Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yield to oncoming traffic

When hammering a nail into the wall, machismo dictates that you hit the nail as hard as possible. Likewise, when wading through a crowded sidewalk, a real man shoves his way past those impeding his path. I have witnessed in many places, whether online through profiles on kinky social networking sites, or in person at SM play parties, this same philosophy throughout some people's approach to domination. I've been surprised by how often i've encountered this modus operandi. Perhaps these tops see the need to constantly roar and bark because they don't understand the craft of subtlety - i'm not really sure.

Dominance isn't always about forcibly wielding power. Sometimes, in very quiet, sublime ways, it can be about yielding power. This can be viewed in customary, everyday transactions. When entering a building, and someone is right behind, i hold the door for them, and, instead, let them pass before me. Immediately, even if they don't say anything to me, after they get over the initial shock of the exchange, they will feel a sense of obligation. In that moment, i am exhibiting dominance but without having to be aggressive about it.

In many ways, this suits my style. As i've mentioned before, i don't fit the standard sterotype for dominants (it may shock some of you that i don't own a single pair of leather pants). Rather, i comport myself with style and elegance, dressing myself with an attention to fine tailoring and natty apparel. When i am walking on the aforementioned congested footpath, i usually strut with swift purpose which, coupled with my appearance, usually gets people to steer away from my direct trajectory. In those offchances that our courses will cross, instead of blowing by them or engaging in that awkward tango of stuttered steps, i will stop in my tracks, guiding them by me with a friendly, leading wave of my arm. In this way, i am taking the upper (forgive the pun) hand.

I have set boundaries and rules with my girl wherein she understands that certain tolerances will be expected of her. I have many implements that incur pain in diverse ways to demonstrate the full extent of these tolerances. However, i do not always push her to her limits. She may have just received thirty one of thirty two assigned swats that make her writhe and shake, standing there in thick anticipation of the final, massive blow. But instead of walloping her behind, i'll pull my hand back with great wind, return it with an equal amount of gust, and ever so lightly tap her little tail.

Force needn't exist to establish dominance, but control is a requisite.


precious said...

Deity, Sir
I hear the quiet tones far more than I will ever hear the shouting.

Quiet unobtrusive dominance goes a long way.


Anonymous said...

A little style & seduction can be so much more striking than brute force.
As an indication of refinement; I find the vision of leather pants on a man to be garish & cliché.
I personally find it more comical than respectable. I am a sucker for a sharp dressed man.

Now you have me wondering; What does it mean if a lady stops to avoid a person charging through a door she is about to go through, and upon noticing the lady standing aside, the hurried person stops and holds the door so that she may make her entrance or exit?

I always feel a bit dominant when this happens, but I make eye contact & thank them anyway.

sera said...

That's very good and insightful.

Lots of Doms do what I call "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down"-type behavior--it's a lot of posturing, and of course, the wolf didn't get the last little piglet in the end.

Anonymous said...

Just last night we were speaking of this very thing.

I put it this way-

There are 'tops' or 'doms', and then there are those who simple ARE dominant.

Those who are truly dominant don't need to try, they just do it. Much of the time it requires no conscious effort, it is just simply how things are.

Anonymous said...

"Those who are truly dominant don't need to try...they just do it"

I think this is more a function of perceived status--the real kind of perceived status, status that comes from comportment or behaviour that transmits as power on a non-verbal level. It doesn't broadcast via force or apparel. It does broadcast, however, from fully realized self-determination. From knowing that it does not belittle you to yield on occasion because there is always something gained from that small giving.

Which makes me think of the next logical thought on this word: if yielding to "oncoming traffic" is a quiet and yet profound and indisputable display of power and control, isn't submission then exactly that as well?

The problem with words like Dominant and Submissive is that they seem to imply power only flows in one direction, when the truth of the matter is that both "positions" embody equal amounts of powerfulness and powerlessness.

English is really an inadequate tongue.

Deity said...

it also suits the gradual nudges that are more frequently necessary than entire continental shifts.

i think that is correct, that is a dominant position. you're stating that the person who's charging through needs to take a different pace, a different tact. affecting that change is a dominant maneuver.

well, maybe in your version of the story, he didn't. however in mine, the bad guy ALWAYS wins.

oh, i most certainly need to try. need to try to remember that there are limits, that my way isn't ALWAYS the best way, that my appetite is unique to me, etcetera.

i've never sought to chain the definition of the relationship to the direction of the power flow. certainly, many times, the submissive affects the dominant, but i would sincerely doubt that the bottom would like to describe that as having the power. in fact, i suspect that most submissives explicitly want to hand the power over to someone else.

Meta said...

Connecting this to the vanilla world...I thought about this post today as my boss gently guided me in front of him in line and again as he talked about techniques for cross-examining witnesses (he prefers to be jovial rather than argumentative, which is very effective for him).

Back to the BDSM world...There are things over which my Master explicitly has chosen not to exercise his control. Knowing that he can, but hasn't, is as powerful as if he told me what to do.

Deity said...

the knowing that he can, the knowing that you'd listen, all of that sits in the darkness, like unseen pockets of energy just ready to explode. i love that.