[proh-tuh-kawl, -kol, -kohl]
1. the customs and regulations dealing with diplomatic formality, precedence, and etiquette.
“Manners are like primary colors, there are certain rules and once you have these you merely mix, i.e., adapt, them to meet changing situations.” – Emily Post
Something my little fae and I have talked A lot about recently are what I consider to be something that appears to be a dying “holy trinity” in both vanilla and BDSM life, protocol, Etiquette and Manners.
I can count the numerous times I have been out for a meal with Dot, and things that we take as a matter of course becomes a topic of conversation – from couples that can’t seem to go five minutes without checking their smart phones, or parents that allow children to scream, run around unsupervised and generally make life more difficult for those around them. None of these circumstances are even remotely acceptable to me both as a Dominant or an average guy out for dinner with my other half. hopefully by the end of this you will understand not only WHY this is the case, and what I expect from my submissive in terms of protocols governing her behavior in and out of a BDSM setting. (this is going to be a long one, so go grab a coffee, and get comfortable).
Please. A very simple word when you think about it, but it is a keystone, one that a foundation of manners, etiquette, and finally protocol can be built on. I recall a time when I was a child, I was out with my grandfather, my grandmother and my mother for a dinner, as a child I was very well read and by this age instead of reading Clifford the big red dog like my peers I was reading things like full-sized star trek novels. So after reading the menu and realizing there was nothing I wanted to (or would) eat, I said very simply : well this place sucks they don’t even have what I want. My grandfather looked at me, and said “son, you might not realize it but I’m about to teach you something”. The waitress arrived and he looked at her and said “we all know what we’re having except for my grandson do you think you could please do me a favor and see if it’s not too much trouble to ask the kitchen if they’d just make him a burger?” I don’t remember what she said in return, but I do remember she smiled, and sure enough I did get my burger… that’s really the first instance I recall of the word please opening up instances where a person there to serve went above and beyond the call of duty to please the people she wished to make happy and indeed more comfortable.
Manners to me are probably the most important and often neglected or disregarded art form, from shaking hands, to greeting someone warmly and genuinely, all the way to saying goodbye or goodnight. Manners are everything and I expect any woman I consider my submissive, as she is a direct reflection of me as a Dominant, make it a point to cultivate good manners towards anyone regardless of their station. Repetition is key to this, always say please and thank you, especially to people who are there to serve or offer you a service they serve willingly and should be appreciated, a please and thank you at the very least are a way to show appreciation for that service.
Which brings me to etiquette, to me anyway etiquette is a collection of manners and social graces acceptable to ANY and ALL circumstances… Etiquette dictates to me that I will always say please and thank you, at the very least no matter who I am talking to from my boss to the teenager at the fast food counter – I expect my Submissive to do the same, if etiquette is Social Convention then our version of it will always include at the bare minimum these niceties, as a matter of etiquette I also believe wholeheartedly that you should always when meeting someone learn something about them that will make them unique to you…. Notice the arm tattoo on your local McDonalds employee and a visit or 3 later Compliment them on it… it’s Polite and good practice, which makes a person feel valued and important.
So on to Protocol, this is where I will start focusing on protocol levels in various situations and lay out the groundwork for us to discuss what we would like Social, Low, Medium and High Protocol are going to mean to us.Protocol, is to me a collection of manners, etiquette and attentiveness to a situation that warrant different levels or methods of application. For example in a vanilla setting I have already laid out when I believe to be the bare bones of protocol. Please,Thank you, and perhaps a handshake if meeting someone – with eye contact! Very important for fostering relationships. Now the same Circumstance in a BDSM setting may entail my expectation of her deferring to me to make the introductions rather than her taking initiative to do so on her own. See the subtle difference ?
Ideally our vanilla protocol will remain just us…Syn and Dot, a couple that is very deeply in love, cheeky with one another, sarcastic and goofy all at once. We have discussed this at length, and have a fairly good idea nothing will change from our Norm. A small note about the above, our D/s Dynamic organically bleeds into vanilla life so vanilla U/us will always be evolving and changing to incorporate that, it’s in our nature, but it allows us to Simply – be.
Social protocols, for example at munches and other “relaxed lifestyle” events I want my Sub to be able to be her as much as possible while still having a set of guidelines to be able to comfort her need to serve which in turn quiet’s her social anxiety. Therefore everything noted in the sections on manners and etiquette should be observed, and for someone I call my submissive should already be a matter of course. I expect her to be polite, courteous, and well-mannered. Included in this, I expect to be addressed as Sir, and at her request other more senior members of the lifestyle can (at her discretion) be addressed as Sir or Ma’am. I would also expect that upon meeting new people she defers to me to make our introductions. This protocol should also be viewed as “low”…. at a later date after we’ve discussed this entry this may change.
A Medium protocol would include all of the above, however I would expect my submissive to remain close by my side, and institute a slightly stricter observance of my possible needs, which might include refilling a drink at a function, or excusing herself from a conversation immediately to fulfill a task I may need doing, putting our coats away, getting something from the car, etc….I still wish for her to have Freedom, but be immediately available should I require her services.
High protocol – Reserved for times of high protocol dinners, and times where She needs it in ANY moment of life to remove the ability to think to hard about detrimental things. At this point Her focus is entirely her Sir. Social interaction that is not with me, must be Cleared by me in the form of a question – “sir, may I please respond?”. She should NEVER leave my side in anticipation of my needs – I should not have to ask her to refill my drink, it should be asked if she may do so in anticipation of the drink being empty. Responses to my inquiries should be short, to the point and respectful, yes sir, no sir.After discussion High protocol may become more Rigid still, I however wish to flesh out the important bits and framework here only.
Those are my initial thoughts on the subject… as her Dom I know my little fae needs these guidelines, structure and ritual is something that she needs to feel comfortable and safe, and so we shall have it. I must say though, for me, it will be good to implement these rules, and rituals (once I get used to them) as well as I realize I can be a bit of a mobile hurricane, when it comes to ritual and structure, so a good exercise for us both.
I plan to show this to my little fae so that we can do as well always do, read, Review, revise and implement…As well as discussing consequences should our imposed protocols be broken.
So until next post.