If you have ever considered offering service as a form of submission, I suggest the following points for you to ponder. These ideas have served me well, no pun intended, and I hope they will do the same for you.
These guidelines are geared more to the unowned submissive, who can offer service to anyone, but the ideas can also apply to a power exchange/ownership relationship. Above all else, no matter what the situation, your offer of service does not nullify your hard limits, and should not override any agreements of consensuality.
1. Learn one primary, applicable skill, that you can use in general, in a BDSM gathering setting, and do it very well
There are many skills that you might acquire in your life - you might be a fantastic web designer, or you might be a whiz with respect to design and decoration. These are great skills to have, but perhaps not applicable when at a play party or at an event where you might be able to demonstrate your abilities. You may find a Top/Master/Mistress/sub/bottom who could use your skills in these areas, but for general events and gatherings of leatherfolk and BDSM folk, you might want to consider something along these lines:
- Massage - hand, foot, shoulders, possibly even back
- Tray service - fetch drinks and food
- Porter - carry toy bags and gear, load and unload
- Able assistant - provide mobility assistance if required
- Aftercare specialist - provide aftercare to Tops or bottoms
- Catering or food prep - assist with laying out a spread, or preparing a menu of delights
- Clean up - of the play space in general, of equipment after use
2. Take pride in your appearance and what you do
If you plan on offering service, ensure you are clean and well groomed, either scent free or lightly scented. You can be as extreme in your appearance as you choose - a full tuxedo and white gloves - or as minimal as you choose - naked. Show decorum and composure - it is not the time to be vulgar, overtly sexual, or jocular - be polite and demure. You are creating a fantasy, something special - use your imagination and have fun. If all you can offer is a pair of boxer shorts and a tie - great - just don't wear the afternoon sitting on the couch boxers, and the tie your grandfather was waked in.
When you perform a task, do so efficiently, without much fuss, with focus and attention, and to the best of your abilities. If you only feel like giving 50%, save everyone the disappointment and stay home. If you have committed to service, you need to bring the best of you - you need to give your best effort. That's not to say you can't socialize, perhaps even play, but if you have committed your service for a fixed amount of time, then carry through with your promise and demonstrate your sense of pride and responsibility.
3. Always seek to improve your skills, or to acquire new skills
Education is a key component to giving good service - the more you know, the more knowledge you have about a subject matter or ability, the better your skill in that area. You should also be seeking to expand the breadth of your skill set - you never know when a skill might come in handy. You should focus first and foremost on your primary skill set, then seek to expand your secondary and tertiary sets of skills.
This could be a simple as researching the web for articles, watching YouTube videos, taking an online course, taking a BDSM workshop, reading a book, or even approaching a friend or colleague who appears to excel in a certain area.
Take an afternoon and search for videos on butler skills, or perhaps watch a video on how to prepare a certain recipe - then practice these skills on your own. If nothing else, your loved ones will appreciate your efforts even before you are ready for prime time - so to speak.
4. See to your needs, take care of you first
If you are planning to offer service, you need to ensure your needs are met. Are you feeling well? Have you eaten? Are you in a good state emotionally? Are you well hydrated and comfortable?
When offering service to others, you are offering the best of you. If you are tired and need a rest, do not hesitate to politely inform the person making the request that you need to take a break, but that you shall attend to them as soon as you are refreshed.
You need to communicate your needs and ensure you are in the best form of you before you can see to the needs of others. You know how you are advised to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others with their mask in case of an issue during a plane flight? It is the same situation here - see to you before you see to others.
5. Be of service to all
You have the right to accept or decline a request for service, but I would caution that your veto should be used sparingly. Service is respectful, selfless, and should be made available to all regardless of status or title. Service should not be limited to Tops, or to only who you deem to be physically attractive individuals. Your service should not be offered with the expectation for reward. Chances are your efforts will be appreciated, perhaps even praised, but don't go looking for this - otherwise, it just cheapens your efforts. If you offer service with the "what's in it for me?" mentality, perhaps service is not a skill you should seek to cultivate.
If asked if you would like anything in return, feel free to prevail upon this opportunity. If someone is talented in the use of floggers, and you love being flogged, by all means, you may politely request a flogging should they be so inclined.
Above all, relax and enjoy. At the end of the day, you should feel pleased with the job you have done, and even if it isn't spoken, those around you do appreciate your efforts.