Article 7 - Getting Damn Good
A page or so ago I said I'm damn good. I didn't get that way sitting at a web cam. We may be born with the tendency to be dominant or submissive, but we have to develop the skills to go with the inclination. I've been stressing that submissives have to learn, about BDSM and about themselves, before they can offer their submission to anyone. The same is true of dominants. It takes a lot of navel gazing, information gathering and flogger throwing to become competent enough to earn a submissive's trust.
Dominance isn't just an attitude. In fact, most real life dominants don't project some characteristic recognizable as "dominance." There's no posturing, strutting, condescension or even snarling, although there may be a belt flogger or two, depending on the situation. Most real life dominants are just quietly capable people.
What sets skilled dominants apart from wannabees and poseurs is knowledge. We don't need to be medical personnel but we need to know enough about anatomy not to complete a circuit with someone's heart during electrical play. We need to know that up side down suspension can damage a brittle diabetic and that numb hands mean adjustments are needed. We don't need to be psychologists but we need to know that hitting the wrong emotional button can trigger a meltdown and we need to be able to deal with that. We need to know the effects and consequences, both physical and mental, of endorphin and adrenaline rushes. We need to know how to deal with bruises and welts and we have to develop impeccable aim if we use a flogger or singletail. In other words, it takes more than a paddle and a large vocabulary of insults to be a dominant. It takes intelligence, maturity, responsibility, time, work, and lots and lots of practice.
When people were mostly meeting face to face, when first play encounters often took place in groups, opportunists posing as dominants weren't as much of a problem as they are in the cyber venue. It's easy to pose in cyber, especially when the prospective submissive knows as little about BDSM as the poseur dom. That's why I keep stressing that beginning submissives stuff themselves with information. If you know what a good dominant is, you're better equipped to avoid someone who isn't. It's the difference between a fast food chicken sandwich and coq au vin. So I have to say something about McDommes, people who are attracted to BDSM because of profit rather than their own desire for power exchange.
There can't be "bratty dommes." There just can't be, ok? By definition a brat is a child or an immature person. I just got through saying that a dominant has to be self aware, knowledgeable and mature. You can't argue with that, especially when it's your ass on the line. Would you let a childish person put you in inescapable bondage? Would you trust an immature person with your deepest needs and your emotional health? Of course you wouldn't. So don't give yourself to anyone who calls herself a bratty dom. It's just foolish.
I very uncomfortable with the notion of "money dommes." I've been part of the BDSM community for a long time and I've only ever met two "money slaves." These were people who gave up financial, and other, control as part of a negotiated BDSM relationship. Within this context their dominants took responsibility for meeting a variety of needs in a variety of way. This is different than putting up a PayPal button and demanding "tribute."
While we're on the subject, tribute isn't usually a part of real time, committed BDSM. Actually, tribute is a euphemism for "fee," like professional dominants are too well bred or too fragile to admit they get paid for doing their jobs. You may want to believe you're acknowledging the superiority of a goddess like creature but, basically, you're paying for the service. Get over it and stop hitting the damn PayPal buttons. Be an intelligent consumer and just admit you're paying the lady for her work.
I know what you're thinking, "But, Mistress, I can't be Ralph Nader. I'm just a lowly sub, a worm with no mind, a piece of crud with no rights." Bull. Here's a paradox for you. If Mistress/Goddess/SupremeFemme is so superior, why would she want to interact with a mindless, cruddy worm? Are you seeing the conundrum here? Most people who have done the work required to become capable, competent dominants recognize the value of submissives. You need to recognize it, too. If humility is what you need, rest assured there are many ways of getting you to feel that. Shouting "stupid cocksucker" at you is one way, granted, but it's possible to put you in your place with grace and finesse, too. The same skill that keeps you from getting a damaging whack across your kidney can also get inside your head and correct your bad little habits from the inside out. If "Mistress" considers herself a brat or you a jerk, if her dominance is limited to grimacing at a web cam or demanding money for nothing, put on your Ralph Nader hat, hold tight to your wallet and go look for a better value.
One more thing, good doms have good gear. If Mistress is posing in her underwear holding a hair brush and a pool cue, chances are she's in it for the money, not the fun. While a dungeon full of cool equipment doesn't guarantee competence, most poseurs aren't going to go out and invest in bondage furniture and custom floggers just to use as props.
Now, in the interests of big-happy-familyness, I have to say if someone posing as a dom is what you need, go for it. If it isn't, though, now you've got some tools to separate the dommes from the ploys.