accept service, how to offer service, and how to refuse service.


Request service with polite confidence, with a clear idea of what you want. Accept service with the trust that it has been offered with the best of intentions and the purest motives. Offer service with a good heart, and sincerity. Refuse service or service requests with kindness, without guilt, and accept the refusal with grace and understanding it is not a personal rejection or personal reflection.


Requesting Service

If you see someone in the community, who clearly has some sort of service to offer, there is nothing wrong with politely requesting service. It can require some delicacy, for instance, a service submissive might be collared - either on a consistent basis or for a fixed term - to someone. Requesting service would then be best asked of the Dominant. If you are asking a service Top, he or she might have power dynamics with others that might be ruffled if not given their due respect.

Best approach to an individual would be something along the lines of:

"Pardon me, but I have seen that you have X service to offer. Is this correct?"

If that is correct, and you sense that further discussion is welcome:

"Might I ask, would you consider negotiating performing this service for me?"

If someone approached me in such a way - though it doesn't need to be that exact wording - I would be very much inclined to hear what he or she had to say.

When you do request service, be very clear as to what you are asking for, and what you are offering in return. Yes, we would all like to think that service providers are these endless fountains of giving, but sadly, that is not the case. As well, if multiple people want service from the same provider, one might be more inclined to fulfill a request for service from one in particular if the person requesting the service had an enticing offer.

Now, when I say offer or service, it need not be something like play, it is definitely not a euphamism for money, and majority of the time, is not something sexual. If that is something negotiated, because you are both like minded individuals, that is great, but I would caution that approaching someone and putting sexual favours/play on the table as either a request for service, or expecting sexual flavours/play as a reward for service.

Once you have established that both of you are interested in this exhange, it would be good to begin negotiations, like you would for any play scene - limits, hopes, what you truly enjoy, how to call the scene if need be etc.

If a request for service is met with a refusal or rejection, know that it is not a rejection of you as the requestor, it is merely that your offer is not feasible, for whatever reason at that time. I don't think it would hurt to politely inquire if there might be future opportunity, but know that while your attention is appreciated, any offhand remarks or pressure could ruin what could have been an otherwise beautiful exchange in the future.

I know I keep focusing on being polite and gentile, but honestly, I think many service providers are highly attuned to etiquette. I personally know I am like a Hippogriff - like from Harry Potter - I am easily offended by boarish behaviours and attitudes.


Accepting Service

First off, let me share a little secret – those who perform service get off on making you happy. Yes, giving good service does stroke the ego, and it is addictive. I know I get a high out of giving good service – like I’m Christopher Columbus discovering the New World, and bringing back riches for my Queen Isabella – minus the raping and colonisation.

That is not the sole motivation for service – I was once asked to attend a Dominant because as her Dominant friend said, she needed someone to ‘be kind to her’. Having had a dynamic breakdown, this Dominant I was going to give service to, needed a submissive to show her gentleness – bringing her a plate of food, something to drink, giving her a foot rub. Sometimes, when Dominants have been hurt by their submissive partners, it takes another submissive to demonstrate that yes, we are not all the same, and yes, you do have redeemable qualities as a Dominant.

It may seem easy enough to accept service, that seems like such an easy concept, but I am finding that it is actually a skill that is lacking. Perhaps it is due to mistrust - why would anyone want to do anything for someone without a catch involved? Perhaps it is due to service becoming an antiquated nicety in regards to BDSM-D/s. I'm not certain what the cause is, but I think it is something that we as a community need to embrace once again.

Receiving service requires practicing the art of allowing - allowing someone else to see to your needs, wants, desires and whims. It may be difficult, it may seem as though you are giving up control, but rest assured, when service is given, if pure in intent, it is done from a place of both joy and pleasure. It requires, at times, opening up your home, allowing another into your private realm, perhaps even sharing whatever is most precious to you, but with practice, this can feel like second nature, if you are open to the experience.

If you are ever approached by someone who wishes to serve you, here are a few ideas you might want to keep in mind:

1. You are under no obligation to accept service from anyone, ever. Yes, the individual (and it could be a service Top making the offer) is offering to serve you, but there is an element of selfishness to the offer – selfishness in that the person offering the service gets off on giving good service. If you don’t feel comfortable accepting, for whatever reason, a simple “no thank you” is all that is required. You don’t need to explain yourself, or your reasons. You are perfectly within your right to reject service, I would just ask that you reject as gently as you would want to be rejected.

