Sunday, September 03, 2006

Are You My Mother?

Ever insightful, Candace responded eloquently to a commentator who suggested that men in a marriage characterized by loving female authority were in fact looking for their mothers. The gist of her comments were that the relationship is sensual and respectful, but not (as I read it) subservient. But read it yourself and make your own conclusions.

But it struck me because, on our recent vacation, I came up with a list of topics I'd like to write about, this was one of them.

My beloved and I have taken a number of runs at a relationship that involves asymmetrical power dynamics - which is what I think I'd actually perfer to call this kind of relationship, except that it's so unwieldly. The most serious were more than 10 years ago, so my memories of the specifics of how we got to just this arrangement or that is a little hazy. But I remember that we had established a few things around the house that she just wanted done, some of which I didn't remember to do quite so well. One or the other of us kept a log of infractions, and occasionally we would have a little ritual where I would strip and kneel, and she would take a ruler or crop to my rear. It was plenty painful and (as I recall) somewhat cathartic.

Also as part of this we did weekly "de-brief" sessions, which were very useful. There was quite the ritual to them, with elements gleaned from some of our pagan friends - it was an exercise in practical magic and worked well. It was, I think, during one of these that she finally said, rather exasperated, "I am not your mother." Wow. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

I don't think I had enough self-possession or insight to tease out how this was and wasn't different from a relationship I might have wanted, at some subconscious level, with my mother. It's true, she was the one who inflicted the corporal punishment, but, and at that point I don't think the "service" aspect of what I want to do in this relationship was clear to me. Certainly the Lady and Knight metaphor hadn't occured to me at all.

So for now I'll take this as one of the rocks of Scilla and Charybdis that we'll want to navigate between.


Polyfetishist said...

As far as the comments on Candace's blog go the worst thing about a college education is how easily it leaves people feeling they know something.

My momma was a soft sweetsweet who I wish had been much tougher for her own sake. If anything my feelings for her blocked images of female dominance from my mind.

Jamie said...

Thanks pf... it's good to know how many different ways there are to get here. I added the picture at the upper right because, while well intentioned, it was my experience in home discipline as a child.

Does that have something to do with who I am? Certainly. Was it determinative? Certainly not; plenty of other people had this experience and didn't end up with a fascination for power dynamics in relationships.

I've yet to read a really go explanation of howe end up who we are. Anything with some convincing explaining power would be welcome.