Sunday, August 24, 2008

Service, Supportiveness, Expectations, and "Being good enough"

So I'm on the road. I get to have my fantasies. Based on my beloved's comments at our last check-in, I fantasize the following:

How about if at our check-in, it is my responsibility to list all the things I'm supposed to do for her today. And because it's my fantasy, I get to say that it's only the non-regular-household stuff that get's listed. Or maybe that stuff get's listed in a separate category, like "being a good husband." [Of course, reflection reveals that these categories aren't as different as they might seem, but I think I'd still distinguish them as below, as a first cut.]

It's just the kind of ritual that I think I like - and might actually hate. And, I'm learning, might actually have trouble doing with a straight face. Unless she cares about it. But wait, that's getting ahead of myself.

I wonder how she would react to a formula like the following:

When you let me serve you, it means to me that you love me, and that's important to me. I appreciate it that you let me
  • Paint your toe-nails
  • Shave your legs
  • Trim your hair
  • Check-in with your after work
  • Meet you when you arrive home
  • Give you foot rubs
  • Give you back rubs
  • Recite this list for you every night
  • Get your permission before going to bed
Thank you for letting me ... whatever it was that she let me do, personal service wise, that day. On days when that's nothing, I guess I'd say the honest thing, which is "I'm sorry there was nothing I could do for you, but thank you for expecting me to do this ritual; it's important to me."

That's a good moment to bring up things like: "I'd like to paint your toenails soon; I think they need it" or "I'd like to shave your legs soon, I think they need it." The point of that is to address what's happened occasionally recently: I don't suggest those kinds of things in a timely enough manner, and she does them when she decides they're needed. To me, that's an "I screwed up" moment, and I really really need to know that she cares about them. Not necessarily in a "You need to come here right now and do that" kind of way (which I'd love, but what if I'm out), but in a "I'm disappointed you're more in to your fantasy than the reality of this" kind of way.

I don't think I've written about the idea of not being allowed to come to bed, but being required to sleep on the floor at her side of the bed. The kind of thing that sounds trememdously sexy but would become tremendously tedious in about 1/2 hour, I think. Since that consequence would so quickly follow the night-time disclosure, I would love to try it. I mentioned it to my beloved, and she explicitly wasn't repulsed by the idea, but if she were ever to actually do it, I'd be stunned.

The second half of the evening's recitation would go:

As an attentive husband, you have the right to expect that I will make your life as easy as I can by making it so you don't have to worry about routine things like
  • Making coffee in the morning
  • Making sure your cell phone is charged
  • Making sure your wallet has money it in
  • Making sure the random receipts are out of your wallet
  • Paying the bills
  • Taking out the trash
  • Doing the dishes
  • Caring for the animals
  • Putting our your vitamin
  • Doing the laundry
  • Making sure the floors are swept
  • Making sure the counters are clean
  • Making sure the cars are maintained
  • Mowing the lawn
I know the following need to be done, and I'm planning to do them on...

Is there anything you noticed today that I should have done, or anything you did today that you'd rather not have had to?

And at that point, we get to have the conversation about our days.

I'd love for her to attach a consequence to failure - either things I should have done or things she had to do. Things I should have done(or things she did, some of them): do (or re-do) them now, before coming to bed, for example. Or not-being-able-to-come-to-bed time. Or anything. Anything that says, "We're doing this and I care enough to want to motivate you to do better."

This whole thing is a psychological drama, I know, and writing this post reminds me that one of my psychological prime-movers is "Not good enough." And this all plays with that dynamic in, I think, a positive way, because it's acknowledged and explicit, as it has never been before. If, as I intellectually but not emotionally believe, I am in fact "good enough" I'm hoping that playing with this dynamic will get me to a place where I do emotionally believe that. I'm not sure how, I'm not sure what would happen to all this if I got there. But this feels like a way of finding out.

On the Road Again....

No, I didn't kill my blog, and no, we didn't give up on our WLM. I'm just went on the road for a couple of weeks. But the weeks prior to that were kind of interesting, and being on the road always gives me time to reflect, so here's where I think I am.

First off, my beloved asked me what we should do in the time I'm away. I pointed out that I'm still wearing the necklace, and that means what it means (see this post if you're new to the story). But that beyond that, I couldn't think of much. I suppose - I know - if she had suggested something, I would have lept at it. But it seems pointless to me to say "It would mean a lot to me if you could arrange it so that it meant a lot to you for me to ..." What means a lot to her means a lot to her, and I think there are only very limited ways in which we can grow towards a more satisfying collection of things that mean a lot to both of us.

That having been said, I think we have some opportunities to refine our communication in ways that will benefit both of us. Our nightly "check ins" have devolved into "how was your day." Which is still very satisfying, and reminiscent of the so-far solitary post at the nascent Whipped Into Shape blog. And is particularly satisfying when she leaves me kneeling beside the bed while she finishes whatever it is that she's doing - but which has only happened for about 30 second or so - but what a 30 seconds of contemplation they were.