2. Without any sort of direction from you, and should the individual in question not think to ask, the individual is going to act as they believe he or she should. If an object is proceeding in one direction, and it is not inhibited by anything, it will continue on the path in that direction until something larger and heavier knocks it off course. If you would enjoy service from a submissive, as an exmaple – having a tea made, having your hands rubbed, having your toys or play station wiped down – if you want it done in a particular fashion, please don’t hesitate to say so. We are still, at the end of the day, service oriented, and it is comforting to be told how to perform an act – because it will please you, make you happy, and we will be doing it right – or at least right for you.

3. Not all service types are seeking something from you – other than your approval and perhaps a bit of praise. I know that for many female Dominants in the lifestyle, being approached by male submissives is akin to being a star ship, in the neutral zone, and a Romulan Warbird just decloaked in front of you – shields up! If you are approached by a service submissive, as an example, please give them a chance, at least hear them out. I can’t guarantee that all service submissives, or all service Tops will be complete angels, I’m certain there are a few who feel if they do you a service, they are entitled to some sort of reciprocal reward, but you can help curtail such expectations.

4. Treat acts of service like a scene - it is a scene! So to build on the third idea, when you are approached by a service provider, don’t hesitate to negotiate and define the terms – just like you would with a scene. Lay it all out – how long the service will last, what is expected – what is not expected, what you are willing to give/do on your part etc. If you feel play is a good reward for service done well, then feel free to say so. If you feel a hug is a good reward, then say so as well. Good service is more than balancing a tray with one hand, or giving a good flogging, it is about making you feel comfortable.

5. If you accept service from a service provider, allow them to do their jobs – but at the same time, ensure you know what they will be doing. I have had the privilege of driving Dominants around from time to time, running errands, and I was grateful when I was instructed by at least one Dominant that I would be opening the doors for her. So every time we stopped, I would rush ahead to ensure the door was open for her, and when we left, I would open the door to the car, closing it when she said so. If this hasn’t been discussed, it may very well be that the submissive will open the car door and building doors for you, I would suggest perhaps giving them the chance to impress you. If you exit the car as soon as the vehicle is parked, they don’t have the opportunity to demonstrate proper manners and etiquette. If you wish to punish a service submissive, open your own doors – that hurts right down to the bone faster than any caning ever could.

6. Just relax – easy enough to say I know – it is making yourself vulnerable to rely on someone else, even for the smallest task, but with practice, this can come easier over time. Start with something small, having someone open the door for you, and progress as fast as you are comfortable. Keep in mind, you need not accept every offer of service extended to you – “Mistress, may I fetch you a beverage?”, “Master, may I rub your temples?”, "Madam, would you care for a caning?" – only the ones you are comfortable with, from people you are comfortable with, in the right setting, at the proper time.

7. Exercise trust/caution at all times. This may seem like an odd concept – but please stay with me. In receiving service, you are placing trust in the provider giving the service – trust that they will not harm or hurt you, trust that they are doing only what is best for you, trust they have only good intentions. Sadly, this is not always the case. I would exercise caution as to who fetches a drink for you, or who you might have cleaning your house, or whatever act of service where your health, house, finance, might sustain damage. Sure, it might seem like a great idea for some submissive to come over for the day to clean your house for free, but perhaps there is an attached cost that you have no knowledge of. How would you know if this person forged a checque and cashed it until weeks later when the bank came calling? Are you certain you want to allow a service Top to scene with you when you barely know them, or know anyone you trust to vouch for his or her skill. Even the simple act of getting you a drink, from a bar, could have a very bad outcome. Know who you are giving access to, and ensure you are comfortable with how far that access extends.

8. Service is in a sense its own reward, but sometimes, there needs to be something more. For some service providers, for some acts of service, it can be very draining. This should be discussed before the service is given – what does the individual require to recharge, is there an expectation for the receiver to give back in some capacity? A service provider should know what recharges him or her, and should state that when arranging any long term period of service. For myself, for example, to recharge me, so I can give the best service, I ask for the four items:

a. If I am giving service away from home, and it is overnight – or over a few nights, I ask for a clean, safe place to sleep with access to a toilet and shower.

b. I ask for a few of my meals to be paid for or provided to me – the rest I can purchase on my own or obtain for myself.

c. A night or two so I might have a break – so I can go see a movie, walk around, see the sights, do some shopping.

d. Hugs and cuddles – not necessarily from the person I am serving, it’s always nice though.

