Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lines, Context, and Communication

Lilly made a comment when I posted about "Writing lines", asking "How do you feel when you are writing lines?" I seem to be rather backed up with things to say here, so rather than answer in the comment, this turned in to a post.

To start with the direct answer, if I had to sum up how I feel while writing lines, it's "very very content." It's best when I'm writing lines while something else interesting is going on - people watching a movie or something. Meanwhile I'm upstairs writing. Or my beloved is relaxing reading and I'm writing.

It's a feeling like I'm just where I'm supposed to be, doing what my beloved has set me to do, with a set of obligations and priorities and role that is different from the people watching the movie or from my beloved.

I've been thinking a lot and writing a little about "context" - what it is that makes one feel like something different is going on in what might be a very mundane situation - men who want their wives to dress them in maid's outfits or keep them naked while they clean the house. How is that different from just cleaning the house? It's how the guy feels because he is cross-dressed or naked.

I think there is an element of this same thing here. I am doing something I would not otherwise have done, that has no intrinsic value to me, because my beloved wants me to do it.

It's the difference between submission and service. Service is practical. Certainly, there is an element of submission in it - doing what she wants when she wants it, rather than when I want to do it. And the more it serves her the more submission is in it. So Service is doing the dishes and taking out the trash and doing the finances. All things that need to be done in our house, and if I don't do them, she will. But they are really service for "Us" (our household) rather than for her.

On those occasions when I get to do something for her, it's much more satisfying. For example, the other night she was at a meeting and realized that she'd forgotten her knitting. When I got her text, I didn't hesitate and stopped what I was doing to deliver that to her. That was service for her, and it was wonderful.

Writing lines is the same only more so: while bringing her knitting has practical value to her of entertaining her during her meeting, my writing lines has no practical value other than to focus me on how I should improve for her, and reenforce to me that her desires, how ever non-sensical they may seem to me, are more important than mine - an opportunity to submit. What's not to like.

I'm describing this all from the point of view of "before" - before my beloved pointed out that she'd much rather have me doing something practical than writing lines. So my conjecture that the "writing lines" task meant that she wanted me concentrated on how to improve and how to please and how serve. When in fact it was some kind of compromise on consequences for my failing in my commitments.

And that's why shared context is important: doing the dishes means getting the housework done. Doing the dishes naked, or doing the dishes after a little "tease" that says "I'm going to sit and relax while you do the dishes" means "You are doing the dishes because you serve me." Doing the dishes in a mundane context means doing the dishes. And doing the dishes, after the context of the relationship is firmly established, even if there is no outside indication of the context (no "naked", no "tease"), is submission, because the submission suffuses the relationship, once both people really belive that it is the context of the relationship.

It's related to the Zen aphorism: "What do you do before enlightment: chop wood, carry water. What do you do after enlightenment: chop wood, carry water."

If you're not an asshole, what do you do before you're in an FLR: like the good relationship advice says, give 110%. What do you do after you're in an FLR: give 110%. Only it feels different.

Which leads me to believe that those external markers, whatever they are for the couple, that exstablish the context, are really important as the relationship is changing. After the relationship has changed, they're less important.

So doing the finances nude with a butt-plug means that I'm definitely doing them from a point of view of submission and service. But once that's established, the nudity and butt-plug aren't necessary. What is necessary is that both people accept that the context of the relationship is different, and that both people feel certain, comfortable, that their partner feels that the context is different. In the line-writing case for us, I felt the context was one thing, and my beloved felt that it was another.

For a submissive male like me, with a beloved wife who's figuring out how she wants to relate to leading our relationship, there is always the fear that, once the external markers of the submission are removed (the nudity and the butt-plug for example), my beloved is breathing a huge sigh of relief, thinking "Thank goodness that's over..." Because the external behavior is the same (chop wood, carry water, do dishes, do finances).

That's why communication is important in our relationship.

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