I've been on the road a week now, and the leaving was somewhat hectic, but one detail I remember from our last check-in could have knocked me over with a feather: I was talking about how I didn't feel like I'd been living up to my commitments to her, and she alluded to how she has been bringing things in from the car when she arrives home - one of the things I said I'd do for her.

It turns out that this was as much from a lack of communications on our part as anything else. She said, "I don't know whether to tell you to come over when I arrive home, or what. I just figured you were busy." I've said before, and I'll say again, that I do not intend to be one of those submissives who falls down on his responsibilities just to see if my beloved is paying attention. But what I did respond with was, "Gee, I didn't think that you thought about this during the day. I still have this impression that the entire arrangement is distasteful to you and you want to put it out of your head." To which she replied, "No, I think about it occasionally during the day."

Holy smokes. There's lots to work with there.

Friday, August 08, 2008

In the doldrums

Well, it is summer, so I guess doldrums aren't too unusual. But they're still not fun.

Thanks for suggestions about how to approach my beloved in this "getting home late" issue. In the event, the question never happened and the conversation never happened, but for a modestly encouraging reason.

I called her on the phone to ask about this as she was going to leave before I got home, and as I was working up to the question - which I think was going to be along the lines of #5 below - "Can I go to bed before you arrive?", she said, "I don't have time to talk to you now. Goodbye."

She refers to this as "mean, arbitrary capriciousness." I'm thrilled. It's the second time she's done something like that, and I'm working to convince her that it isn't "mean." But as a "good girl", I'm pretty sure that anything that sounds to her like putting her own needs first (or even recognizing her own needs before the pain becomes extreme) feels "arbitrary and capricious" or even "mean" to her. She said, "if we do this, you're going to see more the mean side of me." I'm encouraging her to do more of that, not because I want her to be mean and capricious, but because I think she really needs to explore getting her needs met, and doing so will give me more of an opportunity to serve her.

I know that "mean" wouldn't work in the long run, but if we have to pass through "mean" for her to find herself, I can be very patient with that.

And though I don't think I'd be able to stand "thoughtless and capricious", I think I'd love "teasing [and I don't necessarily mean sexually] and capricious" or any kind of "I'm-in-a-relationship-with-you-but-I-get-to-do-what-I-want-and-you-love-it capricious" - basically, any kind of capricious that acknowledges that we're in a relationship characterized by power exchange.

That all being said, thinks are pretty low right now, wife-led-marriage-wise.

Yes, I'm doing what I'm doing.

But I think our evening ritual needs to be fine-tuned because I, for one, am not getting enough sleep, and neither, I think, is she. This is something to do with going to bed late (duh!), which I fear is motivated by not wanting to talk about the WLM. Which makes me really tired, which makes it hard to do this. If I were cynical, I'd say she was doing it so we'd fail; if I were deluded, I'd say she's doing it to make it harder for me so I can prove that I really want to do this. But I actually think it's avoidance.

And I'm realizing that without some input from her acknowledging that we're doing this, and having that acknowledgment be part of everyday life, I don't think I can do this. Gee, sounds like At All Times and Jane from SheIsInCharge. Gee, are we back to Give the Dog a Bone?

Or maybe I just need to get more exercise and a couple of good nights' sleep.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

How Complicated We Make Things

So she's going to be out tonight. And I don't get to come to bed until she invites me in. Do I
  1. Not mention anything and just hang around the living room until she gets back
  2. Not mention anything and just go to bed
  3. Not mention anything and sleep on the floor until she arrives
  4. Say something casual like, 'Should I wait up for you?'
  5. Say something explicit like 'May I go to bed before you arrive?'

Numbers 2 and 3 seem manipulative to me, so they're out.

Number 5 risks the "rolling her eyes and 'give it a rest'" type reaction. But it also is the honest explicit question, and does give her the opportunity to say "Yes" or "No" clearly, and gives me the opportunity to submit to whichever she says (which I know would be "yes" and I'd be disappointed - that's my challenge).

Number 1 seems the worst - no opportunity for her to 'disappoint' me by saying 'Yes, go to bed', but no opportunity to say that this is not a game and we're actually doing something. The cowards way out, I think.

Number 4 is the low-risk way of asking. But I think too "low risk" - if she says "Nah, don't bother" then I have no idea if she's acknowledging this WLM power exchange thing or not.

So after writing all this, I'm leaning towards number 5. Stay tuned.

In other news, last night she let me rub her feet. Yippee. It was very fun. She was reading and we were talking (philosophy of science, if you must know). Not kinky, not excessively "subby" as she likes to put it. Just fun. I did let her know that I would enjoy doing this any time. I was stunned when she asked. No time limit, just as long as she wanted. I forget what she said when she was done, but it was nice being in the space where I would have just gone on doing that.

Oh, and she asked me what I wanted for my birthday. In the past, I've always fantasized about something kinky - being denied sex for a few weeks and orgasm as birth present, or a chastity belt, or getting pegged, etc. Knowing that this could never ever happen. Now that it could, I was kind of speechless. I don't have a specific "stuff" that I want, but I don't know what kind of "kink" I'd ask for if she felt she wanted to give it to me as a present. I did acknowledge this to her. Still don't know what, if anything I'll ask for.

Life is good.