These are the things I ask for when giving longer service – short term service, as long as my bodily needs of having a place to occasionally rest, hydrate, eat, and take care of bio breaks are met, I’m pretty happy. It would be nice to think that a service provider can give and be fulfilled just on the energy of the exchange, but in practice, I have found this to not be the case.


Offering Service

Offering to lick a Dominant's feet clean with your tongue is only service if it is something he/she would enjoy, and engages in on a regular basis, and possibly requested. If you offer this to a Dominant, and it is not of interest to the Dominant, it is not something he/her would enjoy, and he or she would never engage in this, then it is a selfish action which is only concerned with your self gratification.

If you are interested in offering someone service, you should approach with humility, and gentility. Do not offer any specific tasks, and realize that you are beginning a conversation/negotiation. Begin with an opening line such as:

"Pardon me Sir/Miss, but I would be greatly honoured if I might be able to offer you some form of service. Might we discuss what would be of interest to you?"

If you are granted leave to engage in conversation further, it would be wise to allow the other person to lead into the conversation - remember, you are here to make his/her life more enjoyable. You need to listen to what would make his/her life more enjoyable, because at this point, unless you know the Dominant even a little, you really have no clue. You could find a way to politely highlight your skills and expertise to the person, keeping in mind they may already have a good understanding, as well as having a clear idea of what they want from you.

During this negotiation, once you know what would please this person, you may be asked if you would like anything in return. I would caution being too forward in your requests, asking for an inappropriate reciprocal boon at this point could mean that you are quickly dismissed.

Once service is offered and negotiated, it is upon your honour to fulfill what you have offered/negotiated. The community is not that large, people will know if you do not fulfill what you have said you would do, and you most certainly will not have much credit or favour with that particular service receiver you slight.


Refusing Service

Now there are two types of service refusal really:

1. The provider refuses a request

2. The receiver refuses your offer

If a service provider refuses or rejects your request for service, understand there may be reasons for such. Perhaps they are tired - either physically or mentally - how do you know? Perhaps they are not in a good head space emotionally and just want to either recover, or be left alone until they are again fit for human consumption. Pressuring them amounts to harassment, and honestly, do you really want someone who is not in the best frame of mind fetching your drink, or clearing your play space, or massaging any part of you?

We as a community wouldn't stand for someone to be pressured into playing with someone, so service should be no different. No should be respected - whether it is a refusal for service, or a refusal to play.

Now, it may happen that if you offer service, the service receiver may refuse/reject your offer. Again, similar to your own reasons for refusing/rejecting a request for service, the receiver has his or her reasons for not wanting to accept your attentions. You can with much humility and respect clarify if the refusal is based on the offer you proposed, but this can skirt the edge of respecting the intended receiver's privacy.

Saying something like "If it my particular offer that you find unappealing, but would still appreciate my service in some form, I would be most happy to discuss an alternative offer with you.", would not be amiss. If this is refused or rejected as well, it would be best to move on to someone more receptive of your talents.


There are many forms of service, as there are many different archetypes of service providers. Not all are equal, not all share the same skill set, and not all have the same experience. Seize the opportunity to avail yourself of the talents of the various providers, and at the same time, assist them in gaining the skills he or she may need to progress further in the lifestyle.

Service providers are just one half of the equation, we need the service receivers to keep us razor sharp, engaged, and always striving for excellence.

Note: Just because someone offers service in general, does not mean they are offering it to everyone, or just anyone. Do not assume that because someone enjoys service, or that they have offered you service in the past, that this is the case presently, or will be in the future. It is always best to check each time, as circumstances may have changed.

Assuming is the fastest way to kill any possibility of someone doing you a service in the future. I had an occasion where someone approached me and said "I know you enjoy service, so you may serve me by making a plate of food for me". Can you see how at best that comes across as rude, and at worst, it is violating consent, because there is no room for consent?